Thursday 31 March 2016

Avoid these "Healthy" foods !

Caesar Salad:Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. Take Caesar salad, for example. You might think that because it's a salad, it's fine. But just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.
Food Fix: Use only 1 tablespoon of dressing and 2 tablespoons of tangy Parmesan cheese.
Fresh Smoothies:That berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit concentrates are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.
Food Fix: Get the small cup. Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk, or protein powder to blend in protein and good nutrition 
Energy Bars:Many of these are simply enhanced candy bars with more calories (up to 500) and a higher price tag. Their compact size also leaves many people unsatisfied. A few bites, and it's gone. 
Food Fix: Choose bars that have 200 calories or less, some fiber, and at least 5 grams of protein, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades
Enhanced Water:Vitamins are commonly added to bottled water and advertised on the front label. But some brands also add sugar, taking water from zero calories to as many as 125
Food Fix: Refrigerating tap water may make it more appealing. Or try packets of crystallized lemon to add flavor without calories
2% Milk Latte:It's tempting to choose reduced-fat milk in a latte and reward yourself with whipped cream on top. But this trade-off still adds up to 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat in a 20-ounce white chocolate mocha. That's more than a quarter-pound burger with cheese.
Food Fix: A sweetened, frothy beverage is a diet splurge. Limit the damage with nonfat (skim) milk and no whipped cream. You'll avoid 130 calories and two-thirds of the saturated fat.
Breakfast Muffins:Muffins beat doughnuts, but they're still mainly sugary little cakes of refined flour. One store-bought muffin can hit 500 calories with 11 teaspoons of sugar.
Food Fix: Go no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Or look for 100-calorie muffins at the store. Some brands are a surprisingly good source of whole grains and fiber.
Low-Fat Granola:The low-fat version of this crunchy cereal has only 10% fewer calories and is still full of sugar. Plus, the low-fat label can easily lead you to overeat. A study at Cornell University found that people ate 49% more granola when they thought it was low-fat, easily blowing past the measly 10% calorie savings.
Food Fix: Look for low-sugar, whole-grain cereal, and sweeten it with fresh fruit 
Low-Fat Yogurt:Yogurt is a nutrition superstar, rich in protein and calcium. But many yogurts have lots of added sugar. Some brands add 30 or more grams of fructose, sucrose, or other sweeteners. Compare plain to fruited yogurts to see the difference between the sugars that are naturally in milk and added sugar listed on the nutrition facts panel.
Food Fix: Six ounces should be 90-130 calories and under 20 grams of sugar. Avoid sugary "fruit on the bottom" yogurts. Or blend sweetened yogurt with plain, nonfat yogurt
Multigrain Products:When you see "multigrain" or "seven grain" on bread, pasta, or waffles, flip the package over and check the nutrition label. Even with more than one type of grain, the product could be made largely from refined grains, such as white flour, which have been stripped of fiber and many nutrients.
Food Fix: Look for "100% whole grain" (oats, wheat) as the first ingredient. Or choose the brand with more fiber.
Light Olive Oil:Anything labeled "light" is enticing when you're watching your weight. But often the food is not what you expect. Light olive oil, for instance, has the same calorie and fat content as other types. It's just lighter in color and taste.
Food Fix: Some light foods do help you save calories. Compare the labels in the store
Added Omega-3:Some yogurt, milk, eggs, cereal, and other foods boast of added omega-3. But they may not have the kinds of omega-3 best known to help your heart: EPA and DHA. Or there's only a smidgen -- about as much as in one bite of salmon. Instead, they may have ALA from vegetable sources. ALA is not as potent or beneficial as DHA/EPA.
Food Fix: Try 6 ounces of salmon. It has 100 times more omega-3 than is in a serving of fortified yogurt. Vegetarians could consider algae-derived omega-3 supplements 
Iced Tea:The antioxidants in iced tea don't make it a health food. Too much added sugar can turn a tall glass into a health hazard. A 20-ounce bottle can have more than 200 calories and 59 grams of sugar.
Food Fix: Skip "sweet tea" in favor of unsweetened iced tea. Lemon or artificial sweeteners add zing without calories. Herbal and berry teas taste mildly sweet without sugar.
Microwave Popcorn:The word "snack" can be a little misleading on microwave popcorn. One popular brand packs 9 grams of fat into each "snack size" bag.
Food Fix: Compare nutrition labels, and get a lower-fat popcorn that has no trans fat at all. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or low-salt spice blends for added flavor without a lot of fat.
Iceberg Lettuce:This popular lettuce is big on crunch but a big "zero" when it comes to vitamins and flavor. And its boring taste leads many people to overdo it on the dressing and toppings.
Food Fix: Add spinach or arugula to the mix. Crumble 2 tablespoons (100 calories) of blue cheese or feta on top. Then splash the salad with a little oil and vinegar to spread flavor without a lot of calories.
Salty Toppings:Processed artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and olives are just a few of the salt shockers lurking on the salad bar. To avoid getting too much sodium, limit anything that comes out of a can. Also pass up cured meats. Choose beans or tuna, but not both.
Food Fix: Radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and other fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Rinse canned beans to remove a lot of the salt
Coleslaw:Cabbage is fine, but coleslaw can be a diet disaster. At one popular restaurant, a small cup (4.5 ounces) has 260 calories and 21 grams of fat -- a third of most people's daily limit -- thanks to the mayonnaise.
Food Fix: Some places make a healthier slaw, so ask for nutrition information. At home, try low-fat mayonnaise or mix with nonfat yogurt
Banana Chips:Deep-fried bananas don't look greasy, but just one ounce has 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat: about the same as a fast-food hamburger.
Food Fix: Try a fresh banana: four times more food, 0 grams of fat, all for about 100 calories.


