“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, “eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.”

As news of this research spread around the web, Vegans reacted like this….

tumblr_lbvabxXijT1qbi71b

But wait…before everyone flips out…

Let’s take a closer look at the study

In this study, the Carnegie Mellon researchers were investigating how three different USDA-esque weight loss plans would impact the environment.

Here are the three diet plans

  1. Reducing caloric intake to achieve “normal” weight without shifting food mix…aka same diet as before, just less of it.
  2. Switching food mix to USDA recommended food patterns without reducing calories…aka “healthy” diet, same calories as before
  3. Reducing calories & switching to USDA recommended food patterns…aka “healthy diet” AND fewer calories

How did they measure the environmental impact?

To compare the three diets, the researchers calculated how…

  • growing,
  • processing,
  • shipping,
  • selling
  • and storing all the foods consumed in the three diets

…impacted energy use, blue water footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

They crunched all that data to arrive at a series of environmental impact scores (energy, blue water, GHG) per kcal for each food.

From there, they calculated the overall energy, blue water & GHG scores for each of the three diets

Their findings?

Dietary Recommendation #1 resulted in a decrease in energy use, blue water footprint and GG emissions by approximately 9%.

Which makes sense…2000 calories of pizza is going to use less energy than 3000 calories of pizza.

Dietary Recommendation #2 increased energy use by 43%, increased blue water footprint by 16% and increased GHG emissions by 9%

The data showed that eating more fruits, vegetables, dairy & seafood bumped up the global footprint because of their relatively higher resource use and emissions per Calorie.

Even when the researchers dropped the caloric intake of the healthy food for Dietary Recommendation #3, they still saw an increase in energy use of 38%, an increase in blue water footprint of 10% and an increase in GHG emissions of 6%

And that’s where we get our headline…“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”

bacon

Even if you starve yourself on healthy food, you are harming the environment more than if you ate the standard American diet of grains & processed food.

This can’t be true, can it?

Yup…it’s true. But here’s why.

Our current food production system is geared towards producing the food most of us eat…processed grains and cheap fats & protein.

We are incredibly efficient at producing crap food. 

From farm to table, our mainstream food infrastructure is an amazing artificial organism.

Conversely, our infrastructure for healthy food is a joke in comparison. Small-scale healthy food producers give us amazing foodstuffs, but at a per-unit cost (financial & environmental) far in excess of their mainstream competitors.

If our healthy food producers had the infrastructure of our less-than-healthy food producers, they would match them for price & crush them in terms of environmental impact.

But they don’t and as a result, we are left comparing apples & oranges.

karl_smile

So cheer up my vegan brothers & sisters. And keep eating your fruits & veggies.

As more and more “normal” people start eating healthier, the financial & environmental costs of healthy food will drop.

Reference

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Henry Rollins v.s. McDonalds

A lesson in nutrition from an unlikely source – Mr. Henry Rollins

enjoy

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.

Junk Food and the Free Market

I wrote an article today for the Medium.com site. Here’s a little taste to whet your whistle. Click through if you want to read the whole enchilada.

An article in today’s Daily Beast (How Washington Dooms Millions of Americans to Premature Death by Nicholas Freudenberggot my brain spinning about food, obesity, junk food, diabetes, the free market, corporate responsibility, politics, personal responsibility and how all this ‘stuff’ has come together to create an epidemic of lifestyle disease.

In his article, NF brings up a number of interesting facts:

  1. Chronic diseases cause 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States
  2. 49% of Americans have one or more chronic diseases.
  3. In the United States, tobacco, alcohol and diet cause more than 1.2 million annual premature deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions.
  4. Chronic diseases account for $3 of every $4 spent on healthcare—about $1.5 trillion annually in the US of A.

So, how is it, that with all of this available data, the US spends less than 10% of total healthcare funding on health promotion / disease prevention?

  • Is it because public health campaigns don’t work?

Nope….while cases of diabetes have increased 176% in the last 30 years, it is estimated that 8 million ‘premature deaths’ have been prevented thanks to anti-smoking PSAs combined with increased taxes on tobacco products.

Public health campaigns can work…if they are well designed, well funded and receive government support.

So why isn’t that happening?

To find out the answer to that cliffhanger of a question, click through to the full article on Medium.com

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Can my friends make me fat?

Can my friends make me fat?

Q:   Can my friends make me fat?

  • A1:   Yes
  • A2:   No
  • A3:   Sort of

According to this meta-analysis of fifteen experimental studies, the type and quantity of food that your peers (friends, family, etc) consume does have fairly strong influence on the type and quantity of food that YOU eat.

  • In short, if your friends eat healthy, you will feel the influence of positive peer pressure to eat healthy.
  • Conversely, if your friends eat piles of junk food and drink gallons of sugary beverages, you will feel that influence as well.

Can my friends make me fat?

Of course, just because your friends choose to re-enact an episode of Man v. Food every time they sit down for dinner doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to their bad habits & peer pressure.

  • You have free will.
  • You have the ability to transcend your unconscious need to “be one of the gang”.

Even if that means your friends get upset, launch into a major guilt trip and unfairly accuse you of judging their poor eating habits and thinking that they are a bunch of fat losers with no willpower. Seriously, I have seen this happen many, many times with my personal training clients.

Let’s take a closer look at the science…

This meta-analysis, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at fifteen different studies from eleven different scientific journals.

What they found is that “if participants were given information indicating that others were making low-calorie or high-calorie food choices, it significantly increased the likelihood that participants made similar choices.”

In other words, if I am presented with a healthy food option and an unhealthy food option, I am more likely to eat healthy if I am told that everyone else is eating healthy. The same holds true if I am told that everyone is choosing pizza over salad.  

And it’s not just the quality of food. The same peer-pressure effect holds true for quantity of food eaten. When participants were told that everyone was pigging out, they were more likely to strap on the feed-bag as well.

According to the psychology researchers conducting the study, “It appears that in some contexts, conforming to informational eating norms may be a way of reinforcing identity to a social group, which is in line with social identity theory. By this social identity account, if a person’s sense of self is strongly guided by their identity as a member of their local community and that community is perceived to eat healthily, then that person would be hypothesized to eat healthily in order to maintain a consistent sense of social identity.”

What happens when you alone?

According to the shrinks, the “analysis also revealed that the social mechanisms that influence what we decide to consume are present even when we eat alone or are at work, whether or not we are aware of it.”

“Norms influence behaviour by altering the extent to which an individual perceives the behaviour in question to be beneficial to them. Human behaviour can be guided by a perceived group norm, even when people have little or no motivation to please other people,” says Dr. Robinson.

“Given that in some studies the participants did not believe that their behaviour was influenced by the informational eating norms, it seems that participants may not have been consciously considering the norm information when making food choices.”

What does this mean to YOU?

It depends.

If you have terrible willpower AND you want to start living a healthier lifestyle, you may want to consider adding some new healthy friends into your posse and hope that their positive peer pressure rubs off on you.

Of course, you should probably also scan through my blog archives for articles on nutrition and exercise. And feel free to include me in your new healthy-eating posse.

obesity-warning-pizza

Reference

 

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The Walmartification Of The Organic Food Industry

There was a time in the ‘not so distant’ past, when organic food was just a teeny tiny sliver of the entire food consumption pie. Organic products were bought and sold primarily by hippies and health nuts. Not any more. In fact, since 1990, organic food sales in the United States and Canada have been growing at approximately 20% per year. In 2006, sales of organic food in the United States and Canada topped $18 billion. Numbers these large were enough to catch the attention of the mainstream agri-business industry. As a result, a growing percentage of the new growth in organic food sales is being driven by mainstream supermarketsIn 1998, organic food sales in supermarkets were half the size of the sales in natural food stores. However, by 2006, supermarket sales had grown to be neck and neck with the natural food stores.

click to expand the image

Even as food prices keep rising year after year, the demand for organics keeps rising faster than non-organics year after year, resulting in….

  • the expansion of existing organic food companies – both public and private,
  • the introduction of thousands of new raw & process organic food products,
  • takeovers (and mergers) of small organic independents by large food producers/retailers,
  • the introduction and expansion of private label organic brands by the large food producers/retailers,

Next pageAnimation of the Organic Food Industry and How it Has Changed – 1995-2007

What Happens When A Skinny Person Gets Fat

No one ever said the world was fair.

  • Some of us can eat and drink whatever we want…and never gain a pound of body-fat.

Victorias-Secret-vs-Dove-women

  • While some of us eat healthy, eat small portions, exercise religiously…and still have to shop for Plus Size clothes.

NOT FAIR….especially in a society which:

  • Rewards women (and men) who are lean, fit and have no need to squeeze into a pair of Spanx.
  • Punishes obese women (and men) with lower pay, bad jokes and outright hostility by a growing army of douche-bags.

So, what happens when the world goes all Freaky Friday and a 39 year old woman who is naturally tall…naturally lean…while being naturally addicted to potato chips & pizza…suddenly gains 30 pounds in less than 3 months…without changing her diet or level of physical activity?

  1. Does she freak out and start snorting diet pills?
  2. Does she go into denial and pretend that she still fits into her uber-skinny “skinny jeans”?
  3. Does she morph into a rabid Fat Acceptance advocate denying that obesity is a symptom of less-than-optimum health?
  4. Or does she step back, look critically at the situation and start looking for causes, cures and support?

