Sunday, December 28, 2008
Let's start with exercise. Firstly your motive for exercising. Are you doing it because you want to and you love the way it makes you feel or are you doing it because you feel like you must do it. IF you are not doing it for the pleasure of it not only will you likely not stick with it you won't experience the full benefit of it. Just the feeling of joy and pleasure alone can be tremendous for your health and weight loss. You have to pick an activity or program that you enjoy to reap the full benefits of it.
Let's go to nutrition. Why does home grown produce taste so much better than commercially grown produce? Because of all the love, care, effort and intention that was put into producing that food. Why do home cooked meals always taste better than restaurant meals? Because of the love, effort and intention that went into it. If you are going to stick to healthy eating it is best to find healthy foods that you love to consume. This will not only help you to stick to the program but it will help you reap the full nutritional benefit of what you are consuming. You could be eating the healthiest food in the world but if you are eating it out of fear of disease or guilt you will still feel sick and tired. Similarly even if you eat less than optimally but you enjoy the food to it's fullest you will feel awesome. Now this isn't a licence to eat less that your best but merely to eat with intentionality and to prepare food with love so that it serves you well. To quote David Wolfe: "You are what you eat." has a far deeper meaning than any of us can ever imagine. As it is not just the act of eating the right foods but eating them for the reasons in the right way.
What I find amusing as a health and fitness expert is that even though 'lack of time' is one of the primary excuses for not taking care of ones health; neglecting your health is a sure way to lose all your extra time.
What many people fail to think about is that looking after your health is an investment. It may be a bit pain staking in the initial stages an yes it may even cost you more time but it can and will save you literally years of time in the long run. You will have to spend extra time initially buying products and resources to help you, you will have to likely reschedule some items in your day. You may even have to get up earlier or go to bed later. But after a short while everything will become a habit. And that's where the power is because then you are no longer thinking or using extra energy but you are automatically doing the right things everyday.
So where does the extra time come in? Firstly, as you become healthier you will likely need to sleep less because your body will be more efficient at producing energy and your quality of sleep will be much better. I would say the average person can almost instantly gain an extra 4-6hrs per week from sleeping less and not feel any worse for it.
The next area would be food prep. Again truly healthy fresh meals actually take hardly anytime to prepare and once you get into a routine of knowing exactly what your body needs at what times you can save time in the kitchen.
Next as a result of eating right, exercising and supplementing your mind will be more sharp and focused. You will be more attentive and productive. You will get more work done in less time whether it be physical or administrative labor.
Then we have reduced time wasted on useless activities. Believe it or not becoming healthier actually makes you more conscious of your time soon the TV and other useless time wasters become less important and you begin to focus on things that matter.
I think most people see the biggest pay off here: reduced illness and injury. Lets say the average person gets sick in some way shape or form 2-3 times a year and each bout of illness lasts 4-7 days. That's 2-3 weks that you are almost useless each year. Imagine regaining that time. And injuris become less frequent and you will heal faster when health is a priority.
Finally we have the actual life extension portion of the equation. While no one can predict his or her longevity with any sort of accuracy we all know that payin attention to your health can add 1-30yrs on to your life. And that is thinking conservatively. I am a part of a group of people who are willing to believe that with the right protocal living to be 130-150yrs old should be quite easy. And whats more you won't spend those extra years lying in a hospital bed with a chronic or terminal condition rather you will enjoy every last day of your life.
So bite the bullet and invest in your health because you have everything to gain.
Monday, December 1, 2008
The 3 Most important factors for health are: Food, Relationships, and Communication. Perhaps this is why family dinners and eating with friends feels so good?!
The universe is purely based on communication. God 'spoke' the universe into existence. Yet if you look at the universe from purely scientific or mathematical terms you miss the boat with your health. Everything becomes a numbers game. Rather than the holistic view of learning to communicate with your body and listen for intuitive signs of what feels right for your health and wrong for your health.
Think about how much better you feel when you are in a relationship with someone amazing. Think about how bad you feel when your relationship is not going well or if you are with a bad person. Relationships always produce emotion in us. Emotions are more powerful than anything as far as controlling our biochemistry and subsequently our health. If you feel supported and loved you will do better in life period. This is why people in isolation deteriorate quickly. From my previous posts on acid/alkaline balance you will remember that negative emotions produce a far greater acid load on the body than even the worst foods. Whereas positive emotions produce some of the best alkalizing agents ever. Hence, laughter truly is the best medicine.
Focus on what you eat, focus on how you speak, focus on who you spend time with and how they make you feel. If you can optimize these things you will feel incredible everyday.
Here's the thing, most diets fail because they go completely opposite of natural human psychology. To restrict yourself from something or to limit yourself, is not normal. But if you continuously include more foods and open yourself up to more variety then you naturally push bad or more inferior foods out of your diet. You start to crave the good things more and more, and slowly become repulsed by the bad things.
Start by picking one healthy food that intrigues you. Begin to eat it regularly. Because your body can only handle so much food your goal to eat more of this one healthy food will automatically push one or more bad foods out of your diet. This is a much more instinctive way of dieting. Think of it as diet by natural selection.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
If you had a million dollar race horse would you deprive
it of valuable sleep,give it drugs, cigarettes, alcohol,
junk food and sit it in front of a TV for a few
hours a day? How about a $100 dollar parrot? A $10 dog?
A$5 cat? How about a billion dollar body? (adapted from
Point being you are infinitely more valuable than any
other creature or possession on this earth-now start
treating yourself like it.
#1 Deep Breathing Exercise for Improving Lung Capacity, Correcting Poor Breathing Habits, and Trimming Your Waistline.
Call it the ‘vacuum’, Farmer Burns Stomach Flattener, or 5 seconds Abs. But no matter what name you affix to it the exercise I will teach you below is easily the best exercise in existence for improving your lung capacity, correcting poor breathing habits, and trimming your waistline.
