Last year I wrote this for a somewhat edgy foreign publication that seems to have been cryogenically frozen, if not gone the way of the Dodo. I think it deserves a relocation from the files on my laptop to the blog. Enjoy…
8 Badass Ways to Get Healthy
Take a moment to relax. Breathe in deeply. My buddy Daniel Larusso does it. And when he does, wow! Watch out! We were once traveling in Okinawa together and he broke like 10 fat slabs of ice with a single karate chop!
Actually, come to think of it, that was a movie. Sorry. I grew up in America. Try as I might, I spent so much of my childhood in front of the television that I honestly have trouble separating my actual childhood from what I watched on a screen. It didn’t help that I was so blind I couldn’t see my penis clearly until my mom took me to the mall to get glasses. My nose was practically pressed against the television screen.
Wait, what the hell am I talking about? It seems I was going somewhere with that. Oh, yes of course. I want you to breathe deeply and enter into a meditative state. I have something very important for you to visualize in your head.
Hopefully “a badass” is something that you can picture clearly in your head. I don’t know what you picture in your head, but here are the thoughts that creep in as I dive deeply into this serene state of badass meditation…
When I think of a badass, I picture a guy in jogging shoes standing at a salad bar, picking over the greenest leaves to maximize his chlorophyll intake, asking the staff if the salad greens were thoroughly washed to remove pesticides.
After confirming that they were indeed hand-washed, he feels at least somewhat at ease, which is a miracle considering the fact that he is dining with friends away from the typical all-organic grocery store he is accustomed to, where he KNOWS that the food is all organic and pesticide-free. At this point, he starts to wander down the salad bar to find some safe foods that he doesn’t react to.
Damn. First item cheese. Commercial lettuce is one thing, but non-organic cheese? It’s probably been pasteurized too. “Um, like, no thanks” he says to himself. “Plus, cheese makes my tongue feel a little itchy and gives me pimples on my forehead.”
“Yessss! I love beets!” he thinks as he tries to hide his excitement over the next item in the bin. He has heard they are good for the liver, and his yoga teacher mentioned something about a rare antioxidant in them that can loosen up joints. He piles on extra as his hip flexors have really been tight lately in class, making him a little self-conscious when he struggles with all the Asanas performed in a seated position.
Then, a wave of anxiety strikes him as he inches the pair of salad tongs that he brought with him (to avoid contamination with other people who have touched the tongs going through the salad line) towards the next item… hard-boiled eggs. They look fresh. And he does love eggs, something that has made him wonder on numerous occasions if he might have an allergy. But there’s a problem…
He’s cycling carbohydrates. Everybody who knows a damn thing about how to shave those last few ounces of fat off of the obliques knows you can’t freakin’ combine carbohydrates and fat. Carbs spike insulin, and insulin stores fat. If there’s no fat there to be stored, it’s no big deal. But if there is you can pretty much kiss your obliques goodbye. So obviously he can’t eat the yolk. That’s ruled out. But they were pretty much ruled out anyway. There’s no way that restaurant is using high omega 3 eggs. “Hello! Arachidonic Acid! I’ll pass on the bronchoconstriction thank you very much!”
But that’s just the beginning of this pivotal, potentially life-extending decision. Egg whites are great he’s thinking. “They’re like the most highly-absorbable source of protein.” But the thing is, he has been really toying around with the idea of doing a lower protein diet.
But he’s also been thinking about bulking up. The added calories in the yolk just might outweigh the dangers. And he just wants an egg so bad. That just sounds so satisfying to him.
Aha! He comes up with the perfect solution. He will decide later whether to bulk or to continue cutting and eat a whole, entire egg. 10 extra minutes on the treadmill should take care of the problem with combining fat in the yolk with the carbs in the beets if he wants to drop down from 9% to 8% bodyfat. And if he decides to bulk, well, he’ll just be off to a quick start.
Now, now, now. I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds just like me! I like this weird American writer guy! He thinks I’m a badass!”
