Archives for posts with tag: healthy living

KetoFood*This blog is NOT intended to endorse or recommend this type of diet. It is intended to give information on the how and why, my decision to proceed down this path and my personal experience during the process. I undertook this endeavor with my doctor’s supervision and the direction of a licensed clinical nutritionist.

I have been in the health and fitness industry for almost 28 years. During that time I have watched as many fitness and health fads and changes have taken place. The industry itself is wrought with an overabundance of popular trends not only for exercise but diet. These fads most of the time are simply temporary fashions promising the next best way to lose those extra 5 – 10 lbs., or to sculpt your body into the best shape, in the shortest amount of time.

Through the years, we as health and fitness professionals have become the initial demographic that these movements target, so that we in turn can share them with our clients. However, promoting these many and varied trends with little or no information on the evidence based research is not appropriate or professional. As a tenured health and wellness professional I make it a point to gather as much information as possible about a new fad or craze whether it be fitness or diet. Since I am not a licensed clinical nutritionist or dietician it is not within my scope of practice to recommend any diet, I simply share and report what has worked for me in the past and offer suggestions on reliable resources as well as give referrals to qualified diet and nutrition professionals.

So, I decided to have my own first hand experience with a low carb diet. To do so I enlisted the aid of a skilled licensed clinical nutritionist whom I know well and has touted the many virtues of a low carb high fat/ketogenic diet, and also involved my MD in this adventure.

My nutritionist asked for a copy of my most recent blood work from my medical files. After a thorough review of my history and a request for additional lab tests I was placed on a supplement regime in order to optimize my metabolism and ease my transition into this new lifestyle.

About two weeks after starting my new supplement program I then began to lower my carbohydrates. I mentally geared myself up for this process by outfitting my kitchen and refrigerator. I began eating grass fed red meat, free range lamb, wild or sustainably farmed salmon, as well as organic/free range chicken. I began to lower my daily carbohydrate intake to 100g or less. I used Google and my kitchen food scale to calculate my carbohydrate intake. I have also included medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) in order to source the necessary building block for ketones that will gradually and eventually allow me to transition deriving my energy needs from carbohydrate/glucose to fat.

I stopped using nut and seed oils for cooking and moved to using ghee (clarified butter), and coconut oil instead. I started using olive oil for flavoring after cooking or on salad only. As a point of clarification my intention is not use olive oil at high heat. The following were the foods that I have begun to use for my daily carbohydrates: small amount of sweet potato, white basmati rice, onion, spinach, kale, blueberries, cherries and pineapple for a smoothie with pea protein. I removed all all nightshade vegetables from my diet in order to better manage inflammation: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, all peppers but black pepper, paprika. Most days I have successfully kept my carbs below 100 grams, many days I have gone lower than 50. This is a personal exploration in meeting my daily energy requirements from a low carb high fat diet (LCHF) in order to have a first hand experience how this shift in my macro nutrients affects my body composition, exercise stamina, mood and cognitive function, digestion and overall sense of well being.

And so the journey begins…

Stay tuned for the next installment.

 

 

Advertisements

imagesSummer is in full swing and the 4th of July is almost upon us. Being cool and staying cool this summer is probably on your mind. With the plethora of ways to stay cool this summer and be cool – make sure that you keep hydration on top of your to-do list. Outdoor activities and exercises are a great way to take advantage of the warm and sunny days of summer. Did you know that the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has determined that for every 1% body mass you lose through ‘sweat’ that your heart rate ticks up 3 beats per minute which of course means that your heart has to work harder?

Staying hydrated is your best defense – hydration helps your body hold in more water and thereby allows your heart not to work so hard. That means if you really like the outdoor strenuous activities, hydration is VERY helpful and will actually allow you to exercise with a higher intensity. Remember that it’s important to hydrate before your workout – not just during your workout. Something interesting to do would be to weigh yourself before you begin your workout and then again after your sweat inducing workout and make a note of how much ‘sweat weight’ you actually lose. Then the first thing you should do before your next workout is to take in that amount of water first. While water is your best go to choice for hydration the following liquids work as well!

