If you enjoy walking through Whole Foods in La Jolla, Henry’s in Santee, or Trader Joes in Mira Mesa, People’s in Ocean Beach, you might well be a “foodie” or at least someone who enjoys a fine selection of healthy food. Purchasing or growing healthy food is one thing but you have to know how to eat right as well.
Here are some simple rules to keep in mind as you prepare your local, organic, natural, artisanal, seasonal, bounty and offerings. These rules will insure you have a “foodgasm” in the healthiest of ways. These rules are anchored in a must-read book if eating right is your goal. Written by Gary Taubes, “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” is an education that will make you question nearly everything you ever thought about when it comes to eating, exercise, fat, calories, carbs, red meat and simple sugars.
Taubes maintains that obesity is not caused:
- by eating too much
- by exercising too little
- by consuming fat
Instead he believes that obesity is the result of consuming:
- too much refined sugar
- too much white flour
This fellow is no slouch. He is a reporter and “science nerd” who studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford.
Taubes redefines obesity as a hormonally driven physical disorder, activated by carbohydrates, where the body can’t stop accumulating fat. He also believes that current nutritional wisdom is the result of poor science and politicking.
Taubes tells us: “fat isn’t the enemy; easily digested carbohydrates are.” He adds:
The very foods that we’ve been sold as diet staples—fat-free yogurt, plain baked potatoes (hold the butter), and plain pasta (hold the olive oil, sauce, and cheese)—actually reset our physiology to make us pack on the pounds.
And the foods that we’ve been told to shun—steak, burgers, cheese, even the sour cream so carefully scraped from that potato can help us finally lose the weight and keep our hearts healthy.
Now for his rules:
1. Diet has “die” in it. Don’t go ON a diet, rather, change what you eat. Diets, research tell us, predicts weight gain. 2. Smart nutritionists teach us to shop the “periphery of supermarkets.” This will help you avoid BHA, BHT, sodium nitrites—and instead choose whole fruits, organic veggies, real meats (rather than chicken fingers), fresh fish (instead of fish sticks) and healthy dairy products. 3. Calories don’t make you fat. Simple carbs like sugar, honey and refined white flour do. It’s your glycemic index that you need to watch — so peanuts, not pretzels, black beans, not watermelon, chocolate cake, not fruit roll-ups. 4. Think farms, not factories. Especially when it comes to meat. Remember these terms: organic, local, grass-fed, pastured and free-range. 5. Make your meals colorful. Dip your fork into colors that come from leafy, cruciferous or brightly colored vegetables. 6. Follow Taube’s weight loss plan that includes low carbs, much meat, plenty of plants, minimal dairy and eat when you’re hungry. Don’t limit fat. Say goodbye to pasta, bread, rice and hidden sugars. Be picky about your veggies due to some of their carb content. 7. Did I say anything about fruit? Good. Tread lightly on those pretty sugar filled devils. 8. Don’t worry about dietary saturated fat. The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reported no connection between saturated fats and rates of heart attack. It’s the trans fat that you ought to watch out for if you want to control your LDL cholesterol, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Adding omega-3’s and monounsaturated fats will help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and even lower the risk of some cancers.
Keep shopping in the wonderful San Diego meccas of healthy foods but be sure you are cooking and eating smartly. If you want to build a food kingdom, make exercise queen and healthy eating king. Or is it the other way around? Taubes makes the case that despite what we are told by health “authorities,” science tells us that exercise alone will neither help us maintain our weight if we are lean, nor lose weight if we are fat.
(ARA) – Are you one of the millions of middle-aged Americans who resolved to improve your health this year, through diet, exercise or other lifestyle changes? If so, you know that it’s not easy to change old habits – especially the salty, sugary and fatty ones that taste so good.
Unfortunately, poor diet is a vital problem for a growing majority of the nation’s population, particularly the baby boomer generation. Obesity is the nation’s top health concern and poor diet is a major contributing factor, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as reported in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The report cites data indicating 72 percent of men and 64 percent of women are overweight or obese, with about one-third of adults being obese.
Not only does a diet high in calories and low in nutrient density lead to weight gain, but neglecting the vital nutrients found in whole grains, milk, fruits and vegetables may increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic health problems. But even if you never grew out of your childhood dislike of spinach, you can make healthier choices in the kitchen without sacrificing taste.
