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Showing posts with label Healthy Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Food. Show all posts

What do Competitive Archers eat before a Competition?

What Fuels Archery Professionals?

Guest Post by Robert Gate - February 2017.

When preparing for a tournament each archery professional has a different way to train and to prepare for the contest. This extends to the meal they eat before the match to prepare their bodies for the strain ahead. Each member of Team USA champion has a different way to use nutrition to feed their body and to calm their mind, and the following gives insight into the food groups and dining choices these archery athletes choose and why they choose them.

Notes
  • To gain extra energy many athletes will consume sugar, salt and electrolytes moments before a competition. This isn't limited to archery, but is found across many sports.
  • With archery what they eat can be tricky, as they don't want to consume anything that might make them jittery (like caffeine), which could spoil a shot by ruining their ability to remain calm and focused.
  • Archers also want to stay well hydrated. Dehydration (and over-hydration) can cause an archer to lose focus, become forgetful, and consequently ruin shots.

Photo: World Archery
Sarah Lance
  • Breakfast: fruit, bowl of cereal or bagel
  • Snacks: Crackers and carrots
  • Drinks: Gatorade or water
Sarah Lance prefers to maintain a similar diet on a shooting day as she does on a normal average day. Making large changes in her diet alters her ability to be able to control her movement and to steady her aim. Most often she chooses the healthy option of fruit for breakfast, or sometimes the more filling option of cereal or a bagel. She likes to snack throughout the day to maintain her strength and stamina and to keep hydrated she drinks water, Gatorade and sips some soda.

Photo: World Archery
Braden Gellenthien
  • Breakfast: Salad
  • Lunch: Steak or grilled chicken
  • Snacks: Almonds, dried fruit, and Clif Bars
Braden Gellenthien likes to prepare for a tournament a week in advance. This includes making healthier food choices that will give his body the edge that it needs. During this period, he prepares all of his meals at home and grills his meat instead of frying it. This way his body is adjusted to his healthier life choices when the time comes for the archery contest. He makes sure all his nutrition is covered by including meats, fruits, and greens in his daily diet. The snacks are also natural, healthy and allow his body to feel light and agile.

Photo: World Archery
Erika Jones
  • Snacks: Subway, Pringles, and Oreos
Erika Jones prefers to take a more casual approach to meals at a tournament and eats what she wishes. This can be a healthy option or give in to her cravings and bring a snack higher in sugar and salt content.

Photo: World Archery
Lee Ford-Faherty
  • Snacks: Veggies and Carbs
  • Drinks: Powerade Zero
Lee Ford-Faherty bases her diet on the components that will give her the most energy. This includes a diet high in carbohydrates and protein which as an athlete she needs. She believes that it is possible to eat healthily wherever you are for the same cost as it would purchase a nutritionally deficient meal. She makes sure she gives her body the fuel it needs to perform and to give it the right balance of nutrients to maintain her endurance. She also gives her body a lot of fluid because it is quickly lost when standing in the heat of the sun. For this, she drinks Powerade Zero, which as well as hydrating her replaces vital electrolytes.

Photo: World Archery
Crystal Gauvin
  • Drink: Water
Crystal Gauvin’s main focus is to drink a lot of water to keep herself hydrated over long periods of standing. Nuun tablets can be placed in the water to replace electrolytes sweated out while shooting and also provides a sweeter taste to the drink. It is healthier than other sports drink options and still provides the hydration and energy that an athlete needs. She brings her cool water to a tournament to ensure she has a constant supply and as much as she feels she needs.

Photo: Sarah Bernstein
Ariel Gibilaro
  • Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese or egg
  • Snacks: Chewy Bars and Crackers
  • Drink: Water
Ariel Gibilaro finds it difficult to keep to her usual eating routine when attending a tournament due to the traveling and the extended training involved. Long days at the tournament means most of her meals are snack sized and easy to carry. Chewy Bars and crackers can easily be carried with her and quickly eaten when she has a spare moment. One meal she tries to take regularly is her breakfast, which is a bagel spread with cream cheese or served with eggs for protein. To keep hydrated, she chooses water as the healthiest and most natural option.

Photo: archery.tv
Christie Colin
  • Dinner: Restaurant food
Christie Colin believes she deserves to have some fun after a hard day at a tournament. She likes to take her friends to The Olive Garden and restaurants and binge on carbohydrates.

Mackenzie Brown
Photo: Mackenzie Brown
  • Snacks: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Dinner: Italian
Mackenzie Brown brings pre-prepared snacks to tournaments with her, so she doesn’t have to worry while busy with the competition. These snacks on an international trip remind her of home and include the traditional American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She treats herself before a ranking match to dinner at an Italian restaurant with pasta as the main course.

Photo: Dean Alberga
Reo Wilde
  • Dinner: McDonalds
Some less professional and unconventional athletes prefer a quick and easy alternative. Reo Wilde prefers to grab fast food before the tournament and he always relies on McDonalds to be there, wherever he is in the world.



Robert Gate is the founder of Archerytopic.com. He was enthusiastic about hunting from the first shot, from then he decided to become a pro hunter. If you find something helpful in his blog, he would be proud to hear from you.

The No Added Sugar and No Alcohol Diet

Part of the problem is that sugar / alcohol are commonplace.
A few days ago I came across a video from Denmark about a Danish guy in his 20s who went on a No Added Sugar and No Alcohol Diet for 30 days. You can see the video at the bottom.

Please note that the diet doesn't mean cutting out sugar entirely. It just means "no added sugar".

eg. Ketchup has a lot of added sugar. Corn syrup is basically pure sugar, so anything with added sugar, glucose or fructose should be avoided. The sugars naturally found inside whole grains, fruits and veggies, perfectly normal to have.

Initially I thought it would be an interesting experiment to do - to see how much difference it would make, and compare it to my previous 30 Days as a Vegetarian. However the realities of the diet and my busy lifestyle later convinced me that now was not the time to be doing such an experiment. From Spring to Autumn I have a fairly busy schedule and am heading to work, working, coming home from work, going to social events, attending social events, coming home from social events, plus all the other menial tasks. You know, like sleeping, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

Cutting out alcohol completely is a doable task. And perhaps I will do that eventually - just as soon as we run out of leftover wine from my wedding in 2016. We have started giving bottles away...