Here’s what happened

About two weeks ago, I got a call from Ms. Skinny/Fat to discuss her recent & unexpected weight gain.

She told me that how, after a brief period of denial (#2), she had become concerned that this weight gain might be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance or some other health issue…and that she had better do something about it (#4). She had already booked an appointment with her family doctor, but since she is friends with one of the world’s greatest weight loss experts (moi), she decided to solicit my opinion.

Over a cup of coffee with her and her husband, we discussed the past six months of her life…what she ate, when she ate it, her work life, her home life, her medical history, her stress levels, her husband, her plans for the next six months, etc…

We looked into every nook and cranny of her physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual aspect of her life…trying to find clues for why her body decided to stop being skinny and start being pudgy.

What we found was that a teeny-tiny dose of mirtazapine (1/4th of the normal starting dose – prescribed for anxiety) was most likely the culprit to have caused a significant shift in her appetite, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, leptin sensitivity and ultimately caused this naturally skinny person to get fat

After a quick consultation with her doctor, Ms. Skinny/Fat made 4 immediate changes to her daily routine:

  1. She started bleeding herself off of the mirtazapine
  2. She started taking a new prescription for anxiety
  3. She started a CBT/Mindfulness Mediatation program for anxiety
  4. She removed ALL starchy carbs from her diet in an attempt to compensate for any potential insulin/leptin sensitivty problems

The Result?

  • Her appetite dropped immediately
  • Her weight gain stopped immediately
  • After one week, weight loss has begun

The Moral(s) of the Story?

  1. It doesn’t take much for a naturally skinny person to get booted out of their excluisive little club. A slight shift in hormones or brain chemicals can have a drastic effect upon body composition.
  2. If you are the type of skinny person who thinks that fatties are fat because they are lazy and without self-control, you may want to put down your prejudices and give your brain a shake.
  3. Obesity IS a symptom of something going on in your body. A perfectly healthy body is NOT obese. Whether the cause of your obesity is easy to find and/or easy to correct is another question altogether. In this case, it was pretty easy to find and seems to be on its way to being corrected.
  4. If you are the type of obese person who blames their metabolism for their obesity, you might be correct in the diagnosis, but you are 100% wrong if you think the situation is hopeless. Obesity isn’t a curse. It’s a symptom of imbalance. Discover the imbalance and try to correct it.

Reference

How to Become a Better Person

Today’s post is a little different than the ones I normally write.

No science…no workouts…no cutting edge nutrition research. Just a short story about one of my friends/clients and how the changes she made in her life has made her a better person…her words, not mine.

How to become a better person in 500 words or less

Suzanne (not her real name) was referred to me by one of her friends. When we met, she was forty-something years old, with three growing kids, a good marriage, a good life, with lots of friends and a job that helped pay the bills for a home in a very nice neighbourhood in mid-town Toronto.

Like a lot of forty-somethings, she was essentially healthy but was carrying excess body-fat and just didn’t feel like her old self.

Based on her friend’s recommendation, she came to me with expectations of:

  1. Dropping the weight,
  2. Fitting into her pre-baby clothes and,
  3. Feeling more energetic.

And while all of those goals came true in the 14 months we worked together, they weren’t the reasons why she took the time to write me the most touching letter of thanks this past week.

gallery_vitruviawoman1

In her letter, Suzanne talked about how her new health habits have made her a better version of herself…stronger, calmer, happier, more creative, more loving…not to mention looking better than ever in a pair of skinny jeans.

  • She wrote about how her cravings for cookies and cupcakes have disappeared
  • She wrote about how she no longer “freaks out” on her kids and husband
  • She wrote about how her lower back & neck doesn’t ache anymore
  • She wrote about how she doesn’t feel sad & anxious like she used to
  • She wrote about how she doesn’t “need” coffee like she used to
  • She wrote about how her energy levels have gone through the roof
  • She wrote about how her relationships have grown
  • She wrote about how her improved work performance has led to a promotion
  • She wrote about how her kids and husband were positively affected by her changes
  • She wrote how her husband has been able to cut back on hypertension meds, lose weight and get rid of his sleep apnea machine
  • She wrote about how one of her kids is no longer on ADHD meds
  • She wrote about how all of her kids are better behaved and are much more physically fit

She also wrote about how she didn’t have to abandon the good stuff from her “old life” to make all these changes. She just got rid of the “stuff” that was getting in the way of being the best Suzanne that she could be.

  • She didn’t stop going out for dinner. She just made better choices
  • She didn’t stop watching tv. She just made better choices
  • She didn’t stop eating cupcakes. She just made better choices.

And that is how you become a better person. You start making better choices.

Food Addiction: It’s In Your Eyes

As a personal trainer, fitness blogger and all around health & fitness geek, I am constantly reading scientific journals looking for the latest research about nutrition, obesity, exercise science and overall health and longevity. And every now and then, I come across something truly interesting….to my geeky brain.

Something like this research about measuring the pleasure response we get from eating chocolate.

The Science

In this study, researchers from Drexel University found that they could accurately measure our brain’s pleasure response to consuming chocolate with the use of a common, low-cost ophthalmological technique called electroretinography (ERG).

Why is this important?

It’s important because not only is food how we deliver nutrients into our bodies, it’s one of the most powerful ways we generate pleasure in our brains.

woman-eating-chocolate-

Unfortunately, there are a few nasty side effects to eating foods that give us a big boost of pleasure chemicals….calories, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, etc…

And in 2013, it’s quite obvious that we have a pretty serious problem with those side effects.

Processed food manufacturers have found ways to manipulate their products so that our pleasure centers are constantly issuing commands to eat more, more, more. And for those of us without the willpower of a Spartan, we eat more…and more…and more.

With the result being an epidemic of food addiction, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

What this new research could do for us is provide a truly “pharmacological approach to the brain’s response to food.” No more airy-fairy talk about cravings and food addiction and willpower and how obese people just don’t try hard enough. If and when this technique is validated by additional studies, mainstream medicine would be able to:

  1. Quickly and accurately measure how different foods impact the pleasure center in our brain
  2. Research ways to make “healthier” foods more pleasurable
  3. Research ways to make “unhealthy” foods less pleasurable,
  4. Thereby boosting our willpower against potato chips and chocolate bars
  5. Eliminating food addiction
  6. And helping us fall in love with broccoli & kale

What does this mean to you?

At this point…nothing.

This is the first study of this technique, and it was a very small study too – only 9 people. But it’s a great start.

There are a ton of ongoing studies looking at how food gives us pleasure in the hopes that we can manipulate these pleasure responses with drugs or medical instruments or diets focused on manipulating macronutrient consumption, etc, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, the gold standard for meauring the effectiveness of these approaches is with the use of a PET scanner…which costs $2000+ per session, is more invasive and takes more than an hour to generate a scan.

With electroretinography, the Medicare reimbursement cost for clinical use of ERG is about $150 per session, and each session generates 200 scans in just two minutes.

ERG

And if you’re a drug company looking to test a compound designed to increase our desire for “healthy” food and eliminate food addiction, the lower financial & time costs associated with this new test is a very big deal. It would allow them to test more products, get successful ones to market sooner and offer them at a theoretically lower cost to the consumer.

And who wouldn’t want a magic pill that makes them think cauliflower tastes better than chocolate?

Reference

Coca Cola to End Canadian Obesity Epidemic

Today is an important day in the history of Canada. From this day forward, Canadians will recognize April 23 as the day Coca Cola came to our rescue and helped us save ourselves from the medical scourge known as obesity.

Because on this day, Coca-Cola Canada announced the launch of a national campaign to inspire Canadians to come together to find real solutions to this important issue affecting our society.

“This campaign aims to inform people about the concept of energy balance, educate them on our products and inspire Canadians to live more active, healthy lives,” said Nicola Kettlitz, president Coca-Cola Ltd.

Wait a second…that sounds like a big pile of marketing BS to me…let’s check the BS detector…

bullshit_detector4

Yup, just as I suspected…total marketing BS.

If only we could have a little honesty injected into the discussion.

So…what do YOU think?

  • Is Coca-Cola being honest?
  • Or is it just marketing BS?

Reference

Be the Best You that You Can Be

Every day, I speak with people who want to transform their body from fat to fit. And for the most part, I tell them that the human body is an amazingly adaptable machine that WILL respond to exercise, nutrition, etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes I have to splash a little cold water on their hopes & dreams. Just like Mssrs Ecto, Meso & Endo, we all face unique limitations and restrictions.

  • Mr. Meso’s waist is great for bodybuiding…but not so good for becoming the World’s Strongest Man
  • And while Mr. Endo is built for pulling transport trucks out of ditches, he is never, ever going to be as lean as Mr. Ecto without a boatload of illegal and life-threatening drugs.

We all have limitations…

  • Physical – wide hips, narrow hips, small boobs, big boobs, muscle fiber type, metabolic rate, etc…
  • Mental – self-confidence and belief in their ability to improve
  • Financial – gym memberships, trainers, healthy food & supplements cost money
  • Social – support of friends & family isn’t guaranteed
  • Knowledge – Some people still believe that cardio is the best way to lose weight
  • Time – we are all stuck with this one 😦

And while most of us will never be hired to be the next Calvin Klein model…

calvin-klein-models

…we sure as heck can be better than we are today.

