15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

It’s now June… how many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. Now, the list.
There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

Controlling Anxiety Without Meds

Anxiety is real. In America today, according to the National Institutes of Health, anxiety disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). Anxiety is a contributing factor of many health disorders (high blood pressure, obesity, heart attacks, mental fatigue). Many Americans are on medications for these disorders (that is/can be a case of the cure being worse than the disease). A viable alternative to risky prescription medication is a natural or holistic approach to treating anxiety.

Here are 6 tips for managing anxiety naturally:

1. Maintain Stable Blood Sugar
“It isn’t disrespectful to the complexity of existence to point out that despair is, often, just low blood sugar and exhaustion.” – Alain de Botton
The American diet promotes a blood sugar roller coaster, and every time we’re on the ride down, we can feel anxious.
When our blood sugar crashes, our body responds with a stress response. We secrete stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which tell our liver to make more blood sugar to keep us alive. The good news: We stay alive. The bad news: This hormonal stress response feels identical to anxiety.
By stabilizing blood sugar, you can avoid this stress response and decrease your anxiety.
Here’s how to maintain stable blood sugar:

Eat more protein and healthy fats (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee from pasture-raised animals).
Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily; don’t skip meals.
Take a spoonful of coconut oil upon waking, in the afternoon and right before bed; this will serve as a blood sugar safety net throughout the day.
Always have a snack handy (e.g., nuts, hard-boiled egg, dark chocolate, almond butter or jerky).

2. Get Off Caffeine (for a while)

Don’t underestimate the relationship between caffeine and anxiety.
Think of it like this: When we’re caffeinated, our nervous system is ready for a fight. Introduce a stressor- you are on Defcon 5 regarding anxiety.
If you suffer from anxiety, do yourself a favor and get off caffeine!!!!
I know, I know, the idea of going off caffeine might be giving you anxiety right now. If you reduce your intake gradually (coffee -> half-caf -> black tea -> green tea -> herbal tea) over the course of a week or two, you’ll avoid withdrawal symptoms. After a few weeks, you may be surprised to see that your anxiety has decreased, your sleep has improved, your energy is stabilized, and you even tolerate stress better.
If you had a successful trial off caffeine, but you want to go back to having that morning ritual, consider making green tea your go-to beverage, rather than a “Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.”
3. Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is your best bet against anxiety.
There’s a 2-way street between anxiety and sleep–anxiety causes insomnia and sleep deprivation makes us vulnerable to anxiety.
The best way to address this is to set ourselves up for better sleep. Conveniently, the way to do this overlaps with the overall approach to anxiety.

Here’s how:
Reduce or eliminate caffeine
Even if you have no trouble falling asleep, caffeine decreases sleep quality.
Maintain stable blood sugar
Blood sugar fluctuations disrupt your sleep, causing middle of the night awakening.
Be strategic about light:
Let your eyes see bright light in the morning and dim light at night.
If your room isn’t completely dark when you sleep, wear an eye mask or get blackout curtains.
Wind down and unplug before bed

4. Treat the Gut

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the recent articles about the relationship between gut flora and mood.
The bugs in our digestive tract have a profound impact on how we feel and play an integral role in anxiety disorders.
Here’s how to promote healthy gut flora and heal the gut:
Avoid what irritates the gut:
Food: Gluten, sugar, industrial vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.
Certain medications: Antacids, antibiotics, oral contraceptives (only make changes under close supervision from your doctor).
Add in what soothes the gut:
Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, miso paste, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir (if you tolerate dairy).
Starchy tubers: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plantain, taro, yucca.
Bone broth:
Purchase Wise Choice Market Bone Broth.
Make your own bone broth.
Supplements:
Take a probiotic.

Consider supplementing with glutamine and collagen.
Create the conditions for the gut to heal:
Squatty Potty can be life-changing.
Get enough sleep.
Manage stress with yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, unplugging, acupuncture, being in nature.
Treat gut infections. If you suspect you may have a chronic gut infection, get evaluated by an integrative or functional medicine practitioner.
5. Exercise
Exercise is the best anti-anxiety medicine.
If you struggle to exercise regularly, forget the boot camps and triathlons. Get in the habit of mini workouts. Do small amounts of exercise in your living room or take a brief walk outside. Sustainability is key.
In general, stand more, sit less, walk whenever possible, and treat your body right with exercise.
Yoga and Tai Qi are particularly beneficial for anxiety, but the most important thing is to find something you enjoy.
6. Magnesium

Magnesium: Nature’s Xanax
Many of us are deficient in magnesium, since our food is grown in magnesium-depleted soil.
You can supplement with magnesium in a few different ways:
Take an Epsom salt bath.
Take a chelated magnesium supplement (e.g., magnesium glycinate).
Try a topical magnesium gel.

