Depressed? Here is a possible reason why!

•February 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Overmedicated America
Created by: Medical Billing and Coding Online

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Don’t Choke on Your Free Lunch While You’re Sleeping

•February 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

You’ve heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. It basically means that nothing comes without a cost. But there is at least one exception to this rule: sleep. While you are asleep is when the magic happens: your body reaps the biological rewards for your thoughtful eating habits and consistent exercise. And all you have to do is lay there. Awesome. Why would you want to short-change yourself on the easiest, and arguably the most important part of feeling, looking, & performing better?

When you’re sleep deprived it’s harder to concentrate, your workouts are not as intense as they could be, and you’re not as much fun to be around.  Lack of sufficient sleep is also linked to weight gain and higher stress levels. And now it’s been shown that it’s harder to resist high carbohydrate foods when you lack sufficient sleep.  A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that in sleep-deprived people, viewing pictures of food activated the part of the brain associated with hunger, compared to a relative lack of activity in that neurological region of a group that was well slept. So when you’re too tired to make breakfast because you went to bed late, it’s even harder to forgo those muffins & donuts at work (who brings those???).

If this works so well, why are so many people leaving money on the bed-side table? There are lots of reasons, but one is that we’re a culture that values “burning the candle at both ends”. We like to say things like, “the early bird gets the worm”, and “something something bootstraps”. You get it.  Well, I’m afraid of candles (fire hazard), and I don’t like worms (I mean, I respect what they do, but I’m not comfortable with them).  My point is we tend to get caught up in all of the rhetoric and as a result have become downright irresponsible about sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not against hard work or sacrificing to make things happen. Quite the contrary, in fact I think it’s our responsibility to, at the very least, meet our basic physiological needs so that we can give 100% at everything we do (sleep included). As adults, we need to be accountable for making good food choices, getting enough activity, and going to bed on time.

There are of course certain instances when will be sleep deprived, whether we’re taking care of a newborn, cramming for a test, or performing active duty in the military.  Hopefully, these are the exceptions and not the rule. Why not be well-rested and ready when these expected or unexpected situations come about?

 

References:

http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/early/2012/01/12/jc.2011-2759.full.pdf+html?sid=9e5ea53c-945a-4187-87af-37ec48bb94fe

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/EntryId/929/Tip-270-Get-Enough-Sleep-to-Lose-Weight.aspx

Cheating on Your Meals

•February 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Mmm...sweet nectar of the machine.

A common question when changing to a more whole foods approach toward eating is, “What should I have for a snack”? Or, “What can I eat between meals?”

Snacks are very big in our culture. We see and hear advertisements for them all the time.  It’s enough to make you wonder if we would even remember to grab a snack if we weren’t told to do it so often. But most Americans do remember, spending $4.26/day on snack foods and beverages.  With our busy schedules, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner have lost their place as regular meals. Many people use snacks to get them through the whole day, and then aren’t hungry for an actual meal.

The next time you go to grab a snack, try to be mindful about why you’re doing it:

  • If you’re really hungry, then think about what you had for the previous meal. Was it enough? Maybe if you bumped up the protein, fat, or fiber it would keep you satisfied longer and you wouldn’t be thinking about snacking right now. Keep that in mind when you plan your meals for the next day.
  • Do you have the urge to snack because you always have a snack at that time of day? Habits are powerful things. Through repetition we trick our brains into thinking we need to do something at a certain time. Why not test this theory out and see what happens when you skip the snack? For one day, have a glass of water or go for a walk instead. If you live, then this might be a habit worth breaking.
  • Ok, fine, you’re legitimately hungry even though you had a satiating breakfast of protein, fibrous vegetables, and good fat. Well, if you’re so hungry you should probably have your next meal. Snacks are often one type of food or macronutrient, while meals tend to be more thought out and include a wider variety of nutritional sources. So instead of ruining your appetite for your next meal, just move it ahead a little.

