Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Better Health Without Medication

There's no denying the fact that we live in a lazy society. Most people would rather see quick results with little to no effort or change to their comfortable lifestyle as possible. This can also be called complacency. Companies like to exploit or take advantage of these types of personalities with promises of "lose 10 inches in 10 days" or "lose 10 pounds and still eat the foods that you love!"

The pharmaceutical industry can be one of the biggest players in this type of game. Sure, medical science and breakthroughs have helped people live long, healthy lives with the help of medicines and treatments created by these large corporations, and this is one of the key things they like to bank on. Too many people have fallen into the scary category of "I'll just take a pill for that" mentality.

The economy is driven by "supply vs. demand", so I am not blaming big pharma entirely for this complacency in the public, but they certainly have a hand in helping people think a certain way. The notion that prescriptions and medicines are inevitable as you age is not true for everybody, but somehow this 'trick' has been played and that is how many people feel.

Let's not forget that pharmaceutical companies are big, large, corporations that make gobs of cash off of helping people. However, let us not confuse the fact that although big pharma may wish to help people, they also spend millions of dollars on research and development so you can bet that they will be wanting to recover those costs, and then some, by selling their product to you!

Every 'drug' that comes out on the market is treated like any innovation by having a patent applied to it. This allows a company to control the "ingredients" to that drug for a certain period of time. One small problem, from the point of view of the company, is that the patent timer starts ticking once the molecule or specific ingredients are concocted.

Why is this important? Well, once the patent for a drug expires, those "ingredients" are then fair game for other companies to create their own version of the drug. One of the biggest examples of this came recently when pharmaceutical company Pfizer's patent ran out on the drug Lipitor. So why then did sales from Lipitor skyrocket days before the patent ran out? (Article Here)

From the first day a patent is registered for drug, the timer is ticking for that company to make as much money as possible before time runs out on their patent and other companies have the rights to release their own "versions". At this point in time, you can believe what you will and think whichever way you would like, but I would bet to say that companies are going to do their best to get their product out to as many consumers as possible before that time runs out.

The problem with this, is that in many cases, there is not enough time to conduct long-term studies on their medications. You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist regarding this, or just pay attention to the commercials for medications on tv, and you will understand that every single drug that you put into your body will cause some sort of side effect, or create the potential for something negative to happen. By being prescribed a medication, your doctor is willing to allow the positives from the drug outweigh the negatives. Plain and simple, there are inherent risks with any drug put into your body.

So where does that bring us? Well, time and time again, we are given this list of (natural) factors that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle while staying drug free. Sure, there are other issues at play here, such as being more genetically prone to something or being dealt a bad hand of cards. But for the most part, everyone can at least benefit from the factors listed below.

1. Stop Smoking - I am always just absolutely dumbfounded by the amount of people that I still see smoking. I have tried to come to a conclusion as to why people smoke and can only come up with 2 scenarios. One, you are young and figure that smoking won't effect you until you are "older". Or two, you are willing to run the risks. Without a doubt, smoking cigarettes can and is one of the worst things you can voluntarily do to your body, hands down, so stop now if you still smoke!

2. Eat Plant Sterols - Plant sterols (found in vegetables) are a great way to lower your cholesterol naturally. Many companies are now putting plant sterols in things like margarine as well, which works great, but vegetables are still your best bet as you reap the other rewards associated with them as well. If you do buy products with plant sterols in them, look for products that have been enriched naturally with either avacado or sunflower oil.

3. Mini Trees - Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. Those veggies that look like little trees are also a great way to lower cholesterol naturally. Stock up!

4. Olive Oil - Yet another way to lower cholesterol, switch to using olive oil over other cooking oils for not only cooking but baking as well. Oliver oil is a great way to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol while maintaining high HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

5. Limit Meat and Dairy - Red meat and dairy sources have lots of fat in them (good and bad for you) but they can also be full of cholesterol. So if you are fighting high cholesterol levels as it is, try and cut back on your red meat and dairy consumption.

6. Fish Oil - So you are cutting back on meat and dairy, now what do you eat? Sub in some fish to your diet. DHA and EPA are tremendously healthy fatty acids found in fish that help combat high cholesterol. If you don't feel like eating fish all the time or can't stomach the taste, look into a good supplement instead!

7. Fiber - Soluble and insoluble fibers both play vital parts in our digestive systems as well as the rest of our bodies. Insoluble forms can come from things such as whole grains, vegetables, etc. Soluble fibers can be found in legumes (lentils, beans, etc.).

8. Exercise - The mother of them all! Regular, intense bouts of exercise time and time again have been proven to help and improve the lives of all walks of life at all ages. Get moving!

-Tyler Robbins