Anxiety has a significant impact on quality of life. Maintaining stable blood sugar, reducing caffeine, getting enough sleep, healing the gut, getting some exercise and filling the body with magnesium are safe tactics that go a long way toward reducing anxiety. If your anxiety does not respond to these lifestyle hacks, go see your healthcare provider.
In closing, you only have one life. Life is too short to let it slip away in anxiety and fear.
Living life free from anxiety is another way THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

FAILSAFE DIET: A Look Inside

The following is an op-ed piece on the Failsafe Diet. This link is http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/foodbrochure1.pdf to a brochure (downloadable and printable) from the Fed Up website.

What is the FailSafe Diet?

Due to the massive use of additives and preservatives in today’s food, people are looking for alternative food sources. These additives have flooded the market in our everyday grocery items and sadly the majority of people have no idea what they are actually consuming or if or how it is affecting them. Almost everyday you are hearing about some recall on food, or some outbreak of some type of foodborne illness, largely due to additives in the food providing a very suitable environment for disease to spring up and spread. For some people, having good intentions about the food they eat and the food they buy for their families is not enough. These people want the best. I recently read about a Australian mother who refused to continue to feed her kids things that made her sick.

The Failsafe Diet is all about avoiding artificial colors, flavor enhancers, preservatives, synthetic antioxidants, and cutting down to low salicylates, glutamates and amines. Sounds daunting when you hear it like that, but speaking from experience it isn’t, you just need to take a deep breath and take it one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.  It’s worth the change to experience a positive more peaceful household that you never imagined possible!  All these things can affect behavior, tantrums, learning difficulties, sleep patterns, bed wetting, rashes, anxiety, asthma and so many other conditions that affect children and adults alike.

RESOURCES

Look up Failsafe Diet support groups on Facebook (anything and everything can be found on Facebook). There is the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook,  plus author Sue Dengate with her offerings Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook.

Again, here’s the link from earlier: http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/foodbrochure1.pdf

 

In closing, if you want something akin to the Paleo Diet, give the Failsafe Diet a try. Not only will you get clean eating, you will get rid of additives, pesticides, colors and steroids.

 

 

Food Poisoning: What is it, What to do about it

With the changing of the seasons (since we are in springtime), comes good food- cookouts, more ready-to-eat foods, catering- you name it. Warm weather usually means more accessible, portable food. Unfortunately, food poisoning is a side effect of the plethora of great food choices out there. Did you know over 3000 people die annually of complications of food poisoning? This is no joke. Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, is illness caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms — including bacteria, viruses and parasites — or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning.

Infectious organisms or their toxins can contaminate food at any point of processing or production. Contamination can also occur at home if food is incorrectly handled or cooked.

Food poisoning symptoms, which can start within hours of eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. But some people need to go to the hospital.
SYMPTOMS
Food poisoning symptoms vary with the source of contamination. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

Nausea
Vomiting
Watery diarrhea
Abdominal pain and cramps
Fever
Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days or even weeks later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from a few hours to several days.

When to see a doctor
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical attention.

Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep liquids down
Bloody vomit or stools
Diarrhea for more than three days
Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
An oral temperature higher than 101.5 F (38.6 C)
Signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness and tingling in the arms.

CAUSES

Contamination of food can happen at any point during its production: growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. This is especially troublesome for raw, ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other produce. Because these foods aren’t cooked, harmful organisms aren’t destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning.

Many bacterial, viral or parasitic agents cause food poisoning. The following table shows some of the possible contaminants, when you might start to feel symptoms and common ways the organism is spread.