Be the Best You that You Can Be

 

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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

Super Scary Obesity Statistics

  • Until 1980, fewer than one in ten people were obese.
  • In 2010, 35% of Americans were classified as obese.

obesity-rates

And it’s not just the US of A.

  • In 19 of the 34 OECD countries, the majority of the population is now overweight or obese.
  • OECD projections suggest that more than two out of three people will be overweight or obese in some OECD countries by 2020.

overweight-rates

Maybe it’s time to do something about this???

Baby Formula Programs Your Child For Obesity

Researchers from the University of Buffalo have found that babies fed foods high in simple sugars (carbs) immediately after birth are prone to becoming overweight/obese as adults.

This is due to a period of developmental plasticity, extending from fetal development into the immediate postnatal period during which pancreatic islets and neurons continue to mature.

“That’s why an altered nutritional experience during this critical period can independently modify the way certain organs in the body develop, resulting in programming effects that manifest later in life,” UB researcher Dr. Patel says. “During this critical period, the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite, becomes programmed to drive the individual to eat more food.

The Science

For more than 20 years, Patel and his UB colleagues have studied how the increased intake of carbohydrate-enriched calories just after birth can program individuals to overeat.

For this study, the UB researchers administered to newborn rat pups special milk formulas they developed that are either…

  1. Similar to rat breast milk in composition, (higher in fat-derived calories) or
  2. Enriched with carbohydrate-derived calories.

“These pups who were fed a high-carbohydrate milk formula are getting a different kind of nourishment than they normally would,” explains Patel, “which metabolically programs them to develop hyperinsulinemia, a precursor for obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

What happened to the baby rats?

At three weeks of age, the rat pups fed the high-carbohydrate (HC) formula were then weaned onto rat chow either with free access to food or with a moderate calorie restriction, so that their level of consumption would be the same as pups reared naturally.

“When food intake for the HC rats was controlled to a normal level, the pups grew at a normal rate, similar to that of pups fed by their mothers,” Patel says. “But we wanted to know, did that period of moderate calorie restriction cause the animals to be truly reprogrammed? We knew that the proof would come once we allowed them to eat ad libitum, without any restrictions.

“We found that when the HC rat undergoes metabolic reprogramming for development of obesity in early postnatal life, and then is subjected to moderate caloric restriction, similar to when an individual goes on a diet, the programming is only suppressed, not erased,” he says.

What does this mean to you?

  1. It may mean that you choose to breast feed your newborn
  2. It may mean that you choose baby formula with a macronutrient profile similar to breast milk
  3. It may mean that you ignore the study because it was performed on rats…and rats ain’t humans.

What happens if you choose #3?

According to the researchers, periods of moderate caloric restriction later in life cannot reverse the hypothalamic pro-obesity programming. This means that your little bundle of joy has a higher chance of becoming an obese adult…unless they choose to follow a calorie restricted diet for their entire life.

It’s your call Mom & Dad.

Reference

 

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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

A Plan to Reverse Childhood Obesity

In January 2012, the Ontario Government got serious about childhood obesity and created the multisectoral Healthy Kids Panel …asking them to sketch out a framework designed to help us reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent within five years.

Here is what they came back with:

1. Start All Kids on the Path to Health

1.1 Educate women of child-bearing age about the impact of their health and weight on their own well-being and on the health and well-being of their children.
1.2 Enhance primary and obstetrical care to include a standard pre-pregnancy health check and wellness visit for women planning a pregnancy and their partners.
1.3 Adopt a standardized prenatal education curriculum and ensure courses are accessible and affordable for all women.
1.4 Support and encourage breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life.
1.5 Leverage well-baby and childhood immunization visits to promote healthy weights and enhance surveillance and early intervention.

the-Healthy-Kids-Strategy

2. Change the Food Environment

2.1 Ban the marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.
2.2 Ban point-of-sale promotions and displays of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages in retail settings, beginning with sugar-sweetened beverages.
2.3 Require all restaurants, including fast food outlets and retail grocery stores, to list the calories in each item on their menus and to make this information visible on menu boards.
2.4 Encourage food retailers to adopt transparent, easy-to-understand, standard, objective nutrition rating systems for the products in their stores.
2.5 Support the use of Canada’s Food Guide and the nutrition facts panel.
2.6 Provide incentives for Ontario food growers and producers, food distributors, corporate food retailers, and non-governmental organizations to support community-based food distribution programs.
2.7 Provide incentives for food retailers to develop stores in food deserts.
2.8 Establish a universal school nutrition program for all Ontario publicly funded elementary and secondary schools.
2.9 Establish a universal school nutrition program for First Nations communities.
2.10 Develop a single standard guideline for food and beverages served or sold where children play and learn.

healthy-kids

3. Create Healthy Communities

3.1 Develop a comprehensive healthy kids social marketing program that focuses on healthy eating, active living – including active transportation – mental health and adequate sleep.
3.2 Join EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) International and adopt a co-ordinated, communitydriven approach to developing healthy communities for kids.
3.3 Make schools hubs for child health and community engagement.
3.4 Create healthy environments for preschool children.
3.5 Develop the knowledge and skills of key professions to support parents in raising healthy kids.
3.6 Speed implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
3.7 Continue to implement the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
3.8 Ensure families have timely access to specialized obesity programs when needed.

Unfortunately,  Canadian media ignored the entire report, except for the proposed ban on marketing high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.

Instead of focusing on the health of our kids, they decided that the real story was the potential restriction of the rights of processed food producers to convince our children to crave ‘food’ that promotes obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Well done Canadian media…I’m looking forward to your next story on childhood obesity and how we have to do something about it.

Jerks.

Reference 

How to (not) Make Your Child a Junk Food Addict

Obviously no one wants to make their child a junk food addict.

Unfortunately…a new study out of Australia (conducted on rats) “suggests that pregnant mothers who consume junk food actually cause changes in the development of the opioid signaling pathway in the brains of their unborn children. This change results in the babies being less sensitive to opioids, which are released upon consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar.

In turn, these children, born with a higher “tolerance” to junk food need to eat more of it to achieve a “feel good” response.

The Science

Researcher fed one group of soon-to-be-a-mommy rats a normal rat food diet and a second group a range of human “junk foods” during pregnancy and lactation.

Junk Food Diet

  • peanut butter,
  • hazelnut spread,
  • chocolate-flavored biscuits (cookies),
  • extruded savory snacks,
  • sweetened multigrain breakfast cereal,
  • ham- and chicken-flavored processed meat,
  • and a mixture of lard and standard rat chow

After the rat pups were weaned, the pups were given daily injections of an opioid receptor blocker….which blocks opioid signaling. This in turn lowers the intake of fat and sugar by preventing the release of dopamine.

Test results showed that the opioid receptor blocker was less effective at reducing fat and sugar intake in the pups of the junk food fed mothers, suggesting that “perinatal exposure to high-fat, high-sugar diets results in altered development of the central reward system, resulting in increased fat intake and altered response of the reward system to excessive junk-food intake in postnatal life“.

Or in layman’s terms…Garbage In : Garbage Out.

addiction-to-junk-food-fase

Reference

‘Diet’ soft drinks associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes

Numerous scientific studies and just a pinch of common sense tells us that over-consumption of full-sugar soft drinks increases our odds of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Because of these threats, soft drink companies developed “diet” soft drinks…with artificial sweeteners replacing sugar.

diet-soda-obesity

Unfortunately for all the Diet Coke drinkers out there….according to this study of over 66,000 French women…

  1. Women who drink ‘diet’ soft drinks consume higher quantities than women who drink ‘normal’ soft drinks – 2.8 glasses per week vs 1.6 glasses per week
  2. When an equal quantity is consumed, the risk of contracting diabetes is higher for ‘light’ or ‘diet’ drinks than for ‘non-light’ or ‘non-diet’ drinks.
  3. And of course…the risk of T2D increases as the volume of either kind of soft drinks increases.

diet-soda-diabetes-risk

Conclusion

This study tells us that high consumption of sweet soft drinks (both normal and ‘diet’) is associated with a high increase in the risk of contracting Type II diabetes. This increased risk is all the greater for drinks of the ‘light’ or ‘diet’ type.

And association doesn’t necessarily means causation.

Even though the researchers accounted for a lot of different factors…

  • obesity,
  • type of diet – Western, Mediterranean, etc,
  • intake of carbohydrates,
  • intake of processed meats,
  • family history of diabetes,
  • education,
  • smoking status,
  • physical activity,
  • hypertension,
  • high cholesterol,
  • HRT,
  • alcohol intake,
  • Omega 3 intake,
  • coffee consumption,
  • fresh fruit & vegetable consumption,
  • the reverse causation hypothesis,
  • etc…

All we can say is that…

  1. Consumption of soft drinks is associated with an increased risk of T2D
  2. Consumption of ‘diet’ soft drinks is associated with an even greater increased risk of T2D
  3. The volume of soft drinks consumed is directly associated with an increased risk of T2D

What does this mean to you?

If you don’t drink soft drinks…nothing.

But if you do drink soft drinks, you have some options.

