What’s with all the moral outrage surrounding McDonald’s “better” Chicken McNuggets?

Three weeks ago, McDonald’s released a commercial touting their “better” chicken mcnuggets.

The aim of the commercial was to show how McDonald’s is responding to changing consumer tastes by making their food healthier….because “We all want what’s best for our kids” …so sayeth the commercial’s narrator.

Soon after the commercial aired on tv, people started flipping out.

Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich claimed McDonald’s is misleading customers about its food.

“I was offended watching this commercial during the Olympics about the preservative-free McNuggets,” Shaich said in a phone interview with Business Insider. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ Sure, you’ve got McNuggets that are preservative-free, but what are you dipping them in? Sauces that are filled with that stuff!” (link to article)

“Grossly misleading,” is how Bill Jeffery describes the commercial. The executive director of the Centre for Health Science and Law in Ottawa argues preservatives or no preservatives, deep-fried and salted Chicken McNuggets simply aren’t a healthy choice for children.

“What they’re advocating is so far removed from good nutrition, it’s almost kind of laughable.”

Cue the moral outrage

As a health & fitness professional, this is where I am supposed to jump on the bandwagon and slag McDonald’s for trying to sell us junk food under the banner of health & family & all that good stuff.

And yet…I kinda feel bad for McDonald’s.

Sure, McDonald’s claim/suggestion that their food is healthy is 100% BS. As is their claim that they want the best for my daughter.

mcnuggetsrcrap

What they want is to sell as much “food” to as many people as is possible…just like every other food manufacturer in the world.

And since the fastest growing segment of the food industry is “healthy” food, McDonald’s execs are re-formulating the menu & re-branding their image as quickly as possible.

In regard to their menu, McDonald’s has already stopped using chickens raised with antibiotics prescribed to humans and intends to:

  • switch to cage-free eggs in the next decade,
  • replace the corn syrup in their buns with sugar
  • cook McMuffins with butter instead of liquid margarine, and
  • remove the preservatives from their McNuggets

Which, IMHO, is pretty great for the world’s most popular JUNK FOOD restaurant.

McNuggets-ingredients

Because, we have to remember that since it’s inception, McDonald’s has sold fried meat, white bread, deep-fried potatoes, soft drinks, milk shakes and sugary condiments. And they’ve made billions doing that…because people love that stuff.

Unfortunately, as McDonald’s grew and their restaurants became assembly lines supplied by factory food, the quality of raw ingredients dropped through the floor.

Now, with the public’s shift towards healthier food choices, McDonald’s is responding by improving the quality of their factory food AND introducing healthier new options like kale salads.

Which is a move in the right direction. 

Just don’t expect them to go back to selling beef raised from cattle that eat grass…and fresh potatoes fried in oils that can handle high heat…and milkshakes made with milk from grass-fed cows…and buns baked without preservatives.

brontosaurus-burger

McDonald’s customers aren’t going to put up with a $10 Big Mac. Not going to happen. It would be financial suicide.

McDonald’s sells fast, cheap, sweaty, greasy & salty food…because that’s what humans like best. It’s in our dna.

And as long as McDonald’s is truthful in reporting the nutritional content of their food, even us health & fitness advocates have to cut Ronald some slack and accept that we are the ones responsible for the food we put into ourselves and our kids.

Even if their ads are manipulative & less than honest.

Reference

 

Fish Oil Switches Fat Storage Cells into Fat Burning Cells

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

Specifically, they found that consuming fish oil:

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

Background Info

Fact #1. You have three types of fat cells 

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

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

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

The Study

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

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

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

srep18013-f1

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

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

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

srep18013-f2

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

 

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

What does this mean to you?

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

Fish Oil Supplements

Which Fish Should You Eat?

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

fish-omega3-mercury

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

A Better Whey to Boost Your Health

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

Some work, some don’t.

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

That’s right…I said yummy.

Here’s the plan/recipe

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

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

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

…in just 21 days.

And it tastes great too.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your inbox. In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

“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

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Henry Rollins v.s. McDonalds

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

enjoy

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

.

Restaurant Revolution: When Healthier Menus = Healthier Profits & Healthier Kids

In April 2012, Silver DIner, a full-service family restaurant chain with 15 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, made three major changes to its children’s menu in order to make healthier items easier to choose.

  • Meals were re-designed to meet or exceed nutrition standards set by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program (59%, compared to 22% before the changes).
  • Healthy side dishes became the default choice – strawberries, mixed vegetables, or side salads–were automatically included with all kids’ meals by default.
  • And less-healthy choices such as french fries, soda and lemonade were removed from the menu.

NOTE: Fries and soda were still available…upon request.

What Happened Next?

  • Children’s meal prices increased by $0.79 for breakfasts and $0.19 for non-breakfast meals.
  • Restaurant revenue increased with yearly percent change as follows:
  • 2008-2009: +1.5%,
  • 2009-2010: −2.1%,
  • 2010-2011: +11.1%,
  • 2011-2012: +5.1%,
  • and 2012-2013: +5.1%.
  • Orders of healthy meals, strawberry and vegetable sides, milk, and juice increased
  • Orders of French fries, desserts and soda decreased
  • Total calories ordered by children decreased (684 kcal pre vs. 621 kcal post)
  • Except for the kids who requested un-healthy choices (935.0 pre vs. 942.9 post)

4829930123689984

5240489134522368

Conclusions

  1. Chain restaurants can create healthier menus without alienating their ‘non-health-food’ patrons,
  2. Kids will eat healthier restaurant meals when menus are designed correctly,
  3. Chain restaurants can increase profits by making their menus healthier

Where do we go from here?

  • If I was a restaurant owner, I would consider taking a look at the Silver Diner kids menu and use it as a template for re-working my own kids menu
  • If I was a restaurant owner, I would consider applying the same menu format for the main menu as well
  • As a parent, I am going to send a link to this article to the restaurants I frequent most often. The number of obese children in our society is truly horrendous and we all need to pitch in to reverse this trend.

