Monday, July 29, 2013

Health is All Around Us

We all want to be healthy. So why do we constantly fail at diets and extreme workouts? If you are like me, you are a creature of habit. That means change doesn’t come easily. We get energized and excited to make a move to become more fit or lose that nagging 10 pounds but somehow we just can’t stick with it. Sometimes we get fooled by promises of overnight success but when it doesn’t happen we tend to go back to “business as usual”. But you know what? The true secret to adapting a healthy lifestyle is all about taking small steps. Look for some tiny changes you can adapt to and make them part of your “business as usual”. It’s pretty easy to cut 100 calories a day from your diet or burn an extra 100 calories and before you know it you will lose that 10 lbs and feel amazing. It’s all around you; you just have to look for it. 

Here are my 10 favorites:
  1. Take the stairs and not the elevator. 
  2. Switch from a large coffee with cream and sugar to a small latte lite or just put nonfat milk in your coffee instead of cream 
  3. Replace your dinner carb (i.e. potato, rice or pasta) with a second side of veggies 
  4. Use cooking spray instead of oil and butter can cut 100 calories or more from your dish 
  5. Replace the diet sodas and artificially sweetened drinks with water! True these have few or no calories but have been shown to cause you to crave more sweet foods and lead you to unhealthy eating. 
  6. Bring your lunch to work. You will eat healthier foods and better manage your portions than eating out. 
  7. Keep healthy snacks nearby… Keep an apple on your desk. It might be the last snack you’d normally choose… but if you are hungry and busy… it’s amazing how good and filling that apple is. 
  8. Take a walk during your lunch break…. Walking 20-30minutes will burn 100 calories or more! 
  9. Do The Doctors Workout 3 days and week…. and burn 250-300 calories per session… plus build lean muscle that will keep you burning more fat even at rest! 
  10. Gaining more strength, energy and endurance will entice you to try new physical activities. You will find that you seek out more activities that are physical in nature and develop a more active lifestyle! Take up hiking, biking, or canoeing. And don’t forget to invite a friend or loved one. It’s a great way to build a better relationship. 
So come on and give it a try! What do you have to lose? Remember, it’s the small steps that will stay with you on your way to a better, healthier life and they are all around you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Wolverine Workout and Other Extreme Workout Programs:

It seems every day there is an actor or celebrity getting “ripped” with a new extreme workout. First Jake Gyllenhaal and now Hugh Jackman are highlighted as results of these extreme workouts. So I guess you have to ask yourself: Am I trying to star in the next blockbuster movie or am I just trying to create a better quality of life? Out of interest, I decided to look into the Wolverine workout to see what made it so different from other workouts. What I found was a program that had some marked similarities to “the doctor’s workout” with a few important differences.

First the similarities:
  1. Both workouts include a warm-up session with some cardio 
  2. Both use fundamental training principals with core strengthening 
  3. Both compound and isolation exercises are emphasized 
  4. Many of the exercises are the same such as squats, dead lifts, and presses 
  5. Weights are lifted slowly and to fatigue 
Now the differences:
  1. Longer sessions (1 – 1 1/2 hours vs. 40 minutes) 
  2. Heavier weights 
  3. Sessions are split between muscle groups using “Super sets” 
  4. The exercises are mixed up changing angle, tempo, weight, time, and rest 
  5. Hugh uses a very expensive trainer 
  6. Dietary supplements are probably employed 
If you take away the hype and the glamour, basically you see more similarities than differences especially in the basic principles of the two workouts. An important difference is that “the doctor’s workout” is designed for real people living real lives not movie stars living fantasy lives. You won’t end up with a six-pack of abs but you will have more strength, better balance, greater endurance, and overall a better quality of life. And best of all, you won’t have to kill yourself to keep it going.

What is more important, Diet or exercise?

Patients ask me all the time, when it comes to getting healthy, which matters most - diet or exercise?

The answer is that they are both equally important but for different reasons. 

Here’s why:

For initial weight loss dieting is the best method but over time most people put the weight back on. Why? The answer is related to a hormone called Leptin. Leptin has been called “the fat hormone” because it is made by fat cells but it should really be called “the starvation hormone” because it helps to regulate the hunger response during starvation. As the fat stores go down during dieting or starvation, the Leptin levels go down causing hunger. That’s why people tend to regain the weight they lose when dieting. Adding exercise to dieting helps to regulate Leptin allowing for sustained weight loss.

