A few months ago, I asked Instagram listeners what they would like to know soon when it comes to taking care of their health. I really enjoyed listening to all of you, so I’m going to share some answers here.
My motivation to ask was doubled. One was general curiosity, the other personal. Now that I am a grandparent, I find myself thinking more and more about how to convey an early message to the younger generation so that they do not have to try to solve problems that can prevent middle age or retirement years. How can I (and indeed, all of us) support parents who want to build a solid foundation of health for their children? What information and interventions will have the greatest impact on today’s youth?
Although I would like to think that we have solved the problem with Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Blueprint and Primal Kitchen, there is still much work to be done to improve the health of the average person. I’m sharing these responses to encourage more conversation, to think more, and, I dare say, to hope for more change in the future.
Surprisingly, most of the responses I’ve received can be summed up as, “If I hadn’t followed conventional wisdom.” Both you and me. That being said, when you know better, will you do better? Learn and save. However, I hope these will make you think.
Q: “What do you want to know about staying healthy at a young age?”
A: Eat more protein instead of carbohydrates.
So the idea of a “meat-free Monday” is a bad school lunch? (Ironically.)
Answer: It is always thought that processed food is healthy.
Who can blame you? For decades, the only medical advice for people struggling with metabolic health was to lose weight by reducing calories and eating a low-fat diet. (This unfortunately still seems to be the standard ornament.) At that point all the food marketed was Uber-processed, “part-controlled” and not at all satisfying. We all sold the lie that these ultra-modified foods are better for us than nature’s alternatives. Too bad the “diet food” was deprived of nutrients, fiber, healthy fats and often protein. And oh, however, they tend to eat more calories and lose less weight.
Answer: Micronutrients are important.
Again, I blame the old “one calorie one calorie” doctrine, when the food industry tried to convince us that 100 calories from broccoli is equivalent to 100 calorie snack packs of low-fat chocolate chip cookies. Micronutrients got in the way as calorie counting took precedence over food quality.
A: That healthy fat is good.
Answer: Meat is good for you.
A: You can celebrate without food.
This is one of the best. Listen, I have no problem with food as part of the festival. This has been the case throughout human history, and I will take every opportunity to enjoy a celebratory steak dinner with friends. But I object to how celebrations, holidays or really any milestones have become an excuse to get involved for sugar-and-alcohol-free-everyone. Many of you can attest to the fact that celebrations are like wildlife without being wild – and without paying for it the next day.
A. The benefits of fasting.
Interest in non-stop fasting has waned over the past several years, not only among self-examiners like me, but also in the explosion of scientific research. I love watching it. Unfortunately, the wheel of science continues to spin, but I hope the IF results continue to gain momentum. We’re just scratching the surface.
Q: “Do you want to start too soon?”
Answer: Strength training. / Heavy lifting. / As a woman, lift heavy before.
One hundred percent yes, and it’s not too late to start. How do we get these young ‘uns building muscles fast? And not just for aesthetic purposes but to maximize metabolic health and to lay the foundation for effective reserves as soon as possible?
A: Avoid cardio, focus on strength training.
You may not avoid it altogether, but be sure to prioritize and avoid chronic cardio.
A: Learn to cook.
Love it. As much as I love trying different restaurants and eating out, there are many benefits to cooking at home. Creating your own food connects you to what you are eating, from grocery shopping to choosing what to bring home. Mastering basic kitchen skills gives a sense of agency and confidence that can carry over into other aspects of life. Even if you have never been a gourmet chef, you will find that you are more motivated to engage in other healthy behaviors because you are already taking the time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for yourself. It is also a great way to impress potential romantic partners.
Answer: Focus on adding nutritious foods, not just elimination.
This one is pretty deep. Many health counselors focus on cutting out harmful ingredients and behaviors. Quit smoking. Eat less. Stop eating gluten. Even the initial blueprint begins with the elimination of the “Big Three” of grains, excess sugars and pro-inflammatory fats. This step is important, but in the long run, focusing on avoiding harm can keep people alert and can even lead to fears that could be harmful to themselves, leading to things like orthorexia.
Ideally, once you get through that initial phase of removing unhealthy or unhealthy choices, the focus should be on building positive behavior – keeping your eyes on where you are going rather than what you are leaving behind.
Answer: Flexibility and mobility.
Absolutely, and not just for physical health. Flexibility and mobility practice often involves an element of meditation. Even better if you can do these in the morning or evening routine.
Answer: Blood panel test.
Knowing your baseline is always a good idea, especially if you are going to try something new. Here are seven biomarkers that I think are worth following.
A: Walking every day.
Couldn’t believe more.
A: Follow the initial blueprint.
Can’t argue with that!
Q: “If you could give a piece of health advice to today’s teens, what would it be?”
Answer: Sleep is important.
Not just important, critical.
A: Turn off your phone and go further.
I sincerely support it. “Turn off social mediaThere was another common theme among the respondents, but it was probably unrealistic for the younger generation. Technology and social media to stay here. (And social media has its ups and downs, but the downsides are worrying, to say the least.) A more realistic goal is to control your usage and be prudent about what you post and who you follow.
Answer: No smoking.
Answer: Intestinal health is everything. It causes acne and mood swings.
The only advice I could remember as a teenager was to avoid fatty foods to prevent acne. Of course, we didn’t know anything about microbiome back then. Now as we do, how many teenagers are being encouraged to try dietary changes with the specific intention of strengthening intestinal health?
Q: “What did you learn from Mark that you think everyone should know?”
I ask this question for my own benefit to see which parts of information or knowledge have the most impact. I didn’t intend to post responses, but if these things help your classmates the most, they are the most valuable nugget to share with those who are trying to help you in your own life. Submitted without comment:
- You are in control of your genes.
- 80/20 rule.
- Metabolic flexibility.
- Body weight workout for travel time or budget.
- Look for hidden sugars in sauces and packaged foods.
- The theory of eating every two hours is wrong.
- Aging does not have to be a bad experience.
- That one size fits all.
- Have fun no matter what you do.
- You deserve to eat well and live your best life at any age.
A perfect note to end it. Tell me in the comments what you would add to this list. I look forward to hearing from you.
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