  1. You can ignore this study and wait for the follow-ups which intend to PROVE that ‘diet’ soft drinks cause T2D.
  2. You can believe that there is a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D and cut back on your Diet Cokes.
  3. You can believe that there might be a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D, cut back on your Diet Cokes just in case and wait for the follow-up studies to make up your mind.

Reference

 

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Should We De-Legalize Coca-Cola?

Today’s post is written for people willing to….

  • Take off their “this is what I believe to be true” caps
  • Put on their “thinking” caps

[box type=”important”]For everyone who can’t resist the urge to scream FREE MARKET!!!!, I welcome your feedback, but expect to be mocked for intellectual laziness and your inability to recognize that there is no such thing as a free market. [/box]

If you doubt this statement, I suggest you try selling crystal meth & porno in front of the nearest public school to test your belief that you live in a FREE MARKET.

[box type=”note”]When I say Coca-Cola, I also mean to include Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, etc into the conversation. All soda-style products[/box]

Anyway, enough with my ranting. Here’s what I want you to think about.

Should we de-legalize Coca-Cola?

All arguments are fair game. Medical, social, economic, theoretical, etc…

coca-cola

And just in case you’re interested in my position…

  • I don’t believe that we should de-legalize Coca-Cola.
  • I do believe that Coca-Cola should come with warnings similar to tobacco products
  • I do believe that Coca-Cola should not be allowed to advertise to children (12 and younger???)
  • I do believe that we should apply “sin taxes” to Coca-Cola and have 100% of that tax revenue be directed towards health promotion programs. These health promotion programs need to be 100% transparent to receive this money. Any remaining money is funneled into treating disease affected by Coca-Cola – diabetes, heart disease, etc.

My reasons for taking these positions are as follows…

  • Coca-Cola has no nutritional benefit
  • It is devoid of micro-nutrients
  • It provides empty, high glycemic carb calories
  • It is addictive (caffeine)
  • It contributes to insulin resistance
  • It contributes to type 2 diabetes
  • It contributes to metabolic syndrome
  • These medical conditions have a profound effect on the health of our society
  • These medical conditions have a profound effect on our economic productivity

In short, Coca-Cola is a danger to both our health and our wealth.

On the other side of the ledger…

  • Coca-Cola tastes good.
  • We’re all grown-ups and should be allowed to make our own decisions (good and bad) without someone else telling us what to do.

And that’s how I came to my position.

  • Keep Coca-Cola legal
  • Tax it to offset it’s negative medical/financial impact on our society
  • Restrict it’s marketing campaigns to adults

What do YOU think?

Paleo Dessert Recipes Vol.6

  • Paleo….good
  • Dessert….good
  • Paleo Dessert….awesome

Bon appetit

paleo-chestnut-brownies

Paleo-Mint-Chocolate-Almond

Paleo-Pumpkin-Cake-with-Cin

paleo-chocolate-cereal

  • Paleo Chocolate Cereal

paleo-choc-fudge-coco-bars

  • Paleo Chocolate Fudge Coconut Bars

The 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector

Every January, millions of people resolve to…

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Get strong
  • Get healthy

And every January, a bunch of  douchebags try to take advantage of those people with their bullshit health & fitness products.

This year, I thought that I would help everyone who has resolved to make 2013 they year that they finally get in shape by creating a 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector (FBD).

FBD Tip #1

If someone promises that you can lose 7 pounds in 7 days…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-4

FBD Tip #2

If someone offers a revolutionary new “shortcut”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-1

FBD Tip #3

If someone has a secret for “killing lower abdominal fat”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-2

FBD Tip #4

If someone has gone from “string-bean” to “bodybuilder” all thanks to one weird secret…it’s bullshit.

bullshit fitness ad 6

FBD Tip #5

If someone has discovered a “weird spice” or suggests that cinnamon rolls can make you lean…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-5

FBD Tip #6

And if someone tries to convince you that 7 Odd Foods are the secret to an uber-lean belly…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-3

FBD Tip #7

I hope these specific examples have helped make my point…..that if it sounds just a little too good to be true, it probably is…or in other words…it’s bullshit.

Can my friends make me fat?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Pig Out

Last night, I had a wicked craving for chicken wings.

So, after my last client, I rounded up some of my buddies, hit my favorite wing joint and cleared out my sinuses with excessive amounts of hot sauce.

While we were there, we couldn’t help overhearing the group of 20-something year old women at the next table as they laid waste to a massive pile of wings, fires, deep fried cheese, beer and fruity cooler drinks.

Impressed we were with their eating prowess…those girls could really put away the chow.

Unimpressed we were with how the ladies treated the one who stayed away from all the starchy stuff and only drank water.

  • They kept nagging at her to eat some fries and deep fried cheese sticks.
  • When she declined, they piled some on her plate.

When she didn’t eat them…

  • One of the big-eaters started to get angry and suggested that she thought she was better than them (did I mention they were drinking).

This went on for about ten minutes with all of the cheese stick eaters joining in and bombarding our heroine with different “mean girl” psychological techniques.

In the end, she gave in, ate some fries and order was restored to the group.

But it left me wondering…is this what it takes to fit in in 2012? If your friends eat like crap, do you have to eat like crap to fit in? Back in the 80’s, there was a anti-drunk driving campaign that said…

friends-dont-let-friends-dr

Maybe we need something like this to reverse the our problems with obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, etc.

Healthy Recipes Shouldn’t Taste This Good

Q.   What do you get when you combine two professional chefs with a celebrity nutritionist?
A.   You get three amazing recipes that taste way too good to be healthy.

Just in time for holiday entertaining.

Recipe #1 comes from Chef Rossy Earle.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Rossy, she lives in my hometown of Toronto…and aside from being one of Toronto’s hottest chefs, she is the creator of the world’s absolute best tasting hot sauce.

supicucu rossy earle diablo's fuego diabla's kiss

For this post, she offered up her….

Appetizer – Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Rice paper wrappers
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Coriander
  • Thai Basil or regular basil
  • Carrots
  • Red Pepper
  • Jicama
  • Celery
  • Daikon Radish
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Napa Cabbage or Red Cabbage
  • Baby spinach
  • Pea Sprouts

Directions

Julienne all vegetables into 2 – 2.5″ sticks in length. Keep in covered container ( this can be done ahead of time & set aside in the fridge even the day before)

Set up an assembly station on the counter with a medium size bowl of hot/warm water. To soften up rice wrappers, dip entire wrapper in warm water for 5 seconds, until pliable. Leave a few more seconds if not soft enough but not too long or the paper will tear.

  • About one inch from the bottom of softened wrapper, spread a little bit of Hoisin sauce.
  • Place a basil leaf, a sprig or coriander & any other leafy green you’ve chosen to use.
  • Then line up a few sticks of each vegetable on top of the greens to make colourful rows.
  • Fold bottom edge over filling then fold in both sides & make a tight roll pressing the top edge onto the roll to seal.
  • You can use a bit of the warm water to dip end of wrapper to make sure it sticks.

As you make each roll, place, seam down, in a container & cover.

Refrigerate until ready to use or at least 15 minutes to let the firm up & set. Then cut thru middle on a bias and serve with dipping sauce.

Note: Chef Rossy often modifies this recipe by adding shredded chicken, cooked pork, shrimp or whatever other ingredients she has in her fridge.

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1.5 Tbsp Agave
  • 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tsp Fresh grated Ginger
  • 1 tsp Fresh grated Garlic
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy sauce or Tamari
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • Mix all ingredients together & let sit at least 1 hour for flavours to blend.

For the main course, I contacted the Healthy Irishman…aka Chef Gavan Murphy. He offered up his…

Main Course – Braised Lamb Shank with White Beans

Chef Murphy tells me that this recipe serves 4 people…even 4 extra-muscled personal trainer type of people like me.

Ingredients

  • 3 lg. grass-fed lamb shanks (6 halves)
  • 3 large carrots – peeled,
  • 1/2″ slices 1 red onion – diced
  • 1 large leek, white only – sliced, rinsed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • bouquet garni (oregano, thyme, rosemary)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine (whatever you’re drinking will work)
  • 1 cup dried northern beans- soaked overnight or 2 x 15 oz canned white beans
  • 5 cups organic beef broth
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • S&P

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Preheat large skillet on high heat for 1 minute.
  • Add 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Season each shank with S&P.
  • Sear in skillet for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned all over.
  • Remove to an oven-proof dish.
  • Wipe out excess oil from skillet with kitchen towel and drizzle with another 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Add carrots, leeks, onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so as not to burn.
  • When veggies are browned stir in tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add red wine, bouquet garni and bay leaves, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add this mixture to shanks along with soaked beans.

Pour in the chicken broth to the same pan you just used and deglaze by scraping all the caramelized bits from the pan. Add this to the lamb then pour in the beef broth over and mix everything together. Cover pan with foil and pop in oven. Cook for 2 1/2 hours or until lamb is fork tender and falls off the bone.

[box type=”note”]Gavan has provided HealthHabits with a ton of great recipes – Check ’em out [/box]

For dessert, I contacted uber-Nutritionist Julie Daniluk and she emailed me her recipe for…

Dessert – Genny’s Gluten Free Almond Ginger Cookies

Julie is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks –  Meals That Heal Inflammationand is also the co-host of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. If that wasn’t enough, she is the recipient of the 2012 Canadian Health Food Association’s Organic Achievement Award.