Snacks are a quick fix – they treat the symptoms, not the root cause. If you’ve recently changed your dietary habits, or ramped up your physical activity then your meal scheme will likely need to change, too. Pay attention to

what your body is trying to tell you. If your feel hungry in between meals, you don’t necessarily need to do anything right away. I’m confident that you won’t starve to death if you hang out with that feeling 20 or 30 minutes. It may go away altogether, and your next meal will be that much more satisfying.

Peeing Your Money Away on Fred Flinstone

•January 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Vitamins come in two major classes, fat soluble and water soluble.  The fat soluble vitamins are absorded very similar to the way that the body absorbs fat, and include Vitamins A, D, E and K.  Many of the other vitamins and minerals for that matter, are water soluble.  Minerals are chemical elements required by living organisms.

If you go down any pharmacy or retail outlet, you will see aisles stocked with different brands of bottles of multi-vitamins or bottles of a single vitamin in larger doses.  There is a lot of money in the vitamin pill industry, as many Americans, feel that ingesting a pill a day has them covered.  A major problem with a majority of these vitamins, is that much of your precious money is flushed away (yes, that fluorescent yellow urine a few hours after you take a pill is your money.  Like anything else, good quality vitamins cost more.  Did you really think for $10 you could get 90 days of quality vitamin and mineral delivery?

One main issue is that many of the formulas do not contain the vitamin in its natural form, or contain the vitamin or mineral in a form that is not easily absorbed.  Synthetic Vitamin A is different than the Beta-Carotene you will get from food.  Folic Acid, is not the same as naturally occurring folate.  Folic acid is a cheap derivative (it also does not cross the placenta very well!). Another problem with pills is that they do not contain all the other naturally occurring molecules that are found in nature in a food which help assist the absorption and assimilation of a vitamin, or mineral into the body.

Whole, unprocessed foods (grass fed meats, vegetables, fruits), alongside containing all essential vitamins and minerals also give you greater overall nutrition, more essential fibers, and other protective substances you won’t find in a pill.  The best defense against vitamin deficiency is to eat as broad a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with pasture raised eggs and meats.  Make sure you spend a little extra on good quality produce, ones which smell sweet, have a good taste, and lots of color. When organic produce is on sale, buy it up.

A great source of many vitamins and minerals are root vegetables.  Carrots (A, K, and B6), parsnips (B1d, folate, phosphorus, copper and manganese), Sweet potatoes (A,C, B6, copper, manganese).

If you feel your diet is not balanced properly from food alone and you wish to take a multi-vitamin, make sure the brand is one which uses the whole-food variety of the vitamins and minerals.  One brand which makes quality supplements is New Chapter.  You can find their stuff on Amazon.com.

H2…Ohhh, yea that stuff

•January 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I know this really cool substance that will wake you up in the morning, perk you up in the afternoon, help curb cravings, and improve your mood. And you can try it completely risk free! No, it’s not water.  Ok, fine. It’s water.

I’m not going to tell you to drink 8 glasses a day, but if you’re using that as a guideline and it works for you – great! Keep it up. But here’s another way: listening to your body. Don’t worry. You don’t need a stethoscope. Just drink water when you’re thirsty.

If you’re avoiding soft drinks, milk, fruit juice, and frappuccinos, then you’re left with water, coffee, and tea. And if you’re avoiding processed food, then you’re probably eating a lot of fresh produce, which is packed with water. You’re getting quite a bit of water from a variety of sources so you’re probably not in danger of chronic dehydration.  Go ahead and chalk one more in the “W” column.

Get your own: no toxins, no waste, no worries.

So, we’ve established that drinking water doesn’t have to be a chore. This is good news. But the better news is the boost that you can get by turning to this ancient & energizing elixir.

  • Drinking a glass of water right after getting up in the morning is a great way to let your body know it’s time to wake up.
  • Try replacing your afternoon cup of coffee with ice water. You’ll be surprised how much it can perk you up (and not keep you awake later that night).
  • If you’re feeling down or lethargic for no reason, you might just need some water. Also, smile. Hey, it can’t hurt!