So how about exercise alone. Exercise has been shown to be the most effective way to boost energy, improve mood, and prevent diabetes. A number of studies have shown however that exercise alone usually fails to achieve significant weight loss. It may even result in weight gain. Why is this? To answer the question a group of anthropologists did a study on a tribe of hunting and gathering natives from Tanzania. They were amazed to find that despite an average 7 miles a day walking, their metabolic rate was no different than the more sedentary life style of Westerners. Other research studies have come to similar findings. It is nearly impossible to exercise away the effects of a bad diet.

In one study diet and exercise were tested by initiating diet first, exercise first, or both at the same time. The best results were achieved by initiating both at the same time. When exercise was initiated first followed by diet changes, the goals were still achieved, however when diet was initiated first and exercise later were unable to achieve the exercise goals.

When it comes to cardiovascular disease both exercise and diet are effective separately or especially together. The same is true for Cancer prevention, especially breast and colon cancer.

Therefore if your goal is achieve and maintain the healthiest lifestyle, ideal weight, and best quality of life, consider a two pronged approach of a regular exercise program ( which includes cardio and weight training) and a nutritious low glycemic index diet focusing on fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also limit your intake of refined sugar, bread, and pasta.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chia – The Ultimate Super Food

Who isn’t looking for easy ways to incorporate healthy food choices into your diet without making HUGE changes? I look for items that are easy to add to your diet, have numerous health benefits and are tasty. This is how Chia Seeds stack up: 

What is a Super Food:
  • Is rich in vitamins, mineral, and nutrients 
  • Low in calories 
  • Require little to no processing 
  • Can be added easily to other foods 
  • Have special health benefits 
Remarkable Health benefits:
  • Increased Energy… Chia can provide you stamina and energy over time 
  • Fights cardiovascular disease (Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids) 
  • Controls Cholesterol and Blood pressure (alpha-linoleic acid) 
  • Aids in management of Osteoporosis (High Calcium content and helps you absorb calcium better from other sources) 
  • Great for your digestive health and conditions such as Diverticulitis (High Fiber content) 
  • Anti-Aging properties (Anti-oxidants)… good for your hair, nails and skin. 
  • Obesity especially belly fat (slowing of metabolism in stomach) 
  • Brain function (fatty acids) improving mood, memory and concentration 
  • Aids Sleep (Tryptophan) 
  • Blood thinning properties 
  • Improved Liver health 
  • Helps you stay hydrated 
Basic Nutritional Profile (1 oz/ 2 tablespoons):
  • 139 calories 
  • 4 grams of protein 
  • 12 grams of carbohydrate 
  • 9 grams of fat 
  • 11 grams of fiber (42% of our daily requirement!) 
How does is stack up against other superfoods:
  • More Omega-3 ounce of ounce than Salmon 
  • More Calcium than skim milk (18% daily value) 
  • More Potassium than Bananas 
  • More Iron than Spinach 
  • More Antioxidants than Blueberries

Monday, July 8, 2013

The World’s Most Perfect Food – The Egg

Once condemned as a heart attack in the making due to it’s cholesterol content, the humble egg has undergone a renaissance as recent studies have shown eating cholesterol doesn’t raise blood cholesterol.

  • Myths concerning Eggs 
    •  Eating eggs will raise blood cholesterol: This is the oldest myth and is very misleading. Eating cholesterol from eggs will not raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) but will increase your good cholesterol (HDL) 
    • Eating eggs raw may preserve the most nutrients but runs the risk of Salmonella poisoning. On the other hand, there is evidence that cooked eggs especially soft boiled and poached preserve the nutrients and prevent Salmonella poisoning. Scrambling eggs has the least benefit as the proteins are denatured by the direct heat. 
  • Health Benefits of Eggs 
    • The Antioxidant Carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts both of which are the leading causes of adult blindness 
    • Choline helps regulate the brain and nervous system improving memory and mood 
    • Sulfur helps promote healthier hair and nails 
    • One of the only foods that contain naturally occurring Vitamin D which helps build stronger bones 
    • Eggs have been shown to help prevent Breast Cancer 
    •  Tryptophan helps prevent Cardiovascular disease and Cancer as well as helps to induce sleep and regulate mood 
  •  Nutritional Summary 
    • 6 grams of Protein plus all 9 essential amino acids 
    •  5 grams of Fat most of which is good unsaturated Fat 
    • 185 mg of Cholesterol (which does not raise your blood cholesterol) 
    •  Only 70 Calories in a large Egg 
    •  Two raw eggs have twice the Antioxidant content as found in an Apple 
There are an unlimited number of ways to prepare and enjoy this marvelous food. Eggs can be served as an appetizer, entrée, dessert, or beverage. No wonder eggs are the perfect food!