Category Archives: Health

Do Not Make a New Year Resolution to go on a Diet

Don’t resolve to start a diet this New Year – make a resolution To Get Healthy .

Instead, focus on foods not gimmicks or scam diets. Health comes from good foods that you already know you’re supposed to eat: don’t worry about low calorie, low fat or low sodium.

Focus on fat and an eating plan

Focus on fat, not on your weight. People with greater levels of intra-abdominal fat (fat around your waistline) need to pay attention to this before it gets out of control. If it’s already out of control, do something now. I Quit Sugar (IQS) is a good tool for getting where you need to be, no gimmicks, just real food that you make.

You will eat more nuts and veggies and say goodbye cookies and cake. You’ll also reduce white stuff like – bread, rice and pasta. Results will happen.

The goal of a good eating plan is to consume less processed foods that come in boxes, bags or cans. The ingredient lists of your food should not read like a science experiment. If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be putting it in your mouth.

You’re going to cook

Healthy eating centers on whole foods, primarily fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and whole grains. These foods have to be prepped and cooked. This will keep you full and does not play havoc with your metabolic system like sugar-based processed foods.

You will have a secondary focus on reduced portions of meat. You don’t have to go Vegan, but overall we eat way too much meat. Time to cut back.

Primary Vegetarianism/Vegan is how my wife and I keep healthy and fit.  Try it for 8 weeks and you will feel better automatically when you’re done. You don’t have to quit sugar and processed foods forever, just reduce it. You will see and feel the difference with weight loss and increased mental clarity.

Try this 8 week program right now. You are worth it.

See quick results by killing liquid calories

DRINK more water and STOP liquid calories: soda, foo-foo coffees, fruit juice and excessive alcohol. you will see instant results.

80/20 rule

80-20

Losing fat is about 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Weight loss is dependent on what you put in your mouth because you can reduce calorie intake much easier than you can burn calories from exercise. Many people trying to lose weight could never generate the physical output to burn 600-1000 calories in a day.

That’s why controlling eating is so important. Reducing food consumption without being too hungry is much easier.

The secret to making fat loss work is paying attention to when you are hungry. Don’t watch TV and eat. Snacking is not an activity. I take the advice of J. S. Pollard M.D. “Stop eating like you are in high school.”
Are you over 40 and still plowing through Doritos, a honeybun and a Mountain Dew? Uh-oh, time to grow up.

You can take charge and make this work. Don’t do this by yourself. Get a partner because it is so easy to justify a piece of cake or fast food.

Start exercising now. Start by walking if you have to. If you’re ready for more than that, start CrossFit. It is by far the best workout you can get and you can do it.

Get on it – See what happens – Fail often – Get on it again

DaveP

Wind Sprints and Why You Should be Doing Them

We all used to do them when we were younger.  You remember, just hauling ass in a straight line as fast as you could go.  When was the last time you tried doing that?

It’s a great way to gauge where you are at with your health right now. Plus wind sprints are really easy and you don’t need special gear or a gym membership. Just find a flat open area where you can crank it up. Be sure you find a remote spot without many witnesses if you can’t remember the last time you sprinted – just in case you crash.

Try this to start

Walk or jog for a quick warm up – 5 minutes will do. No need to stretch unless you plan on breaking some Olympic records. For those in the “must have a stretch camp”, by all means stretch all you want. I know the more difficulty we inject into a process the less likely it is to happen.  In other words, KISS.

The sprint

5 X 50 meter sprints with a 2-3 minute break between runs until you get your breath back. As you do this more your breaks will become shorter.

cruise

Remember to take some tips from Tom Cruise, the most popular sprinter in movie history.

  • Keep your core tight
  • Maintain quick arm swing and foot turnover
  • Explosions, everyone looks cool running with an explosion in the background

No need to go with 100 meters yet if you have not done this in a while, just get up to your top speed and see how it feels. You will be sore, but it’s a pain you can be proud of.

Benefits of Wind Sprints

  • Overall Strength increase
  • Burn extra calories
  • Increased conditioning
  • Does not take much time

bolt

Usain Bolt at 6’ 5” runs 100 meters in 9.63 seconds and 41 steps. I’m 6” 2” and run 44 steps as hard as I can. That’s somewhere under 100 meters and a considerably slower time – but I still feel like I’m moving. At 52 I can still outrun some of the high school kids in my neighborhood.

Give wind sprints a try and get back in touch with your youth. If you are unable to physically do this, you have just given yourself a challenge.

Get on it – See what happens – Fail often – Get on it again

DaveP

 

My #1 Health Strategy – Drop the Sugar

There are many steps I take to stay on top of my health and fitness. I’m going to discuss them one at a time so it won’t seem so overwhelming.

