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Why is the Fitness Industry So Afraid of Vegans: The Real Human Diet

Why is The Fitness Industry So Afraid of Vegans?

The Real Human Diet.

Bahhhaaaaa. Lol.

Yes, I opened my blog with an lol. I can’t help it because this tittle makes me laugh. I can picture all the fitness peeps out there spitting their coffee over their screens in moral indignance as one of their pillars of belief once again comes under attack from those dirty vegan assholes. The animal protein built phalanges muscles swelling in rage as they prepare to launch a swift and horrific counter attack defending ‘THE WAY WE DO THINGS.’ Flexors and extensors battling against each other with such voracity that their digits are momentarily too paralyzed to flood the comments section of every social media outlet they can grunt along with like minded others.

Why is everyone so afraid of plants?

Maybe that would have been a better tittle. Alas, it would not have elicited quite as humorous an image for me as I sit and sip my tea this morning.

The dirty word of the fitness industry today is VEGAN, or the newest iteration, PLANT BASED.

Netflix’s latest documentary on the topic, The Game Changers, has garnered the expected and tired response of most fitness ‘pros’ out there doing their best to tear apart any discrepancy in the film. Instead of taking just a couple of minutes to sit back and contemplate a perspective seemingly in juxtaposition to their own these beacons of science based health and fitness merely view the film from the constructs of their established beliefs.



What? Coach Taylor? You’re a VEGAN? You’re DEFENDING vegans? Is hell frozen? Are beyond meat faux pigs flying through the air?

Maybe I should clarify here: I am not a vegan. I am not a vegetarian. I am exactly the same as you, and your friends, and your family, and every single other human on the entire planet: I am an omnivore.

Also important to note: I am not biased. No one is paying me any money to write this. I am not selling any nutritional products. I am not a defender of any particular program or nutritional plan. I simply am a student with an insatiable need to learn the truth. Everything I write and speak about is simple a synopsis of my study.

Last night I had a beef chilli, the night before, vegan Enchiladas from a Thug Kitchen recipe. I believe the night before that was salmon, preceded by a vegetarian stir fry, and the night before that slow braised beef short ribs (holy fuck were those ever good, braised in red wine and simmered with star anise…I digress). My deep freezer currently holds a ¼ cow and a ½ lamb purchased from a small local farmer. I bought a boat this summer with the express intention of using it to fish. I obtained my gun possession licence and hunting certification to begin the journey of procuring my own food.

I also built 7 raised garden beds this year, I tour the local produce markets, and have microgreens sprouting in my kitchen as we speak. I have learned to ferment and recently baked my first sourdough bread. My shipment of Einkorn flour just arrived from Saskatchewan (check out this ancient grain, it is amazing) and I am stoked to begin cooking with it. This afternoon I will be starting the fermentation process for the last haul of carrots from my garden.

I am an omnivore.

You are an omnivore.

Humans ARE omnivores.

This is not a debatable point. We are unbelievably well adapted to eat, well, pretty much anything. Our bodies truly incredible machines.

What is the debate then?

Percentages and sources. How much protein should we consume and where should we get that protein? These seemingly innocuous questions are at the root of almost EVERY nutrition debate in the world of health and medicine.

On the one side you have those with the belief that we must consume animal sourced proteins in order to achieve optimum health. Animal based proteins are more complete amino acid packages containing the perfect ratios of the macronutrient that the body needs. This camp points out that the body is designed to run, that we are the most successful hunters in the history of life on earth, and that cooking animals is thought to be an essential turning point in the evolution of homo sapiens.

On the other side you have proponents espousing the idea that we do not need to eat animals or animal products at all and that mere plants can provide us with everything we need. Yes, even that godly protein. While plants don’t contain all essential amino acids, there are reports that eating a variety of plant sources can provide the complete spectrum of protein as different plants have varied concentrations of these foundational blocks in a variety of ratios that can be combined to create a diet of everything humans need. This camp often believes that eating animals is unethical and they eschew their consumption on those grounds. And they believe you should too, trust me, vegans LOVE to tell you they are vegan and why that makes them better than you.

Both sides of the debate cite research and history alongside a plethora of anecdotal tales to bolster the case that they are right and the other side is wrong.

What is the truth?

What are the facts?

