What history tells us we’re doing wrong with our health and fitness
A lot has changed in the past 200 years. And while we're living longer, we're not necessarily living better. On episode 527 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss what some of those changes mean to our health and fitness today. Those lessons can help you see where progress is not as it seems.
Let's Say Hello
[00:01:11.770] – Allan
Hi, Ras. How are you doing?
[00:01:13.680] – Rachel
Good. Allan. How are you today?
[00:01:15.680] – Allan
I'm doing well. It's kind of an interesting week. I'm in the process of doing the build out for the new gym. And so we're getting into the new space. And obviously as you start doing construction and things like that, you learn things about the building you just rented. And so there are leaks and there's this and that. Just things to work through.
[00:01:37.430] – Allan
And then my wife, Tammy, we were supposed to spend some time together this week, go out to dinner and all because we're recording this over the Valentine's week, and she got a last minute opportunity to go see a specialist for nose and throat (she's had some sinus issues) in David, which means, okay, she's got to take a boat and then take a bus, and then it's a five-hour trip over. So she goes over and she's over there and I'm like, okay.
[00:02:03.870] – Allan
And then she says, well, yeah, they called me. They did get me in at 05:00pm tomorrow. I'm like, okay, well, you could have done tomorrow. But anyway, so she spends the night and then her appointments can be for us later today. And then she spends the night, comes back tomorrow.
[00:02:18.520] – Allan
And like most times when Tammy leaves and things look reasonably open, like we had three rooms open. So really low volume here for us to kind of just say, OK, there's basically three breakfast to do in the morning. One check out easy stuff. Actually, we had no check. I'm not supposed to have any check out this morning. But then all of a sudden we have two couples booking. I'm like, okay running around because I don't she usually goes picks them up and this and that. So I'm trying to manage all that and run that. So it's a little bit of juggling. But it's good juggling because it's growth and it's opportunity, new people. So, yeah, it's good. It's just kind of busy.
[00:02:59.530] – Allan
And I do have some other news. I have signed an agreement and affiliate agreement with Keto Mojo. And this is my favorite glucose keto blood monitor. And the reason I like these guys so much is that the keto strips are the cheapest you're going to find on the market. They're really expensive if you want to do blood ketones all the time, regularly. But the Keto Mojo makes it much more cost effective to do it if you want to do it every day. And the machine they have does both the glucose and the ketones. And they have their own proprietary little formula for kind of how you're potentially optimizing your glucose ketone levels. Now the new one there's, the GK Plus. It actually syncs with your phone. So you have an app on your phone and you take the readings. You don't have to write anything down or put anything like a spreadsheet. It just literally just goes right to your phone. And you've got charts and diagrams and the whole bit. It's actually really cool. And they just came out with this GK Plus. I had their old monitor. When I saw they had the GK Plus, I immediately bought it. And so I've been using that for about a week. And this thing, it's literally like having someone standing there telling you how to do it because you turn it on and it tells you, okay, put the meter thing in. And you put the meter thing in. It tells you it's in, all right? And then it says, okay, now put the blood and you stick yourself and you put a little bit of blood on there not much actually, probably less than on the last ones.
[00:04:31.950] – Allan
And then boom, it counts it down from nine all the way down. And then it gives you your reading. And like I said, then it can sync with an app on your phone and you've got that data right there. So it's a really cool thing. And the other thing that's cool about it is they're giving anyone that follows my link a 15% discount off the meter. Any of the meter kits, they got like a couple of different kits, like a starter kit, like a Deluxe kit. They can't do that on the strips because the strips are already really well priced. So they can't give you the 15% of the strips, but they will on the meter. So if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mojo. So 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mojo, that will take you to the site. If you purchase either one of the two major kits, like the starter and then the Deluxe. If you purchase one of those kits, when you get to the checkout, they'll apply a discount of 15%. So it ends up being a really cost effective meter with really cost effective strips. And like I said, it works like a charm. I love this little thing.
[00:05:39.600] – Allan
I'm using it every day now because again, the strips are inexpensive and it's so easy to use. So I'm keeping up with my ketones because I'm just now kind of cycling back into ketosis after the Superbowl and monitoring where my ketones are, because again, as I'm looking at starting to try to build up my fitness level, I want to understand if I have a bad day in the gym. Was that because my glucose was a little low? Is that because my ketones weren't where they needed to be and that kind of thing? And I also use their urine strips, even though, again, I don't think they're going to be included in the discount. But those are all available. You can go to 40 plusfitnesspodcast.com/Mojo. It's going to give me a slight little kickback on that. Not much, but it's going to give you a 15% discount, which I think is really cool.
[00:06:25.920] – Rachel
That is fantastic. What a great partnership.
[00:06:28.770] – Allan
So, Rachel, what's going on with you?