Wednesday 30 March 2016

How exercise can improve your moods !

        While it's obvious that your feelings can influence your movement,it is not as obvious that your movement can impact your feelings too.For example,when you feel tired and sad,you may move more slowly. When you feel anxious,you may either rush around or become completely paralyzed. But recent studies show that the connection between your brain and your body is a "two-way street " and that means movement can change your brain,too!
         Exercise can reduce anxiety by making your brain's "fight or flight " system less reactive.When anxious people are exposed to changes they fear, such as a rapid heartbeat,through regular exercise,they can develope a tolerance for such symptoms.Regular exercise such as cycling or gym-based aerobic,resistance,flexibilty and balance exercises can reduce depressive symptoms. Exercise can be as effective as medication and psychotherapies. Exercise may boost your mood by increasing a brain protein called BDNF that helps nerve fibers grow.For people with ADHD a single 20-minute bout of moderate- intensity exercise briefly improved their symptoms. It increased their energy,and reduced their feelings of confusion,fatgue and depression
          Meditative movement has been shown to alleviate depressive symptoms. Qigong,tai chi and some forms of yoga are helpful for this. Studies have shown that frequent yoga practice can reduce the severity of symptoms in post- traumatic stress disorder to the point that some people no longer meet the criteria for this diagnosis. Changing your posture,breathing and rythem can all change your brain,thereby reducing stress,depression and anxiety and leading to a feeling of well-being
       Your mind and body are intimately connected. And while your brain is the master control system for your body's movement,the way you move can also affect the way think and feel. Exercise therapies are often used as treatments for depression and anxiety when mental effort,psychotherapy or medication is not enough.When you are too exhausted to use thought control strstegies such as focusing on the positive or looking at the situation from another angle,exercise can come  to the rescue.By working out ,you may gain access to a "back door" to the mental changes that you desire without having to "psych yourself" into feeling better ! 
Final Thoughts
Let's look at what has happened to our overall health in the last 20 years:
  • Diabetes-UP
  • Hypertension-UP
  • Heart disease -UP
  • Metabolic Syndrome X-UP
  • Obesity-UP
  • Depression-UP
  • Anxiety-UP
  • Stress- UP       
Do you see the connection? Trust me,it's no coincidence. There is no single medication on this planet that can have a positive impact on all of the above mentioned conditions. Can you imagine the amount of pills you would have to take to treat every single condition? If you are on any type of medication for any of these conditions DO NOT STOP ! But i can tell you there is one thing you can do that will have an immediate and positive impact on every single condition i have mentioned. EXERCISE !!!! With as little as 90 minutes a week you will immediatly begin to reap the rewards. Go on. Give it a go !  

