Two Sides of the Coin

What will your day be like?

Heads

Sunday, my run was awesome. Probably the best run since I’ve gotten back to running. Sundays are my days for my long run trying to increase mileage and of course duration. I woke up early, trying to do that more frequently and made myself some steel cut oats with mixed fruits. This is also working out well as I’m finding eating this is helping in providing that energy needed for the first bit of the run.

My long run this Sunday was 2 hours in duration. Started the run feeling really good almost like it was effortless. 45 minutes in I consumed my first gel pack – still feeling good. 90 minutes in, keeping my pace and consuming water with electrolytes every 20 minutes and have my second gel pack. I tell myself 30 minutes more but I’m not doing it in a reassuring way, not saying it in a manner of ‘Come on, you can do this, only 30 minutes left!’ more just for information to gauge when I should take my next drink. I’m at an hour and 55 minutes and I feel great! I’m thinking do I keep running? Maybe I can hit 2.5 hours but I real back the enthusiasm and remind myself that I’m not even a month into this and I don’t want to injure myself. Doing what I planned to do is enough. I’m trying to be smarter with my training. These long runs are to get the body and the mind used to the constant repetition that comes with running, strengthening the tendons, the muscles, ligaments and so on. I know I made the right choice Monday when I could feel the tightness in my hip flexors. Next Sunday.

But I felt so strong and relaxed I know I could have continued.

Tails

Then there’s today. I didn’t sleep well, woke up 90 minutes before I usually do. Might have been the wind crashing into the window as the winter has turned nasty this last day. I got up feeling alright, cleared my drive way and headed off to work. A couple hours into work I started to feel tired, yawning a lot and feeling somewhat lifeless. Stress started to weigh on me too. I have a hard time  separating stress from what I need to accomplish. I find it can take away what motivates me and it gets flipped, reversed and I then have to fight with my mind to do what I have planned to do.

I went down to the gym telling myself that I have to do this. My fast runs, interval runs through the week are what helps me when I have my slow run on Sundays. I have to tell myself if I’m going to run that marathon I have to do this. But it’s tough. My enemy brain is working overtime to have me turn around and head back up to my desk. ‘Skip today’, ‘You’re tired’, ‘You’ll never do this anyway’, ‘What does it matter?’, ‘Just quit’.

Yeah, those and other things is what my enemy mind tells me. I’m sure you are probably the same, we all have that enemy mind in us. The mind that knows what to tell us to get us to quit doing the things that are good for us, flips the switch so we start doing the things that destroy us slowly or destroy us in a minute. I fought with that voice today and I’m not going to say I won. I’m not going to be that arrogant or cocky. I did do what I set out to do – I did my interval running and got cleaned up and went back to work. Done.

Heads/Tails

Am I stronger today for this? I really don’t know. I think all someone can do is handle each day as it comes. I know I’m not always going to come out of it the way I did today. I don’t think that is a realistic way to look at it.

I do know my enemy mind will always be there tempting me to fail again. Not every day. It’s kind of like that neighbor that for the most part is quiet but some days…

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Winding up the spring

Explosiveness

If you are the competitive athletic type, maybe you are a martial artist and are always trying to be quicker or you might be looking for explosiveness when it comes to running, a lot of us are looking for the explosive edge.

Or you might not be that type. Most of us are content with our normal workout routines. We have goals of losing weight, adding muscle mass making our bodies more firm and that’s enough for us. But if you fall into the other percentage you might be looking for that explosive edge.

Plyometrics

What

Plyometrics are doing short bursts of exercise with maximum force. Here is the definition from Wikipedia: “Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength).” Basically what makes a Plyometric is a stretching, or lengthening of the muscle followed by an explosive contraction of that muscle. Think of a jump squat, box jump, or burpee. To do this correctly to get a Plyo benefit, squat down to maximize the stretch of the quads and glutes then explode into the upright position. This is the explosive contraction. Makes sense?

Why

Lets look at the word Plyometric: Plyo, meaning more (Greek) and metrics meaning length (also Greek). More length. Just as I explained above, the muscle being worked is first lengthened, kind of preparing it to explode like when you pull in a tree branch and you can feel it stretch, you can feel the tension build up. Then, after a second, the muscle is contracted and that’s the explosion, like when you let go of the branch. This technique has been around for years used by Eastern Bloc and Soviet trainers back in the 70’s and 80’s. Probably one of the reasons these countries were winning track and field and weight lifting competitions.