The latest Dietary Guidelines highlight several tactics to improve adults’ health and lengthen life expectancy. Recommendations for slight but effective diet adjustments include:
* Increase vegetable and fruit intake You know fruits and veggies are good for you, but not everyone enjoys the crunch of a celery or carrot stick. The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are extremely important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The antioxidants in these nutrient-rich whole foods have been shown to decrease risk of chronic health problems, including a number of cancers. The USDA suggests adults should consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but many people don’t reach this goal and instead reach for unhealthy snacks because of time, convenience and availability.
You can get your daily servings in a tasty, on-the-go treat. With the help of a high-powered Vitamix 5200 machine, you can transform less-than-appealing produce into a smooth, sweet, yet nutrient-packed smoothie. For example, the Vitamix Going Green recipe combines pineapple, banana, ice and spinach – yes, spinach – into a delicious smoothie that even kids enjoy. The 5200′s powerful blades pulverize the cell walls of whole fruits and vegetables, releasing the full nutrients found in the seeds and skin. Your favorite fruity flavors will overpower the less appealing, and your tongue won’t even know it’s tasting better health.
* Increase whole grain intake Nutrition experts agree Americans consume too many refined grains, and the new Dietary Guidelines suggest one half of all grains consumed in a day should be whole grains. Choosing whole wheat bread and pasta rather than the nutrition-lacking white versions is a small change that can make a big difference. Some high-powered blending machines can even grind whole grains for making your own healthy bread, pancake and other dough-based recipes. Just make sure not to combat your positive move toward whole grains with a negative overload of spreads or sauces full of trans fat.
* Individuals 50 and older The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend those aged 50 years and older consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, or take dietary supplements for healthy aging. This nutrient is key to maintaining normal function of the brain and nervous system and affects energy production. Many breakfast cereals and other processed foods are fortified with vitamin B12 and you may also find the vitamin in pill form. Vitamin B12 is vital to red blood cell and DNA production, and increasing intake has additional benefits including higher energy levels. Studies show absorption of vitamin B12 decreases while aging, so adding this nutrient to a healthy daily diet is important for those over 50.
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Germs are everywhere. They are all around us, on every surface we touch, in the air we breathe. They are on us and in us. Get used to it. They are everywhere and they are supposed to be.
Fungi or bacteria thrive in warm, moist places, so it seems gyms are a welcome home to these little devils. Hot tubs, machine handles, pools, shower stalls, and sweaty clothes are only a few of their favorite places. In fact, perspiring humans are often thought of as “germ superhighways.” Perspiration disseminates whatever germs we’ve picked up – even before we’ve entered the gym.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described that E. coli, strep bacteria, the influenza virus and MRSA can be found in gyms and on athletic equipment. MRSA’s antibiotic resistance makes it likely to spread and especially difficult to treat. Athlete’s foot and plantar warts are other little gifts we can take home from the locker room, shower or near swimming pools without proper care.
If we let our minds run away with us, we’re likely to start thinking that germs are colluding against us, ready to pounce and wipe us all out. That’s simply an example of “terribilizing” and “awfulizing” and ignores all that The Sporting Club does and we can do with simple commons sense measures to coexist with these germs.
Between credit cards, cell phones, women’s purses, keypads for computers and door knobs, — forget airplane seats and bathrooms – are actually the top places where we can find germs, if we are looking. Gyms aren’t on the top of the list.
Still, we do need to be attentive. Here are some commons sense locker room tips to avoid fungi and viruses from invading your feet: * Wear flip-flops in the shower. * Wash and dry your feet thoroughly. * Use antifungal powder in your shoes. * Wear synthetic socks. * Change your socks often, since sweaty socks are a prime breeding ground for fungi. * Change out of your gym shoes after exercising and wash them occasionally in the hot water cycle.
Don’t use the towel you dried your feet with to dry the rest of your body. And of course, protect yourself and others by wiping equipment before you use it. The Sporting Club provides plenty of towels and disinfectant spray and hand disinfectant for members to use. Always use a towel to cover the seat of your bench or bike, including the seat in the locker room. Your water bottle needs to be thoroughly cleaned after a trip to the gym, and your protein shake container also needs a careful cleansing. Touching your eyes after handling dumbbells or barbells doesn’t make too much sense does it?
Aside from carrying and using a towel, washing your hands frequently and wearing shower shoes, here’s some more psychological common sense tips to keep your thinking straight.
First, calm down. By working out and taking care of yourself nutritionally and emotionally, you already are helping your immune system deal with the millions of germs you meet in your life.