Iced Coffee – that’s right I said ‘Iced Coffee’ – some recent research has noted that regular coffee drinkers (3 – 6 cups per day) get just as hydrated from coffee as water – and you also get an endurance boost from the caffeine.
Coconut Water – offers the same amount of hydration as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and water.
Watermelon Juice (my personal favorite) – Just 17 ounces before exercise can lead to less soreness after your workout. You can make this with seedless watermelon and a blender!

Oh and one other thing – when your outside – please don’t forget the sunscreen! Remember a proper warm-up and stretching is key to maintaining your flexibility and long term positive effects of your workout – especially in your Prime!

Drop your pants, lay down on your side on the examination table. The snap of rubber gloves and a then a cold moist finger being put….

Yes, that’s how it goes gentlemen when we have to succumb to the dreaded of all test at the doctor’s office – the Prostate Exam! We all know that this is the test/exam that we don’t like to talk about, however remember it is actually one of the most important that we need to have on a regular basis.

November is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, that is why I am growing a moustache in honor of Prostate and Testicular Cancer Awareness. For more information go to:  http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5699537/k.BEF4/Home.htm

Here are some important facts to know:

Did you know that Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America affecting 1 in 6 men? There are several factors that influence risk:

Age – the older you are the more likely you are to be diagnosed with Prostate cancer – for example the rate for men under 40 is 1 in 10,000 men, but that rate shoots up to 1 in 15 men for ages 60 – 69.

Race – African-American men are more likely t develop Prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men, and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. Asian men who live in Asia actually have the lowest risk.

Family history/genetics – A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease.

Where you live – For men in the U.S., the risk of developing prostate cancer is 17%. For men who live in rural China, it’s 2%. However, when Chinese men move to the western culture, their risk increases substantially.

Men who live in cities north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, and Provo, UT, for instance) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States. This effect appears to be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year, which reduces vitamin D levels.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.

Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

You should consult with your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above.

The above information was provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Stay tuned for my next installment about Prostate cancer and why I believe Men and those who love Men need to know the facts and understand all of aspects of this disease! I truly believe that the attention and funding that we have given to Breast cancer in Women, should be the same that we give to Prostate cancer in men.

A recent article in Men’s Fitness Magazine by Janna Leyde provided some interesting information about what is actually in the food that we eat. Some of these items are actually added to our food and others make their way in there during the production process. Either way it is quite surprising as well as – unappetizing and/or disgusting. Further according to the FDA all of these items are perfectly harmless to ingest at certain levels.

Here are a few examples of what’s in our food:
Wood – powdered wood pulp or cellulose is a product used to keep prepackaged cheese from balling up in globs and to make low fat ice creams and pre-made milkshakes extra creamy.
L-Cysteine – a common ingredient in most commercial breads, pastries and pizza dough is made from boiling human hair in acid. This hair is gathered from the floors of salons and barber shops in China.

According to both the USDA and the FDA the above ingredients pose no threat to our health. Better yet there is actually a safe level of the following items that may find their way into our phone supply. These items include: Maggots, insect fragments,mold, insect eggs, Mammalian excrets (poop). So goes the saying – ‘You are what you eat’. NOT

Here’s a few suggestions to help you along the way if you want to avoid being exposed to some of these acceptable additives or ‘defects’.

Read the ingredients – if you do not understand the words, then you more than likely do not know what you are eating.

Buy local – at least you’ll have a better handle on exactly where your food is coming from.

Eat less processed food – or none at all. No artificial flavorings or color please!

Here’s an interesting tidbit: I recently read that the average Olympic Games viewer gained 4 pounds over the 2 week period – Really?

