VegUp Podcast | WHY does Nutrition & Fitness feel SO confusing!? | SEASON 2 - EP. 41
For anyone who's new to a vegan plant-based diet, you will be confronted with dichotomies of thinking which approaches are right or wrong.
How do you know what is right for you?
And how do you figure that out?
I wanted to dive into this really important topic around why there is so much conflicting information on the nutrition and fitness space.
So take notes, tune in, and pay attention because this one is going to unlock a lot of ideas for you that you will be able to use and actually implement.
- When it comes to why everything feels so confusing and contradictory, context matters.
- Always remember that it's going to come down to fundamentally your goal as well. Always ask yourself what is your goal? What is your intended reason behind what you are doing?
- You’ve got to recognize that the things that your body can handle right now will change over time. You've got to meet yourself where you are. You can't be going full gung-ho into every legume and bean. You have to taper it in.
- You can't out supplement a bad diet. If that was the case, then every person in America would be healthy because the supplement industry is one of the biggest industries in the country.
- If people worked on optimizing their sleep, they would have more energy and they wouldn't need so many stimulants like caffeine in the morning to get them going.
- I put information out there as a way to bridge the gap for people. I'm vegan for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. I'm like, hey, if I can attach every motivation to why do this, why not? Why not learn about them all and find meaning within them.
- The beauty of this journey is that there's no right or wrong way to do this. That you walk the path and you walk your journey and you figure these things out based on what means something to you and how you feel, that's the beauty of this.
- Just start or continue your process while recognizing that through trial and error you will figure things out and that there is no right or wrong way to do things. It's all based on context and where you are at. So go out there today and learn through that trial and error.
Why does nutrition and fitness advice seem so confusing and contradictory? Guys, this morning, I wanted to dive into this really important topic around why the nutrition space, why the fitness space, why there is so much conflicting information out there. What is right? What is wrong? Someone, one expert says one thing and other experts is another thing. Who do you believe? Right? So we have heard this so much within all of the industries and for anyone who's new to a vegan plant-based diet, you will come into this, this niche, so to speak, and you will be confronted with dichotomies of thinking these approaches that are right or wrong, or it's this way, or you should be doing it this way. How do you know what is right for you? And how do you figure that out? So let's dive into this because this is something that I've seen rife across social media and a lot of groups where there are just normal people interacting with each other and they're they missing?
They're missing some key pieces to the equation. And I'm going to share them with you here in this episode. So take notes, tune in and pay attention because this one is going to unlock a lot of ideas for you that you will be able to use and actually implement. So first things first, when it comes to why everything feels so confusing and contradictory, is it this way or is it that way? Which path do you take? First of all, you've got to ask yourself context matters, context matters. And what I mean by this is where is someone coming from in their journey? Where are you coming from in your journey? I'll give you an example. So if you are coming from a place where you have been on a standard American diet for a long time, then adopting a vegan diet with some vegan junk food in there is a huge progression.
It's a huge step in the right direction. If you've come from a place where you are whole food plant-based and you've been consuming abundant amounts of raw vegetables and sprouted foods and fermented foods. And then you start adding in vegan ice cream, that's probably a step backward for most people. Context matters. So it's not the vegan ice cream, or it's not the donuts, or it's not the cookies that change. It's the context by which they are used in based on that person's journey. Where is that person coming from? Where are you coming from? So if someone tells you something was good or bad, do they know your story? Do they know where you are coming from? Moreover, if you were telling someone else that something is good or bad, like they should be not consuming this certain plant-based meat alternative or XYZ. Do you know what, what their story is?
Do you know where they're coming from? Were they consuming McDonald's five days a week before this? Because if so, doing a couple of beyond burgers in amongst other foods, there's probably a huge step in the right direction. Even if you don't think it is based on where you are at that. My friends, this is one of the biggest issues that I see with people is they do not step out of their own experience to look at what someone else's context is. So what is your context? Where are you coming from when it comes to anything? When I'm going to talk about some different examples here for your specific examples, you've got to ask yourself, where are you coming from? And what is the ladder of progression? And the ladder of progression ultimately is if someone's coming from a place where they have been eating a bunch of junk food or not working out at all, or doing a lot of negative bad habits, then them getting their shoes on and going for a 10 minute walk, rather than doing a 60 minute workout.