Please Help

Most people will never hear about this article, this research, this restaurant.

Please help by tweeting, sharing, pinning, tumbling, stumbling, etc.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Junk Food Can Damage Your Metabolism In Just 5 Days

The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:

  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul

Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food – aka the Standard American Diet – without starting to fall apart.

Here’s the science:

According to this new study, after just 5 days of eating a diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter, healthy college-age students experienced a significant change in how their muscles processed nutrients. And not for the better.

According to the researchers, eating a starchy, fatty diet disrupts how your muscles metabolize glucose, “which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin”, leading to insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a reduced quantity & quality of life.

NOTE: In the study, the test diet was designed to have fat make up 55% of the calories – as opposed to a “normal” 30% fat diet – with the inclusion of foods such as sausage biscuits and mac & cheese. And while I agree that a diet in which 55% of the calories comes from fat can be called a “high-fat” diet, I would argue that it would be more accurate to call it a “high fat AND carb” diet or a “high fat AND starchy carb” diet or a “high fat AND high gluten” diet.

To infer that fat is the villain here may not be wholly accurate. We need a bit more research before we start blaming a single macronutrient.

What does this mean to you?

  1. As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  2. If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  3. The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

John Oliver Bitch Slaps the Sugar Industrial Complex

For years & years & years, health nerds like me have used websites like this to:

  1. inform the public about the health problems caused by the over-consumption of sugar, and
  2. shame the processed food industry into cutting back on added sugars

And for years & years & years, most “normal” people never heard our tiny online cries from the health & fitness wilderness. The fact is, no one likes to be told that everything we eat is bad for us…especially from a bunch of health nazis with six-packs and personal trainers.

But recently, the mainstream media has (finally) caught on to what us health nazis have been saying…that processed foods loaded with extra sugar (and chemicals & crappy fats) are really, really bad for us.

And it’s not just the news networks and the documentary filmmakers. It’s political comedians like John Stewart, Stephen Colbert & John Oliver…

And this is fantastic news for the health of the nation…and really, really bad news for processed food producers who pump loads of extra sugars (and chemicals and crappy fats) into their products.

Because when a guy like John Oliver can…

  1. make you laugh out loud, while
  2. getting you really pissed off at the Sugar Industrial Complex (aka Big Food…aka the people who sell food in boxes with lots of ingredients that no one can pronounce)

…you can bet that a lot more “normal” people are going to get the message.

And as they say, laughter is the best medicine.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

A Technological Revolution for Health and Fitness Nerds

Quick post for all you fitness nerds out there.

Today is the day that I finally get my greedy little hands on a Push Strength workout/fitness tracker. As an early indiegogo supporter, I am one of the first people to have one of these bad-boys and because I love y’all so much, I am going to share the wealth.

Starting tonight, I am going to use my Push Strength band to start testing:

  • The real-world effectiveness of different exercise tools – machines vs free weights vs bands vs body-weight
  • The real-world effectiveness of different training routines
  • The real-world effectiveness of different exercises – pistol squats vs bodybuilding squats vs power squats

And because I love all my fitness friends, I will be sharing all that glorious data here at Health Habits.

But that’s not all….

Later this month, I will be meeting with the CEO of Tell Spec to discuss when I can expect to get my grubby paws on one of the beta units as well as organizing a series of amazing tests with all the other beta testers.

For those of who who don’t already know, Tell Spec uses a handheld scanner in concert with a learning algorithm and a cloud-based database to create a tool that will tell you exactly what is in the food you eat…or don’t eat.

At present, the “TellSpec BETA identifies calories, macronutrients (fats, protein and carbohydrates) and a limited number of ingredients all at reasonable concentrations in food”. And while that would be cool enough, it’s going to get way, way cooler.

As us beta-testers start scanning different foods, we are building the database, pushing the algorithm to evolve…and improving the scope & accuracy of the technology. This means that by the time TellSpec is ready for sale to the general public, it will be able to tell you exactly is in those chicken mcnuggets you scarfed down for lunch.

And while that is amazing enough for us health nerds, what it also means is that the entire processed food industry is going to be in for a rude awakening. Instead of having to deal with a small group of health nuts trying to spread the gospel of healthy eating, they are going to have to deal with a LOT of normal Moms & Dads who are going to be pissed off with the crap they are being sold.

pink-slime-jon-stewart-2

And if that wasn’t cool enough, the Tell Spec could be a actual lifesaver for all those kids with serious food allergies. Instead of trusting labels, kids armed with a Tell Spec scanner can make sure that that nut-free cookie is actually nut free.

How cool is that?

Stay tuned…the technological revolution for us health nerds has just begun.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

The Journey from Fat to Fit

Every January, bookstore shelves groan under the weight of the hundreds of brand-new weight loss/diet/exercise/nutrition/snake-oil books.

And every January, millions of people…unhappy with their bodies…spend bazillions of dollars…in the hope that one of those books will contain some magical insight that will allow them to transform their bodies from fat to fit…without having to sweat…eat spinach…or lever their butts off the sofa.

Unfortunately…

The journey from fat to fit is never going to be that easy.

  • You’re going to sweat.
  • You’re going to eat healthy.
  • And you’re going to stop spending every night on the couch watching tv and/or playing XBox.

But in return, you’re going to…

And to help you get there, I have put together the “From Fat to Fit” roadmap…

Consisting of a series of 4 meta-steps, this DIY infographic will make your transformation from fat to fit simpler, faster and much, much, much more effective….I promise.

TheJourneyfromFattoFit

Step 1 – Follow a plan

I don’t really care which plan you follow.

