It seems everybody around me is trying to get fit, stay in shape or generally become healthier and I love it cause that shit’s important, yo. People begin to become more aware of their health once they leave home and they have to buy their own food and groceries. Everyone knows about the trap that so many first year university students fall into when they have the freedom to eat whatever they want. They gain 5+ kg because McDonald’s and Burger King are around the corner but so is that lady selling mangoes and spinach on the street however, you seem to conveniently forget about her. We’ve all become aware of that trap and are trying our utmost not to fall into it because nobody wants to have shitty health habits. Moreover, it’s imperative to take care of your body because ain’t nobody got time to die of a heart attack/stroke or even worse; live long enough to enter old age but be wracked with health issue upon health issue upon health issue. So here are a couple of common mistakes people make when they’re trying to get their shit together, health wise.
I am not a doctor nor did I study medicine or anything of that sort. I am however relatively knowledgeable in this certain topic because my mother left a lot of health magazines lying around the house and listened to health podcasts without headphones in the public areas of the house. Despite my lack of official qualifications, I like to think I know a thing or two about taking care of your body. With my own personal experience and top tips I’ve read and researched over the past few years I think I’ve got some truth bombs to detonate that I feel will be incredibly helpful to you. But if you’re still doubtful then just phone your own doctor or do your own damn research. I’m not your mother, you can do what you want but I’m offering my help. Take it or leave it.
So let’s get to it.
First Things first: The BULLSHIT that is fat free yogurt
I’m not about to tell you how bad dairy in general is to your body (like inflammation and acne), the environment or the animals these products come from because the point of today is not to persuade you to ditch dairy, although to be honest, you really really should. I know a number of you aren’t vegan so if you’re eating dairy products and you see a tub of yogurt that has “fat free” written on it in big pretty letters and you think that shit’s good for you, THINK AGAIN! It’s not. Because get this, the fat in yogurt is what gives it it’s distinct texture, taste, flavour and consistency. Take that away and what do you get? Rubbish. So what the manufacturers do is pump it with a tonne of sugar, stabilisers, flavourants and other random additives to get the same result as normal yogurt. Many people are afraid of fat and I get that because a lot of fat you encounter is not good for you especially if your source of fat is animal based as almost all fat of animal origin is saturated fat i.e. the type of fat that gives you a heart attack and a fat belly among other issues. Yet despite the immense amount of fat in ordinary yogurt, it’s better to eat that fat knowing it’s all you’re eating than to eat the fat free cousin that’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Although who am I kidding here, even though yogurt has protein and gut healthy cultures, it’s still pretty unhealthy as it does contain saturated fat so just ditch the dairy altogether and eat more beans and fermented foods.
While we’re on the subject of fat free items let’s talk about sugar free shit
Listen, if you’re trying to be healthy just cut the bullshit and remove fizzy drinks completely out of your diet and replace it with 100% fruit juice. After that you can slowly wean yourself off fruit juice until you finally only drink water and vegetable juices. I’m telling you this because Coke Zero or Coke light is not fucking worth it! These sugar free fizzy drinks are filled to the brim with potentially harmful artificial sweeteners. All artificial sweeteners are deemed safe for consumption by the U.S FDA, however almost all of them have possible negative side effects on the body as a number of scientists and specialists have accused them for causing weight gain, increased appetite, headaches, migraines, increased risk of acquiring diabetes, and cancer. Although the results of numerous studies made on these sweeteners were inconclusive, one thing is for sure; artificial sweeteners can increase sugar cravings as they are so much sweeter than ordinary sugar making it more difficult for you to actually break the habit of over consuming sugar. A general rule of thumb in trying to become healthier is to avoid any substance artificially manufactured or processed. Thus, if you’re trying to become healthier just cut out fizzy drinks altogether because a Diet Coke is still going to make you feel worse than carrot and orange juice would.
Food restrictions. The absolute worst thing you could possibly do
This point may seem incredibly hypocritical coming from a vegan but it really isn’t and I’ll explain why. A plant based diet does not constitute as a food restrictive diet because you’re not restricting a food group out of your diet. To clarify, when I say “food restriction” I am not talking about cutting out certain foods e.g. eggs and meat out of your diet but more so cutting out certain food groups e.g. proteins, fats and carbs (macronutrients). As a vegan you do not restrict protein, fat or carbs from your diet. You only restrict the source of said macronutrients but not the macronutrient itself unlike other diets that will either restrict carbs or fats or both. This is why, unlike most other diets, a plant based one does not require a cheat day because your body never feels snubbed of a certain food. A plant based diet of wholefoods is a complete, balanced diet and just because you’re not getting your macronutrients from a certain type of source (animals) does not mean you’re restricting because you’re still obtaining all vital macronutrients. Restricting a certain food group out of your diet may seem like an easy way to become healthier or lose weight but not only does it make you crave the restricted nutrient more, it makes it difficult for you to stick to your diet and increases the likelihood of you falling off the wagon, binging and gaining a shit tonne of weight and health problems. I do however, know a number of people who have achieved tremendous success with carb restricting and banting diets so do what you feel your body responds to the best but do your research first. Long story short; instead of trying to restrict your intake of carbs or fat, restrict your source of carbs or fat. In other words, eat plant based fats, carbs and proteins and you can eat as much food as you want as long as its whole and unprocessed.
Setting unrealistic health goals. We’ve all been there.
Unless you’ve got tremendous self control and will there’s no way you’re going to stick to a crazy goal like working out every single day if you only used to work out once every couple of weeks or ONLY drinking water if your staple drink of choice was Ice Tea or Oros. It’s just not gonna work out. If you’re not in the right mindset to do that then you are going to struggle to keep up with the incredibly high standards and pressure you’re putting on yourself. Rather start off slowly than shocking your body with a drastic change. If you want to start working out more often, instead of saying you’re going to work out every single day start by working out three times a week or every second day. From there you can increase the amount of days you workout per week until you are actually working out everyday. Take it slow and stop putting so much pressure on yourself. It may take longer to see results or to reach your goal but you have a higher chance of actually succeeding and permanently changing your lifestyle for good.
I’ve only given you a couple of common mistakes people make but I feel these are one of the most critical mistakes people make that affects the success rate of their health journey. Taking care of your body is the most important investment you will make in your life. Even if your goal isn’t to live a long life your goal should be to live the best life you can for as long as it lasts and it has to start somewhere so why not start here.
But tell me, what are the things you do to stay and feel as healthy as you can. Let me know. I also want to learn new things. While you’re at it tell me if this was helpful to you in any way and if you’d like to receive more content like this on the blog. I feel Salted Butter is moving more from a food only blog to a food and lifestyle blog but it’s all for you, the reader, so tell me what you want to know yo and I’ll try my best to give it to you.