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Reasons Why People Should Eat Less Meat



Why People Should Eat Less Meat

Last week, I met an 11-year-old who asked me if I eat honey. He had just learned that I’m vegan, and he was curious. I, on the other hand, was amazed. When I first became vegan over 20 years ago, the questions I got were more along the lines of: What’s vegan? Do you eat chicken? You don’t drink milk, but you still eat cheese, right?

In 2017, being vegan is so common and mainstream, that even 11-year-olds in families that aren’t vegan, or even vegetarian, have more informed questions. Though the whole world isn’t going vegan, a lot more people are making the choice to cut way back on their meat consumption.

Here are some of the big reasons they’re doing it, and why you might want to eat less meat, too.



4 Reasons To Eat Less Meat

1.) Health

Why People Should Eat Less Meat

The word is out that meat consumption contributes to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Millions of Americans are affected by these conditions personally, and millions more have a loved one struggling with them.

These diseases are debilitating, expensive, and scary. But Americans are catching on that avoiding meat all together – or a lot – is a great way to significantly improve your chances of preventing such health problems.

Michael Pollan, who has done extensive research on food and eating habits around the world and is author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (among other books), advises everyone to:


“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 


Plants are filled with the vital nutrients we need to survive and thrive. They are our fuel. Making them the focus of our diet fills us with the power our bodies need everyday. Eating meat on the other hand, can fill us up before we’ve had a chance to give our body those essential nutrients.

Rip Esselstyn, a former tri-athlete and fire fighter, attributes his strength and stamina to eating exclusively plant-based foods. The health benefits were so clear in him that he was able to convince his fellow fire fighters to give it a try, and they all improved their health together.

Rip is far from the only vegan athlete. For many years, Americans have been fed the myth that meat is needed in order to be strong. But there’s now a greater awareness that it’s simply not the case. Our bodies can thrive on plants, too.

In addition to the long term benefits of a plant-based diet, it is known that contaminated meat can have extremely harmful consequences. Food-borne bacteria such as E-coli, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.

Even for those people who haven’t experienced food poisoning personally, it’s important to consider health reasons should one to decide to eat less meat.


2.) Environment

Why People Should Eat Less Meat

People used to joke about cow farts, but a lot more humans are catching on that the factory farming industry is creating A LOT of greenhouse gases. There’s data supporting that meat and dairy consumption has an enormous impact on the planet.

Forgoing a pound of beef is the equivalent of taking one car off the road. It takes 500 gallons of water to grow one pound of chicken meat. That amount could be used to make three loaves of bread or five pounds of potatoes, creating a smaller carbon footprint, while using less water and feeding more people.

And of course, it takes more land to raise crops to feed animals (which also need land), than it does to simply raise crops to feed humans. Caring about the environment may have once been thought of as something only hippies and loopy liberals did, but most people are realizing that all of our choices impact the environment – and us.

For those of us who plan to live on this Earth for many more years – and hope that our children will also be able to – why not try to eat less meat?


3.) Quality and Cruelty

Why People Should Eat Less Meat

There is a greater awareness these days that pesticides and overuse of antibiotics are detrimental to human health. But eating sprayed food isn’t the only way that pesticides enter our body. Going to the doctor isn’t the only way we consume antibiotics.

In order to meet consumer demand, animals are raised in deplorable conditions. According to the USDA, over 8.5 billion broiler chickens are raised in America each year. In order to raise that many chickens, they are kept in very, very close quarters.

Some people are bothered by the fact that the birds have their beaks cut off so that they don’t peck each other, and that their toes grow over their cages because they never get to move. But even looking at it from purely a human cost-benefit standpoint, when raised in such close quarters, animals are highly susceptible to sickness.

So they’re given antibiotics (note that this doesn’t just apply to chickens). When people eat the animals, they’re also consuming the antibiotics. Farm animals are also carriers of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Those get passed along to the humans that eat them.

Many people are now aware that restaurants are using meat glue” (transglutaminase) when serving meat. Awareness of this information, along with the exposes on the cruelty that is happening to the animals while they’re being raised for the meat or dairy industry, has turned off a lot of consumers.

