I’m back! And it’s time to get Really Real.

Remember back on my very first post how I said I was really bad at blogging? Well, I think I proved that to be true.  However, in my multi-month absence, I’ve noticed how much I feel I really need to write this blog. I keep getting bombarded by articles and people saying “you must do THIS to be healthy!” It’s as if there is only ONE correct way to achieve that elusive “healthy.” And that annoys me to no end.

So here, in my come-back blog…I am going to give you my opinions on some of those naysayers. Because it’s my blog and I can. It is not my intent to offend anybody or say anybody is wrong. I just want to point out why I think these things are NOT the end-all-be-all of health.

1. Shakeology

I’m a firm believer that you should be able to get all necessary nutrition from real food – not a shake mix. I understand that there are some athletes who need more calories and protein than they can eat in a day, so maybe something like Shakeology is great for them. But for someone like me, who is living a fairly normal life and trying to be as healthy as I can be in my real world, I just don’t think it’s necessary. I think it is unnecessarily expensive and robs you of the pleasure of food. I also get really REALLY annoyed and people who push Shakeology claiming it can do all but cure cancer. I know you’ve heard the claims and seen the memes: “I don’t get sick because I drink Shakeology! You get sick because you’re took stupid to spend a lot of money on this stuff…” (Excuse me, I’m having an irate moment here…) To those people, I say this: I very rarely get sick. When I do, it is not a product of not drinking something or of poor nutrition. It is a product of me working with children 5 days a week and working over 40 hours a week at 4 different jobs. Whether I’m drinking Shakeology or not, that strep throat virus is probably still going to get me.

2. Cross Fit

Exercise is great. Everyone should exercise. But not everyone should try throwing a tractor tire across the room or do jumping jacks until they pass out. I know people who do Cross Fit. That’s cool. If I tried to do Cross Fit, my body would rebel in the most horrible, atrophying way and I would probably never be able to exercise again. I’m a strong and healthy girl. I know my limits. My problem with Cross Fit is that it tries to teach people that limits are only in your head. I beg to differ. My knee with almost no cartilage in it? That’s a real limit. My hypothyroidism that robs me of precious energy when I least expect it? That’s a real limit. There are days when I simply cannot exercise – and if I do, it will be detrimental to my health. I think knowing your limits is a really important part of overall health and you certainly cannot learn those limits if you are pretending they don’t exist.

3. Organic/Non-preservative/Nothing-that-isn’t-pure

Science has proven a lot of things. But science has also NOT proven a lot of things. There is a huge movement right now to shame every piece of food that is non-organic, not locally grown, non-GMO, non-grass fed, etc. But here’s the thing: this movement is led largely by activists who are not only not scientists, but they’re also not reading the scientific articles! They are citing sources like Natural News (a known biased source) and other non-profit organizations that have no legitimate science backing them up. I agree that some organic foods are better for you. Pesticides cannot be at all good for us. And I agree that foods should be free of preservatives and dangerous chemicals. But I also know that many of the things we are lambasting are not nearly as bad as the activists want us to believe. I’m sure I’ll get into the specifics (and cite real sources) in a later post, but here is my simple way to eat well: always eat food as close to it’s natural state as possible. Eat organic produce if you can afford it (especially thin-skinned foods), and make sure you can read all of the ingredients on your food. And if you want to read about the effects of GMOs and the like, research real sources and learn for yourself.

4. Paleo Diet

My beef with this (no pun intended…?) diet is simply this: no one diet works for all people.  This diet is based in the idea that we should eat like our ancestors. But they’re talking about ancestors from 2.5 MILLION YEARS AGO. That is a very long time evolutionary speaking. Our bodies have made a whooooooole bunch of adaptations in that time. So I don’t think we should be eating like 2.5 million year old cavemen. But I do think there is truth in the idea that we should eat like our ancestors. My roots are Irish, Scottish, and Scandinavian. Those were countries that had access to a lot of protein and a lot of grains. But the cold climates made produce pretty rare. In the past few years, I’ve noticed that my body functions best on a high-carb diet with a lot of protein and a moderate amount of vegetables. Likewise, a friend of mine whose roots go back to Africa has noticed that her body functions best on a diet rich in fruits, nuts, and meats – things that were readily available in most parts of Africa.

So, I’m sure you came to realize over those rants that my main issue with there being a “right” way is this: nothing works the same for everyone. YOU need to find the diet and exercise solution that works best for you. It may take a few tries, though, so don’t get discouraged. It is my goal in this blog to give you ideas and options to start following in your life.

Starting this week, I’m going to be making this a weekly blog. My first week is going to be an in-depth look at the way me and my sweetheart (Erich) eat. I’m going to let you into my fridge, my pantry, my grocery bags, and my dinner plate and explain how we eat clean in the real world and on a very real budget. So look forward to my next post, because it is going to get really real around here.

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