Monday 28 March 2016

The strongest most neglected muscle in the human body. Your brain !

         If you ask any fitness buff the secret to success,they will likely tell you there is no secret. Reaching your goals requires a combination of physical effort,dedicated diet and mental focus.Despite the large number of successful athletes who cite regular meditation,visualization or some other kind of mental training, many people still don't utilize this valuable tool.Perhaps this is because they don't see the mental aspect of success as being as important as training and diet.Actually,it is the most important element.   
        The true marker of success is not the ability to lose weight and improve performance within a short period of time,but rather the ability to achieve an enjoyable and maintainable lifestyle that allows you to look and feel great all year. Think about the obstacles that stood in your way in the past. Factors like stress, poor time management,getting off track at social events,illness and injury,self-criticism and burnout. None of these actually physically prevent you from sticking to your diet and training goals.Even in those times when you actually are physically unable to exercise,no one forces you to also stray away from good nutrtion. 
         The common element behind why all of those situations throw us off course is mental toughness. We don't train our brains. We don't prepare ourselves to handle these situations. When faced with them we falter.The good news is that it's possible to change our brains with regular training,just like we change our bodies. However,just like as with physical taining,results don't happen overnight; mental training has to be consistent and progressive. The daily practice of meditation and other relaxation-response-inducing activities physically alters our brains.
         The benefit of a regular meditation or mental training program is twofold.You can physically alter your brain and body chemistry and physiology, and also better prepare yourself to deal with life's odstacles and challenges. You can make the most significant impact on your outer self by training your inner self. Just like your physical training in the gym,mental training must be become a part of your everyday life. It's not something you can just do for a while and then reaps the rewards forever. You must commit to regular practice.  The two most popular types of mental training are meditation and visualization. There are many different ways to meditate and visualize,but to start, here are two simple exercises to try.
Simple daily meditation
Find a quiet place away from distractions. Set a timer for 10 minutes;have it on vibrate rather than setting an alarm.Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor,hands in your lap and posture upright but relaxed.Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Focus on filling your lungs with air and then slowly exhaling. Relax and watch your thoughts go by. Don't try to stop thoughts or control them. Just acknowledge them as they come up and then let them go.Bring your attention back to the present moment and let the thought go. When your timer vibrates,don't open your eyes right away. Take a couple more deep breaths and pay attention to how you feel.Are you more relaxed ? Alert ? Focused ? We aren't aiming for anything in particular,just note how you feel at the end of each session
Simple daily visualization
Find a quiet place away from distractions.Set a timer for 5 minutes;have it on vibrate rather than setting an alarm. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor,hand in your lap and posture upright but relaxed.Close yor eyes and think of a time when you accomplished something you were proud of.Remember as many details as you can. Where are you? What are you doing?What are you wearing? Can you hear other people?Is there food? What does it smell like? Taste like? Make this image as vivid as possble. Stick with the same visualization for several days until you can quickly and easily re-create the scene and the feelings in you mind.
         These basic exercises can help you start to harness the full potential of mental training 

Sunday 27 March 2016

Is this why you're always tired?


        It may seem obvious but you could be getting too little sleep. That can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night.Some people think they're sleeping enough, but sleep apnea gets in the way. It briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed. Your doctor may order a sleep study to check for this.
       Eating too little causes fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops. Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs. You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms, as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and "down" for more than a few weeks, see your doctor.
   The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight . Caffeine can improve alertness and concentration in moderate doses. But too much can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and jitteriness. And research indicates too much actually causes fatigue in some people. If you've ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you're probably familiar with the burning pain and sense of urgency. But the infection does not always announce itself with such obvious symptoms. In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign. A urine test can quickly confirm a UTI. In people with diabetes, abnormally high levels of sugar remain in the bloodstream instead of entering the body's cells, where it would be converted into energy. The result is a body that runs out of steam despite having enough to eat. If you have persistent, unexplained fatigue, ask your doctor about being tested for diabetes.
     Your fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. Whether you're working out or working a desk job, your body needs water to work well and keep cool. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. When fatigue strikes during everyday activities, such as cleaning the house or weeding the yard, it can be a sign that your heart is no longer up to the job. If you notice it's becoming increasingly difficult to finish tasks that were once easy, talk to your doctor about heart disease. Some doctors believe hidden food allergies can make you sleepy. If your fatigue intensifies after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you're eating -- not enough to cause itching or hives, just enough to make you tired.
       If your fatigue lasts more than six months and is so severe that you can't manage your daily activities, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia are a possibility. Both can have various symptoms, but persistent, unexplained exhaustion is a main one.
     If you have mild fatigue that isn't linked to any medical condition, the solution may be exercise. Research suggests healthy but tired adults can get a significant energy boost from a modest workout program. In one study, participants rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes at a mild pace. Doing this just three times a week was enough to fight fatigue.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Designing a resitance programme for fat loss

