Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food Safety: Don't get sick!

Cooking at home is often the most cost efficient and healthy way to eat. I love to cook, but I know that may not be true for everyone. Either way, we all have to eat! Having a general understanding of food safety guidelines will help keep you from getting sick - whether you are home or away.

I have provided an excellent resource for you to review.

The link above gives you specific cooking temperatures for food. Not all meat is created equally when it comes to safe internal temperatures that it must reach to kill the microbacteria that can make you sick. It also provides information regarding the different types of foodbourne illnesses and the signs/symptoms.

Do you know how long you can keep your leftovers? It will tell you that, too! Please take a minute or two to become familiar with the topics covered so you know where to go when you have a question. Food illness is preventable!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sleep and Athletic Performance

A recent study by Stanford University of their varsity men's basketball team showed that getting more sleep improved athletic performance. This is probably something that you believed to be true already, but now here is the proof. The researchers recorded their averages of sprint speed, shooting accuracy, 3-point percentage, and free-throw percentage. Then they asked the basketball players to get a minimum of 10 hours of sleep per night - how many of you get that? 

After a 5-7 week period of more sleep at night, the players improved! They were running faster, shooting better, and reported an improvement in mental health. Their free-throw percentage increased an average of 9% and their 3-point field goal percentage increased by 9.2%!

As a college athlete, you are given a few obstacles that may interfere with your sleep. Studying, training, and traveling to competitions certainly takes up a lot of your time. It can be easy to put less emphasis on sleep when your to-do list is long. But it is important to realize that creating a sleep deficit DOES make a difference in how well you perform, not only in your sport but in school.  

You can read the full manuscript here:
The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players by Cheri D. Mah, MS, Kenneth E. Mah, MD, MS, Eric J. Kezirian, MD, MPH, and William C. Dement, MD, PhD

Friday, September 21, 2012

Don't forget about hydration during exercise!

How much fluid you should drink during physical activity is determined by several key factors. An appropriate rate of fluid intake depends on how much you sweat, which is primarily driving by how hard you are working and environmental conditions - temperature and humidity. It also depends on how long you exercise. Your body loses water throughout the day through breathing and going to the bathroom; but exercise- and heat-induced sweating prompt significant body water losses and hydration challenges. Just relying on your body to indicate that you "feel thirsty" is not always sufficient to stay well-hydrated during physical activity, especially when you sweat a lot. Being mindful of, and deliberate with, how much fluid you take in every day through beverages and food is crucial to prevent levels of dehyration that is severe enough to hurt your performance and increase your risk of heat illness, especially during situations when there is limited recovery time such as tournament events and two-a-day practices.

Sweat electrolyte losses, particulary sodium and chloride, vary by individual. Muscle cramping due to exertional heat stress can be attributed to an electrolyte deficit caused by sweating, as the sodium and chloride lost through sweat are not matched sufficiently by dietary salt intake. Replacing sodium is crucial to enhancing body water retention and distribution. Some athletes are referred to as "salty sweaters", because they have a relatively high concentration of sodium in their sweat and a high sweat rate. This combination puts these particular athletes at an elevated risk for developing muscle cramps. Knowing how much fluid and electrolytes your body loses through sweating helps you to properly rehyrated after training or competition.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Recipe - Lemony Tuna and Olive Oil Pasta

I am sharing this recipe from Real Simple because it is a great use for canned tuna and doesn't require many ingredients. Adding vegetables to this dish would be a great way to really balance out the meal. Another substitution I would recommend trying is using whole wheat linguine. 

12 ounces linguine (3/4 box)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 6-ounce cans oil-packed tuna
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta.
2. Wipe our the pasta pot and cook the oil, garlic, and red pepper over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add the pasta, tuna, lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the reserved pasta water to the pasta pot and cook over low heat, tossing, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the parsley and toss to combine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yogurt - A quick lesson that will answer the question, "what is Greek yogurt?"

I love yogurt. I eat it most every day and plain yogurt can always be found in my fridge. Deciding what to get can be tough because there are a lot of choices such as regular, low-fat, non-fat, Greek, Kefir, and many more. But no matter what type you prefer, the important thing to remember is that all yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, vitamin D, and potassium. Yogurt also contains live cultures. Maybe some of you are thinking, "what in the world does that mean?"

Live cultures are the "good bacteria." These bacteria promote gut health (digestion) and immunity. Those long words you see on the label - Lactobacillius acidophilus, L. casei, L. reuteri, and Bicfidobacterium - are a good thing! 

Yogurt may also be an option for those with lactose intolerance to enjoy dairy products due to the lower amount of lactose (milk sugar) present.

Do you ever notice a thin layer of liquid that sits on the top of the yogurt? Don't pour it off! That is the whey. Whey is full of calcium, so stir it back in. 

Greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt
This is a question that I get quite often. The main difference comes in how it is processed. Greek yogurt goes through a different straining technique, which leaves a much more concentrated, thick product. It removes much of the whey out of the yogurt. That explains why there is more protein in Greek yogurt when compared to regular yogurt. 

Yogurt and Athletes
Yogurt is a great addition to the sports diet because it has the desired carbohydrate and protein for recovery from exercise. Adding yogurt to a post-workout smoothie is an excellent way to add in the protein your body is craving. In fact, you can skip the protein powder because a serving of Greek yogurt has about 10 grams of protein per serving. With a little milk added in - you will have an adequate amount of protein to help ensure proper muscle recovery. Toss in some fruit or vegetables for some extra carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals. Here is a recipe for some inspiration - Strawberry-Flax Smoothie.

Reference for this post and for those who would like to read more, here is the article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Supplements are not worth the risk!

There is a wide variety of nutritional supplements available to consumers today. Some promise more energy, while others promise a large increase in muscle mass. Although the claims sound nice, many are not backed by scientific evidence, or the current research provides mixed results. Another concern is that nutrition supplements do not have to adhere to the strict safety measures that are set in place for food and drugs. Without the same strict regulation, some supplements contain banned or illegal substances because the manufactures are not required to test for quality or purity of their products.

More information regarding the NCAA's policy can be found here: 2011-12 NCAA Banned Drugs

Friday, September 14, 2012

September is Whole Grains Month

A whole grain contains all of the parts and nutrients from the grain seed. Whole grains provide vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are needed to keep you going and keep you full but they also provide dietary fiber which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

How do I find them? Finding whole grains can be tricky but here’s what to look at: the label! If a product is a ‘whole grain’ its first ingredient will be ‘whole wheat flour’ or another ‘whole grain flour’ or product. Something else that may be helpful when looking for whole grains is the “Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grain Council. Any product with this stamp must have 100% whole grain. Look for whole grains in many different places including bread, cereals, bagels, tortillas, popcorn, and oatmeal. Or try experimenting with lesser known grains such as bulgur, buckwheat, barley or rye. Give whole grains a try, they are a simple change that can make a big difference when it comes to eating healthier.

Whole Grain Pizza Dough

2 cups whole grain flour
¼ cup margarine
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together, knead slightly while still in bowl.  Grease pizza pan; expand dough until desired size is reached.  Bake for 7 minutes then top and bake an additional 7 minutes. 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—
Whole Grain Council—

Guest Blogger: Alyssa Gehle, USD Dietetic Intern

The Intermittent Fasting Dilemma: How Many Meals Per Day Should You Eat?

By Ori Hofmekler
The intermittent fasting approach has been getting increased recognition these days. But 10 years ago, it was a different story.
When I introduced The Warrior Diet concept about 12 years ago, it was highly criticized by mainstream fitness authorities as an "extreme and dangerous" approach to dieting. Telling people to skip breakfast and lunch was like committing dietary heresy.
The Warrior Diet book was the first to offer a diet plan based on intermittent fasting. Yes, at that time, it felt like I was the only person in the world arguing for substituting the frequent feeding approach of several meals per day with one meal per day.
Then, a few years later, studies on intermittent fasting (conducted by Dr. Marc Mattson/NIH) shocked the world with the news that this "radical" pattern of eating yielded a substantial increase in the lifespan of rodents along with outstanding improvements in major health markers including insulin sensitivity, body composition and neuro-regeneration capacity. Since then, a growing number of health and fitness gurus have been jumping on the intermittent fasting (IF) wagon. Just Google intermittent fasting and check for yourself.
Multiple websites and many bloggers are now claiming credit for their IF plan. The variations include fasting all day, every other day, every third day, twice per week, once per week, or once every other week. Some recommend skipping breakfast or skipping dinner, whereas others advise "eating only when hungry," or "not eating when not hungry."
Incredibly, even Andrew Weil is now blogging in favor of IF. According to Weil, simply eating three meals per day with no snacks should be called in America "a form of intermittent fasting"… yes indeed, to be popular in this country, a diet plan must be easy to follow… But fasting is never easy. And there is always a reason to avoid fasting. Virtually all IF websites are happy to give you these reasons.

Plenty of Reasons (or Perhaps Excuses) to Avoid Fasting

They tell you: don't fast if you're hypoglycemic; don't fast if you're diabetic; don't skip meals if you suffer from heartburn, or don't get yourself overstressed with fasting if you're already overstressed.
It is also very popular these days to say, "fasting is not for everyone"… hence, if you're looking for a reason to avoid fasting, that's the easiest one to pick.
Note that there are cases that may prohibit long-term fasting, such as with young children, type I diabetics (on insulin medication), or in the case of clinical myopathy (muscle wasting disease). Nonetheless, even in these or similar cases, the exclusion of fasting is not necessarily wise, as fasting could be potentially useful as a therapeutic strategy. Fasting has shown to improve conditions of metabolic disorders, lower the need for insulin medication, and help relieve inflammation.
So how can fasting benefit you?
To figure that out, you need to take a look at the science behind fasting. You need to know how fasting induces its beneficial effects on your body, and what meal frequency allows you to take maximum advantage of that.