Plyometrics also use a key principle: A muscle that is contracted in a short amount of time as possible is a stronger contraction thus producing more energy than a slower contraction. Also, when lengthening the muscle before the explosion more energy is stored in the muscle, like pulling back the string on a bow. Think of it as loading the muscle with energy. Then, the brief pause of a second or just under stores the energy and the energy grows as the muscle is held. That brief pause allows for max storage of energy and also usage of energy.

Options

Most people when thinking of Plyometrics think of box jumps or Plyo Jumps. But you can do Plyometrics anytime where you can lengthen a muscle then explode for the contraction.

Here are some examples:

  • Explosive pushups: Lower your self down just till your chin touches the ground. Hold for  a second. Now explode upwards! Your hands should come off of the ground if you really exploded.
  • Explosive tricep dips: Lower yourself so your tricps are well stretch. Hold for that second then explode upwards.
  • Overhead throw: Standing facing a wall, hold a medicine ball above your head with both hands and bring the ball behind your head feeling the stretch. Now explode as you throw the ball towards the wall. This is great for lats and core.
  • Pull Ups: This is a tough one as you need to have strong back muscles to do pull ups. Holding the bar, let you body relax and stretch. Then, contract your back muscles and explode upwards so much your hands come off the bar. Yes, it’s tough.

And the more obvious ones:

  • Frog jumps or box jumps: just like a frog squat down, pause for that moment, and then explode up and forward. Awesome way to work the quads.
  • Alternating lunges: alternate which leg is forward on your lunge pausing briefly and then explode for the switch.
  • Burpees: Of course burpees, a staple in any full body exercise routine. Think of it as a stationary frog jump. Squatting down and when in that squat shoot your feet behind you like you are in a plank, then shoot them back so you are in the squat position then explode up. Many Plyo’s in this exercise.

Finally

Add Plyo’s to your exercise schedule. A great way to increase fast twitch muscle fiber and a great way to add speed to your body. You’ll be glad you did as you start to see the benefits.

Yours in health,

Darryl

I can lock all my doors

It’s the only way to live

It’s time to embrace the things that help you and the things that enable you to reach your goals and still feel human. I’ve been there myself and from my own hard learned lessons I hope you are able to take some information from this post and make your journey a more comfortable one. If your goal is lofty one, it’s still going to suck but it will help you get through it and come out achieving that goal at the end of the day.

What

As I said earlier I’ve been there myself and I look back at my younger self and I think ‘how stupid was I?”. I was stupid. But I didn’t know better. I’ve always kind of had a bit of a hard head mentality, a ‘I’m going it alone and will get through this’ mentality but that doesn’t always help you. When I used to do a lot of distance running, I would go sometimes 23, 24 miles and replenish only by drinking water. No sports drink, no fuel, just water. Not a good idea especially as I’m a heavy sweater, losing lots of electrolytes. I look back at that and no wonder sometimes I felt like death warmed over when done. But that was then.

Now I’m trying to train smarter. It doesn’t mean you don’t train hard it just mean you don’t feel like yesterdays garbage when doing it and when done.

But I digress. The focus of this post is on using technology to help you achieve your goals and become the athlete you want to be.

How

By taking my knowledge from getting my personal trainer certification it helped me to understand the fuel the body uses and when it uses it. The main source of fuel our body uses is glucose. Glucose, or sugar, is in our blood and is used by our muscle cells for energy. We have only so much glucose and when we use that up, our body converts glycogen into glucose to keep us fueled. This isn’t only when exercising it’s everything we do from breathing walking, and even thinking. Our brain uses a lot of glucose just to do what the brain does. And where do we get glucose from? Carbs baby! That’s just one of the reasons why a low carb diet such as a keto diet is a really bad idea. We need carbs (high quality carbs). Keep it carbed.