        When it comes to constructing the ultimate weight training program
to build muscle and burn fat, exercise selection is a very important component.
You build muscle fastest with compound weight training exercises.
Any weight training program that focuses on machines and
isolation weight training exercises is a complete waste of time.

Below are the worst weight training exercises on the planet and
should be avoided at all costs if you want to build muscle fast.

1) Smith Machine Squats- Squats are the best weight training
exercise you can do in order to build muscle fast. Doing them on a
Smith machine however, is a huge mistake. Squatting in a Smith
machine is very hard on the knees and causes the lifter to develop
what is known as a pattern overload syndrome. The smith machine
isolates the legs while taking the trunk out of the movement.
In a normal free weight squat your lower back and abs must stabilize
the weight and every muscle group must work in unison. This is
how the body functions, as a unit, never in isolation. This can lead
to severe imbalances and injuries.

2) Leg Extensions- Compound weight training exercises are the
best muscle building exercises there are. Leg extensions are an
isolation movement which do very little to build muscle. This
movement also creates shearing forces on the knee and should
be avoided at all costs.

3) Hack Squats- While squats are the superior muscle building exercise,
this movement falls into the exact same category as the smith machine
squat and should be avoided for all the same reasons.

4) Abduction/ Adduction machines- This is the one where you sit with
your legs spread and strapped into the machine. You perform this weight
training exercise by opening up or spreading your legs and then closing
them. This is another isolation movement which will do nothing to build

5) Abdominal Crunch Machines- The abs never work in isolation in the
real world. In fact, the abs do not ever contract consciously. They
contract unconsciously as a way to protect the spine. The abdominal
muscles never work without the use of the hip flexors yet these isolation
crunch machines are specifically designed to take the hip flexors out of
the movement. For these reasons, this is a very ineffective weight training
exercise for building muscle.

6) Ab Roller Devices- This apparatus is a version of the aforementioned
crunch machines and is another useless piece of equipment. This device
takes the neck completely out of the movement which is exactly what
you don't want to do. Contracting and or flexing the muscles of the neck
during an abdominal crunch is exactly what you want to be doing and is
physiologically correct. Another waste of time in the quest to build muscle

7) Smith Machine Bench Press- The bench press is a great muscle building
exercise but doing it in the Smith machine is not a good idea. Much like
the Smith Machine Squat, this exercise will cause you to develop a pattern
overload and will lead to injury. Pressing on the Smith Machine isolates the
pressing muscles and completely eliminates the use of the stabilizer muscles,
such as the rotator cuff. This will lead to imbalances that can transfer to
serious shoulder injuries. You can't build muscle when you are injured.

8) Bench Dips- This is another weight training exercise that I did for many
years and now regret. I routinely did this exercise with four 45 pound
plates on my lap. Little did I realize at the time that bench dips put your
shoulder in a very dangerous position and can eventually lead to serious
problems. While this exercise is useful in building muscle it is also
dangerous. If shoulder safety is a concern I recommend that you avoid
this exercise and stick with parallel bar dips for building muscle.

