3 Health Myths You Probably Believe, But Are Absolutely False
Being someone who’s really into health and nutrition, a lot of people ask me what I eat. And my answer usually surprises them — and evokes the same response: “Dude, aren’t you worried about your cholesterol…?”
In the past, when people have said this to me, I’ve tried valiantly to shake them from their belief and explain why…a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol isn’t the unavoidable death trap we’ve been led to believe…but actually essential to vibrant health.
But I’ve given up. I don’t even try anymore. Because I’ve learned that this health myth (along with the other two I’m gonna tackle in this post) is SO ingrained that people won’t even consider that it could be false. That’s not possible. You’re crazy. EVERYONE knows that saturated fat is bad for you!
…Or is it?
For the next five minutes, while you’re reading this post, I want you to suspend any judgement or criticism. Wipe your mind clear…and be totally open to new information. Because when you really THINK about the “obvious” health advice you’ve been fed since the day you were born, you’ll start to realize that it’s…
- Simply untrue.
- Pretty absurd.
Myth #1: Saturated Fat Is Bad
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite: Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase your risk or heart disease and stroke….butter is HORRIBLE for you…so are eggs and red meat…and if you’re eating any of this stuff it’s only a matter of time before you kick the bucket.
Before I talk about any scientific studies or modern evidence, I first want to appeal to “common sense”…by looking at the typical Native American diet. A people who, prior to European influence, exhibited robust health and virtually no degenerative disease. At all.
What did they eat?
Well, almost across the board we see large quantities of animal foods. Deer, elk, bison. We see levels of saturated fat that you’d think would cause devastating problems. EPIDEMIC rates of disease and degeneration…but they didn’t. In fact, this diet allowed native people to produce healthy, well-formed children for countless generations.
And it’s not just Native Americans. If you take a sweeping look at indigenous cultures from all parts of the globe, you’ll notice a few things:
- There have never been any vegan indigenous societies.
- Animal food, especially the fat, organs and “grizzly bits” are prized and valued above all else.
- Only 14% of indigenous people received 50% or more of their calories from plants. And some (very healthy) cultures like the Inuit consumed almost solely animal food.
Looking at it from this perspective, the statement “saturated fat and cholesterol are bad” starts to lose some of its validity. Its truth. Until you begin to wonder how the HELL this ridiculous idea was ever brought up…let alone accepted by the masses as dietary fact.
Well, I can TELL YOU how it happened. And I can tell you that it had a lot less to do with helping the public lead better lives….and a lot MORE to do with selling stuff. Like margarine. Processed grains. And vegetable oil (all of which are 10x more harmful than a grass-fed steak, by the way).
It was called the “lipid hypothesis.” And as the following video describes, was based on laughable science and the outright MANIPULATION of evidence to support financial interests.
OKAY. Hold on a second. You’re becoming more “aware”…and that’s great. But with new insight, there’s always the potential for abuse. So I want to make a few things crystal-clear:
- Red meat, eggs and fat aren’t bad for you…but all aren’t the same. The SOURCE is critical. And the factory-farmed junk you’ll find in the store is health-detracting and nutrient poor. So before you load your cart with Slim Jims and Tyson boneless wings, please realize that there is a MASSIVE difference in quality between factory-farmed animal food…and grass fed (or wild) animal food.
- The muscle is only one part of the animal. And — really — most of the nutrients are in the bones, fat and organs: the things most of us NEVER eat (and are grossed out by). Here’s a short video about how to make a bone broth…and here’s an awesome interview series that expands on what I’ve mentioned here.
- Plant food is awesome too. And I’m in NO WAY discrediting the ability of plant foods to foster health, nor am I saying the raw vegan approach isn’t valuable if used strategically…for cleansing purposes…in conjunction with animal foods.
I think Daniel Vitalis put it best:
“What I have learned from 16 years of direct immersion into the field of nutrition is this…Whole food plant based diets promote cleansing in the body, and are very catabolic. They are great for reducing weight, for clearing toxins from the system, and resting the organs temporarily. Animal based whole food diets are very building and anabolic, and promote the growth of the body’s tissues. Increasing the quantity of high quality animal protein and fat in the diet is critical for rebuilding the body after long cleanses.”
Myth #2: Pure, filtered water is best.
Like the first “myth” this one hasn’t come out of nowhere, but has been strategically ingrained into our minds through advertising and videos like this one. And I guess in makes sense. Pure water that’s been stripped to an elemental level…that’s been sent through a complex reverse-osmosis filtration system and is free of all contaminants would be ideal.
