Do you know who invented the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It was invented in the 19th century by James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg. Focus on the surname of the second person - KELLOGG. They invented this phrase, not based on scientific evidence, but to sell sugar breakfast cereal to gullible idiots like us. Breakfast simply didn’t exist for large parts of history. The Romans, for example, didn’t eat it – usually consuming only one meal around midday – breakfast was actively frowned upon. Other examples of bullshit phrases that we believe are gospel are “sugar gives you energy” and “fatty food will make you fat”. If you want to live a high-quality life that will allow you to live to your full potential, you need to be educated on food. To help you on this path to enlightenment, I have prepared 10 food laws that you need to start implementing in your life NOW.
Law 1: You Don't Need as Many Carbs as You Think
There are three major food groups - carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The biggest source of carbs are foods like bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, pasta, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45% to 65% of total daily calories. The reason they offer this is that carbs are your body’s main energy source. The problem with this advice is that it is bullshit. Sure, if you are going to be lifting weights or sprinting 100m, you need quick access to energy through carbs. But what about going for a run, or a cycle, or hiking a mountain? You don't need this quick fuel to burn and fat is a perfect fuel source. The biggest problem with carbs is that they cause a spike in your blood sugar. Your body breaks down the carbs and turns them into sugar and then waits for you to use the sugar. If you don't use the sugar, your body needs to store it somewhere, and that is usually inside fat cells that can accumulate inside your liver (we discuss this in more detail further on). So unless you are doing mega sets of weights in the gym, or lining up against Usain Bolt on the track, you don't need even close to 45% to 65% of your daily calories to come from carbs. Do you know what happens when you reduce your carb intake? It will not make you light-headed. It will teach your body to start burning fat as a source of energy. Hands up if you would like your body to burn more fat!
Law 2: All Foods Were Not Created Equal
Bodies are machines. Their performance depends on how they are fuelled. If you fill them with shit, they will perform like shit. If you fill them with high-octane, high-quality fuel, they perform optimally.
All food in its raw and natural state is filled with goodness. Over the decades, man has processed all the goodness out of food. So the rule is simple - the more a food has been processed, the lower the quality of the fuel. So how do you know if food has been processed? It is simple, when you look at it, you haven't got a fucking clue where it came from. If the food comes in a box, it is probably processed.
Take a big fat juicy doughnut. Do you think some farmers planted doughnut seeds and then harvested a crop of doughnuts? Of course not - doughnuts are full of processed shit - sugar, flour, fructose, glucose, colorants, preservatives, etc. Add to this list food like bread, cookies, chips, fruit loops, and other sugary cereals, sweets, etc.
Let's now move across to high-quality foods. When you walk into a supermarket, what foods do you ordinarily find close to the walls? Fruit, vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese. When you look at these products, you have a pretty good idea of how they existed in their pre-supermarket state. These foods have not been processed. This is high-quality fuel. These are called whole foods.
Law 3: Junk Food Makes You Fat and Stupid
A big mac is delicious but it is low quality. The problem with junk food is that it does three things to you:
1) It Gets You High and Fat: Dopamine is our very own natural feel-good chemical. We have a reward center in our brains. When it produces dopamine in response to what we do, we feel good and want to do more of whatever it is that’s making us feel so mentally healthy. That, in turn, leads to even more dopamine production. Junk food is fucking delicious and it floods our brains with dopamine when we stuff it into our faces. This creates a high. As we eat more Big Macs, the brain adapts and makes more receptors to dopamine. To get that same virgin high, we need more burgers. This is classic addiction. The more burgers we eat, the fatter we get, the less exercise we do, the more our testosterone levels drop, and the less masculine energy we have to master our lives and become high-value men.
2) It Makes us Do Stupid Shit: Junk food is like porn – it is delicious and grabs our attention. To resist this temptation, we need a set of brakes in our brains. This is the prefrontal cortex which only matures in our early 20s. This explains why teenagers often do stupid shit – they have no brakes. Research has shown that excessive consumption of sugary drinks negatively affects the development of these brakes. This lack of self-control makes you a slave to your impulses. You crave instant gratification. It is this inability to master your urges that is a defining trait of low-value, weak and depressed men.
3) It Fucks Up Your Ability to Learn: Learning is the accumulation of memories in the memory center of the brain known as the hippocampus (think of it as a campus full of hippos!) Have you ever noticed that you learn things easier when you experience them in real life instead of reading them in a book? Those are your neurons firing and wiring together in a process called neuroplasticity. High-value men are continually learning – finding new ways to make money, solving complex problems, understanding client needs, interacting with a dynamic and vibrant world, and being exposed to new and potentially life-changing experiences. If your brain is not firing on all cylinders, you are missing opportunities and living below your potential. Junk food fucks up with your neuroplasticity. In simple terms, it makes you stoopid!
