American Health: a history of insanity

Posted on April 18, 2011. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , |

The other day I was inspire once again by a conversation/debate with a friend.

They made the statement that nobody knows the truth about nutrition and we are all still figuring it out.  I responded by saying we have known the truth for decades.  But due to our own personal issues and agendas we can’t seem to let certain things go.

In essence, I believe we all know the universal principles, but we keep trying to make our chosen “method” the universal path we all should take.

Take a look at the following nutrition guidelines  and tell me how they sound to you:

  • Maintain  good digestive health,
  • Eat at regular intervals
  • Select simple natural foods,
  • Chew your food thoroughly,  and eat slowly
  • Get a  good night’s sleep every night.
  • Don’t overeat at a singular meal
  • Eat foods with a high nutrient value

Now do you think if someone followed these guidelines, they would be healthier, stronger.  I do, the fun part about this paraphrased list is it came from Eugene Sandow.  A classic physique artist or bodybuilder/strongman, who established his fame in the 1890’s

Yep, even back then they knew.

If you look among the history of classic physiques and strongman of the early 1900’s,  you also find a lot of other interesting tips:

  • Cut out hard liqueur.  the occasional beer is OK (moderation)
  • Eat plenty of fresh veggies and nuts
  • You even find warnings about the excess of refined sugars and meat from artificially fed and confined animals.

I kid you not, feel free to look it up for yourself.  the book is called  The Way to Life, written by George Hackenschmidt.  If you have ever heard of a “hack squat,” that would be referring to him.

Remember these men did not have white lab coats, or multiple initials behind their name.  They also did not have the distractions of TV or internet trying to sell them an easy path.

A lot of the issues we run into with nutrition have nothing to do with principles, merely methods.

For example my significant other (whom I lovingly call a vegan communist) and I can agree on certain nutrition principles.

We all need Protein, Carbs, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water.  We all need adequate recovery time, and stress relief.  We need a sufficient amount of calories for the tasks we wish to do.  How we go about getting those calories is where we start to diverge.  And I will say it now, and stand by this, although we have great similarities, we do not all need to follow the same cookie cutter diet.  We respect the principles and apply them accordingly to our lifestyle.

The discussion/debate of vegetarianism can also be found in the early days.  I believe this is where the roots for the confusion we have today.  this is where we start to have people take a method, and advertise it as if its’ a principle.

Even the great Jack LaLanne, god rest his soul, had his back and forth with the philosophy.   He began his career as a vegetarian, but started eating meat when he got more into bodybuilding.  Supposedly even going as far as drinking cow’s blood while training.

Here’s a fun fact during Jack’s time there was a man by the name of Tony Sansone whose nutritional guideline are still held up as standard today.  He stated the easiest way for a bodybuilder to gain weight was through high carb foods like bread.  And the easiest way to lose weight, cut high carb foods out of your diet.  This is back in the 1930’s when he advised this.

Unfortunately much of this info got overlooked, since at the time weightlifting and the exercise culture was not yet recognized.

Reason being that some of our earliest diet advice that was popularized was not based on getting stronger or healthier physically.  It was base on moral views.

I will continue this in my next blog.

Best Health

Coach W

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