SPEAKING FOR TEDX BRATISLAVA

There’s no better time to get this blog finally going than right now, on the tail end of my TED talk.  

A week on and finally, I can put into words how it was: tremendously humbling, exhilerating, nerve wrecking, and of course, inspiring. If ever you have the opportunity to attend a TED conference, please go. Even if I hadn’t been a speaker, having been in the “TED atmosphere,” was purely magical. 

The video hasn’t been posted as yet, but many have been asking what I spoke about so, without further ado, here’s a sneak peak.  

My topic: REAL FOOD-Shaping More Than Just Bodies
1-  My story. Why, of all things, I spoke about FOOD
2-  REAL FOOD: What is it, what is it not?
3-  Obesity & Fat, (Carbs, Hormones), **Fat vs Thin: “..the lucky bastards who can eat anything and not gain an ounze!”  (accidentally left out of speech
4–  Disease
5-  Revolution
6-  Full Circle

1- MY STORY
I was only 13 when someone close to me called me “chubby,” which kicked off my unhealthy relationship with food. That was over two decades ago. 

I needed to lose weight so I did what most people do today. I started to eat less and exercise more, because that’s what you do when you need to lose weight, right? (WRONG!!)


Soon after I started my “dieting,” I decided to become a vegetarian because eating meat causes one to gain fat. (An idea that is under much contraversy to this very day). 

In no time, I was obsessed with exercise (3-5x/day) and eating very little, which led me to anorexia,
consuming maybe a few fruits a day with a glass of milk. Of course, not eating took it’s toll on me, and all I could think of was food. Eventually, I gave in and eat absolutely everything in sight (refined carbohydrates with little nutrients), and vomit it all out, otherwise known as bulimia.

I was totally in despair, clinically depressed, self-loathing, suicidal, and I was a “class A asshole!” The vicious cycle of anorexia and bulimia lasted until I pulled myself out at around 15 years old. The damage, however, on my body and mind, had already been done.  Despite the fact that I no longer had an “eating disorder,” I was far from healthy, eating alot of what I thought was healthy, a diet high in carbohydrates. 

Vegetarianism came to an abrupt halt at the age of 23, a decade after I chose that path.  I was in hospital for something or other and after having run some blood tests, a nurse returned and offered me two choices:

“Kid, you can either go home and eat a big steak, or you can start having blood transfusions.”

(Please note that I am not saying that vegetarianism is wrong-it just wasn’t right for me).


I chose the former, throwing vegetarianism to the curb. Good health, however, still wasn’t on my side. That only came two years ago, when I understood that if I wanted to truely be heathly I had to figure out what was healthy for me, which brings me to “real food.”

2-REAL FOOD
So what exactly is real food? Simple:
Real food is that which used to breath, or that which grew from the earth. Period.


What isn’t real food:

That which has been produced/processed/highly refined/made by man….ie: oreo cookies, flavored water, snacks (touted as being healthy), childrens breakfast cereals, nutella…. 

 The difference?

                    
                      REAL FOOD                                                          FOOD “ITEMS”
         -high in nutrients and energy-                                  -high  in energy, low in nutrients-

    Meat, fish, (proteins) vegetables, fruit,             cookies, “healthy” snacks (oatmeal/protein bars)
            (good carbohydrates)                             flavored water, children’s breakfast cereals….etc
                                                                                                (bad carbohydrates)
The problem: we are more consistently eating  “food items” as opposed to real food, and we are seeing the effects of such throughout the whole world, with a global obesity epidemic in full swing.

3-OBESITY
For the sake of ease, in my talk, I described obesity as:  “fat times alot.”
My question to you: How on earth is it possible that so many parts of the world are afflicted by obesity when for the last 30 years we’ve been eating “low-fat” everything?  You think that might be a problem?  That much of what  we’re eating is “low-fat” and man made? Remember earlier, I mentioned that I stopped eating fat because everything I’d heard and seen in media, or government health publications taught me that eating less fat was the way to good health, and fat-loss? What if that’s a load of crap?

Removing fat from food means it’s in a less natural state, and also means it’s gone through a process (one of many!), of altering the “food.” What happenes when you take fat out of food? It doesn’t taste as good, so what do food manufacturers do? They add sugar, among a host of other (addictive) items that keep us going back for more. I understand this is very “nutshell,” and will extrapolate further in an upcoming post.

From low-fat to high sugar.  What’s the big deal there, you ask?  Insulin
For the moment, all you need to know is that Inuslin is a hormone produced by our bodies, which promotes fat storage.  

Author of “Why We Get Fat,” Gary Taubes, says it best: 
(Bad) “Carbohydrates drive insulin which drives fat.”
So what do you do if you don’t want to get fat or lose it?  You control your intake of bad carbs.