Contaminant Onset of symptoms Foods affected and means of transmission
Campylobacter 2 to 5 days Meat and poultry. Contamination occurs during processing if animal feces contact meat surfaces. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.
Clostridium botulinum 12 to 72 hours Home-canned foods with low acidity, improperly canned commercial foods, smoked or salted fish, potatoes baked in aluminum foil, and other foods kept at warm temperatures for too long.
Clostridium perfringens 8 to 16 hours Meats, stews and gravies. Commonly spread when serving dishes don’t keep food hot enough or food is chilled too slowly.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 1 to 8 days Beef contaminated with feces during slaughter. Spread mainly by undercooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water.
Giardia lamblia 1 to 2 weeks Raw, ready-to-eat produce and contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Hepatitis A 28 days Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Listeria 9 to 48 hours Hot dogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw produce. Can be spread through contaminated soil and water.
Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses) 12 to 48 hours Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Rotavirus 1 to 3 days Raw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Salmonella 1 to 3 days Raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk or egg yolks. Survives inadequate cooking. Can be spread by knives, cutting surfaces or an infected food handler.
Shigella 24 to 48 hours Seafood and raw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Staphylococcus aureus 1 to 6 hours Meats and prepared salads, cream sauces, and cream-filled pastries. Can be spread by hand contact, coughing and sneezing.
Vibrio vulnificus 1 to 7 days Raw oysters and raw or undercooked mussels, clams, and whole scallops. Can be spread through contaminated seawater.

RISK FACTORS
Whether you become ill after eating contaminated food depends on the organism, the amount of exposure, your age and your health. High-risk groups include:

Older adults. As you get older, your immune system may not respond as quickly and as effectively to infectious organisms as when you were younger.
Pregnant women. During pregnancy, changes in metabolism and circulation may increase the risk of food poisoning. Your reaction may be more severe during pregnancy. Rarely, your baby may get sick, too.
Infants and young children. Their immune systems haven’t fully developed.
People with chronic disease. Having a chronic condition — such as diabetes, liver disease or AIDS — or receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer reduces your immune response.
COMPLICATIONS

The most common serious complication of food poisoning is dehydration — a severe loss of water and essential salts and minerals. If you’re a healthy adult and drink enough to replace fluids you lose from vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration shouldn’t be a problem.

Infants, older adults and people with suppressed immune systems or chronic illnesses may become severely dehydrated when they lose more fluids than they can replace. In that case, they may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids. In extreme cases, dehydration can be fatal.

Some types of food poisoning have potentially serious complications for certain people. These include:

Listeria monocytogenes. Complications of a listeria food poisoning may be most severe for an unborn baby. Early in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to stillbirth, premature birth or a potentially fatal infection in the baby after birth — even if the mother was only mildly ill. Infants who survive a listeria infection may experience long-term neurological damage and delayed development.
Escherichia coli (E. coli). Certain E. coli strains can cause a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. This syndrome damages the lining of the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, sometimes leading to kidney failure. Older adults, children younger than 5 and people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing this complication. If you’re in one of these risk categories, see your doctor at the first sign of profuse or bloody diarrhea.

PREPARING FOR YOUR DOCTOR APPOINTMENT

If you or your child needs to see a doctor, you’ll likely see your primary care provider first. If there are questions about the diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist.

What you can do

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. Some questions to ask include:

What’s the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
Is there a need for tests?
What’s the best treatment approach? Are there alternatives?
Is there a need for medication? If yes, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
How can I ease the symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor

Some questions the doctor may ask include:

Has anyone in your family or otherwise close to you developed similar symptoms? If so, did you eat the same things?
Have you traveled anywhere where the water or food might not be safe?
Are you having bloody bowel movements?
Do you have a fever?
Had you taken antibiotics in the days or weeks before your symptoms started?
When did symptoms begin?
Have the symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
What foods have you eaten in the past few days?
What you can do in the meantime

Drink plenty of fluids. Stick with bland foods to reduce stress on your digestive system. If your child is sick, follow the same approach — offer plenty of fluids and bland food. If you’re breast-feeding or using formula, continue to feed your child as usual.

Ask your child’s doctor if giving your child an oral rehydration fluid (Pedialyte, Enfalyte, others) is appropriate. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might also benefit from oral rehydration solutions. Medications that help ease diarrhea generally aren’t recommended for children.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Food poisoning is often diagnosed based on a detailed history, including how long you’ve been sick, your symptoms and specific foods you’ve eaten. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs of dehydration.

