Pre-Workout Caffeine to Get Stronger, Faster, Bigger and More Powerful

A new study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research indicates that the immediate ingestion of caffeine (6 mg·kg−1 body weight) prior to resistance training:

  1. Reduces the level of muscle fatigue and,
  2. Preserves leg power throughout the training session,
  3. With zero increase in muscle damage

Which is awesome if you are interested in getting stronger, faster, bigger and/or more powerful.

In the study, six male handball athletes ingested placebo (PLA) or caffeine (CAF) (6 mg·kg−1 body mass) capsules on 2 different occasions. Sixty minutes after ingestion of the capsules, serum CAF levels were evaluated.

Thereafter, all participants performed a protocol of vertical jumps (VJs). The protocol consisted of 4 sets of 30 seconds of continuous VJs with 60 seconds of recovery between sets.

Blood lactate (LAC) and creatine kinase (CK) levels were determined before and after the protocol.

We found significant differences in serum CAF levels between PLA (0.09 ± 0.18 µg·ml−1) vs. CAF (6.59 ± 4.44 µg·ml−1) (p < 0.001).

Caffeine elicited a 5.23% (p≤ 0.05) improvement in the leg power compared with PLA. The CAF trial displayed higher LAC (p ≤ 0.05) compared with PLA (6.26 ± 2.01 vs. 4.39 ± 2.42 mmol·L−1, respectively) after protocol of VJs, whereas no difference in CK was observed between trials (p > 0.05).

These results indicate that immediate ingestion of CAF (6 mg·kg−1 body weight) can reduce the level of muscle fatigue and preserve leg power during the test, possibly resulting in increase in LAC. There was no increase in muscle damage, which indicates that immediate administration of (6 mg·kg−1 body weight) CAF is safe. Thus, nutritional interventions with CAF could help athletes withstand a greater physiological overload during high-intensity training sessions.

The results of this study would be applicable to sports and activities that require repetitive leg power.

What does this mean to you?

  • To properly follow the protocol used in the study, you need to ingest 6mg of caffeine per 1kg of body weight ( 2.72mg per 1lb of bodyweight)
  • There is approximately 100mg of caffeine in 1 cup of coffee
  • Which means that a 150lb trainee would need to drink 408mg or 4 cups of coffee before training….probably not the best idea if you don’t want to spend your workout in the bathroom.
  • The same caffeine-math applies to tea, Red Bull, 5 Hour Extra Strength Energy Shot (the strongest energy drink with 242mg of caffeine), etc..

As a result, you are going to need to purchase some caffeine pills if you want to take advantage of this caffeinated training boost.

And of course, not everyone’s GI tract is going to do well with all that caffeine.

BUT…if your gut is okay with a big dose of caffeine AND you’re looking to break through a training plateau, supplementing with caffeine immediately pre-workout could be exactly what you’re looking for.

ronnie coleman squat

NOTE: If you try this caffeine protocol, I would love to hear how it works for you. Feel free to contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

Reference

NEW Research : Drinking Green Tea Improves Aerobic Capacity

A new study finds  that daily tea catechin consumption (combined with a twice weekly cycling program) improved aerobic capacity significantly in a group a Japanese males.

tbbb_a_1224638_uf0001_b

Previous studies found that dietary supplementation with tea catechins combined with exercise improved endurance capacity in mice.

This is the first study (that I could find on PubMed) aimed to test the aerobic capacity of humans supplementing with tea catechins.

This new (8-week) study conducted on sixteen Japanese non-athlete males shows that daily tea catechin consumption (500 ml test beverage with 570 mg tea catechins) combined with a twice weekly cycling program improved aerobic capacity significantly when compared to the placebo group.

  • Aerobic capacity was evaluated by indirect calorimetry and near-infrared spectroscopy during graded cycle exercise.

  • Catechin beverage consumption was associated with a significantly higher ventilation threshold during exercise and a higher recovery rate of oxygenated hemoglobin and myoglobin levels after graded cycle exercise when compared to subjects receiving the placebo beverage.

These results indicate that daily consumption of tea catechins increases aerobic capacity when combined with semiweekly light exercise, which may be due to increased skeletal muscle aerobic capacity.

Disclaimer:

This research was conducted by researchers who work for the Biological Science Laboratories of Kao Corporation….who just happen to sell a green tea fitness supplement beverage.

img58097202

Which doesn’t mean that the science is bogus. Just something to be aware & skeptical of…just like any good scientist.

In green tea’s favor is a ton of science showing a wide range of health benefits associated with green tea catechins.  IMHO, it isn’t unlikely that green tea catechins probably have a positive effect on your aerobic capacity. There just isn’t any science (other than this study) on this subject.

But there will be. If you’re interested, I have set up an PubMed feed for “green tea & aerobic capacity” Click on the link and you will have access to the latest published research on how green tea catechins improve (or don’t) aerobic capacity.

 

Reference

Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry Journal

xanthohumol hops beer diabetes obesity hypertension cancer

Attention Beer Drinkers: Compound found in Hops lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and weight gain

If you’re a health & fitness nerd like myself, you already know that metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol) is fast becoming the #1 health concern around the globe.

img_img_9781587798054_metabolic_syndrome_chartIf you’re a beer lover, you already know that one of the main ingredients in beer is hops.

hops20cones20for20beer20production_0

What you may not know is that, a recent study at Oregon State University has identified specific intake levels of xanthohumol, a natural flavonoid found in hops, significantly improved some of the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain.

Unfortunately for the beer drinkers out there, while xanthohumol is found in beer, it would take 3,500 pints per day for a 70 kg /  human to get enough xanthohumol as was used in the study.

And I’m pretty sure that the calories found in 3,500 pints of beer would counteract all of the health benefits of the xanthohumol.

big-belly-means-inflammation

What is Xanthohumol and how does it work?

  • Xanthohumol is a natural flavonoid found in hops and beer.
  • As it pertains to metabolic syndrome, xanthohumol has been shown to decrease levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), lower insulin levels and reduce levels of IL-6, a biomarker of systemic inflammation.
  • And if that wasn’t enough, there is research hinting that xanthohumol may be a potent anti-cancer agent.

How cool is that…a substance, found naturally in beer, may turn out to be a potent (and inexpensive) way to prevent obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, prevent hypertension, prevent cholesterol jammed arteries…and prevent obesity.

26481606576_c6e17ce2d5_b

What does this research mean to me…right NOW????

Not a whole heck of a lot.

  • On one hand, you can go online and buy xanthohumol supplements.
  • On the other hand, all of the research conducted on xanthohumol has been done on animals – no human studies. As a result, we have no idea of effective dosage and SAFETY.

My advice?  Stay tuned for more research.

Reference

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Is Lithium Orotate about to become the hot supplement for 2016? Research says…maybe.

In a recent study, conducted on female and male Drosophila – aka fruit flies, researchers found that supplementing with lithium resulted in:

  • Increased life span
  • Improved health over the course of that increased life span
  • A reduction in triglycerides
  • An increase in resistance to stress

According to the researchers, lithium does this by inhibiting glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and activating the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (NRF-2).

The researchers concluded that “the discovery of GSK-3 as a therapeutic target for aging will likely lead to more effective treatments that can modulate mammalian aging and further improve health in later life”.

 

Castillo-Quan et al. Graphical abstract-2

This research builds upon a previous study that:

  1. Tested lithium supplements directly on C. elegans worms, and
  2. Observed how natural lithium consumption (water supply) affected the life span of HUMANS.

In this study, the researchers found “an inverse correlation between drinking water lithium concentrations and all cause mortality in 18 neighboring Japanese municipalities with a total of 1,206,174 individuals. They also found that exposure to a comparably low concentration of lithium chloride extends life span of C. elegans.

They concluded that when taken together, these findings indicate that long-term low-dose exposure to lithium may exert antiaging capabilities and unambiguously decreases mortality in evolutionary distinct species (aka C.elegans worms).

What does this mean to you?

Right now…not a whole lot. For two big reasons:

Reason #1

The most up to date research has been done on worms & fruit flies, and it will be a while before proper human studies have been completed…and even longer before your family doctor starts handing out scrips for lithium orotate.

Reason #2

All of the lithium / longevity research seems to use lithium chloride as it’s source of lithium. Which could be a problem when we come to doing human research.

And as with most drugs, dosage frequently means the difference between a “good” drug and a “bad” drug.

In regard to lithium, dosage for bipolar patients is a true balancing act, between managing the symptoms of mania and it’s negative effects on the central nervous & renal systems. At high enough doses, lithium can be lethal.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

There is one version of lithium that has become popular in the “alternative medicine” world – lithium orotate.

While the research is limited, a 1979 study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found that lower doses of lithium orotate as compared to lithium carbonate may achieve therapeutic brain lithium concentrations and relatively stable serum concentrations.

That would mean that we might be able to get all the positives (life extension, better health, etc) of lithium supplementation without the negatives that increased dosages incur.

Of course….the science looking at the safety and efficacy of lithium orotate is very, very, very limited.

Hopefully, as more researchers (and drug companies) get excited about the potential use of lithium as a minor fountain of youth, the quantity and quality of lithium orotate research will increase.

Stay tuned.

 

Reference

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Green Coffee Bean Extract for Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #9

Green coffee bean extract is made from coffee beans that have not yet been roasted.

Research shows that the roasting process of coffee beans reduces the amount of the chemical chlorogenic acid found in the bean’s natural “green” state. Therefore, green coffee beans have a higher level of chlorogenic acid compared to regular, roasted coffee beans.

It is the chlorogenic acid in green coffee which is thought to have health benefits for weight loss. 

In addition to these health benefits, there is some research indicating that green coffee bean extract may be helpful for:

How does Green Coffee Bean Extract promote weight loss?

The research is still in the early stages, but the commonly held belief is that green coffee bean extract promotes weight loss via the prevention of calories from carbohydrates being absorbed in the intestines.

In essence, green coffee bean extract is thought to work as a carb blocker...forcing the body to ignore carbs and allow them to leave the body as waste.

Green Coffee Bean Research

Want to learn more about green coffee bean extract & weight loss? Check out the science….

Where can I buy Green Coffee Bean Extract supplements?

Here are the best online sources for Green Coffee Bean Extract:

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

Like this article?

The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

The full report is available to @HealthHabits subscribers, so if you want to see numbers 8 – 1, subscribe now by clicking on the button below. Number 10 is available here.

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Chia Seed for Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #8

chiabanner

Chia (aka salvia hispanica) is a flowering plant from the mint family, native to Mexico & Guatemala.

Most famously known for the Chia Pets flogged on late-night tv back in the day, the chia seed has been found to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and as a treatment for:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease, and
  • Stroke

How does Chia Seed promote weight loss?

The fibre found in Chia is mostly insoluble and as such, absorbs a LOT of water as it travels through your digestive tract.

In addition to the relatively high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in chia, it is this high fibre content that is responsible for chia being touted as a effective weight loss supplement.

  • As the chia fibre expands in your digestive tract, a feeling of satiety is created & hunger is reduced…leading to a reduction in calories consumed.
  • There is some thought that the high-fibre chia bolus traps other food sources and prevents them from being effectively digested…eventually being eliminated as waste.
  • There is also some research which indicates that chia helps to lower the blood sugar response to other carb-hydrates consumed at the same time as the chia. For this reason, chia is being used as an ingredient in traditional carbs foods (bread, pasta, etc) as a way to lower the glycemic index of those foods.

Chia Seed Research

Want to learn more about chia seeds & weight loss?  

Check out the science….​

Where can I buy Chia Seed supplements?

Here are the best online sources for Chia Seed:

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

Like this article?

The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

The full report is available to @HealthHabits subscribers, so if you want to see numbers 7 – 1, subscribe now by clicking on the button below. Number 10 is available here. Number 9 is here.