  • If you want to combine an Atkins diet with a yoga routine, go for it.
  • If you want to become a Vegan who does Crossfit, go for it.
  • If you want to count calories and do exercise videos at home, go for it.
  • If you want to join Weight Watchers, perform EFT tapping, go to AquaFit classes with the little old ladies at my gym, go for it.

In my 20+ years as a personal trainer, I have helped people transform their bodies using all sorts of different plans. In my experience, finding a plan that works best with the client’s lifestyle is infinitely more important than the plan itself.

And science finally agrees with me.

According to researchers at McMaster University, all diets work…if you can stick to them.

Conducting a meta-analysis of 48 randomized clinical trials of branded diets – Atkins, Weight Watchers, Zone, Jenny Craig, LEARN, Nutrisystem, Ornish, Volumetrics, Rosemary Conley, Slimming World and South Beach – Mac researchers found that any weight loss differences between these popular diets are minimal and likely of little importance to those wanting to lose weight.

What was important for weight-loss success is the ability of people to stick with the diet.

  • People who stuck with the diet, lost weight.
  • People who didn’t…didn’t.

What this means to you

This means that instead of following the latest & greatest weight loss program, find a program that works best with YOUR current lifestyle.

  • How much time do you have for exercise, meal prep, etc?
  • How much money can you put into the program?
  • What kind of foods do you love/like/hate?
  • Do you prefer group activities or are you a lone wolf?
  • Do you like lifting weights & sprinting or would you rather go for a walk with your dog/spouse?

Be picky. For the plan to work, we NEED it to be a custom-fit it to YOUR lifestyle.

It’s like buying a new pair of shoes. No matter how awesome they look on the shelf, if they don’t have your size, you’re not buying them. 

Step 2 – Cook & eat real food

Back in the olden days, Moms taught their daughters how to shop for, prepare and cook complete, nutritious & yummy meals from scratch. Aside from the obvious gender role sexism, this was a great thing for the health, wealth & appearance of the whole family.

And it’s going to be a great thing for you too.

  • Cooking real food costs less than frozen diet meals
  • Cooking real food costs less than diet-delivery meals
  • Cooking real food lets you modify meals to fit perfectly with your tastebuds
  • Cooking real food will give you complete ownership of your plan and will make you proud of yourself
  • Cooking real food gives you control over the quality of ingredients
  • Cooking real food gives you control over calories
  • Cooking real food gives you control over macro & micronutrients
  • Cooking real food teaches you a skill that you can give to others (kids, friends)
  • Cooking real food can be a very calming, zen experience…helping to reduce day to day stress
  • Cooking real food for friends & family is great for expressing & receiving love…and that’s a heck of a great feeling
  • Cooking real food means no more artificial flavors & colors
  • Cooking real food means you can invent new recipes and try new flavors
  • Cooking real food means that your kids will learn how to cook real food, eat healthy, be healthy, be fit

And that’s just off the top of my head. There are so many more benefits to learning how to cook like Grandma did.

Luckily for you, Youtube has a ton of “How to Cook” instructional videos. Here are a few to check out.

Step 3 – Non-Workout physical activity

On the infographic, I ask the question: After dinner, are you more likely to go for a walk, or sit on the couch and watch tv?

If you answered sit on the couch and watch tv, I am 99.99% sure that you will never achieve your weight loss goals.

There are two reasons why I believe that:

  1. Sitting on the couch at night watching tv (or playing XBox, or surfing the net, or some other form of inactivity) means more calories consumed via snacking & less calories burned as you sit on your keester. Over time, this caloric sabotage is going to make a major difference in your body transformation.
  2. Being inactive during your “leisure time” means much more than just calories in : calories out. It is a symbol that bleeds into the rest of your life, sabotaging your food choices and influencing your decision to skip your early-morning workout or replace your home-made healthy breakfast with a muffin from Starbucks.

On the flipside, being physically active (walking, cycling, cleaning the house,etc) after dinner is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your body transformation.

  • In addition to the calories burned and the snack foods not consumed, going for a walk with your spouse/kids/friend is hugely beneficial to your mental and emotional health.
  • As well, this “non-exercise” exercise has a sneaky way transforming your overall point of view towards leisure time. Watching becomes doing. Instead of staring at a screen, shared experiences become the new normal. The entire family becomes more active and interactive.

Step 4 – What do you do when stress hits?

Nothing wrecks a healthy diet faster than a crappy day at work…or a sick kid…or an overdue pile of bills…or some other emotional catastrophe.

While your logical mind is calmly & rationally telling you how important it is to stick with the plan and eat healthy…your out of control emotions are screaming at you to wolf down a dozen donuts, an extra-large pizza and a six-pack of beer.

Can you guess who is going to win that argument?

Without a pre-existing plan to handle life’s rainy days, your weight loss / getting healthy plans are going to take the occasional beating from your emotions.

Here are a few techniques for controlling your emotions when life punches you in the face

Note: All of these techniques may seem different but they all work on the same principles:

  1. They distract you from the emotional thoughts
  2. They prevent you from obsessing & bring you back into the present moment
  3. They give you time for the emotions to die down & your conscious mind to regain control

My advice: find something that works best for you & your unique lifestyle

  • If you’re religious…pray
  • If you carry a smartphone with headphones…load it up with meditation or brain wave entrainment mp3s
  • If you don’t buy into this new-agey, crunchy-granola stuff…drop to the floor and do push-ups & ab exercises until you are a sweaty mess.

The how is irrelevant…all we care about is short-circuiting your emotions & regaining conscious control of your mind.

Conclusion

Getting lean, fit & healthy isn’t rocket science.

  1. Find a plan that works for YOU
  2. Cook real / healthy food
  3. Increase your “non-exercise” physical activity
  4. Learn to control your emotions

And feel free to contact me with questions (Twitter / Facebook) if you need to chat.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Truvia is NOT Stevia…but it is a fantastic insecticide

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does all this science this mean???

