March 2012


People who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner!  Wouldn’t that be just about the awesomest headline you ever saw?!  What if it weren’t hypothetical?  What if it were true?  A recent study suggests that it just may be.  Data suggests that people who eat chocolate a few times per week on average were slimmer than those who only ate it occasionally.  Now before you go reaching for the Hershey’s, note….it was an association, and not a direct link.  This is not the first time that chocolate has been advocated as good for us.  Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, contains ingredients known as antioxidants and catechins.  Substances which have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.  These catechins also seem to have a positive effect on lean muscle mass.  However, it does appear that the type of chocolate matters, too.  It has to be dark.  Milk chocolate seems to inhibit the uptake and absorption of these substances.  Even if you wash dark chocolate down with a glass of milk, it seems to dull the effect.  So go and indulge.  Enjoy yourself.  Seems that, once again, Mother Nature had it right all along.  She created it, and it’s good for us.  Imagine that!

How many of you take dietary supplements?  Multi-vitamins, protein shakes, fish oil or anything else?  We’ve all done it because we think it’s a healthy way to get into our bodies what we don’t get from our food.  Well, you may think about slowing that racer down.  Recently, nutritional supplements have come under a lot of fire for not only being not as good as advertised, but in a lot of cases, downright harmful in their effects.  Chris Hansen of MSNBC recently did an undercover report where he started a “company” that made purposely dangerous supplements just to see if he could get them approved and passed through to general consumption (without the intent to sell, of course).  Supplements that had blatently toxic levels of certain minerals and even heavy metals like arsenic.  Every product passed through with flying colors.  Makes  you wonder what is REALLY going into your body, doesn’t it?  Also, a very recent Dutch study confirmed that supplements with vitamins A and E have been responsible for the majority of toxicity issues related to those vitamins.  This confirmed a similar study that was published in 2008 in regards to the same thing.  The fact is is that what is in the supplements is NOT food.  It is synthetic derivatives of vitamins and minerals.  It is actually very hard to toxify your body on food alone.  But when supplements are used, we see it all the time.  Plus, supplements are expensive.  People gripe all the time about the cost of food, but will happily spend hundreds of dollars a month on pills and powders.  Most of which are doing more harm in your body than good.  Do yourself a favor and ween off the supplements.  Eat better and make that committment.  Your body will be much happier for it.

fit·ness/ˈfitnis/

Noun:
  1. The condition of being physically fit and healthy.
  2. The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.
What does this mean to you?  Admittedly, there are probably a multitude of different answers that could fit.  But here’s what it means to ME.  I actually like to take the 2nd definition, because it is much more specific to what I believe.  The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.  Well, how many different tasks are you asked to accomplish in any given day?  If you’re like me, it’s a bunch.  Teacher, trainer, husband, daddy and exercise enthusiast just to name a few.  So in order to fill all my hats, I have to be very multi-modal in the way that I am “fit”.  That is why I work the way I do.  I practice multiple modes of fitness….cardiovascular, resistance, gymnastic, neural, etc.  But it also means that I have to exercise my senses and brains.  That is part of the reason I write.  Keeps me sharp.  I read…..a lot.  Between things I HAVE to read for work and education and things that I’d LIKE to read, I may never get done.  But all those different things keep us what I consider “fit”.  Fitness takes more into account than just your ability to run a marathon.  Or bench press 400 pounds.  I know a lot of people who can do both whom I would not consider to be shining beacons of total overall fitness.  So what is YOUR definition of fitness?  I’d like to hear.  And whatever it is, keep at it.

So, it turns out that nature trumps “science”.  Man evolved hunting and eating what it could kill.  That meant meat.  When we figured out that birds layed eggs, we ate those, too.  Then came science and agriculture with it’s information that meat and eggs are bad for you because of saturated fat and cholesterol.  So people have been avoiding them, and vegetarians have been saying that a plant based diet makes you live longer (which there is little to no actual REAL evidence to prove, by the way).  So people have stopped eating so much meat and eggs.  NOW we learn that maybe they’re not so bad for you after all.  Meat has huge quantities of iron in it.  The biggest source of it, as a matter of fact.  And the only sources of what is called “Heme-iron”, which is absorbed much more effectively by the body (meaning that the body doesn’t have to work as hard to get it, and therefore is more efficient).  This means that even though some plant sources may have more iron in them, you actually get LESS out of them.  Meat is also your most common form of Zinc.  There is more zinc in Oysters, but they’re slimy.  3 ounces of red meat contains almost an entire day’s supply of zinc.  5 ounces covers you.  Fact is is that vegetarians have to up their zinc intake by up to 50% because beans and grains (which provide a staple in the diet) can keep zinc from being properly absorbed.  For you weight lifters, red meat provides us with about 5 – 7 grams of protein per ounce that is very bio-available, as well as our only real dietary source of creatine (helps the body create short-term energy).  A  number of good B-vitamins can also be derived.  Eggs have also gotten a bad rap because of the saturated fat and cholesterol thing.  That has led a lot of people to either leave eggs completely, or just switch to the white (why?).  Fact is is that a single egg is one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth.  It contains protein (obviously), but also a good source of fat soluble vitamins (especially A and D) that we don’t typically get enough of.  A single egg contains 17 different vitamins and minerals, 10 of which you either lose completely or virtually if you cut out the yolk.  Per unit, eggs are also the most bio-available food source of protein (again, efficiency).  It has also been recently discovered the eggs have less cholesterol than originally thought.  only 185mg per egg, down from 240mg.  How’s your science now?  So for those of you who eat meat and eggs, good for you.  For those of you who don’t, start.  Don’t eat red meat 7 days per week and a dozen eggs per day or anything, but get some in there.  Put it in the rotation.  Get good quality stuff.  Grass-fed meat and organic cage-free eggs.  Your body will perform better and you will actually lose weight and get leaner.