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Caffeine for Weight Loss

 

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #10

caffeine banner.jpg

 

Caffeine is the 10th most popular weight loss supplement around the world. But weight loss is not all that caffeine is good for. In addition to being an essential part of my morning coffee ritual, caffeine is a chemical found in tea, cola, guarana, mate, etc…

How does caffeine work?

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, muscles, and the centers that control blood pressure. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, but might not have this effect in people who use it all the time.

Caffeine can also act like a “water pill” that increases urine flow. But again, it may not have this effect in people who use caffeine regularly. Note – drinking caffeine during moderate exercise is not likely to cause dehydration

In addition to weight loss, caffeine has many other health-promoting uses, including:

  • mental alertness
  • pain reliever
  • asthma treatment
  • gallbladder disease treatment
  • ADHD treatment
  • low blood pressure treatment
  • as a cream to reduce skin redness & itching
  • athletic performance enhancer

How does Caffeine promote weight loss?

Caffeine promotes weight loss via two separate pathways:

  1. Appetite suppression. Research shows that caffeine reduces your desire to eat for a moderate period of time.
  2. Calorie burning. Studies have shown that caffeine stimulates thermogenesis — forcing your your body to generate heat and energy from digesting food.

In short, caffeine supplements promise to make you crave less food and burn more calories regardless of exercise.

 Caffeine Research

 Where can I buy Caffeine supplements?

In addition to your local health food or drugstore, I have listed some of the best online sources for Caffeine.

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

Like this article?

The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

The full report is available to @HealthHabits subscribers, so if you want to see numbers 9 – 1, subscribe now by clicking on the button below.

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Fish Oil Switches Fat Storage Cells into Fat Burning Cells

Researchers from Kyoto University have discovered that fish oil can switch your fat storage cells into fat burning cells.

Specifically, they found that consuming fish oil:

  1. Activates receptors in your digestive tract which…
  2. Engages your sympathetic nervous system…
  3. Causing fat storage cells to metabolize your fat

Background Info

Fact #1. You have three types of fat cells 

  • White fat – which stores calories and contributes to obesity
  • Brown fat – initially thought to exist only in babies, brown fat arises from infant muscles and is designed to help keep their little baby-bodies warm. “More recent imaging data suggested that adults, too, maintain some brown fat’.
  • Beige fat – similar looking to brown fat, beige fat doesn’t come from muscle, but is created by the “browning” of white fat in adult humans. It is found in “scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adults”

Fact #2. Previous research has shown that fish oil has a number of powerful health benefits…including fat accumulation.

These two facts led the scientists at Kyoto U to investigate how fish oil and brown fat cells interacted.

The Study

Researchers fed a group of mice “fatty food” while feeding other mice “fatty food with fish oil additives.

The researchers found that mice who ate the fish oil supplement gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to the non-fish oil eating mice.

 Figure 1: Fish oil intake reduced body weight gain and fat accumulation

srep18013-f1

Fish oil intake decreased body weight (A) and abdominal WAT (B) gain in mice. Mice were fed a control diet (C), control diet containing low-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (LD), control diet containing high-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (HD), control diet containing low-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (LE), and control diet containing high-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (HE) for 10 weeks. 

The scientists also found that the fish oil supplements caused an activation of the sympathetic nervous system, forcing white fat cells to transform into beige fat cells.

Figure 2: Fish oil intake induced UCP1 expression in interscapular BAT (brown fat) and inguinal WAT (white fat)

srep18013-f2

Fish oil intake induced UCP1 protein expression in interscapular BAT (A) and inguinal WAT (B). Fish oil intake also induced UCP1 mRNA expression in interscapular BAT (C) and inguinal WAT (D). Fish oil intake induced beige adipocyte-specific gene expression in interscapular BAT (E) and inguinal WAT (F). 

 

The researchers concluded that it was this transformation of white fat storage cells into beige fat burning cells that protected the lab mice from their “fatty food” diet.

What does this mean to you?

If you’re concerned about gaining or losing body fat…start eating more fatty fish and/or supplementing with fatty fish oils.

Fish Oil Supplements

Which Fish Should You Eat?

The following infographic shows which fatty fish are healthiest (re their good oil) and which fat are the healthiest (re low levels of mercury)

fish-omega3-mercury

Reference

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A Better Whey to Boost Your Health

Every year, bazillions of dollars are spent on drugs that promise to lower our cholesterol & triglycerides levels.

Some work, some don’t.

In a recent study, researchers discovered an inexpensive and yummy way to lower LDL cholesterol & triglycerides.

That’s right…I said yummy.

Here’s the plan/recipe

  • 45 grams of whey protein
  • 150 mg of supplemental calcium
  • 0.75 μg of vitamin D3
  • 2.5 g of prebiotic dietary fiber
  • 500 ml of water

Toss all these “healthy” ingredients into a blender with some frozen fruit and some cinnamon (for taste & GI control) and you’ve got a health booster that has been shown to have a significant effect on…

  1. Reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
  2. Reducing triglyceride levels

…in just 21 days.

And it tastes great too.

Reference

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The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016

Unlike a lot of personal trainers, I am not a big fan of weight loss supplements.

In the 20+ years I have been transforming bodies, my clients have sculpted new bodies thanks to:

  1. A total commitment to eating healthy, and
  2. Exercising smarter.

However, there have always been a minority of clients that have needed some help in the form of supplements or pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, in the past 5 – 10 years, that small percentage has been growing and growing.

I don’t know if it’s…

  • genetically modified foods,
  • the chemicals found in processed food,
  • a lifetime of poor food choices manifesting as broken metabolisms

Whatever it is, more and more of my clients NEED weight loss supplements to help boost the effectiveness of their new diet and fitness routines.

Because of this, I have put together a report of the top weight loss supplements for 2016.

Starting with a list of 30 popular weight loss compounds, I used the big data of Google Trends to identify the most popular weight loss supplements as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S. 
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

With all that data, I was able to identify:

  1. The top weight loss supplements for 2015, and more importantly 
  2. The projected top weight loss supplements for 2016.

SO….HOW DO YOU GET THE REPORT?

  • If you are an email subscriber to @healthhabits, you don’t have to do anything. A copy of the report should be sitting in your inbox right now. If not, shoot me an email, and I will get one to you asap.
  • If you don’t already subscribe to @healthhabits email updates, hit the button below, follow the sign-up procedure and a report  will be flying to your inbox in mere seconds.

Truvia is NOT Stevia…but it is a fantastic insecticide

Wait a second. How can Truvia be safe for me to eat and yet it kills fruit flies like Dexter Morgan on crystal meth???

According to study authors Sean O’Donnell and Daniel Marenda, “during an examination of the effects of commonly used non-nutritive sweeteners on the longevity of Drosophila melanogaster (aka the Fruit Fly), they discovered that erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, was toxic when ingested by fruit flies as compared to similar concentrations of nutritive sugar controls (sucrose, corn syrup) and other non-nutritive sweeteners.”

  • In their study, they found that fruit flies raised in tubes containing Truvia (see above), lived for an average of 5.8 days.
  • The average fruit fly lives 45 to 60 days.

They also found that Truvia-fed flies had difficulty in climbing up a small vial, indicating impaired motor function.

The problem, the team discovered, lies in an ingredient present in Truvia but not in the other six sweeteners: erythritol, a commonly used food additive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

This is the same erythritol that has been found to be safe for rats, dogs, humans, etc in previous studies referenced by the fine people at Coca-Cola and Cargill.

What does all this science this mean???

  • If you’re a fly, this is bad news.
  • If you’re a human who hates fruit flies buzzing around the bananas on your kitchen counter, it’s good news. According to the science, we now have evidence that erythritol baits could be used as effective insecticide against fruit flies.

However, if you’re a consumer of food products containing Truvia, you have a choice to make.

One of the core assumptions of modern toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Drinking a glass of water is good for you – Drinking a barrel of water is toxic to you. Conversely, the most acutely lethal toxin known to science is the botulinum toxin – the same toxin used millions of times around the world to get rid of wrinkles.

Based upon this assumption (and the safety studies mentioned previously), Erythritol, and by extension Truvia, is…

  1. Safe to humans
  2. Deadly to fruit flies

However, not every scientist in the world believes in the infallibility of “the dose makes the poison.”

  • Some scientists question whether doses that are “safe for human consumption” are equally safe for babies in the womb.

For example, this study found that a dose of atrazine (a commonly used herbicide) 20,000 times lower than the lowest level known to affect adult frogs caused 20% of tadpoles to become hermaphroditic in adulthood.

And it’s not just the effect of toxins on our little frog babies. Not all toxins follow the “normal” monotonic curve in which the response to a dose of toxin increases with the size of the dose. Some toxins respond as per the non-monotonic curves pictured below.

For example, this study found that lower doses of BPA (bisphenol A) can have larger impacts upon the proliferation of prostate tumors in adult male humans than higher doses. Weird but true.

At the end of the day, what does all of this mean to you???

  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol?
  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
  • Should you buy a jar of Truvia and leave it open in your kitchen to kill fruit flies?

Me?

  • I would rather drink water
  • If I had to choose a calorie-free sweetener, I would choose stevia over Truvia
  • I would also advise all potential parents to follow my lead.

What about you?

  • What do you think of the research?
  • Do you consume Truvia?
  • Will you continue to consume Truvia?

Reference

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10 Ways to Workout Smarter….not Harder

Every day I go to the gym and I see the same people doing the same workouts.

  • Runners get on a treadmill and run
  • Yoginis perform their poses
  • Bodybuilders squeeze & flex their muscles
  • Powerlifters lift heavy stuff
  • Aerobicizers attend their group fitness classes
  • And the dude at my gym who wears Adidas soccer shorts from 1978 stretches out his hamstrings threatening to dislodge his “fellas” from their cotton prison (the horror…the horror)

And while all of these activities are laudable and are infinitely better for you than sitting on the couch eating chips and watching reality tv, they all have their limitations. And since it is a new year, I thought it was the perfect time to outline 10 ways to workout smarter…achieving better results, in less time, with fewer aches & pains.

Tip # 1 – High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT

There is an ever growing body of evidence showing that HIIT workouts are superior to traditional cardio training in almost every conceivable way.

  • Less time required per workout – I never, ever perform more than 20 min on a HIIT workout
  • Reduced chance of overuse injuries – just ask a runner about their aches & pains
  • Faster & greater improvements to the cardio-vascular system
  • Increased fat loss due to increased levels of EPOC  (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)
  • Increased total body strength
HIIT sprints
Before HIIT – After HIIT

To recap, HIIT takes up less of your time, is easier on your body, is better at improving the function of your heart & lungs and will help make you stronger and leaner more efficiently than cardio training. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Here are a bunch of articles I have written on HIIT to get you started:

Next Page : Movements not Muscles…

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The Best Vitamin C Foods

Back in the 1970’s, Dr.Linus Pauling popularized a theory that high doses of Vitamin C would significantly decrease the incidence of the common cold.

This theory spurred a widespread belief that consuming more vitamin C will reduce the risk of catching a cold and reduce its severity. While that theory has taken a beating in the past few years, no one can deny that Vitamin C is a nutritional superstar.

  • Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen – an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
  • Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter – norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
  • In addition, vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine, a small molecule that is essential for the transport of fat into cellular organelles called mitochondria, where the fat is converted to energy.
  •  Research also suggests that vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and the incidence of gallstones.
  • Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant. Even in small amounts vitamin C can protect indispensable molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species that can be generated during normal metabolism as well as through exposure to toxins and pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke).
  • Vitamin C may also be able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E. One recent study of cigarette smokers found that vitamin C regenerated vitamin E from its oxidized form.

