Craig Leonard

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It’s High Time We Take Our Nutritional Awareness to the Next Level

Craig Leonard June 20, 2014
Nutritional Awareness - Level Up

The structure of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) in our diets is manipulated by trainers, athletes and weekend gym warriors eleventeen different ways to Sunday.

There are low carb diets, no carb diets, high carb diets, carb cycling diets, low fat diets, high fat diets, protein cycling diets, high protein diets and low protein diets.  Then there are diet plans that ration out proteins, carbs and fats down to the gram for each meal as if there is something inherently magic about adhering to specific macronutrient ratios.

If you’re stuck in this endless malaise of macronutrient tracking dogma, the book I am currently working on will be your saving grace. Within its pages I will be exposing how tracking calories and macronutrients is pointless and completely unnecessary for building a body that is both aesthetically impressive and optimized for overall health.

Manipulating and tracking macronutrient intake CAN be an effective means of improving the composition of the body. Unfortunately, though, where those macronutrients are coming from is neglected, more often than not.

We check the boxes ensuring that we hit our protein, carb and fat totals for each meal without giving a second thought to what we’re actually doing to ourselves.

We see our body fat going down and rest easy believing we’re getting healthier by the day.

As I’m going to show you, however, the devil is in the details. Because how we look on the outside and how efficaciously our bodies are working on the inside are not necessarily one and the same.

Americans Largely Have No Clue What “Healthy” Really Means

It is shocking how little most Americans know about the foods they’re ingesting. Even the First Lady admits that being educated at Harvard and Princeton still wasn’t enough to prepare her for the challenge of properly nourishing her children.

I’m not sure exactly what nutritional education she expected to receive from the curricula that earned her degrees in sociology and law. Nor am I all that inspired by someone in such an influential position implying in the same statement that Americans can’t use common sense when deciding how to feed their children, but I digress.

I have been the unlucky bystander to more discussions than I care to remember involving some ignorant soul arguing that one food is healthier than another solely on the basis of it containing fewer grams of carbs and fats or more grams of protein per serving.

Carbs, proteins and fats have nothing to do with a food’s ability to enhance our health!

Healthy foods are those that provide life-sustaining nutrition, while also containing minimal ingredients known to be toxic to human biology. That’s it.

I’ll say it again: This has nothing to do with a food’s macronutrient profile.

For instance, there are dozens of foods that would be considered to contain high amounts of that evil carbohydrate macronutrient, yet are full of integral health-promoting nutrients that fight cancer, bolster the immune system, normalize blood sugar, and prevent just about any disease you can name.

If you’re simply monitoring your macronutrient intake, as most people do today, you’re likely depriving your body of critical nutrients and setting yourself up for a litany of health problems down the road.

I fear this will inevitably be the plight of many who maintain a healthy looking physique while their inner health decays prematurely, resulting in the onset of heart disease, arthritis, dementia, cancer, allergies, and on down the line.

It’s not a coincidence that these debilitating conditions are running rampant in our society.

We are doing it to ourselves and we have to stop!

Macronutrients Are Not Markers of Health, Whatsoever

Nutritional Awareness - IIFYM

The truth is that there is so much more to the foods that we ingest than could ever be gleaned from simply looking at how many grams of carbs, proteins and fats they might contain. In fact, scientists are still discovering new phytonutrients contained in different fruits and vegetables and are working to figure out just how they’re used by the body.

Still, enough is currently known that we can be certain about the health-promoting properties of the foods at our disposal and have a high level of confidence in knowing which foods are suited for sustaining life, and which foods are suited for destroying it.

And, despite what Michelle Obama may lead you to believe, it doesn’t take a degree from a prestigious educational institution to draw this distinction.

It’s been estimated that as much as 80% of the foods stocked within conventional supermarkets around the U.S. are those that will engage with our biological functioning in such a way that they will destroy our health and increase our likelihood of death and disease many times over.

Yes, these health-destroying foods can be eaten in such a way that they’re perfectly in line with certain macronutrient requirements. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they are almost entirely devoid of any nutritive value, while also being chock full of harmful chemical agents, genetically engineered ingredients, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, oils and flour – all of which are known to promote disease and death.

If it gives you peace of mind to follow a diet with a structured macronutrient allowance, I certainly don’t want to give the impression that this, in and of itself, is necessarily unhealthy.

Though it’s completely unnecessary, such a strategy only becomes problematic when hitting one’s macronutrient totals takes precedence over feeding their body the nutrition it needs to recover, grow, fight disease and thrive.

So, What’s The Solution?

First and foremost, we must educate ourselves. Nothing is more important for our individual (and collective) physical well being than having well nourished bodies that aren’t being inundated with toxins and synthetic ingredients.

