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Nurse Bridgid

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Really an aphrodisiac??

Oysters are one of my most favorite summer eats!  sometimes, and I know this is a bit decadent, but when I am at my mothers beach house, after my morning workout I will go to the fishmonger and get 6 oysters shucked and have them for lunch.  My mom always makes fun of me for doing this, but I find them just so yummy- although I can't eat them cooked, only raw, and just with a squeeze of lemon.  SO GOOD!

I found out some interesting and healthy facts about my favorite seafood treat that I wanted to share.
No longer do we have to follow the rule that we can't eat oysters during "R" months (which really opens up a bunch of months for oyster munching!)
 Wild oysters in California are actually under threat because of invasive creatures like Atlantic coast crabs and snails and European green crabs, which means that it is the exception to the rule, but actually farm raised oysters are better to eat than wild!  Oyster farms actually improve the quality of oceans and bays that they are present in; they oysters feed on particulate that would otherwise pollute the water.
Also, it is true that they really ARE an aphrodisiac, for men in particular, because they are really high in zinc (which is a mineral most Americans are deficient in).  Zinc is a key mineral for sexual health in men (a deficiency can lead to impotence)- so ladies, if you want to get your man in the mood, get some raw oysters in him!!
And finally, because the shells are so high in calcium, they are really good for gardens and compost piles.  They help to regulate the pH balance of your soil (for those of you who like hydrangeas, this can help change them from blue to purple)

Nutritional facts:
They are really a one stop shop for food!  They have protein, fat, and carbs in each oyster, and are actually touted by the National Lung and Heart Institute as  a low cholesterol food.  They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C (ascorbic acid), and D (calciferol).  Also eating 5 oysters supply your daily need of iron, zinc,  copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and phosphorous.

FYI, if you have liver disease, cancer, or any immune depression you should opt not to eat raw foods, because of the risk of bacteria and infection.  But as long as you eat fresh raw oysters and know the source from a clean place, you should eat up!!

Yours in Good Health

Thursday, July 29, 2010

water, water, everywhere!!

We all know that we are supposed to drink roughly 2 liters of water a day, but do you know why and how beneficial it is to your body?  Do you know how much you actually are supposed to take in a day?  Read on, my faithful blog-readers and all your water questions shall be answered!!

Why is water so good for me?
Well, for starters roughly 2/3 of your body consists of water: blood is 83% water, brain is 90%, bones have 20%, and muscles are around 75% water- that is a LOT of water!!  Water helps with various functions in the body: gives moisture to the air in your lungs, transports nutrients and oxygen into the cells, aids in metabolism, protects vital organs, helps to regulate body temperature, and detoxifies the body.

Water can help you lose weight because it flushes the body and allows the body to flush out by-products of fat metabolism and it can be filling with zero calories.

It can help relieve headaches and some muscle pains/strains that are due to dehydration.

Water helps to replenish skin cells of the face and it helps you to actually look younger by increasing elasticity and boosting moisture

It can help you workout better because your body will auto-regulate temperature better so you will sweat out toxins, and feel better while doing it

Water actually helps with digestion and can stave off constipation- we all know that fiber is great for pooping, but it only works when you are adequately hydrated with water, and the water can help to boost the metabolism by giving it something to absorb throughout the day and keep it constantly working

Keeping hydrated helps to prevent a kidney and bladder stones by keeping the kidneys hydrated and constantly working and flushing out calcium and other electrolytes/minerals that can cause stones.  Also, by keeping your body hydrated you keep your immune system in tip top shape!

Because it helps to flush the body and get rid of toxins, drinking your daily amount of water can actually increase your energy level; your body works more efficiently, and that can also boost your mood!

How much should I actually be drinking?
Most MD's give the general rule, that most people know, is 8 8oz glasses (which is 2 liters).  The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink 3 Liters of water a day (or 13 8oz glasses) and that women should take in 2.2 Liters (or 9 8oz glasses). But you need to remember that we lost water through breathing, sweating, urinating, and bowel movements.  So, on a day of heavy exercise, or when you are sick (vomiting/diarrhea), etc. you will need to replace your body with even more water.  Also, fruits and vegetables have high water content, so you ladies can get away with drinking only two liters if you have a high fruit/veg day!!