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

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

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

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

  1. Safe to humans
  2. Deadly to fruit flies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me?

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

What about you?

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

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

How to Get a Tan Without Risking Skin Cancer

  • You know that you look better with a bit of a tan.
  • But, you’re worried about getting skin cancer.

What would you say if I told you that there is some pretty solid science showing that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is more effecting at improving skin colour than suntanning?

The study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior showed that (Caucasian) people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables have a more golden skin colour thanks to the high levels of carotenoids.

Most widely known for their presence in carrots, carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that helps reverse the oxidative damage we incur in our daily lives. In particular, carotenoids have a powerful effect on our immune and reproductive systems.

Lead author Dr Ian Stephen said: “We found that, given the choice between skin colour caused by suntan and skin colour caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin colour, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin colour, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun.”

Dr Stephen suggests that the study is important because evolution would favour individuals who choose to form alliances or mate with healthier individuals over unhealthy individuals.

We should note that while this study looked exclusively at Caucasian faces, it may be true that a study of other racial groups would produce similar results.

Previous studies have shown similar preferences for skin yellowness to be found in an African population.

For more info on this study;

If you want to participate in future studies regarding health & beauty, check out The Perception Lab.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

The Best Tasting Fruit You Have Never Tasted

What do you think of when I say the word – FRUIT?

If you’re like the vast, vast majority of North Americans, you are now thinking of…

  • Apples,
  • Bananas,
  • Oranges,
  • Grapes,
  • Watermelon,
  • Strawberries, or
  • Peaches

And that’s okay.

There are lots of reasons why the fruits listed above are North America’s most popular.

  • They taste great.
  • They’re portable.
  • And they have transitioned well to industrial farming techniques.

However….after 40-something years of crunching apples in the fall, slurping watermelon in the summer and blending up berries & bananas in my smoothies year-round, my taste-buds started to become bored with the Top 10 fruits & vegetables.

Luckily for me, the solution to my gustatory ennui was a brisk 20 minute walk down Spadina Ave to Toronto’s Chinatown and it’s vast array of produce vendors and exotic fruits & veg.

Luckily for all of us, if you can’t find the following fruits in your hometown, there are a LOT of online produce peddlers who will pack & ship fresh produce direct to your door. As I have access here in Toronto, I haven’t ordered online and as such, can’t recommend any particular vendors.

Note: This list of my favorite fruit will continue to grow as I try & fall in love with new products. Whenever I add a new fruit, I will re-post the article. If you want to be updated, sign up for an email subscription to the blog and you will get new article updates.

Alright…here we go….introducing the best tasting fruit you have never tasted. 

Durian

durian fruit health nutrition healthhabits

Some of you have already heard of Durian fruit. More specifically, you may have heard about how Durian smells like:

  • rotten onions,
  • pig-shit,  
  • vomit,
  • skunk spray,
  • turpentine,
  • raw sewage,
  • gym socks, etc.

Seriously…this thing is so stinky, it has been banned from hotels and public transportation systems all over Southeast Asia.  But the taste more than makes up for the odor. Durian fruit offers a taste that is unlike any other thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. 

A taste that was best described by a British naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace way back in 1856:

The five cells within are silky-white, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes.

Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. … as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed

Because of the stink, I don’t eat Durian as often as I like.

To make life easier (and to keep my wife happy), I prefer to head down to Chinatown and have it prepared for me in one of the nearby restaurants. That way I get all the yummy flavor and don’t have to deal with the prep or the stinky leftovers

Next Page – Sugar Apple (aka Sweetsop and/or Custard Apple)

More best tasting fruit you have never tasted.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks – good idea, bad idea???

Last Friday, California’s State Senate Appropriations Committee voted (5-2) to pass a measure requiring distributors of bottled or canned sugary drinks to put a warning label on their beverage container.

SB1000 would require a warning label to be placed on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces.

Not too surprisingly, America’s soda pop producers were not amused. The California Beverage Association issued the following statement.

“We agree that obesity is a serious and complex issue,” the group said in a statement, calling the proposed bill “misleading” claiming that “just 6 percent of calories in the average American’s diet come from soda, fruit, sports and energy drinks, compared with 11 percent in sweets and deserts. Moreover, it said most calories are consumed in the form of fats, oils and starches in food”.

Translation: We agree that our product is crap and directly contributes to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer, but…we’re not as bad as the guys who sell candy bars, potato chips, pizza, etc.

What happens next?

  • SB1000 requires a majority vote of the full Senate before it can become law. That vote is scheduled to occur in the next two weeks. In the meantime…
  • Supporters of the bill (California Medical Association, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the California Black Health Network and supporting Senators) will issue public statements supporting the bill and it’s health & financial benefits.
  • Critics of the bill (California Beverage Association) will defend their position on health promotion, question the effectiveness of warning labels and raise the issue of potential job losses due to the cost associated with placing warning labels on their products.

Will the Bill become Law?

Who knows?  Going up against the processed food industry is no easy task. Pepsico and Coca Cola have lobbied and defeated previous labelling and “soda tax” bills in states across the nation.

Still, proponents of the bill are hopeful. California’s Democrats hold a super-majority in the Legislature and are traditionally more supportive of this type of motion.

Will the Warning Labels Have Any Effect?

Once again…who knows?

In a recent study,  researchers concluded that if the USA had adopted cigarette package warning labels in 2012 (when Canada enacted tobacco labelling legislation), the number of adult smokers in the USA would have decreased by 5.3–8.6 million by 2013….meaning that there would have been 5.3–8.6 million Americans with a reduced chance of dying from lung cancer.

Health warnings on cigarette packages saved lives in Canada and would have saved lives in the U.S. of A. And that sounds like a pretty darn good return on investment.

So….is it really such a jump in logic to assume that health warnings on sugary drinks would also reduce consumption of said sugary drinks…thereby improving American rates of insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer???