Also, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing to stay fit, keep off excess weight and maintain this meat machine in top running order for as long as possible.

As I said in the post Making the Turn to Better Health, when we get older, health and fitness are harder to maintain. We have to draw on every weapon to keep unhealthy lifestyles at bay.

Drop the Sugar

I know you were expecting me to lead with something more manly like: lifting or body weight calisthenics or who knows what.

This is my number one strategy – it ties everything together. This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle.

We already know that sugar is in everything. Dr. Oz tells you, Oprah tells you and your mother probably told you.

You already know this.

So do something about it.

You hear it everywhere. But why can’t we stop consuming the massive quantities of sugar that throws off our bodies’ metabolic function so badly we just can’t figure out why we are always tired and feel like shit.

alternative-sugars

Sugar is like a drug

Don’t think sugar is like a drug. Go cold turkey like I did for 8 weeks and find out. The first week to 10 days was strange – like stopping drinking coffee. I had a low-level headache and general “off” feeling.

But when that second week came around something was different. I felt clearer. I didn’t feel anything else really just that I was not in such a haze. I made decisions quickly, felt I could stay awake longer but not from an energy surge just a low-level mental clarity.

How do you do it?

In this era of muffin-top, flip-flops and “always wears shorts guy” our diets have changed as much as the common dress code. You have to eat real food that doesn’t come in packages and closely read the ingredients of items you eat that are packaged.

Items that will disappear from your pantry: soda, cereal, fruit juice, candy, smoothies, sports drinks, donuts, cake, cookies, ketchup, pizza and the list goes on.

Initially, focus on just sugar; there are plenty of other things you should be watching out for as well. Salts, food coloring and preservatives just to name a few.

If you drop or strongly reduce sugar in your diet, you’ll find the “bad” foods will disappear from your shopping list.

Try this program

I Quit Sugar

This is Sarah Wilson’s 8-week plan to get off sugar. Yeah, it will cost some money and take time to prepare and cook the food, but this single action will make such a big change in your health you won’t believe it. The food is excellent quality, the taste overall is good and the lessons you learn will be invaluable.

When you finish this program you will know exactly what to do from then on. If you can’t go a day without a cookie, cake or soda – maybe there is a problem?

Shoot me a line if you have any questions or comments.

Get on it – See what happens – Fail often – Get on it again

DaveP

Making the Turn to Better Health

Today I’m writing about what I do to stay healthy and also to cast light on the big low-fat diet lie most of us bought hook, line and sinker. How could low-fat products have contributed to all-time high levels of obesity. Easy – they are the cause. How is that possible? I’m going to tell you from personal experience; I’ve been the guinea pig.

I’ve had some temporary weight loss traction from whiz bang diets, but long term they do not work. We’ve all been there. And by the way, weight loss is only one component of fitness. I know plenty of skinny soft people. You don’t want that either.

If you’re older it gets more difficult

I’m 52 and as we all know the older you get the more crap we have on our plate, literally and figuratively. Find the time. You have to take your health seriously. This is no game. We all know people who are health disasters; so take action now no matter how insignificant you think that action may be.

060414-N-5961C-004 Persian Gulf (April 14, 2006) Ð The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) make a turn after the completion another cycle of flight operations. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike group has worked around the clock supporting forces on the ground in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Reagan is currently deployed as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region. MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Spike Call (RELEASED)

Making healthy lifestyle changes is like turning an aircraft carrier, it’s a slow process but it can be done.

  • Give yourself permission to make your health a priority
  • Get someone to do this with you
  • Take it seriously

To get started you can do any small step to improve your health. Don’t do everything at once. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re 40, 50 and over, some aspects of your life are going to have to permanently change or you will be where you are forever. Get set to change that mindset one step at a time.

Here are some easy money saving things you can do to get on the right path now.

  • Start walking – any distance no matter how small
  • Reduce or temporarily stop alcohol consumption
  • Stop the sugary drinks
  • Reduce consumption of processed foods.

Getting fit is not going to happen overnight. You didn’t get where you are over a short period of time did you? Any action you take is a good start. Please share this with a friend.

Get on it – See what happens – Fail often – Get on it again

DaveP

The Pros, Cons, and Odds of getting a Flu Shot

When I worked in Public Health and was getting my annual flu shot, I heard some employees discussing reasons why they should not get the flu vaccine. One girl was pregnant – she was worried about the baby, another was at the tail end of a cold, but the reason that really got my attention was the guy who said he didn’t want to contract Guillain-Barre Syndrome. First of all, I had to research that one. Hadn’t even heard of it. That got me thinking about the pros and cons of getting a flu shot.

