Over the last 20 years ( I am turning 42 in 2 weeks time as I write this) I have tried many things, different diets, sports, exercise protocols, supplements, colonics, this and that. You name it.
So here are my favorite tips for a healthy life (a fully unscientific post and I make no apologies for it).
Hug someone everyday.
Stay away from people that drain your energy and bring clouds of doubt and destruction into your life.
Walk, everyday. If possible in a calm natural setting like forest, hills or beach. Any other low intensity activity you enjoy is also fine (swim, jog, ride a bike, dance…). The idea is to move instead being static or seated in one place for long periods at a time.
Sleep in a dark room, wear a mask and ear plugs if necessary.Switch off the WiFi. This simple fact affects your restitution and well being more than you know.
Chill out on a regular basis.
Lift weights and move your body in any way you enjoy, but stay away from extreme programs that leave you worn out, especially when you’re over 35.
The bulk of the program should be based around big compound exercises, but isolation exercises are fine if you need/ want them. It’s a question of time priority for people who are busy.
Include side and rotation movements in your training, and also throwing and carrying stuff, even if only in your warm ups.
Apart from, that don’t over analyze your training. Respect the progressive overload principle and be consistent with your training over the week, over the months and the whole year.
Do not rely on scales. Measure your chest/ shoulder circumference, waist, arms and thighs. If everything is getting bigger at the same time your waist is getting smaller, well, that’s all you need to ever know and worry about.
When the weather is cold, train with extra clothes on. Wear neoprene knee sleeves for squatting, and a kidney warmer.
Enjoy your food without guilt, one bite at a time
I grew up in France, where good food is a passion, and it is natural for people to taste many different foods. I cook for my family, and view it as a hobby of mine.
Watch what you eat, most of the time. Do not let “healthy eating” become an obsession and a prison and deprive you off your enjoyment of life.
Mark Twain has a great humorous quote I love “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
What works for someone to help them loose weight or build muscles might not work for you.
Jamie Lewis, from Chaos & Pain may be crude, but he raises some valid points.
“ No two people are exactly alike in the manner in which their body processes any nutrient or hormone, to the point where medical doctors admit that “what we can’t do yet, is to identify the most appropriate modality of management for individual patients, based on the specific abnormalities each person has.” (Metabolic Man, p.157) If doctors can’t even get dosing regimens exactly correct for dying patients, due to interactivity issue with both the patient’s diet and existing pharmacological regime, in addition to their individual biochemistry, you’d be hard pressed to show me a single fucking “expert” who can tell me exactly what an exercise will do for me when I utilize it, especially when it’s broken down further into frequency, loading, and rep scheme. Additionally, they’re not going to be able to accurately predict what my recovery time is, because there are far too many factors that contribute to that beyond those I’ve already mentioned, like one’s nutrition and sleep. Insofar as nutrition is concerned, that’s not even an accurate indicator, due to the fact that gastric juices have extreme variations in enzyme content from person to person, which would drastically affect their rate and level of individual nutrient absorption. (Biochemical Individuality, p. 83) Additionally, people utilize amino acids very differently, ranging from 2% utilization to ~99%, and the enzymes necessary to bring about the oxidation of certain amino acids are almost wholly absent in some people (Biochemical Individuality, p. 81) Bizarre, right? That’s how it’s possible for you and a buddy to eat exactly the same things for two weeks and have completely different patterns for shitting and pissing, in addition to wholly different volumes of excreta, the entire fucking time.
Thrown in on top of the fucking mess you’ve got before you is the fact that your organs aren’t the same size or shape as anyone else’s, or even in the same place. Heart size, shape, and function vary widely in individuals due to genetics, diet, and exercise, which obviously has a massive effect on the metabolism in every part of the body, as every function in your body is limited by the quantity and quality of blood it receives ( p.32) Thyroids also vary in weight from 8-50 grams, and the shape of them varies to the point where in many people the gland is actually two glands connected by a narrow isthmus. (BI p. 93) As you can imagine, the function in one’s thyroid would necessarily be just as varied as it’s shape and location. Your pituitary gland, which controls GH production, also varies widely, and there’s a 58 fold excretion range in steroid excretions for males- so even if everything else is the same, your excretion and uptake of testosterone and GH can differ so widely that there’s no way a program will affect two individuals exactly the same”
So basically, accept some things are out of your control, and listen to your body instead of jumping on the latest diet or exercise trend, because it worked for your friend.
Here are some tips that are sensible for most people
Cook with extra virgin olive oil, tropical oils, or butter/ ghee. Those fats have been use since the dawn of time, and surprise surprise, humans are still around.
Do not just eat the flesh from animals, but also organ meats and gelatin broth, like we did in the good old days. Eating excess meat creates an amino acid imbalance in the body that can lead to inflammation (the cause of many diseases). I use powdered gelatin, because I can’t keep up the bone broth production in my kitchen.
Eat a small amount of fermented foods on a regular basis. Kefir and Sauerkraut are full of live enzymes and probiotic bacterias, good for a healthy gut tract that helps digestion.
Drink when thirsty, eat when hungry. Sadly, most people eat out of boredom, not true hunger. Hunger comes in waves, and you can actually go a long while on little food.
Eat real sea salt, not the refined stuff.
Soak pulses, grains and nuts overnight before eating them.
Avoid refined oils, refined grains and refined sugar as much as possible, but do not become anti-social either. Having dinner at your friends place or at a restaurant here and there is not going to ruin your health. A teaspoon of sugar in your coffee is not going to send your body into insulin shock. Fuck the Glycemic Index, honestly.
If you know some foods do not agree with you, leave them alone.
I could go on, but why complicate things more?
The supplements I use
Bromelain is extracted from the stems of pineapples and is a proteolytic enzyme. As you get older, your body produces less and less enzymes. Enzymes are essential in many of your body functions, one of them being digestion. Digesting your food well impacts how much stays in or comes out of your gut the following morning, and how you feel.
Vitamin D3, because it is hard getting enough quality sunshine in Denmark in the first place.
The best skin care is dry brushing first thing in the morning and rubbing coconut or olive oil onto the skin after a shower.
Scrape your tongue before brushing your teeth. Use toothpicks and dental floss.
Ditch perfumes, commercial shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants. If you can’t eat it, do not put it on your skin.
Squat when you have to take a crap.
And most importantly, only follow those tips if they improve your enjoyment of life at the same time! If changing your life for a so called healthy lifestyle makes you miserable, I doubt you’ll better off in the long run.
I believe we complicate things way too much and obsess about health and fitness. It seems some of the longest living people are foremost HAPPY people, and know less scientific facts about health and nutrition than you or me, or anyone with a PhD.
Science has still a hard time about finding ways to prolong life, and most theories about what to do is conflicting. I do not just want to prolong my life, I want to stay happy, independent and well functioning into old age.
I highly recommend you put 10 minutes aside and read this article The Island Where People Forget to Die
Here are a couple of extracts:
“In the United States, when it comes to improving health, people tend to focus on exercise and what we put into our mouths — organic foods, omega-3’s, micronutrients. We spend nearly $30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements alone. Yet in Ikaria and the other places like it, diet only partly explained higher life expectancy. Exercise — at least the way we think of it, as willful, dutiful, physical activity — played a small role at best.”
“I had one last question for him. How does he think he recovered from lung cancer?
It just went away,” he said. “I actually went back to America about 25 years after moving here to see if the doctors could explain it to me.
I had heard this part of the story before. It had become a piece of the folklore of Ikaria, proof of its exceptional way of life. Still, I asked him, What happened?
My doctors were all dead.”