Health and wellness is a booming industry, but there is so much information around that it's hard to know what's right and what's not.
People are always asking me different (and sometimes ridiculous) health related questions which usually start with “apparently......”
So here I am to help with unraveling some of my favorite health myths!
HEALTH MYTH 1:
"Ah, you're a naturopath. So that means you're super into vegetarian/vegan diets?"
You'd be surprised how often I get asked this question. The answer is no - without getting deep into my mode of living (living includes the diet you eat), I do not follow a vegan or vegetarian diet as I truly believe in moderation when it comes to eating. However, we could all do with less soft drinks and processed, fast foods...
HEALTH MYTH 2:
"Eating liver is bad because it is the organ that detoxifies and is, therefore, full of toxins."
For liver lovers, have no fear, this is most certainly not the case! It IS true that the liver is an amazing detoxifying organ which constantly works to neutralize and remove toxins from your body. But this doesn't mean that the toxins stay in the liver! The toxins the liver removes from the body leave your system via urination or excretion. So, in short, you'll either pee or poop it out!
HEALTH MYTH 3:
"I'm trying to lose weight, so I should cut out all carbs, right?"
What people tend to forget is that there's a difference between CARBOHYDRATES and STARCH. What they mean actually mean is cutting out starch.
Now, this isn't going to be about how to lose weight but more on carbs vs starch. Carbs are found in a lot more things than people realize. Fruits and vegetables are classified as carbs and carbs are broken down to sugars.
Omg, Shavit, now you're telling me that carbs are sugars and sugar is bad so I'm not eating fruits or vegetables ever again!
No, this is definitely not how you should think about it. Your body uses a breakdown product called glucose for energy. When carbs are broken down in the body, they form glucose which gets used in the body to power it. Starch is a complex carbohydrate including foods like bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, oats, grains etc. So, a "classic" weight loss tip is try lower STARCHES (not carbohydrates- vegetables are way too important). However, weight loss is a lot more individualized and personalized, depending on the person.
HEALTH MYTH 4:
"I don't eat egg yolks because it will give me high cholesterol."
I'm quite surprised that this is a misconception that is still commonly accepted. Cholesterol is actually a good thing *SHOCK, HORROR, THIS CRAZY LADY SAID WHAT?!* Cholesterol is actually used to modulate toxins and inflammation in the body. Let me give you an analogy - think of cholesterol as a fire fighter and toxins and inflammation as the fire. Where there's more fire, there are (ideally) more fire fighters.
High cholesterol (not in a good way) shows there is inflammation (fire) that the body is trying to fight off by producing more cholesterol (fire fighters). Instead of jumping onto statins, take a squizzle at what you're putting into your body.
I spoke about cholesterol here! So give it a read if you want to know more.
HEALTH MYTH 5:
"What supplements should I be taking to be healthy?!"
This is quite a difficult one to answer. Unfortunately (for me as a practitioner), supplements are very easily bought over the counter. They are also marketed really well and you can identify with a lot of symptoms their products are targeted for - with promises of stronger hair and nails, alleviating your tiredness, aiding your weight loss, they aim for what everyone wants and you might not actually need that product.
There is no set outline for supplements to take to be healthy. Ideally you want to get your nutrients from food - so rather eat well before jumping into supplementation. As a naturopath, one aspect I am trained in is supplements but that doesn't mean I give them out like candy. Prescribing supplements is always done AFTER a dietary and lifestyle adjustment and the taking of supplements should come with an end-date. They are there to kickstart your body into healing and aren’t usually needed forever.
HEALTH MYTH 6:
"I'm going gluten-free because it's healthier!"
Another tricky one. If you have a problem with gluten, don't eat it. If you don't have a problem with gluten, don't worry?
A lot of people mentioned how they've lost weight and feel better when they decided to go gluten free. But what most likely happened is this - they cut out bread, cakes, pastries (which contain gluten) and probably didn't replace them with GF options because those can get really expensive. So you've cut out shitty quality wheat - because, lezbehonest, unless you've bought the wheat and milled it yourself, you've got low-quality wheat in your belly - and probably included (gluten-free) grains or more veggies to bulk up your meals. A lot of gluten-free products are made with a lot of other crap too. Sometimes the ingredients are beautiful, but sometimes they've just added other fillers which ain't doing you no good. I’d suggest having a careful read into GF ingredients!
SO unless you've got a gluten intolerance, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you don't have to be too scared of gluten. I'd be more weary of low-quality wheat which has been stripped of nutrients as is found in a lot of products here in SA.
The gluten-free saga is quite a lengthy one, so if you want to know more, let me know and I'll write a post about it!
Which myths did I miss? What “health fact” do you want fact checked by this Naturopath? All of these were negative health myths, but I’m happy to answer any question you have about nutrition, supplements, herbs etc.
If you want your general health fact checked, come see me for a personalised lifestyle assessment - pop me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org!
Yours in health,
~ Love Health & Wellness ~