We owe it to ourselves – and to our gracious Creator – to take care of the one body we’ve been given by keeping it free from toxins and doing our part to keep it well nourished.

But what do I mean by “well nourished”? Like most nutritional paradigms, the term nourishment is obfuscated into oblivion to the point where it is no longer discernible from “over eating”.

Most people would proudly proclaim that being well nourished involves consuming a sufficient number of calories.

But what if I told you that nearly all of the overweight and obese people among us are also malnourished?

You see, equating calories with nourishment is flawed because calories and nutrition are mutually exclusive entities. Yes, many low-calorie foods are indeed nutritionally superior in every way to their calorie dense peers.

For evidence of this, we needn’t look any further than the typical American diet.

As I’m about to explain, the majority of Americans are not only overweight, or obese. They are are also severely malnourished.

In fact, it is this combination that has led to the development of what is arguably the fattest and sickest country ever to exist in the history of our planet.

How Can Americans Be Both Overweight and Malnourished?

Nutritional Awareness - Calories

Remember, the vast majority of foods sold in America’s grocery stores – and consumed by American families – are processed foods that are packed with magnanimous amounts of calories, calories that are accurately described as being “empty” because they provide us with hardly any nutritive substance. The life-sustaining nutrients they may have once contained have almost all been extracted out during the manufacturing process.

Because these foods provide almost no nutritive value for human biology, the bodies of those who regularly consume them are not getting the nourishment they need to thrive. In other words, these men, women and children are malnourished and are literally starving for nutrition.

But wait… It gets worse…

When our bodies are malnourished and starving for nutrients, they will instinctively react by creating intense hunger pangs, also known as cravings.

The typical person, being unable to recognize this as their body’s cry for nourishment, will reach for the same nutritionally bankrupt, calorie-laden foods that led to those cravings in the first place. Unfortunately, these foods are unable to satisfy the source of the craving – no matter how much is consumed.

Because the body remains nutrient deficient, these cravings return a few hours later when several hundred calories are again consumed in the form of pizza, refined grains, processed meats, sweets, and so on. The stomach is frequently filled, but the body is perpetually starved of the vital nutrition it needs to function efficiently.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, these processed foods – that are a staple in the American diet – are chock full of ingredients that are known to be highly addictive.

High fructose corn syrup, MSG, aspartame, and a host of other artificial ingredients making their way into our food supply are having an effect on consumers’ brains that is analogous to crack addiction.

This is great for those in the food manufacturing business. It’s not so great for the people living in a country so steeped in obesity and disease that it has become a $3 trillion per year burden on its tax payers.

Hopefully you’re starting to see the depth of the predicament we’re in.

I’m Setting Out To Cure The Culture of Nutritional Ignorance

I have felt burdened to do something about the nutritional ignorance running rampant in the world for quite some time now. This article is my wake up call that serves as the preamble to a series of articles I’ll be penning over the next several weeks that will be completely devoted to educating you on what truly makes a food nutritious.

This article series will extend well beyond the scope of “What is Clean Eating University”, though that is still a great place to start, as it would give Michelle Obama all the education she would need to properly nourish her children in a matter of 10 minutes.

Still, we need to go deeper; Beyond simply avoiding toxic ingredients.

Yes, we need to know what to avoid ingesting. But we also need to become acutely aware of the essential micronutrients our bodies require for optimal health – and how to get them into our systems.

I will be covering nearly every micronutrient within the known nutritional spectrum, giving you a breakdown of how the body uses each of them, what benefits they will afford you, and which foods you can find them in.

If you stick with me over the next several weeks, you will know which foods are healthy and why they are healthy.

So be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter by entering your best email address in the form below this article to guarantee that you don’t miss anything.

And please, please, please share these articles with your family and friends.

The answer to our health woes will never be found in bloated government health care programs, dangerous pharmaceuticals, or any corrupt Washington bureaucrat like this.

The answer to the nutritional challenges we face is education. Education is the first step towards the kind of personal nutritional responsibility that will manifest itself in the form of us no longer depriving our bodies of the nutrition they need to thrive, while also pumping them full of addictive ingredients and carcinogenic toxins.

Make no mistake. I’m talking about a drastic transformation in the way we, as Americans, view the foods we consume, the foods we feed our children, and the foods we decide to purchase on a weekly basis.

This will require a massive cultural shift.

I’m prepared to do my part in making it come to fruition and I’m asking you to do yours by helping me get this message to the masses. Together we WILL make a difference.

Photo Credits:
Level Up
If It Fits Your Macros
Calories & Facts

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