How Fasting Benefits Your Body

Scientists acknowledged three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body, as it extends lifespan and protects against disease:
  1. Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
  2. Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
  3. Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.

There is Only One Fasting Regimen that Makes Sense in Practice...

So given the above, what kind of fasting regimen will benefit you most?
If you learn the facts behind human biology and how your body is programmed to thrive, you will realize that almost every popular IF program today, including alternate day fasting, once or twice a week fasting, and once every other week fasting are, in the best case, only partially beneficial.
Most IF programs cannot and will not yield the results you're looking for. The reason: Your body operates around a 24-hour cycle that dictates your innate circadian clock. Most IF programs are not designed to accommodate that cycle.

Most IF Programs Disregard Your Circadian Clock

Your innate clock is an essential factor in your life as it controls all your circadian rhythms. Called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), it is located in your hypothalamus, where it regulates how your autonomic nervous system operates along with your hormones, your wake and sleep pattern, your feeding behavior, and your capacity to digest food, assimilate nutrients, and eliminate toxins.
What happens when you go against your innate clock?
If you're routinely disregarding your innate clock – working during sleeping hours, or feeding at the wrong time – you'll sooner or later pay the consequences with symptoms that may include disrupted sleep, agitation, digestive disorders, constipation, chronic fatigue, chronic cravings for sweets and carbs, fat gain, and lower resistance to stress.
Note that chronic disruptions in circadian rhythms have been linked with increased risk for chronic inflammatory disease and cancer. Most IF programs overlook this issue. Their timing of feeding is either random or wrong.
But the timing of your feeding is not something you can afford overlooking. There is a dual relationship between your feeding and innate clock. And as much as your innate clock affects your feeding, your feeding can affect your innate clock. Routinely eating at the wrong time will disrupt your innate clock and devastate vital body functions; and you'll certainly feel the side effects as your whole metabolic system gets unsynchronized.

Your Biological Feeding Time is at Night

So when is your right feeding time?
Your body is programmed for nocturnal feeding. All your activities, including your feeding, are controlled by your autonomic nervous system which operates around the circadian clock. During the day, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) puts your body in an energy spending active mode, whereas during the night your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) puts your body in an energy replenishing relaxed and sleepy mode.
These two parts of your autonomic nervous system complement each other like yin and yang. Your SNS, which is stimulated by fasting and exercise, keeps you alert and active with an increased capacity to resist stress and hunger throughout the day. And your PSNS, which is stimulated by your nightly feeding, makes you relaxed and sleepy, with a better capacity to digest and replenish nutrients throughout the night. This is how your autonomic nervous system operates under normal conditions.
But that system is highly vulnerable to disruption.
If you eat at the wrong time such as when having a large meal during the day, you will mess with your autonomic nervous system; you'll inhibit your SNS and instead turn on the PSNS which will make you sleepy and fatigued rather than alert and active during the working hours of the day. And instead of spending energy and burning fat, you'll store energy and gain fat. This is indeed a lose-lose situation. Unfortunately, most IF programs fail to recognize this.