Breathing is central to good health, so it only seems right to make a simple breathing exercise the foundation of your current health regiment. Farmer Burns along with many other elite physical culturists over the course of the centuries have stated;
“Breathing has made many a sick man well, and many a weak man strong.”
I think two of the best benefits of this exercise are that it cone be done anywhere and by anyone. Most abdominal exercises you are familiar with must be done on the floor or with a bulky piece of equipment. Secondly, most abdominal exercises you are familiar with are only suitable for those who have a decent base level of fitness, certainly not someone who has been bed ridden for months. Well guess what with a little practice this little exercise can be done in a full tuxedo without your bow tie getting even slightly out of place. It can also be done by a patient whose feet haven’t touched the floor in months.
This exercise can be done standing, sitting, lying down, in the shower, on the toilet, waiting in line, sitting in traffic, on a long flight, at work, on a long walk, in a restaurant, etc. I hope you get the idea. IF you can think of a situation, you can probably do the vacuum in conjunction with it. The people who have truly mastered this exercise can actually do it in conjunction with some of the other exercises they do. So instead of spending hours each week on your abs if you have five minutes or find yourself in any one of the above mentioned situations you can get a complete ab workout and oxygenate your blood stream in the process.
I will describe this exercise to you in detail before I go on to the specific benefits of it. It is best to learn the exercise from a standing position until you become familiar with the muscles being worked and the coordination needed to execute a proper repetition.
1) Stand normally with good posture. Begin inhaling through your nose and as you are doing do push your stomach out and try to direct your inhaled breath into your stomach. This will seem weird at first but with a little practice you will find you can take in much more air than a normal inhalation involving just your chest. This inhalation phase should take approximately 5 seconds.
2) Once you have reach your peak inhalation hold your breath for 5 seconds while simultaneously tensing your abs. Persons with high blood pressure should either skip this step or shorten it to 1 or 2 seconds.
3) Then through pursed lips begin exhaling slowly, while simultaneously drawing your belly button towards your spine and continuously tensing your abdominals. When your abs are drawn in correctly you may look like a malnourished Ethiopian child like we all remember seeing in World Vision commercials. You will have a ‘hollow’ and likely be able to see some if not all of your ribs. The exhalation phase should take 5 seconds as well. It should be forceful and you should be able to hear and feel the air rushing out of you in a controlled manner. Drawing in the lower abs is of primary importance. You may notice a strengthening of the pelvic floor by practicing this exercise as well.
4) This can be considered a bonus step but the feeling is worthwhile. After all the air is exhaled tighten up all your ab muscles that much more and you can even hunch forward a bit to get an extra squeeze. Try holding this for 5 seconds as well before you begin the next inhalation phase. Even the most advanced fitness experts should notice a tight feeling, almost borderline cramping in their abs within the first rep or two.
It may take a while to get this all figures out but once you have it you can often practice it while doing 2 or 3 other things-it almost becomes instinctive. Shoot for a minimum of 10 reps per session.
When holding each phase for 5 seconds becomes too easy try lengthening each phase to 7 seconds, then 10, then 15 and so on. It isn’t uncommon for breath masters to be able to make one complete rep of this exercise last for 1 minute.
Whether or not this exercise actually burns fat is somewhat debatable but physiologically speaking the main reason people do cardio is to force their bodies to consume more oxygen is to ‘oxidize’ the fat or to ‘burn’ the fat. It is the same process believe it or not. You are consuming massive amounts of oxygen by performing this exercise, which in turn reaches your tissues and burns the fat away. So in theory, skip the treadmill and do a few sets of this exercise. You will feel much more energized. I can’t actually prove it but if you try it you will begin to understand what I am talking about.
The second half of this fabulous exercise is the muscular strengthening portion. The drawing in of the stomach and the tensing portion at the end serves to strengthen and tone your abs in a different way than anything else. You see when most people train abs they focus almost completely on the six pack or the rectus abdominus muscles. While these muscles have some benefit ultimately they just add muscular bulk to your midsection. Not exactly what you want if are trying to trim down. Furthermore the majority of the exercise that work the rectus abdominus create muscle imbalance and muscle strain.
The vacuum works all your abdominal muscles but most specifically a muscle called the transverse abdominus.(TVA) The muscle does what the name indicates and runs across the abdomen creating a natural girdle of sorts. As we age this muscle becomes incredibly weak. This is why even if some one doesn’t have much visible abdominal fat they can still appear to have a belly of sorts. The vacuum tightens the TVA like nothing else so your girdle pulls everything in together giving you a slim look. Of course this takes some dedicated effort as in at least a few weeks of doing 10 reps of doing this exercise everyday. In the past it is not uncommon for me to have knocked off 3 inches from my waistline by consistently practicing this exercise and changing nothing else.
Have you ever been sitting or lying on the spot and suddenly felt short of breath or felt like you are breathing in an extremely shallow manner. I bet if you really think about it these are also the times you feel tired or stressed out as well. This is because much of the fatigue people experience is from shallow or improper breathing therefore resulting in poor oxygen intake. In addition when we are stressed or frustrated we tend to breathe more rapidly but also more shallow. This again results in poor oxygenation and an uncomfortable feeling which only heightens the stress. But when you feel these things do a few reps of the vacuum and you will instantly feel energized, or if stressed you will feel more relieved and more in control of your situation. It is often recommended you do this exercise when you first wake up to correctly set your breathing patterns, oxygenate your bloodstream giving you more energy, and it helps put you in a positive frame of mind.
You will likely find a few weeks of practice makes other cardiovascular endeavours easier because your lungs have stretched and your actually chanmber your lungs sit in has expanded allowing your lungs more room to expand. Furthermore, your breathing muscles, particularly your diaphragm, are stronger. Also note when you are panting and puffing after a tough exercise bout you will likely see your stomach going in and out rapidly.