So…which are the best Vitamin C foods?

Most of us get our Vitamin C from a glass of OJ with our breakfast.

And while that glass of liquid sunshine is a great way to get the “C” into your body, it’s also a great way to get a whole bunch of sugar without all the fiber, vitamins & minerals that goes along with most solid-food sources of Vitamin C.

And for that reason, I am giving you 2 different lists of Best Vitamin C foods sources

The JUICE list….

  • 1 cup of Orange juice – has 124 mg Vitamin C…over twice the daily recommended amount
  • 1 cup of Pineapple and grapefruit juice drink has 115 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Cranberry juice cocktail  has 107 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grapefruit juice  has 94 mg vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grape drink has  79 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Vegetable juice cocktail has 67 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Pineapple juice – 1 cup has  25 mg Vitamin C

And the FOOD list…

 

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Cocoa Tea : Anti-Obesity, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Cancer

You gotta love Mother Nature. Only she could come up with a plant – Cocoa Tea (Camellia Ptilophylla Chang) that…

  1. Prevents diet-induced obesity,
  2. Has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants,
  3. Shows promise as a treatment for liver cancer,
  4. Lowers levels of fat in your blood,
  5. Is a useful chemotherapeutic agent against prostate cancer,
  6. Is caffeine free, and
  7. Tastes of vanillin and jasmine

white_cocoa_tea

What is Cocoa Tea – aka Camellia Ptilophylla Chang?

Camellia Ptilophylla was discovered in 1981, growing wild in southern China. Since then, cocoa tea has been domesticated and rigorously studied by Prof. Chuang-xing Ye, of China’s Sun Yat-Sen University.

Chemically, Camellia ptilophylla is different than the tea you buy (Camellia sinensis) at your local supermarket, with three major differences.

  1. Camellia Ptilophylla aka Cocoa tea is naturally caffeine-free,
  2. Cocoa tea has high levels of the alkaloid theobromine,
  3. Cocoa tea is high in the catechin gallocatechin gallate (GCG) while regular tea is high in the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),
  4. Cocoa tea has high levels of the alkaloid theobromine.

cocoa tea chemicals

It is these high levels of theobromine which have resulted in Camellia Ptilophylla being given the nickname of cocoa tea, as cocoa is the world’s most popular source of theobromine.

Different Types of Cocoa Tea

Like traditional tea (Camellia sinensis), cocoa tea is processed using different production methods resulting in white, green, black and oolong versions. The different methods of fermentation results in different flavors and different chemical compositions.

For example, as Camellia ptilophylla is fermented and moves from a green tea to an oolong tea and finally to a black tea…

  • Polyphenols are reduced – 38.58%, 30.41% and 23.6%,
  • Catechins are reduced – 23.51%, 17.68% and 4.02%,
  • Theaflavins are increased – 0.11%, 0.11% and 0.17%,
  • Thearubigins are increased – 4.29%, 5.00% and 9.71%,
  • Theabrownins are increased – 2.75%, 4.90% and 13.52% ),
  • along with increases in water-soluble carbohydrates, flavonoid glycoside and gallic acid.

Interestingly, levels of theobromine (3.52%, 3.43% and 3.71%) did not change with fermentation.

How should you prepare Cocoa Tea?

According to Prof. Chuang-xing Ye, to get the full benefits of cocoa tea, an infusion of Camellia ptilophylla tea leaves (g) with 50 times boiling water (ml) for 3 min is recommended. 

Why should you drink Cocoa Tea?

Even though the research looking into the health benefits of Cocoa Tea has just begun, it’s looking like a legitimate superfood. Here are four studies which highlight the potential awesomeness of cocoa tea as a health food.

Study #1

After testing a water extract of white cocoa tea (WCTE) against human prostate cancer (PCa) in vitro and in vivo, researchers found that oral administration of WCTE (0.1 and 0.2%, wt/vol) to athymic nude mice resulted in greater than 50% inhibition of tumor growth. Based upon these findings, the researchers concluded that WCTE can be a useful chemotherapeutic agent against human PCa….keeping in mind that the science around white cocoa tea is very new and it will be a long time before Big Pharma develops a WCTE pill to combat prostate cancer.

Study #2

A second study aimed to evaluate the anti-liver cancer activities of green cocoa tea infusion (GCTI) in vitro and in vivo using human hepatocarcinoma cell line HepG2 cells and nude mice xenograft model. Study results showed that GCTI significantly inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner  inducing HepG2 cells to undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death . Which is a good thing when we’re talking liver cancer cells. The study authors concluded that tumor growth was effectively inhibited by GCTI in a dose-dependent manner as indicated by the decrease in tumor volume and tumor weight after 4 weeks of treatment and that GCTI may be a potential and promising agent of natural resource to treat liver cancer

Study #3

Another cocoa tea study indicated that a single oral administration of cocoa tea extract suppressed the normal increases in plasma triacylgycerol (TG) levels when mice were fed olive (23% inhibition) or lard oil (32% inhibition).  Under the same condition, cocoa tea extract did not affect the level of plasma free fatty acid. Likewise, the extract reduced the lymphatic absorption of lipids. Also, cocoa tea extract and polyphenols isolated from cocoa tea inhibit pancreatic lipase. These findings suggest that cocoa tea has hypolipemic activity…which might be a good thing for a population with chronically elevated plasma triacylgycerol  levels due to it’s addiction to deep fried chicken nuggets and hot dog stuffed pizzas.

Study #4

To find out whether cocoa tea supplementation can improve high-fat diet-induced obesity, hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis, and whether such effects would be comparable to those of green tea extract, researchers studied six groups of mice that were fed with:

  • normal chow (N),
  • high-fat diet (21% butterfat + 0.15% cholesterol, wt/wt) (HF),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 2% green tea extract (HFLG),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 4% green tea extract (HFHG),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 2% cocoa tea extract (HFLC) and,
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 4% cocoa tea extract (HFHC).

The researchers found that 2% and 4% dietary cocoa tea supplementation caused a dose-dependent decrease in

  • body weight,
  • fat pad mass,
  • liver weight,
  • total liver lipid,
  • liver triglyceride and cholesterol and,
  • plasma lipids (triglyceride and cholesterol).

These findings show that cocoa tea has a beneficial effect on high-fat diet-induced obesity, hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis, and elevated plasma lipid levels in mice….comparable to green tea.

Conclusions

  1. As cocoa tea is a newly discovered substance, there is not a large body of research into it’s pros and cons,
  2. The research that has been completed looks very promising,
  3. There is a lot of upcoming research looking into the health benefits of cocoa tea,
  4. You can wait for the research, or you can try to get your hands on some cocoa tea and run your own small-scale private experiment,
  5. Unless you live in southern China, it’s pretty hard to get your hands on cocoa tea 😦

Stay tuned – I will update this post as new research is conducted.

Reference

Is Magnesium a Cure for Insomnia and Restless Legs?

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of clinical conditions including hypertension, myocardial infarction, cardiac dysrhythmias, coronary spasm, premature artherosclerosis and diabetes.

It is also used as a treatment for angina, asthma, gall stones, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, glucose intolerance, diabetes, hypoglycemia, fatigue, fibromyalgia, prevention of hearing loss, kidney stones, leg cramps, migraine, osteoporosis, PMS, prostate issues and INSOMNIA.

And according to government data, 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended intakes of magnesium and 19% of Americans do not consume even half of the recommended intakes.

Not good….and up until 5 years ago, that was me.

Until I was introduced to magnesium supplements during a health & fitness trade show.

A rep for Natural Calm gave me a bunch of samples and while I sleep pretty well, I did notice an immediate effect on my sleep. My mind stopped obsessing over what I did or didn’t do that day or what I had to do tomorrow. Just calm.

And it made me wonder…could something as simple as magnesium be a cure for insomnia?

Since then, I have had no qualms recommending this product to clients & friends who are having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or just getting their busy minds to quiet so they can relax.

A mug of their lemon flavor drink about an hour before bed does the trick for me every time.

And recently, while searching for a natural treatment for a friend with neuropathy in both legs, I found a bunch of research about magnesium oil helping to relieve muscle spasms, tension and various forms of neuropathy – pain, restless legs, itching, tingling, etc.

Google also told me that Natural Calm makes a magnesium oil.

So, I emailed the fine folks at Natural Calm and told them about my friend and they sent me a bunch of samples – Magnesium Oil & Gel. (being a blogger can have its perks)

And knock on wood, it’s been a great success. Applied on her legs after a  hot bath and just before bed, my friend has seen a significant reduction in pain, tingling and restlessness.

Conclusion

I was a fan before trying the oil…and I am an even bigger fan now.

So, if you think that supplementing with magnesium may be helpful to you, I can honestly & wholeheartedly recommend both the Natural Calm drink and their Magnesium Oil.

NOTE – You can buy Natural Calm and Magnesium Oil at these links

NOTE #2 – I would love to hear about your experiences (good or bad) with magnesium.

Reference

Omega 3s Can Save Your Life

Over the years, there have been dozens of studies and thousands of articles written about how eating fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids is good for our health. These studies have shown us how diets high in salmon and herring and even tuna are good for our hearts and lower our risk of dying from heart disease.

But up until now, there haven’t been any studies which conclusively prove that individuals who ate a diet high in Omega 3s actually lived longer and better than the rest of us.

A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows us that “older adults who have higher levels of blood omega-3 levels are able to…

  • lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27%
  • and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35%

Researchers found that older adults who had the highest blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.

Not only will your doctor be happy with your blood tests and your ECG scans, you will actually live longer…and that is pretty darn cool.

The Science

The researchers examined 16 years of data from about 2,700 U.S. adults aged 65 or older. Participants came from four U.S. communities in North Carolina, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; and all were generally healthy at baseline. At baseline and regularly during follow-up, participants had blood drawn, underwent physical examinations and diagnostic testing, and were questioned about their health status, medical history, and lifestyle.

The researchers analyzed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids, including three specific ones, in participants’ blood samples at baseline. After adjusting for demographic, cardiovascular, lifestyle, and dietary factors, they found that the three fatty acids—both individually and combined—were associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.

One type in particular—docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA—was most strongly related to lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) death (40% lower risk), especially CHD death due to arrhythmias (electrical disturbances of the heart rhythm) (45% lower risk). Of the other blood fatty acids measured—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)—DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of nonfatal heart attack.

Overall, study participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27% lower risk of total mortality due to all causes.

And how much fish & Omega 3s do you need to consume to get these amazing life-extending benefits?

  • 400 mg or two servings of fatty fish per week.

But what if you’re worried about high mercury levels found in some fish?

  • Consult this chart and eat fish high in Omega 3s and low in mercury
  • Or buy quality fish oil supplements (my second choice)

fish-omega3-mercury

Reference

Mmmmmmmmm Smoothie

I made an awesome smoothie this morning and I thought I should share it with y’all.

Ingredients:

  • Water (duh) – didn’t measure – adjust for desired thickness
  • Mango juice – 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon – didn’t measure – 5 shakes from container
  • Yogurt – 1 cup
  • Inulin fiber – 1 tbsp
  • Magnesium (Natural Calm plain) – 1 tsp
  • Honey Comb – 1 tbsp
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Fish Oil – 1 tbsp
  • New Zealand Whey protein powder (Ergogenics Nutrition)  – 3 scoops
  • Vege Greens green powder – 2 scoops
  • Frozen Blackberries
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Frozen Raspberries
  • Frozen Strawberries – 1/2 bag of mixed berries

This recipe makes 3 medium sized smoothies for me. Feel free to play with ingredient amounts. Everytime I make a smoothie it turns out different. Except for the oils, protein powder and greens, I usually never measure anything.