It’s hard for many people to be a witness to that kind of cruelty and give it a stamp of approval by participating in the process. They find that eating factory-farmed meat is contrary to their values. So many folks decide to just eat less meat, OR switch to meat from local farmers.


4.) It’s Easy

Why People Should Eat Less Meat

In just a few decades, Americans have come to think of the abundance of eating meat in the Standard American Diet (SAD) as normal. But throughout our human history, there has never been as much meat consumption as there is now in America.

These days, the average American eats about 7,000 animals in a lifetime. But before the 20th century, most of our food came from plants. After a period of a meat-based diet, there are many foods available now for people who like the taste and texture, but want to eat less meat.

Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, even refers to his products as meat – they’re just NOT made from the meat of animals: they’re meat of plants.

But plant-based meat and dairy replacements, though in many flavors and varieties, aren’t the only way to cut back on consuming animal products. There are initiatives such as ‘Meat Out Mondays’ that can help guide beginners smoothly to a healthier lifestyle. There’s also an abundance of cookbooks offering delicious plant-based recipes.

It’s even common for food bloggers that aren’t specifically promoting a vegan diet to offer delicious meat-free recipes because the demand is there, the benefits are clear, and the flavors are extraordinary.



It isn’t just animal lovers who cutting back on meat consumption. While there are certainly vegetarians that can recognize the cuteness of a cow as easily as their adorable pet puppy, many people are giving up meat for human-centered reasons.

They want to be healthier, stronger, fitter, and live in a cleaner world. Whatever your reason is, you won’t regret your decision to eat less meat.

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6 gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie



gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

No matter what age or fitness background you are, heading to the gym can be an overwhelming – and even intimidating – task. While I’ve been coaching for nearly 15 years, and training for over 20, I can still vividly recall my first few months at the gym.

I was actually petrified of getting kicked out because I was young and didn’t know how to use much of the equipment. So I stuck to the assisted pull-up, the lat pull-down, the lateral shoulder raise, the leg extension, and the hamstring machines. I also did a few bicep and triceps exercises with the dumbbells. My thought was to lay-low and not attract any attention. I didn’t really know what I was doing!

Thankfully, a few of the gym staff members were incredibly friendly. They happily took me under their wing to teach me what they knew. This allowed me to not only feel more confident, but also to learn what was “good” and “bad” information when it came to strength training and lifting.

It’s been a long time since those first few months of feeling scared and intimidated. Every single one of us who uses the gym has been there. But with some attention and care, we each have the potential to drastically change our bodies, our lives, and our self-confidence.

Here are the top six gym tips that have helped most folks stop feeling like newbies in the gym. Hopefully, these will help you feel right at home there yourself!


Gym Tips To Stop Feeling Like a Newbie

1.) Ask for a trainer to show you how to use the equipment.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

While this may seem pretty obvious, most of us are in fact, embarrassed to ask the floor staff for gym tips, or how to use a piece of equipment. We’re afraid of sticking out like a sore thumb. But this is exactly what we need in order to quickly feel more at home in the gym – and make sure we don’t get hurt.

While some gyms have their trainers sell personal training packages, any trainer should be more than happy to show you how to use a piece of equipment properly. Be sure to either take notes, or simply ask to take a video on your smartphone during the demonstration. Aim to learn at least one new machine every time you go to the gym.

If you’re hitting the gym three days a week, this means that over the course of two months, you’ll know how to set up nearly every machine in there. By this time, you’ll understand the basics of different movements and how to perform them safely, and properly!

Some gyms even offer “orientation packages” that allow you to have a staff member or trainer help you get the most out of your time there. This helps the gym to not only have a greater chance of landing a sale, but it also drastically decreases the risk of an accident due to improper use of equipment. It’s a win-win for everyone!


2.) Hire a trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn new exercises and to check your technique.

Don’t think of a personal trainer as someone you’ll be stuck with for 30+ sessions. Most actually look for opportunities to help newbies learn proper gym tips and techniques. Why? Because they know that it’s a fantastic chance to help someone get into fitness, discover things about themselves, and get stronger and fitter!

Hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you set up a routine will not only help you stop feeling like a newbie, but also help you actually see faster results from your efforts.

One of the biggest reasons why those New Year’s Resolutions crowd tend to stop coming is because they try to take on too much, or too much of the wrong things. They get frustrated and stop showing up. Consistency is one of the biggest determiners for success – in any field – but especially in fitness!

So set yourself up for success AND have a friendly face to help keep you accountable by doing a few sessions with a personal trainer.


3.) Put together a plan.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

If you’ve noticed, each of these points build off of one another, allowing you to have the roadmap that has helped other “newbies” grow into those regulars who enjoy going to the gym as part of their regular fitness routine. This is all part of the greater plan to help you succeed – and enjoy the gym!

Putting together a plan is so simple – yet it’s something many folks don’t do. But people who have plans and are consistent with them, achieve great results in life – whether it’s in the gym, financial investing, weight loss, personal development, or anything else. Consistent actions, no matter how small, build up MASSIVE changes over time.

But in order to get there, you need a plan. Making progress in the gym is as simple as: showing up, doing the work, recover, and repeat. You can choose to follow a program you read from a magazine. Just be sure it’s a quality magazine with written programs from certified and experienced fitness professionals.

Oh, and those “Instagram Fitness Professionals” who have 40k+ followers their own “get fit like me” program for $49.99? Don’t waste your time or money. Many of these “social media influencers” usually have little to zero knowledge of how proper training works. That’s why many of their faithful followers negative side effects due to unsound training practices.

Do your homework, and find out if the individual who wrote your program (or from whom you’re buying one) has a degree in exercise science/physiology from a well-known and respected institution. Verify if they have quality certification, such as an NSCA-CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACSM-HFI, or another trusted certification.

EXPERT BONUS TIP: Learn the Fundamental 5

While I’ve helped hundreds – if not thousands – of new gym goers over the span of my career thus far, each one of them had to learn and master the “Fundamental 5” exercises. These have helped them learn how to properly strength train and move their body.

These five (5) fundamental movements are:

  • Push (e. bench press or push-ups)
  • Pull (seated rows)
  • Squat (eastern squats)
  • Hinge (dead lifts or band pull-through)
  • Press (shoulder press)

Remember: just because someone got the certification, doesn’t mean that they know what they’re talking about. It just means they have a good understanding of the basics. So do your homework. This is YOUR body we’re talking about – and you only get one!


4.) Ask questions, but be wary of “bro’s”.

While we may think that the guy who’s strolling around the gym looking like a real-life Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the woman who looks like an Instagram model, may be the best to ask about gym tips and techniques, looks can be deceiving.

Make sure that the person you’re asking has the right knowledge, and knows the appropriate considerations for your needs. It’s not just about what worked for them, or what someone else told them.


5.) Know and adhere to good gym etiquette – even when others may not.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

Good gym etiquette is essential to becoming a “good gym citizen”. I could go on and explain this, but I think I’ll let Rog Law and Mark Fisher to explain it in a more visual and fun way in this video (*warning: adult language).


6.) Sign up for a few group classes to help you meet people, and learn different exercises!

Group classes are a fantastic way to meet fellow gym goers and speed up your learning curve. Many gyms offer a variety of classes: from Pilates, yoga, TRX (Total Resistance eXercise), and weight training, you can find a class setting to help you learn a few new exercises to include in your own practice. Not to mention that you’ll have a great time!


The gym can be a fantastic place to get in shape and change how you feel about yourself. It can also help you realize that you’re capable of far more than you ever thought possible. But in order to get there, you must be consistent and regular in your training. You must understand and learn what is good from bad advice.

The gym is for everyone – especially you. We were all beginners at one time or another. Ask questions, take notes, and keep a training journal. These gym tips will help you not only to get more comfortable, but also allow you to improve your training over the weeks, months, or even years ahead on your fitness journey.

Have fun, and enjoy!

