I first started to develop my passion for nutrition when I was in college. I took my first nutrition class while attending the University of North Dakota. As an athlete I realized that I had no clue about nutrition and that my high school and college coaches knew even less than me. I know from personal experience how we fuel our body has a major impact on how we look, feel and perform better.
When I was in high school I was one of the top hurdlers in the state of North Dakota. My goal was to win the state championship in the 110 meter high hurdles as a senior. I had bulked up over the off season because I was dedicating more time in the weight room to getting stronger for football. As I came into the track season my coaches told me I was too big to compete at a high level and they told me to cut some weight. They gave me no guidance on how to lose the weight and I had no idea where to even start.
At the time, I figured the best way to lose weight was just to restrict calories. Instead of eating a normal lunch, I would have a diet coke and a small bag of chips. It worked, from a weight loss perspective, but it was a disaster on the track. Running the hurdles is very precise and it got so bad I couldn’t even finish a race because my muscle coordination was off. As the track season progressed I just got worse. My coaches couldn’t figure it out. They thought I was overtraining.
As I look back now, my poor performance was 100% due to the inadequate nutrition I was putting into my body. This was my first exposure to how fueling my body can make a huge difference not only in performance, but also in my health.
I have become a student of nutrition and have been learning more and more about how we can live our best life through what we fuel our body with. As I continue to learn more about nutrition, the more passionate I become because I know good nutrition can solve the majority of the health problems our world faces. In fact, I have become so passionate about nutrition, I often times am labeled as a health nut because of the way I eat.
It’s not unusual for people to ostracize me for what I choose to eat or choose not to eat. It has been something I have had to deal with for over 20 years. Instead of encouraging and supporting people who take good care of their health with ideal nutrition and regular exercise, people label them as health nuts and disparage them for being extreme.
So here is a question I want to ask you. Who really is the nut? I am the nut for wanting to put foods into my body that makes me feel good? Am I the nut because I choose to love to eat foods that will love me back? Or is a person a nut because they choose to eat foods that make them sick, have type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and forfeit their health because of a toxic diet. Eating processed and fast foods causes physical and mental sickness. Look at the world around us and how sick we have become. I think that is nuts. Your health is your life.
So if being healthy means that I am nuts, than I will wear that label proudly. So if you are wondering if you qualify as a health nut. Here are 10 ways to know if you are a health nut.
· You eat kale and broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner
· You know what seitan, tempeh and kombucha is
· You get goose bumps when you walk into a health food store
· You think eating processed foods should be a punishable crime
· Your fridge is 90% fruits and vegetables
· At dinner parties you show up with gluten free crackers and homemade hummus
· Get up every morning at 4:30 to make sure you have time to work out.
· You would rather stick your hand in your blender than eat fast food
· It takes hours to grocery shop because you read every label before you buy it.
· You spend as much money on food as you do your mortgage.
· When you are stressed you emotionally eat broccoli.
Obviously, you don’t have to be that extreme to be healthy. All you really have to do is toss the junk food out of your kitchen and replace it with real whole foods. You need to find a way to run, bike, swim or lift weights. Just move and sweat every day.
I don’t know about you guys, but I love to feel good. Here are some of the benefits of being a health nut:
· I rarely if ever get tired
· I maintain a healthy body weight
· I get by on less sleep and have tons of energy
· I have excellent mental clarity and focus
· I have a sense of well-being and fulfillment
· Eating healthy makes me feel invincible
· Improves digestion and improves my quality of sleep
· Makes me feel good
· It makes me happy.
The choice is yours. Come join me as a health nut. You will truly discover what real health looks and feels like. You will realize how good your body is supposed to feel. We must be the change we want to see in the world. By changing the way you eat and exercise you will achieve the health and body of your dreams. Come on, let’s get nuts!
Troy Ismir, MS
Health Coach and Personal Trainer