Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Does Bread Make you Fat ? ( part II)

I just read an article where a girl said, "I am about to stop eating carbs because these hamburger buns, white bread and doughnuts are making me fat." I was blown away that she just clumped all carbs into 1 category. I do however see many people running from many good carbs bcs of a fear that it will cause them to gain weight. So let's start off by going over the differences between good and bad carbs.

What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates come from a wide array of foods - bread, fruit, vegetables, rice, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, corn, and cherry pie. They also come in a variety of forms. The most common and abundant ones are sugars, fibers, and starches. The basic building blocks of all carbohydrates are sugar molecules.

The digestive system handles all carbohydrates in much the same way - it breaks them down (or tries to break them down) into single sugar molecules, since only these are small enough to absorb into the bloodstream. It also converts most digestible carbohydrates into glucose (also known as blood sugar), because cells are designed to use this as a universal energy source. This is why carbohydrates can make us feel energetic. Carbohydrates fuel our body. Your body stores glucose reserves in the muscles in the form of glycogen ready to be used when we exert ourselves.

Good carbohydrate foods are those that are still in their natural state, or they are still similar to their natural state. They are foods that have not been processed or altered by people or machines. Good carbs are usually high in fiber. Foods high in fiber will give you energy over longer periods of time. They also give you a sense of being full. Foods that are high in fiber help to lower cholesterol levels as well as aiding the body in toxin removal.

Good carbohydrates generally have a low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index will not cause a spike in blood sugar. This is especially important for diabetics who have to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels. Good carbohydrates are nutritious. Good carbohydrates are rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Examples of good carbs:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain pastas
  • other whole grains (ie.
  • couscous, rice, quinoa)
I will save all the bad carb junk for another blog post another day. As for now, the following are breads that will include whole grains and a good fiber content(still check the label bcs certain loaves in their line may be for the health conscious). Unfortunately, many of them still have 3 grams of sugar in them:
  • Ezekiel
  • Trader Joe's 9-Grain (0 sugar but only 1gm fiber)
  • Great Harvest
  • Pepperidge Farm
  • Arnold & Brownberry (Owned by the same company)
  • Joseph's
  • Rubschlager
  • Earth Grains
  • Oroweat
I get most of my breads from the health food stores and I still have to read the label. I mainly check the bread label for sugar, hydrogenated fat and fiber. Each health food store carry there own particular brands. You can also order online by going the brands website. The main nugget I want you to get from this is PLEASE DO NOT BE FOOLED BCS THE FRONT OF THE LOAF SOUNDS GOOD. The mktg experts know how to use the words in such a way that they are giving you a half truth. Flip that baby over and read the label! Once you know the one to get, you can just go in the store and grab it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Does Bread Make you Fat ? ( part I)

NO, bread does not make you fat! White (nutrient-depleted) bread, and putting lunch meats, spreads and some of the things people put in between the bread can make you fat. The good news is that there are more high-fiber, whole-grain bread choices today than ever before in supermarket aisles. The bad news is that with so many breads on the shelf (and 90% of them are junk and contain sugar), choosing the most healthful bread has become an even tougher task. When picking up the bread, it should actually feel slightly heavier due to the higher fiber content. You will not be able to roll this bread into a small ball like you can with white bread. Look at the ingredient list rather than the color of the bread to select whole-grain breads. Don't judge whole grain products by their colour because many dark breads have caramel or molasses for color and contain mostly refined grains. Read ingredient lists to find whole-grain products and look for the word whole in front of grains such as wheat and rye.

How can I tell if a bread or other product isn’t made from 100% whole grains?If the first ingredient has the word "whole" in it, you know that the most prominent grains are whole. If the product isn’t 100% whole grain, the second ingredient will typically be unbleached wheat flour, which is not whole.

What makes up a whole-grain? A whole grain has three parts: the outer layer, or bran; the inner part, or germ; and the endosperm. When grains are refined, the nutrient-rich bran and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm.

Whole-grain breads typically contain more fiber. Look for a minimum of two grams of fibre per slice of bread. Do not be fooled by the words fortified with. Fortification typically occurs with refined grains. Precious nutrients that have been stripped away during the refining process are added back in. Manufacturers are sometimes required by law to fortify refined grain products to make up for the loss of vitamins and minerals.

After you eat the bread, notice if you feel tired soon afterward. It could mean that you have a junk bread. Food items that are higher on the glycemic index bounce blood sugar around and often leave you in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and fatigued state. This is also the time that cravings for starch or sugar usually kick in.
Research clearly demonstrates that whole-grain foods are an optimal source of nutrition for overall fuel and even for weight loss. Instead of dropping all grain products in an attempt to lose weight, simply switch to whole-grain products and watch your energy soar as you healthfully shed those excess pounds.

Stay tuned to find out the benefits of "good breads" and the best ones on the market today........