Are all Warning Labels equally effective?

After looking at Canada’s gnarly anti-smoking images, I started wondering if California’s proposed sugary drink warning label….

…will be as effective?

Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

Will a text-based warning be as effective as pictures of cancerous lungs and impotent cigarettes?

Methinks that California’s legislators need to go back to ye olde Photoshop drawing board and bedazzle their warning labels.

Let’s see if we can come up with something better

Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

Nothing like a little parental awareness (guilt?) to help spark better shopping habits.

Somehow, I doubt that Pepsi will re-work their logo to create this custom sugary drink warning label.

If morbid obesity isn’t a strong enough warning, how about neuropathic foot ulcers and leg amputations???

obesity-warning-fruit-juice

There is nothing like a juice box full of chemicals & high fructose corn syrup to show that you don’t give a shit about your kid.

What do YOU think?

  • Are warning labels on sugary drinks a good idea?
  • Is a text-only label as effective as labels with scary pictures?
  • Can you come up with any better labels?
  • Would you like to see these labels where you live?
  • If so, would you be willing to email your gov’t representative RIGHT NOW and tell them that you want warning labels on sugary drinks?

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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

 

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

4 Really, Really Good Reasons To Stop Eating Factory Farmed Meat and Start Buying Organic Meat

Today’s post was sparked by a chat I had the other day with someone on Twitter.

I had just tweeted an infographic about all that yucky pink slime in America’s hamburgers. Normally, a tweet like this generates a pile of RTs from people who are viscerally grossed out by the existence of pink slime in their hamburgers.

pink-slime-jon-stewart-2

However…on this day, I ran into someone who didn’t care about the existence of pink slime in her McDouble because (in her words) McDonalds burgers taste AMAZING.

After I grabbed my jaw off of the floor, I replied to her and suggested that someone needed to introduce her to a better hamburger joint…because McD burgers ain’t as tasty as she thinks they are…with or without the pink slime.

The conversation went on for a few more tweets, with no real conclusion…she thinks that the Big Mac is the pinnacle of hot beef sandwich…and I prefer a burger made from grass fed beef and a lack of industrial chemicals.

But even though I couldn’t convince her to abandon her love affair with her McBurgers, this little chat got me thinking about the meat processing industry in general and the quality of meat that most of us eat every day.

After about 30 minutes of daydreaming, I came up with what I think are… 4 Really, Really Good Reasons To Stop Eating Factory Farmed Meat and Start Buying Organic Meat.

1.   Your Health

Medical science has come a long way in the last century.

  • Infant mortality rates have dropped.
  • Anti-biotics and anti-virals have saved millions of lives
  • Trauma surgeons put us back together after horrendous accidents

Unfortunately, medical science is having a hard time keeping up with the damage we inflict upon ourselves with our modern diet.

  • Diabetes rates are exploding
  • Obesity rates are exploding
  • Cancers related to diet are exploding
  • Dementia / Alzheimers rates are exploding

All of these conditions are directly related to the food we eat…and unlike the type of medicine we are really good at, these conditions are slow to develop and modern medicine can’t do a thing to cure them.

Here are a few articles if you want to learn more:

2.   Your Kid’s Health

Same reasons as above…but instead of just making ourselves, now we’re talking about your precious little bundles of joy.

3.   Your Tastebuds

Back in the olden days, your great-great-great-great grandparents ate organic…and free-range…and local…and all that other good stuff that costs me extra every time I go grocery shopping

But unlike me, they didn’t call their food organic or free-range…they called it food.

Because that’s what food was.

  • Cows grazed on grass until it was time for the rancher to turn them into dinner for his neighbours and…
  • Farmers used manure from their livestock to grow better vegetable crops and…
  • Chickens pecked around in the dirt eating bugs and seeds and grass and worms and…
  • Crops were rotated and seeds were shared and our produce wasn’t covered in chemicals or grown from genetically modified seeds and…
  • Hunters went into the woods and hunted for game

And not only was their food healthier…it tasted better.

Ever since I switched to free-range, naturally fed meats, I can’t believe how much better they taste, look and smell. The beef I buy comes from a co-op of ranchers in PEI who finish their grass-fed cattle by adding potatoes to their feed…they swear that it makes the beef taste sweeter.

I chuckled when the butcher first told me this…but that night as I was chomping down on a mushroom cheeseburger, I couldn’t stop making noises about how good the beef tasted….seriously, it was like I had never had a burger before…Ahhh-mazing.

FYI – Earlier today I made a meat sauce of grass-fed beef, mushrooms and tomato sauce. Very simple, very basic…but the taste…OMG. Right now, I am baking a spaghetti squash in the oven. In 10 more minutes, I am going to pour the sauce over of the spag and have a serious post-workout dinner. Mmmmmmmmmm good.

Better ingredients = Better tasting meals

4.  You’re not cool with torturing animals

As a self-aware human being and life-long meat eater, I understand and accept the moral implications of killing animals for my dinner.

  • Because I eat meat, I am partially responsible for the death of other animals.

I can live with this…I may not think about it all the time, but when confronted by a rabid vegan in a nutrition forum, I am able to own up to my complicity and still sleep well at night. Nature is bloody and meat consumption is partially responsible for the state of human evolution and our big brains.

What I can’t accept is the cruelty we inflict on the animals trapped in our industrial meat factories.

It is seriously messed up.

For example…in this video expose of Walmart’s pork suppliers, we see…

  • Pregnant pigs confined to gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably
  • Workers slamming conscious piglets headfirst into the ground and leaving them to suffer and slowly die
  • Workers ripping out the testicles and slicing off the tails of piglets without the use of any painkillers
  • Sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or infections left to suffer without veterinary care

All so we can save 50 cents on a pound of Walmart’s breakfast sausage.