So when does this happen, our body running out of glucose and then glycogen? It’s not that long. Looking at the science the recommendation is to consume 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. To play it safe, if your event is longer than an hour, you probably want to start consuming at the 45 minute point. This will help prevent you from running out of fuel near that 60 minute mark and start to feel the physical fatigue and mental fatigue set in. Think of it as that saying that when you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. And it’s in your best interest to not hit that mark where you feel lethargic. Because what happens? The body is tired and then the mind starts to go. And then it’s an uphill battle, a struggle to get through it.

Endurance sports can be very demanding

Have you heard of the term ‘bonking’? The first time I heard it is when looking into marathons. People ‘bonk’ or ‘hit the wall’ and it’s a struggle to continue. This is the body running out of fuel (glucose). And what does the body do when it has no fuel? Not what you think. Typically when in an endurance event you are working hard because you are competing be it in an event or even against yourself. So your heart rate is not in the ‘fat burning zone’ but in the cardio zone so fat is not an option for fuel. Your body turns on you and starts to metabolize muscle tissue into carbohydrates. You are consuming muscle tissue to fuel your body to complete an event that is to make you a stronger person. When blood glucose gets really low, you may experience hypoglycemia. This is the feeling of extreme tiredness, a near complete loss of energy, the ‘bonk’. When in this state, the body will begin producing cortisol. These hormones break down muscle tissue in order to convert the proteins within to glucose. This will provide the energy to continue exercising, however, cortisol also suppresses the immune system. There goes the muscle mass you worked so hard to add.

No one wants that to happen.

Guide

I’m going to refer you to a web site that has a good guide on how to fuel for your event. I’m not endorsing this company but they do sell the fuel you need. It’s up to you if you use them. This should give you a good idea on what you need for your training or event. Let’s look at an example.

For this example I have chosen an event that takes 5 hours. Here are some of the things they recommend:

  • 2,500 – 3,500 mg’s of sodium
  • 1,500 – 2,000 calories (glucose)
  • 100 – 150 oz of fluid
  • 15000 – 25000MG BCAA (branch chain amino acids)

That equates to 5 gel pouches, 2 energy chews, 2 stroopwafels, a hydration energy mix, 2 energy drink mixes and so on. Go hear to check it out and you can go to the main planner and look at requirements for other events.

Does this seem a lot? It does to me, for sure. Maybe it’s heavy on the requirements because it is a company and they have to make money but they have been around a long time and are well known within the endurance athlete communities. I’ve started using gels myself and I’m going to continue and add more as I go seeing the impact. How do I feel, did they work, did I feel stronger, is my mental will strong and not foggy.

endurance training can be hard

But don’t dismiss this. I’m not getting into science of how our body uses fuel; fatty acid oxidization, aerobic glycolysis, ATP, etc. but this is based on science. Why is it professional athletes and amateur athletes on the olympic level do the same thing? Because it works and it helps them to succeed. That’s how Gatorade came to be. The University of Florida Gator’s head coach went to their team of scientists to address loss of body fluids during football games. This concoction of water, electrolytes, flavour etc. was credited for the Gators Orange Bowl win in 1967.

Finally

It makes sense. Let technology help you. The technology that allows us to no longer have to eat oranges, bananas and other foods to keep fueled during an event. It’s so easy and so much better now and there is no reason to not do it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

first

Don’t waste it

I was reminded by a few people over the holidays that I’m not big on new years resolutions. It’s true. And it wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realized I’m not a fan because typically new years resolutions don’t last. I read recently that only 8% to as high as 20% of resolutions end up being successful. Not really good numbers. But, what are the changes that people resolved to follow through with? How many of those were to quit smoking, drinking, cutting out junk food? If these are things you do on a regular basis, habits, than the difficulty in following through on them is much higher compared to things such as I’m going to walk for an hour once a week.

Major changes in life style can be hard to accomplish. I think it comes down to the want. How bad do you want it. Do you really want this change. That can help out a lot. I think that’s why people in general are more successful when they are guided along and goals are set for them. Let’s take stretching as an example. I promise to myself to stretch after every workout. Not may people do that. But lets say your workout takes place in an instructor led class. If you are forced to stretch because the instructor includes in it the program than you are almost guaranteed a 100% success rate. But not all of our goals can be addressed this way. So what do we do.