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish My Body Looked Like Hers

I would like to start off talking about my big toe. When I was 20 years old I banged my big toe up against my shoe in an aerobics class and caused my toe nail to get infected with a toenail fungus (I know ewwww). A podiatrist told me I could get on a med called Lamisil, but it was not a guaranteed cure and it could possibly cause liver damage (Let's see toenail fungus or LIVER DAMAGE, wow what a tough choice for me to make!%#). I've tried many different ways to cure it on my own and nothing worked. When I would see people wear cute sandals showing off their freshly manicured toenails, I just drooled longing for the day that I could do the same. I could not wear polish bcs fungus thrive in moist, dark places so wearing polish would make it 10x worse!

I am glad that I stayed optimistic in believing that one day I too would have nice toenails again. I could have felt jealousy towards the women who showed off their toenails and seemed as if they took nice toenails for granted. I could have felt they were just showing off if they decided to add a toe ring. I could have felt as if they thought they were better than others bcs their feet looked so cute. But instead it inspired me to continue to do everything I could to find a solution. I did not want to give up hope. I let it encourage and motivate me to keep looking for a solution.

Now have you ever looked at someone else and said, "I want her body". Have you ever gotten jealous of someone else's body bcs it made you "aware" of your body and caused you to feel as if you didn't measure up? Did you ever feel as if someone was just "showing off" or acted as if they are better than others bcs they were fit? Many times someone else's success just brings out our insecurities. When you see someone's body that you have admiration for, use it as a reminder of your fitness goals. Each time, smile and remind yourself that you will not EVER give up until you are living in your desired body.

I just found a solution to my toenail issue recently. I am soooooooooooooooooooo happy! I had tried everything to make it go away and nothing worked. I had to just look at that pathetic toe nail over and over again. I filed the life out of it to try to make it look halfway descent. I had many failed attempts at failed self-surgeries. So you want to know what finally helped my toenail look normal again? I washed the toenail with soap and water. Then I mixed Clorox bleach and peroxide together and and poured over the Toe nail. I then made a new mixture and let my toenail soak in it for 15 minutes. I dried the toenail and put tea tree oil on a band-aid and put it over it. Continued until my nail looked new again! I just read somewhere that the old Clorox bleach bottles used to have a on their label "Use 1 Table Spoon of bleach in a gallon of water to soak feet as an effective treatment for athletes foot" but the FDA made them remove it - probably because it really worked and a lot of pharmaceutical money was being lost. I've heard that vinegar works for many people but it only gave me insignificant results.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why do many prisoners have better bodies than you?

This is that time of year when you will see tons of infomercials on weight-loss "gadgets." I glanced at the T.V. and noticed an infomercial on something called, "the wave." I would like to help you by suggesting to you to save your money because if you buy ANY of those items, it will be a waste (there goes my chance of ever coming out with an xyz fitness gadget:) No, seriously in my entire life, I bought one thing from a fitness infomercial. It was a Gazelle and I did use it some. However it was before I came into the knowledge that those things are not necessary to help me lose or maintain my weight. So if you want my Gazelle, it is yours for $50... ok $25... ok just pay for shipping and handling....oh my goodness I need to stop.

Let's take a look at prisoners who are in shape. How do they get in shape without Nautilus equipment, treadmills and in some cases not even dumbbells. First off, they have a HUGE why. They are motivated because of the survival of the fittest mentality. In other words, they need to be in great shape to protect themselves. It helps them pass time (and gives them a nice kick of feel good serotonin to boot.) They have great results because their eating and training are consistent. Isn't it interesting that they don't have or need HUGE amounts of protein to get muscular. They do not have high access to candy, soda and junk foods. They get macronutrients such as Carbs, proteins and fats in their meals and in some cases dietitians are planning their meals. It may look like slop because I'm sure the cooks are not interested in food presentation. I found the following article interesting so check it out:

A Completely Criminal Exercise Program

by Ken Andes

When I studied social work at Rutgers University I spent a considerable amount of time studying the prison system and the people in it. First of all, let me tell you that you can learn a tremendous amount about human nature, our capacity for hate and evil, what makes people resort to evil, and how we handle guilt by studying inmates. Most of all I was shocked to find out that deep inside of our psyches there's very little difference between the average law-abiding citizen, and most hardened criminals. Sometimes by looking at the darkest part of society you further appreciate the light. And perhaps come away from the experience with more understanding.... and more compassion.

Anyway, all that is for another time.

Another cool thing I learned from studying the prison system is a neat workout that you can do at home without any equipment at all, just your own bodyweight. I can't remember the name of the prison where this exercise program came from, but it was one of the worst maximum security prisons in the country, similar to the way Alcatraz used to be. This was a place where they sent the most hardened murderers, rapists, armed robbers, and other people that society no longer wanted. These men were considered to be so dangerous that they were not allowed outside of their cells except for meals, exercise, and twice-per-week showers. And even then, their arms and legs were shackled with chains when they were out of their cells.

These men had no access to weight lifting equipment or any kind of exercise gear whatsoever. They were considered dangerous to the point that any exercise equipment given to them would be turned into a deadly weapon. Their "workout room" consisted of a small bare room with concrete walls and a cement floor with less than four or five inmates allowed inside at any time.

To these inmates, being strong and in good physical condition was vital to their survival due to the constant threat and occurrence of prison violence such as beatings, muggings, intimidation, and rape. To this end, most of the inmates at this prison practiced a workout called the "burpee workout". This workout consisted of a single exercise known as the burpee (AKA squat thrust) done for many reps in a certain fashion.

The burpee workout was designed to develop strength, endurance, speed, agility, and balance. This workout wasn't designed to make you "pretty" or "buff" (why on earth would you want to look good in this environment?!) although it did produce gains in muscle and losses in bodyfat. It was made to give someone the type of functional fitness needed to fight, run, and move with speed and explosiveness whether you're standing on your feet or lying on the ground. As it was meant to give you an edge in surviving violent encounters, this workout will also give you plenty of stamina.

So let's start by explaining how to do the one exercise you'll need, the Burpee.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands raised over your head. Now squat down and place your palms on the floor by your feet.
  2. Kick both of your legs back so that you're now in position to do a pushup.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower your body until it's about one inch off of the floor.
  4. Now push yourself back up and at the end of the pushup quickly pull both knees into your chest while keeping your hands on the floor. You're basically jumping back into the squat position found in the first step.
  5. Stand straight up by straightening your legs and throwing your hands in the air over your head. You're now in the position that you started in, repeat as needed.
  6. If you want to make the burpee more advanced by increasing the explosive power in your legs, jump about 3-4 inches into the air as you stand up in step 5.

So that's a burpee. That one movement works pretty much the entire body from head to toe by combining a squat with a pushup. Because you're constantly switching from squats to pushups you're teaching your body to use the arms and legs simultaneously, like in a fight. Because you're moving the body from a vertical plane to a horizontal plane continuously, you're learning balance, agility, and the ability to maneuver while lying on the ground and on your feet. Because of the constant alternating use of the arms and legs, your heart has to work twice as hard as if you just did continuous squats or pushups. This movement will give you great endurance as well as upper and lower body strength. You'll notice that you use jumping movements with the legs, back, abs, and arms in this exercise. This will give you speed and explosiveness throughout the whole body.

For a workout, an inmate would stand on one side of the room and do 20 burpees without stopping. Then he would walk to the other side of the room and do 19 burpees without stopping. Then walk to the other side and do 18 burpees. Then walk to the other side and do 17. He would continue in this fashion until he got down to a final set of 1 burpee. Then he's done and it's back to the cell for him. I'm not sure if the ankle and wrist chains were kept on while he exercised, but it's a very good possibility that they were left on due to the nature of this particular prison. Nevertheless, you can still do this workout even with your hands and feet shackled.

Hey, you know what I just thought? Having your hands and feet chained together would greatly add to the aerobic and strengthening aspects of this workout. The extra weight would make you even faster and more explosive. Why the hell not? You could get two lengths of heavy chain at Home Depot, loop them around your ankles and wrists and then fasten it with some bungee cord. Make sure to have about 2-3 feet of chain between your ankles and wrists. Then you could put on your "federal issue" orange body suit (available at K-Mart), go down to your local health club, and start your burpees. You'll have a great workout while the other spandex-clad yuppies use the "pec deck" or that stupid piece of equipment where you open and close your legs as if flashing your genitalia. That would be kewl.

Now for most people, 20 sets in the above fashion may be too much to handle. So start with a lower number of sets like 15 or 10. Then gradually and slowly add sets one at a time as you become stronger and better conditioned. You might want to think about using a watch to time how long it takes you to do a certain number of sets, and then decrease that time as you get stronger. If you want to use this workout as the core of your fitness program, try to do it every day. Remember, a little bit done every day is much better than a whole lot done once or twice a week. If you're doing other exercises in addition to this, you can do your burpee workout 2-3 times per week on the days when you want to build your endurance. If I remember correctly, the prisoners who used this program were only allowed access to their workout room three times per week for 30 minutes at a time. So if you did this workout three times per week, you would be in pretty good shape.

Some goals to shoot for:

At this prison, you weren't considered to be a "man" unless you could do 20 descending sets without stopping. To be able to do 20 descending sets without stopping was sort of a rite of passage or initiation into someone who deserves some respect from the other inmates. If you could do 25 sets you were considered to be pretty tough and people though twice about messing with you. And if you could do 30 sets you were labeled a bona fide stud and given much respect.

So I guess if any of you guys plan on going to maximum security prison for a while you better work up to those 20 sets, lest you rely on protection from your new boyfriend who can easily pump out 30 sets.


*NOTE* Proper form is extremely important when doing burpees to prevent injury. Also, there are other ways to work the same muscle groups. The main purpose of me posting the article was to make you say hmmmmmmm.



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