9) Concentration Curls- When it comes to weight training and building
muscle, everybody's favorite bodypart is biceps. Chin ups and barbell
curls are the best weigth training exercises for building huge biceps.
Concentration curls are not. This is a pure isolation movement which
supposedly puts a "peak" on your biceps. The only problem with that
is the fact that it is physiologically impossible to peak your biceps.
Muscles grow evenly along the entire length of the tissue from origin
to insertion. When looking at the effectiveness of an exercise one of
the key determinants in the results that it may produce is the amount of
weight that can be lifted. In a concentration curl it is very difficult to lift
a great deal of weight and thus it renders the movement ineffective. If
you want to build huge biceps, avoid concentration calls.

10) Bench Press to the Neck- (Incline Bench) This was a big favorite muscle building exercise of Larry Scott and Vince Gironda. It was supposedly a great
muscle building exercise for the upper or clavicular pectoral muscles.
The problem with this movement is that it will absolutely destroy the
shoulders and can easily lead to a pec tear. This is one movement
that you should stay very far away from in your quest to build muscle

11) Old School Pec Dec-This is the supposed muscle building exercise
machine which has you bend your arms ninety degrees while externally
rotating. You place your arms on the pads and then proceed to bring
the pads together in front of your body. This is not only dangerous for
the shoulder but is absolutely useless and will not build muscle at all.

12) Knee Break Squats- As mentioned earlier, the squat is the best
weight training exercise there is for building muscle. Some trainers and
coaches have advocated initiating a squat by first breaking at the knees
rather than the hips in an effort to put more stress on the quadriceps
muscles. The problem is that this also puts unnecessary stress on the
knees and severely limits the amount of weight that can be lifted.
Squats should be initiated by first breaking at the hips and sitting back
and down, not by breaking at the knees and pushing your knees forward
as you descend.

These weight training exercises are listed in no particular order.
Unfortunately there are many other weight training exercises that
are performed on a routine basis by many lifters that are also useless
and dangerous. Those listed above just so happen to be the worst.
If a weight training exercise causes pain, you should always avoid it.
If a weight training exercise is supposed to target a certain muscle
group in isolation and requires you to use extremely light weights it
is usually best avoided. The exception to this rule would be prehab
and rehab type exercises such as external rotation exercises for the
rotator cuff.

Train hard, train smart and focus on compound exercises and you will build muscle fast.Even if you are on weight loss programme, building muscle is a good thing. Muscle burns calories even when your doing nothing ! 

Friday 18 March 2016

Doe's a personal trainer really make a difference ?

              According to the New England Journal of Medicine it is the single most important step one a can take when deciding to lose weight and get healthy, The National Weight Control Registry states: “if a person needs to lose 2 stone or more they have a 1% chance of achieving this thru exercise alone, a 10% chance by dieting alone but an 89% chance of reaching your goal when working with a Professional Personal Trainer (PPT).

              We have all heard the horror stories of someone who hooked up with an inexperienced, unqualified personal trainer. It is more than just a waste of money and time but often serious injuries can occur. Having been a PPT for over 30 years I do consider myself experienced and qualified. I would like to share with you a few examples of what sets me apart from the competition:

·         In 1985 I began using High Intensity Interval Training (this is not the same as High Intensity Training) with my clients to increase fat loss and improve fitness

·         1988 my clients began supplementing with Vitamin D and Vitamin E

·         1988 I designed my nutritional programme using the Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL) format. Still to this day considered the gold standard of nutrition.  

·         1990 I began requiring that my clients use a heart rate monitor when doing their cardio work

·         1992 I introduced to my clients to the benefits of creatine monohydrate,L-glutamine and BCAA’s

·         1995 to insure that my clients got their daily dose of essential fatty acids they began using Udos Oil.

·         2000 after reading numerous peer reviewed research papers I immediately stopped using traditional sit ups,crunches,bicycle crunches and trunk twist for core exercises due to the extreme damage they cause to the spine  

·         2002 my athletes incorporated Myelin Tissue training into their training routine. This is specific combination of SAQ’s and plyometric training to improve performance

·         2005 I introduced Calendar Scoring as a quick and easy way for my clients to keep track of their progress

·         2010 after reading numerous peer reviewed research papers I immediately stopped using behind the neck pull downs,behind the neck shoulder press and upright rows due to the damage they cause to the rotater cuff    

                The point of this is to show you that the right PPT can save you years of struggle, money and serious injury. Not to mention the invaluable support you receive to get you through those difficult times. If you have made the decision to get the weight off and take control of your health, get professional help. It is the difference between success and failure.   