How are you supposed to know what the fuck to eat?

As the battle continues you are left a nutritionally confused refugee watching bullets and rockets fly overhead between the warring camps. You don’t care about the debate or the ideologies of the well-entrenched warriors who purport to be battling for the good of your health.


You just want to know WHAT. THE. FUCK. SHOULD. I. EAT.


This is where both sides are complete losers. The insane battle creates an overly complicated series of rules and regulations making human nutrition seemingly complex. It is not. It really and truly is not complicated. And the longer this battle rages on the more confused people become leaving the entire population susceptible to charlatans and fads. When people are confused they will gravitate to someone, anyone, or anything that provides them safety by way of an answer. So we are easily sold diet plans, wonky nutritional protocols, good and bad foods, and a host of other products that do nothing to make us healthier but that increase the bank accounts of many unscrupulous individuals and uncaring corporations.

Human nutrition is not complicated. At all.

It is literally exceedingly simple.

Michael Pollen has stated it best: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

Why The Fitness Industry is Wrong

We actually do not NEED to consume animal products ever. Humans CAN (and hundreds of millions actually DO) live healthily off of plants alone. We cannot live off of animal products alone. You will die.

No human can be a strict carnivore. If you do not eat plants you will die. Am I getting that point across?

The fitness industry LOVES to quote science and research but then completely ignore anything that is counter to their beliefs. It is one of the most asinine things I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately you just can’t do that. You either believe in science or you don’t. You do not get to believe in just the science you want to believe in that supports the belief that you have.

The FACTS are this:

  • humans are designed to eat mostly plants. Our teeth are more similar to herbivores and are designed to grind and break down plant material. They are not designed like a carnivores.
  • our digestive tract is long and filled with plant destructing bacteria.
  • we have nutritional needs that can ONLY be met by plant.
  • there is not a single instance currently or in known history of a culture with a permanent animal based diet. It has never existed. (Yes, there are some very small groups of humans in the far north, the Inuit, who have adapted to a mostly animal based diet for some of the year, if you are Inuit then you can follow the traditional practices, if you are not Inuit…well, then you are not and you shouldn’t follow their diet).
  • our paleo ancestors ate mostly plants. Do the research from EVERY SINGLE paleoanthropologist on Earth, they will confirm this.
  • we DO NOT eat the right meat. Our ancestors ate like this very infrequently. We want steaks and chicken breasts. We should be drinking blood, eating the organs, bone marrow, and fat of animals. We would ate mostly fish, small animals and birds. Large game was sporadic and not the core of our diet. Again, please read the literature of paleoanthropologists.
  • plants can provide us with all the protein we need. The idea that animal proteins are completely necessary to optimal health is thoroughly debunked.
  • ALL. I repeat ALL, I state ALL, I reiterate EVERY SINGLE analysis of the healthiest and longest lived populations of humans shows the same thing, over, and over, and over, and over again: these people eat mostly plants with some meat and animal products. Every. Single. Time. This holds true.
  • our modern western culture eats too much meat, in way too large portions, and we are NOT eating enough fibre. You know, fibre from plants that your body needs to be healthy.

The fitness industry purports to be striving for evidence based practice and yet spends copious amounts of time attempting to debunk many of the things I just listed. I don’t understand that kind of methodology. You can’t only like the science that you like. You have to read ALL of the science and then follow the evidence.

And the evidence says that we can live off of plants alone, that eating mostly plants is healthier for us in the long run, and that we currently eat too many animal products.

Gosh, golly, gee, Coach Taylor, you sure sound like a vegan….

Why Vegans are Wrong

Besides the fact that their sanctimonious and incessant preaching makes vegans some of the most annoying human beings on Earth there are other fatal flaws in the vegan ethos.

Like their carnivore enemies need to understand, there are NO historical vegan cultures in the world. None. There are many today because technology has allowed humans to expand our options, however, veganism is not a natural state for humans. We are omnivores.

One of the primary arguments of the vegan world is ethical consideration for the environment and animals. There are grounds to support these arguments to be sure, however, a truly vegan diet is fraught with as many issues as my above carnivorous friends.