But the No Added Sugar part is really tricky.
  • It means no buying anything from Tim Hortons/etc on the way to work.
  • It means no buying a burger or pizza on the way to social events.
  • It means no bread - because it is basically impossible to find sugarless bread unless you bake it yourself.
  • It means I will need to make and pack lunches all the time, because any food purchased in restaurants likely has at least some added sugar. (Even a salad will have sugar in the salad dressing.)
  • It means very careful grocery shopping.
  • It means extra time requirements for food preparation both for food at home and food packed for lunches.
And right now with a pregnant wife in the house, if I value my life and my marriage, now is not the time to be experimenting with the menu.

So instead I have adopted a different approach. I am working on my cooking skills instead, as fatherhood is in my future and I should brush up on my skills. A diet that isn't practical for me right now doesn't really make sense.

But what about other people who have more spare time to try out this diet?

The Danish guy in the video looks like he is already pretty athletic and probably already eats reasonably healthy food. He even has abs. So it seems like an unfair test in some ways.

I am very curious about how the diet would help someone who isn't in their 20s and already fit.  I want to see how this diet would work on someone who is in their 40s or 50s, and is overweight due to eating comparatively unhealthy foods.

That to me would be the true "acid test" to see how well this diet really works.

The No Added Sugar / No Alcohol Diet has been compared to various detox diets - the kind that follow the logic that if you aren't eating certain foods over a longer time period that your body will detoxify itself from various toxins in your system.

However your body already does this, primarily through your liver. What an useful organ the liver is. The problem really is when people get too many toxins in their system and their liver cannot handle it all. Hence liver cancer and similar ailments.

Still, less sugar in the body is still healthier regardless. The trick here is that our bodies can make its own sugar. We don't actually need to eat sugar to live. Our body can make sugar itself.

Can you guess which of our body parts makes sugar?

Scroll below the video to see which one it is!




The Liver!

What an amazing organ.

In addition to filtering out toxins like alcohol, the liver both stores and produces sugar. The liver acts as the body's glucose (or fuel) reservoir, and helps to keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant. The liver both stores and manufactures glucose depending upon the body's need.

So really the above diet should be called The Healthy Liver Diet, as that is clearly what it is designed to do.

I would be curious to see what the diet would do to help people who are the early stages of liver disease. Help it, certainly. But by how much? Is it a viable treatment or just part of a range of things a person should be doing when they are in the early stages?

A low sugar diet is still a good thing obviously. As is cutting out alcohol, but sometimes people have to make personal health choices that are practical and make sense for YOU, not just because the latest fad diet says so.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Valentines

Valentines is fast approaching and it is a time when many people gift chocolate to their sweethearts. And while the sentiment is sweet, store-bought chocolate candy that’s made with refined sugar tebds to cause weight gain and an energy crash.

So why not eat something healthier that has less sugar and still shows your affection?

There are many ways to make your own chocolate treats at home using unsweetened chocolate and a touch of wholesome sweeteners. Below is a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that does not contain any refined sugar. Give it a try and see how delicious this healthier chocolate treat is...

Here’s what you need to make 4 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:

  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate pieces or bar
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey
  • liquid stevia or other equivalent sweetener (eg. maple syrup)
  • 4 large, ripe strawberries, chilled

Combine the chocolate, coconut oil and honey in a pan over low heat. Stir until fully melted. Add sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, etc) in a small amount for sweetness. You will have to decide how much or how little you want to use. Since this is your first time making this, I recommend a tiny amount for now and in the future you can adjust the recipe.

Line a small plate with parchment paper. Dip the strawberries 75% of the way into the chocolate, withdraw and place on the prepared plate. If you have extra chocolate left over drizzle it over the strawberries so that none is wasted.

Chill until serving. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (two chocolate dipped strawberries) equals: 89 calories, 8g fat, 7g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, 4mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 2g protein.

Notes

If you multiply the above recipe you can make 8, 12, 16 or more strawberries so you can share with family and friends. In which case you can even arrange them on a platter or in a bowl.

If you use white chocolate instead you can also create white chocolate dipped strawberries, and using the leftover chocolate in the pan you can drizzle white chocolate on the brown, and brown chocolate on the white, to create strawberries with stripes on them.

Happy and Healthy Valentines!

Submitted to CardioTrek.ca courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com. Edited by Charles.

Tips to Lose Weight at Work

TIPS TO LOSE WEIGHT AT WORK

By Beth Martel

Losing weight is hard work, particularly when you have a full time job you are trying to handle. If you truly want to shed those extra pounds, you are going to have to put a significant amount of time and effort into it, and in today’s crazy world of unexpected overtime and unprecedented employer demands, most people simply don’t have any time to set aside for a work out, nor do they have the energy it takes to follow a strict, healthy diet.

However, there are a lot of ways you can lose weight while you are at work without affecting your productivity in any way! Let’s start with how you can exercise a little at work to boost your fitness levels.

See 12 Things to do during your Lunch Hour
Office Exercises

Most of your work day is spent sitting at your desk, and this sedentary lifestyle is what leads to weight gain. However, there are a bunch of exercises you can do without even getting up from your workspace. Side to side stretched and torso rotations are a great example, as both can be done while seated and are great at burning off belly fat.

You can also do some seated leg raises by tucking your knees into your chest using the strength of your abs. This helps to tone your body and helps burn those pesky calories. If you want to exercise your arms you can use a stress ball throughout the day, and if you want something a little more intense you can use some light dumbbells during those inevitable five minute breaks you will often take.

See The Toronto Bicycle Trail Challenge
A Fitter Commute

There are a bunch of other things you can do outside of your desk. If you drive to work, consider getting a bicycle and using that instead. This will help you get some great exercise every morning! Even if you shift to public transport, this would often involve a lot more activity as you would have to walk to bus stops instead of just sitting in a car.

Taking the stairs is an underrated method of losing weight. Even if your office is on a high floor, you can take the stairs for a couple of floors and take the elevator the rest of the way.

See 100 Healthy Snacks
Your Work Diet

What you eat at work can also really impact your weight loss. Snacking is a great way to keep your energy levels up during the work day, but if you switch out the chips and candy for something wholesome like apple or celery with peanut butter you can end up avoiding a lot of unnecessary calories. Super foods like yogurt can help to boost your metabolism as well, and are a great source of energy so you would find your hunger satisfied.

Overall, losing weight at work can be easy as long as you are willing to make these little changes to you routine. You aren’t going to need to set any time aside at all if you just put a little effort into being active.

Author Biography

This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at www.HealthyRecharge.com.