Monday 14 March 2016

The Magic Hour

         We know that 1 hour of professional personal training (PPT) is still considered to be the gold standard of training and fitness enhancement.That 1 hour has huge value,you can dramatically change the the course of your life in1 hour. 
          Just think how significant 1 hour can be !
          I recently had a conversation with a few coaches and folks i like to talk to about training and fitness. We all agreed upon one thing.Maximizing your effectiveness in short bursts of time can lead to huge productivity. Sure we all say we are busy ( and it probably is true ) but some of us seem to get 10 times more accomplished than others . How ?
           I believe it is about how you focus and orient what you spend your most important time on...... your magic time ! Let's face it we only have so many hours in a day.....and we fill that time with meetings,email,phone calls or just life stuff.The list goes on and on. Having said all of that how much time do you have to waste trying to lose the weight , get fit and healthy. 
           The power of 1 hour is gigantic,we way ,way underestimate it. If in 1 hour a week you were able to increase your weight loss and improve your fitness by 100% this year...what would that be worth to you? If in 1 hour a week you were given a strategy ,guidance and support that moved you ahead by months...what would that be worth ? Now you can keep chugging along hoping and praying what your doing is going to work,or you can refocus and get the professional help you need to make that 1 hour more powerful,more strategic and productive than ever before !     

Sunday 13 March 2016

"thinking outside the box" Why ?

        Recently one of my rugby clients showed up for our training session with his laptop in hand and ask if we could take a few minutes for him to show me some training tips he found on line. He felt we should be "thinking outside the box" with his training,which surprised me a little since things were going so well. I told him " there is a reason there is a box" and that most people would  do really well to really familiarize themselves with the inside of the box. Coach John Wooden ( 10 national college basketball championships in 12 years,including 7 years in a row) has a great quote : "If you spend to much time learning the tricks of the trade you may not learn the trade" . Brilliant !. Coach Woodens approach to coaching basketball was amazingly simple. He would begin every season with a detailed explanation of how to put your socks on to avoid blisters. Very "inside the box thinking". You may think this is a waste of time but Coach Wooden felt players missing practice from blisters was the real of waste of time. The best coaches in the world focus on simplicity more than complexity.
         Mark Verstegen often uses the phrase "simple things done savagely well". Dewey Neilsen says " be brilliant at the basics". There is a Buddhist quote that says "in the beginners mind there are many choices,in the experts mind there are few". I think there is a reason why i agree with so many of the people i admire. Those who have attained expert level seem to think very much alike and react in very similar ways to new information. The experts are open to change and have great mental filters. As a result they seem to end up at the same place even when coming from different paths. I have spent more than 30years of "thinking inside the box". The truth is I can't tell you how often I give the same answer to a different question. I tell them to KISS. Stay in the box. Out of the box thinking should be reserved for thos who know the inside of the box like the back of their hand. The key is to become a "master of the box" well before we become "out of the box thinkers ". I personally experince this on a regular basis. Often when i sit down with a potential client and lay out what we are going to do and how we are goin to do it, i get "The Look". The look of "that can' be right. it cant be that easy ". Whatever your goal is ,stick to basic fundamentals. There is a reason the most successful people in the world "think inside the box"    

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Are detox diets good for you ?

        Those colorful, expensive bottles of juice look healthy. But are detox diets good for you? Here's what the science says.
        Not to long ago, the only people who went on on detox diets were Hollywood stars and trend-obsessed editors at fashion and lifestyel magazines.These days it seems like everybody is doing them. The big question is: Are they good for you?         
At best...... maybe,minimally. Any small benefit you might get from a detox diet coild be overshadowed by the risk.

What is a detox ,anyway ?
 "dietary detox" has no universal definition. We know in the absence of science, people are usually left with confusion,superstition,and myth(plus plenty of people ready and willing to take your money).
Despite a lack of scientific support for any "detoxifying " dietary process, many "detox diets have emerged. Most prescribe: certain foods,special juices,teas or even colonics.Some simply promote fasting. The purpose of these interventions is to purge would- be toxins from our bodies in the interest of better health.By definition toxins are small peptides or proteins capable of causing disease on contact with body tissues. Toxins vary greatly in severity,ranging from minor to immediatly deadly.And,it's not as simple as "toxic " vs. "nontoxic". Most everything is toxic at some level.It's unavoidable.
Some toxins can be beneficial.  In relatively small amounts, many toxins can be processed easily and are actually good  for us. Examples :

Vitamin A : To much can cause headaches,drowsiness and anorexia.

Vitamin B :  Too much,and your neurological and liver function will   

Phytochemicals: Found naturally in plants,excessive amounts may be
                              toxic to the liver,kidney and intestine

Lectins : Found in grains and legumes can bind to cell membranes and 
                damage intestinal tissue

Glucosinolates:  Found in vegetables like broccoli,Brussels sprout,and 
                             bok choy .High consumption of these chemicals 
                             have been shown to contribute to hyperthyroidism

Alcohol: Heavy drinking can increase your risk of many health 
Fortunatley,the body "cleanses" itself.
If we can't avoid toxins, doesn't it make sense to do some sort of detox ?
No. Because our bodies have very robust detoxification systems which include:

* digestive tract
* kidneys
* skin
* lungs
* liver
* lymphatic and respiratory system
These systems break down chemicals into other forms we can eliminate via the toilet,sweat or breathing. If the body is great at self-cleansing,why would anyone consider detoxing in the first place?
Detoxing does not promote weight loss. The reason people loss any weight at all is because they're "empty". They quickly lose body water,carbohydrates stores and intestinal bulk. It all come back a few hours after the detox ends. You can't stay empty forever.The fact is these folks lose very little fat if at all. You're not losing anything that won't come right back within hours after the end of the diet. Worse. You're putting you're health at risk to support the illusion. So,if weight loss is your goal, there are smater and more permanent ways to do it. Given that detox diets won't rid the body of impurities or lead to weight loss,are there any benefits? No. 

Some disadvantages of detox diets
The disadvantages of a detox diet are much more numerous than the potential benefits.Any diet will take some effort to organize, and detox diets are no exception.You will never put in as much work into eating less as you do into a detox diet.People with limited time ,money and resources won't enjoy juicing as much as seven kilograms of fruits and vegetable each day. Especially if they're feeling weak,listless or dizzy. Most juice diets are extremely low in calories. With the low energy intake  you'll often notice other things slowing down: you may feel colder,or sluggish,or notice digestion taking a while. Many of the negative side effects that people typically notice could be the result of overload. Their bodies are working  overtime to deal with a noxious cocktail of oxalates,nitrates,etc- all from fruit and vegetable juice. The very "detox" itself could prove "toxic". This brings me to one of my own theories. Many people get headaches whem they are on juice diets. I think this could be due to nitrates.
Many detox juices use a lot of celery and beets. Normally,we don't consume such high quantities of these. Many detox juices are rich in nutrates,which promote vasodilation. This can lead to some pounding headaches. Fruit juices can cause major swings in blood sugar - making them dangerous for people with diabetes, and potetially risky for many others. 
Extreme variations in fat intake can cause trouble for organs that process dietary fats,like the gallbladder. These things can cause potentially serious problems when a person starts eating normally again.  
Detox diets- the entire concept of "cleansing",in fact-can enable feast or famine style eating patterns. It's the classic dieter mentality. On the wagon,off the wagon,on the wagon,ad infinitum. It's always more harmful than helpful. You never learn to prepare real food and real meals that are both nutritious and delicious.Worst of all: You never feel truly happy with any of your choices .
When we eat solid foods,the foods must go through digestion in order for us to liberate nutrients When food is pre-chewed by a juicer or a blender, this decreases the work of digestion.You've heard of the thermic effect of eating.
The more digestion the more calories you burn digesting food.When you juice cleanse you burn significantly fewer calories via digestion.
At this point, there just doesn't seem to be a strong scientific case in support of detox diets. There are plenty of anecdotes in support of detoxing,especially from companies selling detoxing kits.But the vast majority of unbiased and nutrition experts say that a simple pattern built around whole nutritious foods with regular exercise beats a juice cleanse or detox diet every time.    

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