What "counts" as water?
Obviously water is best because it is what your body needs and it is calorie free BUT I know that we need to drink other things sometimes (I actually jazz up my water by adding a slice of lemon or I will put a jug of water in the fridge and add a few cucumber slices to give it a little flavor and refreshing!)  You can also drink milk, herbal teas,  fruit juices, soda, coffee/teas, and electrolyte drinks (vitamin water, gatorade, etc.) all "count" towards your daily fluid intake but anything with sugar in it will add to your daily calorie intake.  Vitamin water zero is sweetened with stevia (a natural extract from the sunflower family that has 300 times the sweetness of sugar but no calories).  So, try to mainly take in water as your hydration source but you can drink other beverages as well to keep your body hydrated.  Also, there is no science behind it, but my body feels so much better when I keep super hydrated with water all day (hence why I find ways to flavor it because I drink so much!)

For those of you who are already avid water drinkers, rock on and keep on keepin' on!  And for those of you who "don't like the taste" etc of water, try adding lemon, drink sparkling water with lemon- it almost seems like soda! Or add some cucumber slices- it makes me feel like I am in a spa (which I love).  Try different things to start breaking the soda/juice habit and just start slowly but increase your daily water intake and I promise you will feel so much better and you may notice the change around your waistline too!!

Yours in Good Health

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artificial Sweeteners...too sweet to be good?

So many people think that they are being healthy every day, and for the most part they are: they exercise, they drink water, they eat organic meats and fruits/veg,  but then they add chemicals to their various foods and drinks during the day.  These chemicals are in the form of Splenda, Aspartame, Nutrasweet, Saccharin, etc.  Now, I am not going to go as far as saying that they cause cancer, which I know is a rumor out there that was started by health food fanatics long ago, because there is no current scientific proof of that.  Saccharin was shown to cause cancer in lab rats, given in high doses, but has yet to be shown in humans.

What we do know is that you are adding a chemical, that is man made to your daily intake, so that you can eat or drink something, that you probably shouldn't, to cut calories. I guess that is good, but because it isn't actually sugar you are just trying to trick your body into thinking that you are eating that sweet thing that you are craving, but your body is hip to that jive!  So the first time you eat the artificial sweetener, your body reacts as if you ate sugar, so your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas releases a burst of insulin, and your liver starts trying to convert the sugar into energy or into fat if not used immediately. Sometimes the body even begins to slow down when you eat sweet things because it knows that the sweet stuff isn't absorbed or digestible.  Plus, studies have shown that people who ingest lots of artificial sweeteners actually tend to eat more calories throughout the day because you're not actually satiating your bodies craving du jour!

What are the side effects that the Department of Health and Human services listed in 1995 as side effects of aspartame (in particular)?  Headaches, neurological disorders, abdominal pain, seizures, an nausea.  But, one of the creepiest facts is that when these chemicals are broken down in your body, they breakdown further into other chemicals, one of which is formaldehyde!  Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and what we used to embalm people with, but it is so carcinogenic (for those doing the embalming, obviously) that they have moved to other products for the same results.  The side effects of formaldehyde ingestion in small amounts is, strangely enough, the same as aspartame (gee, I wonder why ?!?)

Am I telling you to pound down sugar instead?  No!!  I am just saying that if you want something sweet, eat a treat made with organic raw cane sugar, sweetened with agave nectar, or eat the candy bar (or whatever treat you are craving is)!  Everything in moderation is the name of the game, and I am all about that- seriously there are days when all my body craves are sugary treats, and I have to stop myself from eating a whole bag of goobers in one sitting.  But, I don't allow myself to do that every day :)  If you are someone who needs that daily afternoon boost and drinks a diet coke, opt for agave sweetened iced or hot green tea/black tea (bring your own agave/cane sugar and sweeten on your own). I know that now when I bake, I have been making recipes without refined white sugar, and without sugar alternatives, that taste delish and, honestly, most people don't even know that they are healthier alternatives!!

So try to limit the artificial sweeteners, if you HAVE to drink your daily diet coke, then do so, but please don't drink splenda/etc in your morning coffee- try a healthy alternative.  who knows, you might like it better, and your body will thank you!!