Most IF Programs Miss the Boat

Let's take a brief look at some of the most notable IF regimens.
  • Alternate day fasting. This program seems to be the most difficult to handle. Followers of this regimen have been complaining of a significant increase in hunger and a chronic excruciating desire to eat on their fasting day. But what makes this IF program even more problematic is the adaptability issue – as followers seem to be just as hungry on the last day of fasting as on their first day. There have also been reports of side effects such as sleeping disorders, constipation, and a persistent fatigue among the followers.
  • The alternate day fasting has one major caveat: the 24 hours fast seems too long to handle (both physically and mentally). This regimen has been shown to cause sleeping issues due to the fact that night fasting turns on the SNS which keeps you alert and anxious rather than relaxed and sleepy during the night – thereby disrupting your sleep-wake cycle.
    Furthermore, based on epidemiological evidence, it seems that the human body is programmed for a daily cycle of 24 hours and its optimum fasting threshold should be within the range of 18 hours. Anything beyond that may put your body in a starvation-catabolic mode which if done chronically, may lead to metabolic shutdown's symptoms such as underactive thyroid, decreased sex hormones, loss of muscle mass, and declined energy.
  • Once a week or twice a week fasting. Both once or twice a week seem to be easier to follow than the alternate day fasting, only that these regimens are less effective than the alternate day fasting. Eating 3-4 square meals every day for most of the week is a serious compromise of the original IF concept, as it minimizes the weekly impact of fasting to merely 1-2 days per week.
  • Fasting every other week or every month. Worse than that is "fasting every other week" or every month. These IF programs seem to target the typical American dieter who is constantly looking for an "easy to follow" program to lose weight or improve health. The motto "better fasting once or twice per month than not fasting at all" is just an excuse to choose mediocrity over excellence.
  • Skipping dinner. The skipping dinner approach goes against your innate clock. This regimen may cause sleep disorders and similar side effects as the alternate day fasting diet, only that skipping dinner is less effective than the alternate day fasting due to its shorter fasting time.
  • Advocates of skipping dinner argue that breakfast is an important meal and should not be skipped. Nonetheless, the science clearly indicates the opposite – the typical breakfast antagonizes the SNS and disrupts healthy circadian rhythms.
    There is growing evidence that the typical breakfast is the most harmful meal of the day. A study by the Human Nutrition Research France1 indicated that the typical high energy breakfast caused major adverse effects in the short and long terms. These included a strong inhibition of fat burning throughout the day, increase in serum triacylglycerol, decrease in HDL (good cholesterol), and over-glycemic reactions. The researchers concluded that high-energy breakfast does not appear to be favorable to health; they also indicated that the study's results do not support the current advice to consume more energy at breakfast.
    Note that the average consumption of energy at breakfast among breakfast eaters is between 15-20 percent of total daily energy intake. The typical breakfast composition: 12 percent of calories from protein, 25 percent from fat and 63 percent from carbohydrates.
    Other reports coming from epidemiological surveys have been indicating that the consumption of a high energy breakfast leads to a significant higher energy consumption for the whole day. Furthermore, a big breakfast has shown to yield only a limited satiety effect which lasts merely 2 hours after breakfast. Overall, science confirms that the typical high carbohydrate breakfast tends to increase fat storage, increase body weight, and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and long term health.
    Note that some of the healthiest societies in the past did not eat breakfast; the word breakfast was not part of their vocabulary. The typical breakfast did not exist during Biblical times. In the original Hebrew text of the Bible, breakfast is called "pat shacharit" which meant a tiny piece of bread at dawn – nothing more. And there isn't a single mention of breakfast in the new testament; supper was the main meal of the day (hence, the Last Supper). The ancient Greeks and Romans were very particular about eating their main meal at night. According to Plutarch and Cicero, only slaves and farm animals were fed breakfast and lunch, as contrary to free men and soldiers who ate one meal per day at night.
  • Skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is certainly a better idea than skipping dinner. This protocol seems to be particularly viable for those who exercise during the morning hours. In this case a specially modified high protein lunch can serve as a post exercise recovery meal. The skipping breakfast regimen is nevertheless problematic.
  • Proponents of this approach speculate that skipping breakfast after a night fast yields about 16-18 hours of fasting including sleeping time. That seems good in theory but in reality this regimen doesn't yield as many hours of fasting as claimed.
    Here is why: What really counts is your net fasting time, the gap between your meals minus digestion time. It typically takes your body between 6-8 hours to fully digest a hearty evening meal (depends on your meal density – content of protein and fat, etc). If for instance you start your evening meal at 8pm and finish eating at 9-10pm, your body will only shift into a fasting state by the early morning hours (about 3-6am). Hence, your body will not be in a fasting state for most of the night.
    So when you skip your morning meal until noon, your net fasting time is merely 6-9 hours. That might be good but not enough to grant maximum impact. So what is the ideal way to fast? What should be your right meal frequency?

The One Meal Per Day Plan

The one meal per day plan is the only regimen that can accommodate your innate clock and maximize the beneficial effects you get from IF on a daily basis. That's if your food choices and meal timing are adequate.
The one meal per day yields 14-16 hours of net fasting time provided that you have a window of about two hours to finish eating. And in the case that you have a feeding window of four hours, you're still left with 12-14 hours of daily net fasting – sufficient to get you the results you're looking for.
Other IF regimens yield a net fasting time that is either too long or too short. And most of these programs cause adverse side effects as they fail to accommodate your innate clock.

Can the One Meal Per Day Regimen Satisfy Your Physical Needs?

The one meal per day regimen can accommodate your physical needs, but you need to know how to modulate this regimen to fit your specific condition. For instance, if you routinely exercise during the day you'll need to feed your muscle after your workout with a low glycemic recovery meal made with fast assimilating protein, such as that from high quality whey. You can also feed your muscle before your workout as this will help increase your capacity to sustain intense exercise.

Can One Meal Per Day Accommodate Intense Training?

