I recently read one of my favourite health & fitness books – and I’ve read lots of them. The book was written by University of Alberta health law professor, Timothy Caulfield, and is entitled “The Cure for Everything!”.
Timothy Caulfield takes a step back from the distorted messages we often receive from scientific research, media, the pharmaceutical industry and food companies about what makes us healthy. Some simple truths are revealed.
Timothy spent a year looking at popular health topics and fitness crazes. Think colon cleansing, genetic testing, yoga, naturopathic medicine, weight loss fads and you get the picture. He even went as far as hiring a Hollywood trainer to the stars to see what those hunks on the big screen are actually doing to get that elusive 6-pack.
So what is the recipe to optimization your health?
“The Cure for Everything!” has the answers – answers that are supported by solid scientific research. The book tackles a serious issue, but does so in a lighthearted and humorous manner.
Healthynomics would like to thank Timothy for his time and for donating two of his books to giveaway!
Keep reading to see how you can win a copy of Timothy’s new book, “The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness”.
What were your biggest surprises in researching / writing this book?
Timothy Caulfield: Most were surprises about myself. How fat I was. How many calories I consumed. How inappropriately huge my portion sizes were. And, even, how tall (read: short) I am! We all delude ourselves a bit. But, to my surprise, I deluded myself A LOT.
I have always been a fitness fanatic, consistently working out 5-6 days a week. But, as you know, in order to lose or maintain weight, it is really all about eating a healthy diet.
You have 20 minutes in your busy day to allocate to fitness – what’s your workout?
TC: Great question. Everyone struggles to find the time to workout. In fact, public opinion research tells us that “no time” is the number one reason why people don’t workout. But a good workout can be done quickly. We need both aerobic and strength training. So, here are two awesome, quick, workouts that I believe are supported by solid research.
Intense intervals. This can be done on a bike, treadmill or an elliptical machine. Whatever you prefer. Warm up for five minutes, do some range of motion movements (e.g., body weight squats and lunges) and then do the following:
- 30 seconds hard + 30 seconds easy x 3 (the last effort should be really tough)
- Do the whole set three times, with an easy one minute effort between each set
Intense resistance training. Work the big muscle groups and do everything in a circuit. After a quick warm up (similar to above) start with a squats/chin up/plank set.
Next do a bench/lunge/v-snap set. If you do each set three times, that should be about 20 minutes.
Your book’s overarching message, at least to me, is that living a healthier lifestyle is not rocket science. We basically need to eat less and exercise more. What makes this so hard?
TC: That is the book’s key message. But this simple truth is twisted by a range of social forces, including corporate interests, ideologically driven beliefs in a particular approach to health and, of course, our own perceptions (see answer #1!).
These are powerful forces, largely because they often play on our biological needs and desires (food and sex!).
Throughout the book I give examples of where and how this happens. Hopefully this will help readers navigate through all the baloney about health and fitness that permeates our culture.
Bogus health claims are everywhere. With hugely influential marketing techniques and rich pharmaceutical companies hiding the truths to optimized health, how do we all stand a chance?
TC: It is tough, especially since much of the information is twisted as soon as it leaves the laboratory. However, there are many great independent sources of scientific information – like the Cochrane Collaboration – that provide lay summaries.
More important, the basics of a health lifestyle have been known for a long time. In general, you can ignore most of the noise about health and fitness. Keep it simple. And be a skeptic!
A good friend wants to lose weight – what are your top 3 tips for them?
TC: It is all about calories. So, my first tip is to keep a diet diary for a week. Most of us don’t need many calories (sorry) and a diary gives you a sense of how much and what you actually consume in a day (I was shocked!). Second, eat small portions. For me, this was key. My dinners were crazy huge. And third, avoid the junk and eat loads of fruits and vegetables – about 50% of your daily intake.
It’s no secret that childhood obesity is skyrocketing. Statistics Canada says about one-in-four Canadian school-aged children are overweight. What do you think needs to happen to fight this epidemic?
TC: This is a phenomenally challenging and complex social issue. There are no simple answers. We need to use a variety of policy and educational tools, including, but not limited to, banning advertising to children, removing junk food from schools and public spaces, providing more education about nutrition, utilizing primary health care providers and increasing access healthy food options.
Unfortunately, the data about the effectiveness of these kinds of strategies is mixed. However, I am hopeful that a comprehensive approach will, in the long run, make a real difference.
What are you favorite fitness / health resources?
TC: Google, especially Google Scholar. I don’t access just one website (though there are many great blogs, like this one!), magazine or Twitter feed.
We live in the information era. I think people should dig around and find a variety of sources. The key is to look for information that is science based and independent (i.e. not connected to a corporate agenda or a particular ideologically-informed approach to health).
As an academic, I have easy access to a range of great research databases, but I find that a straight-ahead Google search often finds the most useful stuff.
Win a copy of the book!
Entering is easy.
Simply subscribe to Healthynomics updates below. We’ll choose two subscribers at random to win a free copy of the book.
The contest closes at 5 PM EDT on Friday, March 30, 2012. Good luck!
What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment below.