Importance of food for health and performance


Staying healthy and fit appears to be more complicated than it should be. Even though there are many factors involved, not too many people understand the power of food in healing and performance. The majority of people don’t realize how important food choices are for their health even though they all know that health is critical to performance. They don’t correlate what they eat to how sick they have become and that with better decisions they would thrive in health and energy.

According to the science, approximately 70% of deaths in North America and about 65% in the entire world are directly connected to the lifestyle and the food that we eat. Experts estimate that almost all diseases are entirely preventable by diet and lifestyle changes, up to 90% for type-2 diabetes, over 80% for heart disease, and at least 60–70% for cancers. People who already have the disease can stop it and even reverse it by eating less and excluding all processed foods.

The evolution of “real” food into processed food has been the biggest disaster in our health history and completely detrimental to our health. The food industries take healthy food, from which they remove everything that has nutritional value and all the natural flavors that we like such as sugar, fat, and salt in their natural form. Instead, they add a mixture of chemical junk to make the foods look better. Then they add large doses of chemically processed sugar, fat, and salt that are scientifically created to reach the bliss point, to make them taste even more addicting. This nutritionally empty and highly addictive, calorie-laden junk food is the worst thing that has happened to our health.

There is no justification for anybody to eat this way. We have the possibilities and resources to eat fresh, nutritious food, but we need to re-learn how to eat in the ways in which our grandparents used to eat. We need to educate ourselves as to what is best for us and not just blindly trust the medical system and doctors, unless they are experts in nutrition and longevity. Only a very few medical professionals are trained in nutrition, but hopefully this will change soon, because we do have a medical crisis. Our medical system is set up to treat people’s symptoms with drugs and surgeries. While this can be useful at times, it is not useful for treating chronic disease and creating lifelong health. People need to change their lifestyle by exercising more, eating less, and choosing nutritious foods.

The fast food and junk food industries sponsor many of the national food campaigns. Just because you see tempting foods on TV doesn’t mean that they are good for you. It is difficult to know what is healthy for us and what is not because we are constantly bombarded with wrong and often contradicting messages. Ultimately, it is on us to educate ourselves and find the truth. You have taken the first step by picking up this book, and hopefully it will deliver more understanding of your new nutrition lifestyle, improved health, longevity, and maximum athletic performance.

Often you hear that eating bad foods, fried foods, or processed foods is okay as long as you do it in moderation. This message only feeds your emotions and your fears. It delivers what you want to hear because in the beginning it feels scary to think that you “will never eat that pizza again.” These fears make you dislike every message that suggests that eating meat and dairy is bad for you. You would rather hear that moderation is okay. Moderation is not okay. Moderation kills. Fried processed foods are bad for you and every meal that you eat including these items is making your health worse. Seventy percent of the population is dying from diseases that are results of eating these foods. There is no moderation in being dead. It may seem harsh, but that is the message that we need to hear over and over to take this matter seriously, because it is extremely serious.

Smoking was enormously popular up until the mid 60s (in 1964, the United States Surgeon General’s report on Smoking and Health came out, suggesting a link between smoking and cancer), and nobody believed it could be bad, because the cigarette companies were denying any health risks. We fought, and we won. This will eventually happen with our food supply. More medical professionals, dieticians, and other health care professionals are aware of the critical situation of our food system and the medical crisis. They are starting to spread the words of awareness. It will take some time, but it has begun and we all can do our part in the development that is for the best for all of us, including our health, happiness, and longevity. As a great side effect, we will get a better environment, less animal cruelty, and better economy. All these issues are intimately interlaced.

Plant-based athlete on the tennis court, strong and lean

Good health for maximum performance

For an athlete, good health is the most important prerequisite to maximum performance. Without a healthy body, you will never achieve your athletic potential.

We all like to eat and feel good, but we also want to be fit and healthy, and athletes want to perform at their best and win. Nutrition, more than ever, plays an important role in our well-being and in athletic performance. People and athletes search for different styles of eating to improve health and performance. Some styles may deliver quick results, but they don’t last long. One simple and effective way that also makes you feel great is eating plants.

Whole foods plant-based nutrition is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle, a pleasurable way of living life, filling you with boundless energy and a sense of well-being. If you have any physical challenges or illness, you will notice that your body will start healing and recovering. If you need to lose some weight, you will drop the pounds almost in front of your eyes. If you already feel healthy, you will find more energy, restful sleep, and increased performance in your sport or in your life.

What is the healthiest way of living while focusing on performance and sports, taking in consideration the modern lifestyle that we live? What do we need to do to jump off the train of this modern lifestyle that is killing us prematurely?

“Simple” is the secret.

Healthy longevity and maximum performance is not an easy combination, but I have found an astonishingly simple solution: go back to the basics. Put aside the convenience of the modern lifestyle, look at what our grandparents were doing and adopt as much of it as possible:

1) Eat food as close to its natural state as possible: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.

2) Prepare your food on your own so you have control over what you put into your body.

3) Get rid of all unhealthy non-necessities such as microwave ovens and bake, steam, or cook your foods instead. Even better, eat them raw.

    If you would like to learn more about the power of the plant-based lifestyle and how to simply transition into it and simultaneously feel and look great, get yourself a copy of  “The Athlete’s Simple Guide to a Plant-Based Lifestyle: How to Easily Improve Your Health, Performance, and Longevity.” Feel free to email me if you still have  any unanswered questions, anytime.

    And remember, even if you don’t want to become plant-based, adding just a little bit more vegetables and fruits into your diet will make a big, positive difference!

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    About Suzanna McGee

    A former Ms. Natural Olympia Bodybuilding champion, currently performance coach, injury prevention specialist, plant-based nutrition coach, author, speaker and raw vegan athlete. Loves to help others by sharing her knowledge, and to hang out with her favorite chocolate Labrador Zuzi. Find Suzanna on , Facebook and Amazon.