The Pros

Flu vaccines reduce the risk of catching the flu. Some years are better than others. 2014 was not a good year; 2015 & 2016 were better.

You might not even get the flu; 6%-7% of adults get the flu each year. Influenza is actually rarer than you might realize.

The flu shot protects you against more than one strain of the virus – there are millions by the way.

The Cons

Getting a flu shot does not guarantee you won’t get the flu, kind of the same way getting auto insurance doesn’t guarantee you won’t have an accident.

Protection is not immediate – it takes a while to kick in, like flood insurance.

If you get the flu it might take a week or two of your life to recover.

The Odds

Roughly 40,000 people per year die in auto accidents in the United States. That makes the odds 1 in 6,700.
Seems to me if you are concerned with complications or death from a flu shot you wouldn’t have to worry because you would never be able to overcome the fear of death by driving to get the shot in the first place.

The odds of getting struck by lightning are 1 in a million.

The odds of dying from a bee or wasp sting is 1 in 6.1 million. Not really sure how this relates, just thought it was a cool stat.

Oh yeah, I don’t want to forget the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome. On the high end, there is a 1.6 to 1 million chance of getting it from a flu shot. The odds of getting GBS from an influenza infection are approximately 17 in 1 million.

I think the odds are in your favor. I’ll leave you with this helpful guide to determine if you need a flu shot.

Do I need a flu jab?
Do I need a flu jab?

5 Supplements You Need to Take Now

What are Supplements?

The definition of supplement is: “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.” In this case the “something’ is your health and supplements add nutritional value to your diet. You know I believe Health equals Preparedness so taking supplements and eating high quality food ensures your body gets everything it needs to stay healthy during times of stress, intense physical activity, and to ward off sickness.

These are the five supplements you need to take now.

Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium element
Magnesium element

Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element on Earth and according to The National Institutes of Health (NIH); it is essential for 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body. Translation – Magnesium makes things happen: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation and many other important things.

NIH also says, 75% of us are deficient in Magnesium. One of the problems affecting even those who eat lots of leafy green stuff is soils are commonly depleted of Mg so the plant doesn’t get enough. It’s a vicious cycle that has an easy fix. Keep eating your veggies and remember these Mg rich foods: pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, and black beans.

Magnesium needs increase in direct proportion with stress, so a good supplement can help. I take 500 milligrams of Magnesium Citrate at night and on top of all the other benefits – it helps me sleep better.

 Vitamin D3

Vitamin-D
Vitamin-D from sun

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states, our bodies actually produce Vitamin D from exposure to the sun and 20-30 minutes of no sunscreen swimsuit exposure will do the trick. Unfortunately, most of us are inside too much for this to happen or wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit. Also, as we get older our bodies become less efficient at Vitamin D sun synthesis – bummer.

Vitamin D strengthens your immune system, helps prevent bone loss, and reduces inflammation. Some foods that contain Vitamin D are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and tuna – be mindful of mercury), milk, eggs, and beef liver.

A good D3 supplement should be taken with food and provide about 2,000 IU. I get a lot of sun exposure living in Florida so I don’t supplement this.

 Omega-3 (Fish Oil)

Fish oil
Fish oil capsules

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and the fatty fish listed above. They contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that the Mayo Clinic says have been found to lower heart disease, lower triglycerides, and reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest it can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s.

If you eat fatty fish 3 times a week you’re probably getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately most of us don’t even eat fatty fish 3 times a month, so a good supplement is needed. Try to take 500-1000 milligrams daily.

 B Complex Vitamins

B-vitamin sources
B-vitamin sources

The B complex vitamins are:

B1 (thiamin)

B2 (riboflavin)

B3 (niacin)

B5 (pantothenic acid)

B6 (pyridoxine)

B7 (biotin)

B9 (folic acid)

B12 (cobalamin)

Dr. Julian Whitaker informs, “They are involved in everything from cognitive function and mood to energy production and heart health.” He also shares that B vitamins help you stay mentally sharp, keep bones strong, preserve vision, and boost energy.

Take them to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine. Good food sources for B vitamins include: milk, meat, liver, whole grains, nuts, eggs, fruits, and leafy veggies.

 Multivitamin

Multivitamin
Multivitamin – oh yummy

Taking a multivitamin is a good way to ensure getting many of the trace vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you might be missing. I take one every other day.
This NPR article http://n.pr/1Kc61lm makes a good case for taking supplements but leaves the reader with this, “there is no absolute conclusive evidence that multivitamin supplements prevent serious disease.” I ask – are you going to wait for conclusive evidence?

