Sunday, December 5, 2010

Links Beyond Well -- Eggs, Travel and Protein, 'The Doubler'

Todays reads help clarify how to decipher the language of eggs, offer some great insights on travel, and look further into the roles of protein in the diet and how we can find the best sources.  Enjoy!

The Truth About Free Range, Organic, Cage Free Eggs Nutrition – Which Ones Should You Buy And Are They Safe Raw? -- Scott Kustes, Fitness Spotlight
"A pastured egg from a chicken eating something very close to the primal version of a chicken diet is our baseline, not the conventional egg. It’s not that pastured eggs are packed with more vitamins. It’s that conventional eggs have less nutrition."
More on eggs ...

The Conscientious Omnivore: Eggs -- Whole9Life
" “cheap” eggs are not really cheap when you factor in all of the hidden costs to the environment, animal welfare, society and your health. In addition, reading and interpreting the claims made on an egg carton is a confusing and complex task. Labels like “vegetarian fed”, “all natural” and “cage-free” may sound healthier, but often these stamps are worth less than the ink with which they’re printed. "

20 Things I've Learned From Traveling Around The World For Three Years -- Gary Arndt Guest Post on The Blog Of Tim Ferriss
"8) You Don't Need A Lot Of Stuff: Condensing my life down from a 3,000 sq/ft house to a backpack was a lesson in knowing what really matters. I found I could get by just fine without 97% of the things I had sitting around my home. Now, if I purchase something, I think long and hard about it because anything I buy I will have to physically carry around. Because I have fewer possessions, I am more likely to buy things of higher quality and durability."
*Also see 8 Exotic Destinations You Can Afford for some travel ideas--a great way to spend some time away from the daily grind.

Does Eating More Protein Reduce Fat and Increase Muscle Mass? A Paleo Diet Advantage -- Don, Primal Wisdom
"Many people notice a decrease in fat mass and an increase in lean mass when they increase the protein and decrease the carbohydrate content of the diet. This results from the hormonal effects of these nutrients, which are ignored by those who assert that 'a calorie is a calorie.'"
I procured a freezer full of grassfed beef straight from the farmer who raised it via
 Eat Wild -- provides:

  • Comprehensive, accurate information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture.
  • A direct link to local farms that sell all-natural, delicious, grass-fed products. 
  • Support for farmers who raise their livestock on pasture from birth to market and who actively promote the welfare of their animals and the health of the land.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Can Geeking Out on Energy Pathways Improve Your Performance and Sex Life?

This post discusses how our body uses energy during exercise, the primary ways it replaces energy in order to keep moving, and some of the dietary-, health-, and body composition-related implications of exercise at various intensities.
Estimated read time: 9 minutes + videos

If you have a background in exercise physiology, have been to a level one certification, or remember the CFJ article What is Fitness, then this discussion of energy pathways will probably look familiar to you and hopefully provide some further insights and topics for reflection.

If you don’t have any interest in physiology, then this may bring back nightmares of your biology or biochemistry classes.

The graph below shows the three primary energy pathways and ~ how much they contribute during activities of various intensities and duration.

Graph courtesy of What is Fitness

Before we get our elbows dirty, let’s preface with the agreement that we are almost never using exclusively one energy pathway. Rather, at any given time, we are using multiple energy pathways/fuel sources in various amounts dictated by the type, duration, and intensity of activity.

We’ll start with short duration high intensity and work out way to long duration, lower intensity.

The phosphagen (a.k.a. ATP-CP) energy system can produce the greatest power outputs, but it is depleted rapidly.


ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) is the energy currency of life. It is a molecule containing 3 phosphates, and the bond to each of those phosphates releases energy when it broken (when ATP releases energy, a phosphate is released and it becomes Adenosine Di-Phosphate – now containing 2 phosphates).


CP (Creatine-Phosphate) a.k.a PCr (Phosphacreatine) is another high energy molecule that can rapidly replenish ATP by donating it’s phosphate to ADP.

CP + ADP = ATP + Creatine

There is only enough ATP in the body to fuel a few seconds of activity, or to sprint ~ 15-20 yards. There Is about 3-5 times as much PCr stored in the body, and as such, the ATP-CP system [if running exclusively] could fuel about 10 seconds of activity or sprint just under 100 yards.

Note: the primary logic behind creatine supplementation is in that if we are able to store a greater amount of PCr in the body, then we could maintain maximal efforts for an extra few seconds (or perhaps an extra few pounds or an extra couple reps). Hence, studies have found creatine monohydrate to be useful to performance in short duration activity, resistance training, and power sports, but relatively useless to aerobic/endurance exercise.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ruth The Farmer Hooks Me Up

I love Farmer's Markets.  Fruit and Vegetables taste so much fresher when they are picked the day (or occasionally a few days before) they are sold than if they are sitting on a supermarket counter for a week.  Local food doesn't have to travel as far and leaves less of a carbon footprint on the planet.  The prices are comparable and sometimes even better than at your local grocer.  And there's something really special about meeting and talking with the person who grows your food.  (Maybe not quite as special as growing your own ... still very cool)

Meet Ruth:

It's 12 o'clock, do you know where your food is growing?

Ruth has been a key part of the Eglin/Fort Walton Beach Farmer's Market since 1982.  She brings her fresh produce, honey, and canned goods to the Farmer's Market at the Fair Grounds off Beal pkwy from ~0630 to 1200 Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  She and her late husband began Farming when he retired from the Air Force.  After he passed away, she continued the tradition with her children and now grandson comes out to help.  Ruth doesn't like chemicals and uses very minimal amounts when she grows her crops.  Many small farmers don't see a financial benefit from going through the high expense and long process of being certified as "organic".  However, when nutrient content of fresh local fruits and vegetables are compared to "supermarket organic" the local foods will almost always win.

I found this Farmer's Market the first week I got to Florida with a simple google search for "Farmers Market near Eglin Air Force Base".  The first day I went out on my motorcycle because I was still waiting for my car to arrive from my last base.  I remember trying to stuff as many zucchinis, sweet potatoes, and peppers as I could fit in my backpack and riding back to billeting with a big smile, thinking "I wish I didn't have to cook these in the hotel microwave."

If you're in the Fort Walton Beach area, go meet Ruth on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.  If you're outside of the area, do some sleuthing and find a market near you.  The food tastes better! and if we don't support our small farmers, I fear it won't be long until corn and soy are the only "vegetables" in our stores.

Today's bounty.  Which goes in the belly first: the turnips or their greens?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Debbie Does ... Nutrition?

Uhh Ohh ... the media is at it again ... 

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 Pounds 
-- Madison Park, CNN Health
"For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals ... On his "convenience store diet," he shed 27 pounds in two months."
My take ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Links Beyond Well -- Women And Children Lift Weights, Sleep, Training Wisdom, And More ...

Greetings!  A lot has happened over the past two months.  I moved on from my position at Ramstein, I visited home to Oregon for some excellent R&R (hiking, camping, farmers markets, beaches, parks, workouts at CrossFit Excellence, and lots of time with the family), I moved on and began my new job/assignment in the hospital at Eglin Air Force Base and have also begun studying for a C.S.C.S, working on a ton of household projects getting settled in, and am attempting to learn to garden.  Feel free to donate to my compost pile ...

I haven't written or read as much as I usually like to; however, I have a piece in the works discussing the various metabolic fuel systems, how they work during what types of exercise and why that matters.  Keep an eye out for that in the next couple weeks.  In the mean time, the articles below made it through my filter as being particularly interesting/useful and I'd like to pass them on to you.  Enjoy!

Crater Lake, Oregon
Should women lift heavy or light weights? -- Jill Coleman, Metabolic Effect
"There should be no fear of bulking up when fat-burning is being maximized."
The Big Sleep -- Stephan Guyenet, Whole Health Source
  • "Lack of sleep appears to predispose to obesity and diabetes, and probably sets us up for the Big Sleep down the line."
  • "Keep your room as dark as possible during sleep. It also helps to avoid bright light, particularly in the blue spectrum, before bed (4). "Soft white" bulbs are preferable to full spectrum in the evening. If you need to use your computer, dim the monitor and adjust it to favor warm over cool colors. For people who sleep poorly due to anxiety, meditation before bed can be highly effective."
*Also see Stephan's clarification of the data from the study, here

On a similar thread, my sister and I experimented with some de-stressing techniques while I was visiting home to Oregon last month.  Here is what we came up with:

Trainer Tells All -- What I have Learned About Health and Fitness -- Mike OD, Fitness Spotlight
"Today I just wanted to share some of the things this 36yr old has personally learned about all things health and fitness….in no certain order…
  • There is no such thing as spot reduction…but there is a great business in selling that concept (Ab-reclining chair anyone?)
  • It’s a lot easier to stay fit and strong….once you get there
  • If I had to pick one sport for a child to start with it would be gymnastics, the strength/speed/balance/body control they will learn can be applied to any sport down the road."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What do fasted training and low carb athletes have in common?

I saw this excellent blog post by Martin Berkhan over at Lean Gains and my thought-track went on a tangent which led me to writing this post.  I've been meaning to write a series of posts on our fuel systems and our carbohydrate needs for various activity levels and goals for quite some time.  Unfortunately, a perfectionist mindset held me back from tackling such a large [and somewhat ambiguous] beast.  It has to start somewhere ...

Fasted Training For Superior Insulin Sensitivity And Nutrient Partitioning -- Martin Berkhan, Lean Gains
A few highlights:
  • "When exercising at higher intensities than 65% VO2Max, fat oxidation is progressively reduced and becomes almost non-existent at 82-87% VO2Max.
  • C [fed/carbohydrate group] saw a greater increase in VO2Max ...  C improved VO2Max more as they could train harder due to providing the proper substrates for fueling the activity. On the other hand, F [fasted training group] became progressively more efficient at oxidizing fat at higher levels of intensity as evidenced by the increase in FATmax. This is, in turn, could be explained by the substantial increase in the fat burning enzymes FAT/CD36 and CPT1.
  • The fasted training group saw significant improvements in all parameters relevant to improving body composition and health [glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, GLUT4/AMPK increased, markers for fat metabolism, body composition], where as the fed training group saw comparatively lackluster results here."
My notes: There is a lot of neat stuff in that post and in the study's linked.  Read between the lines: fasted training appears to improve markers related to insulin sensitivity, health, and body composition.  However, the fed athletes appeared to be capable of a higher work output (while they also gained a little wieght).
Should I eat those potatoes?

I'd like to point a few things out:

  • At rest or low intensities, we can use fat as our primary energy source.
  • Ketogenic diets and physical performance recounts a few examples of groups and individuals who survived for a year or more on a diet mostly or entirely devoid of carbohydrates--as well as presenting a study where cyclists improved their performance after adapting to a strict protein and fat only diet.
  • On the other hand, fat is metabolized to ATP slower relative to carbohydrate and cannot be burned anaerobically.  At high intensities, we are using primarily carbohydrate for fuel.  Period.
  • With clever diet modifications and time to adapt, our body can begin to burn greater amounts of fat at various exercise intensities (which spares glycogen), however, we will still be burning some glycogen/glucose. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Links Beyond Well -- Get Mobile

If you've been following the fitness industry the last few years, you are probably aware of a growing body of evidence suggesting that static stretching before workouts does not prevent injuries and may actually hurt physical performance (see Phys Ed: Does Stretching Before Running Prevent Injuries  for a decent review).  However, it's reasonable to propose that if you are fighting against your own muscles to get in proper positions, you are wasting valuable energy.  The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (USACHPPM --go military acronyms!) Physical Training Injury Prevention Toolbox also reviewed much of the (lack of) current research on stretching muscles before or after exercise and summarized:
"Studies to date have not specifically targeted individuals with limited flexibility. Studies show that stretching can increase flexibility, although these suggest that the most efficient timing of stretching may be when muscles are warm (possibly after exercise). Additionally, epidemiological data indicate that both extremes of flexibility (too much or too little) are associated with increased injury rates."
Conversely, performing a dynamic warmup and gradually increasing heart rate, body temperature, and mobility through actual movement before a workout can be very useful to prepare for certain ranges of motion.

Athletes commonly compensate for tight shoulder musculature by hyper-extending the lumbar -- not under Mads' watch.

From the New York Times article (Phys Ed: Does Stretching Before Running Prevent Injuries) above:
"The best science suggests that an ideal preworkout routine “consists of a very easy warm-up, followed by a gradual increase in intensity and then dynamic stretching,” he said. Dynamic stretching, or exercises that increase your joints’ range of motion via constant movement, does not seem to invoke the inhibitory reflex of static stretching" 

Additionally, mobility can be an all day endeavor -- work on it day and night, not just before or after your workout.  The below resources are full of excellent articles and videos explaining concepts of anatomy, stretching, mobility, stability, and more.  Spend some time and explore your mobility.

Thames CrossFit Mobility -- Great articles and videos on mobility, stretching, nutrition and more from London-based Jami Tikkanen.
"We all know to take our hips back as we descend to a squat or a deadlift but the problems arise when we run out of space at the hips. This is the point where most of us start to push our knees forward or lose our lumbar curve (but then again, we didn’t like our knees and intervertebral discs anyway, did we?)."

Mobility Wod -- San Fransisco-based Kelly Starrett puts out a daily video demonstrating high quality mobility movements and bonus entertainment.
"Movement restrictions happen within the context of the entire kinetic chain. In an overhead squat for example, tight hips will challenge even the best shoulder positioning. Or conversely, restricted shoulders will force greater movement demands on the hips. The solution?
More of everything."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tequila 001

I like Tequila.  Always have.  Maybe that's because I don't tend to go overboard and never had a bad Tequila night in college like some of my friends.  It also has a distinct flavor, is gluten-free, and goes well with citrus and/or club soda ala Robb Wolfs NorCal Margarita.  I always knew to avoid the cheep stuff (which often winds up to be cheep vodka flavored like Tequila);  however, I rarely got much more exotic than Jose or Patron.

Last week I was on leave and visiting home in wonderful Portland, Oregon.  One of my sisters invited me to a Tequila tasting at Trebol--a very cool tequila bar that boasts organic mexican food and an assortment of Luche Libre masks.  That's right, there are people out there who sip and taste Tequila and don't just chase it down with salt and lime or take it off the body of an inebriated coed.  When you get into it, many of the finer Tequila's have a rich assortment of flavors on par with a very fine Scotch.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Links Beyond Well - Value Added Blogging

Why re-create the wheel?  My mission is to provide the best information to you and there are a lot of great writers and thinkers out there who have already put together excellent stuff.  In addition to original pieces, I'll do my best to sort gold from B.S. and will post links in this manner as I come across unique pieces worth sharing. 

Get Bigger Muscles By ... Walking? -- Mike O'Donnell, Fitness Spotlight
"This biggest mistake people make nowadays is doing too much. More is not going to be better, especially if you are doing it with too much intensity and too often. Your body just doesn’t work that way and your hormones won’t respond optimally."
Paleo in a Nutshell Part 1: Food -- YouTube
"This video describes the rationale and philosophy behind eating as our ancestors did and provides me and hopefully you with a way to tell others why it makes sense."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nutrition Clinic at CrossFit Excellence -- Lake Oswego, OR

Portlanders, don’t miss my free nutrition clinic from 9am-12pm this Saturday (11 Sep 2010) at CrossFit Excellence (333 2nd Street Lake Oswego OR 97034). We will follow it up with an optional, little bodyweight workout at Noon!

The first half will discuss health implications of the SAD (Standard American Diet) and how to overcome them.
  • Participants will come away with simple guidelines and strategies for achieving optimal bodyweight, lowering heart disease risk, improving blood sugar control, sharper focus, and moving towards outstanding general health and wellbeing.
The second segment will discuss how to move beyond wellness and into the realm of superior fitness and performance.
  • Participants will gain a general understanding of the role nutrition plays in each of the metabolic/energy pathways and how tailor their eating strategies based on their training volume, intensity, and specific goals.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beyond Wellness Foundations: Nutrition

Nutrition should be the foundation of all wellness and fitness programs, period.  Fine tuning a nutrition program that works for YOU takes patience, attention and tinkering.  There are numerous dietary refinements that may or may not work well for you based on your individual makeup and goals.  The goal of this post is to highlight the most effective strategies and offer a baseline from which to begin individual experimentation. 

Spending a period of time (or the rest of your life) avoiding certain foods may help you to identify food sensitivities and finally get rid of those stomach aches, IBS, headaches, skin problems, chronic inflammation, etc.  Many CrossFit gyms have organized 'Paleo' challenges to clean up their members' diets and find a baseline from which to reintroduce potentially harmful foods.  See CrossFit Ramstein's Paleo Challenge for a great example.

Food Quality Boring?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Squadron PT 19 Aug 2010

I led squadron PT one last time in Ramstein before my PCS back to the states. 

With a large, diverse unit, it can take some thorough planning and creativity to provide a workout that is challenging, safe, timely, and well executed.

Ramstein AF PTLs learning functional fitness concepts during Total Fit PTL training

Some things to consider:
Our Unit is 100+ members and any number between 35 and 70 might show--if twice as many as you expect show you may have equipment availability issues.  Have a fall back plan.

Large groups are more difficult quality control for complex movements--especially if you are the only person leading/coaching the session.  Most movements can be simplified (e.g. make squats "box squats" to reduce the amount of quality control and cueing needed per person for each movment).  If you plan to introduce a new and semi-complex movement such as a kettlebell swing, it is very important to make sure that any other exercises done that day are very simple (pushups, situps, burpees, running, step ups, etc.), or were previously instructed very thoroughly, so that the majority of attention can be devoted to the new movement.  It is also very worthwhile to enlist the help of other competent physical training leaders when available.  Ratios of training leaders to participants will vary based on the skill level of the trainer, the experience of the trainees, and the complexity of the workout of the day.

One of the biggest mistakes military PTLs make is to regularly participate in the workout.  Granted, there ARE some workouts that are simple enough that you can participate.  And if you are working with a small sized/highly skilled group (say 4 or 5 relatively up to speed members) you can get your hands dirty.  With a large unit however, it is simply impossible to be effective at coaching others if your nose is in the mudd doing pushups.  It's important to get out amongst the unit, motivate, and cue-in members on their form.  This results in improved fitness with less injuries for your members.

Equipment availability is a concern.  Our gym is not set up with enough barbells to run 70 people through a weightlifting session.  Bodyweight movements are great for large groups because little/no additional equipment is needed and they can be modified to higher or lower fitness levels (incline, decline, partial, plyometric, etc.).  There are some great benefits to adding resistance and learning control of external objects though.  Some equipment can be found/made, also a smart circuit can be created so that members can rotate through and recieve the benefits of external resistance.

In a large group, there are mixed ability levels.  Levels of conditioning and fitness experience, age, movitation, and prior-existing injuries can vary greatly.  My unit is a medical unit.  We have 18 year old Airmen, 50+ year old Colonels/LTCs, battle ready medics, pregnant members, knee braces, and everything in between.  It's helpful to have a toolbox full of modifications for each and every exercise.  Be prepared to modify the intensity or the range of motion or to substitute an entire different movement based on abilities and pain with movement.

If it's not a motivating workout, people will sandbag it.  This is a tough one.  People are motivated by different things.  Unfit individuals may give up if they feel overwhelmed, overfit individuals may hold back if they feel the workout is not hard enough--"saving energy for their 'real workout' after unit PT".  And some people sandbag perhaps just because they don't like to work.  Creating workouts that allow each member to push themselves at their own pace is smart.  Not everyone should run the same distance or do the same number of pushups every time.  Also, changing up the scheme/goal of a workout between time priority (you have a set time, do as many reps, rounds, or work within that time), task priority (do x amount or roundsand reps as fast as you can), occasional team/partner workouts, and various other makeups can be useful in tapping in to the different ways in which each person is motivated.

Here's the workout I put together for our Squadron:

I was able to reserve a fitness center with some equipment, including a 9 rowers, 16 Dynamax medicine balls, those green and pink aerobics steps, a few kettlebells, cones, and tons of floor matts.  I planned for ~50 members of mixed fitness levels.  The Squadron only meets once per month for group PT, the training leader rotates, and new members come and go frequently.  So I have to assume that conditioning is perhaps not at the high intensity level I would like for them, I also have to assume every movement they learn is new. 

Before the anaerobic effort, the Squadron was formed into 6 lines and ran in hears through a dynamic warmup starting with light jogs and shuffles and moving to more complex patterns such as hip add/abduction and tiger crawls.  Members were given the opportunity to get themselves water before moving on to the anaerobic circuit (10-15 minutes).

The "workout":
There are 7 stations, members complete 3 rounds, spending 45 seconds at each of the 7 stations, each round.  The goal is to complete as many reps as possible at each station.

The stations:
1) Wallballs - A "butt target" was placed at approcimate hip-parallel height behind each ball.  This gives them feedback on their depth and makes it easier for a beginner to think about "sitting back with their hips", then driving from their heels versus starting the movement by throwing their knees forward--greatly reducing the amount of attention needed to be paid to each member.  Squat down and touch ball with butt, then accelerate up through heels and utilize power from hips to help throw the ball to a 8 ft (for those 66" or shorter) or 10 ft (taller than 66") target.  Wallball weights varied from 10# to 20#.

2) Situps - Simple enough.  Start the rep by touching ground over your head, then begin curling up until you touch you toes.  Members were instructed NOT to ancor their feet--forcing the abs to do the work and lessening the contribution of the legs and hip flexors.  Poor-fit members were instructed to perform a hollow-rock-like movement to get to the situp position if they were unable to complete any more strict situps.  Ab-Mats would be great ... we don't have them.

3) Rowing - goal is to generate max calories during the 45 sec.  Only strap in one foot--greatly improves transition speed each round.

4) Pushups--full range of motion.  If full range of motion is not obtained, then member drops to knees and continues to do pushups.  If knee pushups are also exhausted, member will hold a plank at the top of the pushup position.

5) Box Jumps/Box Step Ups--Boxes, benches, and aerobic steps were set at various heights from 8" to 24" to accomodate varying comfort/athleticism.  Members with prior knee isues were instructed to step down from each rep.

6) Suicide Sprint--Sprint 10 yd, and return to start, immediatley turn and sprint 20 yd, then return, then immediately turn and sprint to 30 yd and back.  Members were instructed to only complete one suicide spint focusing on quality output--looking for a sprint not a jog.  Time remaining after completing the sprint was awarded as rest.  It pays to be fast.

7) Rest and Stretch - This station was added more or less at the last minute to accomodate for slightly more members than planned.  Otherwise, everyone would have rested at the same time after completing all 6 stations.

4-D graphic representation of PT layout.  Careful not to cut yourself on the sharpness.

Every 45 seconds, at the command of the PTL, the members moved on to the next station and began working immediately (generally by the time they got to the next station they had already burned 10-15 of their 45 seconds in transit--built in rest). 

Circuit time: 15 minutes, 45 seconds.  When you factor in that 1 of the 7 stations was rest, and lets say 10 seconds was spent in transition betwen each station ... you could estimate that 10 minutes and 30 seconds were actually spent in anaerobic effort.

The majority of "coaching" focus was devoted to the wallballs station and the rowing station with occasional passes by the other areas.

After the anaerobic circuit, ~7 minutes was spent in coached stretching per the request of the commander.

Total time: ~40 minutes plus setup and cleanup

Result: everyone sweat, nobody got hurt, and the new Squadron Commander said something along the line of "the was different, but F-ck that was a good workout ... damn."  Then was dissapointed when he found out I was PCSing and asked if I could leave some resources with the other PTLs to keep this type of program going after I leave.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sexy Miracle Foods, 2010

My friend sent me a link to this article on 22 disease-fighting superfoods the other day with a comment "check out the last one on the list".  Corn.

I generally don't eat corn anymore.  However, I HAVE eaten my fair share of corn without any permanent ills that are readily apparent at 26.  Regardless, a superfood because a study revealed that corn is "rich in the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, two antioxidants that protect your eyes and skin from UV damage." Really?

This is classic reductionist logic at it's best:
  • Food A contains ingredient B.
  • Ingredient B has been found in one study to have some role in disease C (and let's also go ahead and ignore the quality of that ONE  STUDY or whether or not there are any confounding studies for now)
  • Therefore, food A should be eaten regularly to safeguard against disease C. 
Should we take a look at the amount of ingredient B in food A to see if it's enough to have an impact on disease C?  (it is not uncommon to see these nutrient studies using an amount of CONCENTRATED substance that you might need to swallow a  truck load of actual food to obtain an equivalent therapeutic dose)
*by the way, if you're specifically after lutein or xeaxanthan, consult this Ranking of Foods Containing Lutein from the Low Vision Center in Indiana.  Corn's 790 mg per half cup serving pales in comparison to Kale (21,900 mg/.5 cup), Spinach (12,600mg/.5 cup cooked), or Red Peppers (6,800 mg/.5 cup).  Eat a variety of veggies and you should be set.

Should we perhaps look at studies consuming the actual food AS A WHOLE to confirm that we can connect A to C? (e.g. look at the effect of corn consumption on UV damage instead of lutein consumption)

Or what about how the food fits in to an overall diet plan?  Does eating more corn bully out other vegetables higher in nutrients (kale?).

Should we look to see if that item increases risk for other ailments? 
(For example, this paper from the Weston A Price Foundation highlights that "The US Food and Drug Administration lists over 200 studies on its database showing the toxicity of soy. Numerous studies show that soy consumption leads to nutrient deficiencies, digestive disorders, endocrine disruption and thyroid problems." Go soy ...)

Nope. Let's just conclude that because it contains that one nutrient that it's a fountain of youth ... and then put it together with a list of 21 other foods to make a miracle list and sandwich it between a sexy, black and white Calvin Cline jeans add and a cleverly captioned photo of a chihuahua balancing a Twinkie on it's nose so we can sell magazines.

"I am a Banana!" - Rejected

Speaking of Weston A Price ... They recently posted a thicker, more scientific article on the flaws of reductionism, here.  That article also links back to the surge of fun that was had discussing the flaws of the China Study over the past few weeks.

So, after reading this should we avoid mushrooms and watermelon and Brussels sprouts?  Nope.  Those, and most of the foods referenced in the article, are still great to eat.  As are a plethora of other nutrient-dense foods that didn't make the Super 22 (how about dem mustard greens? or garlic, ginger, asparagus ...).  

And to be fair, a few of the studies they mentioned for other foods did look at consumption of that actual food:
Be-leaf in cabbage?  

What is important is to realize that each and every food (note, I did not say food product) has a unique nutrient profile, whether a study said so or not and whether they were featured in the beacon of health communication that is Self or left to wilt in the corners of the produce section (poor celery root gets no love these days).  If it's a deep colorful shade, it's probably rich in something.  Eat quality protein sources, lots of non-starchy veggies, sources of essential fats and some fruits and you'll meet your basic needs.  Determine portions, proportions, and extras based on your activity and energy needs, goals, and individual sensitivities and you'll be rocking.

 If you look closely there are 12 superfoods, two umbrellas and one ninja hidden in my breakfast ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Archives: Club 100 Spotlights

The links below will guide you through a series of article/interviews I put together spotlighting various Ramstein Airmen who scored perfect on their Air Force Fitness Assessment.  While the Air Force Fitness Assessment is admittedly not the definitive measure of health or performance, it DOES take effort to get a perfect score.  And it'd be reasonable to say that if you are getting a perfect score on your fitness assessment that you are more likely to be closer to the "fit" end of the spectrum than the "sick" end.

What I'd like you to note is what these Athletes (and I call them Athletes because I believe that every person wearing a military uniform should be an athlete) have in common.  Whether they are young or seasoned, Airmen or Colonels, male or female, first time perfect scorers or consistent high performers, they are all doing something right.

Fitness can be achieved at any age, no matter your background, genetics, or environment.  Do the work, eat the good food, results will come.

Maj Richard Soto, 86th Medical
Operations Squadron
(Courtesy Photo, Kaiserslautern American)

What It Takes To Make Club 100

Bring Up Your Fitness, Join Club 100

Efficiency In The Gym Pays Dividends

Club 100 Member Talks About Getting Functional

Dialing In To Club 100

Reduce Miles, Perform Better

Prioritize Fitness

Stronger And Faster

Set Goals, Get Fit

First Post! The Origins Of Our Diet

What better way to start a blog on health and human performance than with an excellent video series discussing the origins of our diet.  Please check out the videos below in which Prof Loren Cordain, Ph.D. gives his lecture - "Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century" at the CrossFit Football Denver Certification.  Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2