Directions:

  • Add the ingredients to the blender as listed..
  • I used the smoothie auto-setting on my Blendtec blender.
  • If you don’t have one of these bad boys, start by blending slowly to break up the frozen fruit for approx 20 seconds. Then go to a medium speed for 10 seconds. Then blend on the highest speed for 10 seconds – this will give you the desired smoothieness.
  • Make sure the fruit is chopped up before moving up to med speed.
  • Rinse out your blender right away…I pour a couple of cups of water in the blender, add some dish soap and blend on high – rinse and let dry

Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

apple

An Apple a Day DOES Keep the Doctor Away

Grandma was right….An apple a day does keep the doctor away.

Here’s how….

Researchers have found that “consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered the blood levels of oxidized LDL – (aka the “bad” cholesterol) – by 40 percent”.  And as we know, high LDL numbers leads to hardening of the arteries, heart disease and an early death.

[box type=”note”]Taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large, effect.[/box]

“When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert DiSilvestro.”We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks.”

How tremendous???

The difference was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease.

All by eating an apple a day for four weeks.

[box type=”note”]This study was funded by an apple industry group. This doesn’t invalidate the science but it bears mentioning.[/box]

Study Highlights

  • Dr. DiSilvestro described daily apple consumption as significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than other antioxidants he has studied, including the spice-based compound curcumin, green tea and tomato extract.
  • For this study, the researchers recruited 16 nonsmoking healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 who had a history of eating apples less than twice a month and who didn’t take supplements containing polyphenols or other plant-based concentrates.
  • The test subjects ate a large Red or Golden Delicious apple purchased at a Columbus-area grocery store daily for four weeks; 17 took capsules containing 194 milligrams of polyphenols a day for four weeks; and 18 took a placebo containing no polyphenols.
  • Not surprisingly, the placebo group saw no change in oxidized LDL levels

But what about the group that took the polyphenol capsules…

“We think the polyphenols account for a lot of the effect from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols, using about what you’d get from an apple a day,” DiSilvestro said. “We found the polyphenol extract did register a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple. That could either be because there are other things in the apple that could contribute to the effect, or, in some cases, these bioactive compounds seem to get absorbed better when they’re consumed in foods.”

Conclusions

  1. Apples are good for you.
  2. Polyphenol supplements are good for you…but may require higher doses to match up to Mother Nature’s version.
  3. It’s apple season here in Canada, and I have a basket of Macintoshes sitting on my kitchen table.

Reference

Reduce Blood Pressure & Lose Weight with Green Coffee Bean Extract

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article about the fat burning effects of Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCB).

Since then I have found out a little more about GCB…and it’s all good.

Not only does…

  1. It look like a more effective fat burner than the two pharma fat-burners (Qysmia/Qnexa & Belviq) recently approved by the FDA,
  2. It seems to have a blood pressure lowering effect

And it’s this positive effect on blood pressure that makes Green Coffee Bean Extract unlike any other fat-burner (drug or supplement) on the market today.

And considering that a lot of my clients who come to me for help losing weight also have high blood pressure, I may finally have a supplement that I recommend…even after talking to their doctor.

Here’s some of the science:

And when we combine all that with another 2012 study which showed how GCB  lowered body weight, BMI, percent body fat while producing a small decrease in heart rate (BPM), we end up with a product worthy of significant interest from the medical community

  • Cheap
  • Healthy
  • Effective

Sounds like a great fat burner to me

NOTE: There is more research to be done on GCB. If you are going to experiment with it as a fat burner, I HIGHLY recommend talking with your doctor and paying close attention to how your body responds. Just because the science looks good up to this point, doesn’t mean that they won’t find a problem next year

NOTEYou can buy Green Coffee Bean Extract here.

Reference

3 completely badass fitness products that you’re GONNA buy…or else.

Alright….maybe badass isn’t the appropriate description for these products.

None of them are going to smack you around for being a pair of idiot skinheads starting trouble on a public bus.

But they will help you :

  • make your feet work better
  • reduce associated pain
  • pack on muscle faster than cheap internet steroids

Correct Toes

Dr. Ray McClanahan (podiatric physician) believes that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Unfortunately, the shoes you are wearing right probably don’t do that. This realization is why so many people are giving barefoot / minimalist shoes a try. Unfortunately, if you have been wearing “normal” shoes for most of your life, switching to a barefoot shoe isn’t going to fix your feet.

This is where the Correct Toes spacer can help. They are designed to spread your toes into their natural and correct position…improving “proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function”.

Paired with a quality pair of barefoot / minimalist shoes, Correct Toes returns your foot to its natural state, treating most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.

Sidewalk Surfers from Sanuk

There is no point in buying the Correct Toes spacer and fixing your gnarly old feet if you’re going to keep shoving them into a pair of “normal” shoes and scrunching them together like some masochistic Chinese foot binding experiment. What you need to do is buy a pair (or two) of barefoot / minimalist shoes that allow your feet to move as they were originally intended.

And that’s one of the reasons why I have been wearing a pair of Sanuk Chibas all summer long.

Some of the other reasons are…

  1. they are comfortable as heck,
  2. can be worn on the beach AND with casual clothes,
  3. they look pretty darn good
  4. and they come with an antimicrobial additive…meaning they won’t stink after hours and hours of barefoot wear.

SizeOn

skinny exercise weightlifterA few months back, I started working with two different 40+ year old clients who wanted to add some muscle to their “slender” physiques. In addition to a complete restructuring of their diets and an introduction to a truly nasty training program, I put them both on Gaspari Nutrition’s SizeOn product.

Instead of taking a bunch of different products, I wanted one supplement that would service their workout endurance demands as well as help them pack some meat on their hardgainer bodies. And SizeOn turned out to work perfectly.

Both clients had already started gaining muscle with SizeOn, but when we added it into the mix, things really took off.

  • Both gained significant muscle mass
  • Subject #1 gained 14 lbs of muscles while losing 7 lbs of fat
  • Subject #2 gained 11 lbs of muscle while losing 22 lbs of fat.

Pretty significant transformations…especially when you consider that both of these guys were both ectomorphs and lifelong hard-gainers.

I can’t say enough about this product – Great Stuff!!! – Here are the ingredients if you want to check it out.

The Super-Amazing Celsius Energy Drink Giveaway!!!

Here’s what you can win:

  • A Celsius Soft Cooler Bag filled with:
  • (1) Celsius Dri-Fit T-Shirt,
  • (3) Retail Coupons, 
  • 14CT Box On-the-Go Sticks of our new Outrageous Orange flavor, and
  •  (7) Ready to Drink Cans in the following flavors; Sparkling Wild Berry, Sparkling Orange, Sparkling Cola, Apple Orchard Blend, Lemon Iced Tea, Raspberry Acai Green Tea, and Outrageous Orange.

Entering is easy…. just wait for the form below to load and then follow the prompts!

Note – You can earn bonus entries by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and/or  leaving a comment here on the blog. – check it out! Feel free to enter early & often.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Boring Contest Rules Stuff

  • The contest is open to American residents only (excluding Alaska & Hawaii). Sorry…that’s just the way it is…
  • The contest will run from July 5, 2012 12:01 am EST until July 12, 2012 12:01 am EST
  • You can earn extra entries by leaving a comment and/or tweeting about the contest and/or liking the Health Habits Facebook page. Follow the prompts on the form
  • The winner will be announced July 13, 2012 here at Health Habits
  • I will contact the winner on July 12.

Celsius: The First Healthy Energy Drink?

What comes to mind when I say: ENERGY DRINK?

Personally…. I think of the idiot frat boys who live two blocks down the street from me who like to pound Red Bulls & vodka on a Wednesday afternoon and do stupid stuff on their skateboards

I also think of this article – Do Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance and Promote Weight Loss?

So….when the folks at Celsius contacted me about trying out some samples of their product, my initial & immediate response was to say “no thanks” and get back to work.

However….in their email, they mentioned that their product was “natural”. And when I think of “energy drinks”, I don’t think natural. I think chemicals and artificial sweeteners and the aforementioned idiot frat boys and gym rats and people who don’t give a crap about their health.

Which probably makes a ton of sense from a business perspective.

But what about us health & fitness geeks?

There are some afternoons when my energy is drained from long hours of work and my brain is having a tough time writing blog posts that don’t suck swamp water.

On days like that… I can really use a dose of liquid energy. But I want that energy drink to be healthy & chemical free.

So I checked out the Celsius ingredients:

As you can see, Celsius contains the 3 big “energy drink” ingredients – Caffeine, Taurine and Glucuronolactone.

However, unlike their competitors, Celsius also contains:

  • Ginger extract,
  • Green Tea leaf extract,
  • Your daily dose of Vit C and,
  • A whole whack of B Vitamins

Equally important to me were the ingredients that weren’t included:

Instead of that crap, Celsius sweetens it’s drinks with sucralose and/or stevia.

Based on all that, I decided to give up my afternoon espresso for a week to beta-test some Celsius samples.

And after seven days of taste testing…. and it turns out that I like this stuff.

  • It definitely gave me a mid-afternoon boost,
  • Without any jitteriness
  • It tasted pretty good – some flavors better than others
  • No afternoon coffee breath

Conclusion

Celsius markets to people who:

  1. Want the buzz of an energy drink,
  2. Is “proven” to reduce body-fat, and
  3. Is HEALTHY.

And while I’m not too blown away by the -100 calorie claim, I can honestly say that Celsius provides:

  1. A very un-jittery boost in energy,
  2. Tastes pretty darn good,
  3. Has a bunch of useful micronutrients
  4. Isn’t full of harmful chemicals

And because I love you guys so much, I talked the Celsius rep into doing a giveaway of a bunch of Celsius product. Stay tuned for the details.

Green Coffee Bean Extract & Weight Loss

A couple of months ago Dr. Oz read one of my articles about Raspberry Ketones and decided that RK supplements were a pretty cool way to melt off excess body fat.

Not wanting to keep this info to himself, he decided to do a segment about RK on his daytime tv show. And the day after that…. the supplement world went absolutely crazy with requests for RK pills.

I wonder what’s going to happen when he finds out about the next big natural fat burning supplement – Green Coffee Bean Extract.

The Science behind GCB and Weight Loss

There have been a number of studies over the years which showed that GCB extract had a positive effect on human fat loss.

This latest study is a little different in that it is the first to investigate how different dosages of GCB extract impact the effectiveness of fat loss.

Here’s what the researchers did….

Subjects received high-dose GCB (1050 mg), low-dose GCA (700 mg), or placebo in separate six-week treatment periods followed by two-week washout periods to reduce any influence of preceding treatment. Treatments were counterbalanced between subjects. Primary measurements were body weight, body mass index, and percent body fat. Heart rate and blood pressure were also measured.

The Results?

  • At the end of the study, 16 of 16  lost fat.
  • The subjects lost an average of 10% of their weight
  • There were no adverse side effects
  • 16 of 16 completed the study

  • When participants were on the high dose of GCB extract, the weight came off quickly
  • When participants were on the low dose of GCB extract, the weight came off more gradually
  • When participants were on the placebo, weight loss stopped

How do these results compare to pharmaceutical fat burners?

  • 30-40% of test subjects dropped out of studies testing sibutramine, orlistat or rimonabant
  • Compared with placebo, orlistat reduced weight by 2.9%
  • Compared with placebo, sibutramine reduced weight by 4.3%
  • Compared with placebo, rimonabant reduced weight by 4.1%
Conclusion
  • GCB extract produces results far superior to big pharma fat burners
  • GCB has no adverse side effects
  • GCB extract is waaaaaayyyyy cheaper than a prescription fat burner
 Reference

OMG!!! Maqui Berries Are Awesome

Being a parent is hard work…especially in the morning….as you’re trying to get your little sleepy heads out of bed and ready for school.