Check out a recent article by Beth Martel in which she discusses three of the best yet affordable running shoes that help you run with comfort and at your best by visiting www.healthyrecharge.com/affordable-running-shoes/.

Exercising and Dehydration Vs Over-Hydration

Is it possible to drink too much water while exercising?

The short answer is Yes.

It is rather difficult, but still possible. All that is really needed is for a person to think they are dehydrated, drink too much water, and keep drinking because they think the symptoms they are experiencing are from dehydration - when in fact the symptoms of over-hydration are remarkably similar to dehydration.

The long answer requires us to explain the effects of dehydration and over hydration, especially the symptoms.
Dehydration is caused by the excessive loss of water from the body, which causes a rise in blood sodium levels. Since dehydration is most often caused by excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, water loss is usually accompanied by a deficiency of electrolytes.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours for infants
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheaded
Severe dehydration symptoms
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby's head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Over-Hydration is an excess of water in the body. People can develop over-hydration if they have a disorder that decreases the body's ability to excrete water or increases the body's tendency to retain water. Drinking too much water rarely causes over-hydration because normal kidneys easily excrete excess water.

Mild to moderate over-hydration symptoms
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)
 Severe over-hydration symptoms
  • dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • coma

Preventing Over-Hydration

Endurance athletes such as long distance runners can reduce the risk of over-hydration by weighing themselves before and after a race to determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish.

Individuals exercising should avoid drinking more than one liter per hour of fluid. Drinking more fluids before and during a race or an intensive athletic exertion can also help you avoid the need to drink too much water afterwards. Sports beverages that contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium are also recommended, as both are lost in sweat.

If you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor about the best treatments for those conditions. If you experience excessive thirst or an overly strong urge to drink water, contact your doctor before you develop symptoms - it could indicate a problem that requires treatment and careful monitoring.

Drink healthy!

I Love Eggs

Back on January 5th I was contacted by CBC's Marketplace regarding being a taste tester for an upcoming episode on the topic of eggs...

Mmm... eggs...

[The episode in question, "The Egg Crackdown", aired on March 11th on CBC and can currently be seen on the cbc.ca website or if you have a TV streaming service.]

Basically what they want to determine is whether eggs have any nutritional differences or taste better if they are:

Organic / Pesticide Free
Free Range
Pasture Fed Hens
Grass Fed Hens
Grain Fed Hens
Antibiotics Free
Steroids Free
Hormone Free
Etc
Etc

And I said, sure, absolutely. Free eggs to eat? Certainly I shall take part in this taste test.

Apparently they found my website because they were looking for people in Toronto who really love eggs. And they found my website because of some past comments I made about the number of eggs I eat in a week.

During and after the filming of the episode I had a number of thoughts concerning the whole issue of the "welfare of chickens", primarily in relation to an egg farmer who was also one of the taste testers in our group...

Let me put it this way...

Egg farmers are not Satan worshipers who torture chickens in order to get them to lay more eggs and kill chickens maliciously - or whatever PETA / animal rights activists are claiming that they do to chickens.

Quite the opposite.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

That was the egg farmer's chief contention. If chickens are kept warm, well fed, protected from the elements and predators (foxes, raccoons, etc) then they lay more eggs. The happier and more well fed the chickens are, the more eggs they lay.

So from the egg farmer's perspective his goals are to keep the chickens inside where they are both warm and protected from the elements / predators (because sick or dead chickens don't lay eggs) and to keep them well fed.

Cleanliness was also an issue for him. Not just because clean chickens are healthier and lay more eggs, but because the smell of chicken **** is not something very pleasant to be smelling.

During the blind taste test we were asked to rank the eggs by how good they tasted (and in my case I also ranked the eggs by how salty they tasted, how bland they tasted and any other notes I felt was important) and which ones we thought were conventionally laid in egg factory barns where the chickens are kept safe in cages, and which eggs we thought were organic, free range and pasture-fed.

Now lets explain the differences...

Conventional eggs are laid in modern egg barns, wherein thousands of chickens are kept in cages and their eggs are collected daily. They are kept warm, watered and well fed through automated feeders and have their cages cleaned daily. They are also often subject to antibiotics to keep them from getting sick.

Organic eggs are from chickens are still kept in cages just like conventional chickens, but are fed organic-grown chicken feed which is supposedly free from pesticides, but might still have pesticides on the chicken feed in the event that neighbouring farms sprayed their crops with pesticides and the wind carried the pesticide.

Free range or free run eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam around inside the barn and part of the farmyard that is fenced in. The idea here is that the chickens get more variety into their diet, but are still being fed chicken feed in addition to whatever they manage to eat outside.

Pasture eggs are from pasture-fed chickens who get all or most of their food from living outdoors. This means they are more prone to diseases and predators, but they are getting the most abundant variety of food.

Next, my results during the blind taste test.

A - Tasted bland. This one came last in terms of taste.

B - Saltier and tastier. Tied with D for 3rd place.

C - Way tastier. This one came in 1st in terms of taste.

D - Saltier and tastier. In my opinion B and D tasted almost exactly the same, tied for 3rd. D tasted slightly less saltier than B.

E - A little bland. I ranked this one 5th place.

F - Way tastier. Practically tied with C in my opinion, but I could only pick 1 so I gave this one 2nd place.

And now the results...

A was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn.

B was a free run brown egg. This explains why it tasted better than A. It was 3rd best nutrition wise.

C was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was actually the 2nd best in terms of which was the healthiest.

D was a conventional white egg grown in a factory barn, but from a different brand than A.

E was an organic brown egg, and the 3rd worst in terms of nutritional content.

F was a pasture-fed brown egg. It was the #1 healthiest of all we tested, although almost tied with C.

So my taste buds felt vindicated at least. I had chosen the top two tastiest and healthiest eggs.

I was expecting A and E to be the conventional eggs, but I was surprised to learn it was A and D who were conventional, and that E tasted so bland that it is basically indistinguishable from conventional eggs - proof that feeding chickens organic chicken feed doesn't make their eggs taste any better.

The three best tasting being the free run and the pasture eggs were also the tastiest and healthiest. However they are also the most expensive.

All of the eggs from the different brands were also tested in a lab and the lab results showed that they were all accurate as to their labels with respect to fat content, sodium content, protein content, etc.

So there are health reasons and culinary reasons why you might choose tastier/healthier eggs to eat.

However for people on a budget, regular conventional eggs are still pretty healthy anyway. They're still good for you regardless.

