Eating Healthy in an Unhealthy Environment | Undergrad Success

Eating Healthy in an Unhealthy Environment

Eating Healthy in an Unhealthy Environment
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What you will learn:

  • The Stunning Truth About Wheat, Beans, Sugar and Vegetable Oil
  • The Optimal Nutritional Proportions
  • College Life: Eating healthy even if you have a cafeteria meal plan
  • College Life: Eating for optimal health if you don’t have a meal plan
  • Why your health is more important than anything else

**More likely than not, your nutrition teacher won’t tell you about the topics discussed below.

Reality Check: The Stunning Truth About Wheat, Beans, Sugar and Vegetable Oil

Wheat & grains, legumes (beans), sugar and vegetable oils can be dangerous for you to consume.

Is this hard to believe? I don’t blame you. You have probably been eating the above foods for most of your life. I used to as well.

Wheat & grains:
Eating wheat on regular basis can be considerably harmful to your health. There is overwhelming evidence that links wheat to many health issues and illnesses. Some include diabetes, obesity, food allergies, autoimmune disease, and many other odd/unexplained medical conditions (source link).

Thousands of people are catching on and drastically improving their health when they take wheat and other harmful foods out of their diet.

For more information check out this list of incredible results from real people who changed their diets for the better.
Also, simply search on google “dangers of wheat” (or something similar) and you will find all the information you need.

Other toxic foods: Legumes (beans), sugar and vegetable oils
There is similar evidence that these foods are quite toxic as well. Undercooked beans have a dangerous protein that can harm you especially in large quantities. Sugar is high in fructose and if consumed regularly encourages fat accumulation, raises risk of heart disease and feeds bad bacteria in your digestive tract (I wrote a short article about it here). Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 fats and if mixed with fructose (sugars, fruits, and other sweet foods) can cause liver disease and more unwanted fat accumulation.

Processed food:
It would be smart to think twice about eating any food that has gone through processing as well. Anything that comes out of a package or can is more than likely processed and contains added chemical and preservatives that are bad for you. Any food that you cannot pull out of the ground, pick off a tree or hunt is processed and unnatural.
i.e. cookies, donuts, pasta, crackers, cereal, bread and chips are some common examples.

Homo-sapiens (that’s us) have been around for approximately 200,000 years. We have evolved over this time-span to eat certain things which mother nature offers to us: whole, naturally occurring foods. Any alteration to the foods we eat (processing and added chemicals/preservatives) is more than likely harmful in some way.

The Optimal Nutritional Proportions

What are the optimal proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates?
According to Paul Jaminet, author of the Perfect Health Diet, (as well as hundreds of other Paleo Diet supporters) you should aim to eat approximately 50-60% fat, 15-25% protein and 15-25% carbohydrates (by calories). That’s right, eating more fat is better for you and will even increase fat loss! I have experienced this personally.
**Note: athletes and physically active people can eat more protein, less fat and more carbs. A great rule to follow is eat things that you are hungry for and that make your body feel good (excluding the unhealthy foods listed above).

  • The majority of your fat should come from healthy, naturally raised animals, butter (preferably from grass-fed, hormone free cows), coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) and moderate amounts of cheese.
  • The majority of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables (any veggie/s of your choosing!), fruits (in moderation), sweet potatoes, rice and quinoa.
  • The majority of your protein should preferably come from naturally raised, hormone free meats and fish (preferably wild).

College Life: Eating healthy if you have a cafeteria meal plan

If you have a meal plan, you don’t exactly have an alternative to eating in the cafeteria. This food is not necessarily optimal for your health unless high quality, unprocessed food is offered.

Here are tips to eating as healthy as possible at a college cafeteria:

1. Do your research
Figure out the exact ingredients in the food that you are eating. Talk to the workers who are preparing the cafeteria food. Ask them about all of the components that are going into the meals.
If they don’t know then ask to talk to the manager. Your health is at stake here so this is important: when you speak with the manager try to gather as much information as you can. Take notes, ask for a tour of the kitchen facilities, peak at all the different ingredients and ask as many questions as possible. Get to the bottom of everything that is going into your meals.

