Friday, April 24, 2009

Recommended Site - Mercola

If you look at some of the sites that I recommend visiting you’ll see Mercola.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is the mastermind behind his own site. He often posts the latest health findings (both good and bad) and then comments on the fallacies presented by mainstream publications or praises the raw truth or amazing discoveries that living in an informational era often presents.

After following him for the past 5 years, I’ve developed new insights on how to distinguish between the latest health topics as to whether it’s a fad, hype, under researched scare, twisted truth or a hidden solution, unorthodox view, refreshing solution on health and fitness.

Sure he struggles with the why and how of certain topics, we all do, but he’s so straight forward about his thoughts. My favorite example is why humans should or shouldn’t eat raw eggs. Other creatures in nature do it, why do we have problems with it? It wouldn’t be fair for me to try to paraphrase his findings. I encourage you to search his site for “raw eggs.”

His site is easy to navigate. He generally has half a dozen new topics each week he presents. Not all are necessarily health related. He’s a curious guy about many things (i.e. tech, natural science, trivia, etc). After each post he has related topics for you to research even deeper. And a really good search tool to find topics on past posts.

Like all great minds, Dr. Mercola will stumble across a great product. If it’s truly a worthy and remarkable product that he feels would benefit his readers he will recommend it and even sell it on his site for convenience to his followers.

Beware! This information he provides can be contrary to what you may have learned or thought before. Very educational stuff for folks with an open mind; please expand your knowledge and dive into his pages.

I don’t receive commission or kickbacks from referring his site; I just believe he does a great job.

Friday, April 17, 2009


We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet many of us still skip it. I’m going to give you some reasons why it’s such a big deal and tips on how to do it right.

Breakfast literally means the meal that breaks the fast after last night’s sleep. This is a crucial time to re-fuel the body for a busy day. Not just food either, water or fluids also. A good breakfast re-sets your metabolism from fasted or starvation mode to fully fueled and ready to go. The body has a hard time reasoning why it would carry around excess body fat if it’s properly nourished. Notice I didn’t write OVERNURISHED. Just like the latest vehicles on the market the body is a “flex fuel” machine as well. We can run on not only carbs but also fats and proteins. Ideally if you want to burn fat, you should probably have your body run as a fat burning machine. This means eating less carbs to take away the need to burn off the carbohydrate fuel and not be afraid to consume more healthy fats to encourage the body to switch to fat burning mode. Fat does not beget fat; it actually promotes a more fat burning effect than carbs. Protein comes in as the hero food source. It provides as re-building supplies for nearly every tissue in the body. Ok, that was vague. Think: muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, brain, blood vessels and the little things like hormones, immune system cells… and such. Protein also promotes satiety. After an omelet most people feel fueled up and satisfied for possibly the rest of the morning. Conversely, toast and jam may fill your belly but wait one hour and you’ll be looking for something else to eat.

Ideally a “good” breakfast will include all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A heavier emphasis on protein and fat for this time of day makes for a more successful day.

The following is a list of good breakfast foods:

  • Eggs cooked pretty much anyway (frying with coconut oil is healthiest). Sunny side up has the best solution for those worried about cholesterol—a topic to be discussed on its own in another blog article.
  • Cottage cheese—the higher fat selection (4% vs. 2% or less) also has more protein per serving.
  • Milk—mmmm milk.
Less palatable for traditionalists would be:
  • Steak, chicken, beans, nuts, fish, turkey… get the hint supper foods should be eaten for breakfast.
Ok let’s piece this together.
  1. Wake up and drink 5-18 oz of water right away.
  2. Get ready for the day.
  3. Cook or prepare a protein heavy breakfast keeping in mind that the other food components are also good just in smaller amounts than the protein at this time of day.
  4. By the time you eat breakfast 20 minutes should have passed since pounding the water at wake.
  5. Be prepared to have a productive day and watch the fat melt away.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Exercise: Power-ups / Pull-ups

Muscle Software

Here’s a fun video of pull-ups. The first 2 reps are power ups, second two are regular slow and controlled pull-ups.

Interesting thing happened when shooting this. I was planning on doing the slow pull-ups first then go into the power ups. I couldn’t do the power ups on the first attempt after doing the slow pull-ups.

My conclusion, same exact reason we never stretch before sprinting or lifting. Muscles have memory.

