Thoughts on Carbs And Meat

Nutrition is an extremely vital role to our health, and dare I say the most important. Even more so than fitness. For many of my clients that have cerebral palsy and are not as mobile as someone like myself. Nutrition becomes a huge part of their journey, why? Because what we find our bodies determines not only what we see in a physical sense, but also how we feel in our minds.   Some people don’t even think about that, because the food they consume (for them) becomes about feeling good in the moment.

We can see this time in again, in shows such as my 600 pound life. Food is a drug to help them cope with trauma. And so not only do that need to be taught how to eat properly, but they need a new relationship with food.  The problem is, the nutrition world has become as divisive as anything else in this world. There’s the low carb community- keto, carnivore etc., then we have the vegans and vegetarians, and so much. And they all believe that their way of eating is the best.

All the various groups can sometimes get very nasty with one another, and all the more it becomes very confusing. When I was doing carnivore for 2 years, my body and mind felt amazing. My body was lean, joint pain was almost zero and mental clarity was at an all time high. My perception though, of carbs and plants was honestly rather skewed, my thinking was that they were both bad one hundred percent of the time.

And while it’s true that not all carbs are not created equal, in the same vein of thinking not all plants are as healthy. On the carb spectrum, when people think about carbs what do we normally think of? Breads, pastas etc. First we have to be honest about what bread and pasta actually do. For many, bread and pasta are quick spark of energy and even release a lot of the feel good chemicals in our brains. Thus, we keep coming back to them as a means to stay in a elevated state. The same can be said about all types of candy as well, for some people that quick surge of energy might be good. Say for example if a person is a distance runner or one that has a long workout ahead of them. I like to think about these types of carbs like that of a wave in the ocean, it goes up quickly and crashes all the same. And while these types of carbs might be okay once and awhile or even in smaller portions. What I believe is most important, is consuming carb sources that promote a sustained energy. One that doesn’t come with such a heavy crash.

These can range from:

Berries

Broccoli

Kale

Egg plant

Green beans

Avocado

Spinach

And… many of these are high in protein too! As you can see, I don’t think that carbs are the most evil food source in the universe. However, I believe it’s the type and amount of which we consume them.             

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In regards to consuming protein on a daily basis, it is no secret that I’m a big advocate of eating meat. This is not a knock on people who choose to being plant based, but only to say that if a person wants a great source of protein every day, its going to come from meat, especially steak. Now in saying that, the most normal reaction is going to be: “But it causes cancer!” But wait.. does it really? Or have we been led to believe all this time a rather big lie? Consider this response by Kris Kresser: https://chriskresser.com/red-meat-cancer-again-will-it-ever-stop/ in this article he says “ the association between red meat and cancer is not strong (i.e. comparing bacon to cigarettes is absurd), and in fact is often not distinguishable from chance. If red meat really did cause cancer, you’d expect to see a linear (continuous) increase in cancer rates as red meat consumption increased. But that’s not what we see in many cases. In fact, in some studies you actually see a decrease in cancer rates in the people who ate the most red meat”.  

As I said above, I firmly believe that we have been lied to for so long about the realities of eating meat. Obviously, if a person doesn’t desire to consume it then they shouldn’t have to. But we have to understand that consuming red meat is not this wickedly evil source of food. In all actuality it could very well be seen as a super food. It can have up to 26 grams of protein and 7.6 grams of fat (which is good for your brain). Now, does a person have to consume it every day? No, not unless you actual try and carnivore approach. A person could do very well consuming eggs, fish and so one. Once again, however, red meat should not be seen as the enemy to health. The nutrition world needs to stop demonizing various elements of food and nutrition and more importantly each other.   