World Renowned Strength Coach, Charles Poliquin, takes hormones a step further, stating that where you store your fat is indicative of hormonal imbalances, in his BioSignature Modulation Program.  For example, a woman who tends to store fat predominantly in her lower body, would have an issue with the hormone “estrogen”, whilst a man, who carries most of his fat in his belly, is facing an issue with his stress hormone “cortisol.” What does that mean? Fix the hormonal imbalances and shed that fat.

Why all this talk about fat though? Should we not be embracing ourselves exactly as we are?! 

Of course we ought to embrace and accept ourselves for who and what we are, but folks, look, it is in our best interest to shed fat for many reasons, “toxins” being one of them. 

Toxins are stored in our fat cells, and the more fat you carry, the more toxic you are. Being toxic increases your chances at falling ill to any number of diseases. So losing fat is not all about vanity, and how we look, it’s much deeper than that. 

**What about those “lucky bastards” who can eat whatever they fancy and not gain an ounze?”  Let me put this simply. They may not be as lucky as they seem…If the crappy food you’re eating is not showing up on your exterior, there’s a good chance, it’s reaking havoc internally. Do not be fooled with the illusion of good health, just because you are not getting fat. I hate to be pessimistic, but disease is lurking somewhere…

4-  DISEASE
A few weeks back, I wrote to my father, asking him how many friends he had at my age (35) who had a life threatening disease or even died. His response: NONE.


I know (directly or indirectly), of 8 people afflicted with something or other, which affects their quality of living. Half of those people have or have had a brain tumor with the other half, having various ailments. 

After telling me that doctors can’t figure out what’s going wrong, based on the symptoms, my first question is always, “what is your diet like?” Followed by “what did you eat for breakfast?”  

Is it of any surprise that none of these people are eating REAL FOOD, consistently?  Why don’t doctors jump on this? This actually boggles my mind…Which leads me to share an important fact with you:
Nutrient Therapy is ILLEGAL in many parts of the world. 

Do you suppose that money has anything to do with that? I have read, seen and heard many cases, where real food has cured diseases. Diseases which we otherwise believe are irreversible. Yes, I just wrote that. In her TED talk, see how Dr. Terry Wahls cured herself of Multiple Sclerosis (an autoimmune disorder), after spending years getting nowhere with the best doctors in the country, and offering little hope.


Please don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking doctors.  In fact, just weeks ago, I was saved from a potentially fatal situation when an experiment I was conducting went very wrong. Having read much about intermittent fasting, I thought I would try it, due to the health benefits of it (one of many experiments). I never expected to land in emergency, but I did, having drank around 7L of water//tea, (practically drowning myself),  leading to Hyponatremia,

I understand that I’ve been slammed for this, by at least one blogger, which I fully take that on board. Do I think it was careless and idiotic?  Absolutely not. The purpose of me telling the story was to make a point. The point was that WE have to be the masters of ourselves. WE must take onus of our bodies, to help doctors help us. I walked into emergency with a page and a half of notes of EVERYTHING that I experienced in the hours I was doing my water fast. I had noted times of bowel movements, down to colour, size, smell..etc, and certainly it was helpful. Allow me to reiterate: let’s help doctors help us.

5-FOOD REVOLUTION
So how do we do this? How do we start a food revolution? I’m not talking about burning down grocery stores which carry predominantly “food items.” Or to blow up food “producers/manufacturers. Surely that is not the answer. 

On the very heals of Jamie Oliver, one of my modern day heroes, I’m talking about a quiet revolution, one which starts in YOUR head. In fact, don’t do anything as yet, accept to think about FOOD and how it’s shaping your life, then talk to others, your partner, children, and ever so slowly start to make changes. Perhaps visiting a local fresh market once a month.

Jamie Oliver is out there fighting for our children’s physical and mental well-being, let’s help him. Start to educate yourself, learn how to read ingredient labels on food, that, for example, when you see sugar listed as one of the first items, you’re getting a heck of a lot of it! Educate yourself and share your knowledge with as many people who are interested, and they’ll do the same…a quiet revolution

My next step is to visit local Slovak farmer and another modern day hero of mine:  Mr. Jan Slinsky, who spoke for TEDx a couple of years ago.  Mr. Slinsky has developed a way to produce organic whole foods via his “Agrocircle,” method, for a fraction of the price and he wants to share his simple method with us so we can in turn share too…A quiet revolution-let’s help him help us.


6-FULL CIRCLE 359-360°
The theme of this year’s TEDx Bratislava was 359°. In closing, I wish to take you one degree further with me.
Over the course of 22 years, I went from a place of hate, despair, insecurity to coming around full circle, 360°, being at peace with who and what I am. I attribute this to whole and real food, for nourishing my body and mind, to set me free. I wish the same for you; treat yourselves like gold, through REAL food. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.
Finally, feed your body, to
feed your mind, to
feed your spirit,
and you too can make your dreams come true.

Keep it real.

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