There's not much mystery behind the major causes of death and disease among males. Diet and lifestyle - I know you've heard this before - are what's pulling the trigger.

We have created a world that's taking years from our life and life from our years. We've given up making sensible choices with our feet and forks. Remember, DNA is not destiny - we can control our future. Chaps, don't cave to obesity, diabetes and prostate cancer. Make better decisions, starting now.

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It comes down to what's important for you. Family? Happiness? Life? Making healthy choices includes all of these. We just need to rejig our priorities.


The classic victim in my experience is the over-worked, overweight, stressed, middle-aged, white collar working man. But I know the problem spreads wider than this. For a year I lead cardiovascular rehab sessions at a local Auckland hospital and the men coming through were of all ethnicities, ages and sizes - demographics doesn't protect you from ill-health.

Some men aren't young anymore, but possibly just as stupid when it comes to choosing what to eat. By eating well each day, men can better care for themselves and, in doing so, their loved ones too. Here's where to start.

Come up with an eating plan you can maintain
The best diet is the one that you can stick with. Consistency and structure are fundamental. It doesn't matter if you eat somewhat Paleo, a little Mediterranean and a touch of vegan. If you can make it a part of your lifestyle, you've overcome the biggest hurdle.

Embrace variety
Most men love meat - shredding the flesh straight off the bone with our teeth. We love it so much that we often eat far more than we need and leave out other healthy sources of protein like fish, legumes and nuts. Make space for a little variety in the diet.

Beware of the man traps
Alcohol, salty chips, fatty fast foods and sugary drinks - if it's convenient, cheap and tastes good then it's appealing to a lot of men. An addiction or bad habit of consuming these foods (that sit way down the list on the hierarchy of healthfulness) sets you on a path for future health concerns. A wise man would start making simple and small changes now that will have huge health benefits in the future.

Eat more of...
Non-starchy vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, brazil nuts, fish, beans ... boring, right? Well, if you want to hear it from someone who looks and sounds better than me, then watch this short video.

Master your meal
You don't have to be a culinary genius to master a meal. Those who cook at home are generally healthier than those who tend to eat out, so get in the kitchen! Create humble dishes like a Sunday roast for the family. It doesn't have to be five-star, but by simply cooking, you are taking control of your health.

Feed your hunger, not appetite
Hunger and appetite are not the same. When we're hungry, our body is telling us we need to re-fuel. However, our appetite often controls our drive to eat and this is influenced by what's happening around us. I'm sure you've heard the saying, 'my eyes are bigger than my stomach' - this is a case of mindless eating. Men need to fill up smarter by eating more wholesome foods and drinking more water. The best way to improve your calorie intake is to improve the quality of those calories. If you stick mostly to this method there's no harm in having a small treat.


* Dave Shaw provides corporate wellness and performance nutrition seminars, find out more here.