Like I said…seriously messed up…and it doesn’t have to be this way.

If mega-corporations like Walmart told their suppliers to stop torturing their livestock, it would happen. It might cost you an extra 50 cents per pound of breakfast sausage…but it would happen.

Note – If you live in the U.S. and would like to see Walmart stop sourcing meat from producers who torture their livestock, you can sign this online petition…it takes about fifteen seconds.

Conclusion

I’m sure that there are a lot more reasons for you to stop eating factory farmed meat and start buying organic meat, but since I only thought about it for 30 minutes and I’m not that bright to begin with, I only came up with four really, really good reasons.

Hopefully they are good enough to get you to re-think tonight’s dinner purchase.

 

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

The Best Vitamin C Foods

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

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

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

So…which are the best Vitamin C foods?

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

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

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

The JUICE list….

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

And the FOOD list…

 

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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

TellSpec answers the question…what is in that food?

Imagine for a second that you are someone who…

  • is trying to lose weight, or
  • is allergic to peanuts, or
  • is lactose intolerant, or
  • doesn’t want to eat foods laced with pesticides, or
  • just wants to know what is in that food that they just picked up at the supermarket.

In 2013…what you would do is take a quick look at the nutritional info on the back of the package, or pull out your smartphone and consult an app that gives you the nutritional info of the average sized apple or serving of pasta salad or the nutritional info claimed by Senor Nacho Grande.

nacho chips label nutrition

In 2014, what you’re going to do is whip out your TellSpec scanner…

  • aim the TellSpec scanner at that bowl of nacho chips,
  • press the button until it beeps
  • firing a low-powered laser at the chips,
  • measuring the reflected light with a nano spectrometer, and
  • sending those measurements up to TellSpec’s cloud servers
tellspec spectrometer
The TellSpec scanner sorts these photons by wavelength and counts them. The resulting numbers, called a spectrum, describe the chemical compounds in the food.

Once in the TellSpec cloud, the data will be analyzed using a proprietary mathematical algorithm. And in less than 20 seconds, TellSpec will send the results of all that number crunching and nanophotonics back down to your smart phone, computer or tablet

tellspec phone1

Letting you know EXACTLY what is in that food you are (or were) about to eat. TellSpec will give you the…

  • Calories
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Allergens
  • Chemicals
  • Ingredients

tellspec phone2

Letting you make an INFORMED decision about the food you were about to eat…or serve to your child.

  • Which could be kind of a big deal if you have a problem feeding your kid nacho chips laced with Tartrazine – a food dye made from petroleum – known to cause CANCER. (funny how the manufacturer never mentioned the tartrazine in their nutritional info graph)
  • It could also be a big deal if your kid is allergic to peanuts…which is about 99% of all kids nowadays.
  • It could also be a big deal if the reason you keep getting headaches every day is because you are sensitive to gluten or dairy or MSG or any of the chemicals found in processed foods.

tellspec phone3

And because TellSpec can track what you eat, as well as how you feel after eating, it can help identify potential food sensitivities and allow you to make changes to your diet with or without the help of your MD.

It can also track your caloric consumption, your distribution of macronutrients (carbs/fat & protein), which micronutrients are missing from your diet as well as advise you to cut back on the canned tuna sandwiches (Google tuna & mercury levels for more info).

tellspec phone4

How Cool is That?

If you’re anything like me, your mind has just been blown away by the TellSpec scanner.

And it gets even better. TellSpec is developing a software development kit that will provide developers with tools for directly accessing the food analysis data from our servers so that they can create their own amazing applications. The SDK includes source code for iPhone and Android apps, an API for TellSpec’s analysis engine, JSON specifications for data interchange, and access to information about each nutrient, chemical, allergen, and ingredient.

Unlike the fine folks at Apple and most other tech companies, the really fine folks (Isabel & Stephen) want all of the world’s software geeks to push the TellSpec technology even farther to provide even more value for the end user.

Where Can You Get a TellSpec Scanner?

You can’t get one yet 😦 The TellSpec is still in development, and as of October 1, 2013…

  • They have developed the analysis engine, coded it, and tested it, 
  • They have successfully tested three prototype scanners, including one using a nanochip,
  • They have finished the industrial design for the scanner,
  • They are well along with the user interface design;
  • and they have been doing an independent validation of the underlying algorithm.  

Now What?

If you want one of these bad boys, you can get one by supporting their IndieGoGo campaign – hurry up…time is running out.

Open your HTML editor and load the file that has the iframe coded.

2
Type “align=middle” into the HTML iframe code. The code below is an example of a centered iframe:

This code centers the internal page within the iframe.

3
Use a div tag to center the iframe within the web page. The code below encapsulates the iframe and centers it on your web page.

4
Save the page. Use your web browser to test the new settings. Open the page in a web browser and view the iframe location. It’s now centered on the page.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_5825834_center-iframe.html#ixzz2kMJXJiek

Here’s what they need – $650,000

Here’s what they need the money for:

  • Manufacturing the TellSpec scanner and get all the regulatory approvals needed to ship it.
  • Deploying the food analysis engine on servers that reliably provide quick analysis of the spectra.
  • Developing the SDK for Android and iOS platforms so others can build exciting apps.

Personally, I ponied up $420 to become a beta tester of the TellSpec scanner because I can’t wait for the production models and because I am totally geeked by the potential of this technology. I will be meeting with the founders of TellSpec next week to discuss the beta testing procedure as well as potential future applications for the technology.

Conclusion

For $150, you can grab one of 500 Early Bird Specials – You’ll receive one TellSpec scanner and two years of unlimited analysis of your food scans. Once those 500 spots are gone, the price shoots up to $200 for the next 500 people and then up to $250 for the next 3000 people.

I have no idea what they are going to cost once the IndieGoGo campaign is closed and they go on sale to the general public. But I have a feeling they’ll cost more than $250.

tellspec scanner

Plus, wouldn’t it be cool to have one of these bad boys before they go on sale at Amazon and Best Buy?

