Renegade Health Radio: The Guilt Trip!

Monday Aug 18 | BY |
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In this podcast:

  • Is it worth feeling guilty about little things that will probably not have a negative effect on your health? 2:30
  • Should you feel guilty about eating non-organic produce? 8:30
  • Why you may not need to feel as guilty about eating salt as you think. 12:00
  • Why it’s important to prioritize aspects of and practices in your lifestyle. 15:30
  • Why sometimes it’s easier and ultimately healthier to “forgive” yourself for your guilt and just accept it. 18:30

Click the play button to start the podcast:


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Kevin: Renegade Health Radio. This is Kevin Gianni with Fred Patenaude. Last week we talked about quitting. This week we’re going to talk about feeling guilty. Fred, what is the thing you feel most guilty about in life?

Fredric: I was cooking some broccoli the other day and as I was steaming my broccoli for three minutes in my pot, so three minute steaming, and I end up with these big stalks of broccoli, and I’m always like keeping them in the fridge, right?

Kevin: The actual stalks?

Fredric: Yeah, like the bottom part of the broccoli, not the floret, but the big stalk. And it depends if you buy it at a farmer’s market they tend to be bigger. So I like the green part, right? The broccoli floret. So I’m steaming that part and a little bit of the stalk and as it gets tougher, I know you can peel it and steam it and make a soup with it. So I keep it in the fridge thinking I’m going to do something with. And I’ve been keeping that in the fridge for so long, and then it kind of starts going bad and I’m like throwing it away and feeling guilty. Or I should be making vegetable broth with all of those scraps, and I’m not doing it. And at this point, I realize, you know, I’m not doing it and I’m never going to do it. I guess it’s one of those things where I should just accept that I just like to eat that part of the broccoli, even though there’s plenty of nutrients in the other part, maybe even more so, and that you can make a soup with it and you can make great stuff. But I’m not doing it.

So maybe if I had a wife and she liked to do that then we could kind of split that. I would steam the other part and she would make soup. Whatever. But at this point I realize, you know, I’m not going to feel guilty about those darn broccolis for awhile. So why not just accept that they’re little things that don’t really matter that much in terms of your health?

So it got me thinking, “What else is there that…what are those other things that we should be doing for our health and we’re not? And every time it comes up you’re like, “Oh I know I should be doing this,” and you’re not going to do it. And you’ve been talking about doing it for years, and you’re never going to do it. And some of it are things that you should actually be doing, you know? And you should definitely be doing it if you’re not exercising for at least a little bit every week, that’s something you should be doing. And it’s probably a good idea to feel guilty about it. But there are other things that, do they really matter? I mean, does it really matter that I only eat the broccoli florets and not the stalks? Does it matter? Probably not that much. So what else is there? Do you have any like that Kevin?

Kevin: This is going to turn into a confessional, I think. And one thing Fred, I do have some advice for you. Get chickens. You don’t need a wife. Just get chickens. The chickens will eat all your broccoli stems and you’ll never have to worry about them again, and then you can eat the eggs, so it’s kind of like this cycle of sustainability.

Fredric: I live in an apartment Kevin. Where am I going to put—

Kevin: What’s that?

Fredric: I live in an apartment in the city. Where am I going to put chickens?

Kevin: [laughs] I wasn’t saying that was a reasonable request. I was just…

Fredric: Yes, but ultimately, I mean, let’s say I move to a…and I have a house one day, I could do that, yeah.

Kevin: We lost a chicken. We’re actually really sad about it. One of the chickens…we went away and we have someone come every day to feed the chickens, and one of the chickens had been getting out when we were here. And so we mentioned that, and there’s only so much you can do about that besides having someone stay here the whole time. And unfortunately one of the chickens, one of the raccoons got one of the chickens, the chicken that was getting out. So it was actually really sad. We are actually down to one but, I’m sorry to give [crosstalk].

Fredric: Sorry to hear that.

Kevin: I know. It’s kind of strange. Now we have one chicken and we’re just like, “Oh my gosh, I think we need to go out and get new chickens, because we love the fact that we can live together with them and they can make eggs and (Hudson) can learn what it’s like to be around chickens, because heaven knows, I was never around animals when I was a kid. Anyway—

Fredric: Then you don’t have any guilt about, you know, the vegetable scraps, now.