Law 4: Sugar is Not a Treat
We are all familiar with the mid-afternoon energy slump. Our response is common. We either pound a strong coffee or grab a stick of candy. Studies are finding that sugar does not lead to any improvement in mood or alertness. In fact, it found that it could even have the opposite effect and deepen the energy slump. So, if sugar does not give you the energy boost, and may even sap energy from you, what other damage could sugar be doing to us?
1) Weight Gain: Sugar is driving the global obesity epidemic because it increases hunger. Animal studies show that excessive sugar consumption may cause resistance to leptin, an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to put the brakes on eating.
2) Heart Disease: Heart disease is the world's number one killer. Sugar spikes your blood sugar levels, and your blood pressure and causes inflammation. These three evils are all risk factors for heart disease.
3) Acne: Foods with a higher glycemic index such as processed sweets raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation all of which play a role in acne development.
4) Diabetes: The incidence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 30 years and the trend is still to the upside. While no study has conclusively proven that sugar causes diabetes, there are strong connections. Prolonged high sugar consumption leads to your body building up a resistance to insulin, a hormone e produced by your pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.
5) Cancer: While there is no study showing that sugar causes cancer, it does cause conditions that increase your risk of cancer such as obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance.
6) Depression: High sugar consumption has been linked to cognitive impairments, memory problems, and emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.
7) Drains Your Energy: We all know the spike we get from a can of Coke. The problem is that this is a temporary spike and then causes a sharp drop in blood sugar which is often referred to as a crash.
8) Fatty Liver: Your liver is the largest solid organ in your body. It is supremely important to your well-being because it removes toxins from your body's blood supply, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, regulates blood clotting, and performs hundreds of other vital functions. You, therefore, want to look after your liver. In the liver, sugar is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. The liver's storage capacity is limited and when it runs out of space it turns excess glycogen into fat, and a fatty liver is far less effective in the performance of its vital functions.
Law 5: You Have Two Brains
The first thing you need to understand when it comes to food is the link between your gut and your brain. What is the first thing that happens when you get stressed? Your gut reacts and it is not positive. Heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and associated lower abdominal pain are common gut reactions to stress. Most of us know this movement from north to south. What most of us don't know is that signals are bidirectional - in other words, your gut also sends signals to your brain. This means that if there is a problem in your gut, that can cause anxiety, stress, and depression. What you put in your mouth is massively important because your gut is your second brain. Not only will it affect how you feel physically, but it will also determine how you feel mentally.
Have you ever noticed how you can be eating and then all of a sudden you feel full? Your stomach brain is a little retarded. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach brain to tell your cerebral brain you are full. That is problematic. If you are eating dinner and you are stuffing your face, at 6 pm you are full, but you don't feel full so you keep shoveling calories into your face. By 6.19 pm you have offloaded another 500 calories into a full stomach. At 6.20 pm the signal arrives and you feel stuffed. You feel lethargic and you want to take a nap. You may also feel a little guilty as you move to the couch, loosen your belt, and collapse onto the soft cushioning like a big lump of lard.
So this is what you want to do.
1) Eat slowly - you want to limit your calories per minute consumption. If you pack 500 calories in 20 minutes, that is 25 calories per minute. If you can cut that to 10 per minute, in the 20-minute delay between stomach and brain, you will only overload by 200 calories.
2) Pay attention to what foods affect your stomach. Lactose has become public enemy number one. I love dairy - milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream all make me excited, but lately, they have been upsetting my stomach and putting me into a shit mood. I feel less energetic and powerful so I try and stay away from them.
This is what you want to consume to improve your gut health.
High-fiber foods (legumes like black beans and chickpeas; whole grains like oats and quinoa; vegetables like broccoli and asparagus; nuts like almonds and pistachios; fruits like apples and peaches)
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt
Law 6: There are 10 Superfoods You Need to Incorporate into Your Diet
The superfood trend dates back over a hundred years ago and is believed to have been started by the humble banana. Let's dive into the list of 10 best superfoods along with their health benefits. Your goal is to consume at least three of these superfoods on a daily basis as a gateway to a healthier and stronger lifestyle.
1) Avocados: They are packed with magnesium which is important in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar. The avo is also packed with fiber which is good for your heart. Serving suggestion: avocado on whole wheat toast with black pepper and sea salt.