[00:06:30.940] – Rachel
Good. Things are good. You know, once a year I take a visit to my hospital where I visit the high risk breast cancer clinic. I've mentioned in the past that I've got a high risk, high family predisposition to breast cancer. And so I see this particular doctor every year, and every year, it's like a breath of fresh air to hear that I'm ticking all the right boxes. My doctor mentioned that I get enough exercise. Obviously, I eat well, of course, I eat the foods that they suggest we eat to have a healthy, reducing our risk cancer type diet and don't smoke, don't drink in excess. And I'm living the right lifestyle that should reduce my risk for developing breast cancer. And the other interesting thing is that now that I'm 50, I am eligible for breast MRIs in addition to a traditional mammogram. Although based on my age and my lifestyle, the doctor feels like it's not a really good cost risk benefit. So I probably am going to put that off for a little while longer. But the other benefit to this appointment, again, probably because I'm 50, they connected me to the hospital's cancer genetics Department.
[00:07:53.670] – Rachel
And so I have an appointment a couple of months out because everybody's backlog these days. But I have decided to pursue genetic testing to see if there are any predispositions to breast and other cancers. So I'm pretty excited to take that route. So it was a great visit. I'm glad I went. And I feel pretty good with my health right now.
[00:08:16.280] – Allan
Yeah, well, there definitely are some genetic snips, I think is what they call them that give you that predisposition to that Angelina her mother and had family history. So she went kind of radical, which a lot of people talked about, which is good. You have those conversations. We're not into October right now, but it's just don't wait until October. There's no reason to wait until October to do the right thing for your health. So glad you got that opportunity. And it will be interesting to hear how your foray into the genetics? Because obviously, the science is always getting better around some of these things. So it'll be interesting to hear what your geneticist doctor or whatever, whoever you're dealing with is going to be able to tell you what information and how things look for you on that side of the equation.
[00:09:10.170] – Rachel
Absolutely. Yes. I'll keep you posted for sure.
[00:09:13.010] – Allan
All right. So let's have a little bit of a history lesson. What do you think?
[00:09:17.540] – Rachel
Today, I wanted to take a moment to give you a little bit of a history lesson about health and fitness, particularly in the United States. Interestingly enough, in the last 200 years, we've managed to extend our lives almost double. In 1860, the average lifespan for someone was 39.4 years. Take that in context to what it generally is today. And we're looking at an average lifespan of about 78.9%. So effectively doubling the life that we have on this Earth. And there's a lot of reasons for that. But lifespan does not equal health span. And I want to talk in more detail about what that means is living longer does not mean living better, and in fact, it actually probably means living worse. And so I want to take a few minutes to kind of talk about those things, how they relate, and some of the things that have changed over the course of the last 200 years that have made these things possible. So let's talk a little bit about lifespan. How have we managed to double our lifespan in just the last, really, 200 years? Less than 200 years, really. The first is babies live. In the past, more babies were lost to early death, infant death, birth death at birth.
Those things were happening on a fairly regular basis. And it was relatively hard to get a family member baby up to the age of about 15 and still be alive. There were a lot of diseases, a lot of things going on, and then just again, just the loss at birth. We fixed a lot of that. We have a lot more technology around medicine that allows us to have the babies live longer and in many cases, live full, productive lives. So that's been one good thing for increasing our lifespan. Probably the biggest overall mover in lifespan. The second would be basically safer conditions. We're aware of a lot more toxins, things that are not safe. We've changed the way we do construction. We've changed the way we build cars. Cars today are much safer than they were when they first came out. And just everything else, as far as a general lifestyle puts us in a safer position to survive longer. And now, again, labels on things typically, you know, there's a story for a reason why you don't eat the Silicon packet. And there has to be a sign on it for you to not eat that Silicon packet because you're not supposed to eat it.
But someone eventually did or obviously did, or they wouldn't have to put the sign there. So again, there's a lot more safety encouraged in the workplace, in the home and consumer products, and all of these different things that have made life longer. We've invented medications and vaccines. So the invention of penicillin, which I'll get into in more detail, the invention of certain vaccines, which I'll also get into in a little bit more detail later, they've actually allowed us to live longer. Fewer people are dying of polio and smallpox and measles and that thing. And then, of course, when someone gets sick, they get an infection. We have medications to keep them alive, and we're able to do that. And people are living longer as a result. And again, just general medicine. We're able to do heart bypass surgeries and things like that and remove tumors and do things like that that we weren't able to do 200 years ago, even 100 years ago. And as a result, people are living longer. And then there's generally food security. In the past, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people have starved due to not having enough food to feed their family.
We have much more food security today, which is allowing us to grow healthier. Babies have healthier lives. Unfortunately, the type of food we now use is actually detrimental to our overall health and our overall lifespan. But no one's starving to death today. In a general sense, very few people on this Earth starved to death today versus 100 years ago and 200 years ago. So a lot of things have happened in the last 200 years to extend our lifespan. And so as a result, in the past, they would have more babies because fewer babies would survive as a percentage. So law of average is if you have ten kids, you can expect a few of them to survive. Now, we know that's not necessary. We don't have that problem. So people aren't having multiple babies. They can have one or two and generally understand that those two have a very high probability of making it to adulthood. So lifespan hasn't been increased incredibly, but that creates some problems for us on the other side. Health span. So when we look at our overall health and particularly the Western economies, some of the things we find is that we're overweight and obese.