And as for the chicken lovers who want their chickens to be able to roam free, to be organic, hormone and antibiotics free, I am sorry, but you people need to realize that making chickens sick and having them die of diseases or being eaten by foxes is only going to make the foxes happy. Yes, the eggs are healthier and tastier, but you need to be praising these eggs for the right reasons.

Also if your primary goal is the ethics of "animal cruelty" maybe you should stop eating eggs and meat altogether and just become a vegan. I have past posts on this topic if this is something that interests you. eg. See my 30 Days as a Vegetarian posts from 2015.

Worrying about these things when egg farmers know the truth is clearly not going to help you.

Having both participated in the filming / taste test, and also having seen the show after it aired, it is clear that how much free space chickens need to be happy is a matter of debate.

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

So really it all comes down to personal preference. Do you want to pay more for tastier eggs or are you on a budget and just want more eggs for your dollar?

My logic goes like this: If I can get twice as many conventional eggs for the same price people pay for other eggs, I will probably choose the double-eggs approach. More protein for me.

If clients ask me "Which eggs are the healthiest?" I will of course answer that pasture-fed chickens have the tastiest eggs and are healthier, however I will also ask them how many they like to eat at once and whether they can see themselves eating extra just for the extra protein. In which case, they have a decision to make. Healthier eggs or extra protein? Or both? Or maybe supplement your diet with multivitamins?

I am less worried about the taste because I always add spices anyway.

Which begs a good question... How healthy are spices? Which spices are the best for you to eat? Which ones taste the best? Is there a correlation between the healthiest spices and the tastiest spices? Is too much pepper bad for me?

On a side topic, maybe CBC's Marketplace could do an episode in the future about sheep farms in Canada and the practice of butchering lambs for food. I currently eat lamb maybe once every two months, but given the option of eating mutton instead I would prefer to eat mutton. I may not be worried about the welfare of chickens, but I am curious about these young lambs being killed.

Happy and Healthy Eating!

Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Radishes
Tomatoes
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Strawberries
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Carrots
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Broccoli
Peas
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower
Eggplant
Garlic
Onions
Mushrooms

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!


Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.


The Perfect Pregnancy Diet – Getting The Best Prenatal Nutrition

Okay, so the title here is a bit misleading.
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect pregnancy diet’. Every pregnancy is different, every mother has different nutritional needs in the first place, and every fetus will demand different things. However, there are a few rules of thumb which, if followed, can help you and your baby to get the very best start on your parenting journey!

Here’s what and what not to consume while you’re expecting.

DO EAT

Folate and Folic acid. Folate and folic acid are B vitamins which can help to prevent birth defects. Brain and spinal abnormalities in babies have been linked to maternal B vitamin deficiencies. Ideally, folic acid should be consumed if you’re trying to get pregnant, as well as during pregnancy. You’ll need about 800mcg each day during the conception period and during your pregnancy. Good sources of folate and folic acid include:
  • Cereal – some fortified cereals contain 100% of your recommended daily folate intake.
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Oranges
  • Peanuts
  • Multivitamins – But be sure that they’re made by a trusted supplier!
Calcium. Calcium is not only great for helping your baby’s bones to develop as they should. It also keeps your own circulatory, nervous, muscular and immune systems in great running order. You’ll want to get around 1000 mg of calcium a day during pregnancy, slightly more if you’re a younger mother. Good sources of calcium include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
If you’re lactose intolerant or simply don’t eat dairy products, don’t despair! You can also get plenty of calcium from the following non-dairy sources:
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Orange juice
  • Multivitamins or Calcium supplements
Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, which – as mentioned above – is great for helping your baby develop a nice, strong skeleton and good teeth. However, Vitamin D is also thought to have a role to play in our moods - people with a good amount of vitamin D tend to be happier, while people with a deficiency tend to feel depressed. Given that pregnancy can be a time of intense mood swings, anything which helps to balance your emotions has to be a bonus! Some scientists even believe that keeping your Vitamin D levels topped up can help reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. Sources of vitamin D include:
  • Natural light – Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed through the skin in the form of sunlight. Thus you’re likely to absorb less Vitamin D in low light conditions (during the winter this sometimes leads to the "Winter Blues"), so it might be worth indulging in some of the following alternatives as well!
  • Salmon
  • Fortified juice
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Multivitamins
Protein. Protein is the substance by which our bodies and the bodies of our babies grow bodily tissue - not just muscle tissue. It’s particularly important during the second and third trimesters, when your baby’s body goes through a period of accelerated growth. You’ll want around 71 grams a day, from good, healthy sources (don’t max out on the protein shakes!). Here are a few ideas for getting your daily protein:
  • Peanut butter – healthy and delicious!
  • Cottage cheese
  • White meat – chicken breast is a great, healthy source of protein
  • Salmon
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Eggs
Iron. Iron will keep the blood which carries nutrients to your baby in great shape. It will also help your baby to develop a healthy heart, and give their circulatory system the best start it could possibly have. Low iron levels are also associated with feelings of sluggishness, low energy, irritability, and increased risk of infection. During pregnancy, your need for iron nearly doubles. Given that many of us are iron-deficient anyway without realizing it, it’s probably a good idea to pay considerable attention to the iron in your diet! Good sources of iron include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Multivitamins
  • Kidney beans
  • Spinach
  • Lean red meat – lean beef is an excellent source of iron, but be careful not to be overenthusiastic with your red meat consumption! As we’ll explain in a moment, too much red meat during pregnancy can have unwanted side effects.
  • Dark turkey meat
DON’T EAT (OR DRINK!)

Soft And Mould-Ripened Cheeses. Sorry, soft-cheese addicts. Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Danish blue, Roquefort…they’re all out while you’re pregnant. Why? Because the delicious mould in these cheeses may contain a bacteria known as ‘Listeria’ which can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. No after-dinner indulgence is worth that. Hard cheeses aren’t so dangerous, as they have less bacteria-harboring water within them. If you really do love your soft cheeses, then it should be safe to eat them if you cook them first.

Raw Eggs. Raw eggs, and foods containing raw eggs (mayonnaise for example) can pass on salmonella. This has the potential of seriously harming your baby. Avoid – it’s just not worth the risk!

Pate. Even vegetable pates can contain the aforementioned listeria bacteria. With soft cheese and pate off the list, the list of things to smear on crackers during pregnancy is disappointingly short. It’s worth forgoing your spread-based indulgences for nine months, though, for the sake of a healthy baby.

Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a valuable and healthy vitamin – but too much of it during pregnancy can cause liver toxicity and birth defects. While you do need Vitamin A in order to help your baby develop properly, going out of your way to seek it out could become problematic. Carotenoid-containing veg like carrots, kale, and so on will give you all the Vitamin A you need (and don’t worry about overdoing it with these!) Sources of Vitamin A to avoid include:
  • Liver
  • Multivitamins with a high concentration of Vitamin A
  • The prescription drug Isotretinoin, or Accutane.
  • Anything containing Retinol
Oily Fish. Some types of oily fish such as shark, marlin, tuna and swordfish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause problems with your baby’s developing nervous system.

Caffeine. You don't have to cut out caffeine altogether, but do try to limit how much of it you consume. High maternal caffeine consumption has been linked to low birth weights, and a growing body of evidence is linking serious coffee habits with miscarriage in early pregnancy. 

Alcohol. We all know by now that drinking during pregnancy can damage your baby’s developing body, and leave them with serious deformities. The liver is one of the last organs to develop, so fetuses have no real way of processing alcohol. A baby exposed to too much alcohol in the womb may grow up with learning difficulties and cognitive abnormalities. It’s best all round to have a sober nine months.

Sugary Drinks, and Why You Should Read the Calories

Ah, sugary drinks. (And that kitten on the right is just plain adorable.)

We know they are bad for us but many of us keep drinking them any way.

My personal Achilles heel? Hot chocolate, either at home or from Tim Hortons.

So lets start with that, since I too am guilty of that pleasure.

3 tablespoons of Nestle Carnation Hot Chocolate "Milk Chocolate" mix has 120 calories in it. This is the amount that is recommended on the label for making one cup of cocoa.

Tim Hortons meanwhile has a calorie counter on their website... which is annoying slow and bothersome to use, but I managed to get it to work eventually.

1 medium Hot Chocolate at Tim Hortons contains 300 calories. Wow. The extra large, which is the size I normally get is 530 calories.

Wow. 530 calories. That is almost the same amount of calories you would find in 5 cups of Rice Krispies (550 calories). Slightly more than the equivalent of 10 apples (520 calories).

So yeah, that is a lot of calories for one measly drink.

And Tim Hortons is not alone. Starbucks, Timothy's, Second Cup, McDonalds and many other sources available here in Toronto all have lots of calories in 95% of their drinks. The rare few drinks that don't have whopping huge amounts of calories are things like:

Plain Water
Tea

What about juice you say? Oh, you mean the sweet juice that has sugar added so it tastes amazing? Yup, that stuff is chock full of calories too. Even the supposedly health conscience fruit juices available have large amounts of calories.

So what can you drink instead?

#1. Drink more water. Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you.

#2. Drink more tea. Also something that you can store and carry with you.

#3. Try vegetable juices. Healthier for you and comparably lower in calories. Takes some getting used to however. I recommend watching the documentary film "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" which is about a man from Australia who becomes a professional juicer and goes on a road trip across the USA to talk about health issues.

Below is the extended trailer. Various websites online have the full documentary available. I have not checked recently, but it may also be available on Netflix.


The Health Benefits of Boiled Water

Yesterday I wrote a post title The Health Benefits of Green Tea, during which I mentioned there are also health benefits to drinking boiled water.

So here we are, lets discuss this!

1. Kills Bacteria in the Water

Local drinking water isn't always the safest, which is why drinking tea is so popular in many ancient cultures where the drinking water was considered unsafe. By boiling the water first, it kills 99.99% of the bacteria - making the water healthier to drink. The remaining 0.01% that may survive will be killed off by stomach acid or killed by your body's immune response.

2. Purifies the Water

Many contaminates are easily removed by boiling water. The act of boiling breaks down the bonds water has with other chemicals, allowing them to separate and causing those chemicals to either evaporate or to drop to the bottom. This is why if you have water you know is contaminated then tiny particle debris will collect at the bottom after the water has been boiled. (However we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

3. Weight Loss

Drinking boiled water is great for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is what you want if you’re trying to shed a few kilos. The best way to do this is to kick start your metabolism early in the morning with a glass of boiled water and lemon. As an added bonus, boiled water will help to break down the adipose tissue (aka body fat) in your body.

4. Assists with Nasal and Throat Congestion

Drinking boiled water is an excellent natural remedy for colds, coughs and a sore throat. It dissolves phlegm and also helps to remove it from your respiratory tract. As such, it can provide relief from a sore throat. It also helps in clearing nasal congestion.

5. Menstrual Cramps

Hot water can also aid in diminishing menstrual cramps. The heat of boiled water has a calming and soothing effect on the abdominal muscles, which eventually can help to cure cramps and spasms.

6. Body Detoxification

Hot water is fantastic for helping your body to detox. When you drink boiled water, your body temperature begins to rise, which results in sweat. You want this to happen because it helps to release toxins from your body and cleanse it properly. For optimal results, add a squeeze of lemon before drinking.


 7. Prevents Premature Aging

There’s a reason you should want to clear your body of toxins: they make you age faster. Also, drinking boiled water helps to repair the skin cells that increase the elasticity of your skin and are affected by harmful free radicals. Subsequently, your damaged skin becomes smoother.

8. Prevents Acne and Pimples

The benefits for your skin just keep on coming. Boiled water deep cleanses your body and eliminates the root causes of acne-related infections beneath the skin.

9. Hair Health and Vitality

Drinking boiled water is also good for obtaining soft, shiny hair. It energizes the nerve endings in your hair roots and makes them active. This is beneficial for getting back the natural vitality of your hair and keeping it healthy.

10. Promotes Hair Growth

Activating the roots of your hair has another added benefit—growth! The hot water promotes the regular activity of the roots and subsequently accelerates the growth of your hair. (Not such a big deal if you are a male Scotsman and prone to lots of facial hair anyway.)

11. Prevents Dandruff

Drinking boiled water keeps your scalp hydrated and helps fight against dry scalp or dandruff.

12. Enhances Blood Circulation and Promotes A Healthy Nervous System

Another important benefit of drinking boiled water is that it enhances your blood circulation, which is important for proper muscle and nerve activity. In addition, it keeps your nervous system healthy by breaking down the fat deposits around it.

13. Digestion

Drinking boiled water is particularly beneficial for digestion. Studies have shown that drinking cold water during or after a meal can harden the oil present in the consumed foods. This can create a fat deposit on the inner wall of your intestine, which can eventually result in intestinal cancer. However, if you replace the glass of cold water with hot, you can avoid this problem. In addition, hot water is beneficial to digestion, which is what you want after a meal.