Depression and Stubborn Hope

I’m going to try and express what living with depression feels like, and the battle that wages violently in my mind. I have long wanted to open my chest up and share the grappling match that takes place from within. My aim here is not sympathy, but rather to be candid not only for my own personal reasons but to help others as well. As that has always been my biggest goal in this life. Many times the depression that I experience inside, is like that of what person being attacked by a group of people. Completely outnumbered, and all I can do is cover up to guard myself even a little bit from the heavy blows. Often, there is a smile on my face, but that often is a mechanism to not show what’s truly going on. I’ve been smiling my whole life, so in some ways it’s my default. I’ve learned and sadly so, not to open up because then I won’t have to deal with the responses of others. People of faith have told me (over the years) that my faith is weak if I wrestle with depression, and if I go down the spiritual check list, everything should be just peachy. Little do they know how harmful statements like that are. Or “you have a good life, what could you possibly feel depressed about?”

With that line of thinking, its okay for everyone else to have bouts with depression and despair-just not me? It only makes me want to close myself off all the more. It’s painfully lonely when you feel so stuck in life, you keep spinning your wheels and feel as though you aren’t going anywhere . Similar to being stuck at the back of the line always. Often, it feels like I’m paralyzed on the inside and can’t move. And yet, each and every day, I get out of my bed and do what I’m supposed to. The dark enemy in my mind says “you better get comfy, because this is all your life will ever be, because you’ve blown it too much to get better.” And as many times as I have attempted to drive out the dark enemy, all I want to do is curl up under and blanket and not move.

A few days ago I was listening to a man, who deeply depressed, and so to attempt to get the pain to stop. He jumped off a bridge in San Francisco, by the grace of God he survived, but what he said struck me. He said that as he was falling off the bride, he instantly regretted the choice he made. He said that many people don’t want to die, they only want the pain to stop. And you know what? He’s exactly right, I have had many dark nights of the soul, I have even spent days in a hospital, and I can attribute myself resolve to stay in the fight, to God gracing me with a stubborn hope. Anne Lamott says

““Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”


Going back to the analogy of being beat up by a group of people, after the beating, I lay there for a while. But eventually I find the strength to get back up. It reminds me when Neo fights the agent in one of the final scene, Neo is getting his ass handed to him, the agent thinks that he has completed his task at finally shutting neo down. And yet Neo gets back up again, the agent in a state of disbelief wonders what’s in Neo that helps him get back up. Why!? Why do you persist!?

I persist because in the depths of who I am, I know that there is something else on the darkness. In spite of such paralyzing heaviness. Christ has given me himself and he alone is my anchor in life. And even he got back up after the worst suffering imaginable. The other night, a friend reminded me that depression is not my true identity. That being a beloved child of God is, that is my truest self. As we walk, crawl and drag ourselves through the heaviness , know that you were never meant to carry your pain alone. You can cast all your pain upon Christ because he cares for you. I’m reminded of the line, in the foot poem “when you see only one pair of foot prints, it was then that he carried you.”

I don’t know when the pain will end- or that it will even stop. But I can tell you, that it is worth it, getting up each time you feel destroyed by life’s current. You never know what life could turn out to be.