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4 Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat When You’re Stressed



Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

It’s a given that as you go through life, you’re going to come into stress regularly. The question is: how are you going to deal with it? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably built a habit of turning to food and/or TV/streaming shows when you get stressed.

But you’ve had enough! You’re ready to change. You realize that exercise is a fantastic outlet; but you’re not sure how to change your habit from eating to working out. I’m happy to tell you that it all boils down to four simple steps that you could take TODAY!

In his book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg talks about how many people use this excuse: “impossible to change, it’s just who I am”. However, it’s not too difficult to change a habit – as long as you understand the reasons behind them.

How does one do this?

With these four little workout motivation tips, you’ll begin to re-wire yourself to reach for your gym clothes instead of food when you get upset. Here’s how.


4 Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

1.) Recognize the routine.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Researchers at MIT discovered a basic neurological loop at the very center of every habit. This neurological loop has three parts:

  • the cue (stress)
  • a routine (grab the food)
  • the reward (eating)

While we can’t change the cue, we CAN change the routine and the reward. It just takes a little bit of thought and effort.


2.) Change how you look at the reward.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

In the case of finding workout motivation, the reward from exercise is actually far stronger than the reward from eating!

When we exercise, we are changing our physiology by upping the hormone levels in our bodies. Just the simple act of heading out the door for a walk, or hitting the weights at the gym, has a FAR stronger positive reward to our body and mind than grabbing food.

The key is to GET STARTED in changing how you look at the reward for the habit.


3.) Before you head for food, pause.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Pause and write down the first three things that come to mind. I know what you’re thinking: has this dude lost his mind? What does writing down what I’m thinking have to do with workout motivation?


These three things can be anything that comes to mind: emotions, thoughts on how you’re feeling, songs by your favorite musician, or random things. For example, right now my thoughts would be: cute puppy, coffee, and happy.

Now once you’ve written down these three things, sit down (somewhere not near the food) and set an alarm for 15 minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself if you still feel like eating.

This mental exercise may seem silly, but it actually does a number of things for us:

  • It allows us to become aware of what we are thinking and feeling.
  • This snaps us into momentary awareness.
  • The 15 minutes helps us to figure out if you’re really hungry, or you just need to move (9 times out of 10, we need to exercise!).


4.) Put on your walking shoes.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Or grab your gym bag/jump rope/TRX, or whatever, and get started on your exercise!

If you’re stressed in the middle of work and you can’t leave to go to the gym, then simply take a walk around the park, or head to the stairs and walk up and down for 3-5 minutes. Then come back to your desk.

Don’t put it off. Begin the new reward right away! NOW is the time to get started on exercise and drastically change your “automatic habit”.

Just those 3-5 minutes can help reduce the hormonal stress response of the body, allowing you to blunt the negative impact enough. This is until you can leave after work for a longer walk, or head to the gym/park to get moving – instead of moving to the couch with a bag of chips.


Final Words

Don’t be fooled! While these workout motivation tips are simple, they can be challenging to do consistently – and consistency is the key to success!

Write yourself a sticky note or a reminder in your phone. Be sure to read it twice each day: once in the morning and again in the evening. This is to remind yourself that you are changing your habit of how you respond when you’re upset. This little daily reminder can make big waves on your journey to a NEW habit.

Finding your workout motivation can have an absolutely MASSIVE positive impact on many aspects of your life!

Having worked as the Exercise Physiologist for a Bariatric Surgery Group, as well as a cycling, running, and triathlon coach, I have both helped and seen first-hand the incredible transformation that many folks have made happen by changing their habit.

From 400lbs down to 205lbs and running a half marathon, or going from 265lbs down to 195lbs and racing bicycles, you too can accomplish incredible positive results. This not only changes how you deal with stress, but also begins an incredible body and life-changing transformation.

Become a no-holds-barred champion, kick stress in the butt, and be a sharper, healthier, more confident version of yourself. Finding your workout motivation can knock down that first “tough” domino and get your momentum going to unleash your full potential to the world, and unlock your ability to accomplish goals and aspirations.

I’ve seen it many times before and the results are spectacular. What are you waiting for?

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