I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked about my diet, or what exercises I do besides yoga, because of my muscle tone and slimness. I addressed this recently in an IGTV but this blog is a follow-up of that.
I am pretty sure that 100% of the questions I’m asked are not because people are simply curious about my lifestyle, but rather that they feel if they adopt what I do, then they may have the same results as me.
I totally respect that — it’s perfectly logical to look at what others do for inspiration. I hope this blog inspires you to make healthy choices that make you happy. But remember we are all different and what works for me may not work for you.
This is the only thing that I do which I want YOU to do also:
Treat each day as a single step in a long journey. Health is not a destination which, once you arrive, you’re there forever. It’s a constant practice. Experimentation is key. Always question, “what’s working, what’s not working? What can I do to be a little bit better?” And be open-minded to things NOT improving when you try something new. Guess what — now you know not to do that thing again! Win!
This daily experimentation is my approach to health, happiness, and knowledge, and it means that I too have days when I feel like shit, when I feel unhappy, when I feel like I’m a massive failure. I remind myself it’s a single step in a long journey, and I keep going.
Every day is a chance to do your best with what you’ve got.
Don’t stress about it too much. Stress is one of the biggest culprits for bad health, so don’t let your search for good health be the cause of bad health!
Points I will address in this blog:
I. Basic rule of thumb for ANYBODY seeking to make a positive change to how they eat
II. How to deal with temptation of unhealthy foods
III. Why I fast and what some of the benefits to fasting are
IV. Why I choose to eat a low carb, high fat diet
V. Supplements I use, books I recommend, and podcasts I have learned a lot from
I. Are you human? Do you want to be healthy? Then here are 3 basic tips:
1. Eat WHOLE foods.
Whatever your diet is — vegan, keto, high carb, low carb, whatever — your body has everything within it to turn food into what it needs to function. Your intelligent body does all the work without you having to think about it! Isn’t that wonderful?
The problem is, a lot of what we in our society refer to as “food” isn’t what your body would understand as “food”. A potato is a food. A fried and packaged potato chip with loads of flavours and colours with names that are 16 letters long is NOT a food. Not really. Your body can certainly turn it into energy, but along with that process your body also tries to deal with all the shit that’s been added to make it TASTE good.
This puts a lot of stress on the body. It gives the body extra work to do. Like when a horrible boss gives a poor employee a stack of extra work on top of a full-time role, making the employee work overtime (but for no extra pay).
Nature gave humans what we needed to survive for hundreds of thousands of years. Nature STILL provides us with that. But we have forgotten.
Our tastebuds have become that horrible boss, and our gut is that poor employee trying to keep up.
So next time you’re in the grocery store, at a restaurant, or at home preparing a snack, make your decisions based on how close to nature you can eat. This might mean sacrificing some time and convenience to prepare a dinner from scratch (guess what: there are about 2983028309823 free recipes online if you don’t know what to do with that butternut squash or that avocado.) It might mean asking the waiter to modify your order to how it appears on the menu. It might mean reading the ingredients of that box of cereal you’re about to pour and check if you really want to eat all those E-numbers.
It’s often not convenient to eat healthy. Especially if you’re on a budget. Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will rarely be both cheap and convenient. But no matter what your budget, you still have choices. Make the better choice. It’s SO worth it, I promise.
2. Drink lots and lots of water.
Not juice, not sodas— H20. Every living thing on the planet requires it to survive. So do you.
3. Give your body a break (12 hours) from having to digest food constantly.
Think about it. You eat a pizza or a banana or a slushy or a cauliflower, and a day later it’s poop, resembling IN NO WAY what you ate. What happened in between? Your body did SO MUCH work to turn all of the components of what you ate into energy, nutrients, and minerals to generate new cells you needed to do that cool arm balance you learned in your yoga class, and to repair where you cut yourself shaving. That’s a lot of work!
Whether it’s healthy food or unhealthy food, we need to give our bodies a break. If you’re not into the idea of adopting Intermittent Fasting (IF) into your lifestyle, then fine (but more on that later). But at LEAST give yourself 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. 12 hours really isn’t that hard. If you swallow your last bite of food at 8pm, then only have water or herbal tea until 8a.m. the next day when you can break your fast. i.e. break-fast.