Probably one last benefit of the exercise is that it puts us back into infant like breathing patterns. You see when we are first born we have perfectly correct breathing patterns. Most healthy infants as you may have observed are tummy breathers. You can watch as they inhale their stomach expands. Conversely with each exhale the stomach gets pulled in. Sure sounds like the exercise I just described doesn’t it. Then through laziness, mimicry, and poor posture we slowly lose these habits. Similarly most infants and toddlers have perfect movement patterns. Instead of bending over at the waist to pick something up they squat down. They have good posture, etc. Then again laziness and mimicry destroy these patterns. A mentor of mine once said the fastest way to grow old is to sit on the couch. How true. Not only are you completely non active but your body is becoming accustomed to an unnatural position. Hence why so many older people have such stiff hips. But if we maintain the habit of sitting on the floor regularly and in random positions, changing frequently we can maintain much of our youthful limberness. Another coach points out that most of his clients who have poor spinal curvature and poor squatters, were early walkers. As in they learned to walk before many of their peers. While this seems good from a motor function standpoint it is not good for spinal development and hip strength. The crawling phase of babies is what helps develop the ‘S’ curve of the spine and strengthens the hips for further activities later in life. So don’t push your kids to walk too soon.
As you can see the foundation of health can be found in childlike patterns as instinctive behaviors that gave us energy and vitality as children can do the same for adults.
So practice the vacuum correctly and consistently for several weeks and I’m sure you will be a believer. And you may notice things I didn’t even mention here. Improved digestion and elimination are 2 more common testimonies. Have fun with it!
By the way I cannot take credit for this exercise. As with all information there is nothing new but only great discoveries being rediscovered. So if you want to get the full story on this exercise and many other highly effective ab exercises that don’t even involve lying on the floor, go to www.mattfurey.com and pick up a copy of Combat ABS.
First find a decently long staircase 20 steps or more is ideal. apartments, stadiums, schools, gyms, or any other public buildings will be the best places to find such a staircase. Put your hands on the bottom stair or on the landing of where you you are starting. Put your feet several stairs above your hands (just how many stairs depends on your height and the angle of the staircase.) Now you are essentially in an incline pushup position. Now start by moving one hand up a step or two then do the same with the other. Almost at the same time you are moving your feet up one or two stairs at a time. The 2 key points during the exercise are: always keep your body in as straight a line as possible; your hips may be slightly higher but you should be able to draw a straight line from your heels to your head. The second point is that throughout the entire exercise only your hands and feet ar touching the staircase. Not your hips, legs, or chest, etc.
This exercise is only made better by alternating it with stair sprints. Now you have some great fat burning cardio coupled with a devastating strength exercise. Usually 10 sets of stair sprints per one set of stair crawls. Repeat this 4-5x and you just completed one of the best workouts of your life. If you are sadistic try doing the stair crawls going down the stairs. You think It'd be easier but it's not. Enjoy!
If you think my health and fitness views are a little unorthodox you may not be surprised to find out my financial views are quite contrary to what you may have heard as well.
While the majority of people believe wealth is evil and that those with money are just lucky I will be the first to tell you that money is not evil and those that have it have learned how money works and that's why they have it. In case you think that money does not provide at least some degree of happiness see this quote below:
The research by Stevenson and Wolfers shows that people living in households with annual incomes of $250,000 tended to report higher levels of personal satisfaction than people living in households with annual earnings of $120,000.
"We didn't look at the super-rich, so we can't really say if Bill Gates is that much happier than the rest of us," Stevenson says.
IMHO, money is like a magnifiying glass. If you are basically a good person having money can only make you better. If you are a bad, selfish person money will only make you worse.
On another note, wealth and business expert Dani Johnson is fond of saying;"Greed doesn't have an amount!" In other words the street bum who would kill for $20 is just as greedy as the millionaire who wants another million. It all depends on the intent and method for the money.
To illustrate just how belief driven money is if only 6% of American families live well above the norm for income clearly they have some different beliefs about how to handle their finances.
About 1% of American families have annual incomes of $250,000 or more, while just 5% earn $120,000 or more.
Stop the f@#$%n pitty party fatty!
I used to be a fatty, and I know what it feels like .But I also know what it feels like to conquer it. And I know that if I can do it anyone can. Just like most of you the chips seemed to be stacked against me. Small town, virtually no decent fitness facilities. Overweight family with poor lifestyle habits, siblings included, no decent internet info at that time, busy as heck, appeared to have geneticdisorder that made me gain weight, no one to teach me, lack of supplements/healthy food, no money, etc. Name any other excuse you hear people use and I had it. But finally something snapped. After being harassed by peers at school a bit too much I made a promise to myself that I would be better than them all in a few short years. Sure enough for years later they were eating my dust in almost every athletic event and I was leading them on the wresting mat.
It started with jogging/walking 1km. Then it built up to jogging 5km over time and soon enough 10km, 2-3x per week. Simultaneously, I was doing 50 crunches per day which gradually built up to well over 500 reps of various ab exercises each night. While I hadn't made any drastic dietar changes I was at least eating less junk.
On Thanksgiving weekend we went to my Grandpa's farm upon which I found an old vinyl weight set my uncle used to use. Maybe 100lbs tops. I asked him if I could take it home and he agreed. Now almost any monkey instinctively knows how to do curls, military presses, and bench press. But I knew this wasn't enough to cause changes in my body. So I went to our crappy small town library to find out whatever I could on fitness. A copy of Beyond Built by Bob Paris and a tattered copy of High Intensity Strength Training by Dr. Ellignton Darden would be my personal guides for the next 3 yrs. I practically memorized every page of those books using whatever I could do gain another pound of muscle or drop another pound of fat.
Year by year I was exposed to more and more fitness info via the web, magazines,books, and old time trainers in whatever gym I stumbled into. Long story short I didn't find the knowledge I truly wanted until I could understand and accept what was being taught to me. As the old Chinese proverb goes 'when the student is readyt the teacher will appear.'
