Today I want to talk about a recent phenomenon occurring at our raw vegan food truck, the Open Source Truck at 1600 N. Vine, in Hollywood. As of late we have noticed more people asking about the calorie content of our menu. We’re getting anywhere from 3-5 people a day asking how many calories are in our smoothies. When we first started the business just a few months ago no one ever asked about calories.
I’m not sure what happened, perhaps Dr. Oz or some other mainstream guru or television personality said counting calories is a good thing. I don’t know what caused the sudden increase in customers asking about calories but it’s definitely noticeable.
Since so many people have been asking about calories it inspired me to do a little research into the whole phenomenon itself. The whole idea of counting calories, to me actually seems odd. After doing a little of my own research I found that counting calories causes more harm than good. Now that I’ve been doing my homework, I’m confident in saying, if you use counting calories as a means to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, it is not a long term solution and may quite possibly end up making your situation worse.
There are several reasons I’ve found indicating that counting calories is an overused and outdated means to losing weight and keeping it off. I’d like to share some of what I’ve found and open up the discussion.
5 Reasons Counting Calories Fails
1.) It’s Not About Dieting: Losing weight and getting healthy have absolutely nothing to do with dieting, counting calories or obsessing over food. What has worked for Brother Echo and a growing number of people is coming to the realization that dieting does not work. If a person is at all serious and intimately involved in their health they will agree and testify, dieting does not work rather it’s all about a conscious change in lifestyle.
What we mean by a conscious change in lifestyle is an overall overhaul of a persons idea of what food is, what nutrition is and a shift in consciousness that puts said person in a place of accountability and action. There are a thousand different “fad diets” out there and a million so called “health gurus”, so one must navigate this landscape carefully. Yes some people need assistance and guidance but what is of primary importance and concern is that a person is 100% committed to his or herself and has come to the realization that he or she is ultimately accountable and responsible for his or her own health.
2.) The Math Doesn’t Add Up: When you find yourself having to add and subtract the calorie content of food items you begin to start categorizing foods into groups they may not necessarily belong to. For example it makes absolutely no sense to group a vegan superfood smoothie that has 200 calories in the same group as a burrito, french fries or a cheeseburger that has the same calorie content. Although it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever many people insist that counting calories is healthy and sustainable when if fact it is unhealthy, unsustainable and a fast track to a failed diet.
3.) Unnatural and Stressful: Counting calories is not a natural way of going about your daily life, in fact it is quite stressful and cumbersome. When a person has to add and subtract the calorie content of every food item it no longer becomes a natural human function rather a robotic chore and nobody likes doing chores. If a person consistently does something that they are not truly passionate about and in addition it causes stress in ones life, you can bet that method or way of living will eventually fail 100% of the time.
4.) Too Many Carbohydrates & Processed Foods: When a person adopts the method of counting calories you can guarantee the majority of people are eating way more carbohydrates than normal and processed foods. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram which is low when compared to food with fat, fat having 9 calories per gram.
A persons food intake needs to be balance with carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, fruits, vegetable, legumes, seeds, etc. When a person is counting carbs they naturally start leaning on processed foods with lower carbohydrates because that way they can eat more. At the end of the day the body is out of balance and has had to work extremely hard to digest and make sense out of all those processed “food like substances”. It’s plain and simple, counting carbs does not work, eating living food in their natural state does.
5.) Compromised Immune System: Yes that’s right counting calories can weaken and deplete your immune system and here’s how. As we stated above people counting calories tend to eat far more carbohydrates than normal and mostly processed foods. Since the person is eating mostly carbs to stay under their daily carb limit they are excluding fat.
Excluding fat weakens immune system because you are not getting enough fat for healthy cell maintenance. Each one of our billions of cells need fat to thrive, cutting fat out of a persons daily meal plan will take a major toll on the persons body at a cellular level. For instance each of our nerve cells has a protective casing of myelin which is fat. This fat helps the cells send messages so we can speak, function and move about the world. What is really interesting is that that brain has a very high fat content, so it’s a NO BRAINER, we must keep fat in our daily meal plans. It’s all about balance.
I’d just like to appeal to anyone who may be reading this and thinking about starting to count calories. I would recommend you take another path to wellness because I can pretty much guarantee, you will fall short of your goal, which I hope is to have an optimized mind, body and spirit.
There will be some naysayers that swear by calorie counting and that ‘s fine. If counting calories seems to be working for you and like the results, more power to you. In my experience and from what I have researched counting calories is an outdated method that even Weight Watchers the biggest and most popular weight loss program in the world stopped using.
Eat living foods, exercise, meditate and take ownership of your body and I guarantee that you will be 100% satisfied with the results if you are truly clear about your goals and committed to your health and well being.