Yes, our mass factory farms are horrifically disgusting and morally reprehensible. If you can even stomach it, check out how animals are treated on the ‘farms.’ It tuly should sicken you. If you won’t look this up then you don’t deserve to consume animals. If you shop at Costco you support these factory farms and are a huge part of the problem.

Vegan friends: this does not mean the solution is complete abstinence of consuming animals. There ARE very ethical and very sustainable ways to raise and eat animals and animal products. Truly well designed farms, such as Blue Hill or Apricot Lane Farm are beautiful examples of this. Read up on Dan Barber or follow the work of Michael Pollan to begin to understand this.


These are shots from a local farm I purchase from


But the moral high ground of the vegan world is completely destroyed if we truly attempt to understand what it takes to live as a modern vegan. Fresh produce is not available year round in most parts of the world. That’s right my vegan friends, a fresh arugula salad in January tossed with kale and other bright greens, chopped peppers, and whatever else you want to add-in isn’t possible in the northern latitudes. You know, ‘cause it’s winter and stuff and the plants won’t grow.

So you have two options: mass greenhouses sucking up all kinds of resources, or, ship it in from other places in the world. You know, on boats, trains, trucks, planes and things like that. Huge. Environmental. Impact.

The majority of modern vegans are not willing to actually eat in a way that is necessary to be truly environmentally conscious. Foregoing ripe avacodos in February to eat yet another meal of cellar stored potatoes topped with cooked beans and fermented cabbage just isn’t going to make a pretty enough Instagram post. Plus…it’s so boring!

Now let’s take a look at the environmental catastrophe shipping all this food around the world creates. Not just from the transportation and packaging but more from the damage that you do to foreign nations. When plants grow they take nutrients out of the soil. What should happen is those plants should, 1) die and decompose those nutrients back into that same soil, or 2) be consumed by animals who then return those nutrients back to the soil through their excrement.

But today crops are raised in soil and then harvested and shipped off to foreign lands, taking those nutrients with them. Not returning anything to the soil. Eventually the soil must be fertilized with new nutrients (fertilizers) or new land must be cleared that hasn’t been sucked dry yet (clearing of forested areas and grasslands). To have a modern vegan diet you must contribute to huge environmental issues. For more on this read the work of Sir. Albert Howard. If you do not know who this is then you have not done your true homework on what is necessary to be a vegan or vegetarian.

The Game Changers attempts to show that only a vegetable diet keeps our blood free and clear of circulating fats associated with animal product consumption. While this is true they skip something vital. After consuming animal products we do have hours of higher circulating blood fats. True. However, this is only an issue if you are eating all the time.

Fasting my friends. We aren’t supposed to eat all the time. When you only eat once or twice a day you are not constantly living in a state of cloudy blood plasma. And this is actually how we are supposed to eat.

Lastly, people who become vegans get some shit all fucked up. Just because it is made entirely from plants does not mean it is healthy for you. Plant based products, like the Beyond Meat burger, are often disgusting packages of process garbage. They are not healthy. Just because it is labelled vegan does not mean it is healthy.

We still need to avoid processed foods that are massed produced. Period. End of story.


Tired of reading yet? You can just listen to me cover topics if you prefer!!!


What you SHOULD Do

It is all so confusing. As these camps battle it out to assert their righteous dominancy over the other the actual science is lost and people are left confused.

The truth is simple. Human nutrition is simple. The solutions are simple.

Eat a diet mostly of plants.

Not, not just kale salad. Whole grains, rice, beans, legumes, potato’s, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas, peppers, and a bajillion other options. There is a massive array of plants out there and you probably only eat a very few. Variety.

Like Arnold says in the documentary, you don’t have to stop eating meat, just cool it a little. One or two days a week eat totally plant based. I can attest that the more I dive into the world of plant based meals the more I love them and look forward to them. They are delicious.

Eat animal products

Yes, eat animal products. In the winter when plants are not as available animal products provide us with beautiful packages of nutrition to compliment what we are lacking from fresh produce.

Eat eggs. Butter. Yogurt.

Ethically source your meat from local sources. Seriously, it isn’t hard. Google search your area and I promise there are local farmers who will deliver to you or will be at a nearby market.

Stop eating boneless skinless chicken breasts and sirloin steaks. Sometimes have those but recognize this is NOT what humans were meant to live on. Birds, small game, insects, amphibians and organs turn most of us off and that is a huge issue. That is what we evolved to primarily eat as animal sources.