II. But the unhealthy food is so tempting!
I don’t find unhealthy food remotely tempting.
Seriously. I don’t have “cheat days” or times when I “treat” myself. Because I am not in the slightest bit tempted by stuff that I know is not nourishing to my body, and which will create havoc in my gut.
Think of it this way: when you were a baby, drinking your mother’s milk was totally cool. But now, would you want to suck from your mom’s boob? EWWWW!! Hell no!! Gross!! Adell, why did you even put that horrible image into my head?!?
If you’re someone who grew up eating meat and has since decided to be vegan or vegetarian, you may also understand this concept of looking at something you once ate (a chicken breast or a hamburger) as appallingly disgusting now.
I see donuts and sodas and anything deep fried the same way that I see a t-shirt, or a computer, or a tree. i.e. not edible.
And you can too. It simply takes a mindset shift.
So here’s what you do: Begin to think about what happens to the food you eat AFTER you swallow it. I don’t need to tell you what’s healthy and what’s not healthy. We all know we should be eating vegetables more and candy bars less.
Begin to see those vegetables not as the unpleasant things your mom used to force you to eat, but as a beautiful blend of nutrients that your body is going to use to create glowing skin, shining hair, and organs that function properly. Begin to see the cookies and hotdogs as the toxins and inflammation that your body will have to deal with, leading to pain, discomfort, bad skin, illness, and fat.
I promise you, before long you will FEEL the difference. And in my experience we don’t base our decisions on what we know. We base our decisions on how we FEEL. And once you feel how much lighter, more energetic, and more mentally alert you are for cutting back on the “treats” and replacing them with wholesome goodness, you simply WON’T feel so tempted.
And eventually, you may be like me where you actually enjoy the taste of healthy food. Yes, I ENJOY eating celery!
It takes time. This doesn’t happen overnight. This is why we must retain that mentality of our health being a JOURNEY. And each day is a chance to do a little bit better than the last. Did you mess up? No worries. Your next decision is a new chance to do better.
III. Why I fast and what I believe is the #1 benefit of fasting
Fasting has MANY benefits. But I believe the most important one is that it leads to a state of cellular AUTOPHAGY.
Autophagy cleans the cells of harmful proteins. Autophagy is activated when the body doesn’t have to digest food.
If you never activate autophagy, your cells eventually become overwhelmed with toxins, which disrupts their ability to function properly, and leads to premature death of those cells. This has been linked to all of the biggest killers of our age: heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes.
Therefore even the highest quality most nutritious food becomes unhealthy if you’re eating too much of it without a break.
So activating autophagy as often as possible is hugely beneficial. And it leads to what I think you’ll agree are definite bonuses:
Better mental function
Higher energy levels
Overall feeling of better health
Our body’s default setting is balance and health. In our society, we are addicted to pills and products to deal with our health issues, but the body already has the ability to heal itself! If we give our body a chance, it will regain balance and health.
The problem is, when we are constantly feeding our bodies shitty food full of toxins, it spends all its time and energy dealing with those toxins.
Even if we eat healthy food nonstop, we don’t give our bodies a chance to clean out the shit. And believe me, unless you live in some pristine forest and you’re only breathing in the freshest air and drinking the purest water from a virgin stream and you’re never exposed to any EMFs, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and you’ve never been on any antibiotics ever, then your cells WILL have toxic substances.
If we give the body what it needs to be able to perform the functions it was meant to do, then it will naturally revert to balance and health. That means giving it a break from shitty food, and sometimes food in general!
Other benefits to fasting:
Insulin is the main hormone for signalling to the body to store or burn energy. Fasting lowers insulin more effectively than any other method know. So lower insulin = burn fat.
Digestion takes a lot of work — therefore energy levels actually increase when fasting!
If you struggle with overeating, check out my free PDF “10 Tips to Avoid Overeating” where I discuss dealing with discomfort, temptation, and using mindfulness.
IV. Why I choose to eat a low carb, high fat diet
First of all, I’m not following a ketogenic diet. I tried once for a few months. But now I do eat carbs, yay! (Especially as a woman, and ESPECIALLY when I’m on my period.) The latest research shows that while there are manifold benefits to the keto diet, those benefits are lost if you stay in ketosis for too long (more than a few months, generally).