Kevin: Well, exactly. I mean, I don’t have that much guilt about the vegetable scraps, which is good. So like any vegetable scraps, you think about…well composting, I think, is one, is the thing that we definitely felt guilty about for a while. And Fred, I think you probably still feel guilty about, too. We’d be traveling in the RV and we’d be talking about sustainable lifestyle and healthy foods and people would come into the RV and say, “Where do you keep your compost?” And we’re like, “Well we don’t.” And not that we would feel that bad about it, we just knew that in the RV it was very hot. And I guess we could have gotten really creative about where we put our compost, but many times when we are traveling around the south it got really hot. And in that RV, no matter what you had, it would smell really bad. So we didn’t want to be carrying around this smelly bucket of compost all the time.

But since we live in Berkley and we have chickens, we have the ability to choose between where we want to compost some of our foods, whether we just feed it to the chickens or we can put it right into, the city has a composting system where they take all the food waste and then once every month, they dump all the compost back on to…by the marine and you can come pick up as much as you want. So that’s a pretty cool thing.

And I’ll share one more Fred, and then we can bounce back and forth between something else that I kind of feel guilty about. And for me, you guys know I’m a runner. I would say that strength training is one of those things that had suffered probably since (Hudson) was born. So that’s two years, probably the last time I’ve really fully done any strength training. I know it’s good for me. I know it’s good for bone density. I know it’s good for muscle mass. It’s good for longevity. I know all these things, but I just can’t stand the thought of thinking of going to the gym, or even, you know, doing some repetitive type strength training motion, even if it’s in my backyard anymore.

I don’t know. Maybe I got jaded. I used to do this stuff all the time. I used to be a personal trainer. I can’t imagine myself just doing this silly repetitive motion over and over again in the name of strength and fitness. I don’t mind running, because I’m going somewhere, I’m moving. But if I’m sitting here in my living room or on the grass out in the back, like doing burpees and something like that just seems entirely pointless.

Fredric: Well maybe…sometimes there’s an easy solution to something like that. Like maybe for you, when you go on your run, maybe you can end your run with like 50 pushups and maybe a few other exercises there that’s going to take you two or three minutes. And then it’s done. It’s not like perfect, but it’s pretty close to bringing most of the benefits you need.

Kevin: Well I think my personal training mind, like I’m still conditioned to think that that isn’t enough at the end. You know what I mean?

Fredric: Well it’s better than none.

Kevin: I know! But it’s not enough, so what’s the point of doing it, you know? It’s this whole like mind screw that you play with yourself. What do you got Fred, on your list?

Fredric: Well, compost, I don’t really feel guilty about compost. I have given that—

Kevin: Oh you are going to get nailed for that one.

Fredric: [laughs] No, but I mean…yeah, you have to pick your battles, right? So I live in a city where they picked up the compost and stuff. But I’m not going to have like a big thing of compost in my apartment and worms inside and I travel a lot. It’s just not going to happen. Once the city does something about it, then I’ll definitely join and do it, but I’m just not going to keep the compost inside. That’s not going to happen. Especially the way, I mean, the way that I’m away, sometimes…it’s like having a pet. I know I cannot have a pet right now. Maybe one day it will work out, but just not now.

So yeah, and…well one thing is I don’t eat that much organic. Like a lot of the fruit that I buy is not organic. Some of the vegetables…I do by like kale and a bunch of vegetables, but a lot of the stuff, to be frank, is not organic that I buy. A lot of the health foods that I buy, like let’s say I buy tofu, it’s going to be organic at the health food store kind of things, tempe, things like that, but in terms of like the produce, a lot of it is not organic. I’m okay with that because I like where I go buy my food and I like the quality and the just…how great tasting it is and the variety that I have and the market. So I like all of those things, but I don’t really make an effort. And at some point I was thinking, “Oh I should be buying organic,” and it’s just…yeah, so I’m not doing that. Do you have any Kevin?