Right? Am I right???
Umm…no. You’re wrong.
In fact, even the World Health Organization agrees that overly filtered, demineralized water is dangerous overtime because it strips our bodies of minerals and may lead to health problems like heart disease, anemia, ulcers and growth disorders. In their report they go on to say…“Possibly none of the commonly used ways of re-mineralization could be considered optimum since the water does not contain all of its beneficial components. Current methods of stabilization are primarily intended to decrease the corrosive effects of demineralized water.”
Now I’ve already written an in-depth article about water, but I’ll revisit the important points here:
- The water you drink, though given little attention by health “gurus,” is fundamental to health. Almost more so than the food you eat.
- Tap water is chlorinated, fluoridated and littered with pollutants. And bottled (or filtered) water has been treated to the point where, yeah, it is “shelf stable”…but it’s also devoid of all essential minerals and living energy. It’s been cooked. It’s dead.
- The best water, in my opinion, comes from natural cold water springs. This water is 100% free of contaminants AND still retains it’s minerals and powerful “living energy” (I realize that sounds pretty out there, but if you’ve ever drank directly from a spring you’ll understand what I mean). As I wrote in my flagship post, “by drinking spring water you can make 70 percent of your body out of the purest substance that exists anywhere.”
Myth #3: Everyone Should Be Eating Grains
Grains are at the tippy-top (well, actually the bottom) of the food pyramid, which means, they are the food group that you should be consuming THE MOST. But again…who is it that designs the food pyramid? Big business agriculturists??
Anyways…while most people believe they should be plowing through plates of “heart healthy whole grains” every day, I’d like to argue that most of us would do a lot better without any grains whatsoever. In fact, I’d like to take this a step further and say that GRAINS…not saturated fat…kill people.
Now, if you’re a “paleo” person, this won’t come as a big surprise.
And you’ll know the argument for eliminating grains like the back of your hand: Our bodies are unadapted to this foreign, post-agriculture food group that’s been further refined in modern times, stripped of virtually all nutrients and is really just a bland substance that’s high in calories, high in insulin-spiking sugar and low in nutrients. Except the harmful, anti-nutrients. Because it’s a GREAT source of those!
So, yeah. Regardless of what it says on your box of Wheat Thins or Pop Tarts (give me a break), grains aren’t everything you probably think they are, and have little place in any “balanced diet”…especially the delusional kind that’s propagated on T.V. and in the supermarket. Just read any of Mark Sisson’s material and you’ll be convinced that grains are the worst thing since sliced bread.
No wait! They ARE sliced bread!
But…that’s not to say that all grains are terrible or that they have no place in your life whatsoever. Because that’s too dualistic for me. And also because we now understand that indigenous people DID consume some grains (and legumes, by the way), but certainly did not consume them in the refined, bleached and overly-processed form they’re in today.
So…what’s my advice?
If you don’t LOVE grains, eliminate them. Cut them out of your diet completely. If you do love them, drastically reduce the amount you consume, and go for unadulterated grains like wild rice, quinoa (not technically a grain) and steel cut oats. Oh, and for a really interesting debate on this topic, go read this article.
Now that I think about it, this post isn’t really about diet.
Yeah, you’ll see increased health by acting on your new understanding of these three “myths.” But that’s just the beginning. On a much deeper level…I’m trying to instill in you the belief, the practice, of not taking things at face value. Of looking BEYOND the obvious and questioning your beliefs, concepts and values. Even those you’ve held for countless years. And ESPECIALLY those that are regarded as “common knowledge” by the general public.
Because, as George Bernard Shaw once put it, “the minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong.”
So keep your mind open. Avoid dogmatism. Experiment. And come to your own conclusions. I’m gradually coming to mine…and I’m honored to be able to share them with you, as they develop, here on this blog.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON THESE HEALTH “MYTHS?” ARE THEY MYTHS? OR ARE THERE OTHER ONES THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? LEAVE A COMMENT!!
P.S. Starting now, I’m adopting a new posting schedule. Every Monday and Thursday I plan to publish a new article on the blog. So if you aren’t on my email list, now is a great time to join. Because the content is going to start coming fast and furiously.
P.P.S. Lately, I’ve been OBSESSED with Chinese tonic herbalism. I’ve been tearing through this course…and I just received a bundle of powerful herbs including: Goji berries, Schizandra berries, Astragalus, Gynostema tea, Colostrum powder, Moringa etc. To say I’m excited just doesn’t cut it. I’m SO pumped. Here’s a picture of my boxes of goodies…