Yours in Good Health

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kombucha, anyone??

Kombucha is a colony of bacteria and yeast that is added to green or black tea and fermented.  Sounds yummy, right?  Actually GT Kombucha is my favorite brand, and most of the flavors are DELISH (although there is one ginger flavor that kinda makes me gag a bit).  There has been very little actual scientific studies on the true health benefits of this beverage in the US, but it has been studied in Germany and Russia in the early 20th century into the cold war era as a treatment for cancer and/or a cancer prevention 'medicine'; Germany claims to have verified the treatment and prevention of cancer.  In the 1990's when kombucha came to the US, very few studies were done, mostly because no medical companies would make money off of it; people can make their own at home!  It has been consumed in mass quantities in China for over 2,000 years, and Eastern medicine weighs heavy stock in its health benefits.

Kombucha is created by growing colonies of bacteria off of one another (very similar to the way that people make their own yogurt).  Although it has gotten some bad press as of late because Lindsay Lohan claimed that drinking Kombucha made her SCRAM bracelet go off. Due to the fermentation process, it does have a small amount of alcohol in it, but the labels all state less than 0.5% but after Ms. Lohan's indiscretion (which could NOT be the result of kombucha) most major brands were tested and were found to have above the 0.5% alcohol content and the FDA then declares that an "alcoholic" beverage.  So, it is tougher to find than it used to be.  Whole Foods used to have a whole array of various brands and flavors have pulled it from their shelves, but I can still find it at my local organic grocery store.

Why is it good for you?

Detoxification: because of all of the enzymes and good bacteria that are present in the beverage, it helps to detoxify your body of some of the bad stuff that we, unfortunately, consume.
Cancer Prevention :(I'm not sold on this as fact BUT...) it had high levels of glucaric acid which has been linked to an increase in cancer remission (but these studies are heavily skewed in that people made MAJOR lifestyle changes and this was only one of them). It is worth a chance though that it can help prevent cancer.
Arthritis/Joint pain: it had high levels of glucosamines which can help to decrease swelling and joint pain.
It is also full of probiotics, anti-oxidants,  and can boost your energy and immune system through the detox process.

It can be rather tough to drink at first (the vinegar flavor in some of them can be overwhelming!) but stick with it, and let me know if you feel better....I know I do when I drink it regularly, but I also usually am eating super healthy at the same time!

Yours in Good Health

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Antibiotics in meat: how bad IS it??

A lot of commercial farmers give their livestock antibiotics to keep them healthy despite conditions being less than what mother earth had planned for them to live in.  Those cute little piggies, chicks, and cows are usually born healthy, but need antibiotics to keep healthy in environments of overcrowding, lack of grass, and small quarters so the antibiotics help to promote growth and weight gain.  I, obviously, love all creatures big and small, BUT there is no way that I can live a vegetarian much as I care how creatures are treated, I like to eat them too!  I know, a little hypocritical...sorry!  A scary little fact is that, approximately 70% of all antibiotics in America are sold to be given to farm animals, and this practice is completely unregulated on either a local or national level.  The FDA made a statement that using antibiotics strictly for growth in animals is wrong, but they only have  voluntary call for farmers to stop the use of the antibiotics.

So, how does this affect the consumers of these products?  Well, for one, it can help to create the "super bugs" that everyone is afraid of (i.e. bacteria that are resistant to bacteria because they are over exposed).  The animals can retain these super bug infections, and they can be spread through consumption; some strains found in humans have been linked back to cattle and poultry.  It can also trigger antibiotic reactions in people who are highly allergic, as they are trace amounts in the meat of the animals that we eat.  And, it can increase our resistance.  When all of our antibiotics stop working, our society is in for a whole lot of trouble!

What can you do?
1) Buy from local farmers, or go to butchers where they can tell you where the meat came from, and if it is steroid and antibiotic free (which usually means that it is grass fed as well and humanely treated). If I am in a major food store chain, I will buy Bison meat, as it is not yet an over produced meat and it is stated on the label as antibiotic/hormone free, and grass fed.  I must admit that Bell & Evans chicken you can buy at some major food chains (I usually get it at the butcher but did find it in one Stop & Shop) is also hormone/antibiotic free and grass fed.  When they are grass fed, it usually means that they are treated humanely, which makes me feel better; they are living their lives grazing and eating what they were intended to.