The overweight obese category now makes up the majority of people in Western countries, particularly United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. So if you start looking at that, you realize, okay, if almost 70% of people are overweight and obese, we are not helping our health span while we might be living longer. That's leading to some pretty significant problems in what we call now lifestyle diseases heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmunity cancer. These diseases were not a huge problem 200 years ago for various reasons, but predominantly because of the foods and the types of foods that we eat, the lack of movement, different things that have happened. And I'm going to get into that in a lot more detail coming up. But just realize we now suffer from lifestyle diseases that really were very rare 200 years ago. And so the other side of it is, though, we also by living longer, we subject ourselves to more opportunities. So someone may have died an accident on the farm at the age of 30. Now they're not working. The same individuals are not working on farms. They have much safer jobs. They're living until their 60s. And that's just given them more time for certain lifestyle problems to catch up with them on a Healthspan.
So we've increased our lifespan, but we haven't necessarily done as much to improve our health span over that same period of time. And there's a lot of reasons for it, and I want to dive into those today. So what has changed in the last 100 and 5200 years? Well, probably the biggest is convenience. We do a lot less physical work. Tools, machines, everything else. All of that has made our lives easier. So when you look at it 200 years ago, if you were going to travel to the next town, you would take a horse. Okay, well, riding a horse, if you haven't done it before can pretty much wear you out, depending on how long you ride and what the course is like, that you're riding on the path or the road or whatever. Being on a horse takes a lot more physicality than a lot of people think. If you're not used to riding a horse, you're likely to be sore after you've ridden a horse for a while. Then there were cars, but the first cars were cranked cars and required a little bit of effort to get started. They were a little bit more work to drive.
We didn't have power steering. We didn't have those other things going on. So there's a little bit more even with a car, there was still more work than a current car. A current car, you can literally start it with a push of a button or start it before you even get in the car. You can literally drive away without using almost any effort at all sitting in a seat. And when you're going the speed you want to go, you can literally push a button and it will stay at that speed until you tell it not to. And now with autonomous cars, you don't even have to do that. You tell the car where you want to go and it just takes you there. So less and less effort. And then the other side of it, well, why even get in a car when there's takeout and delivery? So recognizing that we've had conveniences thrust on us, we've taken advantage of those conveniences because it makes our lives easier. But easier does not necessarily improve health span. So the next big thing that's happened and one that's just really circling back around as being a problem is an understanding of the dangers of over consuming sugar.
In 1800, the average American consumed £22.5 of sugar per year. Now, that may seem like a lot when you look at what a five pound bag is, but let's compare and contrast that with what's going on today and realize most of the 1800 food was not processed at all. It was literally coming from fruits and vegetables. Today, that's not the case. So by 1919, we're going to see some changes in the way food is done. By that time, we were eating £99 over four times as much 100 years later. And even today at 2000, we got up to over £150 per year. That is a ton of sugar. That's a whole person worth of sugar. Now, it's trailed down in the last few years, and mainly because of an outreach of people to understand how bad sugar is. So people are cutting back a little bit on their consumption, but we're still well over £140 per year. So in contrast, we're looking at almost a seven fold increase in the amount of sugar we're eating relative to what our ancestors ate as late as the 1800. Now, one of the reasons that we eat more sugar is processed food, just a few little tidbits.
Oatmeal was invented in 1854. Now, the interesting thing about oatmeal is up until that time, it was horse food. So all this joking about taking horse meds, the real joke back then was who's eating horse food? But once it was accepted that people were willing to eat horses, the cereal market was born. So in 1877, they started making cereals. And in fact, most of the major brands you recognize today started in around that time, shortly after that time, or in the early 1900, those large companies, they started making cereals, then perfecting recipes, competing with each other, combining and forming these global companies that sell tons and tons of this stuff, a lot of it with a lot of extra sugar. And it's all high calorie, low nutrition. I mean, they add nutrition or they try to make it nutritious, but in a general sense, they have to go after taste. And so food science today is about taste and texture. It's not about your health. And so recognize that these food companies are making products they know you'll eat more of. They want you to eat more of them. And they've even done some things that really are uncool to make sure that you continue to consume a lot of these products.
But processed foods are not your friend if you're looking at health and fitness because they're not designed to help make you healthy. They're not designed to be like real food. They're designed to make you buy more, to make it taste good, to make it appealing so you buy more. Another thing that's happened in the last 200 years is we've moved to a format of industrial farming. So large farms of animals, be it cows or chickens or whatever, are raised together in very, very tight spaces, being that close to all these other animals illnesses get passed around relatively quickly. So antibiotics are introduced on a fairly regular basis. And then, of course, they want the largest possible animal they can get for the meat or basically to make sure that they're getting volume. So they're injecting these animals with hormones to make them grow faster. So the effect of all of this, the lack of space, the antibiotics, the hormones and everything else that they do these animals makes them very sick animals. Eating a sick animal does not make you healthy. So even though you think you're getting a better cut of the animal or you're farming at a better pace, the reality of is most of these animals are very, very sick and they're not healthy for you.