Contrast my story with the quote below held by most of North America's obese population:
"They feel they are regarded as lazy, self-indulgent, and blamed for the fact they are overweight, despite the fact they may have to struggle to overcome it,"
Well guess what fatty? You will have to struggle to overcome it. Nothing worth having in life is easy including your ideal body. You will have to struggle because obesity is a mental illness. You will have to build yourself up psychologically even more than you will physically.
And yes you are lazy and self indulgent because anyone who actually tries anything usually meets with some success. Millions of people have successfully lost weight and kept it off, so I think that those who aren't yet slim are either making excuses or barking up the wrong tree.
A continuation on a previous blog about taking action Immediately versus debating petty nuances about which approach is best. Action means more than learning. Just start doing and figure it out as you go along. Let's say it takes you 3 months to arrive at you answer by experimentation, that is better than 1 yr by sitting on your duff reading countless reports and studies that will only confuse you more. Just because you find out what works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you. Only if you try it for yourself will you come up with a definitive answer.
Who cares about methods so long as you get the correct answer. It doesn't matter if you decide 3+3=5 or 2+4=6; if 6 is the answer you are looking for then so be it.
Don't get me wrong I am all for efficiency and making well educated decisions but sometimes instead of deciding how to go around, above, or under an obstacle, why not just plow right through!
Why are people fat? why are people poor? Why are people in such relational stress?
Not living the way God created us to is the short answer. You see people question why they can't live a certain way without experiencing negative cosequences. Whether it is health, relationships or finances if you aren't experiencing joy in any of these areas question whether or not your are abiding by Biblical standards in any of these areas and I'm sure you will see a huge discrepancy between how you are living and what God intended.
While I am not perfect in this area, anytime I encounter huge resistance I simply look at the way I am living versus what God's word says. Once I reconcile the two I experience much more peace.
If you are fat you are not treating your body the way God intended. If you are poor you are not treating your finances the way God intended. If your marriage is on the rocks you are not treating your wife the way God intended.
In our mixed up crazy world we have to believe that the almighty dollar has influenced all aspects of outr life including our diets. That's right; the large majority of what you believe to be healthy or unhealthy is influenced by government sponsorship of a particular industry and lobby groups so powerful they make the KGB look like kids with cap guns.
IN this third installment of Man Can't Live by Bread Alone we look primarily at the economic reasons why grains are so prevalent in our society.
Let's start with common breakfast foods. Like most people you probably enjoy a few eggs now and again. But you are limiting yourself on how many you consume because you don't want to raise your cholesterol levels and you are also consuming a lot of fat with each egg. Think again. The majority of negative studies concerning eggs were funded and published by the the Cereal Board in Canada and the US; one of the biggest pushers of grains. Again if eggs come from free range chickens they can easily be a highly beneficial source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are very heart friendly. Further more the dietary connection between regularly consuming cholesterol containing foods and having a high level of cholesterol is very weak. In fact lowering your dietary intake of cholesterol in most cases raises you blood cholesterol levels. Your body will produce cholesterol whether you consume it or not so your actual cholesterol levels are more of a genetic preset. However switching to an alkalizing diet will drastically improve your LDL cholesterol levels, but this could be a whole new blog on it's own.
Secondly, the studies didn't differentiate between the two types of cholesterol. Eggs do raise cholesterol, but it's HDL cholsterol that is raised-the good kind.
Corn is another common grain that has crept it's way in to every facet of our food chain. While technically corn isn't even good for animal feed as any meat raised on corn will be very high in omega 6 fatty acids which isn't good in the long run. Animals like humans are meant to be raised on diets that contain a high amount of live green products.
You see corn used to be dirt cheap. So not many people grew it because you would have to have a massive farming operation to make a decent buck. Then the government subsidized corn farmers to grow corn, because it was such an easy crop to grow, especially for the northern states and southern Canada. Sooner or later they had more corn than theyh knew what to do with so they began finding ways to produce different products with corn, hence corn starch, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, etc. and a whole host of other corn products that make otherwise decent foods very unhealthy because of its poor nutritional content and extremely high glycemic index. Now these corn byproducts and host of others are present on almost every food lining grocery store shelves from ice cream to breads to meat to fruit snacks.
Potatoes are yet another example of a food that was barely edible for animals yet soon began to become a staple for humans. 100-200yrs ago they weren't too bad but with the mass degredation of the food chain potatoes have become a definite no-no. Probably first becoming a regular at dinner tables with the advent of the Irish potatoe famine, but once the famine stopped people couldn't let go and so a whole host of potatoe derived products were born.
Another example of sponshorship would be that the Wheat Board in each respective country helped sponsor the food giude or pyramid and the subsequent mass education program that promoted 10-15 servings of grains. While my initial beef with the whole food guide thing is that they failed to properly educate consumers on what a serving is, and furthermore the concept of a serving has changed drastically from 50-60 yrs ago. Compare a slice of bread from 1965 to 2008 and I think you may see a 30-40% increase. Finally in the last two years the medical community has begun to wake up and at least realize that vegetables should at leat be on par with grains at 9-13 servigs per day.
My contention with grains being the base of the pyramid is that grains are easily the most dispensible part of it. Every nutrient contained in grains can easily be found in any other food group and likely in greater quantities too. IN a future blog entry I will outline what my food pyramid would look like.
In short many cultures have survived thousands of years without grains in their diet so why start now? Secondly myself and many of my clients have avoided grains for several years and not only suffered no ill effects but felt energized because of it.
Whether or not you agree witgh me is okay but if you think you need grains to be healthy and vital try 30 days without it and I bet you won't want to go back.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Boil water. Pour into heat resistant container. Add in 1 bag of health-giving tea.(i.e. green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong, yerba mate, etc.) Then add in 1 bag of fruit flavoured tea(cranberry, orange, blueberry, etc.) Add 1tsp of organic raw honey or organic maple syrup while it is still hot so it dissolves quickly. Then 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice. Shake it up and let chill for a few hours. Shake it again before you drink.
