I’m A Health Coach – Here Are The Health Myths I’m Sick Of Hearing
Written by: Kat Gal
The truth is that the world is sicker than ever – more people are dealing with chronic illnesses, chronic pain and weight problems. Though there are books, websites, articles and professionals in the health and nutrition field that are also wildly advancing, all the advice and information out there can often be contradicting and can easily evoke confusion and even fear.
As a Holistic Health Coach, I often receive questions from clients, friends, followers and readers about something they have read or heard about. There truly is a lot out there – but there are a few particular “facts” that many people have grown to believe are not only mythical, but also potentially harmful.
To help you, here are the most common health tips that may confuse you and are worth questioning:
1. “You need dairy for strong bones.”
I bet you’ve heard many times that milk is full of calcium and that you need it for strong bones. The dairy industry and marketers have been very successful at convincing the world that dairy is highly important for you and that otherwise you will suffer nutrient deficits and diseases.
But this is far from the truth. Milk, cheese and other dairy products are not necessary for strong bones. While the dairy consumption is among the highest in the world in North America, this is also the place for the highest rates of osteoporosis. According to studies, dairy products don’t protect against fractures at all.
While calcium is somewhat necessary for your bones, you also need magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D and vitamin K, among other minerals, for your bones and overall health.
There are much better alternatives to milk that are more bioavailable to you, more digestible, more absorbable and more environmentally friendly too.
Excellent plant-based sources of calcium include:
- Sesame Seeds (88 mg/1 oz)
- Turnip Greens (250 mg/cup)
2. “THIS diet works for everyone!”
Everyone seems to have the exact answer for you and your unique body. The government says that you should follow the FDA guidelines, while holistic health professionals point out the faults of this plan. One website tells you to eat vegan, while another one claims Paleo is the Holy Grail. Some swear by juicing, while others claim that smoothies are much better. Low-fat, high-fat, good fats, bad fats, good carbs, bad carbs, yay dairy, nay dairy and so on. It makes your head spin!
Many of them are right, yet none of them are completely right. Because the fact is, there is no one right diet for everyone.
Breastfeeding mothers need different nutrients than adolescent girls or post-menopausal women. An elite athlete needs something different than someone with a sedentary job. Runners need to eat differently than weight lifters. Men and women differ in some needs. Someone healing from cancer will have other requirements than someone with perfect health.
You have different allergies and sensitivities than others. Walnuts may be an amazing superfood, but if you are allergic to them, they are dangerous rather than good for you. Your geographical location, seasons, culture, genetic makeup and health history can all alter your personal needs as well.
The general principles of healthy nourishment are the same for everyone: real, whole, organic foods, mostly or fully plant-based, no processed foods. There really is no ‘one’ diet.
Everyone has different needs and YOU are the expert of your own body, so be your own researcher.
- Experiment with a variety of food prepared in various ways.
- Pay attention to and honor your body’s signals.
- Experiment one food and one meal at a time without changing everything right away.
- Just pick one article, one piece of advice from Fitlife.tv and give it a try for a few weeks. Then check out how it works for you. If it’s successful, keep it up! If it’s not, try something different.
If you are willing to listen your body’s signals, you will slowly figure out what is the best diet for your body.
3. “You can’t get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan.”
The world seems to be obsessed with protein. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, or even just limit your meat intake, you have probably heard concerns about your protein intake. If you have considered a plant-based diet, you have likely been worried about your protein. You’ve been told that you need animal sources to meet your protein needs. You’ve also been sold expensive protein powders to build muscles.
The truth is, you don’t need to worry about protein so much as long as you are eating a whole foods diet.
The RDA recommends 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh (0.8 g/kg). It is easy to meet your recommended protein needs if you are a vegan, vegetarian or eating mostly plant-based, as long as your calorie intake is adequate. It is necessary that you eat a varied whole foods diet throughout the day.
Excellent plant-based, complete protein sources to help your daily needs and to allow you to live worry-free include:
- Buckwheat (6 g/cup cooked)
4 “Avoid the sun – always use sunscreen.”
You’ve been told that too much sun is damaging for you. You’ve heard that unless you cover yourself with sunblock, you will get skin cancer and other diseases.
Again, this is just another myth.
You need sun – it is simply non-negotiable for your overall health and well-being. The sun is your primary source of vitamin D, which is absolutely necessary for your bone health, healthy hormone production and immune system.
Though vitamin D is found in small amounts in some foods, including certain mushrooms, some fish, egg yolks and fortified products, the sun is still the best supply of natural vitamin D.
Sunblocks and sunscreens block the absorption of the beneficial vitamin D from happening. Sunblocks do not always reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, because most of them are are full of toxic chemicals, they may actually contribute to diseases and cancer.
The good news is that you can enjoy the sun naturally while still protecting yourself from the ultraviolet radiation that is causing sunburn and wrinkles.
You can protect yourself from the sun by using the following topically:
Also consume the following:
Keep in mind that there are ALWAYS exceptions to what I’ve outlined here depending on YOUR individual needs. Just know that what works for someone else may not be the best for YOU. Get to know your body and treat it with love accordingly.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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