2. Make smart choices
Don’t compromise your health. If these harmful foods are in your cafeteria (which is highly likely) be careful. Try your best to either eliminate these foods completely, or in the worst case, eat moderate amounts.

I know from personal experience that it is very difficult to eat well in college, especially with the overabundance of low quality foods. This is the consumer driven society we live in and these types of foods are EVERYWHERE. They are far more profitable for large food corporations and marketed better than natural whole foods.

Have you ever seen a commercial for apples, broccoli, or any other non-processed fruit or vegetable?  My point exactly.

The bottom line is, eliminate the foods described earlier if you can. If this is practically impossible, then try to limit them.

Substitute natural whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, nuts and meat, to take up the majority of your meals.
i.e. For lunch, eat healthy salads at the salad bar four or five days a week and each a sandwich twice a week (limiting your intake of bread). For breakfast, eat scrambled eggs with veggies and moderate cheese instead of eating a large bowl of cheerios. Have a banana instead of a donut. Indulge in an organic dark chocolate bar instead of a Twinkie. Do you see where I’m going?

Create better eating habits and you will get on track to being a much healthier you.

College Life: Eating healthy if you do not have a meal plan

This is a much healthier option. Your body will thank you.

1. Buy the majority of your food from the grocery store:
Purchase whole, naturally occurring foods as previously mentioned.

Here’s a helpful tip (thanks to my sister): Stay to the edges of the store. Processed foods are commonly in the middle.

2. Cook your own food
“What if I don’t like cooking?” You might ask.

Well, give it a shot anyways. Don’t just give up because you don’t like cooking.
If this is the case for you, I highly recommend reading the 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss. Tim went from being highly inexperienced and afraid of the kitchen to loving to cook. There are many simple and easy recipes in this book.

If you still don’t want to cook, find a friend who does. Hang out and cook with them. You will learn to love cooking over time. Plus, this is an awesome way to spend time with and get to know someone.

Peer and Societal Pressure:

1. Society:
Society and the media play a big part in the foods that you eat. Wherever you go there are billboards, fast food signs, commercials and advertisements all supporting manufactured, processed, unhealthy foods.

You may ask yourself, “Why is there so much advertising for these types of foods and not healthy foods?”  It is because these foods are much more PROFITABLE. They are cheap, long lasting, and unfortunately LOW in nutrition and ultimately bad for you.

These foods are served at your school because of affordability and long shelf life. Luckily, there is an ever growing movement to eat smarter and healthier. Just look at all the organic grocery stores as well as health podcasts and blogs that are coming out.

2. Peer pressure:
Now this is going to be one of the most difficult obstacles when you change your eating habits.

When you start caring about your health and implement the necessary changes to your diet, your friends are going to look at you strange. They will ask you why you are doing this. They will think you are crazy when you tell them that wheat, beans and vegetable oils are bad for them. They might laugh and make fun of you and call you a “health freak.” The possibilities are endless. But the reason they will do this is because you are doing something DIFFERENT. Something off the beaten path. Most people are afraid of change. So they will resist it, at least initially.

Once you explain to them the reasons behind your decisions, they may better understand you and if they are a good friend, they may even offer support. They may tease you every now and then, but they will respect your decisions.

If they are not a very good friend they may completely ignore your reasoning and call you crazy. They may even stop hanging out with you.

But the bottom line is, do all of this for YOURSELF and not for anyone else. This may sound cliche, but in the end it is all about self-love. Your health comes first.
I personally consider my health and well-being my top priority over anything else in my life (my job, extra-curricular activities, my friends and even family).

Love yourself, take care of your overall health and don’t let anything get in the way of that.


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Jack Peterson is an enthusiastic explorer of life, lover of wisdom, and a Confidence and Leadership Coach. He has spent the last 6 years of his life exploring what it means to “be a man,” eliminating limiting beliefs, and discovering the universal laws of nature and the human experience. Due to his fierce commitment to his own growth and expansion he has invested in and worked with some of the most brilliant coaches and spiritual leaders in the world. His mission is to lead by example and help enlighten the people he interacts and works with. His content is described by many as simple but powerful.

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