Au contraire thou nibbler of Goji berries, thou Sultan of Superfoods! This guy is just setting up the scene. Every badass needs a little salad-eating bitch to emasculate.
And it’s at this point in the meditation that our badass enters the scene. As Salad Boy is returning to his table after 2 hours and 23 minutes of trying to decide what to put on top of his lettuce, he is cut off by a massive beast of a man whose trapezius muscles are eclipsing the sunlight shining through a nearby window.
At first Salad Boy is stunned at this man’s rudeness, but then his eyes wander to the two giant plates this guy is carrying back from the buffet. Both plates are piled high with giant slabs of bleeding beef, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, creamy pasta, bread, candied yams, and more. And Salad Boy snobbishly says…
“Have a nice heart attack.”
Before he can say “saturated fat,” he is grabbed by this badass mofo. The next thing Salad Boy remembers is being lifted in the air by two strong hands that felt like they had been soaking in lava, and dragged across the restaurant to the ice cream dispenser. I think you know what happens next. Brain freeze torture. Salad Boy is traumatized, but the funny thing is, this horrific experience and all, he wakes up the next morning to the first boner he’s had in three months. And it’s a beauty. The kind you could hang a kettlebell on.
It was just like the time my friend Tyler and I took a store clerk out back and asked him what he wanted to really do with his life at gunpoint, threatening him to start pursuing his dreams in life or else. Sure it was mean and cruel and stuff, but we did the guy a favor.
Hopefully you’re seeing where I’m going with this. Health fanaticism, food phobia, diet paranoia, calorie counting, portion control, and obsession with how your abs look are not the qualities of a badass. If you want to be a badass, start acting like one. This is true even more for women than it is for men, who think that eating 100-calorie snack bars, smoothies, and salads while jogging and doing a few stretches are going to make them undergo a transformation like Linda Hamilton did between the first and second Terminator movie. Not gonna happen.
And trust me, I know some badass women. This one friend of mine from Sweden has muscles, rides motorcycles, has a big tattoo across her back, hacks into people’s computers, and once tied a guy up and tattooed “Rapist” across his chest after he messed with her. Last time I checked she wasn’t logging all her meals on Fitday, making sure not to exceed her daily calorie quota.
While this might all sound like a big Hollywood movie to entertain you, I am actually quite sincere about this and have explored this topic in exhaustive detail for nearly a decade. My most important “discovery” in all these years of communicating with literally thousands of people trying to micromanage their health and fitness practices, is that this modern health fanaticism and information diarrhea can ruin your health. Being a badass and just living the life you want to live without remorse, without moralizing your diet or the things you love to do, and being free of the health and body image obsessiveness we’re all told will make us hot, cool, and pretty much any other desirable temperature, is actually the key to a successful and healthy life.
Here are 8 badass ways that you can improve your health…
1) Stop paying attention to the small details of food, and put more focus on how your body works. Who cares how many B vitamins or antioxidants are in a food if you feel miserable eating the way you’re eating, have lost your sex drive, feel depressed or anxious, aren’t menstruating, haven’t crapped in a week, and feel like sleeping all day? Food is powerful medicine when you know how to use it. It is also powerful poison when you continue to follow some guru’s perverse, puritanical rabbit food diet despite obvious signs it is wrecking your body. Most people feel better when they just eat what they want without feeling guilty about it or analyzing it to death. And they look better too, in terms of body fat levels. Here are 40 or so studies on that, in case you think I pulled that one out of my ass. http://www.intuitiveeating.org/content/studies
2) Eat more food, and don’t restrict fats, carbohydrates, protein, meat, grains, sugars, or any other common dietary piñata. This stifles the production of stress hormones (most diseases can be traced back to an excess production of stress chemicals in the body), and in turn will make you warm, horny, happy, energetic, and more capable of increasing strength, muscle mass, speed, and power when you exercise – just to name a few benefits. This literally will raise your body temperature and metabolism, and any number of health problems related to a suppressed metabolic rate can improve. Dr. Mark Starr, author of a book on this very subject, has a chapter on symptoms of a low metabolism that is 85 pages long. That says a lot about the different systems of the body that are affected by poor cellular energy production/low metabolism. I have helped thousands of people from all over the world to achieve this simply by NOT dieting, getting plenty of sleep, and otherwise not being a self-deprecating idiot. http://180degreehealth.com/180-degree-health-testimonials
