Category: General Health Page 1 of 2

100th post!

The date is April 18th, 2011. Poised at the keyboard, fingers dancing in excited unison, is an up and comer. A spring chicken. And he’s thinking to himself, “shit this is gonna be fun. I know what I’m doing. People are gonna be lined up and banging down the door for this knowledge I have. I’m gonna change the world, man!”

Poor spring chicken.

Fast forward to January 17th, 2017. Lines stretching all the way to Terre Haute weren’t exactly formed. Nor was a hinge damaged or displaced from its perch. Things didn’t quite pan out the way he thought. But… it’s also not quite been 6 years either. Many mistakes were made. And in hindsight, most of them were necessary to have evolved to where our subject is today. Those mistakes will continue as they should. Tweaks will continue to be made at each failure. Seminars will continue to be held, regardless of how many people plop their butts in the seats. To paraphrase the situation, “onward and upward”.

I don’t know why, but for some reason today I’ve been reflecting a lot more than usual. Thinking back on all my former clients and if I was able to give them the best from me. Thinking back on some of the crazier things that I’ve come across. From the woman literally showing me her bare skinned belly to show me where the fat needed to come off to the guy who swore by the GOMAD diet. For those wondering, that’s an acronym for Gallon Of Milk A Day. I’ve thought about how my whole approach to diet and lifestyle changes is so very distant from what I used to teach. Meal plans? What was I thinking? Dialing in macros to the exact gram? Why in the world did I ever think anyone would adhere to that?

I’ve thought about the different office venues I’ve resided in. From a fancy, marble floored, chandelier entry way to a square in the upstairs of a gym within an industrial complex (great gym by the way). And to where I am now. My own, albeit small, gym and nutrition counseling room here in Carmel, Indiana.

I don’t know what lies ahead, but who does? That’s the fun part, after all. What I do know is that I will continue to do my best to provide quality nutrition and exercise advice to whoever is willing to listen… and hopefully simultaneously open up their checkbook. I have certain specific business goals that I want to meet as well as personal ones too. I’d imagine you do as well.

So I suppose my goal for this post is to get you to thinking about your goals and what is important to you. Don’t just be a passenger or go through the motions each day/week/month/year. Don’t don’t. Do. Be you.

It’s not the chemical, it’s the DOSE

I have to say that I didn’t see this coming. When I transferred from a major in Animal Sciences  to Dietetics while I was at Purdue back in the early 2000’s I would not have predicted this would be the state of America’s mindset on nutrition. I thought we’d still be arguing about whether or not eggs were good for us or if we should only eat the white. Still plugging away at the importance of whole grains over refined. Getting folks to eat some fruits and veggies each day.

But we’ve leapfrogged. We skipped over a bunch of things I find to be much more important than the issues we’re discussing in the media and at the water cooler. Rather than focus on actually getting in fruits and vegetables each day we’re more worried about how they’re grown… and then continue to not eat them? According to a recent report, only 4%, yes I said 4%, get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. But we’re worried that they may have had chemicals sprayed on them? Seems to me that the chemicals shouldn’t bother us since we aren’t eating them anyways.

I know I’ve written about this more in length in my recent post titled “Putting the cart before the horse” (or it was titled something close to that, I’m too lazy to go check). So today I’d like to focus instead on educating you guys. I’ll keep it short and sweet because with a million and one things vying for your attention in this crazy world we’re living in today, that’s really what I have to do. Who the hell has time for an article longer than a few paragraphs when we won’t watch a YouTube video if it’s longer than 2 minutes?

So akin to the title of this bad boy, I’ll tell you why the ingredient isn’t the issue, it’s the dose. You see I get the following almost every day: “Alec, what do you think about artificial sweeteners? I hear they cause cancer so I try to avoid them.” Or I might get something like this: “I don’t like the extra cost of organic vegetables, but I pay it so that I know I’m not putting any chemicals in my body. What are your thoughts?”

And you know what? Those are good questions. If I’m not in my position with my knowledge, I’m probably asking the exact same things. I mean, shit, chemicals?! Chemicals are bad! I saw these pictures of rats that were given aspartame (an artificial sweetener) and they had these massive malignant tumors on them. They looked like little monsters!

And you know what? Those are normal reactions. If I’m not in my position with my knowledge, I’m probably saying the exact same things. And yes, I copied and pasted and then changed a couple of words there. Told you I’m lazy.

But here’s the truth. It’s okay to consume these chemicals.

…. And I just caused some butt hurt right there for some of you. I know. And that’s okay. I don’t need to change your mind. I’m just presenting the evidence. The science.

But back to the aspartame example. Yes, it actually can cause cancer. However, the amount of, oh… let’s use diet soda as our example. The amount that you’d have to drink would be somewhere near 100 or so cans per day over the course of a long time before it would become an issue. And I forget the exact number of cans, but its a crap ton. For some reason 88 cans rings a bell, but I’d have to go back and look at the study’s results and conclusions again… which I’d do, but I have other stuff to do today. However, if you want it linked later just let me know in the comments section.

Look, bottom line is this: too little water is deadly. Too much water is deadly. Yes, you can drink too much water and die. It’s a condition known as hyponatremia, or low blood sodium. This can lead to a swelling of your cells which can cause complications that can lead to death. You may have heard of it with marathon runners afraid of dehydrating. They then over hydrate and it’s caused some deaths. Another famous example is a woman who was participating in a radio contest for a Nintendo Wii entitled “Hold your wee for a Wii”. Clever? Sure. Deadly? Sadly, that too.

So instead of fearing a certain food, ingredient, or chemical, think about the insane amounts you’d have to consume before any damage would occur. You should be more concerned about reapplying sunscreen when you’re at the beach, refraining from smoking or inhaling second hand smoke, and wearing your seat belt anytime you’re in the car. Just look up the stats on those vs. aspartame and the story writes itself.

Think I’m wrong? Spot on? An idiot? Just let me know in the comments section!


Why There Can Never Be a “Magic Pill”

Even if Moore’s Law  is true and technology continues to double every 18 months, I don’t think we’ll ever reach the point where we can pop a magical pill or have some mega machine instantly transform us into lean and ripped specimens. And even if I’m wrong and we do reach that point, it won’t happen because it simply can’t happen. Let me explain.

“Clean Eating”

If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter or been to a gym lately, then you’ve likely read or overheard someone talking about how they “have been trying to eat really clean.” And as a dietitian, I think I understand what they mean. But for some reason it still kind of irks me. And I think that it’s because “eating clean” doesn’t really have a definition. It’s a made up word, like woozle wuzzle. What does that mean? I don’t know, but I borrowed the term from one of my favorite Simpsons episodes (Bart gets into show business). The point is, it means whatever you want it to mean. In the world of food and nutrition, another similar word would be “super food”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a blueberry drive the Bat mobile. Nor have I seen kale flying through the air with a cape on. It’s just a made up word marketers use to sell.

Cleanses and Challenges: Good, Bad, Worthwhile?

I’ve been really busy lately since we started our transformation challenge. It’s an 8 week “kick off” to get folks back on the wagon towards better health. Oh, and the winner gets $600 so I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised when we got double the participants we were planning for, so I’ve been a bit behind in getting a blog out there. The neat thing though is that by meeting with so many people lately, I’ve had a chance to get a lot of questions thrown my way. And two that popped up probably more than most were the whole cleansing and challenge stuff. The e-mails were pouring in. “Hey, what do you think about the Advocare 24 day challenge?”. “Do you think I should start juicing?”. “Do I need to detox to win this challenge?”.

In Defense of Crossfit

Okay, if you know me then you know that I am not an advocate for crossfit. And quite frankly, that is putting it very lightly. My beef, believe it or not, doesn’t lie so much with the whole Paleo diet aspect of it. It certainly doesn’t lie in the camaraderie that comes along with everyone’s perspective “box”. And it most definitely does not lie in the fact that all the rage around it has gotten a lot of people off their asses and moving around weights. It really boils down to 2 things that I’ll get off my chest here in a second before I defend the “sport”. You’ve probably heard them before, but I’m gonna tell you again anyways.

Dealing with Injury and Illness

Not too long ago a friend of mine posted on her blog about how she was dealing with a foot/ankle injury. She’s very active and being sidelined was bumming her out. Anyways, she put up a post that I thought was pretty good and I’m taking a few of the things she said and putting them on here as well as adding in my own comments.

No One Makes it by Themselves

So there I was, sitting next to the canal in Broad Ripple, eating mahi mahi tacos and sipping iced tea while chatting/catching up with a friend. She is moving out of the state and I wanted to meet up before she left. It was kind of a bummer though because she and I are very like minded. We are both into fitness, eating well, delving into entrepreneurial adventures, and maybe most importantly, we both really like a good IPA. We discussed our usual plan of trying to conquer the world (with little success thus far unfortunately) and what had been going on lately in our lives. She mentioned that she liked my blog (thanks, Becky!) and that’s what ultimately got me to writing this right now, fish tacos still digesting and all.

Carbs and the Fat Myth

Sorry for the delay on my posts. It’s been a busy 6 weeks, but I’m back on a schedule so I hope you guys enjoy my next posts.

Today I’d like to squash the “carbs make you fat” thing. First off, they don’t. Eating too many calories every day makes you hold onto fat. Period. But I’ll agree that they can make it more difficult to lose fat if you do it incorrectly (notice I talk about FAT loss and not WEIGHT loss. This is crucial).

Creatine, Yo

No, ‘yo’ isn’t some variation of creatine. I just wanted to say yo because it doesn’t get said enough these days. Anywho, as promised this is the first in a short (or long depending on the response I get) series of reviews of popular supplements. I believe in my BCAA and Proteins blog that I revealed that the supplement industry is a billion dollar business. Think about that for a minute. A BILLION dollar business! And to be frank, there are a few supplements out there that I like, recommend, and even use myself. That being said, the majority of it is crap and people are wasting their money. So the purpose of these posts is to give you some information so that you can make an informed decision and possibly save a few bucks. So here we go…

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