What about the agua when you’re in the gym or out for a run? The threat of dehydration during exercise and sports has been used as a tool to sell more Gatorade and other sports drinks for thirty years. While it’s true that athletes should not be restricted from drinking water during extreme efforts, the average adult does not need Powerade to get through a workout. Unlike the large beverage corporations, I think you’re fully capable of operating on water alone, and not a secret formula of electrolytes, sodium, and red dye #5.  Even though it sounds delicious. Mmm…red dye #5.

Counting Calories, Weighing and Measuring, and Food Quality

•January 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Are you one of those who has spent time obsessing over how many calories you need to eat in a given day?  Making sure you do not exceed a certain calorie amount, so that the calories you take in is less than the calories you burn in the gym? How has that worked for you long term?  I know for me, it has always resulted in my being hungry all the time, and when I get hungry, I get cranky.  I also do not enjoy food, I am more tired, and forget having the energy to work out, although, I need to burn more calories than I ingest.  Recipes for failure.

How about weighing and measuring foods to try to get the right macronutrient ratios?  I tried this once.  What a pain in the ass! Did it last? About two days.

One of the things most important to Nutrition, Diet and Health when it comes to the foods we eat, is food quality.  Eating a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreo’s is not food quality.    Food quality means getting rid foods made in a factory somewhere by machines (guess where bread, pasta, crackers, etc are made?), and enhancing your diet with foods made in a field somewhere, by mother nature.  Natural foods have the essential vitamins and minerals added in from the soil.  Factory foods may have vitamins and minerals added in but those have been chemically synthesized in another factory.  When you take vitamins and minerals outside of the context of the food they are part of, things just don’t work as well.

The great thing about enhancing food quality is you don’t need to count calories, or weigh and measure.  Eat meat.  Eat a ton of veggies.  Eat until you feel full.  Eat again when you are hungry, but when you snack, don’t snack on something manufactured, snack on something grown.  Put the food scale and calorie counter away.  Just eat the food that mother nature gives us, and you will end up healthier and happier!

Start Kidding Yourself

•January 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, purple ketchup, lunchables, and crazy straws. Parents and marketers alike are always trying to make foods more kid-friendly: fun, bite-size, colorful. Kids have it good, right? And who thinks of all this fun stuff? Adults. Adults are the masterminds of fun. Kids have been riding our coattails forever.

While the products mentioned above are gimmicky and would not be classified as healthy, they are fun and easy to eat.  Aesthetics and ease make a big difference when it comes to food. Think about it. Are you more likely to break into a big bunch of celery with a rubber band wrapped around it, or some neatly cut celery sticks? Are you more likely to start chomping on a whole carrot unpeeled and a little dirty, or some bite size carrot sticks? Are you… do I need to do this three times? I think you get the point.

Just because you’re an adult does not mean your food has to be boring.  And just because you’re eating the most nutritious food you can find, doesn’t mean your food can’t be dazzling to the eye.  Here are some fun ideas that will blow chicken nugget raptors out of the water:

  • Lettuce tacos with beef, shrimp, fish, or chicken. Dice up some tomatoes, olives, and chiles. Throw on some salsa. Hey, I made a recipe! Nom Nom Paleo has a better one here.
  • Adorable beef or turkey sliders on portabella mushroom “buns”. Show me a tiny hamburger that’s not adorable and I’ll…well, I’ll eat it regardless. C’mon.
  • Gloriously green guacamole. Avocados are packed with mono-unsaturated fats, which are mono-delicious. Eat it with some of those nice carrot and celery sticks you cut up! Or get fancy and make some plantain chips.

Of course, this isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also about preparation. Spending an extra 5 minutes planning your meals, 10 minutes prepping easy-to-grab veggies, or an hour cooking a few meals at once can make all the difference on how your food looks and tastes. And how much more likely you are to stick with it over a Happy Meal. You can still have the crazy straw, though.