2) Contact the FDA and let them know your thoughts on this topic:
They created this site for people to submit their thoughts/ideas related to their stance on the use of antibiotics for animal growth.  Maybe if we all use our voices, we can make a difference and make this governmentally regulated!!!

I also suggest that you see "Food, Inc." to see various sides of the food industry.  It is, for sure, more expensive to purchase meat that is antibiotic/hormone free and grass fed BUT after watching that movie, you will not be able to eat anything else.  It is NOT for the faint of heart!

So, give it some thought and help prevent the spread of these "super bugs" and the use of antibiotics with animals, and please write to the FDA and lets help regulate the use of antibiotics in meat!

Yours in Good Health

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Daily Aspirin: Is it right for you?

I heard a few of the hens on the beach the other day, and they were chit chatting about their health, their friends health, and they were giving each other medical advise.  The best advise, you ask?  It goes a little like this: " well my cardiologist told me not to take a daily aspirin, but my primary doctor did" so the middle hen replies " oh, well you should definitely take it, I am certain of that, because I take one. A friend of mine had a stroke, so I just started; didn't even ask my doctor."  Sometimes its really hard not to jump in, but I listened, and thought about how horrible that advise was, and how people clearly don't understand why taking a daily aspirin can be good for you and why it is better for certain groups of people.  

How does Aspirin work?
Aspirin works by affecting the platelets in the blood.  When any sort of injury occurs to blood vessels, platelets rush to the scene to form a plug to seal any hole in the vessel wall then stop the bleeding.  This clotting can effect all major blood vessels in your body.  If your blood vessels are already narrowed from atherosclerosis (a build up of fat in your arteries) those fatty deposits can burst, a blood clot can form, and that clot can go to your brain or heart and cause either a stroke or heart attack.  Aspirin reduces the clumping nature of platelets, to decrease the risk of these clots to prevent a heart attack or stroke.  

The difference in therapy between men and women:
In Men, aspirin tends to prevent a first and second heart attack and decrease heart disease risks.  For women UNDER 65, it prevents a first stroke, second heart attack, and decrease heart disease risk.  And for women OLDER than 65, it can prevent a first and second heart attack, first stroke, and decrease heart disease risk. 

Who should be taking Aspirin therapy?
It really depends on your risk of heart attack and stroke.  If you have any of the following, then daily aspirin may be appropriate therapy for you:

Smoking tobacco
High blood pressure — a systolic pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher
Total cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — 6.22 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) — or higher
Low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL (3.37 mmol/L) or higher
Lack of exercise
Having more than two alcoholic drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women
Family history of a stroke or heart attack
If you have had a stroke or heart attack, then you probably should be on aspirin therapy, and, as I stated before, if you have some of these risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about starting aspirin therapy.

Is there a difference?
I know that it can also be confusing that some people are on 81mg (baby aspirin) whereas other people take 325mg (i.e. one Bayer Aspirin) and it is completely based on your past medical history and your risk factors, and your docotor will make that decision for you...and you may switch therapies at some point based on your bodies reaction to the aspirin. 

Who should AVOID daily aspirin therapy?
If you have:
Asthma, bleeding/clotting disorder, stomach ulcers, heart failure.  

the American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics only take low dose (baby) aspirin therapy.  Also, if you take ibuprofen frequently you should tell your HCP because that can out you at risk for increased bleeding.  And, if you are on ANY blood thinners including heparin or coumadin (warfarin) you should NOT be taking aspirin (your HCP should discuss with you what you can and cannot take on those drugs)

What are possible side effects of daily aspirin therapy?

Hemorrhagic stroke. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent, so you may be put on another medication (protonix/pantoprazole) to prevent this
Allergic reaction. If you're allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.
Also, you should limit the amount of ibuprofen and alcohol that you ingest because it can cause these issues due to over thinning of the blood.  

Hopefully this clears up questions surrounding aspirin therapy so that people realize its not as cut and dry as your friend telling you to take it because her friend had a stroke lol!!!  On the other hand, if you have a loved one that you think may b at risk that doesn't necessarily go to their HCP regularly (yeah, I know a few of those!) maybe suggest that they discuss at their next visit.

