Before I discuss this topic, I want to clarify couple of things with reference to fitness and nutrition:
We need to understand, that there is a difference between nutrition & fitness for general population, health & longevity; & competitive sports. Less than less than 1% of overall population plays professional sports.
Therefore, when we talk about nutrition or fitness or any other aspect related to health, the target population must be clear.
Sports nutrition and training is extreme, and is purely to do with performance, not health and longevity. It’s to do with achievement in their sports, by whatever means possible. Andover 99% of the people in the world cannot and should not be going to that extreme. In most cases, such extreme practices are detrimental to health.
We are going to take into consideration the fitness and nutrition aspect for the entire population, not sportsmen.
Till almost 18yrs of age, I had hardly travelled. I actually never got the chance. But by then I had done couple of treks in the Himalayas, which became so memorable that I still cherish those times. But then Air Force happened, and in the next decade or so, I virtually travelled the entire country. Eventually abroad too. But this literally changed my outlook towards life.
Travelling is the best way to broaden your horizons. It’s the best way to get out of the ‘frog in a well’ mentality. A frog inside the well starts thinking that, the well is the entire world, and there is nothing outside it. It’s perspective and overall thinking gets limited to the walls of the well, and light coming from above, till one day, when it jumps out and explores the outside world, and finds that there is an entire unexplored universe out there, and how tiny his thinking had been for all these years.
The same happens with people who haven’t seen anything beyond their day to day lives. We as human beings are not born to just go through life and die one day. We are made to grow through life, and explore the unknown. That’s why, hundreds of explorers, over centuries, took the risk and showed the courage to explore the undiscovered corners of the world, and eventually united the entire world.
When we discuss about health and fitness, we need to understand that, people, over the years, have developed a very narrow way of thinking. First, major issue is what we discussed above, i.e. people get confused with eating and exercise for health & longevity, and for sports performance. And, the entire world eats for health & longevity.
Now, when you travel, you will see & meet people from various cultures, traditions, living in different regions of the world. Their eating pattern and lifestyle is so diverse and involves so much history, that’s it’s virtually impossible to explore it all. A simple dish can be made in thousands of ways, different households, because of the use of different methods of cooking, and the different ingredients used.
For e.g. if we want to cook potato, can you even guess, how many types of potato dishes are relished around the world? Every country, every state, every city & town, and every house in that town will have a different way of cooking potatoes. The end dish will taste absolutely different, in different households, despite of the fact that the base ingredient is potato.
That’s how diverse and beautiful the world is. Now, imagine a dietician or trainer, prescribing a diet to their clients, totally devoid of taste, variety and absolutely alien to their culture, traditions and taste buds.
Imagine a trainer forcing an Indian client to consume keto diet, GM or Blood Group diet, not because its needed, but because its trending, and it will show short-term & temporary, but a bit faster results. Imagine the amount of stress on the clients mind, especially when they are already under massive pressure from various other aspects of their lives, be it financial, family or work, or may be an illness of a family member, or a disease they are themselves suffering from.
That’s one reason, I question so many so-called nutritionists and trainers, on the basis of the diet they prescribe or recommend to their clients. Not one single person has ever been able to answer those questions, because they don’t have an answer. The amazing world of fitness & nutrition has been bought to a level where its plagued with confusion and chaos. The sole motive for most of these individuals, who are responsible for such clients, is pure profits.
Now let me ask you couple of questions, which in turn you should ask your dietician or trainer, to light their brains up a bit:
- There are thousands of traditions and cultures around the world, and millions of ways to consume and eat food. Please tell me which cultural way of eating, can you term as bad?
Mind you, I am talking about cultural & traditional way of eating, not industrial foods or processed packaged foods in the market.
- If all the cultures have their diverse way of eating and consuming foods, then, population of which culture is sick or obese, or suffering from lifestyle diseases, because they are consuming their traditional foods? Are Japanese unhealthy, or are Koreans & Chinese Obese, or are Indians sick? Are Americans obese, Europeans sick, or Australians dying more?
- If the answer for the above question is NO, then why the hell suddenly most dieticians and fitness coaches, alienated themselves from traditional way of eating, and prescribing the most weirdest and blandest of the foods to their clients?
Why chicken breast and not whole chicken or chicken broth? Why egg whites and not whole eggs? Why tofu and not paneer or vice versa? Why brown bread and not roti? Why gluten free? Why keto? Why broccoli and not all vegetables?
- Now, when it comes to fitness, how do people around the world train or remain fit? Is everyone following single body part bodybuilding workouts? Most importantly, how do you define fitness? Is the aim or goal of every individual same, when it comes to fitness?
That’s why I tell people that if you want to learn the real meaning of fitness and nutrition, then travel. See, how the world’s healthiest and longest living people stay and live. How they eat, how they work, and how they have a happy and positive attitude towards life.
Nutrition books teach you everything about nutrition science, but no one book can ever teach you the way the world consumes food. People who are trying to follow extremely scientific way of eating, by calculating every single calorie they put in their mouths, are the most miserable & unhappy people.
Not that calorie counting is an issue. It’s a great way to get a hang of the quantity of food consumed. But in the long run, you can’t live every moment of your life with a calculator in hand.
Travel and see how food is the pleasure of life and how it gives satisfaction and happiness to the people who relish it. Travel and see, why calorie counting is always approximate, never accurate, as there are millions of different ways to prepare food.
People who advice their clients to carry a weight machine everywhere to measure food, and a calculator to count calories wherever they go, have only studied formulas, but never understood nutrition or eating as a whole.
I always say one thing, and I will say it again: fitness is a part of life, and not the entire life, unless your aim is specific like being a competitive sportsmen. if you cannot follow a diet for life, and not enjoying what you are eating, then you are just on a short adventure.