So let's talk about plants, because then everybody says, well, let's move to plantbased nutrition. And that would be better, right? Well, not necessarily. So fertilizer was originally invented in slightly before then, and then it was adopted as a normal thing. So we're talking about there were fertilizers probably back as far as we know, people were growing things, but we're talking about chemicals. We're talking about synthetic fertilizers, these kind of these inventions of if we add this to the soil, the plant grows faster. And that was adopted early 1861. And all the way through World War II became kind of this growing trend of using more and more of these chemical synthetic fertilizers so that the crops had a larger yield. Those fertilizers are causing some problems I'll get into in just a moment. Next, they had to develop these plants to be able to be transported. So if I'm going to try to get this avocado to you that is grown in Mexico, it has to last a little while. If I'm going to take apples that were gotten in, say, Washington state, and I need to deliver them to Florida, I have to make sure that they're transportable so they've bred the plants, the fruits and vegetables, to be more durable, not necessarily for better health, but just durability.
How is this thing going to look when it arrives at its location? And then another thing that they do to make sure that these plants are just right when they get to your grocery store is they pick them early, so they will pick them before they ripen. And then they use this technology to keep them from ripening until they get to the location. They call it delayed ripening technology. And they use this ethylene gas that they'll spray on these plants to ripen them up quickly right there at the store or right at the warehouse for that particular vendor. So they're not in the ground nearly as long as they would be if they were normal plants. If you just planted a heirloom tomato in your backyard that hasn't been farmed lately. Those plants will grow slow. They will grow a little. And when they're done and they're ready and they're ripe, they've drawn as much benefit out of the ground the minerals and the vitamins that you need that they possibly can. Whereas when you pick them early and they're ripening at the store, they didn't have nearly as much time to pick up that stuff that you need.
And then again, with the fertilizers and all the other things that are going on, they're growing very quickly and not necessarily for the right reasons, and you're not necessarily getting all the nutrition. So plants that we have today, fruits and vegetables we eat today are not as nutrient rich as plants were when our great grandparents and our great great grandparents were farming. So just realized that we're not getting as much value for the calorie as we would have in the past. And then, of course, with plants, there's the weed killers, like roundup glyphosate. Okay, this was introduced in the 19s 70s. And even though that more and more they know that this is a cancer causing element and it's in our foods. And when we eat the foods that are made with these things, if they're not cleaned properly, and even then, maybe not, then we're getting these getting this glyphosate in our body. This chemical is in our body as a function of these things. Next, I want to jump into light pollution. Now, it seems like a mild thing, but most folks don't realize that actual household lights are not something that's been around forever.
Incandescent lights were invented by a guy named Humphrey Davy, but it was Edison that kind of made these things more popular in the 1880s. And so most houses didn't have electricity for a long, long time after that. So most houses were lit by gas lighter, candles all the way past well into the 1019 hundreds. In fact, almost half the houses didn't have electric power. So you're looking at lights not being a part of the indoor or at least unnatural lights not being a part of our normal environment, really in less than 100 years. So for our bodies to adapt to night time light, that can be a problem. The next area I want to jump into as toxins. Tens of thousands of toxic chemicals are released into our environment and homes every single day. And over 800 of those are known as endocrine disruptors. Now, an endocrine disruptor basically means it messes with your hormones, in particular your sex hormones. So if you're feeling kind of blah, you're a little bit maybe feeling a little bloated, it might be that you're being subjected to too many endocrine disruptors. And your estrogen is messed up, your testosterone is messed up, and it's causing you some problems.
So where are we getting these toxins? All these toxins are out there. This is not necessarily plants pumping a lot of it in the air, although they are. It's also in your home. So if you have furniture that has flame retardants in it, the pesticides you're using in your yard, the Pharmaceuticals that we flush down our toilets that end up in our water. And on and on and on. We are subjected to tens of thousands of toxic chemicals every single day, and those are adversely affecting our endocrine system, our health, the function of our liver on and on and on. So the subjection of these toxins, which were not available, not out there 200 years ago, is another problem that's affecting our health span. And then the last one I want to talk about is stress. We live in this new 24/7 news cycle. The news is always there. This was not the case 100 years ago. Even when the TV was on, there was one news or two news casts per day. When I was growing up as a young adult, I know they had the morning news, and then they would turn off and talk about other stuff.
You'd come home, there might be a 04:00, 05:00, and 06:00 and then 11:00 news, but they'd give you one news cycle each day. It might change a little bit from the morning to the evening. But most people sat they read the newspaper in the morning, and then they watched the news that night, and that was about it. Now news hits us every single day, all day, all the time. We have notifications on our phone, notifications on our computer, and then add social media, the toxic relationships, the things that are going on there. And then just the fact that the news media is on the social media feeding you the stuff, the headlines all day and all night, it's there constant, constant, constant. And then, of course, we have to add tribalism. And this takes all of that, the 24 hours news cycle, the social media. And this literally takes up a factor of ten. The tribalism that's going on in the world today, particularly in the United States. And now we're seeing in other places like Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. This tribalism is exploding our stress levels, and that's really adversely affecting our health.
