It seems like we as a society are starting to wisen up when it comes to health. Thanks to science, we now know more about how the human body works and what it needs than ever before, and we are putting that knowledge into practice. Just look at the popularity of wearable fitness devices like Fitbit, growing fitness trends like CrossFit, and the increasing availability of healthy foods. We’re definitely getting healthier, right?
It may seem that way, but unfortunately obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other common health issues are still rampant. In some cases they’re even on the rise. If we seem to be embracing new health tech, exercise and diets, then why are we still so unhealthy?
Why our attempts at health are failing.
One big reason that we just can’t grasp that elusive thing we call ‘health’ is because we accept so many things as ‘healthy’ just because someone says it’s the answer to all our health concerns, or because it has worked for someone else – a celebrity perhaps or someone we know.
So it’s not that we’re not trying – we’re buying the fitness trackers, we’re signing up for CrossFit, we’re shopping at Whole Foods. We really are making an effort to improve our health. But what we think is healthy for us may be the very thing holding us back. It’s our so-called ‘healthy’ lifestyle that is often responsible for destroying our health.
Here are some common ‘healthy’ habits that could be doing you more harm than good.
1. You’re avoiding dairy altogether. Ancient medicine suggests that if you tend to store excess fat around your vital organs and midsection, you can benefit from low-fat dairy products, like kefir and yogurt, which are full of healthy probiotics. If you tend to be more pear shaped, on the other hand, you may suffer from sinus congestion and skin irritations when consuming dairy. This isn’t a rule of thumb and there are exceptions, but the idea is that dairy (and any food for that matter) may be good for one person and not another.
2. You’re eating too little or not often enough. First off, men burn more calories than women. There are many reasons for this, but the gist is that women should be consuming a minimum of 1,200 calories a day while men should be consuming a minimum of 1,800. On top of this, physically active people need to increase their daily caloric intake up to twice their basal metabolic rate (BMR) and younger adults with faster metabolisms will find that they can benefit from more calories and larger meals than seniors.
Some people have a body type that naturally stores away nutritional resources. If you’ve got this type of body and hence a slower digestive system, it’s important to avoid eating late at night because your body will just store away the unused energy into fat. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a body type that has difficulty keeping energy stores, it’s important to eat frequently, maybe up to 4-6 meals a day. Skipping meals could lead to fatigue, weakness, lethargy, poor concentration, muscular depletion, demineralization of the bones and other unpleasant side effects.
3. You’ve become vegan/vegetarian. If your body is the kind that naturally builds muscle easily but you tend to gain more weight in your mid section than in your legs, low-protein diets that tend to have higher amounts of grains and thyroid-stimulating foods like refined flour may not be ideal for you. Including animal protein in your diet will benefit the development of your muscles, increase your energy production and use, and will improve your mood and mental focus. On the other hand, if you’ve got a tendentially lean body shape and tend to gain weight in the lower half of your body, you may benefit from a much higher ratio of vegetables relative to animal protein and may even do well on a vegan or vegetarian regimen.
4. You do cleanse after cleanse. If you’ve got the type of body that uses energy a lot throughout and benefits from frequent meals, it’s only normal that your body wouldn’t benefit from cleanses. In fact, the lack of nutritional intake may trigger your body’s stress mechanism and have the opposite effect of what you want. Instead, knowing what organs may need cleansing and what dietary changes are optimal for your body type may have more benefits. For instance, a sluggish liver will benefit from a reduction of animal fats, drinking lemon juice on an empty stomach in the morning, and increasing sulfur-rich vegetables like garlic and onions. No need for a juice cleanse or fasting detox in this case.
5. You’re eating what you ‘should’ be eating all of the time, and not eating the foods you enjoy. Sticking to a prolonged rigid diet can be detrimental for some people and there are many reasons why it can alter the body and the mind in a negative way. You may feel a sense of starvation that triggers stress-related hormones, or you may inadvertently slow down your metabolism by not eating enough or by skipping meals. Alternatively, you may feel drops in serotonin that can trigger carb cravings or may fall into a depressive state from a deprivation of feel-good foods. Finding ways in which you can enjoy healthy eating full of beneficial foods combined with fun recipes and plenty of variety can reduce food cravings and improve mood all while keeping your body healthy.
Yes, health issues like obesity and diabetes are still prevalent, but we are starting to sit up and take note. The fact that we are embracing new health technology, like Fitbit and ph360, jumping on board with fitness trends and making wiser food choices shows that we really do have the willingness to make a positive lasting change to our health. Where we are somewhat falling short is the application – assuming that all ‘healthy’ habits are good for everyone. The fact is that we are all completely unique and will need different things when it comes to health.
Knowing exactly what is best for us as individuals doesn’t have to be difficult. Once again technology comes to the rescue with ShaeTM – a personal health assistant that can provide you with exactly what you need when it comes to food, exercise, and environment. We are starting to embrace health. The next, and final step, is embracing personalized health.