At least buy whole chickens and roast them. Then eat all of the parts and use the carcass to boil down for soups and broths. Use the whole animal. Tip to tail is a very important movement that has to become more prevalent.

Eat Less

We eat too much. You should never feel stuffed. You shouldn’t need a nap after a meal. That is all I have to say about that.

Eat Only Real Food (and cook it)

We need to recognize processed foods for what they are: poison.

Cereal, cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, chips, crackers, packaged meals, pre-made, everything, instant whatever. It is all garbage. It is all poison. You literally are ingesting poison.

Eat food that you have to prepare yourself. That you have to cook. That if you left on the counter for a day would spoil.

Yes, it is time consuming and requires effort and work. But hey, it’s just your fucking LIFE and the health of your family we’re talking about. No big deal.

I didn’t say my advice was going to be the new and easy way to be healthy. Just that it would be the truth.


Most of the people attempting to shred The Game Changers film are missing the point entirely. The documentary isn’t trying to convert everyone to veganism. They are simply refuting the idea that you HAVE to eat animal proteins for high-end performance. And it does a great job of this. The science in the film is solid, it isn’t complete, and there 100% is an important place in our diet for animal products so you don’t have to become a vegan, nor do I think people should.

The use of the term plant-based vs. vegan is an important thing to note. I think this is a very powerful change in terminology and one that I hope is not appropriated by the vegan camp. Because the simple facts are this: in general we eat too many animal products and not enough plants and changing this is the most important thing you can do for your health.

The idea of the film and what I am personally attempting to get across is just this: eat more plants. Eat more real food.

It will literally save your life.

-Coach Taylor

Pros and Cons of Your Fitness Options

It is that time of year, the resolutions have begun. Many of you are in the hunt for an avenue to begin a new fitness program.

But what should you be doing? How should you go about making changes? Where can you go to begin a program?

There are so many avenues available to you that often the most difficult part of the process is simply figuring out what the best option is for your investment.  

Here are my thoughts about the most common paths people take at this time of year.

Gym Membership

Gym memberships are great for people who are self motivated and already have a good base knowledge of how to design a fitness and nutrition program. They provide clean and safe equipment and an area to workout. If you already have a workout buddy or group and are comfortable with how your body works and how to design a fitness program than a gym membership is a great option for you.

Gym memberships are not good for individuals who are unfamiliar with exercise programs and how to design a program to meet their goals. If you need someone to motivate you and teach you what you should be doing or if you find exercise to be boring and it seems more like a chore, than a gym membership is a large waste of your money.

Pros

·         Set hours and consistent access

·         Variety of equipment

·         A lot of variety

·         Most activities and facilities included in membership

·         Larger chains provide access to facilities in multiple cities

 

Cons

·         Locked into membership for 1 to 2 years

·         No guidance or long term support; the only support offered is very basic and is designed to entice you to purchase additional services

·         More concerned about profit than your long term health

·         Many ‘hidden’ fees

·         Hide information and pricing from you in order to ‘hook’ you into listening to their sales pitch

·         Staff are all sales driven and are rewarded for high sales, not for education and furthering their knowledge base and skills

·         Large chains often lag behind fitness industry trends and research by months or even years

·         Can be very intimidating

 

Purchasing Equipment for Home

This is the other most common purchase for people who are looking to embark on a fitness program. The purchase of home based fitness equipment. Treadmill’s and elliptical trainers are the two most frequently purchased pieces of equipment.

The vast majority of fitness equipment is based on cardiovascular fitness training only and does not incorporate strength or flexibility training. There are some popular strength based pieces of fitness equipment but most of these promise dramatic results in short periods of time, which is an immediate red flag. Too good t be true = it IS too good to be true.

I call treadmills and elliptical trainers the most expensive coat rack you will ever buy. You may get on it for a few weeks but soon you will be bored to tears and after 4 weeks of slaving away you will not feel any stronger or fitter and you will look the same in the same clothes. For the cost of this equipment you could have an experienced personal trainer TEACH you what to do and how to exercise with no equipment at all!