Like maybe you do is a step in the right direction. You've got to take in people's context because that letter of progression in terms of them getting their shoes on, going for a walk that turns into a run, maybe that turns into a bike ride, maybe that turns into an iron man someday, right? So maybe they start off as a beginner with their weight training and they just use bodyweight first. Then maybe they progress the tension bands. And then maybe they ended up going to the gym at some point ladder of progress. And one of the heated points of contention, for example, is juicing or smoothies. What's better juicing with smoothies. You might've not heard this discussion online before, but because we've been in this space for so long, we've heard it from a lot of people and you'll have some doctors say that juicing is not good and you need to do smoothies.
And some people are just huge advocates. It's like they're on a team. And they're a bunch of cheerleaders. I'm like, here's saying, what's the context. What is the intended use of this thing? And where is that person at? So let me explain specifically to juicing or smoothies. So do you want fast or slow absorption? Are you, for example, in the middle of a race you're running, you're doing an iron man, but you want a quick hit of vitamins and minerals. Do you want to be chugging on a big old smoothie, full of fiber that weighs your stomach down? Or do you want something that is just super concentrated nutrients to hit your system really quickly? Maybe you even need sugars to hit your system quickly. If you're training in a certain way, maybe during that training session, you want fast absorption. That's what you're looking for, right?
So in that instance, if you want fast absorption, because it's during a workout, then you want, you might want to go with juices. Alternatively, if you're someone who is trying to completely control their blood glucose levels more, maybe your fasting blood glucose levels have been elevated or you're pre-diabetic, or you're diabetic. Maybe smoothies are a better option because of the fiber in that smoothie is going to slow that blood sugar spike. So it's going to make it more tapered and that's ideal. Or maybe you need that extra fiber because it will help keep you fuller for longer. So you won't end up eating more calories. In that instance, again, maybe a smoothie is ideal for you. What about if you're someone who has had a lot of digestive issues, IBS, different things. That means when you consume early on a lot of plant fiber and soluble fiber soluble fiber, you get a ton of bloating.
You feel really gassy and just terrible, and it really affects your quality of life. Then pounding back smoothies loaded with fiber early on is not necessarily a good thing to start with, but maybe you still want to get in a lot of vitamins and minerals into your diet to improve your energy levels and all your biomarkers and your body. In that instance, a juice could be ideal. Maybe it's what's in those things. Maybe if you just have a bunch of green vegetables in there, you're not going to have all the sugar in the juice. You're not going to have the negative or the higher blood sugar spike that some people talk about. Yeah, it might not taste as good, but what's your intended function. What's the intended use. What's the reason for you doing this? Think about it. Also, there are many things in juices that you may not put in a smoothie.
Like I personally probably wouldn't put turmeric root in a smoothie, but I would juice it. And so again, what is the context? What is your intended desire? Like what do you, what is your outcome? Why are you doing that thing? So that's juices and smoothies. Can you see here? How there's multiple reasons on each side for its intended use? So when someone says this thing is better than that thing, it shows that they don't understand the intended use. So that's really important to remember. And that's the beauty of the skies is that there are multiple reasons to use many things based on what you want to achieve in that moment. Another common one is fasting, intermittent, fasting, or eating. Often what's better. People are huge fasting proponents. Some of them huge advocates. They say it's going to increase lifespan. It's great for fat loss, all this stuff.
And then other people, some bodybuilders, like you've got to eat every two hours. Otherwise, you're going to lose your muscle mass. What's the truth here, right? I don't think either of those ends of the spectrum are inherently true for everyone. It depends on context. You've got to factor in different things, right? So think about this is intimate and fasting ideal for you. Well, it depends on if you, what type of history you have with any eating disorders. Do you have these binge purge tendencies where you've tried to restrict and then you tend to overdo. It does intimate fasting, exacerbate that psychology in you right now. If that's the case, then that's not something that you probably want to be doing just yet. Hey, maybe you'll get this someday, but maybe right now, that's not the ideal thing for you. If it's exacerbating that overeating tendency, some people are fine with that.
Some people can fast for 24 hours, 48 hours and feel great. And they don't, they don't overeat when the eating window begins. Other people, it's terrible. It'll be like a complete train wreck. So in that instance, someone telling you that you should be fasting for fat loss when you're trying to restrict, and then you're overeating. It's not a good approach, right? Other times is if you are trying to manage your blood glucose levels, if you don't know what to expect, you're not going to feel that good. So if you're used to eating all the time and all your blood glucose levels tend to run higher, meaning you have a tendency to be insulin resistant, which most people are. To be honest, you are going to get periods of hunger, craving and energy changes that are not as desirable early on. And you might think to yourself, Oh, this is not great.