We are almost half way through the Summer (depending of course on how you look at it) and almost to the commencement of the summer Olympics. The Olympics have always provided me with a sense of inspiration of what truly can be achieved by the human body and being. Not doubt much time will be spent during the Olympic coverage on how these amazing athletes train for their particular Olympic sport both on and off-season.

Some of these Olympians utilize various forms of traditional and non-traditional fitness training and some have utilized  the Pilates method for their training – athletes such as Andre Ward (Boxing), Sanya Richards (Running), Julia Mancuso (Swimming), Thomas Finchum (Diving)  just to name a few. The point is that their sport specific training also includes a comprehensive approach to functional fitness, flexibility and health as should yours as a ‘Prime Male’.

So pull up a chair and watch the Olympics and don’t forget to take care of the athlete in you – no matter what your fitness level. Here are a couple of  tips to make the most of your Olympic enjoyment:

*If watching TV ignites your urge to snack – then snack healthy. Watching the Olympics while gorging on chips and dip (unless the chips are baked and the dip something low fat and healthy such as fresh salsa) doesn’t make for a good health and nutrition, allow the Olympics and MacDonald’s to set the poor nutrition example (don’t even get me started on this subject, that will be the topic on another blog). Try some fruit, vegetables, whole grain baked crackers, a little peanut butter, guacamole  – you get the idea.

* Better yet,  why not multi-task while watching the Games. Clear some space,  get down on the floor and do some simple exercises or stretches – such as a side lying bridge to work the abdominals or perhaps holding a plank position, or doing some regular bridges or sit-ups during the commercials.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, the Olympics and your commitment to health and fitness!

The goal for any health and fitness plan is to just keep on track. Set realistic expectations of yourself and by all means do not jump off the deep end and jump into some crazy CrossFit style of workout boot camp hell to get a jump start on the new you. Some of us may indeed be cut out for this type of workout and others of us are definitely not, especially those of us just beginning to exercises in the Prime Male age group.

Keep in mind that its not just the intensity of these type of workouts that worries experts. It’s the fact you’re doing technically complex lifts for high reps in a state of fatigue, when form is guaranteed to break down. “It takes time to perfect certain movements, especially the Olympic lifts,” says trainer Joe Dowdell, founder of Peak Performance in New York. “Not spending enough time teaching people how to perform these movements correctly is dangerous.”

So it’s quality over quantity and proper form is a must in any fitness regimen. It’s no secret that I am a big proponent of Pilates and for good reason. When I was turning 50 I decided to do something I had never done before and participate in a ‘sprint’ triathlon. Although swimming was not my best endeavor I managed to get through all three segments and 4 months of training with not one injury – and I owe that to my consistent Pilates practice both before and during my time in training. It’s all about being balanced in everything that you do.

Back again with some more gym equipment that would be best for you to avoid gentlemen.

The Seated Lat Pull Down (behind the neck): This machine is supposed to train your upper back, back – (think lats) and biceps. The problem is that unless your shoulders are extremely flexible it can cause an impingement in your shoulder joint and possibly even damage the rotator cuff. Further prime males most of us, even the ladies have some form of a rotator cuff injury or tear by the time we reach 50 anyway – so why make it worse? If you are insistent upon using this machine then do the pull down in the front leaning back slightly with a straight back and engaged torso for support. Better yet – why not try incline pull-ups? Begin by  placing  a bar on a squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands and then hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Next, keep your torso engaged and pull your chest up to the bar 10 – 15 repetitions. You can make this exercise more difficult by lower the bar or easier by raising the bar.

Smith Machine Squats: This exercise is predominantly supposed to train your legs – (hamstrings, glutes, quads). What actually ends up happening is because the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track – the movement arc is very linear and therefore does not create a natural or arched movement plane. This unnatural movement then puts undue stress on not only the back but also the knees and the shoulders.

A better alternative would be to do body weight squats where you focus on descending (squatting) with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. You can do 15 – 20 repetitions per set and increase sets as you get stronger.