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Why I Laugh When People Tell Me to Avoid 'Carbs'

11/02/2013 01:11 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

I never take myself too seriously in this fitness game. It's about health, and it's about making memories, it's not about the perfect body or losing weight. Exercise for the ideal magazine body image is a dangerous road to travel, it's addictive to get leaner and leaner. Healthy living brings about your healthy body. It's a shame that a certain look is the media's definition of health.

Once in a while, I can be convinced to play around and take my shirt off, the ends have to justify the means. I did a photo shoot with Manuel Sousa in Winnipeg. It was all part of the launch of MPG's fall fashion line, I was in the show and proceeds from the event went to benefit Team Diabetes.

This is from the photo shoot before the show... it's to make a point. Healthy living keeps the body looking fit.

simple story about a healthy country boy and his truck - there really is something about a truck

I eat carbs not refined sugar. I eat ancient grains, and avoid genetically modified wheat products. Most of my protein choices during the day are legume sources, and night I mix chicken, fish and beef up as I go. I never miss breakfast, and that breakfast never comes from a box. I use supplements as supplements, it's the added extra to make sure I eat good food. It allows me to use science to my benefit. I eat vegetables that are local if possible and I eat them raw. My food rarely has sauce on it, and treats are just that, treats. I still eat junk foods, and I enjoy them immensely. Chocolate, pizza, pop, licorice, chips, I love food. However, I plan my meals so that those things are not part of my daily routine.

There you have it, some basic secrets that seem to be evading people. I eat this way so my body has energy, with that energy I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, and live actively. My goal is simple, live to make memories.

The first common misconception is the avoidance of "carbs". I laugh because I usually get told that by someone who's eating a salad with peppers, spinach, and various other vegetables (There are 4.5 grams of carbs in 100 grams of bell peppers, 7 grams in broccoli). Your body needs carbohydrates. It's what fuels your body for movement, and it is the only fuel that the brain can use to function. What you don't need is simple refined sugar. That white powder that North America is addicted to, that's what you can avoid.

Fun fact of the day, sugar has 0 nutrient value. When you introduce refined sugar to the body, it has to be broken down and used. Getting your "sugars" from fruits and vegetables means they come with nutrients. The nutrients that come with the sugar break it down, and the excess is then stored in the body for use in other functions. Most of the bodies essential functions have a link to vitamin and minerals. So when you eat refined sugar, you leech or take away vitamins from other functions in the body. When you eat vegetables the sugars your body absorbs for energy also add to the vitamin and mineral content of the body. Make sense why refined sugar is bad? It just takes from the body, very little return to the system. Imagine if that sugar is leeching vitamins from the brain, or cardiovascular system? No wonder we have disease on the rise. It isn't the "carbs" it is the refined sugar.

This leads me to the new obsession of the gluten free lifestyle, it has taken off with a huge boom. It's important to note that this is something to consult a registered dietitian about. In most cases, gluten sensitives can be traced back to over eating certain products and an imbalance in the diet. This paragraph is not to battle for or against a gluten free diet. My diet is very close to gluten free just because of the choices I make. This is simply to say that your selection, if you chose to eat grains, needs to be based on the latest info. Avoid genetically modified products, and over processed foods. If it comes in a box, you probably don't want to eat it regularly. Look to eat foods like quinoa, couscous, and bulgar wheat. They are the ancient grains, the body can absorb a lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrition from them.

Quinoa has 7 grams of fiber, and 25 per cent of B6 and Iron and 49 per cent of your daily intake of magnesium. Pure Quinoa is also gluten free for those who do suffer from gluten intolerance.

If you have questions about the gluten free lifestyle, sit down with a registered dietitian and have it explained to you. You need a variety of foods in your diet to make sure you are fuelled properly.

Let's talk vegetables. We are all adults here, so we know they are good for us. The best way to get them is raw. So why as adults looking to be healthy do we cook, steam, boil, whatever our vegetables and then add cream sauce, cheese sauce or honey glaze to them? Now, I'm not saying as a treat every once in a while you can't add to your cooked carrots, or asparagus. I'm talking your regular week. Day to day, make sure your vegetables are local, fresh and on their own. It's the way nature intended and the best way for your body to digest them. It's the most beneficial way you can eat. Only in the "First World" do we complain about taste of easily accessed nutrient rich food. The sauces we put on our food are empty calories. Those calories add up quick. Let's be adults, and just eat our vegetables.

The point of the article was supposed to be that you can do this. I'm not the most ripped person in the fitness industry, but I'm very fit. My diet is not perfect, but it's carefully planned and it makes me happy! I actually sat down with a RD years ago and have built healthy habits, from the advice that suits me. I strive to take care of my health so I can travel, make memories and walk into a room with confidence. So far, it's all paying off.

My next post will be about my big trip coming at the end of November. I'm going to live with "No Regrets" and join Contiki Tours on the Ultimate Thai Adventure. It's something I want more people to do, get out and see the world. You can't if you are not healthy. I'm prepping to go, try kickboxing, hike, and to touch sandy beach I can. It's time for North America to get healthy, energetic and start living full lives.

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