And so I put these in an order. As far as we're talking about our food, our food is messed up. It's not what it used to be. We're not training or working out as much as we used to or at least doing things physically as we used to. We don't have good quality food. And then there's light pollution. Cell phones did not exist, and now they do, and they're in our hands 24/7. We've got watches that buzz and beep and moan, so we're not sleeping as well. We've got all these toxins that our liver and our body is having to deal with, and we're not functioning very well with these toxins. And then, of course, the introduction of stress your job, whether you're going to keep your job, lose your job. People used to live knowing that they're going to work. They have a job for the next 35, 50 years, and nothing is going to take that away from them. That's not the case today. Too much is changing too fast, and it's really struggle for most of us to keep up with that. So with all this bad stuff that's going on, what do we do?
How do we take the fact that our bodies were not designed for the lifestyle that we live today? How do we take that step back and solve this problem? The first step in solving any problem is knowing you have a problem. So the first thing I want you to do, listening to this podcast is come to the realization that these things are affecting you, even though you might not believe that they are. They are. And so it's important for you to recognize that first and then take some actions. Now, in my kind of mindset, my opinion, the first place to start is food. It's the easiest for you to change, and it's the one that's probably going to move the needle the most for most of us. And the answer for food is get the highest quality, real food you can afford. So when I say high quality, I'm not just talking about organic, which, yes, is more expensive in the grocery store. I'm talking about food that didn't have to be transported across the world, meaning it was locally grown, it was fresh. You didn't have to go anywhere. So, you know, stayed in the ground until it was ripe, and then it was picked and then it was sold to you.
You can do this at farmers markets. You can do this at coops you can look for in your grocery store locally grown product that's typically going to be better for you than what you find in most standard grocery store aisles. The other is frozen foods. Surprisingly, a lot of frozen foods, organic frozen foods were grown all the way to ripeness and then flash frozen, so they were then able to be distributed. That's a better model than the distribution and then ethanol, Ethylene, gas. So look for foods that are going to give you the highest quality that you can still afford. And farmers markets, local farms, buying half a cow with your friends, whatever you need to do, find ways to get the highest quality real food that you can possibly afford. And that's going to move the needle the most for most of us. The second is movement. You have to make movement a priority. And the easiest way to do that is to stop leaning on basic conveniences. If you live within a mile of your grocery store, in all likelihood, you could walk to that grocery store to do your shopping most days and walk back.
You don't have to buy 15 bags of groceries. You can go to the store by a couple of bags. So you get some fresh vegetables, some fresh meat, everything fresh. Go home, Cook up meals, and then two days later, go back. Yes, it takes time, but that investment of time is going to improve your health significantly. So make movement a priority. It doesn't have to be exercise, but just make movement a regular part of most of your days and try to pull some of those conveniences back. I don't own a car here. I live on an island. Quite literally, the furthest thing for me right now is 15 km. I could walk there if I had to. So as you look at the way you're living and the things you're doing, look for those conveniences that are not serving you unless they need to serve you. So yes, of course, if you need to get somewhere quickly, an automobile is the best way to do it. If you don't, can you walk there? Can you walk there? Can you take a taxi back or a bus back? Can you walk there and walk back? Take those opportunities to add more movement to your day stress.
Now, stress was the biggest one for me and it took a long time, but finally I started saying I have to prioritize this and it was the last thing I addressed. I wish I had addressed it earlier. Choose When You Let News and Social Media In So if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check news and social media, you're already setting yourself up for kind of a frustrating day. Something bad is going to hit you in the face every single time you do that. Now there might be some nice things. You might see a little cat video and this and that make you laugh. That's great. But just recognize that you control your consumption of social media. And so choose when you're going to let that end and do it in bite sized pieces. It does not need to be a 24 hours cycle. And if you find yourself at 200 in the morning checking social media, you already have an issue. Okay? And then the final thing is on stress is check yourself and see if you feel like you're getting wrapped up in this tribalism stuff.
It's really easy because the headline is built to set you off. It's built to set you off as a yes, that's good. Or it's built to say, oh my God, they're doing that again. Every single one of those headlines is built to do that. It is a tribal, one sided message focused on an ideology that's intended to upset the other ideology and get both ideologies reading that copy. So check yourself. If you find yourself getting drawn into this stuff on social media or just when you're reading different things, recognize when it's happening, take the step back and turn it off. You don't need this. Do some meditation do some things that help you relax and get over this, particularly if it's in the evening, if you know that it's going to affect your sleep, which is the next one. Sleep is huge, very important. I'm not going to put it over food, but I'm going to put it way up there. But I'm just going to say this is probably one of the hardest things for most people to address because you either feel like you sleep well or you don't. But I'm going to say you need to have a natural nightly ritual, something that's going to relax you, something that's going to let you unwind, something that's going to communicate to your body.