14. Bowel Movements

Speaking of digestion, drinking boiled water can help to keep you regular, as well as make your bowel movements healthy and pain free. Dehydration can result in chronic problems with constipation. As the stool gets accumulated inside your intestine, the movement of the bowel becomes slower. It is always recommended that you consume a glassful of hot or warm water every morning when your stomach is empty. It decomposes any remnant foodstuffs and makes the movement of the particles smooth and less painful through the intestine.

15. Distills Safe Drinking Water after a Nuclear Attack

Okay, I admit I am adding this one because it is amusing / fascinating, but it could potentially be useful if Donald Trump becomes president. Haha!

Ideally what you want is commercially available water purification tablets, but that won't separate everything. The most reliable way is to distill and purify the water by boiling it at 100 °C.

When you boil water at exactly 100 °C in an effort to distill it, all of the water will boil and become steam, while contaminated impurities won't boil. The steam is then collected in the still, condensed back into water either a cooling fan or cold water surrounding the tubes, and then drips back down into a container.

A simple still can be constructed using plastic bottles, a tube and a heat source. The water doesn't actually need to be boiled in this case. It just has to be placed close enough to the heat source that the heat will slowly cause steam to rise up the tube and then fall into a 2nd container that is placed further away and insulated. The water should still be boiled to get rid of bacteria before drinking it however.

In a pinch someone could even use an old fashioned whiskey still, like the one pictured below.


 16. Cleaning Medical Instruments

 As a follow up to the above survival tip, boiling medical instruments in hot water is also an effective way of cleaning them.

17. Keep your Baby Healthier in the Womb

It is strongly recommended that pregnant women regularly drink boiled water. Consuming hot water (not scalding hot, just warm) keeps both mother and child hydrated, detoxified and energized. It reduces fatigue and infections while promoting healthier bowel movements, reduces the effects of morning sickness and heartburn.

Boiling the water before hand and letting it cool is a necessity for pregnant mothers. You cannot be drinking it too hot, but the good news is that boiling it first gets rid of unwanted bacteria and also contaminates which are unsafe for your baby. (Again, we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

I have been meaning to write a post on the health benefits of green tea for some time now, and have mentioned it many times in past posts, but never a post that focuses solely on green tea. Finally, here it is:

Green tea is one of those rare herbal products growing in consumer popularity mainly because scientific research has validated its health benefits. As a supplement it is being marketed towards prevention of cancer, although green tea has also been linked in research to benefits like preventing diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other chronic diseases, along with no notable evidence of severe adverse risks even at fairly high dosages (1600 mg of green tea catechins or about 6 - 7 cups of tea per day), the impetus for consuming green tea and its healthful components is strong.

Green Tea's Popularity

Culturally, green tea has been around for many centuries and lauded for its health benefits. Whether it truly was a benefit and how much wasn't fully revealed until recent decades, when studies into the benefits of green tea made it possible to how much it truly benefits tea drinkers.

The tea leaf industry dominates, but there has also been growth in green tea supplements (pills) for those people too lazy to remember to drink a cup or two of green tea per day.

All this talk about green tea has made me thirsty. I am going to go put a kettle on.

And while that is brewing I am going to make a list of all the tea in my cabinet...

  1. Alpine Punch Tea (rooibos, coconut, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, black pepper, rose blossoms, almonds).
  2. Blueberry Tea (blueberry, ginseng, gingko).
  3. Camomile Tea.
  4. Chai Black Tea.
  5. Cinnamon Tea, two different kinds.
  6. Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Tea.
  7. English Breakfast Tea, two different kinds.
  8. Green Tea, three different kinds.
  9. Ginger Tea (ginger, stevia, black tea).
  10. Honeybush Tea (honeybush, safflowers, sunflower petals).
  11. Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea (black tea, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel).
  12. Korean Barley Tea or 보리차 (toasted barley).
  13. Korean Plum Tea or 매실차 (plum, sugar, honey).
  14. Korean Ssanghwa Tea or 쌍화차 (ssanghwa powder with crushed almonds).
  15. Mekong Cinnamon Tea.
  16. Moroccan Mint Tea.
  17. Orange Pekoe Tea.
  18. Peppermint Tea.
  19. Traditional English Tea

Now some of those teas actually belong to my girlfriend (#3, #4, #7, #9, #16, #17, #18 + #19), but to be fair the lion's share of them (11 out of 19) are mine. Thus it would be logical to assume the following:

#1. I must really like tea.
#2. I apparently really like cinnamon tea (this is true).
#3. I really like Korean teas, likely due to my time spent living in South Korea.
#4. I still have 3 different kinds of green tea, although I must admit it is not my favourite.

And those are just the teas I was able to find in the cabinets on short notice. We might have other packages of tea hiding in tins hiding behind pancake mix or bags of rice in other cabinets. I could drink tea every day for a year and probably not run out.

Anyway, lets get back to the topic of green tea.

The Contents of Green Tea

Polyphenols, the major active components of green tea, is what is responsible for some of green tea's health benefits, whether are consumed as a tea or as a pill. However that is not the only active ingredient within green tea, so consuming a pill containing polyphenol doesn't necessarily give you all of the health benefits.

Green tea also contains the following compounds:
• Polyphenols: catechins, phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonols/antioxidants (kaempferol, quercetin, myricitin, and rutin)
• Xanthines: caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants (theobromine and theophylline)
• Vitamins: vitamin C and B vitamins
• Amino acids: L-theanine
• Microelements: aluminum, fluorides, manganese
• Essential oils
+ Boiled Water*** - Boiled water oddly enough has a long list of health benefits all by itself, but that is another topic for another day.

Green tea includes caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants, specific flavonols (which act as antioxidants), and the highly researched class of green tea catechins. Primary green tea catechins consist of epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG, the most potent in this group, is responsible for most of green tea’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties - which is why green tea is so handy against preventing cancer.

So basically green tea has lots of vitamins in it, plus a host of anti-cancer ingredients, making it overall very useful for preventing cancer and promoting good health in general.

Risks of Green Tea

The U.S. FDA cites 400 mg as the safe threshold for daily caffeine consumption. Above 400 mg, health risks include gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, and palpitations. But to drink that much caffeine from green tea, you would need to drink the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee, or approx. 12 cups of green tea per day.