Force the issue

Can you sign up for an event that if you don’t follow through with your goal you will fail or be forced to drop out? If you have read my last couple of posts you see that I have registered for my first marathon. So I know when those days come where motivation is thin (those days will come) I have that reminder, that commitment to follow through on the event.

Letting friends know can have it’s benefits. I bolded the word friends because I want to emphasize that it should be true friends, people that you can count on for support when you have those moments where you feel like you are going to slip. A good friend can help you get past that hump and back onto track. Motivation can also be fear of failure or wanting to prove others wrong. So you can use those people who aren’t really friends too by telling yourself that they will not win, they will not see you fail. For some people this can be a huge motivator. I’m leaning on this a bit myself because I have a point to make that you can do incredible things living on a whole foods plant based diet. Part of my motivation is to prove those people wrong, be a voice for the silent, I already know there are doubters out there and I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line.

Another motivator can be to put yourself in positive role model role. Can your resolution be used to motivate others or be used to show the benefits of doing this? We need good, positive role models out there and you may not realize it but you probably have a large influence in the lives of people you know. Be it that you are around certain people every week or you have a tight bond because they are family can result in a much larger impact. You have more of an influence on these people than some instagram influencer. Hopefully.

You

Why is it you want to do this? Feeling fat, or maybe you are fat? Is there a time where you are at your worst because of this? Then do what you can to remember those things. Put on the clothes that don’t fit any longer. Take pictures of what you look in clothes and what you look like in underwear. Don’t like doing this? Don’t like the fact that you no longer look like what you want? Good! This is your motivation! Use this when you struggle to make the change and keep working on it.

Is there a video you can play that gets you pumped, gets you energized and reminds you of what’s possible? I have one. Watch this if you want some motivation when things get tough. It doesn’t even have to be relative to what you are doing. Two people who could have easily given up on life but decided not to and faced the challenges realizing growth comes from struggle.

It’s up to you. Your destiny, your success lies with you and only you. It’s true! Don’t let the evil part of your mind tell you different. And it will.

All of us have the ability to be what we want to be. You just have to cut out the bullshit and do it. The video above could have easily ended up different, it could have been a whole different story. Write your story the way you want to.

Yours in health,

Darryl

perspective is relative

The journey is about to begin

My last post talked about a goal I have set for this upcoming year, 2019. I’ve committed myself to this goal be it a good idea or a bad idea but I feel it’s time. It’s time I’ve challenged myself because without challenging yourself you don’t grow, you become stagnant, and that’s not good.

And I love a challenge. Years ago I went through basic training and spent 3 years in the military. During that time I volunteered and completed the ships diver course, an intensive physical course that has a drop out rate of 60%. I went back to school in my mid twenties to get  a degree in computer science, not an easy thing to do going back to school as a mature student. Took up running, running long distances but never in an official event. Started training in Karate and received my black belt in under 5 years. Went back to school sort of to become a certified personal trainer. Recently started my course on plant based nutrition from Cornell University. And now I’ve signed up for a marathon at the end of April, my first ‘official’ marathon.

Why?

I’ve been asking myself that question. It wasn’t a compulsive decision, sort of. Because of my roll at the dojo, teaching all ages and being in a somewhat of an influential position, be it that I bring this on myself or because it’s been bestowed onto me, I am a believer that if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.

I don’t bring up my position on eating a whole foods plant based diet when I am teaching unless I’m asked for nutrition advice, or it somehow comes up otherwise for numerous reasons. But, I’ve been feeling that I’m not a good role model in this regard. I want to be that person that when someone comments that a whole foods plant based diet is incomplete, that you can’t perform at your best, that you ‘need meat’ I’ll prove them wrong. I’ll show them what can be done eating nothing but plants. But I need a point of reference.

But I’m not doing this for me. This isn’t to stroke my ego, not a fan of ribbons, this is to help people become more than they are, to become the best they can be. I can’t do that right now because for too long I’ve neglected the physical side of my training.

Now

I’ve completed all of my physical accomplishments before following a vegan lifestyle. At this point I have no reference for comparison. But that is about to change.15 weeks of training and than time to run 26 miles fueled exclusively from plants.

