Nothing gets people angrier than getting sick despite making every effort to practice preventative measures and following the advice they're given. Well-circulated health myths may lead to unhealthy outcomes, so here are 10 of the worst that you should pay attention to when making wellness choices.
1. There's a perfect diet that fixes everyone.
I've found that for my personal wellbeing, a plant-based (80% vegan 20% vegetarian) diet works best for me. Even though I believe everyone should have a more plant-passionate appetite, as a Health Coach I would never advise that this is the only good way to eat. People with an O blood type generally thrive by choosing a diet that includes reasonable servings of organic, grass-fed meat. Advising them to switch to a vegan diet could potentially jeopardize their health. Some tolerate gluten well; others don't. Some thrive on a raw foods diet; others become ill, lose their hair and lose energy. Listen to your body, get regular testing from an integrative doctor, and work with wellness professionals who understand this philosophy.
2. Physical activity is for fat people.
Everyone should include exercise as much as possible. The key is to find physical activity that YOU enjoy and will stick to. Another misconception is that everyone needs to go to the gym. We're naturally endowed with the ability to work out without equipment, so not having a gym is no excuse.
3. You need to eat tons of protein daily to survive.
The truth is, Americans are eating way too much protein. The type of protein you consume matters, too. Eating meat three times per day isn't the best plan for anyone, so switch up your protein by adding quinoa, beans and legume, nuts, seeds and spirulina. You can even try tempeh (fermented tofu).
4. Eating faux meat substitutes daily is fine.
Meat substitutes are highly processed, contain lots of sodium, can be filled with gluten and offer low nutritional value. They're often genetically modified. Good, non-GMO, minimally processed brands in low moderation are ok, and are good in a pinch.
5. Coconut oil is bad for your health.
Coconut oil is actually a superfood. It contains antiviral, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties. It balances HDL/LDL ratio, promotes weight loss, regulates thyroid function, and normalizes blood sugar. It also improves digestion, boosts metabolism, improves heart health, and even ingested can improve the quality of your hair and skin.
6. Everyone needs 64 ounce glasses of water per day.
Drinking eight glasses of water in eight-ounce increments daily is just a minimum. Better advice? Drink half your body weight in ounces daily. For example, a man that weighs 240 pounds would benefit greatly from drinking 120 ounces of water daily. However, if you weigh 102 pounds, stick with 64 ounces instead of reducing down to 51 ounces.
7. If you can survive without much sleep, go for it.
Sleep needs vary based on age, but the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Getting less than seven hours not only leaves your eyelids droopy, it causes weight gain, interferes with digestion, and makes your body a breeding ground for illness. Best advice: close your peepers at the same time each night. Optimal sleep times are 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. Going to bed before 11 p.m. is best.
8. Organic isn't better.
Plant-based food sources grown organically in healthy soil can actually produce higher nutritional value. Unhealthy soil can deplete vitamins and nutrients by as much as 65%. Not to mention, non-organic food is LOADED with health-damaging pesticides and chemicals. You also run the risk of eating genetically modified food. I urge you to always choose organic when possible.
9. Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are no big deal.
This is so untrue, dangerous and hurtful that it makes me want to cry. GMOs produce an exponential increase in chronic illness, tumors, kidney failure and have the high levels of pesticides. As if this weren't bad enough, not enough scientific research has been performed to see the true long-term effects this form of engineering produces. Don't believe the hype: GMO food IS dangerous and it's NOT the solution to famine.
10. Illness is only physical.
Stress, depression and fear are mental, but can certainly lead to physical issues as well. If you're undernourished spiritually, not feeling purposeful or feel disconnected from people or nature, it creates mental disharmony, which ultimately affects the body. Homeostasis can only occur when mind, body and spirit are in rhythm.