THERE ARE NO MAGIC PILLS FOR HEALTH
Miracle pills, fad diets, and magical supplements will make you younger, skinner, and happier. This type of marketing is all around us, from tv, radio, and print ads to multi-level marketing companies, all guaranteeing to be just what you need to make your life better.
Sure it would be wonderful if there was just one drink, pill, or diet to make us gorgeous, charming, and content for life.
The truth is that improving health and feeling young comes from eating right, exercise, and managing stress. Sure this does not sound as easy or fun, but it’s tried and true and won’t let you down in the long run.
Many of these types of products are preying on women and the never-ending quest to be skinny.
First there is the classically unhealthy weight loss method, diet pills. They range from somewhat scary to WOW, that’s legal? The more innocent ones typically consist of a blend of natural herbs and vitamins guaranteed to shed the pounds and eliminate hunger. While some of these pills may do just that, the cost is often too high.
Diet pills are often “speed” disguised as natural herbs. The most natural products use caffeine-rich herbs such as guarana, yerba mate, and green tea. Blend enough of these herbs with enough bitter orange (contains synephrine, similar to ephedra) and you have a high-speed cocktail guaranteed to throw the body for a loop.
Large amounts of caffeine may speed up your metabolism, but the side-effects are fatigue, anxiety, jitters, and mood swings. Also, when you stop taking these pills the weight piles back on. This is not an effective long-term solution.
Even more worrisome are the over-the-counter and prescription diet pills which are essentially stronger versions of “speed” than their natural counterparts. They aren’t “just diet pills.” They are addictive stimulant drugs that have serious side-effects such as heart problems, nervous system damage, adrenal fatigue, tremors, high blood pressure, and seizures.
Many people are also abusing ADHD stimulant drugs such as Aderall (amphetamine). Once again, these drugs are simply speed, which does reduce appetite but at a terrible cost to the body.
What about the miraculous “Hollywood Lemonade diet”? Well, it is actually a rapid and harsh fast known as the Master Cleanse. This fast has become an extremely popular diet plan since Hollywood celebrities began using it for weight loss.
Yes, you will lose some water weight, but as soon as you start eating solid foods again you will put it right back on. Knowing this, some people do this diet continuously, which is essentially a starvation diet. The body has wisdom and when it’s starving it will hold onto its fat stores.
CALORIES ARE FUEL FOR THE BODY
This brings us to calorie restriction diet centers such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig uses a 1200 calorie a day meal plan and expensive packaged meals. 1200 calories a day is fine for someone who does not move, at all!
There is a good reason that people on these type of diets are always on a diet. If you make the body think it’s not getting enough nutrients, it will simply hold on to what it has. Weight may shed at first, but it rarely stays off.
There are also the mood swings and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that occurs when people are starving themselves.
Weight Watchers works on a point system (a certain amount of calories equals a certain amount of points). You can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within your points. Aside from the points usually not including enough calories, there is not a focus on the quality of food.
The “food” provided through these diet centers is overly processed and often tasteless. It is no surprise that I often hear that all of the meals taste exactly the same. Well, they are the same blend of barely edible, and not very nourishing, food-like products.
Fans of these diets should be happy to hear that they can eat healthy and delicious food in order to lose weight. Go ahead: eat some butter, nuts, or avocados. The fat in these foods will alert your body that is not starving and can let go of some of its fat.
BEWARE OF MLM COMPANIES THAT PROMISE THE WORLD
Another modern-day phenomena are multi-level marketing companies. From miracle supplements to magic juices, these companies claim that what they offer is better than what any other company offers. They can be quite convincing by listing studies and research on their websites.
Many of these companies become quite aggressive when people question their products. My biggest issue with the supplements that I have seen from these companies is they are often sub-standard products claiming to be the highest quality available on the market.
“ENERGY” DRINKS DEPLETE NOT REPLENISH THE BODY
I can’t talk about fads without mentioning energy drinks. Most of these products come in slick-looking cans and claim to end fatigue and increase energy and vitality. The problem is that most contain too much sugar and caffeine or a wide range of chemicals including artificial sweeteners.
The “energy” is coming from sugar and/or caffeine. Even the natural herbs are typically stimulant herbs that contain caffeine.
Try taking ginseng, rhodiola, or maca–all herbs that increase energy without any caffeine. These herbs are also adaptogenic which means not only do they provide steady energy, they also help you adapt to stress.
Vitamin water is another popular fad concept. In my mind, this is one of the worst offenders since it leads people to believe that they are doing something healthy by taking their “vitamins”. Sure, there are vitamins in the drinks, but each one contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar (32 grams).
By using fructose instead of table sugar, they lead many people to believe that it is fruit sugar which is considered healthy. The trouble is that the fructose used in most products is simply a highly refined version of fructose similar to high fructose corn syrup.
Even though many of the flavors have fruit in the name, there is almost no real fruit juice in these products. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are best found through food. Second to food would be a high-quality multi-vitamin, not overpriced sugar-water. I’m happy to report that several years back, Coca-Cola was sued over false claims for Vitamin water (they bought the company in 2007).
EAT REAL FOOD
The bottom line is that there is not one miracle pill, drink, or potion to cure all that ails you. The best way to prevent disease, feel and look young and vital, is to eat a wide variety of SOUL food (seasonal, organic, unrefined, and local), and eliminate processed foods.
It’s important to eat enough calories to sustain an active lifestyle (this varies from person to person). Exercise is a crucial part of not only keeping a trim figure but also an active mind. Many beneficial brain chemicals such as endorphins are released when we exercise.
It’s crucial to relax each day; anything from hot baths and reading to tai chi and meditation are helpful. The truth is that quick fixes are just that, and they will not serve you in the long-term.
For real energy throughout the day, try eating this balanced delicious summer-inspired breakfast. Eating a protein-rich breakfast will stabilize blood sugar and reduce mid-morning sugar cravings.
5-6 eggs (based on two servings)
handful of chard or spinach
1/2 head of broccoli
1/2 onion or 1 small leek
fresh herbs such as oregano, sage, basil
1-2 tsp dried Italian herbs
ghee, butter, or coconut oil
Himalayan or sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
optional: fresh crushed garlic, chili flakes, or pesto
Directions: First crack eggs into a bowl and lightly mix with whisk. Add salt,and pepper then set aside. Next turn stove on low-med heat and add ghee, butter, or coconut oil to pan. Once it melts, add salt, pepper, and dried spices. Heat for about 1 minute. Then add leek or onion and sauté until almost soft. Next, add broccoli. After a few minutes, pour egg mixture over veggies and cover pan. Make sure the flame is on low-low medium. The eggs will take about 10 minutes to cook depending on the pan. After about 5 minutes, add the spinach and replace lid back on the pan. Cook on low until eggs are firm. Serve with a corn tortilla, a slice of gluten-free bread, or a side of beans. If time is a factor, you can use leftover cooked veggies. Instead of putting the veggies in the pan first, put the egg mixture in first and then add cold veggies. Put lid on pan and leave about 10 minutes on low heat.