Tea leaves also tend to accumulate aluminum from soil, and chronic high aluminum exposure (more than 20 mg per day for a 150 lb. person) has been found to cause Alzheimer’s disease. However that is basically impossible to consume, as that would require drinking approx. 800 to 1200 cups of green tea per day. It should also be noted that many foods contain aluminum and that small doses of aluminum (approx. 0.1 mg per day) do have health benefits (increases immune response), whereas high doses (20 mg or more) of aluminum have health risks.

So basically the health risks of green tea are practically non existent, and could only result if someone was consuming ridiculous amounts every day beyond the normal amount.

Before and After Qutting Drinking

Happy New Years!

The photos on the right are of Chicago resident Andy Boyle, shown before and after he quit drinking.

The left side is after he quit drinking, at 230 lbs.

The right side is before he quit drinking, at 306 lbs.

His weight loss happened over the course of two years after he stopped drinking and started making some healthy changes in his life.

Combined with his lack of drinking, he also:

  • Began eating healthier.
  • Began exercising more.
  • Bought a condo.
  • Wrote a book and multiple movie scripts.
  • Performed in multiple comedy festivals.
  • Went from a size 42 waist to a size 36 waist.
  • Discovered it really was more fun to be a healthier weight.
  • Got more sleep.
  • Felt more motivated and productive.
  • Saved lots of money.

However Andy also discovered at the same time that many people are prejudicial against people who don't drink. They say things like (these are quotes from Andy's website):

"C’mon, dude, just have one beer! It’s not like you’re going to meetings or whatever!”

“I can’t trust someone who doesn’t drink.”

“You’re not fun unless you’re drunk.”

“When you don’t drink, it makes me feel bad about myself, which makes me not like you.”

“I can’t date someone who doesn’t want to get drunk with me, sorry.”

 And frankly, Andy is on to something here. But we need a word to describe this phenomenon. I am going to call it "Pro-Drunkism". It is like Racism and Sexism, but it is basically describing a biased sentiment in favour of getting drunk and a bias against people who don't like getting drunk.

Now speaking for myself, I must admit I enjoy drinking a beer regularly. At least once per week. I know it is unhealthy for me, but I figure I exercise so much that is evens out fairly well. Still it does make me wonder what would happen if I switched to red wine instead.

Here is my reasoning. It is widely known that drinking 1 or 2 glasses of red wine per day has health benefits. Now I don't see myself drinking that much or that often, but it does get me thinking about the amount of calories found in beer vs wine.

eg. 100 grams of beer has 43 calories [according to Google].

That is 154 calories for 1 can of beer (356 grams). Two beers would be 308 calories.

Wine in comparison has 85 calories per 100 grams. Or 125 calories per glass (147 grams).

Thus 1 to 2 glasses of red wine per day would be 125 to 250 calories per day. That is still less than the 154 to 308 calories for 1 to 2 cans of beer per day. It is a small difference, but still lets do the math.

At 2 glasses per day versus 2 beers per day the total for 1 years worth of calories is:

WINE: 250 calories x 364 days = 91,000 calories - - - - divided by 3500 = 26 lbs of fat.

BEER: 308 calories x 364 days = 112,112 calories - - - - divided by 3500 = 32.032 lbs of fat.

WATER: 0 calories x 364 days = 0 calories - - - - divided by 3500 = 0 lbs of fat.

So yes, wine, purely on a calories basis is healthier in theory - unless you guzzle it like you do beer, in which case that would be really unhealthy. 62.94 lbs worth in a year if someone guzzled wine in the same volume like they do beer.

However the easiest and most obvious health choice is to simply drink water instead. A person on a two beers per day habit could potentially lose 64.064 lbs over a two year period just by switching to water and making no other changes to their eating habits. (This assumes a stable diet in which their only excess was an over-consumption of beer.)

Which admittedly could explain most of Andy Boyle's weight loss success.

Now I am not saying that Andy was drinking two beer per day. Not saying that at all. Some of his health changes obviously came from his changes in diet and exercise as well. But it really goes to show people that if you make healthy choices you can really change your life around.

So if you are looking for a New Years Resolution for 2016, how about "switching to water [or wine] instead of beer"?

And while we are at it here are some other New Years Resolutions:

#2. Make Healthier Choices.

#3. Exercise More.

#4. Spend More Time Outdoors.

#5. Spend More Time with Family.

#6. Get an Energetic Dog and go Dog Walking Regularly.

#7. Try a New Sport and Stick With It.

For more ideas check out our past New Years Resolutions on CardioTrek.ca.

Exercise + Nutrition Vs Advertising

I am going to go a bit off topic today, but my goal here is to talk about the advertising industry and its place when it comes to both the exercise industry and the food industry. Time for some myth busting!

SAY CHEESE

You would think, judging by TV commercials for cheese that cheese is inherently good for you because it contains lots of calcium. This is only partially true.

It only takes a Google search to find hundreds of articles about the Cheese Lobby in both the USA and Canada, and how it is being used to sell everything from fattening cheese pizza to cheesy Taco Bell to cheeseburgers and more...

eg. Read the NY Times article: While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

Fun Fact: "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate."

The Cheese Lobby in the USA is HUGE. They represent every fast food chain that has cheese on the menu, whether it be cheese pizza or cheeseburgers. Their goal? To fool North Americans into thinking cheese is healthy for you because it contains calcium.

Truth be told when you actually check milk and cheese isn't actually a good source of calcium. Milk is actually a good source of protein, and cheese is a good source of fat. Cheese is something you should be asking for less of, not more of.

Want a good source for calcium? Check out the vegetables below.


FIVE RED FLAGS

To demonstrate how bad the food industry is sometimes I am going to show 5 Red Flags to look for when you are watching advertising:

#1. Exotic Ingredients from Asia, Brazil, Africa, Etc.

The idea here is simply: To fool people into thinking that you can lose weight by eating some kind of exotic berry (acai berries for example) or fruit from a place you've never been to (South African Hoodia Extract). If they're pushing something exotic for a hefty price, they're basically just selling you juice or extract for something you don't actually need.

#2. Fake Studies with Fake Doctors

If they have to back up their product with a study from a doctor, most likely the doctor in question is either not a real doctor or he/she is being paid oodles of money to push a bogus study that says their product works. Often there will be a photo of a doctor dressed in white holding a supplement.

