What is healthy?
The interwebz is filled with about a zillion people who are not afraid to answer this question for you. They claim Paleo is the only way to go or that msg/apartame will give you cancer or that if you ain’t eating raw you’ll die a early death or whatever (there is a lot).
By now, you probably know the validity of these statements depend on context (ie, a persons individual genetics and environment) and that these statements, while true for others, might not be necessarily true for you.
So how do we know if they are true for us? And how do we know if exercise program ABC or Diet XYZ is causing us unhealth?
We don’t have to wait until we are diseased or in pain to know.
Here are the 4 indicators:
- Libido/ Sexual Health. Scientifically, our purpose on this earth is to reproduce. When you no longer have the drive or the ability to do this, be worried. For males, the best indicator of this is morning wood (get it more often then you don’t) and for females, a regular, consistent menstrual cycle. Many lean females and female athletes tend to lose their menstrual cycle. This begs the question, “Should ladies really aspire to be as lean as the ideals the media portrays?”
- Good Poops / Digestive Health. Our immune system is really just a bunch of bugs in our gut. When the bad bugs outnumber the good ones, bad poops happens (Constipation /Irregular /Hard /Small / Rank and Greasy). With bad poops tends to come bad skin (another indicator) as well. Aim for at least 1 “full body” poop a day.
- Energy / Metabolic Health. Our energy (or metabolism), produced mainly by our thyroid, is what runs the show. When it is running optimally, it is actually hard to gain weight. But when it is abnormally low, it then becomes easy. As does chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness, and inability to stay warm. Depending on lifestyle and genetic factors, our bodies process certain foods differently. Because of this, there is no set diet for you or I, just the diet(s) that leave us with the most energy.
- Self Talk/ Mental Health. How do you talk to yourself/ view yourself – positive or negative light? How do you view others – positive or negative light? Often with negativity comes the release of fight or flight hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. In the short term, these are beneficial (such as for a workout). In the long term, they are destructive (such as is the case with Meth or Cocaine users). Since we are around people all the time, it would behoove us to start viewing ourselves and others in a more favorable light lest we suffer the disease-causing effects of chronic cortisol.
You know something is up in your environment when one or more of these preceding indicators are off. Most often, it is because of lack of sleep or that we are taking our body further than it wants to go (like with overdieting and overexercising).
With future posts, I will answer your questions regarding these more thoroughly (so ask away).