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

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

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

white_cocoa_tea

What is Cocoa Tea – aka Camellia Ptilophylla Chang?

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

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

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

cocoa tea chemicals

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

Different Types of Cocoa Tea

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

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

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

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

How should you prepare Cocoa Tea?

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

Why should you drink Cocoa Tea?

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

Study #1

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

Study #2

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

Study #3

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

Study #4

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

Reference

Sustainable Livestock Production is Possible

According to a growing body of research, not only is sustainable livestock production possible, but with growing numbers of consumers expressing concern for improved animal welfare, environmental impact and the overall healthfulness of the meat they purchase, sustainable livestock production may actually soon be economically feasible.

In a recent University of Cambridge study, researchers have identified what may be the future of sustainable livestock production: silvopastoral systems which include shrubs and trees with edible leaves or fruits as well as herbage.

sustainable livestock
Silvopastoral livestock production

Professor Donald Broom, from the University of Cambridge, who led the research said: “Consumers are now demanding more sustainable and ethically sourced food, including production without negative impacts on animal welfare, the environment and the livelihood of poor producers. Silvopastoral systems address all of these concerns with the added benefit of increased production in the long term.”

In a silvopastoral system, animals are allowed to feed on a diverse group of edible plants which:

  • promotes healthy soil with better water retention,
  • makes better use of available farm land,
  • encourages predators of harmful animals,
  • minimizes greenhouse gas emissions,
  • reduces the need for herbicides,
  • minimizes contamination of local land & water,
  • improves job satisfaction for farm workers,
  • reduces injury and stress in animals,
  • improves biodiversity,
  • improves welfare and encourages biodiversity using native shrubs and trees,
  • increases human food supply,
  • produces healthier meat,
  • while enabling a profitable farming business.

And who can argue with healthier animals living in a healthier environment amongst happier ranchers working on profitable farms producing healthier meat for consumers who care about living longer & better.

cow-factory
Modern/factory livestock production

Real World Examples of Sustainable Livestock Production

According to Professor Donald Broom, “the planting as forage plants of both shrubs and trees whose leaves and small branches can be consumed by farmed animals can transform the prospects of obtaining sustainable animal production. Such planting of ‘fodder trees’ has already been successful in several countries, including the plant Chamaecytisus palmensis which is now widely used for cattle feed in Australia. Another success has been in Colombia where a mixed planting of the shrub Leucaena with a common pasture grass resulted in a 27% increase in dry matter for food and 64% increase of protein production.”

In other silvopastoral livestock systems, researchers have seen an increase in growth and milk production…all without the need of milk producing hormones like rBST.

Conclusions

  1. I like eating steaks and hamburgers…and I am not alone.
  2. I like being healthy…and I don’t believe that eating factory farmed meat is conducive to being healthy….and I am not alone.
  3. I don’t enjoy the reality of animals living in inhumane conditions just because we are either intellectually lazy, morally deficient and/or financially greedy…and I am not alone.

And when I find out about a method of sustainable livestock production that may indeed be financially viable…I hope that I am not alone in wanting to help make this possibility become a reality.

What’s Next?

If I am not alone in thinking that the silvopastoral system of sustainable livestock production is pretty darn cool…I am asking that you share this article far and wide. If more people know about the concept, more people will talk about it, and more farmers will look into it, and more people will agree to buy from those farmers and so on and so on and so on.

Reference

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

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???

The Secret Behind Your Addiction to Junk Food

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Michael Moss spent four years researching the scientific research that goes into each bag, box or bottle of processed / junk food.

And what he found, should freak you out.

Teams of scientists spending millions of dollars researching bliss points and maximum bite force and sensory specific satiety…all with the aim of keeping you eating ‘food’ that is high in calories, sugar, salt & fat and virtually devoid of actual nutrition.

And they are very, very good at it.

And because…

  1. They are very, very good at their jobs.
  2. Their lobbyists are good at influencing politicians
  3. Government heavily subsidizes their industry
  4. They spend billions on marketing to both adults & children
  5. And most of us are equal parts lazy and uneducated about nutrition

…the sales of ‘real food’ continue to drop while the sales of ‘processed food’ continue to rise.

Also rising are….

  1. The rate of childhood and adult obesity
  2. The rate of type 2 diabetes
  3. The rate of heart disease
  4. The rate of obesity-related cancers
  5. The rate of Alzheimers
  6. Healthcare costs associated with these conditions

Something to think about the next time you go to the supermarket.

You really should buy Salt Sugar Fat. Or at least take it out from the library

Reference

Mmmmmmmmm Smoothie

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Directions:

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

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

Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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.

Five Weight Loss Secrets the Experts Will Never Tell You

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which combines recycled weight-loss theories with new celebrities year after year. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which sells the promise of transformation…while secretly hoping that you never succeed.

Today, I thought I would let you in on a few of the secrets that they will never mention in their weight loss books.

  • All Diets Work

Whether they have you counting calories, restricting food groups or modifying when you’re allowed to eat, almost everybody will lose weight at the beginning of a new weight loss program. Their program is not nearly as special as they want you to believe.

  • All Diets Fail

Most people already know the difference between diets that make you lean and diets that make you fat. The problem isn’t lack of knowledge…it’s lack of consistency. The world’s most perfect weight loss diet is 100% useless if you don’t follow the rules.

  • Following the Rules Can Be Extremely Uncomfortable

In addition to being affordable and almost-always available, a large percentage of us rely on junk food to modulate hormones and neuro-chemicals in an attempt to reduce stress levels and make raw nerves feel…less raw. It’s the same reason why other people drink, do drugs, beat their spouses, etc. When you take away your emotion-soothing foods, you may be able to rely on willpower for a while as you try to ignore your “stuff”, but eventually, your willpower won’t be strong enough…and the siren’s call of Ben & Jerry may just be too strong for even the most awesome of celebrity endorsed diets.

