As I’ve mentioned before, the body and the mind are deeply connected. The things you think affect how you feel, and how you feel affects how you think.
What happens when you feel terrible all the time? If you’re always lethargic, you’ll never have the willpower to do those things that will bring you greatest reward. If you’ve got a pounding headache every day, you’ll be more easily irritated and enraged. If you’re always nauseous, you’ll have more trouble making reasonable decisions in your own best interest.
A healthy body improves your entire life.
I’m no certified nutritionist, and I have no research papers to my name, but I’ve spent my fair share of time looking into some of the myths we hold about diet. Among the things I’ve learned:
- Saturated fat is a preferred energy source for the human body.
- There are many different kinds of protein. Generally speaking, you need proteins from both the muscle meats and the organ meats to get the full complement, and it’s extremely difficult to be properly nourished on a purely vegetable diet.
- Eggs are nature’s vitamin. They contain all the proteins in almost perfect ratio for the human body, plus a complement of vitamins and minerals.
- Water is most important to the human body during carbohydrate metabolism, but it’s essential at all times.
- It’s not the caffeine or strange minerals in energy drinks that are so dangerous – it’s the sugar. Coffee is still one of the best energy-boosting supplements available.
- Salt is good for you. In excess it can cause some problems, but even most Americans are far below those limits.
- Most grains are less-than-excellent for the human body. Particularly when unsprouted, they contain some toxic substances. Whole Grain tends to have more of these toxins than the refined forms.
- Wheat is poison. The lectin inhibits your ability to feel full, the gluten causes reactions in a substantial portion of the population, and the carbs drive your insulin through the roof.
- Fructose is very bad for the human body. High-fructose corn syrup has only slightly greater fructose than table sugar, and both should be avoided as a general principle.
- Intermittant fasting (fasting for a fraction of each day) is good for the metabolism.
- It’s very hard to burn fat when your carbohydrate intake is even moderate. It’s best to restrict your carb intake to the evening so you’re asleep when the insulin-driven hunger would normally encourage more carb intake.
All this said, here’s a sample three-meal diet plan. While I generally only eat two meals a day starting in the afternoon, this is the sort of thing I would eat if I were hungrier.
- Two eggs, scrambled in copious amounts of butter
- A few strips of bacon or slices of sausage
- 16 oz water
- 6 oz coffee, extra cream (the real stuff) but very little sugar
- Sauteed vegetables (I like sauteed squash and broccoli)
- Chop Steak without gravy (it doesn’t need it)
- Mashed potatoes from scratch, mashed with half-and-half and butter
- Chicken Marsala with a red wine reduction
- A sauteed kale salad with bleu cheese (mostly for color)
- Two fingers of whiskey (not healthy, but I like it. Sue me)
- An avocado, scored in the skin and eaten with a spoon with either vinegar or salt
Diet is only half the issue. If you’re not using your body, it’s slowly adapting to a sedentary lifestyle. In order to combat this in a largely sedentary world, we have to exercise deliberately.
Of course, the best kind of exercise is manual labor. Gardening, weeding, pushing the lawnmower, and the like are excellent ways to keep your body reasonably in shape. As a plus, outdoor labor exposes you to the sun, which encourages Vitamin D production in the human body (and gives a nice tan).
When that’s not a viable option (as tends to be the case for us apartment dwellers), there are really three kinds of exercise you should focus on.
- Daily calisthenics. A few pushups, situps, and squats in the morning and evening get the blood circulating and keep your body sharp.
- Sprints. Cardio is extremely overrated, but sprints are king. Very little builds muscle strength, stamina, and heart strength like sprinting full out for thirty seconds.
- Lifts. Not only does heavy lifting develop your build and overall strength, but it encourages the development of more mitochondria in the muscle cells. This improves fat metabolism at rest, increases strength and endurance, and makes all forms of physical exertion easier. As an added bonus for men, lifting increases testosterone production and produces both seratonin and canabanoids in ths system, which makes you feel stronger and more confident as a general rule.
You’ll find it much easier to produce valuable lifestyle and personality changes when your body isn’t actively fighting you every step of the way.