Kevin: I do. Another one that I know, you know, we do grill foods that we get from the local butcher shop now that it’s summer. And one think that I’m sad to report is that we don’t do everything we can to avoid the cancer or the chemicals that are linked to cancer when you char meat. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Let’s just use PAH for short. So this PAHs are known to cause skin, liver, stomach and other cancers, and I know that if you marinade your meat for more than an hour, than it actually will lessen the amount of these PAHs that are created. And sometimes I don’t do it. And I just think that that’s kind of a foolish thing to do. So that’s one thing I know. I know it’s better for me and I don’t do it all the time. I do it sometimes.

Fredric: Oh-oh-oh, I’m going—

Kevin: Those polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Fredric: But I’ve got one. It has to do with salt. I know I feel better when I don’t have salt or much salt, like only a tiny bit, and I know that it has a positive impact on my health and so on, probably long-term too, but I just can’t bring myself to eat like a sodium-free diet, not sodium-free, but no added salt. I just yet haven’t mustered the courage to even try it for a while. So that’s one thing I must say I personally feel a little guilty about.

Kevin: Well I mean, based on some of the research, and I know you read through the salt chapter, the rough draft of the the salt chapter. Based on some of the research. But I still think that you have this thing where you think salt is like really, really, really, really bad. Is that true or no?

Fredric: Yeah, I guess I still hold on to that idea that it’s not a good thing to have, like beyond a certain amount, beyond even the tiny amounts. So probably. I mean, it’s not like…for some people it would make a major difference. But I’d be…that’s where one thing that I’d be interested in doing a challenge one day, but I just wouldn’t want to live with the consequences of that challenge. Like for example, just not like…already that…I’m already pretty more restricted in my eating then some people, and picky about like eating healthy and so on that, with no salt at all, then essentially it means you are going to stay home.

Kevin: And it might even be harder than just doing raw food, to be honest with you. Because you’re the guy then…you always stay home, but if you don’t eat…I don’t even know if you can go out. You can’t even go out. You can’t go to a restaurant and just say, I guess you can just get a salad, but then you don’t even put a dressing on it.

Fredric: You’re going to get a plain salad and put balsamic vinegar on it.

Kevin: Yeah.

FFredric: Yeah, pretty much. But I know in the grand scheme of things what I’m doing is…I mean, I’m monitoring my blood pressure. I’m monitoring a few things like that. So if I see “A” you know, maybe I should reduce my salt intake. It’s not like I consume a lot of salt. I’ve done a lot of things to change that in a sense that, I mean, I stopped adding like salt to the beans when I cook them and so on. So I found like replacements and so on. But I’m still…and I like salt, you know? So yeah, that’s one thing. Even when I was a raw foodist, I didn’t do. I never did give up salt completely. It was just too painful for me. Maybe some people find it easier.

Kevin: Yeah. Well 30-day challenge. We talked about it last week.

Fredric: [laughs] Right.

Kevin: For me, I’m going to say one more. And then Fred, if you would have one more and then we’ll close this one out. But flexibility for me. Working on with flexibility. I know that I’m not the most flexible human on Earth. I stand 6 foot 2, fairly big bodied kind of guy, and flexibility to me is one of those things that I never had. And I know that if I do different types of strength training exercises, like I mentioned, and a little bit of yoga, but I can’t stand yoga so I’d rather do strength training exercises, and run. So if I’m running regularly, which I am now, then my flexibility gets better. But not in all places. And I would really love to be a little bit more flexible. And I know that if I don’t do anything about it, it will come back and bite me when I’m 60, 70 and 80 years old. So flexibility is one of those things that I feel pretty guilty about on a regular basis too.

Fredric: Well maybe there’s just so much you can change, right?

Kevin: Maybe.

Fredric: I was reading The First 20 Minutes book that, I mean flexibility is one of those things where there’s…you can’t do much about changing your, like, potential. Like what you can is pretty limited to yourself, right? And then yeah, so it’s kind of a limited research that all these flexibility training actually does improve your long term flexibility. It’s more that, you know, it trains you in a short term, but you always have to…it doesn’t…the effects don’t even last more than an hour or two. That’s what some of the research showed.