Like I can't, I can't function. Sometimes you've got to be out of work through that to get out the other side and optimize. But in certain instances, that's not ideal. For example, like if you had to do an exam, you might not want to put yourself in that position where your energy levels are crashing and you feel terrible. You need to be sharp. You need to be on your game, but alternatively, you might have a week off work and whatever you're doing, where you can just have some downtime and focus on fasting and practicing this where you don't necessarily have to perform at a high level. And that's a good opportunity to try that. Right? Other things to factor into your routines in your lifestyle, does it actually fit into your routine at all, do work night shifts where you are going to be eating some of your meals in the, in the night, through the night, and then you'll be sleeping through the day in that instance, fasting through the day, doesn't really work for you.
So is it does a nighttime fasting schedule work like you're going to have to look at your work routine, your lifestyles, like what days you're training, what days you're resting. So again, it's based on your context, right? Some people find a middle ground. They might do a little bit of fasting up to lunchtime and then they'll stop that's enough for them. So again, context, other thing to consider are, you know, male and female, female monthly cycles, I've noticed a tendency, generally speaking, that men seem to tolerate periods of fasting for the most part, better than women. Now we can deduce multiple reasons for that. But one thing I think is probably female hormonal cycles that cascade with ebbs and flows of hunger. And I have seen how it can affect menstrual cycles with too much intermittent fasting. Whereas with men, it seems to almost be complimentary sometimes to their health.
And again, the duration. So we're going to talk about duration in a second. So male and female, like if you tell if, if, if there's a male there and they're saying, Hey, as a female, you need to be fasting 48, 72 hours. That might not be ideal for you you'll know. For example, if you stop fasting and then you, and then you lose your period straight away, that's a clear sign. Something's not right. And so that is an important biofeedback cue. And remember, it's, it's going to come down to fundamentally your goal as well. Like, what is your goal? Like what is your, what is your intended reason behind this? I personally love fasting. I think that it's very beneficial. I think from a spiritual level, from a disciplinary level, from a longevity lifespan perspective, from optimizing your gut health, allowing your digestion to take a break.
There's many, many good benefits to it. I personally believe, but I don't expect everyone to be exactly on that. Wavelength. Some people will operate differently, but it doesn't mean that you can't get there eventually, but it's, again, it comes down to context. Another really common one is, especially within the vegan plant-based fitness world is high carb or low carb diets. What is the best way to do this? This thing we call a vegan diet, right? You come in and you think it's just going to be straight forward. And then you're hit with all these, these dichotomies of it's all about high carb or it's all about low carb or it's this thing, or it's that thing. And the other, and you were just left thinking, Oh my God, like, can I even eat any seeds nuts at all? Or am I allowed to eat this thing?
Or was it like, off-limits very important again, to understand context. Now I'm not having a go here at any particular vegan doctors, but there are a lot of vegan doctors who are really high carb proponents. And obviously they've had a lot of, um, really good results with that. And that's fine, but there are things that you need to factor in when it comes to this. For example, like I was mentioning with the juicing and the smoothies, how does your gut handle all that fiber load early on? If you've come from a place where you, your fiber intake was very low and, or your gut microbiome is just not good, then you adding a ton of insoluble and soluble fiber in the form of salad, greens, stir fries, different colored vegetables, and tons of fruits. It is going to cause an immense amount of bloating and gas and distinction early on for most people.
If you've come from a place where you, your gut health as not good, like if you've been consuming a lot of oral antibiotics, Nexium alcohol processed foods, tons of animal-based products, your gut health is going to be a mess. And so you need to calibrate that and work on that. So what you often find is that early on, for some people, if they do a high carb diet with tons and tons of, uh, fibrous vegetables that will really make them feel terrible at first. And so maybe it's about tapering that down and maybe add in a little bit more whole food fats, avocado, some, some nuts or seeds here and there as a way to keep your calorie intake high enough. So you're not in a severe calorie deficit because that's going to in turn affect your energy levels, but you're bringing your food volume down.
