As it is Father’s Day, I wanted to take this time to say how much I appreciate men. We grew up in the country, so I was surrounded by strong, hard working guys, especially my dad. He was always working on some old muscle car, helping me with my horses, and fixing anything and everything that broke around the house. And now I have my husband, who can go from cooking and cleaning to changing the car’s oil and lifting weights all in the same day.
I have personally always been fascinated how different men and women are, from reading books in school, to writing a paper about it in college. Learning about men and how their brains work was so mysterious, like learning about some new rare breed that was just discovered. I loved the idea of them being strong protectors, dedicated workers, and their need for adventure.
Masculinity seems to be under attack lately, and I think it is a shame. Telling men that women and men are the same, and that they need to be more feminine seems to be the same to me as taking a wild animal and putting in a cage, telling it to be domesticated. I know many will disagree with me here, but this is my personal opinion. I believe men should be allowed to dream and build and work with their hands and be active and to discover. I believe that little boys should be able to go outside and run and play and get dirty.
On this same topic, I have seen a trend of health moving solely to women, that is, unless you are selling protein powder or muscle enhancers. Men don’t seem as eager to admit when something is wrong, especially when it involves their health and their body. The biggest place I feel like this has had an effect is on the mind, which in turn has an effect on the body. We have this culture of men working for money, sitting behind a desk doing something they hate, never being physically active, under constant stress, and their bodies slowly failing them. This leads to weight gain, fatigue, diseases, midlife crisis, depression, and sometimes even suicide.
So here are just a few suggestions for the men out there, from a woman who appreciates the heck out of you.
-Eat Like You Care
For most men, a functioning body is their life. Whether it is for work, or a personal goal to get physically fit, or to just be able to run around with your kids or grandkids, men need their bodies to function properly. Keep in mind that whatever you eat is literally fueling that body of yours, so eat like you care. Above all, take care of your heart. Heart disease is a processed foods disease, so go for real, home-cooked food and stay away from things in boxes or cans. And don’t be afraid of a few vegetables here or there.
Yes! Eat meat! Animal products provide tons of nutrients, good fats, and muscle-building protein. But be picky! Any meat that you eat should be pasture-raised or grass-fed, as animals hold toxins in their fat. You don’t want to be eating toxins, such as antibiotics and growth hormones. Animals that eat an unnatural diet produce unnatural, unhealthy meat. Look first for pasture-raised meat, or at least grass-fed. Buying from a local farmer or butcher is a great thing too.
I don’t have time to explain how the how low-fat craze has contributed to the massive increase in heart disease and cancer, but I will link a few articles below if you want to read more into it yourself. Fat is an essential component of every single cell in the body. It makes up strong cell membranes, provides high quality energy to the heart, and makes up the majority of the brain, making it vital for mental health and cardiovascular health. Just like meat, quality matters with fats. Cook with unrefined virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butter, lard, tallow, or duck fat. Drizzle olive oil over a salad or veggies. Eat some wild-caught fish, especially salmon and cod. If that is not doable, go buy a good quality fish oil supplement.
Good fats (and cholesterol) are required also for hormone production, so they are necessary to produce testosterone. What man doesn’t want healthy testosterone levels? Other hormones produced from cholesterol contribute also to stress management and endorphins (the feel good hormone). They are also needed for the anti-inflammatory responses in the body. Excess inflammation can be the root of almost any ailment: heart disease, memory loss, stroke, joint pain, back pain, migraines, and so on. Omega-3’s are very good at working out excess inflammation in the body. Fish and pasture-based meat are great sources of omega-3’s.
-Get Some Sun
Most men are stuck inside all day at work, then jump in the car, just to drive home. They rarely see the sun. Sunshine (as well as animal products) is a natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an active factor in almost every function in the body, but it is very important for mood and emotion. Low Vitamin D can lead to depression. So go mow the yard or lay in the hammock. Just go outside.
Men have a natural drive to be physical, whether it is working out or working with your hands. Any type of movement can be beneficial. It gets the blood flowing, moves the lymph fluid (for getting rid of toxins), and is a fantastic mood enhancer. Go for a run, join a gym, walk the dog, climb a tree, wrestle your brother, whatever works for you.
-Do What You Love
I understand that not everyone can do what they love and get paid doing it. If you are stuck in a job you hate, just make the best of it. Learn how to maybe separate work and home, leave the stress there. Find something outside of work that makes you feel alive. That could be just spending more time with friends or family, picking up a hobby, or joining some kind of group that gets you out of the house and around people. It is very easy to get in a routine and never stop to do what you like to do. Don’t let the stress of the every day rob you of your passions.
-Let Yourself Be Happy
Obviously men are not usually as ‘in touch’ with themselves and their needs and emotions as women, but the only way that your live will change for the better is when you realize that you need to change something. If you have health concerns, don’t hide them and hope they go away. Do something so you can move toward a more exciting, happy, fulfilled life.
Fat + Cholesterol Resources:
photo: Travis Warren