I get asked all the time what are my main principles or advice on how to obtain optimal health. It is a little harder than it seems, as it is different for every person. What I have done is put together what I consider to be the 5 pillars of optimal health. These are not all encompassing or perfect for everyone, but I do think most people who follow these will not only greatly improve their overall health, but their life as well.
During my younger years I was very physically active and managed to maintain a healthy weight, despite consuming a terribly unhealthy diet. However, since most of us move less as we age, adjustments to diet must be made to avoid disease, illness, pain, and depression. In other words, proper nutrition must ultimately be addressed to avoid an unhappy and unhealthy you in the teenage years and beyond.
Even though your upbringing is just one factor that may play a role in your current physical condition, there seems to be other major contributors to the increasingly heftier and unhealthier American population. How so?
If you want to become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine, the goal is to achieve a ketogenic state. When you’re in a ketogenic state, you’re producing ketones, an alternative fuel for the body created when glucose is in short supply. Ketones are made in the liver from the breakdown of fats.
Most people never get down to burning fat because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is heavy in carbohydrates (a diet high in carbs means you store more fat and cannot readily access that fat for fuel). So they end up only burning carbs, not fat. When you eliminate high carbohydrate foods by implementing a ketogenic diet (for example, Paleo and Primal foods), your body starts to use the glucose stores in your muscles. When those glucose stores run low, fat released from your fat cells travel through the blood to reach the liver, where they are processed into ketone bodies for your body to use as fuel. The ketone units then circulate back into the blood stream and are picked up by the muscle and other tissues to fuel your body’s metabolism. You literally become a fat-burning machine.
10 great ways to boost your metabolism!
1) Act like a caveman. By adopting a Paleo diet, which includes a good deal of protein. [Scroll down to the interview in this post for the definition and specifics of Paleo.] Digesting protein burns more calories than fat or carbs. So increasing your intake of protein increases lean body mass. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller, longer than carbs, so you can eat less and still be satisfied.
2) Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Water is essential for our bodies to work effectively. Dehydration triggers the body into conservation mode, which leads to a slowdown in metabolism. There’s another reason to reach for that extra glass of water: When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to eat more than when you’re sufficiently hydrated. The body often mistakes thirst for hunger.
3) Pack on the pounds (of muscle). A pound of muscle burns 6 calories a day to sustain itself versus the 2 calories burned by a pound of fat. So 20 pounds of muscle will burn 120 calories a day, while 20 pounds of fat will only burn 40 calories. An 80-calorie difference that works for you long after your workout.
Dr. Mark Smith was an integral part of the original research conducted by Dr. Loren Cordain, the creator and author of “The Paleo Diet.” During this interview Dr. Smith and I discuss what the Paleo diet truly consist of, and answer a lot of questions regarding the confusion of what the Paleo Diet represents in today’s health world.