It’s going to be tough, it’s going to suck. I’m not going to lie and paint this as a walk in the park. I’m heavier than I should be,  too much heavier. Too much beer and potato chips have added the pounds to my frame. But I’ll do it. I have to.

I want to do something that can make a positive change in this world. I want to be leading the 5 mile run on May 4th for our next group of future black belts. I can’t influence everyone but if I can show a few people what eating only plants can do than maybe they’ll see through all the lies perpetuated by the media and society, that we can’t survive without killing animals and consuming them. I know this. More will find out. I’m going to draw a picture the size of a mountain.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Check back here frequently for updates on my progress. This just might become a mini story.

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker

or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.

I think it’s time.

I first set out to do this back in 2013. I had planned to run a marathon later that year, October in fact. Then, I broke my foot. The break happened the Thursday of Easter weekend. How do I remember that? I remember because I had all of Friday to ice it. I didn’t know it was broken. I iced it through Friday and the weekend thinking it was only heavily bruised. Then Monday still having a large amount of bruising I thought it’d be best to go to the hospital. So I did and I was told of the break. I left the hospital with a removable cast. Did it stop me? Honestly, no. I still trained at the dojo with the cast, going through a couple. Saturday’s work outs were brutally hard being given ‘alternative’ exercises. When I wasn’t at the dojo I would go to the rec centre to get in some laps in the pool. I had to work hard. I was grading for my Nidan (2nd dan black belt) this year and I knew what I was in for.

So I had to do what had to be done to get ready. Didn’t bother me though. I actually kind of loved it. Never really felt like I had to drag my ass up to do these things. It’s just what I had to do and I was going to do it.

I graded and it went well. I went to Okinawa and graded again, and again it went well. But I never did run that marathon. I trained hard that year. A couple times running more than 23 miles at a time, almost a marathon, but not and it really doesn’t count unless there’s a ribbon, right? But I never did the marathon. I think breaking my foot scared me. It made me nervous about a future injury as this was my first break ever.

I haven’t been that Darryl for a while now. And I don’t know why, I really don’t. I can blame work. Work has been consuming a lot of my time, especially the last 2 and a half years. I’ve been teaching a lot more too, but I should be making up that lost time some other way. But right now I’m not the best role model for physical health, I’m not. But that’s changing. I’m going to become the lesson.

I mentioned that I have enrolled in Cornell University’s plant based nutrition certification course, right? I’ve already completed my first segment. So I’m really getting more serious about proper nutrition. I can talk the talk and soon will back it up with proper credentials.

But I want to walk the walk. I want to be that guy. Yeah, I want to be ‘that guy’ but in a good way. I want to the one that people look to and say ‘he’s a machine’ and then they will be even more amazed when they realize that I am doing incredible things AND EATING ONLY PLANTS! NO MEAT, DAIRY, EGGS, FISH.

Then ask the 5 year vegan where he gets his protein. Burpee challenge? I’m in and I’ll kick your ass.

I’m going to be that person who breaks the stereotypes.

Fragile and weak? Nope! No one will be able to tell me that a whole foods plant based diet, for me a vegan life, lacks what we need to be awesome!

ALL ON PLANTS, 100%. NO ANIMALS.

I’m gonna prove it. Watch me.

April 28, 2019 – RACE INFO: ST. JOHN AMBULANCE WATERLOO MARATHON AND ED WHITLOCK HALF MARATHON (ID: 19891)

 

I’m gonna change this world

 

the bridge came up short

Abdominals

Understanding how muscle contraction works can greatly help you in working the muscles you are trying to work. As an example let’s look at the bicep muscle. The bicep muscles (there are 2, hence bicep) originate at the coracoid process (part of the scapula, the shoulder blade) and has an insertion point of the radius bone in your lower arm. To work the bicep muscles we grab an appropriate weight be it a barbell or dumbbell and starting with our arm straight we then bend our arm, bringing the weight up towards our shoulder. Most muscles are worked this way. The muscles will typically cross a joint (the elbow in this example) and we work that muscle by using the joint it crosses. The same with the tricep muscles originating from the humerus (upper arm) and having an insertion point of the ulna (lower arm) crossing the elbow joint. We work the tricep muscles inversely to how we work the bicep muscles. Makes sense.