It's time to go to sleep. And that means getting away from unnatural light, like screens and light bulbs and other things, TVs and literally just saying, I need some time to unwind. And this can be a warm bath. This can be listening to music and can be reading fiction in a paper book. It can be just meditating, it can be a lot of things brushing your teeth can be a part of and it should be a part of your nightly ritual. So just set yourself up with a nightly ritual that communicates to your body. It's time to let go. Move away from the unnatural blue light, move back to the more Amber, flame based lights like candles, and let yourself relax before sleep so your body can get a good restful sleep. I know this is harder said than done, but it's really important. And then the final one is toxins. And again, toxins are all around you. So consistently take a moment and audit your lifestyle. The Environmental working group has firstname.lastname@example.org. They've got this really cool app that you can put on your phone and it literally lets you look up consumer goods.
Just scan the barcode. So you go to EWG.org and go on your phone. You can look up EWG or Environmental working Group pull down their app. It literally lets you look this stuff up so you can see what's in the products that you're using. So your cleaners or your shampoo or your body wash or your makeup or any of that. It may be introducing toxins into your system, including some of those 800 or so endocrine disruptors we talked about earlier. So to recap this, the first step in fixing your health and aligning your health span with your lifespan is to understand that there is a disconnect, there is a problem. The first step is getting good, high quality real food, the highest and best quality you can afford. And that preferably means organic, fewer pesticides, fewer hormones and locally grown. So there's not the artificial things that they tend to do with the food and where possible, heirloom and some of those and a proper rotation of crops where they're getting all the nutrients your body needs. Again, highest quality, real food you can afford. Movement. Movement has to be a priority. Walk if you can, ride a bike when you can, don't lean on the conveniences of having a car for something as simple as taking a little jaunt over to the convenience store, the grocery store to buy something you need.
If you can take the time, walk there, walk back, ride a bike there, ride a bike back. Those things are going to help you feel a lot better. Be healthier, more fit, and align your health span with your lifespan. Anything you can do to manage stress, which means not letting some of it in in the first place. Tribalism, the 24 hours news cycle and social media are all within your control. You control those inputs into your brain. You control those stressors. So if you let them in, they're going to mess with you. Don't let them in. Choose the times, particularly in the evening. There's no reason there's nothing on the Internet, there's nothing on the television that's going to adversely affect you before you wake up in the morning. 99 point 99% of the time. So let it go. Let all that go. Find a distressed way to spend the evening. So that the final thing here. Sleep. You're getting great sleep. Have a good nightly ritual that pulls you away from those things and get your body ready for a good restful sleep. And then finally, toxins. So do an audit of your lifestyle.
What are some things that you're doing that are adding toxins to your life? I talked about the website or the app from Environmental Working Group, but also just other things like if you smoke or if you drink alcohol, those are toxins and so they're adding to your toxic load. So think about the toxins in your life. Do that lifestyle audit and do what you can to reduce those toxins. So if you do these things, you will make sure that your health span is more in line with your lifespan and you'll spend less of your life unhealthy. And in the end, none of us really wants to live longer if we can't live better. So focus on aligning your health span with your lifespan and you'll be happy, healthy and fit. Thank you.
[00:41:28.850] – Allan
Welcome back Ras!
[00:41:30.590] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. You know, way back when I was taking the NASM certified personal trainer course and test, they had said that at that time, 66% of Americans older than 20 are overweight, 34% are obese. And it was such a high percent to me that it was just really it just stuck with me. And then they went on to say that, of course, the World Health Organization thinks that lack of physical activity is probably a culprit of that, which I kind of agree with as well. But based on your history lesson, that is certainly not the only reason that our country is overweight or obese.
[00:42:12.650] – Allan
Yeah. A couple of things come to mind. One is it's worse now that textbook was not that old. But every year the number gets bigger on both sides, the obesity and overweight. So the number is getting bigger. And we're not being given necessarily all the data we need to resolve that, because you're absolutely right. The movement aspects of it are a park, but it's like part of a car. You're not going to get anywhere with the chassis. You need the wheels and everything else you can look at and say, okay, this is part of the problem, but you could take and fix part of the problem and not really fix the whole problem. It's all of it. It's nutrition, it's movement, it's stress management, it's sleep. Yeah, it's all of those things. And the frustrating thing for me is that I could pull 100 people off the street and say, if you needed to lose weight, what would you do? What would you do? What are the things you need to do? And so it's like if you put them out there, like the squares where you can fill in more than one, okay, everybody's going to know it's diet.
[00:43:32.290] – Allan
And the term they would probably use in the survey would be exercise, better sleep, stress management, take a pill. And a small percentage would click, take a pill, of course. But they all know you change what you eat, you move more, you try to get better sleep, you try to manage your stress. Those things are going to help you lose weight. Now, they may say exercise is the most important and we can go back and forth. I've had doctors tell me sleep is actually maybe the most important. And I personally believe the food is the most important, but we can go back and forth on that. But I think everybody generally knows those are the things you have to do.
[00:44:12.260] – Rachel
[00:44:12.680] – Allan
The problem is this is the guidelines and things that come forward. And we've seen that in history, is that it gets skewed. It gets skewed by politics and people being involved. And so the nutrition rules that we've been given, the things we think we're supposed to do, they're politicized. And as a result, they're not right. They're wrong. And in many cases, they're so horrifically wrong that we now have an overweight and obesity, 70+ percent of Americans are overweight or obese. It's like 39% of Americans are obese. That's insane.