And she’s a heck of a cook.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Almond Butter*
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Ground Ginger
  • 1 tbsp (15mls) Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups (500 mL) Almond Meal 1 tbsp (15 mL)
  • Ground Flax Meal 6 tbsp (90 mL)
  • Honey 1 tsp (5 mL)
  • Pure Vanilla Extract ¼ cup (65mls)
  • Organic 100% Unsweetened Chocolate Chips
Optional: Fruit Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries (for decoration)
[box type=”note”]If you open the jar and the almond butter has separated, you’ll need to mix the oil back together with the almond butter and then measure[/box]
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Roll the dough by hand into 1inch balls and lightly press down with a fork.
  • Decorate with cranberries if you choose.
  • Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. The cookies will crisp as they cool.
  • Allow cookies to cool. They store well in an airtight container.
Yields 24 cookies.
Nutrition per cookie
  • Calories 96
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbs 8 g
  • Fiber 1.4 g
  • Protein 2.5 g

If you’re looking for more info/recipes/bottles of hot sauce, feel free to contact our three gourmets. They would be glad to hear from you.

Reference

A Healthy Diet WILL Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, Death

According to a study published in the medical journal Circulation, eating a healthy diet significantly reduces your odds of…

  • Cardio-vascular death by 35%
  • Heart attack by 14%
  • Stroke by 19%

 The Study

The researchers looked at 31, 546 men and women aged 66.5±6.2 years of age with pre-existing conditions who were enrolled in one of two blood-pressure medication trials.

As part of these studies, the test subjects were required to complete detailed lifestyle questionnaires which included questions about:

  • age,
  • education,
  • ethnicity,
  • diet,
  • physical activity,
  • smoking (never, current, former),
  • daily alcohol intake (frequency of intake),

In addition to the questionnaire, numerous lab tests were conducted – fasting lipids & glucose, medications, physical activity, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and hip circumference were also recorded at baseline, at 2 years, and at study end.

After five years, the researchers found that the test subjects who ate a diet similar to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) approach were much healthier than those who ate the Standard American Diet.

Note – In their calculations, the researchers accounted for age, sex, location, pharmaceuticals, smoking and a whole bunch of other know confounders. This allowed them to “adjust for potential factors that could also influence heart disease risk. For example, healthier eaters may experience fewer heart problems because they also tend to smoke less or exercise more or take their medications more diligently. But even after they controlled for these behaviors, the study showed a strong link between healthy diet and heart health”.

A strong link indeed:

  • A 35% reduction in risk of cardio-vascular death
  • A 14% reduction in risk of heart attack
  • A 19% reduction in risk of stroke

All by eating your veggies.

Reference

Why do Health Insurance Companies Cover Weight Loss Drugs but not Fresh Fruit and Vegetables?

Last month, Reuters reported that America’s third-largest health insurer, Aetna Inc would provide coverage for weight loss drugs sold by Vivus (Qsymia / Qnexa) and Arena Pharmaceuticals (Belviq).

WBB Securities LLC analyst Stephen Brozak commented that “this is probably the simplest business decision on Aetna’s plate in all of 2012, because to not reimburse this would have put them in the crosshairs of every single healthcare decision maker in the United States. Everyone acknowledges that we have a pandemic obesity problem, and to not be a part of a solution even if its a marginal solution, means you are part of the problem,” he added.

Hmmmm…marginal solution???

Why would Aetna choose to cover their costs of a marginal obesity solution while ignoring weight-loss / disease prevention solutions that actually work?

  • Like a diet high in fresh fruit & vegetables

Maybe it’s like my Twitter buddy @powerfulhunger said…that it’s too impractical to administer.

But then again…maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it isn’t impractical for Aetna et al to partner with America’s  food retailers to provide an instant percentage discount on all fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables.

Let’s use an imaginary Aetna client to test my hypothesis…

  1. Aetna client walks into WalMart, Kroger, Costco, etc…
  2. Aetna client picks up prescription from pharmacy
  3. Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to pharmacist
  4. Aetna client pays discounted price for their prescription
  5. Aetna client walks over to the WalMart, Kroger, Costco fresh/frozen produce section
  6. Aetna client loads up their cart with produce
  7. Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to cashier
  8. Aetna client pays discounted price for their produce

Doesn’t seem that impractical to me.

But then again…what the heck do I know about HEALTH insurance?

Reference

Paula Deen – Leaner, Fitter, Healthier???

Paula Deen really, really, really needs my buddy Gavan Murphy (aka the Healthy Irishman) to start making regular appearances on her show and to share his healthy eating skillz.

Last month, he did a guest appearance on her show Paula’s Best Dishes and he knocked it out of the box.

He had Paula eating, making and enjoying healthy recipes.

Recipes that any Foodie would be proud to serve…and show on international television.

Paula also enjoyed rubbing Gav’s head, but we won’t mention that to his wife.

So, here’s what we need to do.

RT this article and let Paula know that she need to make Gavan a regular feature on her show…and that if she does, not only will he help her eat healthier and get rid of her diabetes, she could help millions of other people reverse their own Type 2 Diabetes.

So…RT it dammit!!!.

Reference

Attn. PETA : Man Has Been Eating Meat For Over 1.5 Million Years

Today’s post is for the vegan lady at the gym who tried to convince me to stop eating animal protein.

According to researchers from the University of Colorado Denver…

  • Humans have been eating meat for at least 1.5 millions years…which is approximately 75,000 generations of humanity.
  • When our 1.5 million year old ancestors ran low on meat, it resulted in a nursing mother’s breast milk being negatively altered the nutritional content of her breast milk to the extent that her nursing child ultimately died from malnourishment.

Her baby died for lack of a Bronto-Burger.

We know this because…

  1. The U of C researchers found a skull fragment from that 2 year old anemic baby in the Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania
  2. The skull fragment showed signs of porotic hyperostosis associated with anemia.

According to these findings, the researchers were able to conclude that…

  • This anemic condition was likely caused by a diet suddenly lacking in meat.
  • The consumption of meat had become so essential to proper hominin functioning that its paucity or lack led to deleterious pathological conditions (porotic hyperostosis).
  • That we have only scratched the surface in our understanding of nutrition and health in ancestral populations of the deep past.

Conclusion

In addition to previous research which showed that “meat-eating was an important factor affecting early hominin brain expansion, social organization and geographic movement”, we now know that meat consumption was directly related to our ancestors’ physical health.

Sounds to me like a good reason to fire up the BBQ.

Reference

Is Junk Food Fine in Moderation?

A little while ago, I made the mistake of debating a talk-radio host about the Ontario Medical Association’s proposals to help combat obesity up here in Canada.

The OMA suggests:

  • Increasing taxes on junk food and decreasing tax on healthy foods;
  • Restricting marketing of fatty and sugary foods to children;
  • Placement of graphic warning labels on pop and other high calorie foods with little to no nutritional value;
  • Retail displays of high-sugar, high-fat foods to have information prominently placed advising consumer of the health risks; and
  • Restricting the availability of sugary, low-nutritional value foods in sports and other recreational facilities that are frequented by young people.

Of course, the suggestion of a fat tax caused on-air conservatives to completely freak out.

During our debate over the tax implications of obesity (healthcare costs vs “fat taxes”), Mr. DJ let me know that:

  1. “in moderation” there are no bad foods…
  2. and that since we need food to eat, taxing any foods is ethically wrong.
Death by McMuffin???

Aside from the fact that we have already jumped the ethical hurdle by taxing snack & restaurant foods, I let him know about a new study which showed that within 2 hours of eating a breakfast consisting of two commercially available breakfast McSandwiches -(900 calories and 50 g of fat) – test subjects saw a reduction of arterial blood flow by 15-20%.

Let me repeat: It slowed down the flow of their blood.

And while this doesn’t mean that your blood is going to stop flowing after eating a bag of McMuffins…it does indicate that eating junk food has an immediate & negative effect on your health.

  • And that if you eat like this on a regular basis, you are harming yourself.

Even if a radio DJ disagrees.

Mr. DJ went on to argue that eating junk food provides calories and since we will die without calories, we would all die. Ergo junk food is good for us.

I hung up the phone.

Reference

Get Fit & Lose Weight – Emotional Jeet Kune Do

Every day I help clients discover & push the buttons that they need to push…. if they are going to…

  1. Get the exercise their body needs
  2. Eat the food their body needs
  3. Think the thoughts they need to think and
  4. Feel the feelings they need to feel

…in order to become the healthiest, fittest, sexiest, most awesomest selves they can possibly be.

Here’s an example of the plan I used to help one of my clients lose 185 lbs over the past two years.

  • 319lbs – 185 lbs = 134 lbs

Small carb-free meals for breakfast and lunch

For example, breakfast would be 3 scrambled eggs with butter AND lunch would be a small Greek salad with feta, olives, lettuce & tomatoes – no dressing.

My reasoning behind this approach was that she was a busy executive and was very, very busy throughout the day. The combination of a busy day and not being around food made it “easy” to focus on work and forget about food.

It took a few weeks for “easy” to become easy. She hated me a little bit at first.

Large Paleo meal at dinner after her evening workout

1 big plate full of paleo-friendly food after her workout. That means loads of veggies and a good sized piece of animal protein. She was also allowed to have a piece of fruit for dinner. One of her favorites was the sauteed apples I posted about here.