2) Berries: Any fruit ending in -berries is great for your brain. You want to include either blackberries, blueberries, cranberries (the fresh, not dried or juice variety), strawberries, and raspberries, to name a few, are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed full of antioxidants that help fight against cancer-causing free radicals. Serving suggestion: include berries in your morning smoothie.
3) Seafood: Fish is full of protein and rich in healthy fats and Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 can help play a role in reducing your risk of a heart attack and stroke and alleviating depression. Seafood with the highest concentration of omega 3 is salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Serving suggestion: you want to have seafood at least twice a week.
4) Garlic and Onions: Although a little smelly, both their foods deliver potent health benefits, and if well cooked, a lot of the after-smell can be avoided (although it has to be remembered that most food is healthier great uncooked). Garlic and onions are part of the allium vegetable family. They play a role in preventing cancer, and garlic in particular may benefit people with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Serving suggestion: throw some garlic and onions into your egg omelets.
5) Nuts and Seeds: Health gurus say you should eat almonds for your heart, cashews for your brain, and Brazil nuts for cancer. Seeds like chia are easy to add to smoothies and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Both nuts and seeds fill you up quickly and are perfect snacks when you are feeling peckish and you are watching your weight. Serving suggestion: grab a handful and throw them into your mouth.
6) Dark Leafy Greens: The darker the colour of a vegetable, the more nutrients it has. The darkest leafy Greens are kale, arugula (also known as rocket), spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard. Kale is one of the best sources of vitamin C. One cup of raw kale contains more vitamin C than a whole orange. Serving suggestion: throw your leafy greens into a large bowl, cut in an avo, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
7) Ancient grains: Brown rice and oats are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. So why are they called ancient grains - these are grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years. Serving suggestion: raw oats, banana, and apple dusted with cinnamon makes for a super breakfast.
8) Citrus Fruits: The sweet and sour bite of citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes are low in calories and high in water. You want to consume these fruit in their raw natural state and not in juice form which may contain added sugar. Fruit must be consumed in moderation because even in its natural state, it has high sugar content. Serving suggestion: Throwing lemon slices into a cup of hot water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps in improving digestion, and metabolism and increasing energy levels.
9) Sweet Potatoes: Root vegetables are a solid source of health. Carrots, beets, parsnips, and potatoes are packed with healthy carbs and starches that provide energy. Sweet potatoes in particular are believed to help prevent diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other health conditions thanks to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and antimicrobial properties. Serving suggestion: bake sweet potatoes with a few blobs of butter makes for a perfect snack.
10) Dark Chocolate: The cacao in dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, and weight loss. But it has to be dark. Serving suggestion: rip off the foil and chow down.
Before you go and pig out on superfoods, there is a health warning. We have all heard the phrase that too much of a good thing is not good. The same is true with food. A new buzzword that is becoming more common online is “superfood”. The problem with all the hype around superfoods is that you are quickly led to believe that the more you eat them, the better they will be for you. That is not always the case. Here are some “superfoods” that if consumed excessively can be bad for your health.
1) Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are loaded with omega 3 which is great for your brain and your heart. Many people pop omega 3 supplements on a daily basis in the hope of finding their inner Einstein, or at the very least hoping to lose their car keys so often. The problem with too much omega 3 is that it can cause blood thinning in healthy people. You therefore may want to limit your fatty fish consumption to once or twice a week.
2) Tuna: Tuna is also a fatty fish but deserves its own special mention because it contains large amounts of mercury. Mercury is a neurological toxin that can adversely affect your vision, coordination, and your hearing, and speech. Tuna that is older, and therefore larger, tend to be served as premium steaks in restaurants and high-end grocery stores. On account of their age, they have accumulated more mercury. Smaller tuna tends to find its way into the cans and therefore have lower levels of mercury. As oceans become more polluted, so too do mercury levels increase.
3) Cruciferous Vegetables: Leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and broccoli have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. The problem is that excessive consumption of these greens can hamper your body's ability to absorb iodine, and this can lead to weight gain, dry skin, constipation, and reduced energy levels.
4) Brazil Nuts: These nuts are one of the best sources of selenium which helps to make DNA and protect against cell damage and infections. Too much selenium can lead to selenium toxicity which can result in hair loss, memory problems, and digestive issues.
Law 7: 15 Foods You Want to Avoid at All Costs
There is much confusion about which foods are healthy, and which are not. Coca-Cola was invented by a doctor and pharmacist and today it leads to weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions. To help you out, here is a list of 15 foods that are unequivocally not good for you and some healthier alternatives.