And one of the “best” parts of every parent’s morning routine is trying to get the kids to eat something “healthy” so that they will have the energy required to stuff their brains chock full of knowledge.

[box type=”red”]What if I told you that one of my clients has been spreading mega doses of antioxidants all over her kid’s morning bagel for the past week….. and the little sugar-monster has been eating it up and asking for more. [/box]

Q: And what if I told you that when he runs in the house after school, he’s all excited to drink an ORAC loaded “milk shake”

A: You would probably call me a big fat liar

But you would be wrong.

For the past couple of weeks, I have had people testing out a new antioxidant powder loaded with:

  • Organic Maqui Berry juice powder
  • Organic Acai Berry juice powder
  • Organic Green Tea Extract
  • Organic Vanilla flavor
  • Organic Mixed Berry Flavor
  • Organic Brown Rice Emulsifier
  • Organic Stevia (Reb A 95%)

And the one comment that I have heard from each & every one of my guinea pigs is how good this stuff tastes.

  • Moms are sipping on a bottle of this stuff throughout the day…and feeling full of energy.
  • Dads who never eat anything healthy are smearing the Maqui Berry Jam all over their toast
  • Kids are eating & drinking this stuff and asking for more.

And as someone who has taste tested A LOT of health food products… this is NOT NORMAL. Almost universally, healthy stuff tastes healthy.

OMG Maqui Berry Antioxidant Powder doesn’t taste healthy…but it is…healthy.

And if you don’t believe me, check out all of these studies extolling the health virtues of the Maqui berry.

[box type=”important”]Organic Meets Good – the makers of Maqui Berry Powder are doing a random draw for (2) packages of their amazing products. (1) free package of Maqui powder and (1) free package of Pomegranate powder. Hurry if you want to get in on the draw. All you have to do is like their FB page, leave a comment (so they can contact you if you win) and be a U.S. resident. Don’t delay, the giveaway ends on May 23[/box]

Reference

And if you want the recipes for Maqui Berry Jam and the Maqui smoothie…follow the links.

[box type=”note”]I have been mixing the Maqui Berry powder with my powdered multi-vitamin in the morning and adding it to post-workout protein shakes. I loved the jam recipe, but seeing as I have a wicked sweet tooth, it’s best that I make that only on weekends. I’ve never been good at portion control.[/box]

 

5 Ways to Get Fit Faster

The Top 10 Vitamin K Foods

The Standard American Diet results in:

  • Inflammation,
  • Obesity,
  • Insulin resistance,
  • and Diabetes

Luckily for you, Vitamin K reduces

  • Inflammation,
  • Insulin resistance and…
  • the likelihood that people who a Western diet will become fat and diabetic.

And how do we find this elusive Vitamin K?

Glad you asked….

  1. Kale – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 1062 mcg / µg
  2. Spinach – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 1027 mcg / µg
  3. Turnip Greens – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 851 mcg / µg
  4. Collards – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 836 mcg / µg  ***
  5. Brussels sprouts – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 300 mcg / µg
  6. Broccoli – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 220 mcg / µg
  7. Cabbage – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 163 mcg / µg
  8. Asparagus – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 144 mcg / µg
  9. Lettuce, iceberg – 1 head – 130 mcg / µg
  10. Peas, green – 1 cup,  canned & drained – 63 mcg / µg
Notes
  • I don’t know why the USDA thinks everyone is eating frozen greens instead of fresh, but they do. We’re going to assume that fresh Brussels sprouts have just as much Vitamin K as frozen… if not more
  • *** Beet greens, Dandelion greens and Mustard greens could / should have been included in this list – they would have placed between #4 Collards and # 5 Brussels sprouts.  I omitted them due to availability. If you have them in your area, go ahead and eat ’em up. They are Vit. K superstars.

Reference

The Top 10 Vitamin D Foods

I love Vitamin D.

  • It keeps me happy during cold, dark Canadian winters
  • It keeps my bones & teeth strong
  • It keeps my immune system in tip top shape
  • And it’s helping me live longer

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also being studied for it’s positive effects on Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, MS, etc….

It’s a super-vitamin.

And if you’re the kind of person who refuses to get their daily dose of Vitamin D (600-800 IU) from a bottle of pills or by tanning without sunblock,  it’s also conveniently available in the following super-yummy food sources.

The Top 10 Vitamin D Foods

  1. Trout, cooked  – (85 grams) – 645 IU Vitamin D
  2. Swordfish, cooked  – 1 piece (106 grams) – 706 IU Vitamin D
  3. Salmon, pink, canned, 1 can – (85 grams) – 465 IU Vitamin D
  4. Salmon, cooked – 1/2 fillet (155 grams) – 815 IU Vitamin D
  5. Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids – (85 grams) – 229 IU Vitamin D
  6. Halibut, cooked – (85 grams) – 196 IU Vitamin D
  7. Herring, pickled – (85 grams) – 96 IU Vitamin D
  8. Pork, spareribs, cooked, lean and fat – (85 grams) – 88 IU Vitamin D
  9. Egg, whole, raw, fresh, 1 extra large –  (58 grams) – 48 IU Vitamin D
  10. Clam Chowder, canned, made with 2% milk – 1 cup (248 grams) – 62 IU Vitamin D

Vitamin D Supplements

For those of you who prefer pills over eating stinky old fish, there are ways to supplement your diet with Vitamin D

  • Milk products with added Vitamin D
  • Breakfast Cereals with added Vitamin D
  • Fish Oil supplements – cod liver, halibut, blends
  • Liquid (drops) or capsule Vitamin D supplements

Note – Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. That means that if you mega-dose (50,000 IU per day for several months) on Vitamin D, the excess will be stored in your body-fat, and can lead to Vitamin D toxicity.

That is why the recommended upper level for adult Vitamin D consumption is 10,000 IU per day.

If you’re concerned you may be getting too much supplemental Vitamin D, please consult your doctor.

Reference

Homobrassinolide….aka Steroids that taste good on hot dogs

It’s probably a false alarm, but researchers from NC State have found that the plant steroid homobrassinolide has “anabolic steroid-like” effects with minimal side effects.

Testing this plant steroid on lab rats, the researchers documented:

  • an increase in appetite
  • an increase in lean muscle mass
  • an increase in the size & number of muscle fibers
  • and an increase in physical performance
  • with minimal or no androgenic side-effects

Woo Hoo!!!!

Mustard flavored steroids with no side effects!!!!

So, what the heck is homobrassinolide?

  • Homobrassinolide is a brassinosteroid found in the mustard plant.
  • Brassinosteroids are plant-derived polyhydroxylated derivatives of 5a-cholestane, structurally similar to cholesterol-derived animal steroid hormones and insect ecdysteroids, with no known function in mammals.
  • 28-Homobrassinolide (HB), the specific HB tested in this experiment, is a steroidal lactone with potent plant growth-promoting properties

The Science

In this particular study, 28-Homobrassinolide (HB) stimulated protein synthesis and inhibited protein degradation in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells (EC50 4 μM) mediated in part by PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.

Oral administration of HB (20 or 60 mg/kg/d for 24 d) to healthy rats fed normal diet (protein content 23.9%) increased food intake, body weight gain, lean body mass, and gastrocnemius muscle mass as compared with vehicle-treated controls.

Note – this dosing protocol equates to a dosage of between 1363 and 4090 mg per day for a 150 lb man.

The effect of HB administration increased slightly in animals fed a high-protein diet (protein content 39.4%).

Both oral (up to 60 mg/kg) and subcutaneous (up to 4 mg/kg) administration of HB showed low androgenic activity when tested in the Hershberger assay.

Moreover, HB showed no direct binding to the androgen receptor in vitro.

HB treatment was also associated with an improved physical fitness of untrained healthy rats, as evident from a 6.7% increase in lower extremity strength, measured by grip test.

In the gastrocnemius muscle of castrated animals, HB treatment significantly increased the number of type IIa and IIb fibers and the cross-sectional area of type I and type IIa fibers.

These findings suggest that oral application of HB triggers selective anabolic response with minimal or no androgenic side-effects and begin to elucidate the putative cellular targets for plant brassinosteroids in mammals.

Conclusion

Don’t get excited when a supplement company comes out with a new homobrassinolide supplement next month.

Even if homobrassinolide pans out as a treatment for muscle wasting and an awesome new supplement for 16 year old boys sick of getting sand kicked in their face….it’s going to be years and years before an effective product comes to market.

Ineffective over-hyped products will be on the market in 2-3 months.

Reference

Why Do We Get Angry? – New Research

Why is it that some people get angry at the littlest thing while others have the patience of Job?

New research from the University of Cambridge finds that low levels of serotonin in your brain have a major impact upon how you react to that jerk who cut you off in traffic this morning.

Building upon previous serotonin/aggression research, this study is the first to show how serotonin helps regulate behavior in your brain as well as why some people are more prone to aggression.

The Science

In this study, healthy volunteers’ serotonin levels were altered by manipulating their diet.

  • On the serotonin depletion day, they were given a mixture of amino acids that lacked tryptophan, the building block for serotonin.
  • On the placebo day, they were given the same mixture but with a normal amount of tryptophan.

The researchers then scanned the volunteers’ brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they viewed faces with angry, sad, and neutral expressions. Using the fMRI, they were able to measure how different brain regions reacted and communicated with one another when the volunteers viewed angry faces, as opposed to sad or neutral faces.

The research revealed that low brain serotonin made communications between specific brain regions of the emotional limbic system of the brain (a structure called the amygdala) and the frontal lobes weaker compared to those present under normal levels of serotonin.

The findings suggest that when serotonin levels are low, it may be more difficult for the prefrontal cortex to control emotional responses to anger that are generated within the amygdala.

Using a personality questionnaire, they also determined which individuals have a natural tendency to behave aggressively.

In these individuals, the communications between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex was even weaker following serotonin depletion. ‘Weak’ communications means that it is more difficult for the prefrontal cortex to control the feelings of anger that are generated within the amygdala when the levels of serotonin are low.

As a result, those individuals who might be predisposed to aggression were the most sensitive to changes in serotonin depletion.

What Does This Mean to You?

It means that if you don’t want to live your life being Mr. or Ms. Grumpy, you may want to take steps to avoid low serotonin.

These steps can include:

 

Reference

superman-fat-ripped health-fitness-healthhabits

9 Ways to Make Your Workouts Super Awesome

1.  Reduce Rest between Sets

Reducing rest between sets will:

  • improve your anaerobic endurance,
  • allow you to do more work in a shorter period of time,
  • increase your EPOC
  • and force you to burn fat faster.

Unless you’re trying to get huge, cutting your rest periods to 30 seconds or less is a great thing to do.

skinny exercise weightlifter

2.  Start doing some Unilateral Training

Working one limb at a time is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, turn a bench press into a core exercise and get you stronger with less strain on your joints

See the 1 Arm Shoulder Press & 1 Leg Squat in this article

3.  Get Serious about Peri-Workout Nutrition

3 meals a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to get the best results from your workouts.

To maximize performance, recovery & fat loss, you need to get smart about what you eat and when you eat it.

This article goes into lots of detail about Peri-Workout Nutrition

4.  Improve your Joint Mobility

Most gym-goers barely find time to stretch their muscles.

Almost none of them try to mobilize tight or impinged joints.

And that’s too bad. Because I bet 9 out of 10 people at your gym have at least one bad joint that could be magically healed with a proper joint mobility program.

Kelly Starrett is my favorite guru when it comes to joint mobility

5.  Buy a Foam Roller

Seriously…buy a foam roller. Your muscles and your bank account will thank you

Lately, I have been using a Rumble Roller. It’s softer than my previous roller, but those knobs really do the trick on my IT bands and tight hip muscles.

rumble foam roller

As well, one of my clients used it on her tight trap muscles to help eliminate tension headaches.