Yours in Good Health


Thursday, July 15, 2010


I have recently been introduced to the world of kettlebells and my abs are thanking me for it!  I thought that it couldn't really make that much of a difference in my workout, but it really has.  I have both 5lb and 10lb kettlebells (GoFit 10-Pound Yellow Kettlebell with Vinyl Coating, Iron Core Training DVD and Exercise Booklet); the 5lbs for when I am learning a new workout so that I don't hurt myself and the 10lb for actual muscle building purposes.  They are great because I use totally new workout routines and am working my muscles in different ways.  Also, you are combining cardio with strength training which is the best kind of workout; you increase your metabolic rate significantly, so it truly is a fat burning workout.  The bells are so different from  regular dumbbell weights because they are unstable and it requires extra concentration and muscle strength to stabilize the bells, allowing you to use more muscles with each workout AND most often you are using your core muscles to aid in the stabilization.  Many of the workouts are full head-to-toe workouts and utilize every muscle in your body, that focus on muscle movement and toning, so you don't bulk up (you can if you want to and use higher weights, but I like to tone).

Also, its fun, new to your body (so you burn more calories), and you are supposed to supplement your workout twice a week with kettlebells so it changes your routine.  Kettlebell routines are easy to learn (Turkish get-ups are about the most challenging and even I could get them down quickly!), also it is low impact on your joints, and what is better than high intensity cardio that is low stress on your joints??

Give it a try and let me know what you think, they have changed my abs!!

Yours in Good Health


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stress eating...AHHHHHH!

A good friend of mine was telling me the woes of his stress eating yesterday, and it can be super hard to deal with.  The worst part?  When you are stressed out, your bodies cortisol levels are high, which makes you crave "comfort foods", leading to weight gain, and then when the initial stress is over, you get stressed about the weight gain!!  It can be a viscous cycle!

How can you combat stress eating?  It really means that you have to combat stress by realizing that it is occurring.  When you are in tune with your body, you know when you are undergoing stress, so best thing to do is to schedule your time, when possible, to allow for things that relax you like yoga, walks, time with a significant other/good friend, read a book, watch a movie, cuddle a creature, etc.  Whatever makes you feel happy and good, even for just an hour a day, will make you feel better.  As for the eating specifically:
1. Make sure that you are eating meals and not munching mindlessly on bad food (like high carbs, processed foods, etc)
2. Keep only healthy foods in your house. If all you have to munch on is grapes, and you are crunched for time to do anything, you aren't running out for unhealthy snacks!
3. Try drinking green tea in the afternoon, it can give you a little energy boost and calm your nerves at the same time.
4. Also, try to eat high fiber foods that will fill you up and normalize your bodies sugar levels
5. Bring your own healthy foods/snacks to work/school/etc with you.
6. Just be conscious of what you're eating: I've totally been there when you are so totally over the top stressed that all you can imagine is ordering a pizza and eat mindlessly, while you have a million other things on your mind.  Try and keep yourself in the moment and realize what you are putting in your mouth.
7. If you tend to have a sweet tooth, keep "healthier" sweets around like cubes of dark chocolate, chocolate covered fruits, or eat the SERVING size of your favorite candy. Also, drinking a cup of hot chocolate gives you protein and satisfies your sweet tooth!  If salt is what does it for you, eat something that is salty but OK for you like salted nuts, seeds, or eat the small serving size bags of pretzels/chips but eat them with hummus to boost protein- it will keep you filled.

Finally, try to get adequate sleep (8 hours) which I know seems impossible sometimes, but your brain and body need that time to rest, try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise (ANY kind just to shut your brain off and work your muscles), drink your 8 glasses of water, and limit caffeine (I know you feel you need it, but it can make your stress worse!!)  And, realize, when the stress is over, your routine can go back to normal, and if you have gained any weight, it will fall off- a drop in cortisol levels does amazing things for the body!

So, good luck to my friend- we will be working out together soon enough ;) and keep these tips in mind for the rest of you who will have their periods of stress in the future!

Yours in Good Health

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My latest obsession...

