Month: June 2007
All right, gang, you flooded my inbox this week. I can certainly think of worse problems to have, though. (People read the blog! A whole lot of people, as it turns out). I always answer as many emails as I can. If you don’t hear from me, it’s a good idea to talk about your health questions in the forum, so that if I don’t answer them, someone sure will – a very encouraging and interesting gang, as you’ll find.
This week, I got a whole slew of questions about my controversial case against cardio, my antipathy towards carbs, what food I eat in a day, and oddly, not one but several emails about spirulina.
“Mark, is it true that spirulina is a good source of Omega-3’s? Is it better than fish oil?”
Sorry, but spirulina is a very poor source of Omega-3’s – a dose of fish oil has ten times the amount. I have a bit of a beef with spirulina supplements, because while it’s technically true that spirulina is a good vegetarian protein as well as containing beneficial fatty acids, the amounts are seriously microscopic. You’d literally have to consume spirulina breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get even a minimal amount of nutrients you can easily get from consuming just a few servings of wild salmon or even olive oil every week. This is something I see in general with a lot of supposed “miracle food” supplements. I won’t name names (for now) but potency means zip if the dose itself is puny. Look at grams per serving, always.
“Mark, how do I find out my nutritional type?”
Oh, boy. This is one that just persists and persists. I am not a fan of body-typing for diet or anything else, apples. Something you learn in Biology 101 is that we all share the same metabolic pathways – so we should all stay away from the same things – sugar, namely. It’s just that some of us are better at extracting and storing calories than others (see the Bees’ coverage of gut bugs). The problem is simple, but very common (like 65% of Americans share it!).
Stick around for more fun and insights daily.
Carbs Are Not the Devil
It’s the Calories, Not the Carbs
Here’s a Tip: Eat Plants
[tags] spirulina, omega-3, nutritional type, diets [/tags]
Here are three great diet tips from Claire, the blogger behind Burning the Scale (what a name, huh?). These are great reminders, so print them out if you need extra motivation, and go check out Claire’s blog, too. I really like tip 2.
No healthy lifestyle is complete without it. Exercise will boost your mood and decrease your risk of many cancers and heart disease. I wasn’t a believer in this until I tried it myself, and trust me, it works. Dieting without exercising will eventually bring your weight loss to a halt. You can start by walking around the block every day – just keep moving!
2. Don’t engage in “all-or-nothing” thinking.
You know what I mean – if you stay on your diet, you are “good” and if you make the slightest mistake, you’re “bad” and might as well throw everything away, so you go and eat everything in your pantry and tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s not the one mistake that will do you in, it’s the giant binge that follows. Pick yourself up and keep going.
3. Stay motivated.
Whether it’s a picture of a fitness model you keep on your wall, or the idea of living to see your kids grow up, keep that in mind when you feel like you might stray. Keep focusing on the bigger picture when you start thinking “I can’t do this…it’s too hard.” You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of.
Your tax dollars at work:
My guest posts on exercise: one, two, three.
A Case Against Cardio
The Real Reason We Don’t Exercise
I’ll be guest posting at Burning the Scale next week, so stay tuned.
[tags] diet tips, motivation, self improvement [/tags]
Bok Choy Sum and Tomatoes Salad in Scallion/Ginger Dressing
Smart Fuels Post
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[tags]bok choy, tomatoes, scallions, ginger, salad[/tags]
What we really need more of is drinkable grains.
As if most beverages weren’t already liquid grains, the food producers of America are uniting once again to help you in your quest for diabetes (or at least a respectable gut). Since everyone knows that grains are super healthy, you can expect the trend of grain-based drinks to continue.
That’s according to a report from Food Processing, which notes that in recent years we’ve seen the rise of alternatives to dairy (not a bad thing – sorry, Big Moo). Almond milk, soy milk and rice milk have become popular, but even hemp milk is an option these days.
Of course, the marketing trend of drinkable grains is not entirely accurate, as most of these non-dairy beverages are actually made from nuts and beans. So, if you’re really concerned about drinking your grains, you’ll be relieved to know that things like soda, beer, and energy drinks are already made from grains! That’s right. Drinkable grains are not really news, as it turns out, because we’ve already had them for a long time!