Therefore a Keto diet should be merely a stepping stone towards what’s called “metabolic flexibility” (MF).
MF means that your body has developed the ketones required to turn fat into fuel (energy). Without triggering this, your body will only want to turn glucose (derived in the body from carbohydrates) into fuel.
You know you’re not metabolically flexible if you start to have serious cravings for anything sweet, starchy, or otherwise “carby” if you try to cut back on carbs. And that is generally part of the first few days of a Keto diet, or if you try to fast without first achieving MF. You can eat and eat and eat all the eggs, fish, nut butters, avocados, and steaks that you want, but you’ll still feel an intense craving for bread, pasta, popcorn, potato chips, fruit, candy, and everything else that’s primarily carbs.
But eventually your body will switch. It’ll recognise it’s not getting the glucose it’s used to, and it will begin to use fat for energy.
Once you achieve this state, your body can then go back and forth. So the general guidance is that after 2-3 months of following a Keto diet, you can start to bring carbs back into your life, and as long as you don’t overdo it, your body can go back and forth between burning glucose and burning fat for fuel.
Obviously if your body is burning fat for fuel, it’s a GREAT way to lose weight! But it’s not just about trimming off fat. Fat is a much cleaner fuel for the body. It’s like burning natural gas as opposed to coal, or like driving an electric car instead of a gas-guzzler.
Here are some examples of the differences in fat vs carbohydrate burning:
Furthermore, most toxins are fat-soluable, which means that when you burn fat for fuel, the toxins you’re exposed to (pesticides, pollutants, etc) will be released into your blood stream for detoxification — BUT this is why it’s important to give your body what it needs to clear out these toxins properly! This is where those healthy choices such as eating whole foods, exercising, sleeping, and drinking mineral rich water come in.
Lastly, if you’re going to try this or any other kind of diet, don’t overdo it. Remember that variety in all things is what teachers our bodies resilience, and resilience is what leads to health and longevity.
V. Supplements, books, and podcasts:
All of this stuff I’ve said so far comes back to simply allowing your body to function the way it is meant to function. Sticking to what’s NATURAL. In every aspect of your life, look at what you do or how you behave and ask yourself, “how different is this to how my ancestors lived before modern technology?”
I’m not saying modern technology is bad. But our bodies need fresh air, clean water, loving human touch, movement, variety, and rest.
But for better or worse, we simply DON’T live that aligned with nature anymore. Some aspects of our modern world mean that we need some extra help:
Magnesium for example is depleted from our soils due to our industrial agricultural methods, and so it’s one mineral that I do supplement regularly and I think most of us need to.
I also take probiotics (I may share later on my Instagram the brand that I recommend) because of a long history of antibiotics, travel-related parasites, and food poisoning. And when I travel I take enzymes with me so my body can get some help digesting foods that it’s not used to. (International travel is also VERY unnatural if you think about it.)
But we are all SO different. I highly recommend educating yourself as much as possible on these topics and DON’T just take my word for it with any of this stuff.
Here are my favourite resources on the topics covered:
Books about fasting and ketosis:
“Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
“Ketofast” by Dr. Joseph Mercola (I don’t do the diet he recommends. I just like the info he’s provided in this book, but it’s largely review if you’ve read “Fat for Fuel”.)
A great book about the gut and the importance of digestive health:
“Gut” by Julia Enders
Podcasts (mainly on various types of biohacking):
Ben Greenfield Fitness
Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asbury
JJ Virgin Lifestyle Show
For all of you who are women, I’m in a private facebook group just for women interested in biohacking methods such as intermittent fasting and cold exposure called “Biohacking Women International” which I have found very helpful. Currently, the biohacking community is very male-dominated, and we women need to do things differently from our male buddies because our hormones react very differently to things like fat loss.
due to very popular demand, I will soon make an IGTV video showing what (and when and how) I typically eat in a day, so look out for that very soon!
I hope this has been helpful.
I’ll leave you with these reminders:
This is just MY observation.
So far this blog is 2774 words long and I could honestly write about 80,000 words on this topic.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.