So knowing this can help in how you work the muscles as the primary movers or secondary movers or stabilizers. Our abdominal muscles are a good example of this. Our abdominal muscles are comprised of the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis. The rectus abdominis is what we all understand as our abs, this muscle group is what we see when we have an 8 pack (tough to get, most only achieve a 6 pack). The transversus abdominis we don’t notice that much as sits just below and beind the rectus abdominis but also behind the external and internal obliques. It sometimes is referred to as the girdle muscle as it wraps around transversely. Connected to our illiac crest (pubic area) and the cartilage of the lower ribs it does look like a girdle. With this large muscle having fibers running transversely it is a key component of the core. No joints being crossed.

The rectus abdominis originates at the pubis and inserts on the 5-7th costal cartilages (ribs), and on the xiphoid process of the sternum. No joints being crossed.

So here we have 2 muscle groups that don’t cross any joints in our body. How do we contract the muscles if they don’t cross a joint? Think of that when doing exercises such as leg raises. If the motion of raising and lowering our legs does not cause the concentric or eccentric contraction of our core muscles because those muscles are not connected to our femur (upper leg) bone then how is this an exercise for the core?

This is where it’s up to you. These abdominal muscles will play a stabilizer role in this exercise helping you to keep you core stable as you keep your back on the floor. But, you have to actively think of this, you have to focus on these core muscles engaging and stabilizing your body, your core. What also helps with this is using the isometric contraction to contract the muscles.

planking
planking comes in many ways

Isometric contraction is contracting the muscle without lengthening (eccentric contraction) or shortening (concentric contraction). How can you do this with the abs? Think of tightening your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the gut. The muscles are contracting but not lengthening or shortening. You can also do this: Suck in your abs drawing in your lower abdomen below your naval, and hold it. This is referred to as hollowing or vacuuming. You can do this, and isometric contractions anytime; sitting, standing, working, etc. Do this and hold it for 10 – 15 seconds to start, and be sure to continue to breathe. Then increase the time to 30 seconds, or a minute. Be sure to incorporate this into workouts when planking, etc.

Let’s look at some exercises we can do to strengthen these muscles:

  • Russian twist: Starting seated with knees together and bent, raise your feet about 6 inches off of the floor and lean back slightly. Twist from side to side keeping your core tight in that vacuum state and as you twist bring both hands over try to touch the ground.
  • Plank: Staring laying down on your belly lift your body up onto your elbows and toes. Keep you hips up imagining a line from your shoulders to your ankle and your hips intercepting that line. Keep the belly sucked in actively engaging the transversus abdominis. To add difficulty lift a hand up straight out ahead and to add even more difficulty do the same with a leg lifting the opposite foot off of the ground  keeping the leg straight.
  • Crunches: If is very important to keep a neutral spine while doing crunches. This means not pulling on your head and curving the spine while crunching. Most people do this because it makes it easier and makes us feel like we are being successful. Doing more of something that can hurt us is not being successful. Keeping your spine in a neutral position put your hands by your ears and look straight up. Now, bending at the hips, contracting your abs, lift your shoulders up off the ground. Now, lower back down but don’t let your shoulders touch the ground! Keeping the load on the abs by not letting your shoulders touch the ground thus eliminating the rest is really hard but this is what will get you a strong  transversus abdominis and will help prevent back injuries and will also help in giving you that flat stomach most people are looking for. Technique is key as always

Working muscles that don’t cross a joint is harder as it requires much more concentration and focus since it’s not as easy as moving a limb. YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE THE MUSCLES BY ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION OR BY HOLLOWING. Not doing these things will result in putting in lots of time but not getting the results you want and need.

This post is just the beginning of building a strong core. My plan is to break it down even further in upcoming posts. But this should get you started and covers enough to give you a strong back supporting core.

And remember, if a muscle does not bridge a joint, bending a joint does not work it directly.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Those who never retract their opinions

It may not be needed but with it, life is so much better. It’s never really talked about when people discuss what they eat. Our good friend fiber.

It isn’t needed. It’s not an essential nutrient like water, carbohydrates, or protein. We don’t need it to sustain life but with it everything just runs so much better. And you run better. Someone asks you where do you get your protein? Ask them, where do you get your fiber.

What

Dietary fiber is a plant based carbohydrate but unlike other carbs it cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Therefore, fiber passes though us relatively intact. And as it passes through our body it does some great things.

  • Normalizes bowel movements: Basically fiber increases the size of the stool making it easier to pass and it also softens it.
  • Maintain bowel health: Studies have shown it lowers risk of colorectal cancer. Also, having good bowel health also means less time in the bathroom sitting possibly resulting in hemorrhoids.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels: Eating beans, oats and other foods high in soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Helps you live longer: Some studies have shown the a high fiber diet may reduce risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. More on this below.

 

Some Details

Let’s look a little deeper into how having a diet high in cholesterol can help us live longer and disease free longer. We live during a time where we are exposed to a lot of chemicals. The stuff we put on and in our body: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, anti-persperant, makeup. The air we breathe full of toxic chemicals. Maybe you’ve heard about the recent VW emissions scandal where they where convicted of using a cheating device on their emissions tests. It’s so bad even a VW executive is going to jail for it! The clean diesel they were selling…not so clean. The same with coal, clean coal is a lie from the coal lobby so coal will continue to be used as a source of energy. Then there’s the food we eat: fast food and prepared foods loaded with chemicals so they last longer and don’t spoil. Chemicals put in to replicate flavours instead of using the actual product that has the flavour they are trying to replicate. Why use the actual product, that would be too expensive and companies – share holders, wouldn’t make as much money.

We can do things to limit our exposure to chemicals. Change what we eat, use shampoos that don’t have chemicals as examples. I recently purchased vegan all natural deodorant. Made 100% from natural products – no toxic chemicals at all. Even the packaging the deodorant itself comes in is made toxic chemical free. And this shit works!

But ultimately we cannot eliminate exposure to all toxic chemicals in our lives. It’s pretty much impossible. The world just isn’t that big anymore. And if you live in a large urban area you are even at a greater exposure. But this is where fiber comes in. As mentioned earlier fiber is a carbohydrate but does not break down into a sugar molecule, it maintains it’s roughness so to speak. And as fiber passes through our intestinal track it picks up the toxic waste our body’s liver processed and wants to get rid of. The toxic waste adheres to the fiber and is eventually excreted from our body. But, if there isn’t any fiber there for the toxic waste to cling too, the toxic chemicals are absorbed back into our body.

But what else does fiber remove from our body? Hormones. Hormones that come from the foods we eat. What’s that? You eat meat that has not been fed hormones so you are ok, right? Not really. Consumption of beef, chicken, pork has shown to increase the amount of estrogen in individuals. Trying to start a family and not having any luck? Hmm…maybe read this. And if you consume dairy you are also including estrogen into your diet. Think about it, diary is made by mom cows who just had a baby (yep, cows make milk for their newborn baby, not there 16 year old baby, and not for us) and most times are impregnated shortly again and that milk is made up of stuff to get that baby cow up to 500 lbs as quickly as possible, usually within a year. It’s funny how people will argue eating meat is natural, we’ve always done it but ignore ‘natural’ or nature when it comes to the fact that we are the only species that continue to consume dairy after being weaned well into our old age and fuck, we drink milk from another animal!!! Offer that person a glass of human milk and they would call it gross, disgusting. But continue to drink cows milk, and eat meat because natural tho.

That’s right, animal products – meat, milk, etc. have no fiber at all. None. Zilch. Nada. On the flip side a whole foods plant based diet will give you more than enough fiber, every day! Fuck yeah!

Do I need to say more? Do I really need to make a list of foods high in fiber? No. I don’t. It should be clear up to this point. Animal products: Fiber score=0%. Whole foods plant based diet: Fiber score = > 100%.

Don’t be one of those people who don’t learn from other’s mistakes. Don’t be that person who lost a love one to cancer and doesn’t want to go through that shit but continues to do the things that don’t help prevent cancer but in fact sets up the ideal environment for cancer promotion.

You wanna use the hashtag #fuckcancer than actually do it, fuckcancer. Reduce or eliminate the foods that harm us and increase the whole plant foods increasing your fiber.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing

Beware of this trap.

Water, the life substance. We cannot live long without water. We need it to survive and we need it throughout our day to maintain proper body functions but in excess it can be harmful. In fact it can actually kill you. Have you ever heard of someone dying while competing in an endurance race? I’ve heard of it happening close to where I live. The person (I’m assuming not well trained to complete in such a race) consumed too much water thus diluting the sodium in their body causing hyponatremia. Basically water moves from your blood to your cells, causing the cells to expand, and causing swelling of the brain.

Too much exercising and not enough recovery time can be detrimental to our health too. I guess the title of my post is a bit click baity but it’s to emphasize a point I’ll be making soon.

The Case

I’m going to take a look at a supplement, specifically magnesium, and what being deficient in magnesium can mean to us and also what having too much magnesium can also do.

What

Magnesium like a lot of minerals plays an important role in our well being. It is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions including energy metabolism and protein synthesis. It is also involved in muscle and nerve functions, energy production, and also plays a role in the transport of potassium and calcium ions. Basically it is an essential ion to the human body.

Not Enough

So what could you experience if you are not getting enough magnesium? Here’s a list of common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Elevated PMS symptoms
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Muscle weakness and cramps

Too Much

Now lets look at the opposite, what happens if you get too much magnesium from supplementing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you noticed above I specifically stated from supplementing. This is because the body will naturally get rid of excess magnesium via the kidneys when consumed in the foods we eat.

Then what

Muscle weakness and cramping, these two things existing in both cases. How would you know the difference between too much or not enough? So what do we do? You are now thinking if you don’t supplement or if you do supplement you’ll still be in a bad place. You can’t win, right? But you can.

First, what I think is the most important thing you can do for your health is to adopt a whole foods plant based diet. Notice I’m not using the word vegan. There’s a reason for this. Following a vegan life style is just that, it’s a life style that goes beyond what you eat such as what you wear and buy. You can eat nothing but Oreo’s and still be vegan. Not a good choice though is it. A whole foods plant based diet is what is sounds like it is. Whole foods that are plants, not processed foods. Minimizing oils, salts, sugars. Sounds boring, right? But it’s not. Check out this book to see that there are a lot of exciting options when it comes to cooking with plants.

Without getting into it too deeply try to consume a variety of plants: onions, dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes, bright coloured peppers, whole grain unprocessed rice, seeds, nuts, avocados, tofu and so on. Prepare these foods not adding anything or if you like to add salt and oil but at a minimum. If you eat this way it is virtually impossible to eat too much and add unwanted fat to your body. Because these foods are whole foods, not processed, they are nutrient dense but caloric light unlike processed foods which are the inverse. Here’s what I mean; fat has 9 calories per gram where as protein and carbs have 4 calories. And because whole plant based foods are high in fiber you will feel full and satisfied without having to consume all those calories.

But what does this have to do with magnesium? By eating these foods you should be getting all the magnesium you need, naturally.

But

But if you aren’t sure and you think you might be deficient in magnesium visit your doctor for blood work and ask that magnesium be added to the tests. If the results come back that you are low in magnesium then talk to your doctor about options to address it.

Finally

I hope this helps make things clear. Supplementing should be our last option, our first option changing what we eat. Think of it as putting cheap fuel into your car and because of this your having to buy a higher grade of oil to combat engine wear. Why not just put better fuel into the car? The same goes for your body. And not having to supplement means not having to spend money on expensive pills.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Shiver and say the words

I’m on my way

 

Finally, after a couple years of pondering.

I’m on my way to a nutrition certificate. A plant based nutrition certificate from Cornell University. I’ll be able to provide the full solution to you health needs. I’ve always strived my best to do this, but now I can.

I’ve wanted to be certified in nutrition for a couple years now and I finally made the decision to commit to the course. Of course I decided to be certified in plant based nutrition because that is really the only option when it comes to nutrition. And of course I am taking the course offered by Dr. T. Collin Campbell, the author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study of nutrition.

I’ll no longer have to amend my posts with ‘I am not certified in nutrition…’.

I will now certifiably be your one place to go to for your health needs.

Wish me luck.

Yours in health,

Darryl