Depending on your symptoms and health history, your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests, such as a blood test, stool culture or examination for parasites, to identify the cause and confirm the diagnosis.

For a stool culture, your doctor will send a sample of your stool to a laboratory, where a technician will try to identify the infectious organism. If an organism is found, your doctor likely will notify your local health department to determine if the food poisoning is linked to an outbreak.

In some cases, the cause of food poisoning can’t be identified.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for food poisoning typically depends on the source of the illness, if known, and the severity of your symptoms. For most people, the illness resolves without treatment within a few days, though some types of food poisoning may last longer.

Treatment of food poisoning may include:

Replacement of lost fluids. Fluids and electrolytes — minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that maintain the balance of fluids in your body — lost to persistent diarrhea need to be replaced. Some children and adults with persistent diarrhea or vomiting may need hospitalization, where they can receive salts and fluids through a vein (intravenously), to prevent or treat dehydration.
Antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have certain kinds of bacterial food poisoning and your symptoms are severe. Food poisoning caused by listeria needs to be treated with intravenous antibiotics during hospitalization. The sooner treatment begins, the better. During pregnancy, prompt antibiotic treatment may help keep the infection from affecting the baby.
Adults with diarrhea that isn’t bloody and who have no fever may get relief from taking the medication loperamide (Imodium A-D) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). Ask your doctor about these options.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Food poisoning often improves without treatment within 48 hours. To help keep yourself more comfortable and prevent dehydration while you recover, try the following:

Let your stomach settle. Stop eating and drinking for a few hours.
Try sucking on ice chips or taking small sips of water. You might also try drinking clear soda, clear broth or noncaffeinated sports drinks, such as Gatorade. You’re getting enough fluid when you’re urinating normally and your urine is clear and not dark.
Ease back into eating. Gradually begin to eat bland, low-fat, easy-to-digest foods, such as soda crackers, toast, gelatin, bananas and rice. Stop eating if your nausea returns.
Avoid certain foods and substances until you’re feeling better. These include dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and fatty or highly seasoned foods.
Rest. The illness and dehydration can weaken and tire you.

PREVENTING FOOD POISIONING

To prevent food poisoning at home:

Wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often. Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before and after handling or preparing food. Use hot, soapy water to wash utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces you use.
Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods. When shopping, preparing food or storing food, keep raw meat, poultry, fish and shellfish away from other foods. This prevents cross-contamination.
Cook foods to a safe temperature. The best way to tell if foods are cooked to a safe temperature is to use a food thermometer. You can kill harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to the right temperature.

Cook ground beef to 160 F (71.1 C); steaks, roasts chops, such as lamb, pork and veal, to at least 145 F (62.8 C). Cook chicken and turkey to 165 F (73.9 C). Make sure fish and shellfish are cooked thoroughly.

Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly — within two hours of purchasing or preparing them. If the room temperature is above 90 F (32.2 C), refrigerate perishable foods within one hour.
Defrost food safely. Don’t thaw food at room temperature. The safest way to thaw food is to defrost it in the refrigerator. If you microwave frozen food using the “defrost” or “50 percent power” setting, be sure to cook it immediately.
Throw it out when in doubt. If you aren’t sure if a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it. Food left at room temperature too long may contain bacteria or toxins that can’t be destroyed by cooking. Don’t taste food that you’re unsure about — just throw it out. Even if it looks and smells fine, it may not be safe to eat.
Food poisoning is especially serious and potentially life-threatening for young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. These individuals should take extra precautions by avoiding the following foods:

Raw or rare meat and poultry
Raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels and scallops
Raw or undercooked eggs or foods that may contain them, such as cookie dough and homemade ice cream
Raw sprouts, such as alfalfa, bean, clover and radish sprouts
Unpasteurized juices and ciders
Unpasteurized milk and milk products
Soft cheeses, such as feta, Brie and Camembert; blue-veined cheese; and unpasteurized cheese
Refrigerated pates and meat spreads
Uncooked hot dogs, luncheon meats and deli meats.

In closing, preparation always leads to a safe time, this being no exception. Food poisoning is no joke. It is an unfortunate (and unnecessary) side effect of good weather and good times. These tips we have given you will help you through the ordeal of food poisoning.
Stay safe out there eating.