7 Tips to Prevent Wasted Time in Emergency Preparedness

1. Maintain your fitness

My Preparedness priority. If you are not fit, the rest is just window dressing. You can have all the supplies you would ever need but if you can’t walk 3 miles with ease – I would recommend refocusing your priorities. This is the hardest aspect of Preparedness because it is the most painful. But this pain has a big payoff. If you are in an emergency situation the amount of extra work that needs to be done is shocking. Add not having A/C or heating and you quickly get the picture.

2. Do not store water in plastic milk jugs

It’s the perfect measure – 1 gallon with a handle. Unfortunately, you can’t properly clean that jug out and it’s more flimsy than you could imagine. The last thing you need in an emergency is contaminated water or leaking containers.

If you must go low cost, use 2-liter soda bottles.

3. Store as much water as you can safely

You don’t have to go to the store and buy cases of Evian – although it is great water. You can use 5-gallon water containers that will weigh in at 40 lbs. full. That’s a good weight for most to handle easily. Of course, you can always go much bigger than that if you have a basement. When I lived overseas, the landlord had a 2,000-liter stainless steel reservoir in the garage – nice.

4. Preparedness is more than storage

Preparedness is a mindset. The goal is to always be Aware – put it on the back burner where it should always be simmering. Don’t make it the absolute all-time priority. You have to enjoy your life.

5. Preparedness is more than guns

Being prepared is way more than having an arsenal with 10,000+ rounds of ammo. Some consider this the pinnacle of preparedness – I don’t. I’m also not a hypocrite. As retired military I’ve shot my share and have my favorites, so should you. With a minor search, you will find a bewildering array of articles on which weapon, make, and caliber is best. Do your homework and shoot me an email if you need help with some choices. I go with the basics and work much harder on my gardening/foraging skills than my marksmanship.

6. Read and read some more

Studying is critical for emergency preparedness. There are numerous venues of study: books, magazines, the Internet-of course, and training. Knowing about Preparedness is a very powerful tool. Get the basics down first: Water, Fire, Shelter. You would be amazed at how hard it can be to make a fire when you want to and how easy it is when you don’t.

We all have our weaknesses –mine is cold weather survival. What’s yours?

wasted time http://some.ly/9ut5kK
wasted time http://some.ly/9ut5kK

7. Don’t obsess

Finally, this ties into #3, keep Preparedness on your mind wherever you are but don’t let it take over. Notice things, be Aware and enjoy yourself.

Why You Should Reduce Soy Consumption

I want to say up front that this post centers on the work of Jill Castle and Beatrice Hunter. They’re both food experts and have interesting things to say.

This year I tried to stop eating soy and I’ve now come to the conclusion if you live in the U.S. it is nearly impossible without drastic measures – all I’ve really done is reduce consumption.

It’s amazing how many foods I’ve had to abandon to do this.

Corporate food producers continue to encourage us into believing soy is some sort of health food. Many still enjoy a smoothie with soy protein or a soy protein bar before a workout – unaware of information showing that most soy products have a negative impact on our health.

Soy is an increasingly popular ingredient in more foods sold in supermarkets, with much of it in products where you would least expect to find it.

Soybeans are one of the largest Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the US, second only to corn.

soy products
Look at how many products contain soy.

Food and Ingredients to Avoid on a Soy-Free Diet

This list was created by Jill Castle, a food allergies expert. http://jillcastle.com/

These foods often contain soy. You should be cautious about eating these foods if you are unable to get a complete ingredient list.

  • Asian cuisine (Korean, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, etc.)
  • Baked goods and baking mixes
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Candy
  • Cereal – say it ain’t so.
  • Chicken (raw or cooked) that is processed with chicken broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Chocolate – sorry ladies
  • Deli meats
  • Energy bars, nutrition bars
  • Imitation dairy foods, such as soy milks, vegan cheese, or vegan ice cream – you shouldn’t be eating imitation crap anyway.
  • Infant formula
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise – oh no, not mayo! Thank goodness there are alternatives w/o soy.
  • Meat products with fillers, for example, burgers or sausages
  • Nutrition supplements (vitamins)
  • Peanut butter and peanut butter substitutes
  • Protein powders
  • Sauces, gravies, and soups
  • Smoothies
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes: veggie burgers, imitation chicken patties, imitation lunch meats, imitation bacon bits, etc.

The Downside of Soybean Consumption

Beatrice Trum Hunter wrote “The downside of soybean consumption”

http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/downside-soybean-consumption-0 it thoroughly explains soybean consumption with some dated but diverse references. I’ve pulled some interesting excerpts below.

Soy consumption is promoted vigorously and despite many alleged benefits, there is a downside which is being ignored.