The bottom line: you can enjoy all the beverages you love and still get plenty of grains in your diet.
How, you ask? Well, silly, because corn is a grain! Many people think corn is a vegetable. It is not. Corn is a delightful grain completely lacking in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein. It’s pretty superficial, and I dig that. Even better, the type of sweetener manufacturers make from this most excellent kernel corrodes your arteries and raises your blood sugar. What’s uber rad is that this sweetener – high fructose corn syrup – is in pretty much everything, so you don’t even have to look for it. No, seriously, everything: sauces, syrups, spreads, drinks, snacks, candies, fruit snacks, juices, sodas, frozen foods, and desserts. Everything!
I found this chocolate fudge cola at my local grocery store. Score! I am totally gonna be drinking my grains now!
To get your daily recommended intake of grains – you need at least 6, remember – you can do the following:
– Drink 3 Coca-Colas
– Eat 1 donut and 2 cupcakes, or 1 cupcake and 2 donuts, or 1.5 donuts and 1.5 cupcakes
– You could also eat 3 brownies if you were born in the 70s
Do not forget: flavored sauces containing corn syrup count as a grain! It all counts. Give that chicken breast something to feel good about!
You can eat 3 of any sweet, refined treat, and you’ll be getting half your daily intake of grains! Don’t worry, this is all in step with the U.S. government’s dietary recommendations, which are to eat 6-11 grain servings daily, only half of which need to be whole grains (“Make half your grains whole”).
I am a bit of a princess, as you all know, so I will be eating eclairs. I want the expensive diabetes. With enough work, maybe I can even look like Labelman.
BITE ME, ADA
We all know by now that type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. We’re seeing words like crisis and runaway all over the news and in the journals. Heart disease rates have been cut in half since the staggering margarine days of the 1980s, but diabetes has swiftly risen to fill that gaping void and meet the challenge of Completely Unnecessary Disease Epidemic.
Here’s my ultra-simple explanation of the entire insulin/blood sugar/type 2 diabetes mess. Big Agra could really care less about you. That’s just business. The pharmaceutical industry is not in it for the love of life. If that were the case, drugs would be much cheaper. The FDA has to think about public health, but it also has to think about treading carefully on the toes of corporate interests, because that’s how it works when you’re the biggest economy in the world.
Print this explanation out, stick it on your fridge, email it to your aunt. And put down the pasta.
And it fits in a vase! (Sorry, John.) Echinacea, or purple coneflower, was widely panned after a rock-solid controlled study proved its inefficacy in 2005.
You can put away your Puffs: echinacea is the toast of the sniffle set again.
In a meta-analysis of fourteen studies and a whole bunch of people (okay, 1,630 for those who like numbers), scientists found that echinacea does, in fact, reduce both cold infection rates (by 58%) and duration (by 1.44 days).
There are three different parts to the echinacea plant (you know, leaf, stem, flower…) This does appear to make a difference in effectiveness. There are also three different species of echinacea, and there are three different substances in the plant that are thought to be the active ingredient.
There are 800 different echinacea products made from these three different parts and/or three different species and/or three different extracts, and they come in teas, drops, powders and pills. Good luck trying each one – my advice is to be a princess (or prince) and buy the best. You only get a cold a few times a year (I hope), so spend the extra cash and you’re likely to get a better product. Or check out online customer reviews at sites like Epinions.
The reason why echinacea does…and doesn’t…work:
There are over 200 different cold viruses. That’s why you always catch the common cold and that’s why there’s no cure. Echinacea seems to be less effective on induced colds (scientists use rhinovirus to induce a cold).
The great thing is that whether or not you take echinacea, your body will develop immunity to any cold virus that infects you. The not-so-great thing is that after you get your first one, you still have 199 or so to go. But, since the average person gets between 2 and 4 colds a year, by the time you’re about 50, there shouldn’t be many more to go. Instead, you can concentrate on building up immunity to every flu virus in existence. Isn’t that awesome?
Jill Doughtie Flickr Photo CC
Psst…and we all know what Mark would recommend: eat right, work out, reduce stress, and you’ll have a better immune system!
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What does echinacea tea taste like? I don’t know, but I bet it would be great in the Fuming Fuji mug! 😉
[tags] echinacea, cold remedies [/tags]