I was grabbing some groceries at my favorite farm/grocers (they sell their fruits/veg and then groceries from all independent companies, plus they have raw milks and cheeses- LOVE it there!!!) but as I was checking out, I saw a little packet of pumpkin seeds, and was like, hmmmm, I totally love them around Halloween, I want them.  So, got home, and decided to have my delicious little treat.  in about 5 minutes, I ate them all....they were SO much better than the ones I make, and better than any others I have ever tried before.  They are from a company called "Gerbs" out of Rhode Island and is a company of three brothers.  The products are all pumpkin seed related (chocolate clusters, pumpkin seeds brittle, and different flavors of roasted seeds.  The products are made by hand and there is no risk of tree nuts, soy, gluten, or milk allergens (well, milk in the chocolate products).  I have literally ordered one of everything from their web site and can't wait to give them all a try!!  But, enough about the company....I decided to look into if my latest little seedy obsession is actually beneficial for me. Oh yes it is!!

Why are pumpkin seeds so good for you?

Well, they are full of magnesium, which is a tough electrolyte to replace outside of foods (most oral magnesium supplements, just make you poop)- 1 cup gives you over 92% of your daily needs (most Americans are apparently deficient in magnesium- that was news to me!  They also are full of zinc and Omega-3/6 fatty acids and protein!

They are a natural anti-inflammatory, maybe my body was craving them because I've been running too much and my knee is swollen, but really they have been shown to decrease inflammation is joints of animals when added into their diet and not have any of the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Many cultures that use herbal treatments, as opposed to modern medicine, use them to treat parasites such as tapeworms and schisitosomiasis (a parasite from worms)

Pumpkin seeds can reduce cholesterol levels due to the high amount of fiber found in the hulls and  Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.

Also, they are great for prostates, fellas!  They are being studied for exactly why, but it helps with swelling from BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia- swellling of the prostate) to make urination less frequent and more comfortable.

Eating zinc can help with increasing bone density, much like eating high calcium.

So, I see nothing wrong with my favorite new tasty treats, other than the fact that I look like a squirrel eating my snacks!  So, give them a try, and because of their high protein and anti-inflammatory effects, eat a handful an house before running or working out, and you will notice a difference in your energy level (from the protein) and more comfort (if you are a chronic ibuprofen taker before working out!!)

Yours in Good Health


Friday, July 9, 2010

Change my routine? Never!!

I know that we all hear that it is important to change up your workout routine, but I really think that very few people do, basically because we are trying to fit our workouts into a very hectic lifestyle.  Why is it important to switch things up?  Mostly to stave off boredom: you are much more likely to do something that you are totally stoked about and really makes you excited and energized.  But, we also forget that once you get into shape, unfortunately, you ned to work really hard to stay in shape or to sculpt your body, and if you do the same thing, your body will plateau (I know the dreaded plateau!)

I tend to run a lot (obviously), to change it up I do interval training: sprints that total a couple of miles, lunges, high knees, and in between I do push-up, crunches (about 8 different types), and I NEVER stop to take a break.  It is sooooo much harder than my runs, even though I sometimes dread those days, interval training days always seem easier to me mentally, but then doing it is a true test of my physical abilities!  I also have been trying to swim (I am horrible at to crappy to go to a gym) in the ocean and it, again, is such a change for my body and I know that I am burning so many more calories because I am STARVING afterwards, which makes it all feel worth it!!

Also, as of late, I have been adding pull-ups to my routine as well.  Now, for everyone that was tortured by the "Presidential challenge" as a child (like me) and who has nightmares of the need to get over it and give them a try again.  They are an amazing full body workout and really challenging- another true test of your physical abilities.  I can only do 8 in a row, and that seems like a ton, so even if you can do one or 2- go on with your bad self and feel good!!

Try to avoid the plateau and overworking of the same muscles, and I totally promise that you will see a difference in the sculpt and tone of your body.  Also, you can make those high intensity days more frequent, then add in another type of workout one day a week (very low intensity like yoga) to give yourself a mental challenge and keep it fun, and shape your body in new ways!

Yours in Good Health!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the Paleo diet....can it be modernized??