Anti-Nutrients

The raw soybean contains numerous antinutrients. These antinutrients interfere with the absorption of minerals from your diet.

Soy is not the only food with these – it’s just a strong supplier. Kale and cruciferous veggies have them as well.

Although processing can reduce these antinutrients, it does not eliminate them.

The raw soybean contains phytic acid, which binds and prevents mineral absorption (especially zinc, calcium, and magnesium).

Phytic acid is present in grains, thus, vegetarians who depend on soybeans and many soy-containing products, as well as phytate-containing grains, are at even higher risk of deficiencies of these minerals.

Phytates are present in plant foods but not in animal foods.

These various anti-nutrients present in the raw soybean can be reduced somewhat by proper heat treatment or by sprouting. The only satisfactory method known at present to deactivate these anti-nutrients is by use of traditional fermentation. The fermentation process renders the nutrients in soybeans more available and digestible.

Fermented Soy

Unfortunately, the fermentation process is used with only a few soybean products, and ones that are not especially familiar in American cuisine, nor readily available. The main fermented soybean products are tempeh (a soybean-based entree) and miso (a soybean paste used in soups and sauces).

Tempeh and miso are available in many health/natural food stores in the United States. Because miso is used merely as a flavoring, the only fermented soybean food that is an acceptable dish is tempeh.

Contrary to popular notions, soybean products such as tofu and bean curd—familiar and available to Americans—are not fermented.

Isoflavones

Soybeans, even processed ones, have anti-thyroid properties. The estrogenic isoflavones (particular plant pigments) in soy—genistein and daidzein—are much touted for their health benefits. What is unpublicized is that they are anti-thyroid agents. Individuals who consume soybean products habitually (the recommendation currently in vogue) may encounter long-range thyroid disturbances.

Even at exceedingly low levels, hormones can exert profound biological effects, either beneficial or detrimental.

The estrogenic isoflavones in soy are being promoted enthusiastically as health promoters. Although they appear to prevent breast cancer if supplied early, they may promote breast cancer at a later stage in life. Both human and animal studies suggest that soy may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Protein

Protein isolates from soy are used in powder mixes intended for meal-replacement drinks. These isolates are obtained by means of a high-temperature process that denatures the protein extensively.

In its damaged form, the protein is rendered low in nutritional value. Soy protein (and other protein isolates) cause negative calcium balance in humans and other animals and can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

Soy protein isolates are still high in mineral-blocking phytates, thyroid-depressing phytoestrogens, and potent enzyme inhibitors.

Soy Milk

Soy “milk” is used as a cow’s milk replacer, and is marketed for the general population. Soy milk is not the equivalent of milk from humans (or from cows, goats, or sheep).

soy oil
watch that hydrogenated oil

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is likely to be partially hydrogenated. This processing results in the formation of undesirable, unhealthy trans fatty acids in the oil, and in food products made with soybean oil. To date, the vital information about trans fatty acids is not included in the “Nutrition Facts” panel of food labels.

Soybean oil, as well as other soybean fractions, also may be from genetically altered soybeans.

I believe my reduction of this particular product had an impact on my cholesterol numbers.

Soy Allergy

At present, soy is among the major food allergens in the American diet. Individuals of all ages have developed soy allergies, attributable to the proliferation of soy and soy constituents in many commercially formulated products.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim for soy, many new soy-containing products have flooded the marketplace.

Infants fed soy milk formulas in order to avoid cow’s milk allergy, frequently develop allergy to soy. As soy is promoted aggressively and is available in increasing numbers of food and beverage products, the numbers of soy-allergic individuals are likely to increase, from lifetime over-consumption.

Reducing Soy

It is difficult to avoid soy and soy constituents unless one chooses basic foods and avoids processed ones. Even then, some soy gets into the diet, indirectly, from soy constituents in the feed of farm animal and farmed fish (in aquaculture).

harvesting soybeans
Harvesting soybeans while jamming to Ozzy in the A/C

$$$

FDA’s approval of the health claim for soy protein was in response to a petition by a leading soy producer. The soybean lobby exerts powerful clout. In addition, food and beverage processors favor soybean use because it is a low-cost filler, extender, and replacer in foods for humans and in feed for animal. It is a cost cutter that swells profits.

In view of the overall evidence against soy, is the health claim justified? Previous health claims have been approved in response to commercial interests and similarly based on highly selective evidence.

One critic, Tom Valentine, observed in True Health that “no other dietary staple has so many anti-nutrient drawbacks as soy. Conversely, no other food has so many public relations firms and lobbyists working for it.”

 Hmmm, soy for thought.