I know you will be impressed with this idea for keeping yourself going strong all summer. Experiment with different combinations of flavors and add honey and lemon to your individual preference. I usually add 1 teabag of each kind (1 healthy tea, 1 herbal fruit tea) to 400ml of water. But I will almost always make 1L at a time so I add 2 of each kind of tea.
This is so packed with antioxidants, natural caffiene, immune boosting herbs, and flavor it is a great treat for your body. Made correctly it honestly tastes like a commercially produced iced tea or fruit punch with out all the destructive sugars and additives. Now you can drink great tasting beverages all the time without worrying about adding a single pound-in fact it will likely help you drop pounds faster. Enjoy
Monday, April 7, 2008
Now onto the historical and anthropological reason one shoes avoid grains. First let me start by saying that our ancestors at least initially didn't consume grains. Whether you believe in the Bible or evolution if you dig far enough I'm confident you will agree with me that early mankind lived a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. This means They either killed their food or picked off trees and bushes in the form of nuts, fruits, and berries. Or they foraged for it on the ground, as in leaves and roughage, vegetables, and such. Being I believer in creation I can say that our bodies were created for this lifestyle. Notice it is also a lifestyle that perpetuates much activity, something else that is necessary for longevity and health. Contrary to a dependancy on an agricultural lifestyle which while it has some active components it also lends itself to long periods of inactivity and a lack of fresh, live foods.
Agriculture,therefore grains, didn't appear until 3 main events occured. One people stopped being quite so nomadic and could actually consistantly begin to farm a single plot of land. Urbanization began to occur, leading to the necessity of a food source that could go along way, or feed many with little. And lastly famines began to hit different civilizations forcing them to find a cheap reliable food source that was hearty and would not die out as animals and livestock would. Therefore any use of grains by ancient peoples was more of a last resort and a once in a while thing rather than a staple in their diets as it has become now. Who knows how long ancient peoples lived before the advent of agriculture and grains (again it depends on your world view) but we can safely say it was at least long enough for our bodies to function best on hunter/gatherer foods.
Furthermore let us not forget that the types of grains our ancestors consumed were significantly different than what we consume today. Firstly, the only real processing grains went through historically was to cut them from the fields take them to the mills to be ground into a whole flour with the chaff sifted out. then they were combined with natural oils to bake breads. Yeast was rarely used. Historically grains were only consumed that had gone through germination, sprouting, or fermentation. Any of these three processes nulified the phytic acid in the grains and brought out the most beneficial components of the grains. THese grains were alive. TOday unless it is a company like Good For You foods that makes live grain products like Ezekial breads, etc all based on bliblical recipes then it is best to stay away.
Dr. Carl Taylor renowned naturopathicphysician Wwhen doing a lecture in London, Ontario in 2003 held up several test tubes of grain that had been separated into it's many components. He showed that the bread he grew up on almost 65 yrs ago contained 9 out of 11 elements of a complete grain while whole wheat breads today only contain maybe only 3 0r 4 out of 11. He then sarcastically eluded to the fact that the modern day recipe for bread was white flour and water which was also the recipe for glue when he was in kindergarten. Hence the abundance of digestive issues that plague persons who eat copious amont of grain.
Don Tollman, another well sought after health lecturer talks about the book of Daniel (ch 1:8-15) and Daniels challenge to the king. Daniel wanted to prove to the king that a diet if simple, live foods (referred to as pulse) would far more improve the health of the people than a diet of rich calorically dense foods that the nobility regularly ate. After the testing period was over Daniel's men wer much stronger while the king's men suffered from many of the common ills we see today in society.
Further more not all cultures are well suited to a grain based diet which is why I think the Canada/American food guides are so shamefull. You have two countries that pride themselves on multi-culturalism; yet their dietary counseling takes a very narrow minded approach that maybe only works for a very specific demographic. For example the Inuit peoples survuve on no grains because they have virtually no growing season. Also vegetation in general (a great arguement for the anti-vegan lifestyle). It is mostly animal products with a small amount of evergreen type plants and sea vegetation. Yet they can boast about as many centurians as any other culture in the world. Yet when they are put on the typical North-American diet theyh balloon up like whales. You see every culture in the world; with their wide variety of diets can boast a great deal of people who are healthy and strong well into their hundreds and so it is sensless to argue that one ethnicity has the dietary solutions to all things. Either take a sampling from all cultures and see waht works best for you or get in touch with your own ethnic roots and do your best to mimic your great-grandparents eating habits. This is where you may find true change.
For example my ethnicity is half German; half Ukranian so I gain weight quickly with grains. I do best with mostly vegetables and lean meats and dairy. One muast keep in mind more specifically than ethnicity is the region of the country you are from. A larger country will differ quite a lot from region to region. So someone claiming to eat traditional Chinese cuisine may have drastically different views than another Chinese person.
Most Asians, Africans, and South Americans do well with grains because it has been apart of them for several thousand years. Whereas most caucasian/ European persons do better with the hunter gatherer diet.
Here is another important point. There is a huge difference between eating grains and living off them. Most people could do quite well with 40-50g per day of grain based carbohydrates yet the average person will easily consume 200-300+g of grains per day. Even if these were all live grains you would still be doing yourself a great diservice.
Here is a simple test to see how well you tolerate grains or carbs in general. When you wake up in the morning assess your energy levels and overall mood. Then prepare yourself a high carbohydrate breakfast. The typical Canadian breakfast with pancakes and maple syrup, toast and orange juice would be ideal. Then assess your energy levels and mood afterwards, say an hour later. IFyou feel lethargic, bloated, or depressed, it is safe to say you do not tolerate carbs well. However if you feel energetic and 'light' you can probably make grains a regular part of your diet without compromising your health.
If you are to eat grains it is best to eat them in the morning as your glucose tolerance is higher. Also you have the rest of the day to deal with any ill effects. Or they may be permitted after a particularly intense workout but I suggest it be a killer before you use this. THe idea being that when your body is severely taxed that it will quickly and easily utilize glucose based foods to rebuild glycogen stores in the muscles and liver.