I was asked about my thoughts on the “Paleo” diet this weekend….honestly, I had never heard about it, but I have looked into and wanted to give people an overview, it is an interesting theory!!

Paleo is a simple dietary lifestyle that is based on foods being either “in” or “out”. “In” are the Paleolithic Era foods that we ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.). “Out” are Neolithic era foods that result from agriculture or animal husbandry (grains, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and processed AKA “fake” foods).
Optimal Foraging Theory says our ancestors mostly ate foods that were easiest to hunt or gather in specific areas.  As nomads we would have adapted to various mixes of foods. Under the paleo concept the quantities consumed of each “in” food is up to the individual. You can make it meat heavy if you want, or more fruit and veggies if you prefer, as long as the foods you eat are paleo. Fruits in the Paleolithic would have been tart and smaller, and the various hybrid fruits that we now have would not be a part of the diet.
Acceptable oils should be restricted to those from fruits (olive, palm, avocado) or tree nuts (coconut, walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan, macadamia). No high-tech industrial seed oils could have existed back then. Wild game meat would be the ideal, but grass-fed meat is used as a practical substitute. The grass-fed meat is needed to get the proper balance of Omega 3 (from green plants) and Omega 6(from seeds) fatty acids. Organ meats and bone marrow are very paleo. No processed meats (RIP bacon). Fish should be wild-caught. For everything else organic is preferred, as it is the closest food free of modern pollutants and with the original micronutrients.
Apparently, the effort to collect most seeds would not be as optimal as collecting other foods (it must have been hard to be a cave-person).  Some meaty seeds, like sunflower, may have been a food. To protect their reproductive cycle, plants put anti-nutrients in seed coverings to discourage animal consumption (phytic acid, lectin, and enzyme inhibitors). Fruit seeds are not supposed to be digested, but to pass through and still be viable, thus would never have been a food (sidebar: this makes not a whole lot of sense to me- how do you avoid eating, for example squash, watermelon, zucchini seeds??)
The Paleo diet encourages followers to eat the greatest variety of foods possible. Bush hunters killed whatever they find moving. Foragers note that there are more than 300 edible plants that our ancestors would have known about. Many are leafy greens and a wide range of herbs and spices is encouraged.
Salt should not be added to food. Sadly, cave people did not have salt shakers.
The only beverage that is truly paleo is water. You need to drink only when you are thirsty. The best is spring water that has been certified to be free of pharmaceuticals, with no chlorine or fluoride added. If you want caffeine, organic green tea is considered the most paleo, despite the fact that I don’t see most cave people brewing teat leaves, I guess this is one modernization!! Coffee is a seed inside a fruit and is not edible raw.  The only paleo sweetener is raw honey, and only in limited quantities. Another possible sweetner is coconut palm sugar. But it is really encouraged to get all sweets out of your diet.
The only paleo high would have been eating cannabis leaves or drinking spontaneously fermented cider from apples. 
Paleo foods are nutrient dense. Supplementation would not be needed, and would not be paleo. There is one exception: Vitamin D. At least it should be supplemented for those of us that don’t live outside year round, and don't eat liver regularly. Food should be eaten when hungry – not at set times of the day as cave people hunted and gathered foods in anticipation of, or in response to, hunger pangs.
So, this all being said, I think it is a SUPER HARD diet to eat in the modern world.  I think it is good as far as ancourgaing non-processed foods and encouraging local fresh fruits, veg, grass-fed meat, etc BUT unless you never leave your home, or all of your friends are paleo, it would e really hard to live by!  Also it can be super dangerous: I cannot tell you how many people I have taken care of in spontaneous liver failure from eating wild mushrooms that they thought were safe.  You would need to be a botonist, basically!  I don’t think that I would discourage people from this diet, but it is a MAJOR lifestyle change, and I know that I would not be able to sustain it, but I do think that there are positive take aways, as noted above (increase fresh fruit/veg, grass fed meats, eating and supporting local agriculture) but for a lot of people it is impossible to eat as soon as they feel hungry; we have jobs, and cant just drop everything to grab a bunch of dandelions to munch on from the parking lot!! IF any of you guys follow this diet, let me know how it works for you, I don’t think it is unhealthy at all, just it doesn’t translate well to modern living!!

Yours in Good Health!