Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My thoughts on diet and fitness dogma

Dogma 1: Grains are the devil.
I'm seeing this one everywhere-- people are railing against grains as if just thinking about them will tie your gut in knots and suck the life out of you on the spot. Nope, I don't follow this one. I wrote an article about it a while back, so rather than rehash it, I'll just post the link: http://melodyschoenfeld.blogspot.com/2010/12/great-grain-debate.html
And if we're discussing grains, we should also discuss phytates: http://melodyschoenfeld.blogspot.com/2010/12/whats-phytate.html

Dogma 2: Soy is the spawn of the devil.
If I were to follow the current trend of dogma, if grains are bad, soy is the father of all evil. Nope, don't follow this one, either. This is another thing I've written about before, so read about that here: http://melodyschoenfeld.blogspot.com/2010/12/to-soy-or-not-to-soy.html

Dogma 3: You need to detox.
I do believe you need to detox. I don't believe you need to do it using sugar-lemon-water and cayenne pepper. I believe you need to do it by adopting clean eating habits and letting your liver do the rest.
Beware of dogma.

Dogma 4: You need to fast.
While I'm not much of a proponent of long-term fasting, I do believe that intermittent fasting (IF) has many health benefits. The IF regimen that seems to work best for me is to hold off on eating between 8PM the night before and 1PM the next day a few days per week. While I don't normally list Wikipedia articles as proof of research, this one lists a large quantity of the scientific research that has been done on IF (so saves me room in posting the whole list here :) ): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_fasting , and here is another good article on the subject: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/intermittent-fasting/fast-way-to-better-health/

Dogma 5: There's no such thing as a healthy vegan.
Oh, boy. Vegans have been vilified like crazy these days, especially in the Paelo community. And speaking as one of those vegans, I can say it more than irks me. I'm a moral vegan, meaning I am vegan because I don't want to contribute to the death or harm of any living creature (inasmuch as I can avoid it), and I also feel an animal products-free diet is much better for the environment. At the same time, I am a total health geek, and I'm not going to do something that is detrimental to my well-being. A vegan diet must be done with care. You need to eat a wide variety of whole, nutritious foods and not just go crazy with the carbs and processed soy products. Should a vegan supplement? Absolutely-- particularly vitamin B12, D, iron, and omega fatty acids. Do I think that the need to supplement externally means that you can't be healthy on your diet? Hell no. As a matter of fact, I'd go as far as to say that just about everyone probably needs to supplement somewhat, as the current farming practices, soil quality, and water quality don't produce as nutritious a product as nature intended. Vegetarians tend to have lower incidences of most cancers: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/89/5/1620S , vegetarian mortality rates tend to be lower than average: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/89/5/1613S , vegetarians tend to have lower than average rates of chronic disease (depending, of course, on the person and the quality of the diet): http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/5/1607S

Oh, and did I mention I'm a very healthy vegan? http://melodyschoenfeld.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-my-vegan-grain-inclusive-soy.html

Dogma 6: P90X is the devil's evil next-door neighbor.

Oh, boy, do trainers hate P90X. It's the subject of hundreds of angry blogs and discussions. Trainers all over the place will give me some serious stinkeye for saying this, but I don't think P90X is all that bad. If your goal is mainly to just lose weight and you're going to do a DVD, I think it's really one of the better ones out there. (Beats the heck out of doing the Jillian Michaels kettlebell CD... but that's another story. :) ) That having been said, if you're going to do a DVD, P90X or otherwise, you'd better know how to do the movements properly. Bad form is going to give you trouble, whether it's in the gym, in the mountains, or in front of your DVD player. Know your limits and get someone in the know to critique your form. Don't push yourself through pain, dizziness, or nausea, and don't do a movement you don't understand.

Well, those are some of my thoughts. What are some of yours? Post 'em here!

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