News & Notes

I am pleased to announce the start of a series of ebooks that will target my “Actualization Familiarity Mastery” motif. As you know, I always start with the basics. Motivation, bodyweight exercises. Later we will get into specifics like athletic fitness.  Any questions, complaints, observations can be sent via email at halcyoninfo6@gmail.com. Twitter: @halcyonfg16 

Thanks for reading.

2017’s Best Supplements for Women Over 40

As promised this is my comprehensive list for the best supplements (in this case, multivitamins) for the ladies who are 40 and over. Please use your best judgment when considering taking any of the products mentioned in this article. As always, listen to your body and shop smart. Now, the list:

The ESSENTIAL vitamins for Women over 40

Strontium:

Women over 40 with a family history that includes osteoporosis, or risk factors associated with bone loss should take 340 mg of this mineral supplement daily. Clinical studies has proven that strontium has been shown to be almost twice as effective as osteoporosis medications in improving bone density without any side effects. Later studies concluded that women who had strontium supplements experienced an increase in bone mineral density in the lumbar spine by around 15 percent during a three-year period.

Ribose:

Ribose is usually left out of the mainstream vitamin supplement industry. It is the dark horse among nutrients. It has been known to enhance energy levels by close to 60% in three weeks. Researchers observed that close to 70% of the subjects who ingested ribose supplements exhibited mental clarity, restful sleep, less pain and more energy. Scientists have also discovered that ribose stabilizes diastolic blood pressure in patients with a family history of heart disease and arteriosclerosis.

 

Vitamin D3:

Vitamin D3 is another recommended vitamin for women over 40 that has many benefits. A disturbing trend is that even in countries with a good amount of sunshine, people suffer from Vitamin D3 deficiencies.  Research has shown that adequate levels of vitamin D3 can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of osteoporosis and even ward off depression.” It’s also worth noting that Vitamin D deficiency can cause pain in various parts of the body. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a disorder that is characterized by low Vitamin D serum levels.

 

Folate:

Folate is one of the most important B vitamins. It has long been touted as a great cure for depression by psychiatrists and behaviorists alike. Researchers also state that birth complications prevalent in expectant post-40 mothers can be curbed by restoring healthy folate levels. Subsequent studies have shown that sufficient levels of folate have been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive degeneration associated with aging, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Calcium:

Popularized by various TV commercials as the go-to vitamin supplements for women over 40, calcium is one of the most important minerals. Taken along with vitamin D, its absorption increases. Just remember not to take your calcium supplements with iron or caffeine, as they are known to hinder absorption of calcium, relegating it to the gut. Although there are many calcium supplements available, you should consider leafy-green vegetables as a viable alternative.

Hydrochloric Acid:

Hydrochloric acid and pepsin are the two chief digestive juices in the stomach. As you age, HCL (hydrochloric acid) levels begin to diminish. This causes indigestion and bloating. Thus, the best way to combat this condition is to take HCL supplements. HCL has even been mooted to promote healthy-looking skin. Low HCL levels result in poor absorption of B vitamins. Recent studies conclude that in skin diseases associated with B complex deficiency, there is also a deficiency of hydrochloric acid.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure which is especially important for women 40-plus, who are already at risk of high blood pressure due to aging. Deficiencies in magnesium have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. Plus, it helps the body absorb calcium and plays a role in muscle, nerve, and heart function, as well as blood glucose control. Your doctor can test your magnesium levels if you think you might be deficient (and would need a supplement). But if you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’re likely to get all the magnesium you need (320 mg a day for women 40 and up) from food since it’s found in dark leafy greens, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Too much magnesium does not necessarily pose health risks, but may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramping.

Potassium

Potassium also plays a key role in regulating blood pressure regardless of age.  In postmenopausal women, research has linked higher intake of potassium from food to decreased risk of stroke—though “high” intake was considered approximately 3.1 g, which is still lower than the recommended 4.7 g per day. And the benefits were seen in those getting as little as 2 g per day. Potassium is definitely a nutrient you want to be getting enough of, but unless your MD prescribes it for another medical condition, I strongly caution against taking potassium supplements. Too much potassium can damage the gastrointestinal tract and the heart, and can cause potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Most people can get the potassium they need by eating a varied, healthy diet that includes bananas, sweet potatoes, chard, beans, and lentils. You’re highly unlikely to get enough potassium in your diet to be dangerous. If your doctor does prescribe supplements, then the doctor should carefully monitor how they affect you.