Why I Became A Health Coach

Our health and well-being is one of the most amazing gifts that humanity has been blessed with. Many of us have the ability to breath, move and provide for ourselves and those around us. It would be difficult to imagine life, not being able to walk up a flight of stairs, run to catch at bus or taxi (depending on where one lives), lift a heavy object off the ground or even leap in the air to the highest ability. We go to the gym on a weekly basis, perform our favorite routines and exercises, never thinking about what life might be like if we got injured in some way, how would we adapt? Would we have the mental, emotional and even spiritual faculties to not only endure what has happened to us, but also adapt to the circumstances? My name is Brandon Ryan, and for the past five years, I have been an online health coach, with certifications in personal training and nutrition.
My niche or scope of practice, focused directly on the adaptive community, primarily those with varying degrees of cerebral palsy. Though I do also work with abled bodied clients as well. Why did I choose to work this specific population of clients? Because I myself have cerebral palsy. Being born with cerebral palsy, might parents fought to get me to gain the weight needed to survive and grow, in the name of shattering the narrative that doctors laid before them. Which wasn’t good or inspiring to say the least. They told my parents that I’d never be able to do anything for myself and be dependent on others for care the entirety of my life. That’s a very stark reality to set before anyone. Yet my parents made the choice to fight, which required more mental and emotional resolve than anything else.
Mental and emotional resolve to endure the handful of surgeries that I went through as a child. My mom always told me about how she would run to the bathroom to vomit, while my first operation took place. Which was on my spine. Other surgeries were on the lower half of my body. My dad would have to lift me from my wheel-chair to the bed, and from the bed to my wheelchair and from my wheel chair to the toilet and back. He would also drive me to and from physical therapy. Physical therapy as a kid was very daunting at times, as it would be for any child recovering from any operation. Going through these chapters of my life, though they were challenging on all human levels, it burned into my mind that my dad was one of my biggest supporters.
He is one of the many reasons I am what I am today. At a young age, encouraging me to be strong, through weight training, various calisthenics and martial arts. It’s not as though my adaptable spirit and mindset formed from nothing. No, the Lord saw fit to provide me parents that could help shape who I am today. I’ve always burned with passion for fitness and helping others become the best they possibly could be. To me, it didn’t matter if a person was in a wheel chair or not, used crutches or not, had range of motion or not. I would find something that they could do. After all, the moto for me growing up was “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The idea of becoming a personal trainer, always lurked in the back of my mind. People would sway me from the reality of doing so, some would say that the money wasn’t good or that it would flat out be too hard.
Yet when given the chance to work with someone with cerebral palsy or otherwise in any compacity. When all was said and done. Everything seemed right in the cosmos, it seemed as though a shade of my purpose was being fulfilled and the person that was set in my path even felt the same. When the idea of obtaining a certification kept surfacing, it was very apparent that it was now or never. There were a wide range of certifications from various institutions, a lot of them were out of budget. Yet when the International Sports Science binged on my horizons, they weren’t just affordable but they fit the context of my life. It allowed me to study slowly and at my own pace. Though I’m pretty sure that all my questions and concerns annoyed my advisor to no end. Now, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I have been able to let my passion for mental and physical health be put to use. And while I’m well aware that there is much room to grow, I do honestly believe that I am the best person for this path. That isn’t to say that other trainers, coaches or what have you don’t do a good enough job. They do. I’m only implying that more often than not, it takes one that is or is in a similar position.
There’re days when things are slow, or it seems as though that I suck at my job. And yet, as cliché as it may be. If I can help one person, each day I done very well and have succeed in the mission set before me. With everything inside me, I hold the belief that every person with cerebral palsy and other adaptive needs are worthy of health. That they have what it takes inside them to reach their desired goals, be that physically, mentally or vocationally. From the very beginning, it has been a goal to show clients that their body is the machine, that if they can open their eyes to their environment that can many times accomplish a very effective workout simply by using what they have around them. Once again, I’m not implying that a gym is not needed, it can be. The deeper point that I am trying to make, is that sometimes or rather frequently in my personal experience. The gym can be either hard to get to, due to transportation issues. On the other hand going to a gym can be a very daunting and ever scary experience.
For some it can be the reality of having countless people looking at you as you enter the gym. Or it could be the possibility of doing something wrong and having people laugh, it happens. Or it could be the reality of not connecting with a trainer and or feeling like a burden. And so to mitigate these realties very often I’ve had clients start with themselves, their bodies and the environments around them. Then if and when they are comfortable, they are more than willing to try their hand at being in a normal gym. For the vast majority of the clients that I have worked with though, they have been more than content with environmental workouts/calisthenics. And strength training through the pathway of dumbbells and resistance bands. Trust me, I know it’s simple stupid and not the “sexiest” of approaches, but that isn’t necessarily what the adaptive community needs in my professional and humble opinion. Many times in physical therapy as a kid, it was the simplest of things that accomplished the mission.