Should you take resveratrol?

wine with glass of berries
Resveratrol has been touted as a miracle antioxidant that can reduce wrinkles, aid in weight loss, protect against disease…the list goes on and on. Resveratrol has been shown to increase estrogen levels which is not good for either gender since it can lead to cancer. Not only are these pills expensive, but a study led by the University of Copenhagen summarized in the October 2013 issue of Nutrition Action Health Letter found that healthy senior men between the ages of 60 to 72 who took 250 mg of resveratrol for eight weeks performed worse when it came to exercise, and may raise triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Although it was a small study of just senior men, the article states that “there’s no reason to take resveratrol supplements.”

The problem with many supplements is that if you consume too much of a vitamin or mineral, and that number is always changing, it can cause harm. Per the website WebMD, “…experts say they can’t recommend resveratrol supplements for anti-aging or disease prevention.” Forget the supplements and save your money. Just eat organic blueberries, strawberries, red grapes and an occasional glass of red wine to get your resveratrol benefits from natural and safe sources.

Why bodybuilders (and you) need carbs

Bobby Cox lifting weights
I’ll be really happy and everyone will be a whole lot healthier when this low-carb, high-fat, high-protein faze goes away. Many of those interested in losing fat are eating low-carbohydrate, high-protein and high-fat diets, or high-protein and low-fat diets. Many of those folks look great now, but what’s the point if those results are only temporary? Carbohydrates are important for muscle construction and immunity. “Muscle protein synthesis will be much greater when a combination of carbohydrates and protein is consumed immediately after exercise” (1). This is precisely why I drink a fruit smoothie with protein powder right after my workouts.

If you have a hard or long workout ahead of you and haven’t eaten in a few hours, carbohydrates will give you energy so you can put in more intensity. The more intense your workout, the more muscle and fat loss. You need good carbohydrates in your diet such as vegetables, whole grains, fruit, legumes, and nuts. The carbs you want to avoid are the ones you find in a wrapper or a box such as candy, cookies, chips, soda, and refined breads and pastas.

I love fruit; don’t eliminate it from your diet because some diet book says to. Fruit is a carbohydrate and prevents muscle breakdown. Since “…carbohydrate intake can play an indirect role in building muscle mass” don’t omit carbs from your pre and post-workout meal (unless it’s a chocolate bar).

Sources: 1. Practical Application in Sports Nutrition (pg 411)

No Appointment Needed

Kitty doesn't want to get out of bed

Nurse practitioners now have greater authority which is wonderful news so now they can write prescriptions, provide vaccines, order lab tests, and diagnose and treat illnesses. Instead of waiting two months to see your primary doctor, you can pop in to a nearby Minute Clinic. You can also see them for urgent care in some instances so you won’t have to wait for hours in the ER to be seen. People frequently go to the emergency room for the flu, strep throat, and bladder infections. If it’s a true emergency, go straight to the ER.

Some clinics even have weight-loss programs with nutrition advice and provide on-going weight-loss coaching. If this is a service that will help you, definitely check it out.

A nurse at Scripps Hospital was thrilled about these new options so doctors won’t be so bogged down; and people will be getting better and quicker care. This will help lower costs because an ER visit is much more expensive. You’ll be seeing a bunch of CVS pharmacies cropping up, just don’t be tempted by the candy on the way out.

Sources: nurse Scripps Hospital, CVS pharmacy manager

Are your thoughts aging you?

Fit Girl reading outside

We’ve heard the term: mind-body connection. If I think about something gross, I start to gag. If I tell myself I’m tired, I immediately feel more lethargic. If I look at a pair of heavy weights that I plan to lift, I tell myself “easy.” When I pick up those weights they actually feel lighter. If I look at the same pair of weights and think “heavy,” when I pick them up they feel even heavier than they should.

I know that what I’m thinking has a direct correlation with how I feel, but I had no idea that how you view yourself in terms of age can actually cause physiological changes.  Experiments conducted showed that senior citizen men who were to think “young” had lower blood pressure, more strength, and were mentally sharper (1). At a week-long retreat these men were to pretend the entire time that they were in their twenties and at the end, they showed “improvements in grip strength, manual dexterity, posture, gait, memory, hearing, and vision. Yes, that’s right. They got younger” (1). Pretty cool stuff.

From now on, when I wake up I’m going to think “happy” and “energetic.” When I have to do an assignment that I dread, I’ll think of the word “simple” and “no problem.” When the wrinkles and the achy joints appear, I’ll think “go away!”


Source: Prevention June 2013 Article titled “My Year of Aging Backward”

Photo: Me…thinking and acting young…I refuse to act my age!

3 Steps to Burn 100s of Calories

Dan running

If you want to lose fat, these three steps are super effective and don’t take up too much time. 

#1 Strength-train 3-4 days a week, each day using a different body part. Gradually add more weight and/or repetitions.The reason: The more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn, even when lounging.

#2 – Get up and move around throughout the day as much as possible.The reason: When you sit or lay down, your metabolism slows.

#3 Before you go to bed at night, do any form of light cardiovascular activity. You can walk the dog (or the family), plan an interactive Wii game, dance like a maniac (this one is my favorite), and/or do a quick clean-up around the house.The reason: Your metabolism slows down at night so any of these types of activities will give it a boost.

You can burn hundreds more calories every day with these movements. Every little bit of activity adds up (just like those calories). It’s worth the effort.

Photo: Dan W., triathlete, running a marathon (now that burns some serious calories!).