There are a lot of companies salivating at this time of year and waiting to impress you with flashy marketing, flashy equipment, and flashy payment plans to suck you into purchasing equipment that has a track record of being ineffective at changing lives. Commissions are great for them, however.

Pros

·         Convenient due to location in your home

·         Private for those nervous to go to a gym or join a program

·         Can be a good kick start to initiating a fitness program

Cons

·         Rare to achieve long term fitness success

·         No instruction or long term support

·         High cost for quality equipment

·         Very tedious and boring over time

·         Very little variety, becomes very boring

·         One sided fitness, does not encourage a well rounded fitness program

Private Fitness Facilities

These are smaller versions of gyms and are often very specific as to their services. Common offerings are yoga, personal training, group programs, pilates, dance fitness, martial arts, or a variety of other fitness based offerings. Many facilities also offer a combination of services.

In general you will find a higher quality of service at these establishments and it is much more personal. Programming and offerings are cutting edge and are created around what is most effective and not what generates the most profit.

You will also tend to find a more experienced, educated, and higher quality of staff at smaller private facilities as they offer more rewards for staff members, better pay and better opportunities for career advancement.

The challenge is to find a facility that offers services and programs that are appealing to you and effective at the same time. Again, this comes down to research and research! Check out facilities in your area, talk to the staff, and talk to current members in order to ensure that it is the right place for you.

­Pros

·         Personalized services and offerings

·         The most cutting edge and modern programming available

·         More focus on service and quality than on profit, fads, and gimmicks

·         Variety of services

·         Staff that actually care about your long term success and well-being

·         Affordable for the quality of service

Cons

·         Can be more expensive than a monthly membership

·         Cannot use facilities on your own time (typically)

·         Limited options can make long term fitness difficult

Personal Training

In my opinion this is the best option available to everyone. If you have never exercised in your entire life, or if you have competed in Ironman competitions, a quality personal trainer is worth their weight in gold. The key phrase is quality.

80% of personal trainers should not be allowed to call themselves fitness professionals and should not be allowed to dispense fitness advice.  This is an unregulated industry and finding a quality and experienced trainer is very difficult. For detailed information on how to do that follow the following link to my blog about the subject. http://tayloredtraining.ca/blog/the-problems-with-personal-trainers/

The cost is not as much as many people think (Visit my blog to learn about that as well: http://tayloredtraining.ca/blog/the-cost-of-personal-training/ ).

Yes I am biased to personal training, that’s why I do it for a living. Make sure to research your trainer before signing up with them. Kingston has many facilities where quality personal trainers are available to you. Research them, interview them, talk to their other clients, check on their certifications and experience. Ensure that you have selected the right trainer for you, then sign up with them and be prepared to get blown away.

Pros

·         Program is customized to your body

·         Lack of motivation is not a problem

·         Experienced trainers can help avoid injuries and they can work around previous injuries

·         Customized diet and nutrition advice

·         Constant motivation and someone to ‘checkup on you’

·         Cut through the myths and fads and have a realistic and effective program customized for you

·         80% more effective than working out on your own

·         Vast increase in education and leaves you with the ability to train on your own after the end of the workouts

Cons

·         Cost can be prohibitive

·         Finding a good trainer can be difficult

·         Investing in a poor trainer can be a waste of money

·         Can be very addictive, you may never want to train alone again

Books, Magazines, and the Internet

This is a dangerous category. It is so easy to post on the internet that almost anyone can raise a voice, even if they have no experience of knowledge base to be able to do that. Fads and unsafe programs and diets are very, very, common and deciphering between good, science based knowledge, and cheesy unfounded programs can be very challenging.

Books and magazines are designed to sell. There are many out there that contain great advice and programs. But there are even more that play off fads and fears in an effort to make sales. And they are impaired by the fact that they have to keep advertisers happy, which can lead to a skewing of good information.

The programs and advice in these periodicals are also very generic and do not account for individuals difference and preferences. Not to mention that they cannot work around previous injuries or injuries you may develop during exercise.

Many of the programs also require a lot of equipment that can be costly to purchase. Careful, a lot of those equipment manufacturers also pay for advertising in those same publications!

How can you be sure? Anything that promises dramatic results in very limited amounts of time is suspect. If they promise easy workouts or no sweat workouts you should also be raising red flags.