Also the more naturally lean you are the better propensity you have for metabolizing grains well. However if you naturally carry some extra weight around or you have softer features avoiding carbs or grains in general for prolonged periods is advised.
There used to be a big difference 50 yrs ago between complex carbs and simple carbs. Now there is way too much crossover. So if you are in doubt- go without.
To me this last stat is the kicker in the no grains vs grains arguement. Back in the late eighteen and early nineteen hundreds when being a bit bigger was in vogue they had actual weight gain doctors whose entire practice was to help slender patients pack on the pounds. One of their chief recommendations was to eat breakfast cereals comprised mainly of grains. How many people do you know to today that are desperately trying to lose weight that start and end their day with a bowl of their favorite breakfast cereal.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I must say right off the bat I am not anti-carb I simply advocate the proper kinds of carbohydrates. Vegetables and fruits instead of grains that a) are overconsumed b) over processed and c) over-rated.
There are 3 primary reasons why I strongly advise people with excess bodyfat to avoid grains; they are physiological, historical/anthropological, and economic.
The physiological reasons are as follows. It is no mystery that carbohydrate consumption makes the body retain water to a certain extent. This is why diets and especially low-carb diets have such a rapid initial weight-loss because the avoidance of carbs, particularly grains, creates a huge dump of water weight. It is said that one gram of carbs (grains) leads to a gain of 3 grams of water weight. This is why you can follow a diet plan flawlessly for a month, have 1 pizza feast and almost instantly gain 10lbs. So to avoid this bloatedness and yo-yo weight gain, just avoid grains and simple carbs.
One primary cause of failure in dieters is cravings, the problem with grains is that they often trigger if not perpetuate cravings. Grains no matter if they are whole grains or 100% whole wheat still break down into sugars. The point is your diet needs to eliminate sugars in any form, for at least a few weeks or otherwise your cravings for junk food will keep resurfacing. This is mostly due to candida bacteria in the intestinal tract. It is safe to say that 95% of the general population has an overproduction of candida in their body. This is what perpetuates cravings and makes the body toxic which makes it very difficult to lose weight. It is natural for Candida to be in the body but only in proportion to beneficial bacteria that is already there. Candida feeds mostly off of sugars found in foods. Therefore the constant consumption of grains when trying to drop weight is counterproductive as these grains break down into sugars causing a feeding frenzy for candida bacteria only making them stronger and making your life more difficult. But if you starve the candida by cutting out grains and simple sugars the bacterial balance is normalized, cravings disappear, toxins disappear and fat disappears.
Not only does the breakdown of sugars in your body pose a risk to your digestive health it can slowly damage the rest of your body as well through a process known as glycation (literally a burning proces) which is responsible for the Maillard effect or a browning or aging of the inside of the body. Reducing grains especially simple or over-processed grains and sugars in your diet will dramatically limt this process helping you to age slower.
Ask yourself this question, what good is a fat loss diet if it does not hel pme burn fat? Yet another reason to avoid grain consumption is simply for the fact that by consuming grains especially in an attempt to burn fat is either slowly the process down dramatically or bringing it to a grinding halt. This all stems from the way your body will get it's primary source of energy. When you depend on grains and sugars for energy your body will continue to use grains as your energy source leaving your fat stores completely intact. But when you switch to alternative energy sources it then will begin to catabolize your fat stores as its primary fuel source. This is because to brings back to a famine like state where energy in the form of glucose isn't readily available anymore so it begind to go after the next most plentiful source of energy. The only downside is that fat is a more complex molecule so it does take longer to break down for energy. This is why many people feel sluggish on their first few days of a no grains eating plan. But a few day later when the fat burning process has become more efficient their energy levels soar again. Likewise when you switch back to grains you will likely feel sluggish again. this happens because your body will suddenly realize that grains are not an optimal fuel source and it will also have to go through the process of switching how it produces energy again. Going from fat burning back to carbohydrate and sugar metabolism.
Lastly, a metabolic by-product of grains is phytic acid. This is quite harmful to the alkaline balance of the body which is necessary for maintaining optimal health. A lowered pH compromises your immune system, breaks down healthy tissue, and slows down cellular metabolism. Not of these are beneficial for anyone trying to drop excesss weight or gain energy.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
My first point is that anytime you are consuming caffeine or any other stimulant you are actually taking a loan out on the energy your body produces. Think of your body like a bank. It only has the capability to produce so much energy each day. So to consume stimulants it is actually borrowing from your body's reserves for tomorrow thus leaving you in an 'overdraft' like state. So the key is to consume a diet rich in a variety of nutrients to help replenish the body's natural energy production each day.
Key nutrients include Vitamin B in all it's forms, all major electrolytes including but not limited to; calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium(this is because an increased metabolism not only requires more electrolytes to function but caffeine in particular causes leaching of minerals and electrolytes from your body's bones and tissues also leaving you in a deficit.), Amino acids particularly LTyrosine and DL Phenylalanine, plenty of water (probably 500ml for every 250mg of caffeine or other stimulants consumed) this will not only combat the diuretic effects but when your body's metabolism is elevated it is using more water than normal to carry out it's metabolic functions, so you are burning through water like crazy. Also a diet high in fruits and vegetables is key to provide all the minerals and vitamins necessary to aid energy production and combat oxidative stress, both from the alkaline balance created by fruits and veggies but also by the ORAC units contained in fruits and veggies. (Once again elevated metabolism= higher rate of cellular metabolism=more oxidative stress=more free radical damage.) You need the alkalinity because increased cellular metabolism produces a higher acid load on the body as well as most beverages consumed by people that contain caffeine or stimulants are highly acidic themselves. Finally it's good to consume a few herbs that are proven to relax and calm and help restore your adrenal function and CNS. These include passion flower and rhodiola.
