Reality is frequently inaccurate

Just because it’s measured does not mean it’s accurate.

Technology over the last number of years has made it’s way to personal fitness in the sense that it has reached a larger audience. Heart rate monitors have been around for years but mainly used by hardcore athletes, typically runners. I remember when pedometers to measure the number of steps taken daily started to become more popular. People would track the number of steps they took that day, sometimes trying to outdo others or themselves every day.

Now, fitness bands are the new pedometers and heart rate monitors and are also starting to become ubiquitous. Just look at all the things you can do with fitness bands:

  • Tracking heart rate
  • Calories burned
  • Running pace
  • Works when biking
  • Reports cardio fitness level
  • All day activity tracking
  • Sleep tracking
  • Detailed fitness reports

Holy crap! That’s a lot. I’m not going to explain each feature because that is not the purpose of this article. I want to talk about the negative side of fitness trackers. Just like most things, it’s great to understand the positives but we need to understand the negatives too.

To me, the goal of a fitness tracker is multi faceted. Track the above things I listed but also I think the big seller to people is it’s used as a motivator to keep working out. Also, it’s a great way to know you are working out smartly. Work smart, not just hard.

The negative is people are taking this feedback and it’s impacting their eating habits. I hear it frequently. After a hard workout people will say ‘Now I can have those beers tonight!’, or ‘Now I can have dessert!’. Eating without guilt. The workout feedback coming from the fitness tracker such as you burned n amount of calories is being used to justify foods being eating that normally wouldn’t have, or being used to justify rewarding yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hard ass in the sense that you need to be strict with what you eat 100% of the time. I don’t believe in that methodology because it’s not sustainable. You have to enjoy life, and a big part of life is eating. I believe in balance. Eating healthy and also enjoying the things you like that aren’t so healthy.

But it seems people are not doing that. They are rewarding themselves more often because every day they see the feedback of how many calories burned, forgetting that that’s what the body does, it burns calories to function. But we never saw that before. If I have a busier than normal day I end up burning more calories. Without wearing a fitness tracker that’s just a busy day and I’ll probably eat what I normally would and keep it healthy. But with that feedback showing I burned a larger than normal amount of calories maybe end up eating more than normal, or eat something I normally wouldn’t. Something that will end up in an increase in my weight.

This in a sense is why studies are showing the people with fitness trackers are not losing more weight than those who don’t use them. It’s too much feedback, too much positive feedback. The largest impact to our body weight is what we eat. What we eat compared to exercising has a larger impact on our body composition.

Fitness trackers are a fantastic tool to use to keep motivated, monitor heart rate, monitor sleeping patterns and quality, and overall have a better understanding of our fitness. I would recommend to anyone to get themselves one. Or at least a heart rate monitor.

If you have a fitness monitor and have been exercising for a while, and exercising correctly (that’s important, and, what does he mean by correctly?) and you find you are not losing weight, it’s probably because of what you are eating. Tools are great, but used incorrectly they have a negative impact.

Perception is reality.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

The earth, a purple blaze

of sapphire haze
in orbit always

It would be great if we could get all the nutrients we need from the food we eat every day. But, in my opinion, even if we did eat healthy, and what defines healthy, the food today is not the food of years ago. Farming is not what it used to be. It has also become victim of capitalism. The more money that can be made the better for the people making the money. You may think of me as a cynic for saying that, but if you look deep into farming practices today, and also food in general, it is really about maximizing profit, not about producing the healthiest product. Also, we have gotten away from preparing our meals from scratch and end up buying prepared foods or end up eating out more than we used too. This can lead to a nutrient deficiency and long term can lead to health issues much more severe.

So, what do we do?

I think the obvious choice is to search out healthy food. It is out there, hard to find sometimes and more expensive. Also more time consuming. But the benefits could outweigh the time spent and the cost. Unfortunately there isn’t always an immediate cause and effect when we neglect to eat healthy. The choices we make regarding the food we eat may not manifest itself in negative consequences until 10 – 20 years later. I’ve used the analogy of a car and the fuel you put into that car before. If you put sub par quality fuel into your car you immediately feel the consequences, knocking sounds in the engine, poor acceleration. Sluggishness. It’s not always that way with our body. It could be because there are other factors that impact how we perform; the amount of sleep we have gotten, the mood we are in, time of day, etc. Maybe if there was a gauge that monitored our performance and health, the impact to our body both short and long term accurately and immediately we would make better choices about what we eat. But there isn’t, yet. Until then we should try to eat the best foods we can.

Ok, having said all that let’s get into the main purpose of this post. Spirulina.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina, also known simply as pond scum or algae. Yes, that is simply what it is, algae that is harvested and transformed into a fine powder or capsule.

Why?

Spirulina has many health benefits. I’m going to list what I think are some of the most important benefits. As always I recommend you do your own research to educate yourself.

Heavy metal – Studies have shown that spirulina along with zinc have decreased the amount of arsenic in the body. Yes, arsenic. It might be hard to believe but many water sources around the world are contaminated with high levels of arsenic. Or maybe it’s not that hard to believe. Let’s look at Michigan which very recently made the news due to high levels of lead in the water due to decisions made by the government to change the source of drinking water for many of it’s citizens.

Candida – Due to diets higher in sugar and unnatural ingredients there has been a significant increase in yeast infections since the ‘80’s. Several animal studies have shown that it’s an effective anti-microbial agent, particularly for Candida.

Blood pressure – Some research has shown that Phycocyanin, a pigment found in spirulina is responsible for lowering blood pressure. This is great because it can reduce your chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Reducing Cholesterol – Spirulina has also been shown to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. A recent study with rabbits showed the more spirulina consumed the greater the benefit. The group of rabbits eating higher levels had a greater reduction in LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) and also a greater reduction in Serum triglycerides.

Energy – Due to the chemical composition performance can be increased due to the ability to more easily unlock sugar from our cells.

Sinuses- Numerous studies have shown that spirulina can reduce the amount of inflammation that causes sinus issues. Compared to a placebo, spirulina was more effective at reducing itching, nasal discharge, nasal congestion and sneezing.

Lastly – Spirulina is high in protein based on weight. A great source of B12, iron, magnesium and carotenoids. So much more beta-carotene than carrots. Spirulina is also high in anti-oxidants.

Spirulina can be added to your diet quite easily. In powder form you can add it to your shakes, soups, stews, chilies, etc. In capsule form it’s even easier to take.

One last point, please do your research on what spirulina to buy. Spirulina is harvested from all over the world, including Japan, China, areas known to have issue such as radiation and heavy pollution respectively. This article is not meant to tell you what product to buy but instead introduce you to one of the super foods that may be worth taking.

As always, do your homework and make your decision from there.

Yours in health,

Darryl