3) Stop eating so many fruits and vegetables and eat more salt, sugar, starch, and saturated fat. Fruits and vegetables are great, in reasonable quantities. And they can be good for some people. Most people I encounter have a low body temperature, are cold a lot of the time, have cold hands and feet, and other obvious signs of a low metabolism. That’s because most of the people that come to me have restricted something from their diets for a long time and have been eating too much “health food.” It has taken me many years to identify the things that raise metabolic rate the best, and that list keeps on growing. But in terms of food, the S’s – salt, sugar, starch, and saturated fat, you know, the stuff everyone says to avoid, are what yield the biggest improvements in people’s health, metabolism, and well-being. They are the foods people crave when they are stressed, because they are the de-stressing foods. In the right context, these substances have nothing short of a medicinal effect. Like this recent research on salt, for example… http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/12876/
4) Eat real food. Real food means stuff that is minimally processed, not packaged in a shiny wrapper, and doesn’t have a tv commercial with a cartoon character promoting it. Real food also means satisfying food that leaves you feeling well-fed. Eating as much as you desire of unprocessed food, high in essential nutrients, can do amazing things – even help you lose weight without ever being hungry.
5) Stop drinking so much damn water, especially on an empty stomach. Water is like Kryptonite to someone with a low metabolism. It is a lifeless substance devoid of any electrolytes, glucose, or anything else your cells need to produce energy properly. Every time you take in water it dilutes the salt and sugar in your cells. This is only good when you have too much salt and sugar in your cells, like after eating a really huge meal. At other times, you are better off drinking something containing salt and sugar – like a sports drink, particularly after exercise or on a hot day. In the world of coffee, tea, diet drinks, barrel-sized soft drinks, smoothies, juice, and the water fetish – most people are drinking WAY too many fluids in general. I have helped people overcome all kinds of “incurable diseases” like seizures, for example, by drinking fewer fluids and being particularly cautious about water. Certainly don’t force it down because some Joe Schmo doctor said to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Follow generic advice, have generic health.
6) Stop doing “cardio.” Slow-paced exercise on treadmills or Stairmasters and stuff like jogging – these things will make any power athlete like a sprinter or strength athlete weak, stiff, and cold. If you want a high-performance Sport’s Car of a body, then do high-performance exercise. Lift weights vigorously, do plyometrics, do some bodyweight exercises, dance and play sports… but only step on a piece of cardio equipment to do hard work in short bursts.
7) Eat less often. What are you a gerbil? You don’t need to sit around and eat all day. When you get hungry, eat a nice, satisfying meal. Badasses don’t pack plastic containers with pre-portioned food around with them every day. When you get hungry, eat, and eat until you are fully satisfied. Throw some quality, hard, physical training in there, kept up regularly for years, and your body might actually look better 5-10 years from now than it does currently. Eating less often actually does seem to have legitimate health benefits, and protects against the habit of eating crack-like foods out of boredom instead of actual hunger. Perhaps its most useful virtue is that it enables you to really eat when you eat, instead of just teasing yourself with an unsatisfying portion of what feels like nothingness in your stomach.
8) Stop wearing sunscreen. Spend time in the outdoors regularly, get regular sunlight, and your skin will slowly start to build up a tolerance to sunlight. Hang out for weeks indoors playing video games like a douche and you will go out, get burned, and damage your skin. We know that getting natural sunlight protects against a long list of degenerative diseases, including most cancers. Getting lots of sun raises the risk of getting skin cancer. So what are you gonna do? Die of colon cancer because you are afraid of getting skin cancer? Go outside, get some full-spectrum light without blocking it with any toxic, chemical-laden creams, and do it regularly. If you start to get burnt, put on a shirt and a hat instead. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18550652