Pros

·         Very cost effective

·         Convenient

·         Get advice from the top experts in the field

·         Lots of variety

Cons

·         Not tailored to your individual needs

·         Often is flashy marketing and based on driving sales, not effective long term results

·         Plays into what you want to hear not what you need to hear

·         Tough to find quality, not fads

·         Often based on equipment and supplements that are not necessary

·         Workouts are often not effective, can be boring, and rarely result in the outcome that was promised

Walking is Not a Fitness Program

I perform a lot of one on one health and fitness consultations for our corporate clients. There is one thing in particular that comes up all the time that drives me a little crazy. Walking.

 

When I am talking to someone new I need to know what their current activity consists of, what they think they should be doing from an activity perspective, and what they can see themselves pursuing for physical activity.

 

At least a few time a week I am told that the person is going to start walking or has already started walking. Even more entertaining for me is when I am told that they started walking for fitness but they no longer do. Why is that entertaining? Because this is a great example of the inability of walking as a primary exercise source to make you healthier and keep you healthy for the rest of your life!

 

Your going to start walking? When did you stop walking? Don’t you already walk all the time everyday? When you go to the kitchen, go to your car, go to the bathroom, or go pretty much anywhere else during the course of your day?

Continue reading Walking is Not a Fitness Program

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Muscle: Major Consequences for your Health

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle it is very important to truly understand some of the key difference in your muscle anatomy.

            Understanding the simple differences between the main two muscle categories will have dramatic effects on your health, body fat, energy, and overall sleep patterns. It is unfortunate that this simple explanation is not provided to more people and that the majority of health professionals tend to ignore that these classifications exist.

            In the health and fitness world most professionals spend their time promoting unachievable programs and unrealistic expectations. Many professionals including, personal trainers, doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors spend a lot of their time coercing and trying to convince their clients and patients to follow healthy diet and exercise programs without delving into the most important aspect of adherence to those programs.

            If we were to spend more time paying attention to one simple and important element that drastically affects your diet and exercise we could truly make an impact on our population’s health and fitness.

   Continue reading Voluntary vs. Involuntary Muscle: Major Consequences for your Health

Women! Stop lifting weights or you will get huge!

Here is one of those exercise myths that truly needs to stop being perpetuated.

 Looking over the past 10 decades or so there are numerous examples of truly inaccurate information that people believe wholeheartedly.

 Remember when women were told not to ride bicycles because it would prevent them from having children? How about the notion that eating fat would make you fat? (If you believe that one still you need to keep reading my posts). Eating only soup is the diet answer, the grapfruit diet, the ab roller, the thighmaster, the jiggle your fat off systems. The list is not only long but extremly comical.

Somewhere in the last 20 years women have been taught that lifting weights will make them huge, muscular, hulks with deep voices and 5 o’clock shadows. OMG, this is ridiculous.

 Female clients are always telling me that they do not want to ‘get huge’ or ‘bulky’. Even better is when they tell me that within a few weeks of lifting weights they notice such large gains in muscle size that they stop the program.

 I have a deal with all of my clients that if they ever wake up, look in the mirror and think, ‘wow, I have too much muscle and look too jacked’, I will give them $100 and free training for a year. Six years of training, ten years of dispensing advice, and I have yet to pay out on that offer.

Continue reading Women! Stop lifting weights or you will get huge!

I do not accept your excuse

What is the definition of an excuse?

Excuse = something that is offered as an explanation in order to obtain forgiveness or justify action we know is unacceptable.

    What is the key point in my definition of an excuse? It is the fact that we know that our action (or inaction) is unacceptable. Lets be honest and upfront for a moment (alright, I always am).

    Everyone knows that doing little to no physical activity is not good for them. We all know that eating processed and deep fried foods is not good for us. But we continue to do it anyway and make excuses for it. Becasue that is what an excuse is, asking for others (or ourselves) to forgive us for our actions that we KNOW we should not be partaking in.

     What are some of the most common excuses I am innundated by? By far the most common one I hear is that people do not have the time to fit in activity. This is simply not possible. Everyone I know is caught up on at least one TV show or regularly watches or reads a news source. My rule is this: if you can find the time for that you can find the time to fit in some kind of fitness activity.

    Continue reading I do not accept your excuse