#3. Free Trial

Free Trials are a great way to get gullible people hooked on a product that doesn't really work any better than a placebo. Plus when you try to cancel they make it very difficult to do so - you basically have to cancel your credit card to get rid of them. Note - Many companies stick an addictive agent (caffeine usually) in the product so you become addicted to the product.

#4. Celebrity Testimonials

It doesn't matter whether the celebrity is a bodybuilder or Oprah, if they are pushing the product using a celebrity then then company's primary goal is to make money off gullible people.

#5.  Too Good to be True

If it contains the words "Lose Weight Fast and Easy" or some similar slogan, you know they're lying to you.

THE FITNESS LOBBY

If you Google the words fitness lobby you will get a bunch of gym websites and photos of lobbies of gyms. The reason why, apparently, is because there is no "Fitness Lobby" in the USA or Canada (or in any other country for that matter).

I did manage to find one article about fitness groups lobbying for a tax break, but it wasn't an actual lobby group being paid to lobby the government, it was simply a selection of fitness groups trying to get a tax break. They only had one cause and they weren't being paid to do it, whereas lobby groups are basically hired thugs being paid to fight on behalf of the tobacco industry, the cheese industry, the oil industry, and basically any industry which everyone knows is doing something bad.

How many decades did the tobacco industry use lobbying to keep cigarettes being sold and how many more decades will they continue to do so before smoking cigarettes gets banned in North America for causing ridiculous amounts of cancer and killing two thirds of smokers? An industry that kills 66% of its customers is doomed to eventually get banned.

In contrast the fitness industry doesn't kill people when they are selling new fitness gadgets.

But it does use false advertising, like the Fake Doctors, Free Trials, Celebrity Endorsements, and Too Good To Be True slogans mentioned above.

But here are additional tricks used in advertisements:

#1. The fitness industry often uses people who were already thin and attractive (or already lost weight) before they started using whatever new fitness gadget is being pushed at the consumer. So regardless of whether they are trying to sell a Thigh Master or a Bowflex, their goal is to show you people who are already fit using the product. They don't show you people who overweight and not fit using it and then the slow progression of them losing weight - that would be too time consuming, and also impossible because people would realize that the people using the product are also using other kinds of exercises.

#2. They don't mention that people using the product should also be using a wide variety of other exercises - such as jogging, swimming or cycling - in their goal to lose weight.

#3. They ignore the fact that a home gym composed of weight machines really only builds muscle and is useless to someone who wants to lose weight by shedding fat. To shed fat they need to be doing cardio exercises.

#4. Fitness gyms sign people up for 1 year contracts and then make it difficult to cancel the contract by charging the membership fee every month even after the contract has been finished or cancelled. Fitness gyms claim it is due to clerical errors that people are routinely charged again and again even after their contract has expired or been cancelled.

#5. Fitness gyms routinely overcharge members for their membership fee, for an inflated amount with hidden fees - or sometimes charge the membership fee twice in the same month. Or both.

#6. Fitness gyms offer personal training services, but often charge ridiculous rates for those services while paying their staff peanuts. eg. Extreme Fitness charges $80 to $90 per hour for the services of a personal trainer, but only pays the trainer $17 to $20 per hour.

So the fitness industry doesn't really need a fitness lobby because they're already making lots of money off gullible people signing up for fitness gadgets they don't need and gym memberships they likewise don't need.

Want to get some exercise? Start by going outside more often and doing fun activities that require exercise.

Want to lose weight through dieting? Start by learning how to cook healthier food.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 30

Hello Toronto!

Today is my last day of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

I admit it has been a fun experiment, but my conclusion is that I am not cut out to be a vegetarian. (I will be having bacon and eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning.)

I have lost some weight around my middle - although I do wonder if I could have lost more if it had not been that huge blip that was Valentines.

My weight as of this morning (my final weigh in was after breakfast) is 191.5 lbs. When I started this experiment I was 197.6, so I have lost slightly more than 6 lbs, which suggests I lost roughly 0.2 lbs day. Mathematically that is 700 calories per day that I was either taking in less food / burning calories through exercise. When you consider the average person should be eating 1800 to 2000 calories per day, 700 calories per day is a huge reduction.

Again, I probably would have lost more if it had not been that huge blip following Valentines. I would probably be around 189 or 190 if it had not been for that over-consumption of food on Valentines.

I am going to continue to eat healthy after this experiment, but meat will be back on the menu as an option. I hope that what I take from this experiment is that I will continue to eat healthier - more veggies and so forth - and I will have a greater appreciation of being an omnivore.

There will definitely be a lasting effect on my diet in the future. There will be lots more strawberry shakes (see photos below of the 3 step process it takes to make a strawberry shake) and I think I will go back to The Duke of Richmond sometime for that black bean veggie burger that was soooo good. I will also be making more veggie soups and stews in the future as I think I am addicted to those now. But it will be nice to have the option to throw in some leftover meat with the soup for added flavour.




Later tonight I am going to be having a veggie burger, veggie pizza and beer during a social event. But so far today I have had cereal and a salad. I will likely have some carrot sticks before I leave for the event in the evening.

This has been fun. I may or may not do something similar again in the future. Possibly 30 Days as a Pescetarian would be fun as I have determined being a vegetarian is not for me.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 28

Only today, tomorrow and Friday left to go for my 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

The end is in sight! I can almost taste the bacon!

I am going to be so happy when this is over.

I do have some conclusions on what has happened thus far.

#1. It is not so much what I am eating - vegetarian food can be equally fattening if it is deep fried, high in carbs, high in sugar, etc. The biggest difference clearly is HOW MUCH I am eating - as clearly demonstrated with what happened on Valentines when I clearly overate and ate too much greasy food.

#2. I also saw larger differences on the days after large amounts of exercise. Clearly exercising does pay off in the waistline department, but the trick for people is to make exercising sustainable. If they lose interest they will stop doing it.

Note - See Day 14 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian to see my exercise routine.

#3. I think for me having exercises to do every day (including shoveling snow) helped with the weight loss more than the process of eating vegetarian. Exercising was by far the biggest factor for me.

#4. Binging on Valentines = Bad.

#5. Eating healthy and lots of exercise on the days following Valentines = Good. See why below...

Yesterday I had leftover veggie soup, potatoes, a veggie burger and caesar salad at Johnny Rockets (as usual for Tuesdays).

This morning before breakfast I weighed in at 192.3 lbs and my waist is 40.5 inches. So evidently the weight gain from overeating on Valentines turned out to be temporary and I have even lost 0.1 lbs in the last 6 days.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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