[00:44:56.180] – Allan
And it's based on data that was skewed. And even if new data comes out, the guidelines barely budged. And if they do budge, like they recently decided to drop saturated fat or cholesterol from being the bad food, the bad guy, but they didn't announce it and say, oh, well, guess what? You should actually probably eat eggs and bacon for breakfast. No, they didn't. They just quietly shoved it to the side. No harm, no foul. And there is harm, and there is a foul, but it's this quiet back away that occurred two or three generations later, and we're suffering the consequences of that.
[00:45:40.330] – Allan
Now, what does that mean for the go forward? And unfortunately, we are repeating history again, and we will continue to do so until we learn from history. So with Covid and this frustrates me more than anything. So if I get a little rowdy, I apologize and I have to bleep some of my language out, which kind of happens. I apologize.
[00:46:03.170] – Allan
But you do not hear the leaders anywhere explaining to you the best thing you can do for this disease is to be healthy in the first place. And so anything you do to improve your health and fitness makes you a better combatant against this virus. This virus kills the weak. I'm sorry, but that's what happens. It's people over 85. It's people with comorbidities. That's who it's killing. It's not killing generally healthy people. Now, if you see someone who thought was healthy and they died, you probably can look around. And if they did some workouts, they might find some other things that just weren't visible on the outside. We know people who have type II diabetes, but they look completely healthy. We know people who have heart problems, but they look completely healthy. We know people who have lung issues, but they look completely healthy.
[00:47:07.070] – Allan
And so it happens. And yes, it can be hit or miss if you're already healthy to know those things. So a good check up and making sure you're dotting your I's and like you said, checking off the boxes you're supposed to check off. We have this within our power if we do the bare minimum, which okay, so per the World Health Organization, you keep your sugar down here. Per the government guidelines, US guidelines, if you move intensely for 75 minutes per week, that's enough. Okay. But that's low bar thinking.
[00:47:44.660] – Rachel
[00:47:45.450] – Allan
Yeah, I'm just going to get by.
[00:47:49.310] – Rachel
[00:47:50.750] – Allan
It's the same thing as like if you sat there and said, oh, well, here's this chart. And as long as my BMI is 29 and not 30, as long as my waist is 39 and not 40, I'm okay. And that's low bar thinking.
[00:48:06.820] – Rachel
That's a good point. I think that's absolutely right. I think the information or the guidelines that are out there are just that just guidelines and not necessarily the right things. And I think my main takeaway would be to consult with your doctor and get some more information or…
[00:48:30.170] – Rachel
The Standard American Diet is an old diet. It's been around and it's hardly changed over the years. But maybe it's time to experiment. Maybe it's time to try a plant Forward diet or a low carb/keto-type diet or the Mediterranean diet. I think it's worth changing or switching things up to see if that benefits you in any way.
[00:48:52.570] – Allan
Well, the standard American diet has drastically changed since the 1950s. As we talked about the introduction of cereals, we talked about the introduction of carbs, and as a result, people started eating more of those things. They were cost effective. More sugar was available, it was cheap, it was easy, and it was delicious. So more of that was being eaten. And then there's more processed food. So it's calorie dense, nutritionally weak.
[00:49:23.010] – Allan
And we kept doing that and kept doing that. And then they're like, well, why the heck are we having heart attacks? And they asked the wrong guy. They literally asked the wrong guy. And everybody got in line. And the corporations that were benefiting from it, they paid off scientists. They did the things they had to do to make sure they were on the bottom of that pyramid to make sure that they were the ones that got the most juice out of the whole thing and noone will back away completely from it. You can look at the Canadian guidelines, relative, the US guidelines, and kind of see the divergence. Canada is going in the right direction with nutrition. The United States is not going fast enough.
[00:50:06.830] – Allan
And as a result, we are suffering this crisis. And we have to learn from this. We have to learn that the guidelines and things that are put forward to you while rudimentary and right can be great. So Covid, wash your hands.
[00:50:22.620] – Rachel
[00:50:23.570] – Allan
Try to avoid touching your face and stay away from sick people.
[00:50:29.360] – Rachel
[00:50:30.100] – Allan
Those are excellent. But then as soon as the vaccine was introduced, they stopped talking about that. Up until that point, that's all they talked about those three things. It was like over and over. I actually walked around and took pictures of different sinks I was washing my hands in. It kind of became a thing. And that was it. Just remind people, wash your hands more often. And then beyond that, all they had to say was, we noticed the data says the people who are older and have comorbidities are the ones that are dying the most. You can look at a chart, it's easy as you see it, and it's like, okay, so if you have a comorbidity, that is a lifestyle disease, like diabetes, like heart disease, like being overweight those things, you can do something about it. If you're listening to this podcast, then you know you can because I've said you can. But beyond that, you wouldn't be listening to this podcast if you didn't know there was an answer.
[00:51:27.400] – Rachel
[00:51:28.420] – Allan
You're wanting to change something. So to change something, you got to do something. And all I'm saying is from this whole prospect is learn from history. You are your advocate, you are the right person to take care of you. And you know in your heart exactly what you need to do. You need to change the way you eat. You need to change your movement, improve it, do more.
