Will you Drop Dead Healthy?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

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Had you asked me what the equation to lifelong health was 3 years ago, I would have been emphatic in my reply.

“80% Exercise. 20% other stuff”

Cased closed.

In the interim, based on everything I’ve learned along the way and my own personal experimentation in the process of creating Cereal Killers, my mind has been very firmly changed.

The 2013 answer?

“80% nutrition. 20% other stuff.”

The “other stuff” certainly includes nutrition in the former and exercise in the later, but the inescapable fact nonetheless remains – I was almost certainly wrong.

As a former athlete and all round active guy, it certainly suited me to hold on to the idea that exercise was THE key. But then I watched both my father and an old school pal of his succumb to heart disease in short order. No surprise there you might think – heart disease is everywhere – but his old pal has run pretty much every day for the last 40 years!

In the 1980s Tim Noakes unequivocally established that running marathons does not automatically protect you from heart disease – a given at that time. He now appears to have closed the circle with his views on nutrition.

That Noakes himself was 15 kilos overweight and pre diabetic at 60 years of age may not seem all that shocking. But the full picture is very different indeed. He had been running 100kms per week and following a standard healthy diet for 30+ years! He lost that weight and banished diabetes – the complications of which had claimed the lives of both his father and uncle – by reconfiguring his diet. He now exercises LESS than he did – clocking just 50 kms each week – yet Noakes’ health has dramatically IMPROVED thanks to his own food plan.

The key? He eats good fats. No fruit or starches.

The benefits of exercise are wide, varied and certainly compelling, but over time you simply cannot outperform a poor diet. Sure, there will always be outliers, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the benefits of a nutritional plan that stabilizes blood sugar and reduces low grade inflammation in the body will outperform an exercise based approach to metabolic health in the long term.

As an athlete, I was trained using remarkably smart programs that had evolved over decades of anecdotal, scientific and results based evidence. The stopwatch never lies. Progress was tangible. Goals were set and met.

Contrast this to the much broader – and more important – area of general health, where there is no clear, definitive benchmarking process. The menu for longevity and lifelong health is a movable feast. Worse still, it is reactive. From cabbage soup to grapefruit, colon cleanses to coffee enemas and testosterone injections, the list of diets and treatments grows with abandon.

Here’s the real deal folks. Avoidance of illness is your job. You get to listen to whomever you want and try anything you care to. But know this –

YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN

The Business of Serious Illness (BoSI) is waiting for you with open arms but if you don’t get sick, you don’t really matter. Unless of course you’re British and your cholesterol is above 5! The management of high cholesterol – $40 billion and counting – is just too profitable not to be treated as an illness!

Of course the fact that this whole health and longevity issue can get very confusing is good news for the BoSI balance sheet. Fear + confusion is a very potent profit cocktail.

In Cereal Killers Tim Noakes echoes this by telling the viewer “We must each find our own answers.” After 30 years in the sports and exercise arena and a 3 year solo mission researching food, nutrition and metabolic disorders, that’s what I have done.

Throw in the DNA tests and a fully informative lipid profile for the filming of Cereal Killers and I’m pretty confident I’m on the right track. But it’s my track, and you know what, I could still be wrong about some stuff! But I’m open to that.

In fact as I write this the latest red meat scare has just emerged. Is carnitine the new cholesterol?  I will follow with interest, but in the interim quality red meat stays on my plate.

So, to the best of my knowledge, the following “Drop Dead Healthy” guidelines apply to me:

  1. Ditch refined foods
  2. Eat the “Great 8” Fatty Foods
  3. Smart Exercise – I spend 90% of my time on mobility and only 10% on very high intensity workouts

How about yourself?

Do you plan to Drop Dead Healthy?

 

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