Here we are, the wealthiest nation on earth, from any time ever, with the greatest abundance of calories, variety, and nutrition, and wouldn’t you know: medieval peasants were healthier than we are.
The average peasant loaded up on root vegetables (referred to as “pot herbs”), greens, several pints of antioxidant-loaded, nutrient-rich, full-bodied beer, and small portions of grass-fed meat or fresh fish totaling about 8 ounces by days’ end. Daily bulk was provided in the form of millet, oats, and other sturdy, fibrous whole grains. Of course, peasants spent a minimum of 12 hours in hard labor every day, so their bodies quickly burned off the beer and barley.
Is cheese healthy? I get asked this question a lot, and I do want to preface it by stating that if there were a definitive answer, we’d probably know it by now. I’m not a big dairy advocate, especially not in light of the way so much of it is processed and manipulated to death, but I don’t completely avoid cheese, either. My personal view of cheese is that it’s on the “okay” list. I eat it occasionally, but it’s not a major source of my calories. But let’s consider the issue further. This post is by no means the last word on cheese, but I hope these thoughts will be helpful to you if you’re debating whether or not to keep cheese in your diet. (And I welcome your thoughts as always. Even you vegans.)
If you happen to read the L.A. Times as I do, you may have caught their visual guide to a variation of one of the most beneficial stretches you can do, regardless of your fitness level: the wide-legged squat. I vlogged about this last week, so check out my quick beach sprint video to see how to do it. This very natural stretch is practiced all over the world by many cultures. For those who sit in front of a computer all day, it is really essential to eliminate tightness and tension. It’s the perfect way to stretch the legs, knees, glutes, back and more. And it just feels great, too. Try it out now.
This is the first step in preventing disease and meeting your later years with vitality and good health and it almost goes without saying – almost. The health toll of destructive behaviors such as smoking and excess drinking do not necessarily manifest for many years, thus discouraging motivation to stop. It’s natural to forgo making changes when the results are seemingly intangible or minimal at best. Smokers, of course, often report almost immediate improvements in breathing, sleep, and general health, but even so, indulgent habits are difficult to break. Do it now anyway. Whether it’s nicotine or sugar or drugs, don’t let your “vice” become your master. In time it will not only rule your life; it will destroy your body.
A major study (17 years, 10,000 participants) finds that a busy lifestyle in which sleep is sacrificed is directly linked to increased disease risk across the board but especially heart disease, even when accounting for other risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Perhaps most astounding – to me, anyway – is that fully 40% of Americans get less than five hours of sleep, on average, per night. Between work and the kids, my wife and I don’t always get the luxury of 7 or 8 hours, and I know it’s the same for many of you.
© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple