Health

Obesity and McDonald’s

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Yesterday for lunch, I sat at my desk at work eating a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a ten piece Chicken McNugget from Mcdonalds.  Several people in the office commented with amazement that I was consuming such an atrocious meal, since I’m known for being knowledgeable and conscientious about food and exercise.  I even made a rule for my Soldiers that everytime I see them drinking a soda at work, they have to do one burpee for every gram of sugar in the bottle.  The burpee tax began when one Soldier had a 12 oz. bottle of Coca Cola on his desk.  I picked it up and read the label: 65 grams of sugar.

As I sat munching my delicious burger, one of the officers asked me how many burpees I was incurring from the McDonalds meal.  I told him, none, that sugar is the killer, especially liquid sugar.  An NCO chimed in with his negative comments, too.  I reminded them to look at my Physical Fitness test scores, and they conceded they couldn’t argue with my results.healthy?

I didn’t bother going in to any more detailed explanation of why it was ok for me to eat the meal, but I’ll touch on a few things here.  First, calories are the big thing.  Calories in, calories out matter, and they matter a lot.  There’s are other important issues, but mostly it comes down to energy balance.  To give you an idea of my energy expenditure energy yesterday, First, our section did an hour of physical training which entailed the following:  20 minutes of continuous exercise, 5 pullups, 10 parallel bar dips and 20 lunges, rotating through as many sets as possible in those 20 minututes.  At the end, we all did a minute of situps.  For me that ended up being 47 situps.  I lost count of how many sets I did, but I’ll estimate around 20.  So that’s 100 pullups, 200 dips, 400 lunges.  Next, after lunch I went for a two mile walk.  This in addition to walking quite a bit during my normal daily duties.  We also spent about 2 hours moving big rolls of razor wire and moving some moderately heavy boxes around.  So as you can see, I’m fairly active.

My food intake for the day, my energy intake, comprised the following:

Breakfast: 3 egg cheese omelet; two pieces whole wheat toast with butter

Lunch: Quarterpounder with cheese; 10 piece Chicken McNugget

Supper: One 6oz filet mignon wrapped in bacon; one ear of corn on the cob; 2 16oz cans of beer; and handful of mixed nuts

Some quick online research on calorie content, and using Fitness Magazine’s calorie requirement calculator (male, 41 years old, heavy exercise, 173 pounds), tells me that my calorie intake yesterday was 2859 and my daily average calorie requirement to sustain my current body weight is 2960 calories.  Almost exactly on, but just a little under.  My appetite yesterday tells me that this is correct: I felt very slight hunger pangs before going to bed, but nothing serious.  The net result is no weight gain.  Period.

Many people are familiar with Super Size Me, a documentary directed by film maker Morgan Spurlock.  In the film, Spurlock ate only meals from McDonalds for 30 continuous days and “Super Sized” his meals whenever the cashier asked him if he wanted it so.  The result was a measurable deterioration in Spurlock’s health and well being.  He gained over 23 pounds.  Many people attributed this to the evils of fast food.  Ignored was the fact that Spurlock consumed over 5000 calories per day, and did no regular exercise during this period.  Well, at least his nutritionist in the movie tells him he’s eating that many calories per day, though it’s been pointed out that in order to reach that many calories per day, Spurlock had to have broken his own eating rules, that is, he simply ate more than he stated.  And, he has never released a food log showing what he actually ate, only stating that he Super Sized 9 times total in 30 days.  The following video explains:

The following video shows Spurlock for what he really is:  A Vegan zealot, out to prove to the world the evils of meat, and the healthfulness of celery:

So Spurlock did what every bad scientist does: Set out to prove what he already knew.  If Spurlock ate 5000 calories of bananas he would have gained weight and felt awful.  If he’d eaten 2500 calories a day of McDonalds and cut out the soda and fries, he would have been fine.

In fact, several people have lost weight on diets of “bad” food from McDonalds.

And… this man. 

Tim Naughton did an experiment and showed he could lose weight over the same period that Spurlock gained weight, eating only fast food.

Eating fewer calories makes people healthier in almost all measurable ways.  Haughton’s blood lipids all improved while eating only at fast food restaurants.

The nutrition professor below ate about 1800 calories a day for 10 weeks, consuming twinkies and snack cakes.  He lost 27 pounds and his colesterol went down by 20 points.  This is real science.  And frankly it drives people nuts.  Many people who say they “trust in science, not religion” are lying: They simply believe what they want to believe.

Here’s the Twinkie Diet:

So, my diet strongly focuses on these factors: calories, effects on blood sugar, intermittent fasting.  My calories remain reasonable, I stay away from foods that spike blood sugar–especially chronic use of sugary drinks and sugary foods low in fiber,  and finally, skipping about two meals a weak leading to a 16-18 hour fast.  Pretty simple.  I don’t count calories, except when I’m making a point to unbelievers.

Here are two monkies, studied by real scientists.  One monkey (there were lots of them, not just these two) who ate fewer calories had fewer diseases, acted younger, and looked better.

Think about it.  A Quarter Pounder with cheese has about 510 calories.  If someone ate only 3 Quarter Pounders a day, they’d take in only 1530 calories a day.  But many Americans are taking in 4000-5000 a day–and that’s why they’re fat and sick.

Moms, don’t let your kids grow up to be soda drinkers

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Want to have and immediate positive impact on your kid’s health? Don’t let them drink soda or fruit juice. Yes, that’s right, fruit juice. Juice is pretty much just soda without caffeine. For instance, Motts 100% apple juice contains 28 grams of sugar per 8oz glass. A can of soda is about 40-50 grams. That’s about 14 teaspoons of sugar in a single can. And it doesn’t even make you feel full.

Our bodies are not meant to ingest sugar in this form. In nature, the absorbtion of sugar from fruit is blunted by the fibre. Without the fibre, insulin levels skyrocket. Over years, chronically high insulin levels lead to obesity, and eventually “Syndrome X”; a systemic failure as a result of insulin resistance.

The best breakfast for kids is a whole grain cereal with whole milk. No juice, just water. Teach them when they’re young and it’ll be easy for them when they’re adults.

Vegetarians are mean

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You can look at my recent post about individual traits indicating something of the greater whole of a person.

I have my opinion of vegetarians too. I don’t think most of them are very nice people and some of them seem really, really mean. I’ve written of this in several posts in the past. Don’t know if it’s a vitamin B deficiency or an intrinsic trait of ideologues. Probably a little of both. I’m sure there are some friendly vegetarians out there. Honestly though, I’ve yet to meet one who isn’t a little quirky. It’s nothing personal–it’s an honest observation. I don’t care what people eat.

The book, The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith, made Amazon’s best seller list in the health arena. Keith is a former vegetarian who did her research and found that most of the reported supremacy was based on unchallenged assumptions. Everything from health benefits to environmental utopias took a hit in her research.

But as usual, the angriest amongst us–the ultra-leftists–rose up with a vengeance. Lierre was recently attacked by masked aggressors, who shoved  cayenne-laced pies into her face while she read from her book at a convention. The mostly vegetarian crowd (it was San Francisco afterall) cheered as she tried to wipe the irritant from her eyes.

So to all the nice vegetarians out there: I’m glad you didn’t have to kill a moo-moo to eat dinner. But to all the mean vegetarians, why don’t you stick that carrot where the sun don’t shine.

Veganism

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Read below a comment I posted on a friend’s blog concerning the ethics and healthfulness of veganism.

This book The Vegetarian Myth, is written by a feminist who drank all the grape kool-aid and paid the price. Her health was permanently damaged by 20 years of veganism. Eventually she came to explore the real implications of veganism, and found that it is unsustainable as a world-wide diet.

http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Myth-Food-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804?ie=UTF8&qid=1250062072&sr=8-1

Only people who are motivated by ideology or religion can continue in veganism. They will, over a period of years, watch their health and physical capabilities rapidly decline.

I have never met a vegan who was physically strong. They may be able to run for distance (even this capability will diminish much quicker than if they were not vegans) but they simply have no physical power. If you find an Olympian who is a vegan, it will be in an endurance, aerobic dominated sport, not an anaerobic power sport like bobsledding. This is because power sports exert much more stress on the body. I remember reading something written by All-Pro tight end for the Atlanta Falcons, Tony Gonzalez. He decided to go vegan one off season. When he went to the ream’s first workout session inthe gym, he could barely lift the dumbbells that before he’d thrown around for high repetitions. He made some adjustments to his diet, and in his new book, recommends small amounts of meat.

My sister experienced the same sort of thing when she went to play rugby in college. She was a vegetarian, but quickly found that she only performed her best if she ate meat. In high school, where she was the best female athlete on the track and field team as well as cross-country, she simply didn’t experience the stressors of rugby–which is a power-sport with vast endurance requirements.

Vegan seems to me to attract those looking for The Way. Hence the nearly religious mindset.

Can one survive survive without meat? Oh yes–go to India and find vegans, who because of their religious convictions eat only vegetables and suffer from the worst mal-nutrition in the world, not to mention some of the lowest IQs because of stunted brain development. Can a vegan in the West do better? Yes, by micro-managing their diet to a point that would make me miserable, and that is only sustainable bythe very thing that many in the vegan community would stand against: Industrialisation. Without industry there is almost never the selection of food that we have here. Not in the wilds of Africa or the Rainforests of South America. In other words, the claim that veganism as practiced by the most Westerners is a natural diet, is wrong. The diet is in fact a product of Western living, not nature, in which man will eat anything once living in order to survive.

http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/debating-meat-ii-theology-of-meat/

Health Heresy

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First off, I’m not a doctor. I’m not responsible for any health benefits you may gain from not following the rules your unhealthy doctor gives you. You know, like, don’t eat meat, don’t go out in the sun and don’t drink.

Want to join me in my  health heresy? Do what I do:

  1. Eat plenty of meat, fat and all. Atkins was a genius and unafraid of the truth.
  2. Skip a meal every now and again. Believe me, not eating food is not the reason people’s health is suffering in America.
  3. Drink coffee. Remember when it was bad for you? Turns out it’s not. It has tons of anti-oxidants, and apparently significantly reduces the chances of dementia and some types of cancer.
  4. Drink alcohol. Lower your chances of heart disease and dementia with moderate consumption.
  5. Get some sun. People in higher longitudinal areas have higher rates of cancer. The magic is in the vitamin D–a hormone not a vitamin really. Makes you happy too. Don’t use sun screen unless you think you’ll burn.

Do these and the Inquisition may be knocking on your door wondering why you look and act a decade younger than you really are. But if you want to age quickly, simply eat lots of sugar like most other people do.

Commando Fitness

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What is the most effective “system” I’ve used for fitness?

I’ve bought tons of books, read nearly every article on fitness and health that I can get my hands on. So if I had to give you just one book, one “system”, what would it be?

People will be surprised, because the stuff I’ve used the most for about the last nine years have been gool ‘ol calisthenics. Actually, calisthenics on steroids. Back in 2001, I saw an advertisement for a book by Matt Furey, called Combat Conditioning. In the book, Furey told of meeting wrestling legend Karl Gotch, then 76 years old. Gotch did not lift weight during his career. Instead he used the ancient Indian wrestler’s exercises: Deep knee bends, Hindu pushups and the back bridge. Gotch began training Furey, who was a former Division II national wrestling champ, a personal trainer, and certainly not  ignorant of fitness techniques. Furey was amazed at the effectiveness of the exercises Gotch showed him. Instead of the stiffness that sometimes came with weight training, Furey found himself flexible and strong. Furey was also surprised at how much strength Gotch retained in his old age.

I have nothing against lifting weights. But difficult calisthenics are better. Things like one-legged squats, hand stand pushups and other challenging bodyweight drills have a very interesting effect: They provide a combination of balance, strength and endurance difficult to achieve with weights.

Combat Conditioning is filled with exercises that Furey learned from Gotch, some from Chinese martial arts, as well as some Furey learned while training under Dan Gable at Iowa State University. Some of them are grueling, like Hindu jumper squats, uphill buddy carries and bridging. Others are simple. Furey also talks about the sublime effectiveness of skipping rope, hill sprints and calisthenic circuit training. He has several workouts set up at the back of his book. Many of these are very difficult, and most people will not be able to finish them when they first begin this type of training. The 500 pushup workout is very tough. Then there’s the Karl Gotch Bible. Take a deck of cards and have someone deal one card at a time ot you. Black means Hindu pushups, red means bodyweight squats. Do the number on the cards. Face cards equal ten and aces can be anywhere between 11 and 20–you set the number before you start the session.

Another man–perhaps one of the greatest scientists ever produced by Russia–Nicolai Amosov–was a proponent of calisthenics and running. Everyday, he performed his “complex” of calisthenic drills and ran about 5 miles. He began his routine after leaving the Russian army, when he found that he was losing muscle and gaining fat. His energy levels shot through the roof. He wrote a book–Thoughts on Health– in 1965 about health and fitness. It made Amosov a literal hero to the people of Russia. Through his studies on human cybernetics, he developed his theory on human longevity: The Theory of Limit Loads. The theory states that for our bodies to maintain youthful vigor, it must be used–and used a lot.

So, to wrap it up–what should you do if you find yourself in a sad physical state? Start moving! Anything! Too broad? Here’s a place to start:

  • Perform calisthenics everyday or every other day. Very the intensity, reps and overall difficulty. Pushups, pullups, situps, bodyweight squats. Oh yeah–and the dreaded squat thrust. If you need help, buy the of the many products out there that give tons of calisthenic variety.
  • To maximise athletic benefits, add some kettlebell training. The KB will hit two areas that are difficult to reach using calisthenics alone: Grip strength and lower back strength.
  • Massively reduce sugar intake. This means dropping the most horrible “food” ever made by Man: Soda. When you eat carbs, do so in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Skip a couple of meals a week.
  • Keep a positive attitude about life. Cynics are unhappy people and have never changed the world.
  • Challenge yourself. Remember: Progressive overload. Set goals and reach for them. Never give up.
  • Remember the words of Nicolai Amosov:

“So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the experiment continues! We are pushing pessimism back. Limits for old men are abolished. Life is a pretty good thing after all.”

If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.

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That’s what Walter Breuning says concerning his longevity. He’s 113 years old and hasn’t eaten supper in 35 years. In other words, he does the Warrior Diet, like me, only instead of normally skipping breakfast( Remember, I’m not dogmatic about it), he skips supper.  So did Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha.

Again: Fast

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“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstinence from food for one or two days. I speak from experience; starvation has been my cold and fever doctor for 15 years, and has accomplished a cure in all instances.”~ Mark Twain

Yet another study showing that periodic fasting has health benefits. This one studied a group of Mormons. Mormons have lower risk of Coronary Artery Disease than the people surrounding them who are not Mormons. The Mormon faith prohibits known factors of heart disease, such as smoking, and also restricts other behaviors that have possible effects on health, such as alcohol consumption and drinking coffee and tea. This study adjusts for those tertiary factors and focuses on the effects of fasting, which is also part of the Mormon faith.

When it was all said and done, the scientists found that fasting reduced the chances of a person having Coronary Artery Disease.

Don’t listen to those who tell you that fat people just aren’t eating enough meals and that skipping chow will only make you fat. Eating too much makes people fat, plain and simple.

Easy, effective pre-competition meal

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Recent science shows that apples may increase endurance capacity, due to an anti-oxidant known as Quercetin. The study showed that people fed Quercetin twice a day for seven days showed a 13.2 percent increase in endurance with no additional training. That’s a huge boost. Actually, apples have a number of health benefits.

In addition, very cold water increases work capacity, especially in warm wheather. When I say cold water, I mean 4 degrees C.

So, a good pre-competion meal would have me eating two apples the day prior to a race or game. Spread some peanut butter on a sliced apple to add some fat and salt. Drink a tall glass of water before going to bed the night before, to help with general hydration. Loss of as little as 2% of bodyweight can negatively effect performance and a 5% loss can reduce performance by 30%.

An hour before competition, eat half an apple with peanut butter and drink a glass or two of ice water.

A simple roadmap to defeating Metabolic Syndrome and finding new strength and energy

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We love carbs. Not so much because it’s really what we like, but because food processing makes them easily available at all times. It’s not so easy to carry a chicken wing around in your pocket. Not unless food poisoning is on your schedule.

Carbohydrates aren’t all bad; they’re a prime source of food during high-intensity exercise and our brain is fueled primarily by sugar. While the body is capable, over a period of time, of becoming more efficient at using fat in high-intensity work, most studies show carbs work better when athletes are asked to work at levels higher than 70% of their VO2 max for extended periods. 

But there’s a dark side to the carbohydrate. If not burned up, they can lead to fat gain and in the long run, to what is known as Metabolic Syndrome, a systemic breakdown of several vital body mechanisms stemming from insulin resistance. Picture insulin like any drug you may take. The first time you take it, it has an immediate and powerful effect. But over time, your body adapts to the drug’s presence and it requires more of the substance to get the results you want. It’s the same with insulin. Keep cramming processed, high glycemic carbs down your gullet and your body becomes “numb” to insulin in your blood. The insulin doesn’t work as effectively at removing the sugar from your blood and so it keeps pumping out more of it; the body doesn’t like insulin in the blood for too long and wants to store it in fat or muscles. The long-term effects of elevated blood insulin are devastating: Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive decline, cancer.

Get it? It’s bad.  

So years and years of soda, chips, ice cream, cookies, and white bread add up. Your gut expands, your blood pressure increases and you age quickly.

The news gets worse when you avoid exercise, which increases insulin sensitivity. In other words, your body needs less insulin to remove sugar, when you exercise regularly. Strength training is especially effective at increasing insulin sensitivity as is High Intensity Interval Training.

There’s good news though, and I’m going to give you a simple road map to new health, improved athletic performance, greater sense of well-being and weight loss. I’ll keep it simple; you don’t have to be hard-core top make it work. Stick with it and I think you ‘ll be impressed and when the results start coming through–you’ll never want to give it up. It’s simply too good to throw away.

Step 1) Intermittent fasting. Twice per week, I want you to skip one meal. The results are in–fasting is good for you. Live longer, look younger, increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the rate of cognitive decline. I’m intentionally taking it easy on you. I don’t want to scare you away with the way I do things. Sometimes I don’t eat for a whole day or I skip two meals on one day and one the next and continue to alternate fora week at a time. But you can get results by only skipping two meals– I’ve seen it in myself.

Step 2) Natural Food. Eat food throughout the week that is found in nature. Salads, fruit, vegetables, meat, nuts. I’ll even let you eat chocolate–as long as it’s dark chocolate. One day per week eat whatever you want–yes even cake. Don’t worry about how much you eat at each meal as long as you skip your two meals per week.

Step 3) High Intensity Weight Training. One day per week, hit the gym. Do 1 set of 6-8 reps per upper  body part. The last rep should be an all-out effort to the point that you can’t do another rep. Adjust the weight accordingly. For lower body part, do 15-20 reps. This is a full body workout. So you can do bench, curls, leg press, leg curl, arm curls. That in and of itself will be enough–if you go all-out with max effort. If you can’t make it to the gym, do max pushups, max bodyweight squats and max situps. Literally gas yourself.

Step 4) One day of intervals or distance running. Sprint for 20 seconds for six repetitions with 30 seconds rest between intervals. It’s gonna hurt but it’s 2 minutes of work. Suck it up Soldier! OR run for at least 20 minutes at a moderate pace.

What you say, that’s it? Don’t I need more exercise? No, you don’t.Can you do more exercise? Of course. This schedule leaves you plenty of space to add what you want. Maybe you play a sport or love running. Good, this will help with weight management, but as far as strength is concerned, one set to failure once per week is shown to be as effective as multiple sets three times per week! And you’ll save your joints.

Try my recommendations and let me know how things work out. I’ve given you a starting point, if not the guide to athletic supremecy. With it you’ll be able to live your life without having to constantly think about the gym or what you’re eating. And life’s about living, right? If you want advice, I’ll be happy to give it. I can at least tell you what’s worked for me-I’m very happy with my results.