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Chocolate-Banana Pancake

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Chocolate-Banana Pancake

Here’s a modified version of the Paleo Banana Pancake, that I made. It’s healthy enough for just breakfast, but sweet and perfectly decadent for a dessert (and you don’t even need syrup).

 Chocolate-Banana Pancake

 1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 ripe mashed banana

1 beaten whole egg

1/4 tsp coco powder

Place coconut oil in a non-stick fry pan on medium heat. (The sugar from the banana in the form of fructose makes it stick so a non-stick fry-pan is a must). Mix mashed banana, whole egg and coco powder. When pan is medium-hot, pour pancake mixture in. It will take a few minutes to cook. After you see bubbles, gently lift to see if brown enough. If dough is firm without breaking or dripping, flip with spatula and cook other side. It will take a few minutes to cook the second side. Place on a plate and top with fresh berries (optional). Serves 1

Review of Peak Fit System

Peak Fit

If you are looking for exercise videos which provide an overall fitness program, this one is superb (and you don’t need weights). Michelle Dozois is the instructor and motivates you the whole way through. The exercises are extremely challenging, but it’s still fun. When I first used the band that was included (it smells like a car tire), I thought mine was defective because it’s so tough. I could hardly stretch it. The more you use this band, the stronger you’ll become. It would have been better to have weights instead of the band because using this thing is extremely awkward to use. They could have provided a beginner band that isn’t so gnarly too.

The 10 exercise videos included in the set are the Fit Test (this is a high-intensity cardiovascular 30 minute heart-pumper), Pure Strength, 52 minutes of Pure Cardio, 30 minute Flexibility, Cardio Strength, 20 minute Core Dynamics, Cardio Interval Burn, Pure Strength 2, Cardio Strength 2; and a 42 minute Anywhere, Anytime, No Excuse Workout.

The strength videos are great for someone who wants to work all body parts in one video for under an hour. The moves in the cardio videos are perfect for those with a dance background, but for the rest of us, it’s a bit frustrating. These videos are hard so if you’re new to weight-training or exercise, you should pass for now. For the folks who are fairly fit, this will still kick your butt. I give this two-thumbs up and recommend it to those are physically and mentally ready for some crazy workouts.

Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cookbook

dairy free ice cream
Now you can make dairy-free healthy ice cream at home. Instead of cow’s milk, the recipes ask for unsweetened coconut milk. You can also make your ice cream 100% vegan by using agar agar powder instead of gelatin. Put away the sugar; honey, agave and liquid stevia is used instead. My favorite ice cream is Peanut Butter & Jelly (I use raspberry jam), which tastes like cool and creamy sweet peanut butter with raspberry sauce swirled in. It’s totally decadent. I also like Orange Cream and Coffee. The Vanilla ice cream wasn’t very exciting and the Cinnamon Ice Cream was too spicy so I wouldn’t recommend those two recipes. I haven’t made that many of the numerous ice cream flavors (there’s 43), because I keep making the PB&J since it’s my favorite.

The Ice Dream cookbook by chef and healthy cooking coach Rachel Albert-Matesz also provides recipes for sugar-free and dairy-free sauces like Hot Fudge Sauce; there’s compotes, cookies and more. Even though these desserts are much healthier than the typical dairy treats, don’t overindulge because they’re not calorie-free.

How to Lose Weight While Dining Out

dinner in Europe

If you dine out because you travel a lot for work, you don’t cook, or you just like to eat out, you’re at a disadvantage since restaurant meals are high in fat and calories and low in fiber. There’s typically a plateful of meat, a heaping of gravy-mashed potatoes or a bounty of cheesy-buttery pasta with a few par-boiled dry pieces of broccoli for garnish.

Whenever I go to a restaurant I look at the dishes other people have ordered so I can see what looks good. I can also see if a meal looks massive, fried or greasy so I can avoid those. At lunchtime last week I saw an obese woman with three entrees in front of her and those weren’t to share. She was eating all three. Not one was a salad so I don’t know if she ordered and ate an appetizer too. If she couldn’t decide which one to order, why didn’t she package one up for dinner? I wanted to give her the web address of my blog, but I didn’t know how she’d respond.

When you eat out, don’t let the waiter entice you into adding an appetizer and definitely decline the dessert! A restaurant appetizer can contain enough calories to be your main meal. Don’t forget that beverages have calories too. Shun the beer, soda, lemonade, and house-special mixed drink; have lemon water, flavored (unsweetened) iced tea or black coffee instead.

Remember to ask how a dish is prepared. There were times when I thought I was getting grilled fish and when it arrived, it was fried. Another tip is to avoid the toppings like croutons and parmesan cheese. Those little sneaky additions add up fast.

I wish more restaurants would give the option of a medium or small entrée because it’s really hard not to clean your plate. Oh yeah, don’t clean your plate!

Are Fish Oil Supplements Dangerous?

fish oil supplement
We’ve been told to take fish oil supplements but in the October issue of Outside magazine, the article listed under “Supplemental Evidence” may make you rethink taking these pills. The Prostate Cancer Prevention trial looked at two studies and concluded that the “men with high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their blood had a significantly greater risk of prostate cancer” and supplementation didn’t reduce heart-related problems or strokes. Per WebMD, “taking too much fish oil can actually increase the risk of stroke.” Yikes! Natural sources of vitamins and minerals are your best bet so spend your hard-earned dollars instead on wild salmon, tuna, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden.

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