  • Uncomfortable Doesn’t Mean Impossible

No matter how much you rely on junk food, there are psychological, neurological and nutritional approaches that can help reduce your dependence on food to modulate your emotions. And most of them are free or at least very reasonable. MP3s of guided meditations, brain wave entrainment and/or hypnosis require very little cash and almost zero effort from you…and can be very, very helpful. Supplements like Chill Pills cost less than $1 a day and can have a profound effect on your mood. Dr. Judith Beck lowers the cost of using Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a weight loss aid by laying out her techniques in her book – The Complete Beck Diet for Life.

  • You are Your Best Diet Guru

No weight loss expert will ever know what it’s like for YOU to lose weight. They won’t feel your cravings…or have to resist your urges to snack late at night…or have tell your friends that you will be eating a bowl of chicken vegetable soup instead of sharing their giant platter of Nachos Supreme!!! But then again, they can’t judge how your body responds to a week of Intermittent fasting or how peri-workout nutrition has helped you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. They can’t make the very specific observations and adjustments that will help you overcome your weakness while maximizing your strengths and advantages.

What should you do with this info?

I have met and talked with a lot of weight loss gurus over the past decade…and most of them are pretty decent people with an honest desire to help overweight people lose weight and get fit. They realize that there is no perfect diet. They realize that what works for you might not work for me. They realize that weight loss can be a long, drawn-out, incredibly frustrating endeavor.

Unfortunately, if they wrote that in their book… NO ONE would buy it.

So…take what you read in a diet book with a giant grain of salt. Think about the theory behind the weight loss plan. Think about how easily you would be able to integrate that plan into your lifestyle. And if you decide to take the plunge, pay attention to how your body, mind and emotions respond. And be ready to make tweaks to customize a “one-size-fits-all” diet to make it fit your life.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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

5 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner

Today is Thanksgiving. That means…

  • Food
  • Football
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Food
  • Sitting for hours on the couch
  • and more food.

Today’s article is for everyone who wants to thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving…without gaining 50 pounds and feeling like crap for the rest of the week.

Tip #1 – Hydrate Yourself with Water

  • Keep a glass of water withing reach all day… and keep drinking from it.

With all of those awesome Thanksgiving dinner smells wafting throughout the house, your brain will be telling you that you’re extremely hungry and that you need to eat. Hormones WILL be secreting and neurochemicals will be doing whatever it is that they do.

To strike back, you’re going to keep raising a glass of water to your lips and keeping pouring zero calorie fluids down your throat. This is going to help counteract those neurochemicals & hormone secretions.

Next page….Tip #2

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

Health Food Makers Spending Billions To Keep You From Knowing GMOs Are In Your Food

In California, there is a ballot initiative – officially known as Proposition 37 – which is coming up for vote on November 6.

Proposition 37 will require labeling of genetically engineered / modified foods, and end the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as “natural.”

[box type=”important”]If there are GMOs in your food, companies will have to make this clear on their packaging.[/box]

Unfortunately, not all of America’s food producers want you to know if there are GMOs in your food. And from a financial standpoint, I can understand why companies like Monsanto are trying to block Prop 37. They have a lot of money invested in producing GMOs and they don’t want the public’s negative opinion of GMOs to hurt their profits.

What really pisses me off is when I find out that America’s major health food brands…

These organic and “natural” traitor companies and brands include: Kellogg’s (Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms); General Mills (Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar); Dean Foods (Horizon, Silk, White Wave); Smucker’s (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic); Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla); Safeway (“O” Organics); Kraft (Boca Burgers and Back to Nature); Con-Agra (Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife); and PepsiCo (Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, Tropicana Organic).

…are donating money through their parent companies to block Prop 37

It’s kinda disgusting when brands who make their money promoting HEALTH want to deny their customers the right to make healthy and informed food choices.

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.

food nutrition health healthhabits fitness diet health

Nutrition Experts Are Full of SHIT

As a big fitness/nutrition geek, I am constantly consuming the latest information on how to improve the health of our overweight & inactive society.

And when it comes to improving public health, the nutrition experts are forever saying that it all comes down to education.

If only “they” could teach “us” how to…

  • Eat healthier
  • Move healthier
  • Live healthier

…we would all take that knowledge…and stop eating junk food while watching re-runs of  Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Too bad they’re full of shit.

In this new study, researchers presented 124 test with a fake food buffet consisting of 55 replica food items.

buffet-experiment

 

  • Participants in the control group were instructed to serve themselves a meal, as they would normally eat from the given selections.
  • Participants in the instruction group were asked to select a healthy, balanced meal.
  • People in the instruction + information group were also instructed to select a healthy meal, but in addition, they received nutrition information based on the Swiss Food Guide Pyramid.

The results?

  • Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group reduced their consumption of sweets & desserts.
  • Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group increased their consumption of fruit.
  • No other food categories (including vegetables) were significantly altered.
  • There was very little caloric difference between the meals of all 3 groups
  • Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group perceived their meals as healthy
  • The control group perceived their meal as less healthy
  • All 3 groups considered their chosen meals equally tasty

 

Their Conclusions

  1. When people aim to prepare a healthy meal, they replace dessert with fruit.
  2. Nutritional information on portion sizes fails to increase the amount of vegetables in a meal
  3. People, who were asked to choose a healthy meal, chose meals that they perceived as similarly tasty.

My Conclusions

  1. We like to eat tasty food…and most of us are not willing to abandon yummy to get healthy.
  2. We already know which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy
  3. We need more nutrition motivation and less nutrition education.

So, where do we go from here?

  • How do we motivate ourselves to eat healthier???

That’s the billion dollar question. I’m still waiting on an answer from the nutrition experts.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

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?