Probiotics

Probiotics are not technically vitamins or minerals either, but they’re important essentials for women 40 and up. Mounting evidence suggests probiotics play a role in keeping the gut healthy and weight down, and even in lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—all of which is especially important around 40 when muscle mass starts to decrease, making it easier to put on weight and develop insulin resistance. And though you can get probiotics in some dairy and fermented soy products like seitan, foods typically will not contain as many strains as a supplement—and each strain comes with its own benefit, some for helping to

control weight, others for helping prevent diarrhea. Plus, because probiotics are actually live and active cultures, you won’t be able to get them from foods that are cooked or heated.

Omega-3s

Technically not a vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids still deserve a place on this list because of their myriad health benefits, and especially because they help counteract some of the negative changes that come with aging, like increased heart disease risk and cognitive decline. Research has shown that omega-3s help lower blood pressure and LDL (“bad cholesterol levels”), reduce the risk of heart disease, and play a role in keeping memory and thinking sharp.

In fact, a recent study found that people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had larger brains and performed better on memory tests, planning activities, and abstract thinking, compared with individuals with lower levels—which suggests that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in maintaining brain health in addition to the other known benefits.

Lastly, though you can get omega-3s from foods like fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and leafy vegetables, taking a supplement is a good way to make sure you’re getting enough. Either way, aim for 500 mg if you’re healthy, 800 to 1,000 mg if you have heart disease, and 2,000 to 4,000 mg if you have high triglyceride levels. And be sure to ask your doctor about the right dose if you’re taking anticoagulant drugs, which can have serious side effects

Fat-Heavy Diets: NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME

THIS ARTICLE IS ADAPTED FROM THE NASM ARTICLE “THE TRUTH ABOUT FAT HEAVY DIETS”, JUNE 2015. ENJOY!

In various fitness media outlets and now springing up on social media, you are seeing reports about fat-loading for endurance, butter-drenched coffee and how wonderful bacon is and how good it is for you (I LOVE BACON, TO HATE BACON IS ALMOST UNAMERICAN LOL). Let’s analyze this and break it down.

1) It’s very easy to overdo this: A gram of fat has 9 calories, while both carbs and proteins have 4 calories. Moderation is the watchword here.

2) Good fats can aid post-workout recovery. A recent University of Florida study revealed that lifters who took omega-3 (found in fish like salmon) had a quicker recovery time turnaround and less joint inflammation after workouts.

3) Animal fats raise the risk of heart disease: In a recent case study from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a 39-year-old man who worked out regularly saw his LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) rise 55 points after he began eating mainly meat, cheese, and vegetables on a low-carb Paleo-like diet and then added a daily cup of bulletproof coffee (coffee laced with a tablespoon of butter and a medium-chain triglyceride oil). Bottom line: Butter, bacon, and fatty red meat are high in saturated fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease. It’ important to limit these fats and add more unsaturated heart-healthy fats into your diet.

4) Fat-loading for ultra-endurance? Basically the theory that a high-fat diet allows you to tap into body fat stores, thus saving carbs for later stages of the workout or event has mixed results at best, both in the court of public opinion and in scientific studies.

Here is my take: This is yet another theory amongst the millions floating around out there about fitness. It just may work for some. As I like to say, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, do your homework and use your God-given sense. 

Best Diet Pills of 2015

THIS IS A REPOST OF dietpillsreview.info’s Top Diet Pills of 2015.

2015’s Top Weight Loss Pills

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average rating
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price: low to high

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  • How to choose right weight loss pill?

    Reviews team research leaderThere are many weight loss supplements on the market today. However, this does not mean that they are all healthy and effective. Paying attention to the advertisements and popularity of weight loss pills will not lead you to the right ones.

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    Lipozene is a very popular diet pill, selling as many as 10 million bottles. Instead of containing caffeine like many diet pills do, it has a fiber in it so users feel full and will therefore eat less. Lipozene can have negative side effects, some of which are serious. Clinical results have been controversial.