You're bringing your fiber load down a little bit to allow your body to slowly acclimate to the changes. And then over time you can taper up and increase the amount of fiber that you consume. So it doesn't mean that long-term, high-carb won't work for you. It just means that sometimes for some people early on those big macro bowl style meals, you see it makes them bloat out and they feel terrible, terrible. And that is a classic example of not taking the person's context into consideration. Another thing is your level of satiation, satiation, meaning hunger and cravings. I've noticed for some people that doing really big fibrous, uh, stir fries and salads, it does not keep them satiated. They'll eat it. And then 60 minutes later, they're hungry again. Whereas sometimes for certain people adding in some hummus or some avocado or sprinkling different nuts and seeds on a meal that helps them tremendously with satiation, much bitter able to control their hunger responses, which then prevents them from overfeeding over eating.
Isn't that a good thing? Like if that works with someone, that's a good thing. So if someone's saying all fats bad, you should keep it low fat, but that whole food fat they're adding to their meal one helps reduce the gut bloating and keeps them satiated for longer. So they don't overeat. Isn't that a good thing to me, it is. That's going to get them the result they're looking for. And then another thing to recognize is food, tolerances and intolerances. So very often, like I mentioned, if you're coming to this diet and your gut health is not good, you may not tolerate a lot of the conventional foods that everyone's a huge proponent of straightaway. You know, someone might be telling you to eat a bowl of broccoli and all that hard cruciferous vegetable is, is tough on you, her digestion. Sure. Eventually you could get there.
Maybe you can try steaming it instead of just stir frying it, steam it down to break down some of those cell walls with the fiber. But you've got to recognize that your food tolerances and things that your body can handle right now, that will change over time. But you've got to meet yourself where you are. So you can't be going full gun-ho into every legume and bean. You can think of, if you're getting guests for days, you have to taper it in. Maybe you need to start with some high protein grains first, like keenwah and add that in first and use that as a bridging tool until your gut can acclimate to different types of lagoons, right? So your food tolerances can often drive the different types of foods that you will eat. So you've got to step outside of this high carb, low carb dichotomy, and think to yourself, what does my specific biofeedback telling me?
Right? So that's another thing to remember. Another one is supplements or your purist. Can you get everything you need from your diet? Or are you a huge proponent of using supplementation? Again? I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. I think it's based on the person's context. My first question is for someone who's a purist and thinks, well, this must be something wrong with this diet. If you have to use supplements, why do you have to use these supplements and these pills and powders? If you should be getting everything from your diet, will you actually get it? Are you actually consuming all the foods that you should be consuming? Are you getting up? Uh, you moving often, are you getting a lot of sun exposure? Are you getting out into these natural environments that help with vitamin D synthesis and all these other things?
Because if you're not, then you can't be a purist at the same time, you can't pick and choose both. You can't say, Hey, I think that I shouldn't be taking anything, but I'm indoors all the time. I'm pretty sedentary. I'm eating a bunch of animal products. I'm not doing all the things I know I could be doing to maximize myself via nutrition, to start with and just lifestyle improvements to start with. And so if that's the case, then supplements can be like a support system for you. It can be like a bridging tool. And then on the other end of the spectrum, you can't out supplement a bad diet. If that was the case, then every person in America would be healthy because the supplement industry is one of the biggest industries in the country. I'm sure most people take a multivitamin. Why are so many people unhealthy?
Because their diets not good. And so your supplements will not. And I mean, not replace whole foods. I even truly believe that the vitamins and minerals in supplement form just do not synthesize and absorb like they would as if they're in a whole food. I have my inclinations that that is the case for a lot of people. And especially if your gut health is not good either. So when it comes to supplements, the first thing to recognize is what does your life look like? Do you have a balanced quote, unquote balanced life? When I'm saying, are you getting outdoors? You're getting fresh air. You're getting sun exposure. Are you consciously adding in different types of foods to meet different types of supplement vitamin and mineral needs? Or are you just kind of guessing because if that's the case, then maybe supplements could be a support system for you.
But again, don't over rely on them to the point where you then think that you can get away with just eating whatever you want. Because again, if that was the case and everyone would be healthy and no one would be sick, no one would have diseases. And so that's important to remember. So the first thing is, do you have a balanced life in terms of, are you, are you doing as much as you can to optimize these systems in your body with your environment, lifestyle nutrition? First, the other thing to remember is it's, it can be like a bridging tool, like I said. So if you are working on adding certain foods into your diet and transitioning to being healthier, then you can add these things in that will compliment what you're doing. It's kind of like a support system. It's not taking away the fundamental things that work.