[00:51:49.120] – Allan
You need to look at this all holistically and say, what do I need to do to make myself healthier? And that is going to make you more resilient. And that's going to help you beat this. Yes. You can go get vaccinated. And I encourage you, particularly if you're in a high risk group, go do that. Yes. Stay away from sick people if you need to. If you can. Do what you have to do to protect yourself, for sure. But the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to just be healthier. Get your vitamin D, get outside, move around, find joy in your life, sleep well, eat well, do the things you know that are going to make you healthier and happier. And that's going to help you get past this.
[00:52:33.900] – Rachel
Absolutely. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I work really hard to maintain as healthy of a lifestyle that I can because I want to suppress as much as I possibly have under my control, the chances of me getting breast cancer. That is my biggest health fear, because that's what I've been dealt for genetics. And so I work really hard at that. But that translates to everything. I'm also working hard to reduce my risk for diabetes and heart disease and survive illnesses, whether I get shingles or the chicken pox or even Covid. So I feel like the healthier my body is, the healthier I'll be able to respond. And I think that's the key takeaway that everybody should take home today.
[00:53:19.070] – Allan
Yeah. Because when I went into the hospital here and got tested, because Tammy tested positive first for the next day, because you have to go in the morning. It's like a two hour window for testing. So I went in the next morning, and I got tested, and I'm sitting out there, and the doctor calls me over, and he said. “positivo”. I'm like, “okay.”
[00:53:39.780] – Allan
And he's like, no. I'm like, okay, I got it. I'm going to go home. I'm going to stay home for a couple of weeks, and then I'm going to get over it. But he's looking at me. He's like, no, I know what he's thinking. You're 56 years old and you have Covid. You're going to die, right? And he's like, no, Positivo. This is solemn Positivo. And I'm like, okay, I know this is not good news, but okay. And then I just said to him, I just go home. And he's like, no. He says, you have a ride? And I'm like, no, I was going to walk home, and I think that hospital is something like about maybe a mile and a quarter.
[00:54:23.680] – Rachel
[00:54:24.390] – Allan
No, maybe 2 miles. Maybe close to 2 miles from my home, from Lulu. I'm just going to walk home, and then I'll be there, and he's like, no, you have to go in the ambulance.
[00:54:34.990] – Rachel
[00:54:38.570] – Allan
Right. Well, I had Covid, so in their minds, I was done. My blood oxygen never went below 95.
[00:54:47.160] – Rachel
[00:54:48.420] – Allan
Most of the time I was sitting right around 97, 98. I was never in any danger. I was never anything. I was fatigued and lost taste and smell and I still don't have my smell back. But that makes me capable to do a lot of jobs around Lulu's that most people wouldn't want to do.
[00:55:07.490] – Rachel
[00:55:09.350] – Allan
But all that said, and I don't mean to joke about it because I know it's a very serious thing, but I ate well, I slept well, I managed stress. And while during that period of time because of Covid, because everything else I couldn't do the things I always did, I had put on some weight and so I was at a higher weight than I would normally like to be within the normal ranges that I bounced around. I was maybe about 5 or 8 pounds over what my normal roof was for a feasting period of the year. But that makes sense because I stretched a normal feasting of like 4 months into 16, of course. But that said, even when I feast, I tend to eat really good food, I go for the higher quality stuff, I eat a lot of vegetables, I eat meat, I don't eat a lot of processed stuff, I don't eat a lot of bread and other stuff.
[00:56:08.050] – Allan
When I'm on my feastt, I tend to eat a little more of it. But now I'm back in a famine and I don't. It's just meat and vegetables, that's it. But that's the point. If you want to learn from history, history tells you that the guidelines that are out there are not what you necessarily need to be following and in many cases they just don't go far enough.
[00:56:31.010] – Allan
So find your lines. Yes. If you're not getting the 75 minutes of intense exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, set that as your next goal. A lot of people sit there and say due to that 10,000 steps you're looking at, I'm only doing two. Now that seems like a huge well then just make a five. Just start with something.
[00:56:50.540] – Rachel
[00:56:50.960] – Allan
Set it at 5000, start with something. And then when you get to five, look at ten, you get to ten and say, Well, I wonder what 15 would feel like.
[00:56:58.780] – Rachel
[00:56:59.520] – Allan
And that's how you get there. But if you just sit there and say, oh, well, I'm at ten, I'm just going to stay at ten, and then that's not enough to help you get to your goals, you'll give up on it. So just realize that those guidelines are fine. The rules of thumbs are simple because we love simple. But life is more complex than that. Our biology is much more complex than that. So take the time, but be your own advocate and don't just settle for what the government or what the standards say you should do. Do what you know you need to do for yourself.
[00:57:35.220] – Rachel
Yes, I think that's great. Great takeaway, Allan.
[00:57:38.370] – Allan
All right. Well, as I'll talk to you next week then.
[00:57:41.250] – Rachel
Sounds great. Take care.
[00:57:42.620] – Allan
[00:57:43.500] – Rachel
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