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    # 5 – Alli

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    # 6 – Xenadrine

    Xenadrine has a lot of natural ingredients but relies heavily on caffeine for weight loss. The makers make a lot of claims about how well it works, so let’s take a look at those claims and whether the ingredients are actually effective.

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    # 7 – Skinny Fiber

    Skinny Fiber is a product that states it uses a number of ingredients from around the world to make you feel full, and therefore you’ll feel inclined to eat less. Read on to learn more about Skinny Fiber and find out what’s truth and what’s advertising hyperbole.

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    # 9 – Sensa

    There are a number of issues with Sensa, the powdered diet aid that supposedly allowed users to eat what they wished and all they had to do was simply shake Sensa on. We’ll break down some of these issues for you so you’ll have some hard facts to compare to the sales hype.

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4 Foods that ACCELERATE Aging

Did you know that there are foods that AGE you faster?  Some are even deceptively marketed to you as “healthy” by giant food corporations.  Avoid or minimize these and look 5-10 years YOUNGER than your real age.

Due to biochemical reactions in your body that occur with every type of food you eat on a daily basis, some foods age you FASTER than your real age, while other foods help to FIGHT aging.

Eat the wrong foods regularly, and you can look and feel 10 or more years OLDER than your real age (not fun!) … but eat the right foods, and over time, you can start to look 5-10 years YOUNGER than your real age.

Three of the processes that go on inside your body that have a MAJOR impact on your rate of aging are called “glycation”, “inflammation”, and “oxidation”.  When we talk about aging, we’re not just talking about wrinkles on your skin or how thick your hair is… we’re also talking about factors that you can’t see, such as how well your organs function, and whether your joints are degrading.

Yes, I’m sure you’ll agree this is much more important than just how you look on the surface (although we’ll show you how to improve BOTH!)

So let’s dig right in and I’ll show you how your rate of aging can be directly related to the foods you might eat every day, and how to protect yourself…

Food #1 that ages you faster: Wheat (yes, even “whole wheat”)

Before I tell you why wheat can actually speed up the aging process in your body, let’s clarify some simple biochemistry in your body…

This deals with “glycation” in your body, and substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.

So with that said, what is one of the biggest factors that increase production of AGEs inside your body?  This may surprise you, but high blood sugar levels over time dramatically increase age-accelerating AGEs in your body.  This is why type 2 diabetics many times appear that they have not aged well and look older than their real age.  But this age-increasing effect is not just limited to diabetics.

So, let’s get back to how “whole wheat” relates to this…

Here is a little-known fact that’s often covered up by the massive marketing campaigns by giant food companies that want you to believe that “whole wheat” is healthy for you… but the fact is that wheat contains a very unusual type of carbohydrate (not found in other foods) called Amylopectin-A, which has been found in some tests to spike your blood sugar HIGHER than even pure table sugar.

In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar MORE than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing that’s documented in studies.

This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause MUCH higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources.  If you don’t believe me, here’s something you should know… I ran personal blood sugar tests on myself using a blood glucometer about 45 minutes after eating 2 slices of wheat bread vs eating a bowl of oatmeal, with equivalent grams of carbs.

The blood sugar test results:

2 slices of whole wheat toast:
45 minutes after consumption:  Blood sugar spiked from 86 fasting level to 155.

1 Bowl of Oatmeal (equivalent grams of carbs to 2 slices wheat toast)
45 minutes after consumption:   Blood sugar raised from 86 fasting level to 112

As you know now, the higher your average blood sugar levels are over time, the more AGEs are formed inside your body, which makes you age FASTER.  Clearly, the whole wheat spiked blood sugar MUCH higher than the oatmeal, and if you don’t know, 155 is a massive blood sugar reading that will certainly contribute to faster aging if you eat wheat frequently.

You’ve probably also heard about the potential health-damaging effects of gluten (another problematic compound found in wheat that can cause inflammation in your digestive system) in the news recently, but this blood sugar aspect we just covered is not talked about that often, and is yet another reason to reduce or eliminate wheat-based foods in your diet.  Your body will thank you by aging slower and looking YOUNGER!

And losing bodyfat is typically another fun side effect of eliminating or reducing wheat in your diet!