She was full after dinner every single night.

Supplements

  • 1 tbsp of fish oil every morning
  • Probiotics with breakfast
  • Digestive enzymes with each meal
  • Multi-vitamin and minerals
  • Workout energy drink – I had her use Scivation Xtend

Emotional Jeet Kune Do

My client is a very, very smart woman. And very self aware. So when I told her that she WOULD transform her body into something even more awesome than what she was asking for…she told me that I was full of shit. Literally…she told me I was full of shit.

And after I finished laughing my ass off…I explained to her that over the 20+ years I have been training people, I have learned two things:

  1. Massive physical change is theoretically possible for just about everyone
  2. I am really, really good at making the theoretical happen

And to make the theoretical come true, I employ a system of emotional Jeet Kune Do on my clients. And like Bruce Lee, my emotional Jeet Kune Do is a style with no style.

This means that since we’re all unique creatures with our own individual thoughts, feeling, emotions and peculiarities…there is no fitness/diet plan that will produce awesome results for all of us.

We all have our own unique buttons that need to be pushed to get us to break and replace our bad habits.

And in her case, I asked her to lie to herself.

  • First, I asked her to imagine herself as a total freak of nature…super healthy, super fit, super sexy, etc…
  • Second, I asked for her reaction to this visual picture
  • She came back with another “you’re full of shit” comment
  • After which, I went into my spiel  about being good at making transforming people and that I truly 100% believed that we can make this change with her body. And that the biggest impediment was that she didn’t believe me.

Here’s where the Jeet Kune Do comes in.

  • I asked her to start lying to herself

Whenever she doubted my plan…or her ability to not eat ice cream…or that she would ever have a butt you could bounce quarters off of…I wanted her to:

  1.  Accept her doubts (past history + emotions will not be ignored or minimized)
  2. Get angry and tell the doubts to “Fuck Off…because  she’s going to do exactly what those doubts say she can’t”

And the reason I think this worked for her is because in her business career she has been faced many times with people, boards, companies & governments who told her that she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.

And most of the time, she responded by getting angry, getting to work and kicking their asses (after telling them to fuck off…inside her head)

The essence of emotional Jeet Kune Do is to search for your buttons…not your friend’s buttons, or the fitness guru’s buttons…YOUR BUTTONS.

You eat Healthy, your spouse doesn’t…what do you do???

I like to eat a Paleo style of diet…my wife doesn’t.

And this difference can be a real pain in the ass for a couple that….

  1. Enjoys eating dinner together
  2. Wants to avoid having screaming fights over the dinner menu

So….in an effort to save Paleo marriages around the globe, I present a two-part solution….

Solution #1.

The Paleo chef needs to upgrade his/her cooking skills…by stealing recipes from people who can actually cook.

Because if you think that platefuls of meat & steamed frozen veg is going to convert your pizza-eating spouse to the wonders of Paleo-eating…you are in for a rude surprise.

And if you think that your non-Paleo spouse is going to enjoy preparing Paleo meals…you are really in for a rude awakening.

Seriously….you NEED to embrace your inner Jamie Oliver and get cooking.

A Really, Really, Really, Really Good Reason to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Early this morning…while waiting in line for my morning cup of joe, I watched an overweight mom buy her obese daughter a giant chocolate chip muffin.

About two hours later, I read this study which examines how obesity promotes the growth of cancerous tumors.

THE SCIENCE

In the first part of the research, the scientists found that tumors grew much faster in obese mice than they did in lean mice. They also observed that there were far more white adipose tissue cells (called adipose stromal cells) in obese mice than in lean mice and thus turned their focus on the role of these cells.

In the second part of the research, they found that these adipose stromal cells were being incorporated into tumor-associated blood vessels. And since tumor-associated blood vessels serve to increase tumor growth by feeding them oxygen and nutrients…this isn’t a good thing.

The researchers noted that “the ability of adipose stromal cells to contribute to the formation of tumor-associated blood vessels is likely one of the main reasons that the excess of these cells in tumors was associated with increased malignant cell proliferation and tumor growth”.

Or in other words….your body takes cells from your fat tissue and uses them to feed cancerous tumors.

Not good….and just another reason why it drives me nuts when otherwise caring parents let their kids become obese.

[box type=”important”]If you know any parents who need a wake-up call regarding the health of their little butterballs….please forward them this article[/box]

Reference

Soda Industry Sues NYC

On Friday, the American Beverage Association et al filed a lawsuit that aims to overturn New York City’s restrictions on the sale of large-sized soft drinks.

The lawsuit contends that NYC’s Board of Health doesn’t have the authority to create and enforce these new bylaws – which restrict the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less at restaurants, street carts, and entertainment and sports venues.

The plaintiffs say the rules represent “a dramatic departure” from the traditional role of the health department, and they are asking a judge to reject the size limits before they are put into effect. They go on to say that “this case is not about obesity in New York City, this case is about the Board of Health, appointed by the mayor, bypassing the proper legislative process for governing the city.”

Because as we know…America’s soft drink producers have always been very concerned about the sanctity of the American political system.

Well, there you have it…..an ineffectual bylaw being challenged by a morally bankrupt industry.

Reference

Brainwashed to be Fat?

I am a big believer in people accepting personal behavior for their own actions…. and in-actions.

Regarding obesity, while a large percentage of obese people do live with conditions (genetic, environmental, financial) that increase their odds of porking out, we can’t ignore the fact that most obese people make horrendous choices when it comes to the food they eat.

But what if you knew that…

  • Large food companies use psychological techniques designed to brainwash us into eating specific products?
  • And that the foods they’re convincing us to buy have contributed directly to the lifestyle diseases that are bankrupting our healthcare systems?

  • And what if you knew that government subsidies have artificially lowered the costs of some foods?
  • And that those artificially inexpensive foods are the main ingredients in those very high-profit / high-obesity foods you are being brainwashed to purchase.

Would it annoy you to know that we’ve combined the worst of free market principles…

  • Companies using psychological manipulation to drive sales

…with the worst of government intervention

  • Billion dollars of subsidies leading to a rapid decline in the health of citizens and exploding healthcare costs.

Would that annoy you?

see-no-evil-speak-no-evil-h

Or have you been brainwashed too?

An Amazing Real Life Weight Loss Story

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. And to make sure that those billions keep rolling in, weight loss companies pay celebrities huge piles of cash to convince you that only they have the secret to rapid & permanent weight loss.

And I have to call BULLSHIT on that.

You want to know how to lose weight…. you need to talk to Pedro Oliva.

Pedro is a Twitter buddy of mine who has managed to radically transform his body/health/attitude over the past year. Here is his story…in his own words.

  • Q –  From your before & after picture, it’s obvious that you have lost a LOT of weight…how much and how long have you been working at it?

It’s been a year and I have rid over 100 lbs.

  • Q – Do you have a goal weight and if so, have you reached it?

My Goal weight is somewhere around 230. All time high was 385

  • Q – What changes (pro/con) have you experienced in your life as the pounds came off?

The pros are way more energy, I’m more active. The cons is some of the loose skin.

  • Q – What made you decide to lose the weight?

My kids are my inspiration. I did not want to die young.

  • Q – What made your efforts so successful?

I gave up soda. I was a huge soda drinker, also gave up fried foods.

  • Q – What tips would you give to someone who has tried to lose weight but has never been successful?

Stay focused and give yourself little goals. Take your time, results will come

  • Q – What’s more important to you…weight or health?

Health, being alive is the key

  • Q – Did you follow a specific diet?

I try to eat the right foods, lots of chicken and fish, vegetables

  • Q – Do you still follow that diet?

I do but some times I reward myself.

  • Q – Anything else you want to add?

Do not let anyone say you can’t do it alone. I am proof you can if you dedicate yourself and have a realistic approach, this will not happen overnight.

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

The Science Behind Willpower

  • We all have cravings.
  • We all have willpower.
  • Unfortunately for our living room furniture…our collective willpower seems to be getting it’s ass kicked by our cravings for junk food.

So, imagine my delight when a group of scientists from Caltech U discovered which region of the brain is responsible for resisting cravings.

wt08-07fig4

 

Specifically, the researchers found that when people are presented with a temptation like chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, two regions of the brain go to war. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the  dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC).

After tempting a group of test subjects with an ooey-gooey chocolaty dessert, the researchers found that

  1. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) drives us to give in to the pleasure of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream
  2. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) drives us to resist that short term pleasure for long term health benefits.

They also found that both regions become active and compete against each other when we are presented with a temptation like ice cream, booze, extra-marital sex, etc.

They also found that unless you strengthen the dlPFC by resisting short term urges on a regular basis… it’s going to get it’s butt kicked by the vmPFC.

In essence – willpower is a muscle…just like Grandma said.

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Reference

Childhood Obesity: Bruised Feelings v.s. Logic

Childhood obesity is a significant health issue in America and around the world.

Unfortunately for America’s little butterballs, they live in a world where….

  1. Everyone want quick fixes to complex problems
  2. Gov’t & NGOs think that education is the cure-all for obesity & related diseases
  3. Way too many people feel that their bruised feelings trump logic & common sense.