If you're engaged in max strength conditioning or MMA training, you should feed your muscle before and after your workout. Only in this case, your pre-workout meal should consist of protein and carbs. Note that max strength exercise work your fast glycolytic muscle fibers (Type IIB white fibers), which are inherently carb dependent. Having fast assimilating protein and carbs before your workout can help load glycogen in your muscle, nourish your fast fibers; and boost your max strength performance.
Your best choice for your pre-exercise and post-exercise meal is quality whey protein, derived from raw milk of pasture-fed or grass-fed cows. For pre-workout carbs use nutrient dense fruits such as berries, which can swiftly fuel your muscle with carbs and antioxidants and thereby enhance your performance while reducing the oxidative stress in your muscle to allow a faster recovery after your training.
Having an oatmeal or porridge an hour before training can be a viable option in case you're engaged in prolonged intense training sessions. Again, make sure your post-exercise recovery meal is low glycemic with no sugar added, to support your insulin and accommodate your IF. High glycemic meals negate the benefits you get from fasting.

Foods That Can Be Safely Consumed During Fasting

So is it ok to eat whey protein during fasting? What other foods could be safely consumed during the fast? How often can you eat these foods and how much?
In the Warrior Diet Book, I introduced the concept of "undereating" as a viable alternative to water fasting. Undereating means minimizing your food intake to small servings of specific foods, which you're allowed to consume in a certain frequency during your fast. If done properly, undereating can yield the same benefits of fasting and even more. Let me explain.
Most foods negate the effects of fasting, but there are some exceptions. Some foods can be safely eaten without compromising your fast. These include fast assimilating nutrient-dense foods such as quality whey protein, green vegetables and berries. But you need to know how much you're allowed to consume and how often.
What makes these foods complimentary to fasting are the following properties:
  • They're rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients
  • They target the same genes as fasting
  • They induce similar effects to those you get from fasting
Having small servings of whey protein, green vegetables or berries during your fast isn't just ok, it may actually increase the benefits you get from fasting.
Being fast assimilating, these foods nourish your body without taxing your digestion, as they enhance the anti-inflammatory and metabolic modulating effects of your fasting. They also increase your body's antioxidant defenses against reactive oxygen species (ROS) which tend to accumulate in your body during fasting and exercise as byproducts of fat breakdown and detox. ROS are unstable and highly reactive molecules which search, bind to, and destroy cellular lipids, proteins and DNA. The above foods help protect your body from that oxidative damage.
Most importantly, non-denatured whey protein, green vegetables and berries contain nutrients (antioxidant polyphenols, flavons, resveratrol, cyanidins, indoles, in plants; leucine, calcium and immune factors in whey) that target the same genes and pathways as fasting and exercise. Most notable among these are the SIRT-1 gene (the longevity gene) and the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α, known to counteract oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways associated with declined health and increased mortality. SIRT-1 and PGC-1α increase mitochondrial biogenesis and thereby prevent the typical decline in mitochondrial function (and decreased cellular energy) associated with aging and disease.

How Much, and How Often Can You Eat These Foods?

You can have a small serving of whey protein (20-30g net protein) every 3-6 hours, depending on your level of physical activity. Those who do not exercise can have one or two servings of whey protein during their daily fast.
Similarly, you can have 8oz of berries or green vegetables (or freshly squeezed green vegetable juice) every 3-6 hours while you fast. Do not mix berries with whey unless you use that blend as a pre-workout meal to support your strength conditioning.
Having a small serving of whey protein, berries or greens will hardly affect your body's negative energy balance throughout the fast. Hence, if you eat them at the right amount and frequency, the above foods will not compromise your IF.
It may take science another 10-15 years to figure out the difference between water fasting and that mode of undereating. Nonetheless, based on what we know today about the nutritional properties of whey, berries and greens, and based on testimonials coming from Warrior Diet followers, and my own experience, I can tell you that having these foods during the fast isn't just making it easier, but also makes it more effective and beneficial to your body than a sheer water fast.

Summary of Key Points

  • The one meal per day is the only regimen that can maximize the benefits of your IF on a daily basis.
  • Eat your main meal at night to accommodate your circadian clock.
  • Whey protein, berries and greens compliment your fast if you know how much to consume and how often.
  • If you exercise during the day, have a recovery meal after your workout consisting of whey protein with no sugar added.
  • If you're engaged in super intense training, have a pre-workout meal consisting of whey protein and berries.
  • If you're engaged in prolonged intense training, have a bowl of oatmeal with your whey protein about an hour before your workout.

