I was first exposed to the scientific aspects of health, nutrition, and fitness during the months before my Freshman year of High School. I had been homeschooled the previous year and my parents and I thought that enrolling in a summer class would be a good way to help me ease my way back into public school. There was only one summer course available to incoming Freshmen, which was how I found myself spending my summer mornings in an introductory Health class. Though most of my fellow classmates were obviously unhappy about spending their summer in a classroom, I discovered that I not only enjoyed high school, but I particularly loved the subjects of health, fitness, and nutrition. The course covered everything from macronutrients and basal metabolic rate, to mental illnesses and family dynamics, and I found it all fascinating.
To this day, I continue to be intrigued by anything related to fitness, health, and wellness. My years-long battle with anorexia certainly exposed me to some of the uglier aspects of this field, but through my recovery I’ve come to an even greater appreciation for the complexities of the human body and mind.
Now that I am in a much healthier place, both mentally and physically, I am able to recognize that true health is about so much more than calorie intake and cardio workouts. There are a number of blogs and podcasts that focus on weight loss, and though these have their place, I’ve been happy to discover a number of sources that take a more holistic view of health. Here are three of my favorite podcasts that offer a healthy, balanced approach to health, fitness, and nutrition.
Monica Reinagel, the “Nutrition Diva,” is a licensed nutritionist who offers a simple and balanced approach to healthy eating. Monica’s brief (8-10 minute) weekly podcasts touch on everything from diet fads to “super foods” and supplements. With each topic, Monica addresses the pros and cons before weighing in with her own professional opinion. I appreciate Monica’s willingness to tackle even the most obscure nutritional topics with an open mind, while remaining true to her core belief that moderation (and lots of fruits and vegetables) is the key to healthy living.
As a side note, The Nutrition Diva podcast is a part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network, which includes podcasts on a variety of subjects ranging from business and finances to parenting and technology. If you can get past the high advertisement-to-content ratio, these podcasts are all interesting, educational, and well-produced. Some of my other favorites include Grammar Girl and Modern Manners Guy.
Jillian Michaels is best known as the tough-as-nails trainer on The Biggest Loser. Though I’ve never seen the show (I have a feeling it might be triggering for me), I’m a big fan of Jillian’s workout videos and have grown to love Jillian the person through her weekly podcast. The Jillian Michaels podcast is not what you might expect from a professional trainer: though the hour-long shows often do contain a fitness segment, Jillian (who admits to a personal hatred for working out!) is much more interested in helping her audience get to the psychological root of their health and fitness woes. Through listener phone-calls, informal conversations with her cohost, and occasional expert interviews, Jillian addresses relationships, nutrition, parenting, and personal development.
Jillian is candid about her own broken background and current struggles as she strives for personal wellness in all areas of her life, and she demonstrates a genuine compassion and eagerness to help listeners who call in with their questions. Jillian and her co-host Janice have a hilarious dynamic that often verges into crass territory, but their passion for helping others is the over aching theme of the show. I might not always agree with Jillian’s tactics or politics, but her podcast is insightful, informative, and inspirational, and I admire her tireless efforts to bring improvement to the lives, bodies, and relationships of her fans.
I’m a newcomer to Shawn Stevenson’s podcast: my husband has been tuning in for a few months, and after hearing him reference Shawn on numerous occasions, I decided it was time for me to check it out. Shawn is a Professional Nutritionist specializing in biochemistry and kinesiology, and like many experts in this field, his passion for holistic nutrition stems from a personal experience: when Shawn was 20, he received a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, and he was able to achieve complete pain relief through modifications to his diet and exercise regimen. Since then, Shawn has been committed to helping others achieve similar levels of health and wellness.
Shawn relies on his own training and research to explore somewhat unconventional and little-discussed areas of nutrition, such as improving liver function and optimizing hormones. He also brings in guest experts to discuss areas outside of his realm of expertise. For instance, his most recent podcast featured an interview with Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure; the two discussed common hormone imbalances and offered simple adjustments for improving hormone functions. Shawn’s podcast has introduced me to a number of topics that were completely foreign to me, and I can’t wait to learn more!
Are you interested in health, nutrition, and fitness? If so, have you listened to any of these podcasts? Do you listen to any other podcasts about this topic? I’d love to hear your recommendations!