Exhibit #1

Minnesota Blue Cross released the following two videos as part of their ‘Better Example’ anti-obesity campaign. The gist of the videos is that parents need to start setting a better example for their kids by making healthier food choices.

Makes sense to me….parents eat junk food…kids eat junk food…parents eat healthy food…kids eat healthy food…parents are lazy…kids are lazy…parents are physically active…kids are physically active.

Monkey see Monkey do….Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way.

Some people see this anti-obesity campaign as:

  • A personal attack directed at them

I know no one will ever believe me when I say this, so fine. Whatever. But since, apparently, this isn’t evident even among health professionals churning out ad campaigns, I do not fucking eat chocolate cereal and buckets of ice cream. Here is what I actually do: Pretty much every morning before work I walk 1.1 miles uphill to a coffee shop, which is across the street from the organic co-op where I do all my grocery shopping. I eat normal, human amounts of unprocessed, fresh, largely local foods. I have no mobility problems. I have flawless cholesterol and blood pressure. I never get colds, I have never been hospitalized. I have a great job, I make a good living, I’m in an incredibly happy relationship. Sometimes I eat dessert, sometimes I don’t. I pay taxes. I take care of my family. I do not commit crimes. I’m nice to strangers. In general, I think you could say that I contribute more to the world than I take out of it.

And I’m a fucking epidemic? I’m a problem?

You have the gall to make generalizations about my life because, in your eyes, I superficially resemble a massive, diverse swath of the population whose lives you’ve also deigned to generalize? Whose complex, painful, messy, joyous lives you’ve boiled down to, “Har har too many Cheetos”? Please.

Even if I did eat a bucket of pancake-flavored ice cream for breakfast, burrito ice cream for lunch, and salisbury steak ice cream for dinner (OMPH GROMPH GROMPH), I still shouldn’t have to justify my existence to the world in the way I just did. But the fact that I exist, and I am not the sinister straw-fatty pictured in the above commercial—doesn’t it seem likely that there are other fat people like me out there who also aren’t lying about their lifestyles? And in that case, isn’t this commercial FUCKING USELESS NONSENSE? Congratulations! You guys totally “got serious” and took down not-the-problem-at-all.

Lindy West – Jezebel

  • Systemic prejudice against obese people

There have always been fat people. There are fat people like me, who hardly ever eat any processed foods. There are fat people with glandular issues. There are disabled fat people who would love to exercise but can’t. There are healthy fat people. And sure, there are fat people who—fuck it—just really really like Cheetos. Guess what? Those people are allowed to exist too! There are a million different kinds of fat people in the world because FAT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. And kids are people. And if your solution to this “problem” is telling already vulnerable fat kids that they’re an epidemic that’s ruining the world, then fuck you.

Sheeeeesh…what a cry-baby.

She actually makes some cogent arguments about how America’s food production & distribution companies need to accept responsibility for creating an obesogenic marketplace, but she totally blows it by whining about how mean everyone is being to her.

The Facts…as I see ’em

  • Obesity is caused by a mixture of nature & nurture
  • We can’t do anything about nature – your DNA is your DNA – deal with it
  • We can do something about nurture – develop Health Habits
  • The world is full of a-holes who like to insult people based on their obesity, skin color, sexuality, height, lack of hair, abundance of hair, clothing, musical preferences, etc…

Quit acting like a victim, take responsibility for your life and grow a thicker skin

Reference

Faith and Fitness

There’s a verse in the Bible that says…”don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body”.

So how is it possible that in a country where  81 percent of the population say that they have always believed in God, we also see:

  •  36% of the adult population diagnosed as clinically obese,
  • Lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer increasing year after year,
  • Medical costs associated with obesity increasing year after year (In 2008, they exceeded $147 billion)

It doesn’t make sense…does it?

So, I ask the question….

  • How are you honoring your temple?

  • Junk food or Real Food?

  • Flab or Abs?

  • Fat family or Fit family?

.

How are you honoring your temple?

.

Reference

Paleo Dessert Recipes Vol.5

Paleo + Dessert = 🙂

 

I Can Make You Pre-Diabetic in 7 Days

Two weeks ago, I told you about the series of Frankenstein-like diet/blood sugar/insulin experiments that I am conducting on one of my personal training clients-  in the article Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier.

This week, I am going to show you the results of the first experiment and tell you how I took my human guinea-pig and made him Pre-Diabetic in less than 7 days.

Experiment #1 – The “Normal” Diet

I asked my client / test-subject to:

  1. Stop his normal exercise routine (allowed to go on nightly walks with his wife)
  2. Eat like a “normal” person…. ie I told him that he could eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants with no concern for nutrition.

[box type=”note”]I told him not to pig out on junk food – just to eat like the other people in his office. In fact, he modeled his diet after one of his co-workers – a 190 lb, skinny-fat kind of guy.[/box]

Here are some examples of what he ate last week.

Breakfast

  • Bowl of Rice Krispies and a mug of coffee, or
  • Buttered bagel & coffee, or
  • Egg McMuffin with Hash Brown and coffee
  • 1 Donut & coffee

Lunch

  • Sandwich, Coke & cookie, or
  • Slice of pizza and bottle of water
  • Rice, veg & chicken from food court Chinese place
Afternoon Snack

Dinner

  • Pizza, salad and a beer
  • Pasta & garlic bread and a glass of wine
  • Steak stir-fry with rice & tons of veg

Blood Test Info

I had him test his blood throughout the day using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics):

  • Upon waking – fasted blood test
  • Before eating
  • 2 hours after eating
  • Before bed

[box type=”important”]What we found is that other than the fasted blood test (taken first thing in the morning), his blood sugar levels were moving around too much to come to any sort of conclusion…so we’re just going to report on the fasted blood tests[/box]

Blood Test Results

  • His pre-experiment fasted blood sugar levels ranged from 4.4 to 4.7.
  • His pre-experiment diet is a modified Paleo-style diet where he is allowed to eat potatoes and small amounts of legumes
During the experiment, his fasted blood sugar levels were as follows:
  • Day 1: 5.5 mmol/L
  • Day 2: 5.9 mmol/L
  • Day 3: 6.2 mmol/L
  • Day 4: 6.4 mmol/L
  • Day 5: 6.5 mmol/L
  • Day 6: 6.9 mmol/L
  • Day 7: 6.7 mmol/L

And as you can see from the chart, this places our test-subject squarely in the Pre-Diabetes range…on his way to full-blown Type 2 Diabetes.

All in one week.

Not good.

And he felt like crap the whole week.

  • Waking up with a headache 5 of the 7 days
  • Craving carbs like crazy
  • Never feeling full, while…
  • Often feeling nauseous

At the end of the week, he was glad to go back to eating healthy

.

This week, we are experimenting with a grain-free diet.

I will post the results next week.

Just Say No to Seitan

Four months ago I started working with a new PT client.

  • The client is a 42 year old woman
  • Who has been a vegan / vegetarian for the past 18 years
  • Whose goals were to drop some stubborn baby weight and improve her overall health & fitness.

The first month involved setting up her program, training & teaching 3x per week, 3 cardio & joint mobility sessions per week….and a never-ending argument about her diet.

  • Because…as a modern vegetarian, 60-80 % of her calories were coming from grains and soy.
  • And as the local Paleo guru, my clients are all “encouraged” to ditch the grains and soy and embrace the Paleo Diet.

Fast forward to today….

I finally convinced her to ditch the grains & beans and go Paleo for the past three months. During that time, she has seen massive improvements in:

  • Fat loss
  • Stomach bloat
  • Face bloat
  • Back fat
  • Sinus allergy symptoms
  • Rosacea
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Afternoon sleepiness
  • Blue moods – no clinical diagnosis, she just “feels better”
  • And some lady issues that she didn’t elaborate on  🙂

And she credits most of that improvement to her elimination of grains….especially wheat.

In the last month, she has played with re-introducing various “forbidden” foods. And the one that provoked the most noticeable “side effect” was wheat products – seitan, bread and wheat noodles. Almost instantly, she experienced stomach upset prompting a trip to the bathroom.

This prompted her to do a bunch of research on gluten intolerance. Part of that research involved contacting  my online friend Jaqui Karr. Jaqui is my go to source for gluten info.

Jaqui is as obsessed with gluten as a tween is with Justin Bieber.

[box type=”important”]If you want more info on gluten and the horrible stuff it’s doing to your body, check out Jaqui’s blog… or better yet, learn everything she knows about gluten via her Gluten Demystified program. Jaqui blends scientific research & common sense really, really well.[/box]

[box type=”note”]My client is such a big fan of Jaqui’s work that she has started promoting the Gluten Demystified program on her Facebook page and on a new Tumblog devoted to gluten intolerance[/box]

Reference

Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier

Over the next few months I am going to be conducting an experiment about the interaction between nutrition, exercise, blood sugar, insulin, body composition and overall health.

Here’s the plan…

Using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics), I am going to have one of my clients measure his blood sugar, blood pressure and body composition again and again and again…. and we’re going to see how it reacts to different types of diets and training modalities.

Starting next week, he will begin taking his measurements upon waking, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-workout, post-workout and before bed.

I will track all the data and (fingers crossed), we should generate some pretty interesting data.

