Meal Frequency & Health

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With intermittent fasting on the rise once again, the question of meal frequency is rearing it’s myth-covered head.

How often should I be eating?

How many meals should I eat each day?

Won’t more meals speed up my metabolism?

Should I be eating breakfast?

Is it bad to eat before bed?

Shouldn’t I consume at least 20 grams of protein every two hours?

Is it ok to go more than 2-3 hours without food?

First off, yes. Your body, as a rule of thumb, can go about two weeks without food. So, yes, it’s okay to go hungry for a few hours.

Meal frequency is a hot topic in the fitness & nutrition industry right now. And along with it comes meal timing, so we’ll cover both today.

After reading through this article, you’ll have the knowledge and tools to design your own meal schedule, allowing you to work efficiently, train intensely, sleep better, and live an awesome life in general.

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The Problem with Food Acceptance

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I’m calling it the Food Acceptance Movement. If you search for the hashtag on Instagram, you won’t find much, so I’ll explain it here. The Food Acceptance Movement is this new-fangled (look at me – 27 going on 87) idea that there are no bad foods, only bad habits.

The last few years or so have been comprised of fitness experts all over the interweb showcasing themselves chowing down on Pop-Tarts & ice cream, giant beers & wine. Sometimes, it’s a ploy to sell some online book about IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Other times, it’s just meant to push readers a little more toward moderation instead of deprivation.

But lately, I’ve seen quite a few of these same fitness experts backing down from these posts, opting instead for posts that exhibit their true nutrition habits.

Even I’m guilty of it. I’m sure our own members could quote me as saying, “There are no bad foods, only bad habits.” Probably verbatim.

But it’s way more complicated than that.

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How Much Does Health Cost?

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With health insurance premiums on a steady incline (up about nine-fold since 1960), American families are spending more than they ever have on healthcare.

As we stand right in the middle of open enrollment for 2018, the average unsubsidized individual is paying north of $300 per month for health insurance. Families are paying around $1,000. But that doesn’t include their respective $4,000 and $8,000 deductibles. And while these numbers might make you cringe, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Most folks don’t ever reach their deductible. Many people and families are subsidized. So while it’s not uncommon to pay these prices, not everyone does.

Plus, the younger you are, the less preventable many of the costs become. Most 20-somethings aren’t spending their deductibles on cholesterol medications.

But the picture becomes quite clear when we examine the statistics of Medicare.

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Vegan vs. Plant-based: Which One is for You?

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As pro-vegan documentaries continue to permeate your Netflix cue at an ever-rapid pace, this article might be more important than ever (but still less important than it will be by the time I’m done writing this post).

When we built the Josh Mavilia Fitness Pyramid of Nutritional Illustriousness, one of the foundational elements that we included was “plant-based.”

Along with drinking water and stocking your refrigerator and cabinets with minimally-processed food items, we felt that eating mostly plants was an important component of a well-rounded nutritional approach.

Plant-based dieting doesn’t mean you avoid eating animals. It doesn’t mean that you avoid eating animal products like cheese or eggs. It doesn’t mean that you need to buy veggie burgers and other frozen plant-based American foods (like fake meat). Being plant-based simply means that you majority of your food intake comes from plants and plant-based foods.

This is different from being vegan.

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“Tom Brady Doesn’t Eat Tomatoes”: A Book Review

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I was skeptical at first. I downloaded the book at 6:15 in the morning in the middle of a group session so that we could have a team discussion about the contents.

We’d heard all the speculation:

“Tom Brady doesn’t eat tomatoes.”

“Tom Brady’s kids only eat sushi.”

“Tom Brady only works on his flexibility with bands.”

Announcers, radio talk show hosts, the internet – everyone was trying to make heads or tails of Tom Brady’s training regimen before this book came out. And when the rumors are basically being crowd-sourced by a gaggle of non-fitness professionals, things start to sound a little bit weird.

So, thank God this book came out. Although Tom might be a partial frontman for what seems to be, at times, Alex’s thoughts, the book is great.

I love it.

At least that’s what I thought at first.

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Myth Busting: Intermittent Fasting

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As with many diet fads, intermittent fasting (IF) comes and goes. It picks up steam within certain communities and then gradually falls off as another fad comes along and presents itself as the better alternative.

I’ve seen a lot of information about intermittent fasting around the internet lately, so I figured I’d take a second to debunk some popular myths regarding this dietary strategy.

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What The Health Indeed

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If you’ve been on the internet for even three seconds lately, especially on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen videos and commentary from a documentary entitled What The Health. From the doc’s website,

What the Health is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick.

What The Health is a surprising, and at times hilarious, investigative documentary that will be an eye-opener for everyone concerned about our nation’s health and how big business influences it.

Actually, a pretty good description. It doesn’t claim itself to be vegan, vegetarian, or cow-hugging. And it was created by the same people that created the documentary Cowspiracy, a film that investigates the effects of animal agriculture on our environment’s health.

What The Health takes a different approach, mostly concerned with animal and animal product consumption by humans as a chief influencer of our health and our nation’s biggest health concerns.

After a brief Google search, I was unable to find any film reviews by any of my impartial fitness colleagues, so I took some notes and want to share what I found.

For the record, I am in strong agreement that animal agriculture is affecting our environmental health in a similar fashion to other industries like transportation. But What The Health is about human health, so let’s go. (And also for the record, this review will contain not only evaluations of facts, but also critique of the way in which those facts were presented. Presentation is, of course, the key to getting into the mind of the viewer and it’s important to present facts with integrity.)

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