Next PageTips 6 – 9…

A Cure for Salmonella Poisoning?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a naturally occurring lantibiotic (a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria) that can be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

True, it’s a little late for the 77 Americans who got sick with salmonella poisoning after eating Cargill ground turkey…but it’s still great news.

The U of M lantibiotic is the first natural preservative found to kill gram-negative bacteria, typically the harmful kind. “It’s aimed at protecting foods from a broad range of bugs that cause disease,” said Dan O’Sullivan, a professor of food science and nutrition in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. “Of the natural preservatives, it has a broader umbrella of bugs that it can protect against.”

The lantibiotic could be used to prevent harmful bacteria in meats, processed cheeses, egg and dairy products, canned foods, seafood, salad dressing, fermented beverages and many other foods. In addition to food safety benefits, lantibiotics are easy to digest, nontoxic, do not induce allergies and are difficult for dangerous bacteria to develop resistance against.

And considering that Salmonella and E. coli, both gram-negative bacteria, account for more than half of all food recalls in the United States, this is pretty awesome news for American food producers.

What Happens Next?

The U of Minn’s Office for Technology Commercialization is currently seeking a licensee for the technology.

Reference

Fiber + Exercise Melts Away Visceral Fat

In a study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years.

They also found that an increase in moderate activity resulted in a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time period.

Why Should You Care?

“We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease,” said Kristen Hairston, M.D., lead researcher on the study.

And since you probably are not interested in having high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease, you may want to figure out how to increase your physical activity and soluble fiber consumption.

FYI – 10 grams of soluble fiber can be achieved by eating:

  • two small apples,
  • one cup of green peas
  • one-half cup of pinto beans
  • 3 tsp Inulin fiber supplement

What about the exercise?

What do they mean by moderate activity?

According to the researchers, moderate activity means exercising vigorously for 30 minutes, two to four times a week. Personally, I think that number is a little low.

My research indicates that you need an average of 40 minutes per day or 280 minutes per week to receive noticeable benefits from physical activity.

And don’t go telling me that you can’t find 40 minutes to exercise…Those butt indents in your couch are giving you away.

Raspberry Ketones & Weight Loss

Raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that is responsible for the heavenly aroma of red raspberries. And according to this Planta Medica study, it’s also a potent fat burner.

raspberry ketones

Tested on a group of portly lab mice, it was discovered that raspberry ketone increased both the expression and secretion of adiponectin. This is important because adiponectinis a protein hormone which modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism. Past research into adiponectin has shown that your levels of adiponectin are inversely correlated with your body fat percentage

  • Higher adiponectin = lower levels of body fat.

During this latest study, this theory was re-affirmed as the formerly fat lab mice melted off a ton of body-fat. And if weight loss isn’t enough, higher levels of adiponection have been shown to control the metabolic derangements that may result in type 2 diabetes,obesity, atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome.

As a result of all of this, the researchers concluded that Raspberry Ketone “holds great promise as an fat-burning, health-improving herbal medicine.

Conclusion

Expect to see Raspberry Ketones included in more & more fat burner supplements. .

Reference

Antibiotics, Drug Resistant Bacteria and Your Food

The CDC tells us that we need to stop taking antibiotics every time we get a cold or fever.

They tell us that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is leading to the growth of drug resistant superbugs.

And as I found out 22 days ago, drug resistant bacteria have the most unpleasant ability to kill the people that you love the most.

So, it’s pretty obvious that I am all for governments around the world generating PSAs in order to educate us on the misuse & overuse of antibiotics.

What I can’t understand is why they are focusing on our use of antibiotics & antimicrobials when:

  • 80% of all antimicrobials dispensed in the U.S. are given to feed animals.

While only 20% are given to actual sick human beings.

So, in an attempt to rid me of my confusion, I was hoping that someone could slowly & clearly explain to me why our governments would focus on the small users of antibiotics (us), while the biggest users (Big Agri) get a pass?

Is it really so important to have $9.99 buckets of fried chicken?

Can someone explain that to me?

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And explain it quickly….before someone else loses their father or mother or child.

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Beer vs Gatorade

In 1965, researchers at the University of Florida (Go Gators) developed the first sports drink designed to replenish the fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes that are dilost from the body during physical exertion.

And for 46 years, their creation – Gatorade – has reigned supreme as the #1 flavored sports drink.

Athletes (and non-athletes) around world chug down millions of bottles of neon colored Gatorade each year in an attempt to “recover” from their “intense” workouts.

Its combination of water, sugar, sodium and potassium has been designed to have a similar osmolarity as human blood…which is important because transferring fluids and nutrients to the blood is easiest when the composition of both is similar.

As a result of this freaky blood-like osmolarity, athletes absorb all that Gatorade goodness as quickly and efficiently as possible allowing them to train harder in their quest to “Be Like Mike”..or Lebron or Blake Griffin or…

But maybe not for much longer.

Erdinger, a Bavarian brewmeister, is touting its no-alcohol beer as the latest sport drink for athletes, handing it out at the finish line of sporting events and touting its regenerative benefits.

Unlike Gatorade, Erdinger Alkoholfrei is served up with a frothy head. And it comes in one color – a golden hue – unlike conventional sport drinks.

Several top athletes from Europe quaffed the beverage from giant mugs on the podium of the World Cup biathlons held this month in northern Maine.

The company touts the beverage as an isotonic (like Gatorade), vitamin-rich, no-additive beverage with natural regenerative powers that help athletes recover from a workout.

In other words, it’s carbohydrate-loaded refreshment without the alcoholic buzz of beer or the jitters caused by some energy drinks.

But…it’s still beer.

And I just can’t picture the average Gatorade customer cracking open a cold Erdinger in the middle of his/her health club after a grueling spinning and/or hot yoga session.

But then again, these maniacs seem to have no problem chugging down the brewskis after completing their Warrior Dash.

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Reference

  • Associated Press

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Chocolate is the Superman of Super Foods

According to a study in this month’s Chemistry Central Journal, not only does chocolate taste amazing, it is one of the most powerful Super Foods on the planet.

More powerful than:

Not that there’s anything wrong with blueberries or cranberries or acai berries or even pomegranate.

Those fruits are super foods in their own right.

They’re just not as super as chocolate…or more specifically cocoa.

Attention chocolate addicts!!!

The Research

The scientists found that when cocoa powder was tested against fruit powders made from blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate and acai berry, cocoa was found to have higher levels of:

  1. Antioxidants  (ORAC (μM TE/g))
  2. Total Polyphenol content  (TP (mg/g))
  3. Total Flavanol content (TF (mg/g))

And it’s not just cocoa powder.

Dark chocolate was also superior to the fruit powder super foods.

Only pomegranate juice was able to stand toe to toe with cocoa powder and dark chocolate in terms of Total Polyphenol content.

So, way to go pomegranate juice….2nd place is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Conclusion

Cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate is incredibly good for you.

However, it should be noted that products made with alkalized cocoa have relatively low ORAC, TP and TF values. So, before you go wolfing down a handful of Snickers bars, you should realize that not all cacao is created equal.

You are looking for non-alkalized cocoa powder or dark chocolate from a reputable company who cares about the nutritional content.

This is Why You Need to Take Astragalus

Astragalus Membranaceus has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine.

And even though us Westerners are a few thousand years late to the game, our scientists are working hard to get us up to speed.

In particular, an interesting study just came across my desk which showed how a decoction of the dried root of the Astragalus plant was very effective in:

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

Which is kind of a big deal considering that excessive body weight, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease is fast becoming the new normal in North America and Europe.

So, I decided to do a little more research into Astragalus and it’s effect on insulin sensitivity et al.

And I found a pile of research.

Research which showed how Astragalus was effective at:

  • boosting immune system function – cold, flu, infection, fever, allergies
  • reducing hypertension via a diuretic effect
  • eliminating free radicals
  • improving cardiac function
  • improving chronic fatigue
  • improving heart function
  • improving kidney function
  • improving symptoms of asthma
  • improving stomach ulcers
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving your body’s ability to handle stress

as well as…

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

All with no chance of toxicity.

Which is kind of important when you start messing around with herbs and roots.

So…where can you get this Astragalus stuff?

The Dreaded Kraft Dinner Hangover

I did something really stupid yesterday.

It was just one of those days where I was:

  • short on time
  • running low on healthy food
  • hungry as a bear
  • and in a bad mood (crappy day, don’t even ask)

As a result of my crappy day, my stress levels were sky high and my serotonin levels were down in the dumps.

As a result of that, I began to have a wicked craving for carbs and was experiencing a generally crappy mood which also caused a craving for a great big dietary hug from Mom.

So, in a moment of emotional weakness, I ripped open a dusty old box of Kraft Dinner from the pantry.

And I ate that glow in the dark orange, mushy, creamy, full of chemicals, pasta slop.

And I loved every spoon/shovelful.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the evening I was craving carbs like a heroin junkie craves heroin.

And this morning, I woke up with everything aching…my head, my back, my muscles feel stiff and sore and I am still craving carbs and feeling generally like crap.

So, what did I do to get rid of my Kraft Dinner hangover?

  1. Exercise – at 4:30 this morn, I woke up and did 30 minutes of joint mobility and muscle flexibility exercises. Nothing too intense – just working the stiffness out of my body
  2. While exercising, I drank a serving of Athletic Greens
  3. I also choked down a Vitamin B Complex pill and another herbal adaptogen product to help get my hormones back in order.

The result:

At 6:30 this morning, I started writing this post and…

  • my headache is gone,
  • my craving for carbs is 82% gone,
  • my muscles feel normal – not optimal, but okay.

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Overall, I feel 91% less crappy and ready to go train another 6 clients.

Conclusion

Just Say No to Kraft Dinner

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Omega 3s – Why you need them and How to get them

Why do you need Omega 3s?

  1. When Omega 3 consumption increases, your risk of cardiovascular disease decreases
  2. High levels of the Omega 3 fatty acid – DHA are required for optimal mental performance and vision
  3. Low levels of Omega 3s have been associated with depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, as well as developmental coordination disorder.
  4. Omega 3 supplements have been shown to improve the condition of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, various skin disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s disease
  5. Omega 3s may help men reduce their risk of prostate cancer.
  6. And if that isn’t enough, various population studies have also shown that diets high in Omega 3s have been effective in preventing:
  • chronic eye conditions (cataracts, dry eye),
  • epilepsy,
  • allergic sensitivity in very young children,
  • pneumonia,
  • lung/breathing capacity and chronic pulmonary disorders,
  • bone health, and
  • fibromyalagia

Now you know why you need Omega 3s.

So, what’s the best way to get them?

Currently, there is a bit of disagreement between Omega 3 experts.

On one hand, we have experts like Dr. David Jenkins who prefer we get our Omega 3s from the plant based Omega 3 – ALA.

Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – ALA include:

  • Flaxseed
  • canola oil
  • English walnuts
  • specialty eggs

Dr. Jenkins believes that ALA is an effective source of Omega 3s and because it can be found in vegetarian sources such as canola, walnuts and soy, it is superior to the fish-sourced Omega 3s -EPA & DHA.

Dr. Jenkins cites the crisis of global fisheries as an important reason to choose vegetarian sources of Omega 3s.

However, critics of Dr. Jenkins position claim that the majority of Omega 3 fish oil supplements rely on smaller, less commercially attractive fish such as herring and anchovies. These fish are available in large numbers due to their lack of market popularity and higher reproduction rate.

In addition, supplement manufacturers are trying to improve the harvesting of algae and krill as potential mainstream sources of Omega 3s.

Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – EPA include:

  • Fish,
  • fish oils
  • marine sources like krill & algae

Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – DHA include:

  • Fish,
  • fish oils
  • specialty egg/dairy products

And if that wasn’t complicated enough

There is significant research that shows that ALA is an inferior source of Omega 3s.

And why is that?

It’s because our bodies require that ALA be converted into EPA and/or DHA for use in our bodies.

And, apparently our bodies do a pretty poor job of making DHA out of ALA.

So, if you want the benefits of DHA:

You should probably go with a combined EPA/DHA Omega 3 supplement.

But, then again, just about every day, there is some new Omega 3 research being published….so stay tuned.

Related Posts

Reference

Vitamin C Puts Out the Fire of Inflammation

A new study researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that vitamin C can lower your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

C-reactive protein is a central biomarker of inflammation that has been shown to be a powerful predictor of heart disease and diabetes. This TIME magazine article provides a good overview.

The U of C-B study, which will be published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine,  shows that for healthy, non-smoking adults with an elevated level of CRP, a daily dose of vitamin C lowered levels of the inflammation biomarker after two months compared with those who took a placebo.

The researchers said that for people with elevated CRP levels, the amount of CRP reduction achieved by taking vitamin C supplements in this study is comparable to that in many other studies of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

They noted that several larger statin trials lowered CRP levels by about 0.2 milligrams per liter; in this latest study, vitamin C lowered CRP by 0.25 milligrams per liter.

“This finding of an effect of vitamin C is important because it shows in a carefully conducted randomized, controlled trial that for people with moderately elevated levels of inflammation, vitamin C may be able to reduce CRP as much as statins have done in other studies.”

Vitamin C / CRP / Inflammation & Obesity

This study also found a strong link between obesity and elevated levels of CRP.

The researchers found that elevated levels of CRP were found in:

  • 25% of the normal-weight people test subjects
  • 50% of the overweight subjects, and
  • A whopping 75% of the obese test subjects participants.

“The low-grade inflammation that characterizes obesity is believed to contribute to a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis and insulin resistance,” said Nina Holland, co-investigator on the study.

And it’s not just the scientists expressing concern over CRP.

The American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that clinicians measure CRP levels in patients who have a moderately elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, as determined by other established risk factors such as high cholesterol levels and smoking.

“Major studies have found that the level of CRP in the body predicts future risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease, as well as diabetes. Some believe CRP to be as important a predictor of future heart problems as high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol.”

What To Do If You’re Worried

Obviously, talk to your doctor.

But keep in mind that your doctor may not want to test for CRP. Most still just want to look at your levels of cholesterol. But it is possible to have high CRP and normal levels of cholesterol.

I would suggest that you print out this article and bring it along to your appointment, but somehow I don’t see many medical professionals listening to little ole’ me.

Instead, print out this Q & A about CRP that the Cleveland Clinic put together.

Here is a more clinical look at the CRP test itself.

How To Prevent / Reduce CRP & Inflammation

According to the Cleveland Clinic:

Inflammation should be treated by lifestyle change, such as:

  • Antithrombotic medications such as aspirin or clopidogrel may provide protection.
  • Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and ACE inhibitors may also reduce CRP.

Note: Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications and dosage to treat your condition.

And if you don’t want to go the pharma route, you can investigate dietary solutions such as:

For even more info on natural solutions to inflammation / CRP, take a look at some of the work done by Dr. James Duke. His book, “Beyond Aspirin” is a good place to start.

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References

Why are Omega 3s Better than Statins?

Picture this:

  • You have just left the hospital.
  • You have just left the hospital where a loved one lies in a hospital bed after suffering his third heart attack. The first two were minor, but this one, this one almost took him away from you.
  • But, you have left the hospital knowing that he is safe for the moment.

The doctors were able to stabilize him, and now they have started him on a drug therapy that they swear is the best treatment for chronic heart failure. Medical science at it’s very best.

You leave the hospital knowing that the statin drugs coursing through his system give him the very best chance of survival. Right?

Not according to these two nested studies, presented at the 2008 European Society of Cardiology Congress and published in the Lancet.

According to these studies, “Omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation improves morbidity and mortality in symptomatic heart-failure patients, while statins failed to have any beneficial effect in the same group of patients.”

  • Statins failed to have any beneficial effect on the heart-failure patients, while…

So What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a group of fats found in cold water oily fish (sardines, salmon, herring), flax seed, krill, some algae and most recently being added in supplement form to numerous consumer products such as eggs, orange juice and bread.

What Can Omega-3s Do For Me?

When we discuss Omega-3s, we are usually discussing two specific Omega-3s:

  • EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, and
  • DHA or docosahexaenoic acid

On September 8, 2004, the FDA gave “qualified health claim” status to EPA and DHA, stating that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease“.

So, according to the FDA, Omega-3s may help you avoid a heart attack.

Let’s see what some others have to say about Omega-3s:

Are Omega-3s Better than Statins?

I am not sure that we should be looking at this question as an either / or proposition, but the results of this latest study show that:

  • After 3.9 years of follow-up, treatment with the omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of mortality by 9% and mortality and admission to the hospital for cardiovascular causes by 8%
  • After 3.9 years, the patients being treated with statins (rosuvastatin 10 mg) saw no reduction in the risk of morbidity or admission to hospital. On the good side, there was a 27% decrease in LDL cholesterol after 3 years. This decrease, however, didn’t keep people out of the hospital.

At the end of the day, the Omega-3s did a better job than the statins. Period.

So what does medical science have to say about these test results?

The Chair of the study, Dr. Luigi Tavazzi said ‘the advantage of Omega-3s is that they appear to have a beneficial effect on the mechanisms leading to the progression of heart failure.

Translation: They keep you from suffering heart failure.

Although the exact reasons are unknown, omega-3 fatty acids could possibly exert favorable effects on inflammatory processes, such as reductions in endothelial activation and cytokine production, as well as influence platelet aggregation, blood pressure, heart rate, ventricular function, and autonomic tone.

Translation: They are anti-inflammatory.

Another researcher, Dr. Gregg Fonarow said that while “questions remain about the mechanism of action, optimum dosing, and formulation, supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids should join the short list of evidence-based life-prolonging therapies for heart failure.

In regards to the performance of the statin drug rosuvastatin, researcher Dr. Poole-Wilson said that “this study is likely to generate disappointment among clinicians, as the results of the study, in light of observational and meta-analyses data, were expected to be positive.

When the trial was designed, some even expressed concern that it was unethical to randomize heart-failure patients to placebo because they were so confident of the benefit of statin therapy in this patient population.

The results, he said, ultimately should humble researchers, especially as they serve as reminder that medical decisions should be guided “science, and not strongly held opinion.”

In terms of why the study failed to show a beneficial effect on clinical outcomes, the researchers note that treatment with rosuvastatin reduced LDL cholesterol as well as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

“These effects might no longer affect the progression of coronary artery disease in patients with ischemic heart failure, perhaps because their effect is attenuated by a biological milieu not favoring the progression of coronary artery disease”.

Translating this into something resembling English, Dr. Fonarow said “that once heart failure is established, statins may not allow patients to escape the underlying heart-disease process”.

Conclusion

According to this pair of studies, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are better than Statins at keeping your heart beating.

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Epigenetics & Obesity

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have made a groundbreaking discovery – Overweight moms give birth to children who become even more overweight and who in turn have children who become even more overweight and so on and so on.

And as we know, you can’t beat bad genetics. Those pudgy little kids are doomed.

Or, maybe not. According to this study, researchers found that by supplementing an obese mother’s diet with folic acid and other methyl supplements, they were able to reverse this form of inherited obesity.”

The Hypothesis

Lead researcher, Dr. Robert Waterland, designed this study to test the hypothesis that maternal obesity before and during pregnancy affects the body weight regulatory mechanisms in her offspring. In layman’s terms, does a fat mom produce fat babies?

In regards to reversing this cycle of inherited obesity, Dr. Waterland believes that “DNA methylation may play an important role in the development of the hypothalamus (the region of the brain that regulates appetite).”

The Method

Waterland et al tested this hypothesis on three generations of genetically identical mice, all with the same genetic tendency to overeat. (agouti viable yellow [Avy] mice)

The mice were divided into two groups:

  1. Standard diet group
  2. Standard diet supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline. This special ‘methyl supplemented’ diet enhances DNA methylation.

With this special diet, they were attempting to reduce or silence the effect that the inherited gene had over the development of the baby mice.

Can mice that are genetically predisposed to obesity be spared from a life of stretchy pants and motorized scooters?

The Results

  • The mice on the standard diet piled on the body-fat, as expected, and subsequent generations were progressively more obese.
  • Those on the methyl supplemented diet did not gain weight through successive generations.

So what does this mean to me?

Well, according to Dr. Waterland, “the effect of methyl supplementation on body weight was independent of epigenetic changes at the Avy locus, indicating this model may have direct relevance to human transgenerational obesity”.

In layman’s terms, obese mothers who supplement with folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline before & during their pregnancy might help their kids resist the scourge of childhood obesity.

NOTE:  This is only one study, performed on mice. There is more work to be done and just because this study is positive, moms-to-be should check in with their doctors before they start mega-dosing supplements in order to produce babies with six packs.

Health Promotion v.s Disease Prevention

In an article printed in the BMJ (BMJ 2008;337:a399), Dr. Butler et al, are presenting a theory that is so revolutionary, so unbelievably insightful and paradigm shattering that it may signal an evolutionary shift in how medicine will be practiced for the next millenium:

The promotion of health and longevity may be more successful at preventing disease and improving both the quality and quantity of our lives than attacking individual diseases.”

I like to call this the “An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor Away” theory.

But seriously folks, the authors of this study believe that a shift towards health promotion and disease prevention could pay off with social, economic and health benefits for present and future generations. We’re talking improved quality and duration of life. It’s a win-win.

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In the study, the researchers note that since we all have biochemical mechanisms that influence how quickly we age, and that through lifestyle changes or possibly even genetic alteration, it is possible to extend lifespan by postponing or even eliminating aging-related processes and diseases.

To Recap:

Health promoting activities – eating healthy, exercising, nutritional supplements, meditation, etc may not only be more successful at preventing disease and improving the quality & duration of our lives than the current medical practice of attacking diseases as they crop up, it might just improve the social & economic health for us and for our kids.

How awesome is that?

 

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5 Steps to a Healthy – Fat Melting Meal Plan

In my 19+ years as a personal trainer, most of my clients came to me to help them lose weight.

More specifically, my job was to help them melt the body-fat that encased their soon-to-be fit bodies.

While I can’t be there with you to design and monitor your workouts, I can give you my 5 step meal plan that EVERY successful client of mine followed to melt away their body-fat.

STEP 1 – Fruit for breakfast. Every day.

  • Fresh fruit in season.
  • Frozen fruit left to thaw in the fridge overnight during the rest of the year.

fruit

In addition to the great taste, fruit is loaded with cancer fighting fiber, vitamins and minerals and high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals.

USDA data on foods with high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals
Food Serving size Antioxidant capacity per serving size[6]
Cinnamon, ground 100 grams 267,536
Aronia black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) 100 grams 16062
Small Red Bean ½ cup dried beans 13727
Wild blueberry 1 cup 13427
Red kidney bean ½ cup dried beans 13259
Pinto bean ½ cup 11864
Blueberry 1 cup (cultivated berries) 9019
Cranberry 1 cup (whole berries) 8983
Artichoke hearts 1 cup, cooked 7904
Blackberry 1 cup (cultivated berries) 7701
Prune ½ cup 7291
Raspberry 1 cup 6058
Strawberry 1 cup 5938
Red Delicious apple 1 apple 5900
Granny Smith apple 1 apple 5381
Pecan 1 oz 5095
Sweet cherry 1 cup 4873
Black plum 1 plum 4844
Russet potato 1, cooked 4649
Black bean ½ cup dried beans 4181
Plum 1 plum 4118
Gala apple 1 apple 3903

STEP 2 – Replace Lunch-time Sandwiches with Lettuce Wraps

This might seem strange at first, but when you realize how much body-fat you will lose just by replacing 2 plain slices of bread with a single lettuce leaf ( 16 3/4 lbs. each and every year ), most people are willing to give it a try.