We will be testing how his body responds to:

  • a Standard American Diet (aka junk food)
  • a meat & potatoes diet
  • a vegetarian diet
  • a low fat diet
  • a high fat – Atkins style diet
  • a Paleo diet
  • a Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Cardio workouts
  • Health Habits workouts…. lots of HIRT
  • Heavy lifting – power bodybuilding style of workout
  • No workouts
If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

WHEN you Eat can make you Fat

It’s nice when scientific research catches up with common sense.

For years, obesity experts have been telling us that losing weight is as simple as calories in v.s. calories out. But even the drunkest college co-ed knows that the calories she eats late at night after partying are going to end up as part of her Freshman 15. Even if she starves herself the rest of the day.

Human metabolism is much more complicated than calories in v.s. calories out. And science is finally catching up to this fact.

In a study presented this month at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, researchers argued that “not only the amount and type of food eaten but the time of day it is eaten is important in contributing to obesity”.

Spurred on by previous studies which showed that when mice consumed all of their calories during their inactive period they gained more weight than when they consumed the same amount of calories during their active period, the researchers chose to investigate how “certain components of the diet, such as sugar or fat, contributed to differences in weight gain during different times of the day”.

The NEW Study

In this new study, the researchers gave rats either rodent chow or chow plus either saturated fat or a sugar solution. One group was allowed to consume the diets freely whereas the other groups were only allowed to eat either the fat or sugar during their inactive period.

They found that rats consuming all of their sugar solution in the inactive period gained more weight than rats consuming all their sugar solution during the active period, even though their total caloric intake was the same. They also gained more weight than rats consuming the saturated fat solely during the inactive period. The greater body weight gain in rats consuming sugar in the inactive period was associated with less heat production.

This research suggests that there are differences in the impact sugar drinking can have on body weight gain, depending on when in the day it is consumed.

For example, when you are sitting on your butt watching late night infomercials, your body doesn’t need food and will store away the majority of the calories you inhale.

Conversely, when you just finished doing one of my super-awesome Health Habits workouts, your body is primed to re-fuel muscle glycogen and begin repairing the micro-damage you just inflicted on your muscles. As well, your hormone profiles will make it highly unlikely that your post-workout calories will be stored as fat.

That’s why my ultra-lean clients eat the majority of their calories surrounding their periods of high physical activity.

It ain’t rocket science…but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

Reference

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Yummy + Healthy = Square Snacks

  • It’s 3:00 in the afternoon
  • Your tummy is grumbly
  • You’re “jonesing” for something sweet
  • But you’re trying to watch your waistline…
  • And you don’t want to eat crap food like the rest of the drones in your office.

You could go for one of those 100 cal packages of cookies/chips….

Or…you could go for something that tastes awesome and is actually good for you.

My experience with Square Snacks

A few weeks ago, some of my clients asked me what I thought about this new energy bar that their friends were raving about. They said that it tasted better than Lara  Bars, and had fewer calories. After taking a look at their website, I contacted the owner and asked them to send me a few samples to review.

  • Two days after receiving the samples… all of them had been inhaled by my wife and clients.
  • Three days later… I had to go to the store and buy some more to test myself.
  • Four days later… I agreed with my clients that the Square Snacks were a great mid-afternoon energy snack… even better than Lara Bars.

My reasoning…

  • Nutrient dense ingredients
  • Great taste
  • No chemicals, flavors, etc…just real food
  • With 1/2 the calories of a Skinny Vanilla Latte

Nutritional Info

It gets even better

Because I love you guys so darn much, I am going to hook one of you up with a 20 bar prize pack of Square Snacks

[box type=”important”]Unfortunately, this giveaway is open ONLY to Canadians. Square Snacks is a new company and aren’t selling outside of Canada yet.[/box]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am the difference between fatness and fitness

 

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Does Big Food Need To Be Regulated?

Kelly Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has picked a fight with America’s food industry.

In an article commissioned for the PLoS Medicine series on Big Food, Brownell said that working collaboratively with the food industry to improve America’s health is a mistake and a trap. Like other industries, Big Food has an obligation to it’s shareholders to sell more products and make more money irrespective of the impact upon consumers.

“Government, foundations, and other powerful institutions should be working for regulation, not collaboration”.

Brownell believes that:

  • Big Food is attempting to improve their image by making small contributions to public health (donations, public-private partnerships, “healthy eating” campaigns, etc) while “it fights viciously against meaningful change (such as limits on marketing, taxes on products such as sugared beverages, and regulation of nutritional labeling)”.
  • For example, the soft drink industry gave the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia a US$10 million gift at the same time that the city of Philadelphia was considering a soda tax. “Such public-sector interaction with industry could be predicted to undermine public health goals and protect industry interests”.
  • He also cites the organized defense against soda taxes, the lobbying of congress to avoid restriction of junk food advertising to children under the age of 12, and the unbelievably huge amount of money being spent on marketing to pre-teens while simultaneously claiming to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.

Brownell argues that while America’s food industry has introduced healthier food options, they have not promised to sell less junk food.

“Quite the contrary; they now offer ever larger burgers and portions, introduce ever more categories of sugared beverages (sports drinks, energy drinks, and vitamin waters), find ever more creative ways of marketing foods to vulnerable populations (e.g., children), and increasingly engage in promotion of unhealthy foods in developing countries.”

Brownell’s Solution?

Brownell argues that:

  1. Big Food can’t be trusted with our health, and
  2. When industry can’t be trusted to do the “right thing” the American government has a responsibility to step in and regulate change

He cites 3 historical examples.

  1. Tobacco industry regulation
  2. The elimination of financial regulation that led to the sub-prime meltdown and resultant global recession.
  3. Automotive industry regulation – seat belts, airbags, etc

Brownell believes that without government intervention/regulation, the food industry’s drive for increasing profits will lead to a continuing increasing of American obesity and a continuing degradation of American health.

So….what sayest thou?

  • Does Big Food need to be regulated?
  • If so, how?
  • If not, why?
  • And if you say that government regulation/oversight is a form of socialism, you will also need to explain to me why we have public military, fire departments & police departments.

Reference

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.

A Last-Minute, Super-Effective Fat Burning Diet…that may actually be healthy for you

Today’s post is for everyone who:

  • Got fat over the winter
  • And forgot that summer, shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits were just around the corner

Today is June 20…and summer starts tonight.

If your belly looks like the before picture, you need to get serious and follow the rules I am going to lay out below.

RULE #1 – You’re going to need to cut calories

  • Total calories per day are NOT to exceed 12 calories per pound of lean body mass

Note – Lean body mass (LBM), is how much you weight without any fat – This is calculated by subtracting your fat mass (bodyfat % x bodyweight) from your total weight.
Ex. 200 lbs weight – 50 lbs fat (200 x 25% body-fat) = 150 lbs LBM  – 150 lbs x 12 = 1800 calories

RULE #2 – You’re going to increase your protein and decrease your carbs. We need to control insulin

  • Eat between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of LBM

>Ex. Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig needs to consume between 150 and 225 grams of protein per day (600 – 900 calories).

RULE #3 – You need to eat FAT.

  • I want you eating 20% of your calories as fat. That can come from your sources of protein and/or supplementation with healthy oils – fish, flax, coconut

Ex. Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig needs to eat 360 calories / 40 grams of fat per day (1800 x 0.2)

RULE #4 – The majority of your Carb Calories are to be eaten before/during/after your workouts

Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig is eating 1800 total calories  (600-900 cal of protein &  360 fat). This leaves 540 – 840 calories for carbs.

My recommendation is that you eat:

  • Lower Carbs/Higher Protein on your Low Intensity workout days, and
  • Higher Carbs / Lower Protein on your High Intensity workout days

For more info on workout nutrition, check out this article – Peri-Workout Nutrition

The idea is that fast absorbing / nutrient dense carbs (rice, sugar, etc) are eaten to fuel/re-fuel your workouts and that the rest of the day, your carbs are limited to crunchy vegetables – greens, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, etc.

RULE #5 – Schedule a cheat meal once per week – don’t count calories, eat what you want, don’t feel guilty. I’m not saying eat until you make yourself sick, but feel free to chow down on all the food you’ve been day dreaming about.

RULE #6 – Keep hydrated – thirst disguises itself as hunger – keep hydrated!!!

RULE #7 – Try and make this plan fit into YOUR lifestyle.

  • Prepare meals in advance
  • Measure / weigh foods – you gotta do it!!!
  • Stick to a small number of foods – a varied diet increases caloric consumption and it will make your prep easier if you’re not calculating calories of new foods in each meal
  • Eat when you’re hungry
  • Get your friends & family on board with your plan
  • Reward yourself – If you stick to your diet all day, you get to watch that cheesy reality tv show no one knows you watch – if you cheat, you have to delete it from TiVo

RULE #8 – Pay attention to your body and modify the diet if needed.

  • This is a blueprint designed to “sorta” fit everybody.
  • But your DNA, lifestyle, history with food isn’t the same as mine.

Make small tweaks – increasing/decreasing protein or carbs, more calories on training days and less on non-training days may work best for you – and pay attention to how your body responds.

RULE #9 – Take a multi-vitamin or two per day

  • Your calories have been lowered,
  • you will be oxidizing fat like crazy
  • we need to keep your micro-nutrient levels nice and high

RULE #10 – This is a short-term eating plan

Don’t hesitate to tweet me or leave a comment if you have questions.

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