While coffee will probably be the death of western civilization, especially for those who can't make it through the day without joining the mile long line at Tim Horton's, there is increasing evidence that coffee does contain high levels of antioxidants. As famed coach Charles Poliquin puts it, "Coffee is likely the only bitter herb most people will ever consume with any regularity therefore if it means they will get the antioxidant benefit from it , that makes it somewhat worthwhile." This is because bitter herbs are higher in antioxidants than sweet herbs. Coffee has also been noted to boost exercise performance thus boosting fat loss and it increases insulin sensitivity.
So if you are going to caffeinate or stimulate here are my recommendations:
1) Limit yourself to less than 3 cups of coffee or tea per day. Any more than this and you already have a significant addiction to stimulants and your adrenal system is likely already burned out.
2) Use herbal forms of caffeine as much as possible because they are gentler on your body and have less potential for upregulation (constantly increasing doses). For example most people understand tea is better than coffee. Also try things like yerba mate, ma huang, brazilian cocoa, guarana, etc. One of the best natural stimulants you can purchase is Xooma Worldwide's AM Formula (www.xoomaworldwide.com/dynamite).
3) Consume plenty of mineral and antioxidant rich fruits and veggies.
4) Consume alkaline and electrolyte rich beverages such as Xooma Worldwide's Xtreme X2O.
5) Consume high ORAC containing foods or when in doubt a few shots of MonaVie Active (www.drinkitfree.com)
6) Avoid taking Red Bull or any other popular beverages like it. The fact that you are not supposed to consume more that 2 cans a day tells you right a way that is is destroying your body. Furthermore it is loaded with sugar and acid. Products like this are a sure recipe for adrenal burnout .
7) Also consume micronutrients known for boosting natural energy production. Such as blue green algae, chlorella, and spirulina. Available in HTN's Adult Superfood (www.gohtn.com/solutions).
8)Consume plenty of water again, 500ml for every 250mg of caffeine consumed. This is above and beyond your normal water consumption. Also see point #4.
9) If you are well rested and eating healthy all day, every day you shouldn't need much of a boost or at least not as frequently as most North Americans consume coffee.
10) Oh, and if you think you are doing yourself a favour by consuming decaffeinated teas or coffees think again. Not only is the decaffeination process extremely carcinogenic, it also destroys the few beneficial quality's of these foods. Either drink coffee strictly for the stimulatory benefits or not at all but don't make it a pleasure treat. In addition, if coffee is your primary source of stimilant then try to use only organic coffee as coffee ranks as one of the 5 highest crops for being sprayed with pesticides leaving you with a toxic brew.
So inconclusion, if you must have a cup of coffee hear or there it won't hurt; but make sure you are protecting yourself.
The first is to remove any consequence from the goal, thus taking away the fear of failure which will sometimes cause you to self sabotage. It's like you are treating your goal as a science experiment to see if you can prove or disprove your hypothesis. For example you may ask yourself 'I wonder what would happen to my physique if I ate cleanly for the next 6 weeks?' Or it may be " I wonder what would happen if I saved 10% of my paycheck for the next calendar year? Would that give me enough to travel for a month?" Again looking at your goals this way removes any negative connotations a particular goal may carry.
The next technique I have found to be very useful. You see the most common way a person may motivate themselves to reach a particular goal is to give themselves a reward both at the completion of that goal and for different milestones along the way. This is good except that many people will rationalize their failures away until they feel justified rewarding themselves whether or not they've actually achieved their goals. Secondly, if you don't want that goal bad enough or you don't want that reward bad enough it won't be a powerful enough tool to pull you through the tough times. You will likely quit and say " Oh, I didn't need or want _______ that much anyway." Thirdly, our society is so weak that many of us haven't even achieved significant goals in our lives to begin with therefore we can't relate to that feeling of absolute extasy that comes with actually reaching a worthwhile goal.
So what is your alternative you are asking. Create a negative consequence for not achieving your goal. You see all humans are motivated by 2 powerful factors; to gain pleasure and to avoid pain. Sometimes it's just one and sometimes it's both. So if pleasure isn't enough to keep you going maybe the absolute fear or disgust of a particular negative consequence will shock you into completing your goal.
A consequence might be if I don't drop 20lbs by May 20th I am going to allow my friends to post the most humiliating pictures and videos of me that they can find on the internet and publicly embarrass me. Or if I don't sell 50 cases of product by March I will eat this can of dog food. Use whatever frightens you the most. And if you are extra masochistic you may even include a punishment for each individual screw up along the way to your goal something like doing 500 Hindu squats should you have an unplanned cheat meal, or give part of your commissions cheque away if you aren't 50% to your sales goal by the middle of the month. It it especially important to tell friends and family if you are using this method so you have extra accountability.
Once you achieve this level of of health where you truly don't have any conditions on it, it is a beautifl thing. You feel free and powerful; you feel like you can do anything!
Let's take the spiritual discipline of prayer for example. While it may be necessary to expand past a juvenille understanding of prayer that we have in sunday school, it was never meant to become a thesis topic for seminary students. We should not be concerned about the how, just begin to express yourself openly and honestly before the Creator of the Universe. Popular speaker Sundar Krishnan and Dr. James McDonald both acknowledge that while their personal libraries are absolutely full of books on prayer they have learned infinitely more on prayer by the consistent daily practice of it rather than studying it.
Now I am not sying that it is not good to have an educated opinion on topics of interest to you but the problem comes in where we know all the theory but have never used any of it. Any teacher will tell you that unless you are able to perform a certain task you don't know what you think you know. You may have read 20 books on nutrition this year but unless you have single digit body fat you don't actually know any of what you just read. If you are still getting sick those books aren't doing you any good. While it may be thought carelessto rush into certain endeavours at least you are making some progress and learning some lessons by trying. No matter how badly you screw up at least you have some solid experience to build upon.