It's not taking away the majority of the focus, but it's acting like a support network, keeping everything. It's like an insurance policy. You're still doing everything you can to keep yourself safe. But at the same time you have that policy there just as a fallback mechanism, just in case. So just remember that, that again, I don't think there's a right or wrong way to do that. It's based on what is the person's context? Where are they at in terms of what they specifically need? I don't think most people need the majority of the fitness supplements out there. I think a lot of them are just gimmicky. There's a lot of pre-workouts out there that are not good for people. I think if they worked on optimizing their sleep, that they would have more energy and they wouldn't need so much, so many stimulants and caffeine in the morning to get them going.
So I would actually be focusing on practices in terms of what my identity looks like, not eating too close to bedtime and evening routine where I reduce blue light emission. I downgrade my neural activity from being like arouse, watching YouTube videos to more calm, soft music, soft lighting, turn the air down in the house, get a Cola, get that sleep really optimized. And then in turn, you don't need pre-workout supplements for example. So that's just one example. So very often there's a good way to naturally mitigate a lot of things that people will be using a bandaid for. And that is a really important thing to work on really important thing to work on. And then obviously the last thing that I wanted to touch on to kind of wrap up this whole dichotomy of contradictory fitness stuff. I mean, there's so many rabbit holes out here.
We can go down guys, but these are some common ones. The last one that I wanted to kind of leave you with is when you come to veganism, is it all about, uh, you know, vegan diets or whole food plant-based diets? You know, you'll see some people talk about beyond boogers or impossible. Burger is a terrible for you. It's not good. It's junk food and oils and junk food. And there's all these things, you know, there's these vegan, uh, vegan junk foods and vegan alternatives to animal based products that are certain sub-sector of the, you know, the whole food plant-based community really bag on. And I think the fundamental thing to remember here in terms of the contradictory advice or what is right or wrong is what is your motivation to do this fundamentally from a perspective of, have you come to veganism because you care about animal welfare and you care about the environment and you like the idea of reducing down suffering and not eating sentient beings, because you don't want to contribute to that type of suffering.
If you can live in a world where you can avoid it and still be healthy at the same time in that case, then maybe you'll have your beyond burgers from time to time. Maybe you went vegan for less about health and more about animal rights. And in that instance for you specifically those vegan burgers and that vegan ice cream is something that you might want to do. Now, I'm not here advocating that you do that all the time. Cause I'd rather you be an advocate for the animals and healthy. I think we can be both, but I'm not going to judge you for that. And nor should anyone else. And on the other end of the spectrum, maybe some people have come into this ecosystem for health reasons to start with. And maybe they don't know about the animal rights stuff yet, or the environment and all these other things.
And you can't judge them on that yet. You have to give them a chance to learn about these things. And maybe there's not going to be something that vibes with them at all. And in that instance, that's just the path that they're walking. You can try to share knowledge to help them bridge that gap. And if they don't, it's just is what it is. I put information out there as a way to bridge the gap for people I'm vegan, for all the reasons I'm vegan for ethical reasons, environmental and health reasons. I'm like, Hey, if I can attach every motivation to why do this? Why not? Why not learn about them all and find meaning within them. All right. So what is your motivation to do this? Because if you see, you know, when someone says, Oh, I don't even know why that food is out there.
It's not healthy. Well, it's not meant to be for you. Then it's meant to be for someone maybe who has an ethical motivation or they, or they want to reduce their environmental impact. So you've got to understand that. And also, maybe it's like a bridging tool. Maybe they've come from a place where they've, they've been eating steaks and bacon and burgers every day. And they need something that resembles that old food to get them over the hurdles. So it's like a transition tool, a bridging tool for some people, some people will leave it in longterm, but other people will be like, look, I just need these things in to help me with this transitional process. So it's a letter of progress for some people. So can you see here? Why things can be so confusing and contradictory because people fundamentally do not take into account context.
They won't take into account your context, or maybe you don't factor in other people's context. That's why your experience is so nuanced. And the beauty of this guys is that there's no right or wrong way to do this, that you walk the path and you walk your journey and you figure these things out based on what means something to you and how you feel. That's the beauty of this. So basically what I'm saying to you today is just start your process or continue your process. Recognizing that through trial and error, you will figure things out and that there is no quote unquote right or wrong way to do things. It's all based around context and where you are at. So go out there today and learn through that trial and error.
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