Even though the majority of the Healthy Living How To readers are female, today's blog post, written by my special guest, Brad Shepherd from Fooduciary, is for men. Well, not just for men, but rather written from the male perspective. Ladies, if you have men in your life who balk at the idea of eating real food, then perhaps you can share this post with them.
Real Men Eat Real Food
Three years ago I joined my wife on an elimination diet that was to be a pivotal moment in both of our lives. My wife had hit a brick wall attempting to deal with an autoimmune condition with conventional medicine practitioners. When we were beyond our last hope, and last clue, a string of “coincidences” lead us to the office of a functional medicine doctor whose insight into nutrition and alternative approaches changed everything for the better.
Beyond the amazement of my wife's health improvements, another observation stuck out to me during that process. When I'd go with her to her appointments I couldn't help but notice I rarely saw another male in the waiting rooms. In fact, more than once during a conversation with another patient, we'd hear stories about how the patient's husband was very resistant to the wife making changes to her eating habits and would directly try to sabotage her attempts to eat healthier, going as far as scattering around the house her old favorite junk foods that would be hard for her to resist. Others told of their husbands openly mocking their new food choices and taunting them with stupid phrases like, “doesn’t this cookie look good…betcha wish you could eat one don’t you.” Seriously.
When I made the transition to a real food lifestyle, relationships with my buddies were tested by the fact that I no longer ate or drank anything with questionable ingredients, refined grains, sugar, or conventional meat and dairy. Raising my standards lead to comments about being picky or that I was eating “chick” food. The guys couldn't believe I cared so much about what I was eating.
Here's a message for all you guys out there who refuse to give up your garbage food of Doritos and Five Guys burgers.
Real men care about what they eat.
And here’s why.
A man's traditional role is to be a leader and a protector and to provide for the health and security of his family. When you're presented with knowledge of a better way to do something, anything, and then ignore that knowledge, you've failed at your duties.
I spent a few years in the life insurance and financial planning field where I had repeated exposure to how thick-headed guys can be. With a wife and a child at home, they'd be out in the work place working their tails off to provide and to create a comfortable life for their families. But of course almost none of us at that stage have a savings account that would last beyond a funeral, if even that, if something awful were to happen.
Yet when presented with the fact they could spend in the low double digits each month and make sure their family would receive plenty of money if something did happen, more often than not, there would be a shrugging of the shoulders and a comment of, “I'm healthy. I don't need that.”
What does that have to do with food and how we eat? Everything.
The chance of a man dying while his kids are young is very low. That's why life insurance is so cheap. There is a higher likelihood of becoming sick or disabled. And what are the leading disabilities that prevent men from working? Heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes…all diseases that are tied to lifestyle decisions about how you take care of your body, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle habits.
In my line of work now, the corporate wellness industry, I get to see firsthand the resistance of guys to change when they're given opportunities to do so. When an employer offers their employees the opportunity to do a free exercise class during lunch, come to a presentation on nutrition or a program to end tobacco use, who shows up? It ain't the guys. Sure, a few sometimes come, but they're always outnumbered by their female colleagues.
Earlier this year, while working with one of our partners, who has a blood screening test that can give accurate projections on the likelihood of having a cardiac event (stroke or heart attack), they found one mildly overweight man who showed advanced signs of distress in his arteries. They counseled this man to make a number of changes quickly, telling him he had the power within his daily food and activity choices to significantly lower the likelihood of having a major cardiac event.
He simply refused.
He was not willing to make changes to his habits. Within 90 days he had a heart attack and died. He was 39. Left behind a wife and two young children. A tragedy made even more heartbreaking by the fact that he turned his back on a chance to change.
Guys, it's time to step up.
You might already be going out for a run a couple of times a week or maybe you spend a few hours a week at the gym. That’s great. But the truth is, you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet. Exercise is good, but what you eat has more impact on your lifelong health than anything else, including the genes you got from mom and dad.
Refusing to read the ingredient list and to understand the consequences of those ingredients – in your post workout meal, the greasy lunch places you go with your work buddies, or the snacks you insist your wife bring home from the grocery store – you're neglecting your duty to be strong and healthy for your family and to do everything in your power to provide for them.
Go spend that measly twenty bucks a month to get life insurance for your family in case something crazy happens. For the extreme likelihood that you'll be around for many decades to come, take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family and be a leader, not a burden.
Granted, reading ingredient lists and learning about food might not be as exciting as cars and video games for some people. But I'm not talking about fun and excitement. I'm talking about responsibility. You owe it to your family to make better food choices. Real men eat real food.
To help others make a gentle transition to healthy eating, check out my introductory guide called Five Days to Clean Eating.
About the Author
Brad Shepherd is the co-creator of Fooduciary.com. Through Fooduciary, Brad and his wife, Kelli, teach others how food impacts their health not just today but in the future. He is inspired daily by hearing of readers embrace a healthy lifestyle and helping those with similar questions that he once had, the best part being when someone realizes the power they have over their own health outcomes.
Copyright © 2013 Brad Shepherd, Fooduciary
This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.