1) Sugary drinks: When people drink sugar calories, the brain does not register them as food. This means that when we pull into Mcdonald's and order a Big Mac with fries and a tall coke, we don't realize that you are ordering a calorie bomb. A large Coke should cause us to compensate by eating less. However, we often don't see all the sugar in the beverage. When consumed in large quantities, sugar can drive insulin resistance in the body and is linked to a fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The alternative is to drink water, tea, or coffee.
2) Pizza: This is the world's most popular junk food. The dough is most often made from highly refined wheat flour and the meats are highly processed. The alternative is to make your own pizza with healthy ingredients with a thin crust and healthy toppings like avocado, arugula, and olive oil.
3) White Bread: Most commercially available bread is unhealthy because they are made with refined wheat which is low in essential nutrients and leads to a rapid spike in blood sugar. The alternative is whole-grain bread.
4) Most Fruit Juices: Most people assume incorrectly that fruit juice is healthy. The reality is that fruit juice contains almost the same amount of sugar as a Coke. The alternative is to look for fruit juices that have overwhelming health benefits notwithstanding the sugar content such as blueberry juice.
5) Industrial Vegetable Oils: There has been a dramatic increase in our consumption of soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola oils. They are cheap and versatile. However, they are also very high in omega-6 fatty acids that cause oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The best alternative is extra virgin olive oil.
6) Margarine: This used to be considered a healthy alternative to butter. It is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to taste like butter. It is full of artificial ingredients and to make matters worse, it is loaded with vegetable oil. The alternative is to use real butter - it does not spread as smoothly, but will make you look and feel a hundred times better.
7) Pastries, Cookies, Cakes, and Donuts: They are filled with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, and added fats. One alternative is the consumption of rice cakes.
8) French Fries and Potato Chips: Potatoes in their natural form are healthy. Fries have been deep-fried in vegetable oil. Potatoes are best boiled or baked.
9) Bacon and Sausages: Who doesn't like bacon for breakfast? Bacon is incredibly unhealthy and not only because of the fat. As a result of the curing process, bacon and sausages contain nitrates and nitrites, which transform into nitrosamines, which are highly carcinogenic when exposed to high heat. It does not matter how you cook them, the heat transforms them into cancer bombs. Unfortunately, there are no healthy alternatives.
10) Sugary Cereals: Cereals tend to get a free pass and manufacturers have done a great job in masquerading their products are "healthy". I am not talking about Fruit Loops because everyone knows they are junk food. I am talking about Blueberry Clusters, Special K Protein, and Cheerios Multigrain. If you read the labels you will see that are packed with added sugar. They are selling health but not giving it. The alternative is oatmeal but you want to stay away from instant oatmeal because it is full of sugar and colorants.
11) Deli Meats: There is nothing more harmless than the traditional ham sandwich, right? Deli meats are not good for a number of reasons. Firstly, they may contain traces of bacteria, especially if not stored properly. Secondly, they contain bucketloads of sodium. If you have to consume deli meats, you should look for low-sodium options.
12) Dried Fruit: This is another snack that is believed to be healthy. Yes, they are still fruit but they often contain added sugar and contain vegetable oil. They are often coated with this oil to prevent spoilage and preserve the taste. The oil lightly deals the fruits from losing their natural aroma and original flavour. It also prevents mildew from infesting the fruits by sealing their pores from fungal spores. Eat nuts and seeds instead.
13) Fruit Yogurt: Fruit is good and so is yogurt - however when you combine them the result is not great. Firstly, fruit yogurts are packed with sugar. Secondly, the beautiful colouring in the yogurt often does not come from the fruit but from fruit juice concentrates so there is more sugar again. But that is not the worst additive. The worst thing is carrageenan. It is an emulsifier that can cause inflammation. The best alternative is to buy unflavored yogurt and add natural fruit.
14) Granola Bars: Here is another food that is supposed to be healthy. However, they generally contain large amounts of sugar, corn syrup, and sorbitol, and this is a lethal combination that will make you gain weight. They also contain soybean oil. Finally, they contain BHT, a widely banned carcinogen. A good alternative is to make your own granola with oats, nuts, and seeds.
15) Frozen Fish Products: Most fish is healthy. Most manufacturers, however, use STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) to retain moisture in various frozen fish products. The problem is that this is a pesticide. Enough said. Stay away from these products and eat fresh alternatives.