So, imagine, if you will, the germs and bacteria in your body.  They’re there, believe me.  And ever since the late 1800’s, we’ve believed that it’s these germs and bacteria that cause illness and disease.  This is the basis of the Germ Theory of Disease that was put out by Dr. Louis Pasteur.  It is what has been wholly accepted for over a century.  It’s what has led to many scientific breakthroughs like anti-biotics, pennicillin and the like.  What if it weren’t the whole truth?  What if it wasn’t the germs themselves that CAUSED the disease, but were allowed to colonize and proliferate BECAUSE OF the disease condition?  And by killing the germs, we weren’t really stopping the disease, but just putting a temporary halt to the symptoms?  Like flies to garbage.  They don’t cause it to be there.  And by shoo-ing the flies away, we don’t get rid of the garbage, do we?  What if we CREATED that “garbage terrain” with what we ate and did every day, and that just created an environment that allowed bacteria (which are scavengers by nature) to thrive?  But if we could ship out the garbage, then the scavengers would have nothing to feed on, and would die off, right?  Well, we can.  We can clean up the cess-pool that is our body’s internal terrain.  The fact is is that most of what we put in our bodies on a daily basis is very acidic.  Meat, carbonated drinks, processed sugars, grains, etc.  Acidity is also caused by stress and toxic emotions (like hatred, disdain and depression).  This creates an alteration in your body’s pH level and makes it more acidic, causing healthy tissues to weaken and die.  THIS is what gives viruses and bacteria the ground to feed and colonize.  We can re-alter our pH level by counter-acting some of that with alkaline substances like vegetables (raw is best), fruits, nuts, legumes (beans and peas), as well as milk, water (filtered) and yogurt.  This will help neutralize the playing field and keep your body healthy.  It’s no wonder that people who eat well get sick less, and people whose diets are less than sound get sick more.  People truly underestimate the value of good quality food.  Don’t make the same mistake.

So, yesterday, my Mom came for a visit from Tennessee.  She was only in town for a day, and I work really late on Wednesdays.  So, needless to say, we stayed up way too late just chatting.  So, as I woke up this morning, all groggy-eyed, something occurred to me….sleep is really important.    If we don’t sleep, we can’t recover from stress.  If we can’t recover from stress, then we cannot adapt.  Have you ever wondered why you can’t sleep when you get stressed out?  It’s a vicious cycle.  You get stressed (work, family, social.  Doesn’t matter.).  You mind starts racing and working overtime, so you don’t sleep.  Since you don’t sleep, your Cortisol levels stay high and your body is constantly catabolic and breaking down all your tissues.  Since you don’t sleep, you don’t function well (physically or mentally).  You start to worry about that, and you don’t sleep more.  The ultimate results include weight gain, altered coordination, foggy thoughts and even more.  It’s a lot to think about.  So get your rest, get your sleep.  You’ll feel better at work and at home, and you will DEFINITELY perform better at the gym.  This has been a public service announcement brought to you by The Truth About Exercise.  Have a good day.

The great equalizer and the great mystery.  What truly causes cancer and how the hell do we treat it?  Well, there may be some insight.  The fact is is that cancerous cells in the body are mutant forms of the original cell.  They mutate to allow them to grow faster in normal environments which allows them to spread, sometimes at alarming rates.  Well, each time that these cells go through a metabolic change that allows them to grow and metastisize and spread, the tumor must give up something in return.  Dr. Valter Longo, PhD theorizes that what tumors must give up is the ability to survive in extreme environments.  This led to some study on mice and a limited human basis for studying the effects of the combination of intermittent fasting and chemotherapy.  This, opposed to chemo alone.  He found that when treated with chemo alone, the mice that had a particularly aggressive form of cancer all died from the disease.  But when combined with fasting (60ish hours before and 24 hours after treatment), that 20-40% of the mice were cured, depending on the initial severity of their condition.  Promising news.  Promising enough to follow 10 human trials, who so far have reported, if nothing else, fewer of the side-effects from the chemo treatments.  Now, this news is too new to be reliable yet, but offers promise, if nothing else.  With all the money that is pushed into cancer medication and treatment each year, would it not be nice if at least part of the answer were simple?  Further results from the studies should be released next year.  Cross your fingers and hope.