You can also replace your normal lunch with healthy soups, stews or salads.

lettuce wraps

STEP 3 – Replace your vending machine afternoon snack with spicy seeds and nuts

spicy nuts

Here is a quick recipe that I borrowed from Julie B’s Hive

Nueces Y Pepitas Picantes (Spicy Nuts and Seeds)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 10 small garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 1/2 cups raw hulled green pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°.
  2. In a frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic cloves and sauté until they begin to turn tan, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the nuts and seeds, coating them well with the oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the ground chile, just a pinch at a time, until the taste just tingles the tongue.
  3. Spread the nuts and seeds evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with more salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

STEP 4 – Meat & Vegetables

Replace the typical North American dinner of fatty protein served over complex carbs covered in a sauce of saturated fat and washed down with a big glass of high fructose corn syrup based liquid with something straight out of Leave it to Beaver. Meat and vegetables.

meat-and-salad health nutrition food diet fitness healthhabits

The meat can be beef,pork,poultry,fish,tofu,etc… Make it healthy.

You are free to choose your own vegetables, but try not to load up on the potatoes. And no french fries or potato chips.

STEP 5 – Eat fish or supplement with fish oils.

Fish, especially fish loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids are too good for you to ignore. There is a lot of research showing that the Omega 3s help your body to burn body-fat more efficiently.

For all those moms to be out there, I recently posted an article about Omega 3 fatty acids and their positive effects on your child’s brain.

Note: Keep in mind that I am not a doctor or heart specialist or scientist devoted to promoting the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, I have read a lot of the research into Omega 3 fish oils. I have also seen them work all sorts of magic on my clients body-fat, allergies and creaky joints. In my personal opinion, I think they are a fantastic product to supplement your diet.

Here are a few tips:

  • Supplement with fish oils that have been labeled Pharmaceutical Grade or Molecularly Distilled. Keep in mind that it is a little like the wild west out there with fish oil supplements. You may need to do a little research and even ask a few questions.
  • The University of Guelph run International Fish Oil Standards tests fish oil supplements for their purity. Their website is here.
  • I personally use the Ascenta brand Nutra-Sea fish oil. They were one of the first and have been tested by the U of G (passed). Here is a sample test report from their website.

Okay, there you go – 5 Steps to a Healthy – Fat Melting Meal Plan

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An Unbelievably Great Post-Workout Shake

Mango Protein Shake

I just polished off this post-workout protein shake and I am ready for another. My version is a protein filled take on Jamie Oliver’s Mango Lassi.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe:

    • 9 fluid ounces (255 milliliters) plain yogurt
    • 4 1/2 fluid ounces (130 milliliters) milk
    • 4 1/2 fluid ounces (130 milliliters) canned mango pulp or 7 ounces (200 grams) from 3 fresh mango, stoned and sliced
    • 4 teaspoons sugar, to taste, or feel free to try salt and cardamom seeds
    • Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes, then pour into individual glasses, and serve.
    • Feel free to try salt and cardamom seeds.
    • The lassi can be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours

In my version, I use:

      • Approximately the same amount of yogurt. I used Balkan or Greek style yogurt. It’s thicker and creamier.
      • I replaced the milk with water
      • I replaced the mango pulp with frozen mango
      • I skipped the salt and cardamom (none in my spice rack)
      • I added 5 grams each of creatine and glutamine
      • I added 2 scoops of vanilla whey protein

I am not kidding when I say this was the BEST protein shake I have ever drank.

Give it a try.

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Omega 3s Build Better Brains

In a study led by Harvard’s  Dr. Emily Oken, researchers concluded that Moms-to-be who ate fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids birthed babies with higher cognitive functions as compared to Moms who avoided seafood.

Conversely, the study also found that the amount of mercury in a woman’s body rose with the amount of fish she had consumed. Children that were exposed to these higher levels of mercury performed worse on the same cognitive tests.

WHAT?   How does that make any sense?

  • Eat fish and your kids will grow up to be a super genius.
  • Eat fish, expose your child to mercury, and he/she will grow up to be something less than a super genius.

What are we supposed to do with this nugget of science?

Based on their findings, the researchers say that it’s possible that eating Omega 3 fish could produce greater brain benefits for babies if mothers-to-be consumed seafood with lower mercury levels.

Well…thanks very much Captain Obvious.

Okay, enough sarcasm, here’s the bottom line...

Moms-to-be need to start eating fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids but low in Mercury content. The following charts and links should help with that.

  • Supplement with fish oils that have been labeled Pharmaceutical Grade or Molecularly Distilled. Keep in mind that it is a little like the wild west out there with fish oil supplements. You may need to do a little research and even ask a few questions.
  • The University of Guelph run International Fish Oil Standards tests fish oil supplements for their purity. Their website is here.
  • I personally use the Ascenta brand Nutra-Sea fish oil. You can enter the batch number of your purchased product in their website to see the specific third part purity report, or you can see a sample report here.

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Canada’s War on Drugs…and Vitamins

On April 8, 2008, Canada’s federal government tabled bill Bill C-51, designed to “modernize the Food and Drugs Act”.

The Bill “proposes to maintain a rigorous assessment of health products prior to making them available. In addition, we’re proposing to gain the ability to continuously monitor the safety of products even after they are approved”.

Sounds good.

We don’t want any tainted vitamins, herbs, etc, getting into the marketplace. And if they do, the government has taken the power and responsibility of recall from the manufacturers and given it to themselves.

So, essentially what the government is doing is asking the natural health product industry to prove that their products will do no harm. Once proven, manufacturers will be able to make claims of efficacy like the pharmaceutical industry.

This may even improve the business model for nutritional supplements in Canada. Vetted health claims might increase the legitimacy of the industry in the public’s eye. And yet, something doesn’t seem right with this piece of legislation.

Here is my problem with Bill C-51 – What are they protecting us from?

  • In 2006, the U.S. reported one death associated with the ingestion of vitamins. Specifically, it was an unknown vitamin & it was reported that while the vitamin played a part, it was unlikely that it was the cause of death. How they would know that if the vitamin was unknown, I will never know.
  • Compare that to the 2006 data for Pharmaceutical deaths. The full report is here.

Here are the Pharmaceutical Categories associated with largest number of fatalities (Top 25)

Deaths – Substance
382- Sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotics
307 – Opioids
252 – Cardiovascular drugs
214 – Acetaminophen in combination
210 – Antidepressants
203 – Stimulants and street drugs
139 – Alcohols
138 – Acetaminophen only
98 – Muscle relaxants
93 – Anticonvulsants
75 – Cyclic antidepressants
69 – Fumes/gases/vapors
66 – Antihistamines
61 – Aspirin alone
55 – Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
49 – Unknown drug
38 – Chemicals
35 – Oral hypoglycemics
27 – Miscellaneous drugs
25 – Diuretics
25 – Automotive/aircraft/boat products
22 – Antihistamine/decongestant, without phenylpropanolamine
20 – Hormones and hormone antagonists
18- Anticoagulants

Vitamins – 1 death  :  Aspirin & Acetaminophen – 199 deaths

As far as I am concerned, that should be the end of the story. The government has no business creating a problem where none exists.

Fin

Reference

  • video of an anti Bill C-51 rally
  • Health Minister, Tony Clement’s press conference to discuss Bill C-51
  • article in the Globe and Mail
  • article in the Vancouver Sun
  • The (CHFA) Canadian Health Food Association’s submission to the House of Commons.
  • article by Andre Picard, Globe and Mail
  • CHFA response to Picard article
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Dieting or Healthy Eating?

In one corner, we have the current undefeated Champeen of the World….The multi-billion dollar Diet Industry.

In the other corner, we have this guy. Mr. Healthy Lifestyle

health-fitness-healthhabits-sylvester-stallone-rocky-photograph-c10101948

  • With billions and billions of book sales, video downloads and online subscription, the Diet Industry is like a cross between Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather…with a big bucket of steroids and amphetamines thrown in for good measure.
  • The Healthy Lifestyle industry is like the little old lady who tells you to eat your vegetables.

As a result, the diet industry is the  1,000,000 to 1 odds-on favorite to win the battle for our “I want to get lean, healthy and fit” dollars.

  • But maybe, just maybe, we may be looking at a comeback for Healthy Eating.
  • There is more and more research being done that proves that a health focused lifestyle is the better way to a trim waistline.

The Science

A New Zealand based study looked at the negative effect that stress had upon the health of obese women. They found that obese women can improve their health and prevent further weight gain by ditching their diets and learning to deal with stress.

  • The study encouraged women to break free of chronic dieting and make lifestyle changes, including listening to their feelings of hunger and fullness rather than focusing on weight loss.
  • Following a group of 225 women, the research showed that the women who lost weight by dieting often regained the weight they lost, and more, within five years.
  • The researchers found that “the most successful intervention involved providing intensive training in relaxation techniques while equipping the women to recognize and avoid stress-related triggers for eating.’’
  • “Many overweight women had a fearful and guilt-ridden relationship with food, and their eating was often emotionally triggered”.

Additionally, the research showed that this lifestyle approach resulted in “significant improvement in reducing psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and medical symptoms including headaches, fatigue and lowered blood pressure”

Hmmmmmmmmm…it sounds like the diet industry might have something to worry about.

 

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Everything You Need to Know About Dieting

Do a Google search of the word “diet” …and you will get approximately thirteen bazillion hits. Thirteen bazillion articles and websites created by thousands upon thousands of individuals & corporations who are trying to sell you their miracle solution to your weight loss dreams…all for the low, low price of….over $60 billion per year

In today’s post, I am going to start laying out a weight-loss framework that will…

  • tell you everything you need to know about dieting,
  • help you understand the theories behind any diet,
  • help you design a diet that works for YOU, and
  • not spend any money

To begin with, we’re going to divide ALL of the possible dieting methods into their 2 main camps.

  1. Eat Less
  2. Burn More

Then, we’re going to break down these two main dieting philosophies into their numerous sub-categories, and so on and so on…until you are a veritable expert on diets and weight loss.

Notewhile I don’t believe that an Eat Less / Burn More approach to weight loss is the correct approach, this is how the current weight loss industry is constructed…so we will stick to that format as we delve deep into the diet /weight loss industry

Eat Less

Eat less food and you WILL lose weight…This is the basis for most diets.

It’s a simple theory, based on the concept in physics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed…and as a result, if you consume less energy (food), you have to lose the exact same amount of body-fat. Unfortunately, as every seasoned dieter knows, our bodies are not as straightforward as the laws of physics and are incredibly stubborn about holding onto our fat and that unless we are willing to keep dropping caloric intake until we are literally starving ourselves, we need to build upon the Eat Less theory of dieting if we want long-term success.

To that end, here are the major sub-categories of Eat Less dieting techniques created by the weight loss industry.

Structured Diets

This category dominates the weight loss industry. In fact, when I say the word diet, structured calorie-reduction diets are what everybody thinks of. Whether it’s a soup diet or a cabbage diet or a detox diet or a juice diet or any of the other  79,o45 different types of diets that Wikipedia categorizes, the theory is the same. Eat Less. How you do it is nothing but a marketing ploy. They are all the same.

diet-booksAlmost all diet books are variations of the Eat Less theory. Save your money and re-use last years diet books before you rush out and buy the latest best-seller.

Next Page – Behaviour Modification Techniques…

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