The Science Behind Circadian Rhythms

  • Circadian regulation of immune response and resistance to disease. Recent studies published by the PNAS, January 2012, revealed the existence of a specific nuclear receptor that mediates circadian regulation of innate immunity and resistance to disease. This circadian regulation is controlled by an internal mechanism which is highly conserved in humans and animals and orchestrates the daily patterns of diverse physiological processes such as wake/sleep cycles, feeding, and metabolism.
  • According to the researchers, many diseases exhibit a disrupted circadian rhythmicity in their pathology… and lifestyles that disrupt the inherent timing system, such as chronic shift work, are associated with increased risk of cancer, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease.
    The researchers indicated that inflammatory diseases in particular exhibit strong time-of-day symptoms. They concluded that in humans, circadian rhythms are driven by a complex of feedback loops that mediate gene activities throughout a period of 24 hours and speculated that daily risk of infection is likely to be a direct consequence of wrong timing of activity and feeding.
  • The 24 hours cycle. A study by Czeisler et al. at Harvard University found that the range for normal healthy adults of all ages to be quite narrow: 24 hours and 11-16 minutes. This innate clock resets itself daily to the 24 hour cycle of the Earth's rotation.
  • The sympathetic/parasympathetic division. Based on biology textbook (see Wikipedia – autonomic nervous system), the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. Consider sympathetic as "fight or flight" and parasympathetic as "rest and digest" or "feed and breed."
  • The sympathetic nervous system – corresponds with energy generation, and inhibits digestion. The parasympathetic nervous system – promotes "rest and digest" response, along with calming of the nerves.
  • Light and the innate clock. According to a 2010 study, completed by the Lighting Research Center, daylight has a direct effect on performance and wellbeing. The research showed that students who experience disruption in lighting schemes in the morning experienced disruptions in sleep patterns. Removing circadian light in the morning delays the dim light melatonin onset by 6 minutes a day, for a total of 30 minutes for five days.
  • Feeding and the innate clock. The feeding clock mechanism is the same as the light/dark driven clock controlled by the innate master clock – the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) which is a cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus. But the machinery that inter-regulates feeding and the innate clock is located in a different part of the hypothalamus (DMA).
  • Recent studies reveal that mice on a daily 4 hours feeding window shifted their circadian rhythms so that their peak physical activity was before feeding and not after. This rhythm continued even if the mice were kept in constant darkness. Hence, the animals are inherently programmed for post action feeding and not the other way.

If You Didn’t Fast, Don’t Eat Breakfast

When you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, the idea of "having to wait for a meal"… especially the first one of the day, is actually so intuitively logical that it is somewhat tragic that people misunderstand the statement that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" as an invitation to start binging the very moment they get up, instead of waiting for lunch or even dinner to begin stuffing junk down their gullets.
Actually this is quite ironic, because if we take a look at the etymological origins of the word "breakfast," it's plain obvious that this is not - as in Germany, where it is called "Frühstück" = "the first piece," the first meal of the day, but the meal that breaks the fast! Unfortunately, though, fasting has become something, the average TV watching couch-potato of the Western hemisphere is a total foreigner to.
The answer to the endlessly debated question of whether or not you should have breakfast is – as long as we understand "breakfast" correctly, i.e. as "breaking the fast" – stupidly simple: Without fasting there is no "break(ing the)fast"! Our diurnal metabolic rhythm is geared towards cyclic fasting and feeding patterns, where the feeding hours have always been shorter than the fasting hours.

About the Author

For more articles like this please visit Dr. Mercola's website.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More on Packing School Lunch

It can be an adventure figuring out what a little one will have the time to eat and interest to eat while sitting in a crowded lunch room at 10:50 a.m.

I have been packing lunch for our little guy this week! Check out a sample lunch (pictured right): cheese sandwich on whole wheat goldfish bread, mango slices, cucumber slices and a box of milk.

The biggest hit of his lunches has been the football themed sandwich container (pictured below)! Yes, the football comes off and the goal post goes up, yet he has managed to bring it home all week! Plus the container comes with an ice pack that snaps inside,which will help keep the sandwich cold until lunch.

If your little one needs a fun note to keep them going throughout the day, try these lunch notes (pictured right). I found these at the grocery store and they have cute graphics and come with mini envelopes. Although, I'm not sure what age these mini notes would become embarrassing!?

A tip to make life easier: on the weekend, pack mini bags of grapes, sliced fruit, cucumbers, carrots... which makes lunch packing go quickly.

And set 'treat' days! For example, maybe Wednesday or Friday is a treat day: where your little one can buy ice cream at school or bring cookies from home.

Share your lunch box success stories with me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recipe - Scrambled Eggs in a Coffee Cup

This recipe is super easy and is a great option for a quick breakfast.

2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp shredded cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Coat a microwave-safe coffee cup with cooking spray or a little butter. Add the eggs and milk and mix with a fork until blended.
2. Microwave for 45 seconds; stir. Microwave an additional 30-45 seconds until eggs are firm.
3. Top with cheese and salt and pepper, if desired.

I don’t drink milk. How should I get my calcium?

It could be because it makes your stomach upset or that you don’t care for the taste; but if you are not drinking milk, you need to pay attention to how you are getting your calcium. Calcium, along with vitamin D, is crucial for good bone health.

Soy milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. It is still an excellent source of calcium and protein. Almond milk has become popular in recent years. Even though it is a good source of calcium, be aware that almond milk only provides 1 gram of protein per serving when compared to cow’s milk or soy that provides 7 grams per serving.

There are some vegetables that are good sources of calcium, including:
  • Broccoli
  • Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Enriched breads and cereals

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chia Seeds: Why are people eating them?