Second, obsessing about germs will do more harm to you than you realize. In the extreme, you can erroneously reason that since people are spreading germs all over the place, avoiding them makes most sense. No, it doesn’t. And worse, you may start to erroneously believe that it’s a good idea to stay away from the gym altogether. That can only lead to your avoiding exercise, which weakens your immune system.
There is a theory that germs do not cause disease, since the proponents of this theory believe that nature would never surround her children with enemies. Rather, these theorists believe that WE make disease possible based on our poor living habits—including not taking proper care of ourselves.
Third, trust what your mom taught you about cleanliness. Using plain old soap and water, frequent washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze are good moves. If you drop your protein bar on the floor, yuchhhh, don’t pick it up and eat it! Your mom wouldn’t like that.
Finally, realize that our bodies were designed to fight germs. But we have to be exposed to enough germs for that system to work. Jane Smiley said, “A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes- and it will come- may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system.”
So enjoy working out, use your common sense and know that The Sports Club is doing everything and more to insure the well-being and health of all of its members. We need to do the same for ourselves.
(ARA) – As the days start getting longer and warmer, folks are again pondering ways to be more active. Joining a gym or beginning a workout regimen are great ways to get in shape, but exercising more can also be as simple as resolving to complete daily chores around the house.
Tackling items on your household to-do list is a great way to spruce up your home, while also toning your body. However, the repetition of some household chores can lead to injury, so it’s important to take the proper precautions so you can stay healthy while you get in shape. Here are a few ideas for getting active around the house and how to avoid injury while tackling these projects:
Shoveling: Whether you’re shoveling snow or moving dirt around, shoveling is a great way to get a full body workout. When shoveling, make sure you are lifting with your arms and legs, not your back, to avoid injury. Also, be careful you are not overdoing it – don’t overload your shovel if you have trouble repeatedly lifting that amount and take a break if you feel too fatigued to continue.
Plant a garden: Having a garden lends itself to a constant cycle of good health, from the planting, weeding and harvesting of the vegetables, to eating the fresh produce. But working with garden tools every day can cause pain in your hands and wrists, especially if you have tendonitis or arthritis of the hands. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to try using a pain relief tool called the SmartGlove, which also provides relief from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Yardwork: Raking leaves, sweeping walkways and mowing the lawn are also great ways to get out and get moving. When doing odd jobs around the house, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend on each activity and rotate activities so you aren’t continuously putting stress on the same joints and muscle groups. The SmartGlove may also help reduce wrist pain caused by the vibration of the lawnmower.
Indoor chores: If the weather doesn’t permit you to get outside and work, use indoor chores to get active. If you have a set of stairs in your house, use them to your advantage when doing chores. For example, if you’re putting away freshly folded laundry, take multiple trips to your upstairs bedroom. Again, you can avoid injury if you vary your tasks accordingly.
When you begin to look at everyday chores as a chance to exercise, you can improve your health while also tidying up your home, and you can feel a sense of accomplishment in more ways than one.
Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are our nation’s No. 1 killer. Heart disease has probably already touched you or someone you know. Since 1963, Congress has established February as “American Heart Month.” From arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, high cholesterol, congenital heart defects, heart attack and heart failure, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, peripheral artery disease, and even stroke, cardiovascular diseases may be prevented.
Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight or obese and physical inactivity are some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. Go to http://bit.ly/aXyxwU for a free heart attack risk assessment from the American Heart Association.
What can you do to prevent heart disease? Sure, so-called “heart healthy” foods can help. Hours and hours of cardio and losing weight also help. But these are only the tip of the prevention iceberg and don’t come close to truly controlling, stopping or preventing heart disease.
Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently suggested five strategies to help prevent heart disease, based on his research. These five tips may seem extreme, but heart disease is a killer. Here’s what Dr. Davis suggests:
1. Eliminate wheat from your diet. That is, eliminate wheat if you want to reduce LDL, triglycerides, increase HDL, reduce inflammation measures such as C-reactive protein, lose weight, decrease blood sugar and lower blood pressure. This is the peak dietary strategy with more positive consequence than almost anything else you can do. 2. Achieve a desirable 25-hydroxy level of vitamin D. Without side effects, vitamin D supplementation increases HDL, reduces LDL, can help normalize insulin, reduce blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and also has very potent anti-inflammatory effects. 3. Supplement omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides, accelerate postprandial (after-meal) clearance of lipoprotein byproducts like chylomicron remnants, and have a physical stabilizing effect on atherosclerotic plaque. ? 4. Normalize thyroid function. Get sufficient iodine in your diet to protect the thyroid from the many thyroid disrupters in our daily environment. Thyroid dysfunction is epidemic; correction of subtle degrees of hypothyroidism reduces LDL, reduces triglycerides, reduces small LDL, facilitates weight loss, reduces blood pressure, normalizes endothelial responses, and reduces oxidized LDL particles. 5. Make exercise fun. Dr. Davis suggests that exercise ought to be a good time, not simply a boring 30 minutes on a treadmill. Find an activity in or out of the gym that you enjoy and look forward to. I recently wrote, for sandiegomagazine.com (“Dr. San Diego) about the games of the 50’s and 60’s as fun activities for adults. Hula hoops, tag, double-dutch, dodgeball, spud, hide-and-seek, hopscotch, red rover, get the idea? Dancing, walking, Zumba, the many classes at The Sporting Club, also provide opportunities to make exercise fun. Remember that exercise is a prescription. You can fill it at The Sporting Club.
