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Colgan Chronicles Interview

CC: Cory, you are known throughout Canada for your expertise in the matter of diet, exercise and nutritional strategies to attain both peak physical as well as mental performance. Simply put, what are the key components to optimum health?

CH: To achieve optimum health, one must first recognize what it is. I encourage people to compare themselves to performance and health standards set by natural athletes, which exemplify much better standards to live by than national averages. Begin with a fitness test, which measure’s your heart rate, blood pressure, body composition, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility and vital capacity. In addition to an annual fitness assessment, I also recommend a comprehensive review of diet and lifestyle, certain blood tests, a hair analysis and a chiropractic assessment.

Optimum health is much more than just the absence of disease. It is also the presence of excellent function and implies a high natural resistance against infection, disease and degeneration. True health denotes a persona of energy and enthusiasm. It allows us to adapt to change and stress without significant damage and can be measured by our ability to perform well in all areas of life. Optimum health provides us with the insight necessary to define our goals and the motivation required to achieve them. It also means we are unimpeded by limitations created by self-imposed negative thinking or poor lifestyle choices.

There are ten fundamental prerequisites, which I acknowledge as essential to the process of achieving optimum health, keeping in mind that success lies within the journey, not the destination. Described as my Recipe For Health, they include clean air, pure water, fresh juice, whole foods, natural light, physical exercise, personal hygiene, periodic cleansing, adequate rest and sleep and nutritional supplements.

CC: As a major influence on athletic performance, you have developed a model or foundation of nourishment which is based on the consumption of both dietary supplements and whole foods. Would you elaborate please?

I fashioned the ATHLETE'S FOOD PYRAMID© to serve as a nutrition guideline for both performance and health with one important distinction. Health is first and foremost. By improving all aspects of health, you automatically improve performance, but you can enhance performance at the expense of health. This is antithetic to my philosophy and contradicts the ethics of both functional medicine and sport.

The Athlete’s Food Pyramid is comprised of filtered water, fresh juice, organic vegetables, organic fruits, cultured dairy products (preferably non-pasteurized), low-fat wild tissue proteins, whole grain starches and non-refined fresh live oils. Unlike other pyramids or food guides, it also includes dietary supplements as a foundation. My detailed analysis of thousands of diets and my own athletic experience has convinced me that optimum quantities of micronutrients cannot be achieved through food alone. In twenty years I have yet to find anyone who meets even the RNI (Recommended Nutrient Intakes) standards of every single essential nutrient.

Current worldwide research on athletic performance provides an overwhelming degree of evidence in favor of multiple antioxidant support and the use of high-quality precision food supplements, such as ion-exchanged whey protein or creatine monohydrate. For best results, a traditional evolutionary based diet should be combined with the sophistication and science of engineered supplements.

It’s not one or the other, but the dosages and spectrum of both natural food and dietary supplements should be designed as a strategy relative to the athlete’s objectives, individual biochemistry, training intensity, workout frequency and specific sport. The concept of eating 3 square meals a day from four food groups without distinguishing food quality or biochemical compatibility is simply out of touch with what we presently know.

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