Kevin: And if, I mean, look, it’s almost like this game of…and I know you talked about the 80-20 principle and I talk about it, too. It’s like well, if I’m going to do flexibility training for 40 minutes, or I’m going to go out for a run, I mean, what’s going to give you the most benefits? And that’s kind of what this whole podcast is about. Like yeah, there’s some of these things that we are not doing, but where do they fit on the scale of things that we should be doing, and are we getting great benefits doing those other things, right?

Fredric: Completely agree, yeah. I mean, you can’t do everything, right? And nobody’s going to be perfect. And like I said, picking your battles. One more thing that I’d like to add is the—because I know maybe you had the same too, Kevin, is that—one thing I’m pretty guilty about, and it’s actually a guilt, it’s like a purchase guilt almost, is that I have a treadmill desk and I just feel like I’m not really using it anymore. And I didn’t know how many people purchased a treadmill desk thinking it was going to be this awesome idea, and it was for a little bit, and then I just kind of go back to sitting, because it’s, you know, working on the computer is work. I mean, you do work, right? You have to kind of say, “Hey, I’m going to work. I’m not just having fun, like, I’m working.” And the walking on the treadmill on top of it is kind of added non-fun on top of the work.

So again, even relaxed sitting down, I have to like do something. So I was using it a little bit. At the moment I’m not using it at all, to be honest. And I’m feeling guilty about it, because it’s like, “Hey, I bought this thing thinking it was going to be an answer that I know will make me more active.” I do workout. I do sit up, stand up a lot and not sit down all the time, but there is this guilt. This was maybe not the perfect answer. And I think a lot of, I mean, for a lot of us, we tried to buy an answer by buying something that’s going to solve the problem. But sometimes maybe there’s an easier solution.

Kevin: Yeah, my treadmill desk is up in my…in the attic, here. I mean, there are a few excuses I can make up, but even when it was in my office…well, our office just exploded in terms of the amount of people that are in it for the skin care business, and we just couldn’t fit it anymore. But even before then it was just kind of sitting in my office, because I think I had gone out too fast on it, and then kind of got burned out. I had a little running injury, and that kind of set me back, too. But you know, I don’t have any space at home to use it. So I’m going to pull the space card on this, but I know that I’m making up a little bit more of an excuse than I should about that.

Fredric: Well all right. So guys, if you have something you feel guilty about, some health practice that you know you should be doing, write it down in the comments section of\blog. And if you also can comment on the things that you do that you think make a difference, and the things that you think maybe, “Well, maybe I don’t have to be guilty so much about that. Maybe I could let that one go,” like my broccoli steaming story.

So yeah, that’s what we want to know about today. So thank you.

Kevin: [sings] Let it go…let it go…

Fredric: [laughs] Thanks guys.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Linda says:

    Kevin, you should use Hudson as your resistance for weight training. Make playtime and workout time together. Just lifting him over your head or pushups with him riding would be fun and both of you would look forward to it.

  2. Ann says:

    The organic thing really gives me guilt. Also, it bothers me that I may be getting all that bad stuff on my produce or whatever else when I eat it. But, I have no choice for a few reasons. The closest place I can get most organic products is Whole Foods which is a good drive away. Local places here sell a limited amount of organic only. Also, the cost is high here for many organic items and it just can get really expensive if I’m buying alot of it. I need to let go of the guilt really because it’s not my fault, I can only do what I can do.

  3. Matthew says:

    Fred (and other guilty-feeling non-composters),

    You can keep a compost container in the freezer. It’s zero stress, zero smell, and you can remove it at your leisure.

  4. Satori says:

    I’m SO guilty about not doing flexibility training like Kevin. Everyone is doing it. My yoga instructor friend told me that I’m the type of person who benefits from yoga the most based on my constitution etc. My acupuncturist/MD is also recommending it for my back pain. But you know, I HATE yoga. I just can’t stand it. I don’t even like intensive stretching. I went to yoga class many times with friends. Never lasted. It’s one of my new year’s resolutions for 7 years!!! Maybe I should give up now. That sounds good to me LOL!

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