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The great con.

 – Ryan Monastra is a Physiotherapist and Director at Back in Action.

If you’ve followed my writing the past couple of episodes, I’ve been talking about four of the keys to a long and healthy life. The first two are a positive mindset, and high levels of physical activity. Today I want to talk about the great con. The great con is that which we’ve been sold by a myriad of retailers over a sustained period of time. The great con is that it’s difficult, and expensive to eat healthy food. You see the third key thing that will give you a long and healthy life is a balanced diet that is high in plant based food.

The diet industry in the US alone is worth into many billions of dollars, the UK is no different, and here in good old NZ we’re taking our place among the most overweight of nations. However did we get here? For the record, it’s not as simple as calories in versus calories out, if it were, dieting would be pretty simple. And human physiology is anything but simple. But the end point of advice, graciously, is simple. Eat real food. The kind your grandmother would recognise as food. If it doesn’t come in a packet, chances are its ok. If it does, you’re dancing with the food technology wizards.

The reality of human existence is we tend to spread a little as we get older, it doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-millionaire with enough cash to afford a full time paid dietician and chef, various exercise professionals to keep you in shape and all the time needed to eat the right food, get the right sleep, and do the right exercise. The research shows overwhelmingly – as do countless examples in our celebrity obsessed culture – that with the passage of time, most of us gain a few kgs.

You know the reality is that in terms of mortality risk – the fit but heavy person does better than the unfit, but light person. So if you’re one of those blessed with a constitution that retains the same weight from adolescence to the grave, you don’t get away with being lazy. Equally if you’re in the heavy frame club, don’t despair – there is good evidence that the work you put into eating well and exercising regularly pays dividends – the dividend is in life expectancy – more of it, and more quality of it.

So my message to you is simple – eat real food – chances are if it will (bio)degrade if it sits on your bench for more than a few days, then it’s probably pretty good for you. And the more colours, the better – especially the purple ones. If you’re struggling for tips – try googling ‘whole food diet’ and see how you go – if not seek out a local dietician who can answer your questions. We have the amazing Mrs Sarah Percy on our team if your appetite is whet!

You’re welcome to give her a call!
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