Law 8: You Need More Fat
Twenty years ago you would have been burned at the stake for saying this. Fat used to be the devil. Modern research has found that you need fat because it helps give your body energy, protects your organs, supports cell growth, keeps cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and helps your body absorb vital nutrients. When you focus too much on cutting out all fat, you can actually deprive your body of what it needs most. The nine best sources of fat are avocados, nuts, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna), dark chocolate, eggs, seeds, cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and full cream yogurt.
Law 9: Constant Snacking is Bad for You
Have you ever wondered why the human body can go for one to two months without eating? Our bodies were designed for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Our cavemen ancestors 12,000 years ago ate what they killed and they had limited ability to store food. So when they made a kill, they would stuff themselves because they did not know when they would eat again. We then settled down and started farming. Today, people are eating more frequently than they ever have before. Most people start eating around 6 am and end at around 10 pm which is a 16-hour feeding window. Is this good for our bodies? The short answer is NO. Our bodies have not evolved to our new lifestyles. They are still able to survive long periods without eating. So what happens when we eat for 16 hours every day? You have heard the theory that it is better to eat 6 small meals than three large meals. That is bullshit! You need to understand what happens in your body when you eat, and this is where it gets a little technical. When we eat, we do not just take in nutrients – we also trigger our immune system to produce a transient inflammatory response. Inflammation is a normal response of the body to infection and injury, which provides protection against stressors. This means that just the act of eating each meal imparts a degree of physiological stress on the immune system. And so if you are snacking around the clock, your body can often end up in a near-constant inflammatory state.
You want to give your body a break. Instead of eating for 16 hours and fasting for 8, try and flip that around and fast for 16. Not only will you give your body a break, but your body will become more efficient. Your body has two sources of energy - sugar from carbs (also known as glycogen) and fat. Sugar is your body's default energy source. It burns quickly. If you are feeling low in energy, you going to hit a chocolate bar - not a t-bone steak. When you are eating, your body is feeding. When you are not eating, you are fasting. Let's say you have dinner at 8 pm. Assume you wake up at 8 am - your body has now fasted for 12 hours. If you eat something, you break the fast - hence the term "breakfast". After 12 hours of fasting, your body has burned through all your sugar reserves and therefore kicks into fat-burning mode. Burning fat is good. The longer you can stay in this fat-burning state, the more fat your burn. Intermittent fasting suggests you fast for between 16 and 20 hours - between 4 and 8 hours of fat burning.
You want to aim for the 16-hour fast. Try to have dinner at 6 pm which means you need to power through to 10 am the next day. When you wake up in the morning, hit a couple of black coffees without any sugar. That keeps your body in a fasted state. You can also have unsweetened tea - you need to stay away from the sugar. You can also exercise in a fasted state - this means that your body is burning fat during exercise which increases the rate of burn. You are not going to pass out if you skip breakfast but you need to approach this smartly. It will take your body and mind a while to adjust.
Here are two hints to get you through the 16 hours:
1) drink lots of water.
2) get a good 8 hours of sleep.
Law 10: Don't Forget the Beverages
Beverages are the cause of much confusion. The biggest mistake people make is that they think that all liquids are good because they keep you hydrated. The problem is that the majority of beverages are full of sugar and empty calories which means they are hydrating you at a very high cost to your health. The ten worst things you can drink are soda (regular and diet) like Coca-Cola, fruit juice, powdered drink mixes, low-fat milk, liquid coffee creamer, sweet cocktails, flavored water, energy drinks (Red Bull), and fancy coffees. Unfortunately, the list of healthy beverages is shorter: plain filtered water, tea, and coffee.
Now we need to address the elephant in the room - alcohol. Heavy drinking is never good and will take a toll on the body. It can cause inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis) and lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), a potentially fatal disease. It can increase blood pressure and damage the heart muscle. What about moderate consumption? While not good for you, you can limit the damage by choosing beverages low in sugar and calories. Clear liquors like vodka, tequila, and gin are the lowest in sugar and calories and are easiest for our bodies to metabolize. Red wine, although slightly higher in sugar, has been shown to help your heart, bones, and brain when consumed in moderation. The worst alcoholic beverage is beer and sweet cocktails.
We are living in times of high anxiety and depression. We have just come out of a global pandemic and into a war in Ukraine. Inflation is creeping up. Economies are not growing like they used to and people are anxious about their futures. So look after your body and fill it up with high-quality fuel. Bodies are machines. Their performance depends on how they are fuelled. If you fill them with shit, they will perform like shit. If you fill them with high-octane, high-quality fuel, they perform optimally.