Take all the nutrition and exercise info you've studied and actually apply it. Create a daily regiment for both. Then after a few weeks change some things and evaluate the results. Did what you just do help you, or hinder you? Then once you've adopted the positive changes and tossed the bad, change another factor, and after several weeks evaluate its influence in your life. The idea is to turn yourself into a walking experiment 24/7 so you can actually tell for yourself if what you read is true of not. This is how I live. This is why I have come to most of the conclusions I have by trying new things. Guess what some of the ideas that I thought couldn't possibly work have now formed the foundation of my daily health practices. I am not saying all things will work for all people but I will say most things will work for most people. I don't care if I fail. I don't care if I'm wrong. I would rather try a rediculous theory out for some percieved benefit, whether ot not its true, than to never know if what I just read works.
So instead of playing the sceptic all the time, instead of naysing or arguing that such and such a theory won't work just shut up and try it. You may be surprised. Next time you come across a product in a magazine that sounds to good to be true, order it and try it. What have you got to lose? At least you'll know for sure where you stand.
Years ago I read about a bodyweight conditioning program in a magazine. Not only had I never heard about the author before the claims he was making were quite unbelievable. But it was only $30 and it had a 30 day guarantee so I know I couldn't lose. After following his protocal for 30 days I felt like a new man so I know this was the real deal. Had I passed his ad off as pure nonsense I would have missed out on all that wonderful progress. Since then I have bought many more of this man's products because I know whatever he puts out is quality stuff.
Alternatively I have been burned many times by bogus products, but at least I can say first hand-it doesn't work intead of making up some BS excuse as to why it probably wouldn't work for me.
So go ahead and begin to question what you used to follow without question for a few weeks and see if that rule that you thought was so righteous actually serves a purpose. If you keep all experiments to a few weeks you will be able to see the results but if you were wrong at least you would not have done any significant harm to your body. Is it actually bad to eat a dozen whole eggs everyday? What would happen if everytime you had a piece of fruit you ate all the seeds too? Would it actually hurt me to drink over a gallon of water each day? What if I squated with my knees past my toes? What if I ate a red meat dialy in large quantities? what if I ate raw meat, or raw eggs?
Our culture seems so obsessed with knowing the 'why's' and the 'how's' of everything that most people are missing out on the true power of learning and experince. It was once said 'Do the thing and you will have th power.' Just do and the 'why' and 'how' will be answered for you as you go along. In many other cultures it is an insult to question your teachers. You are simply expected to imitate without question for several years before you can start to form your own opinions on things.
Just Do It!!! DO,DO,DO!!! And the next time I see a pudgy housewife question the opinions of a seasoned nutrition guru or a beer-bellied welfare earner questioning a seasoned multi-millionaire invester I am going to stick a fork in my eye!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Here's where it becomes a great tool. When you find yourself tempted to give up think of what that person would do. Would _______ skip his/her workout? Would______ eat this donut, etc.? you'll find it keeps you motivated when you know very well that the person possessing your ideal physique didn't just quite when they wanted to.
You'll find works good for other areas of your life, spiritual, financial/ career,etc. If you are really lucky you will find an exceptional person who matches your goals in all areas. While it is cliche by now, Stephen Covey couldn't have been more right when he said- 'Begin with the end in mind.'
Now here's the second key; What is your motivation? What is your reason for doing what you are doing? Is it a reason someone else imposed on you? 'Cause if it is I can tell you it probably won't be enough to keep you going.
The doctors telling you to lose weight won't be enough.
The spouse nagging you won't be enough.
The clothes that don't fit won't be enough.
The fat jokes from friends and family won't be enough.
Looking good in a swimsuit or dress won't be enough.
These are just some of the surface level reasons people use to motivate their efforts to get healthy and fit. they may sound good but they do not stir the core of your being. That's right you need to find a reason that is so emotionally stirring that you are either moved to tears, burning with rage, or makes you feel sick to your stomach. When you have an emotional reaon that produces one of those 3 physical responses then you will have the motivation to realize whatever goal you may have physical or not.
I am often bothered by people who say that they can't do this or that yet when given the proper motivation, say a life or death situation, they do that very thing without hesitation. Say a mother says 'I could never pick up that 100lb weight' or 'I could never walk 5 miles' Yet If her child who just happen to weigh 100lbs was deathly ill and the hospital was 5 miles away she would do both in record time just to save her child. All this because her love for her child and her fear of losing that child created enough motivation to do what she previously thought was impossible.
So now I ask you to find your motivation. Make sure it becomes part of you. Grips you. Then work, without stopping, until the dream is a reality.
This is the often used statement by the lazy college student, the middle aged professional who suddenly realizes their best years have passed them by, and the rapidly aging senior who has long since given up on life. And every other negative, small minded person you may run into. Heck, you may remember yourself saying this to help cover up any guilt from failed attempts at living healthier.
So why should we bother to live healthier? Good question. While I cannot speak for every other health professional out there I will give you some of my strongest reasons that keep me motivated to live cleanly.
1) Because no one can guarantee the length of their life I figure it is best to pack in as much experience and adventure as one can into the shortest time possible. And this takes energy, LOTS of energy! I don't want to be draggin' my butt around day in day out, missing half of all there is to do and see out there because I'm too tired, lazt or sick to try.It's about being fully awake and alert to enjoy every waking second. Everything is better when your mind and body are in peak performance mode.
2) Let's say I actually do end up living a full life or past a full life time. Let's say i break the record's for human longevity in this millenium and hit 150yrs or more. (This is something I often thought I may be capable of achieving Lord willing.) But even at the national average of 75, I would like to know I have given life my best. You only have one body and do not want to spend the first half of my life abusing it only to live with the consequences of my actions for the next half of it. I would like to be one of those seniors who is still sharp as a tack, can run, lift, and jump at the drop of a hat and much more.
3) Lastly, in accordance with the Christian principle of stewardship God gave us our bodies to take care of, so we best make good on that. Living cleanly, allows you to give your best to and for God day in and day out. Knowing that I want to give my best to God is a very strong motivator for me to be in peak condition 24/7/365.
Remember it's not just quantity of life... quality means so much more. 30 amzing years would mena so much more than 100 slothful ones. You choose for yourself but I prefer quality!