Yet another problem with wheat-based foods and aging…

As it turns out, baked wheat products contain carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides that form in the browned portion of breads, cereals, muffins, etc.  These carcinogenic acrylamides have been linked in studies to possible increased risk of cancer and accelerated aging.  Note that acrylamides are also found in high levels in other browned carbohydrate sources such as french fries or any other browned starchy foods.

Don’t worry though… There’s a trick that you can use to protect yourself from these carcinogenic acrylamides, and it has to do with eating the RIGHT foods that COUNTERACT damage from these nasty chemicals.

Food #2 that ages you faster: 

Corn-based foods — corn syrup, corn cereal, corn chips, corn oil

This is quite a variety of stuff that you might eat every day… we’re talking corn chips, corn cereals, corn oil, and also the biggest health-damaging villain that gets most of the media attention, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

We already talked in detail in the last section about wheat regarding the blood sugar process and it’s relation to age-accelerating formation of nasty “AGEs” in your body.

Well, corn-based starchy foods such as corn cereals, corn chips, etc also have a big impact on blood sugar levels and therefore can increase AGEs in your body and accelerate aging.

But here’s another nail in the coffin for corn… it turns out that scientists have found out that the fructose in HFCS causes 10x more formation of AGEs in your body than glucose!  Yes, that’s right… that means the HFCS you consume daily in sweetened drinks, and most other processed foods (yes, even salad dressings and ketchup) contribute to faster aging in your body… as if you needed yet another reason to avoid or minimize HFCS!

We’re not done yet with corn… it gets even worse…

Another major issue with corn-based foods and corn oils is that these foods contribute excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids to your diet, which causes an imbalance in your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and leads to inflammation and oxidation within your body.

Once again… another example of corn-based foods aging you FASTER.

BATES’ advice:  Avoid or reduce corn-based foods like corn chips and corn cereal as much as possible. These aren’t as bad as wheat in relation to blood sugar, and they don’t contain gut-damaging gluten like wheat does, but they are still bad for you.  When it comes to corn syrup or corn oil, avoid as much as you can if you want to stay lean, healthy and young looking.

Food #3 that ages you faster: 

Sugar, sugary foods, certain starchy foods
Again, we get back to the relationship between your average blood sugar levels and blood sugar spikes over time, and how that can increase those age-accelerating compounds called AGEs in your body.

Sugar is an obvious one to avoid.  You’ve heard how bad it is for you 1000 times before for many other reasons, including your waistline and developing type 2 diabetes.  But now you also understand the aging effect of sugar.

Instead of sugar, consider using a natural non-caloric sweetener like Stevia in your daily coffee, tea, in baking, or other sweetening needs.  This dramatically helps you control your blood sugar response and thereby help slow aging.

So this also means to think twice about sugary desserts, sugary cereals, candy, and other sweets that are contributing to aging you faster.

My personal trick to satisfy my sweet tooth is to only have 1-2 squares of dark chocolate after dinner instead of a normal full dessert that most people choose.  You only get about 2 grams of sugar in 1-2 squares of dark chocolate as opposed to 40-80 grams of age-accelerating sugar in a typical cake, ice cream, or brownie type of dessert.

Keep in mind that some starchy foods like white rice, oatmeal, and white potatoes can also have significant impacts on your blood sugar and thereby can increase formation of AGEs in your body.  These foods are best kept in smaller portions if you decide to eat them, and balanced with healthy fats and protein to slow the blood sugar response.

Food #4 that ages you faster: 

Soybean oil, canola oil, or other “vegetable oils”
I know these have been marketed to you over the years by giant food companies as “healthy”, but if you understand a little biochemistry about how these highly-processed oils react inside your body, you would quickly see how false that is.

First, anything labeled soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, or cottonseed oil (these are in a LOT of processed foods you probably eat) most times have undergone a refining process under extremely high heat and use of chemical solvents such as hexane.

This leaves you with an oil where the polyunsaturated fats have undergone a lot of oxidation and are therefore VERY inflammatory inside your body, producing free radicals, damaging your cell membranes, contributing to faster aging, heart disease, and other possible health problems.

If you want to avoid the health-damaging effects of soybean, canola, corn and other “vegetable oils”, make sure to avoid them as much as you can, and instead opt for truly healthy oils and fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, virgin coconut oil (a healthy source of MCT fats), and grass-fed butter (a great source of healthy CLA fats).