Chia seeds are from a flowering plant that is native to Central and South Mexico. Also called Salvia hispanica, they were historically a part of ancient Aztec and Mayan diets. The seeds can be eaten raw, ground, baked, or mixed into drinks.

Chia seeds have lately been advertised as a “magic” food with powers to cure all sorts of diseases. While this is simply not the case, chia seeds offer many nutritional benefits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol. They are also a good protein source at about 5 gram per ounce. Chia seeds are calorie dense, with about 140 calories per ounce, so should be eaten in moderation.

Due to the omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds may have lipid-lowering effects. When combined with a liquid, chia seeds will form a gel because of the fiber that they contain. This may help you to feel full longer and could result in weight loss from eating less. Chia seeds may also decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. More research is needed to confirm these claims.

Chia seeds are a nutrient dense food and would be an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Try them as part of a yogurt topping, in baked goods, or included in a smoothie!

Guest Blogger: Megan Lauseng, USD Dietetic Intern

12 Food Additives to Remove From Your Diet

food additives
Many food additives have been studied and linked to various diseases. Becoming informed about the additives in everyday food items can make for an easier shopping experience and healthier food for everyone.

Here’s a list of some of the most medically questionable and harmful additives in everyday foods:
  1. Sodium nitrite
  2. BHA & BHT
  3. Propyl gallate
  4. Monosodium glutamate
  5. Trans fats
  6. Aspartame
  7. Acesulfame-K
  8. Food colorings (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow)
  9. Olestra
  10. Potassium bromate
  11. White sugar
  12. Sodium chloride (salt)
Since some of these may not be familiar to you, sodium nitrite is a preservative added most commonly to bacon, ham, hot dogs, sandwich meats, and smoked fish. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are other preservatives added to foods like cereal, gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. Propyl gallate is found in meats, chicken soup base, and gum. All of these preservatives have been linked to cancer.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause migraines and other adverse effects. Trans fats are being eliminated from most foods, as the studies linking them to heart disease, strokes, and kidney problems are widely accepted.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in products like NutraSweet and Equal as well as diet foods and soft drinks. And acesulfame-K is a newer sweetener used in soft drinks and some baked goods.
Many food colorings have been banned by the FDA, but some can still be found in foods that require a particular color. Olestra was common for a time in potato chips as an additive that prevented fat from being absorbed in your digestive system. Food colorings have been tied to cancer and Olestra also blocks vitamins from being processed.
Potassium bromate is sometimes added to white flour, breads, and rolls to increase the volume of the products, but it has cancer-causing properties that have prompted some states in America to actually require a label to that effect.
Finally, white sugar and sodium chloride (salt) can be dangerous if not kept to a minimum.
Dr. Mercola's comments:
More than 3,000 food additives -- preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients -- are added to foods in the United States. While each of these substances are legal to use, whether or not they are entirely safe for long-term consumption -- by themselves or in combination -- is a different story altogether.
And when you consider that 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods that are loaded with these additives, you get an idea of just how many toxins you may be polluting in your body with.
When foods are processed not only are valuable nutrients lost and fibers removed, but the texture, natural variation and flavors are lost also. After processing, what's actually left behind is a bland, uninteresting "pseudo-food"
At this point, food manufacturers must add back in the nutrients, flavor, color and texture to processed foods in order to make them palatable, and this is why they become loaded with food additives.

Many Food Additives Increase Your Risk of Cancer

Nine of the 12 food additives listed above have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. These include:
1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)
2. BHA and BHT
3. Propyl Gallate
4. Trans Fats
6. Aspartame
7. Acesulfame-K
8. Food Colorings (Blue 1, 2, Red 3, Green 3, Yellow 6)
9. Potassium Bromate
Please understand that these additives are in countless products from baked goods and chewing gum to chicken soup base, cereal, luncheon meats, vegetable oils and potato chips. If you eat a highly processed food diet, you are therefore potentially exposing yourself to cancer-causing toxins at every meal!

Food Additives May Mimic Your Hormones

A recent analysis published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology found 31 potential estrogen-mimicking food additives (called xenoestrogens) after searching a food additive database of 1,500 substances.
These xenoestrogens have been linked to a range of human health effects, including reduced sperm counts in men and increased risk of breast cancer in women. 
Among the xenoestrogens revealed were propyl gallate, which acts as an antagonist, and 4-hexylresorcinol, which is a potent transactivator. Antagonists block the binding of an agent at a receptor molecule, and transactivators increase the rate of gene expression. In conclusion the authors' state:
"Some caution should be issued for the use of propyl gallate and 4-hexylresorcinol as food additives." 
Propyl gallate is frequently used in conjunction with BHA and BHT, which come with their own set of health hazards. These two additives also keep fats and oils from going rancid and are commonly used in processed food products such as cereals and potato chips, even though some studies have found they too, cause cancer in rats.
The other food additive mentioned above, 4-hexylresorcinol, is commonly used as an anti-browning agent in shrimp and other shellfish.