I’d add that drinking in moderation, knowing your health numbers (total and specific cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body mass index, and waist circumference are some of the key numbers everyone should know.
Of course, there’s another heart related issue in February and one that I cannot leave off of this list. Valentine’s Day comes right in the middle of the month to remind us that our loving relationships also contribute to our health and wellness.
Research tells us that long-term, committed relationships leave us healthier in mind and body. Ignore your relationship at your health’s peril. Heart disease, immune system dysfunction, depression, mood swings, elevated stress hormones, elevated risk of diabetes, and even the amount of time it takes for wounds to heal are all related to marital discord. So much so that in 1858 a British epidemiologist, William Farr, said, “Marriage is a healthy estate.”
Our diet, our exercise and our love life all contribute to our heart’s health. We at The Sporting Club are fortunate to have the region’s finest training staff, Sports Medicine Team, nutrition staff and all we need to do is simply ask for assistance.
Happy, healthy February
(ARA) – Whether you are still working on that New Year’s resolution, or just trying to shape up for swimsuit season, you probably know that making healthier lifestyle choices is sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes when you aim to make significant lifestyle changes, you set lofty goals without necessarily thinking about what it will take to achieve them.
But not to worry, a little conscious effort and careful planning can focus your efforts to banish bad habits and achieve your goals. By coming up with some real solutions that you can stick to, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the wellness goals you set for yourself. Whether it’s restoring balance by unplugging for a little “me” time, spending more quality time with family, eating healthier, getting organized or losing those last 10 pounds, here are a few quick tips to keep on track.
Restore balance and simplify
* Set aside time for R&R, no matter what – Relax a little this weekend by reading a book or taking a bubble bath. * Front load chores – Run errands in the morning and spend the rest of the day doing something restful or fun. * Leave work at work – Be more productive at work by enjoying time away from the office. * Switch it up – Do something new every day. Try a new recipe or a new route to work and keep life interesting.
* Stick to one serving – Eat the foods you love. Just eat one serving and stick to it. If you find your portion size creeping up, try buying snacks already packaged into single servings, like Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips 100-calorie packs. * D-fense – Vitamin D may ward off colds, so be sure to eat plenty of vitamin-rich foods like fish, milk, soy products and high-fiber cereals, especially in the winter. * Go nutty – A handful of nuts in the afternoon can help restore your natural energy and keep you alert and productive until dinner time. For mid-afternoon cravings, try Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds with a satisfying chocolate taste and zero added calories. * Potato power – When eating a potato, don’t forget the skin. It’s a great source of fiber, vitamins and even protein. And when it comes to snacks, try Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips – the only baked potato chips made from whole slices of potato, sliced with the skin still on. They taste great and offer 65 percent less fat than regular chips.
Make time to exercise
* Set a meeting with the gym – Treat exercise like any other appointment. Nobody wants to cancel on their boss. * Walk this way – Resist the urge to hop into your car for short trips whenever it’s possible. With every step, the body gets a little more energy and exercise. * Get cracking up – A minute-long laugh may have the same mood-boosting benefits as 10 minutes of exercise. * Get the kids moving – Don’t have time to exercise? Take the kids for a walk and the whole family will reap the benefits.
This year, let go of unrealistic resolutions and find real solutions for meeting healthy living goals in small, easy changes for lasting results. Making the daily routine just a bit more balanced, nutritious and active will lead to real progress toward a healthier lifestyle in the long run. Try getting the family, office or friends involved. It’ll make staying on track that much easier and much more fun.
To learn more about these daily tips, as well as to enter the Real Solutions Sweepstakes for a chance to win a grand prize getaway to help visualize attaining your goals, visit www.realsolutions2011.com.