Think about it. In order for a muscle to work it takes an electrical impulse from the nerves to start the action. Now think of this nerve-muscle connection as software program. When you mentally prepare to perform an activity that requires speed and power, that muscle software is programmed for high performance effort. Dynamic warm-ups that mimic the motion and speed to be performed are ideal for setting this muscle software up.

So conversely, static or holding a stretch is setting the muscle software up for a flaccid or relaxed muscle that is not geared for activity.

So for a “warm-up,” we need to re-set the muscle software towards high performance activity which is what a good dynamic warm-up does.

A static stretch where you hold a stretch is ideal for the end of the workout when you want to settle the muscles down and increase flexibility.

One aside, I don’t believe in actually warming up. We’re already at 96-99 degrees in body temperature (people do vary). I think that’s warm enough. The purpose of the warm-up is to re-direct blood flow to support the muscles, heart and lungs. Where after eating a meal the blood flow is more focused around the gut. The other purpose of the warm-up is again to re-set the muscle software to have the nerves stimulate the muscles in a high performance mode.

Back to the pull-ups paradox. I had difficulties doing power ups after slow pull-ups because I was in “slow moving” mode. Switching immediately to fast mode created a software error in the muscles and I failed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Diet Sodas and your Health

Last week I did not post due to the Flood issue in the Fargo-Moorhead Area.

Diet Sodas May Double Your Risk of Obesity
The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions and many Americans are making efforts to side-step extra calories. They are turning to diet soft drinks -- Diet Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Sprite -- as their beverage of choice.

But is this a wise health choice?

Perhaps not, for according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio, middle-aged adults who drink diet soft drinks may be drastically increasing their risks of gaining weight later on.

Diet Soda Discovery
The study monitored the weight and soda-drinking habits of more than 600 normal-weight patients aged 25-64. When researchers followed up on the patients some eight years later, they discovered:
  • Participants were 65 percent more likely to be overweight if they consumed one diet soda a day compared to if they drank none.
  • Two or more low- or no-calorie soft drinks raised the odds of becoming obese or overweight even higher.
  • Those who drank diet soda had a greater chance of becoming overweight than participants who drank regular soda.
Finding Clarity
By itself, diet soda cannot be blamed for weight gain; however, various contributing factors may play a role.

For example, a person who drinks a diet soda may feel it's acceptable to make up for those calories with another high-calorie food. And while the tongue is temporarily satisfied by the sweet taste of diet soda, the brain isn't similarly fooled and still craves calories for energy. Other studies have suggested people who drink an artificially sweetened beverage before a meal will eat more high-calorie foods than those who do not.

Therefore, with diet soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages (even fruit juices) linked to weight gain and obesity, many people are left wondering, "What is safe to drink?" The answer, of course, is water.

San Antonio Express-News July 6, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Just like an optical illusion, what you see is not what you get.

Despite the superficial logic that consuming fewer calories will produce weight loss, the evidence is very clear that using artificial sweeteners will cause a paradoxical effect and actually cause you to gain weight.

In fact, nearly a decade ago, studies were already revealing that artificial sweeteners can:
  • Stimulate your appetite.
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings.
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain.
These chemical cocktails may be a powerful contributing factor in the obesity epidemic many industrialized nations are now experiencing. But, the damage artificially sweetened beverages and other foods can cause does not stop there.

While I am no fan of sugar, it has become abundantly clear to me that, when compared to artificial sweeteners, sugar is greatly preferred -- at least it is natural and you only need to be concerned with leptin and insulin regulation.

When using artificial sweeteners, you not only have the same insulin and leptin issues but you now must contend with the toxic effects of these artificial chemicals.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame (NutraSweet®) and sucralose (Splenda®) can contribute to a host of additional side effects.

Sucralose, the sweetening agent in Splenda®, is in fact made from sugar (sucrose). However, what the ads don't go on to say is that chemists then add three chlorine molecules to these sugar molecules to create the final product.

Animal studies have revealed that sucralose can cause:
  • Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40 percent shrinkage)
  • Enlarged liver and kidneys
  • Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Decreased red blood cell count
  • Diarrhea
If these findings concern you, read on, because aspartame may be even worse. Results of multiple studies, complaints and testimonies have revealed that aspartame can trigger or worsen the following diseases:
  • Brain tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Mental retardation
  • Lymphoma
  • Birth defects
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
The bottom line is that both of these substances can poison your body. Deciding to start or continue drinking either one of them would simply be a major movement toward the development of chronic disease.


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