Your Behavior and Mood May be Impacted Too

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, high sugar content and starchy carbohydrates (common in processed foods) lead to excessive insulin release, which in turn leads to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.
The glutamate that causes this is identical to the flavor-enhancing monosodium glutamate (MSG) and its chemical cousins, which are found in thousands of food products, further exacerbating the problem.
Further, a study published in the journal The Lancet concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate-- found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings -- cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible.
The study also found that the E-numbered food dyes (such as tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) do as much damage to children's brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ.
The results of this study have prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior. They're also advising the food industry to voluntarily remove the six food dyes named in the study by the end of 2009, and replace them with natural alternatives if possible.
The United States, however, has not followed suit in issuing any similar warnings to American parents.

How to Avoid Food Additives

One of the best ways to avoid food additives is to cut way back on the processed foods in your diet and instead focus your meals on whole foods. If you do eat processed foods, choose organic varieties and make sure to read the label and avoid foods that contain numerous additives.
By keeping your diet as pure as possible, you're giving your body the nutrients it needs without all of the added toxins it definitely doesn't.
Ideally you, your spouse, or someone you pay would freshly prepare your food and you can avoid processed foods. Also recognize that when you eat out at a restaurant you are losing virtually all of the control of the quality of your food.
While this is typically socially enjoyable, tasty, and easier than preparing your own food, it frequently results in you exchanging convenience for your health.

For more articles like this please visit Dr. Mercola's website. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Caution about noni fruit

Noni juice contains high potassium

Noni juice contains high potassium is about 56 meq / L. It amounts, as well as orange juice and tomato juice. And it was reported about people with chronic renal failure, reported that noni fruit make the body with high potassium until dangerous after they eat it. It should not be eating in patients with kidney disease.

Noni fruit juice should not be eating in patients with kidney disease.

The Noni fruit juice should not be eating in patients with kidney disease.

Unlike garlic, it has been reported in the epidemic that people who eat garlic as colon, esophagus and stomach cancer less than those who do not eat and extract of garlic can inhibit cancer cell several types.

Noni fruit contains vitamin C

The Noni fruit contains vitamin C

This fruit is a fruit that is useful. It contains vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A is high and contains anti-oxidant that helps retard aging and anti cancer. In principle, it will prevent cancer.bThis is similar to other fresh fruits and vegetables. The noni fruit juice has inhibitory effect on Lewis lung carcinoma. However, this cancer is very rare. This fruit juice is not harmful to eat, except for patients with kidney disease.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sports drinks vs. energy drinks

Sports drinks vs. energy drinks: Energy drinks are NOT the same as sports drinks. A sports drink is designed to replace water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes during training and competition, and it usually contains no caffeine. An energy drink, on the other hand, has a blend of caffeine and other ingredients including taurine, guarana, and glucuronolactone*^ that are used as stimulants on the central nervous system.

Safety concerns associated with over-consumption of energy drinks: Energy drinks can be dangerous because the amount of caffeine varies greatly by brand, with some having the caffeine content equivalent to 14 cans of soda^. Although it may be easy to attribute all of the negative effects to caffeine, the effect of combining certain stimulants is still unclear and requires more research.

A disturbing trend has emerged where energy drinks are mixed with alcohol.This poses serious potential health consequences when the energy drink masks the effect of alcohol. Of course, athletes should also keep in mind that excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous, unhealthy and can negate some of the postive effects of training.

* Higgins JP, Tuttle TD, Higgins CL. Energy beverages: content and safety. Mayo Clin Proc. Nov 2010;85(11):1033-1041.
^ Sports drinks and energy drinks for children and adolescents: are they appropriate? Pediatrics. Jun 2011;127(6):1182-1189.

Ture research is available about Noni fruit

Noni fruit contains Polysaccharide

The report is published truly, when searching in the medical library and from a Medline search. It is only about 20 reported worldwide. It is a report that contains the interesting as following

Noni fruit contains Polysaccharide

- In the noni fruit contains Polysaccharide (noni PPt) that affect of cancer cells, which it is actually in against Lewis lung carcinoma and extend the life of mice with cancer was real. However, it not studies in humans (Phyto ther Resp 1999).

- It may have anti-tumor effects from a substance Anti oxidant by reducing DMBA-DNA adduct formation and other mechanisms. However, no reports in humans that people who eat this fruit is less cancer than those who do not eat or treatment of cancer.

Noni fruit and malaria

Noni fruit and malaria

It has been reported to treat patients with symptoms and vomiting after recovering from malaria by comparing with metoclopamide and Chinese tea, found that this fruit juice is not as good as metoclopamide to anti-vomit, but it is more effective than in the control group. This experiments use dried the noni fruit mix with water. It was not use fresh fruit juice.