Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


08 Nov

I was oddly pleased to find a BBC special called, “Obesity: The Post Mortem”. This was a graphic inside look of an autopsy of an obese person. The woman was actually from Long Beach, CA and transported to London to undergo this process. She had donated her body. Not that watching any autopsy is stomach turning, but I had that don’t want to look away feeling the entire hour.  

The woman on the cutting table was 16 stone, or about 224 pounds. One stone is equal to 14 pounds in the U.K. She died of heart disease as the result of medical issues arising from being overweight. At first glance she had blisters on her skin and indentions (dimples) all over which are common on larger bodies after death. She carried most of her weight in her stomach.  

The initial cutting revealed a very thick, buttery, yellow layer, better know as fatty tissue. This lipid layer looked greasy and oily.  

She had quite a bit of fatty tissue built up around her heart and diaphragm which would indicate difficulty breathing. She had an enlarged fatty liver. Her lungs had edema fluid, which is a sign of heart failure. The structure of her organs revealed she had high blood pressure. She had scarring on her kidneys which also is a sign of high blood pressure.  

This on hour of gruesome opening of the body was almost a scared straight tactic to know what is going on inside an overweight body. Morbid obesity can cut 8 to 10 years off of someone’s life. Compared to 20 years ago, people are about one stone or 14 pounds heavier. Fat does have a protective role in our bodies and is important for specific functions even in the cardiovascular system. Fatty acids are part of the contraction process of our hearts. But having an excess of fat has a multitude of problems that can take place.  

Fat accumulates over time. Little by little the body is suffering. It is never to late to start reversing this damage. But the longer the wait, the harder the reversibility. Every day and every choice counts. Now put that image of butter in your mind…. yep you don’t need it. Be active. Be happy. Be kind to your BODY. Your family will thank you for the extra years you have here with them.  

“Obesity: The Post Mortem” (2018). BBC.  

02 Nov


We live in a world where farm life seems ancient…. no one lives like that with a barn and fields. But until the 1950s and 60s, farms are where we got our food. Now we are disconnected from where food is sourced because farm to table is rare. We are eating food that is processed, chemical filled, and certainly not of its original form. After watching a documentary called, Sustainable, I thought about the amount of times in my life as a California girl, that I have actually seen a farm. My answer…. don’t know that I ever have.  

Small farmers of today are struggling to continue. Fortunately, they have relationships with chefs and restaurants that are keeping up with farm to table. It’s difficult because farming is seasonal. It’s hard to keep the livestock healthy and warm in the winter.  Microwaves and freezers have changed everything. Despite all this, farms stay in families for hundreds of years. The soil can be used over and over again through restorations processes like alternating crops. The external costs do add up like problems from erosion and run off with the soil. For example, fish could be affected by run off from pesticides into the water they live in.  

Today’s food literally makes people sick with the idea of sustainability. Food has become industrialized. We say we want to support local farmers and some people believe they do when the Tropicana orange juice is made in Florida but has been shipped there from Costa Rica or someplace else. We see branding everywhere and are confused by all the mixed messages. By January 4th, over $100 million has been spent on marketing already to buy the processed foods. Think about it…. why does bread have over 50 ingredients?? Real bread has about 4 if you have ever made it. We are eating meat from sick animals. If one cow produces the waist of 20 people, imagine what a dirty cow industry is like.  

In an ideal world, we would all grow our own. Make that fresh salad from the garden. Not exactly how we operate with the demands of life. Time, energy, and extra effort come into play. But we need to nourish our bodies right. The least we can do it cook at home and control what we can. Support the local business and support your fitness journey with better choices.  

Sustainable, 2016, by Matt Weshcler 

27 Oct

Shingles is a painful virus. The pre-requisite is having had chicken pocks first, even if it was decades before. This is because they come from the same virus called varicella roster. Chickenpox causes itchy blisters that can spread on the body, typically in the chest and back areas. On the other hand, shingles is a rash that causes a shooting, painful, sensation. The rash usually stick to one location or side of the body. When the virus first enters the body as chickenpox, after running its course, it retreats to nerve tissues located near the spinal cord and brain just makes its home there. Then for almost no reason doctors can understand, the virus wakes itself up again. That is when shingles occurs which is also called herpes zoster. Doctors do know that a weakened immune system is of course more vulnerable to virus waking itself up.  

Others heightened risks for shingles include trauma, stress, have cancer, HIV, or take medications that lower the immune system over time (such as steroids). The mystery is that these possible causes are not always true for everyone.  

Going to see a doctor is pertinent especially if the person feels a tingling feeling under their skin, an upset stomach, fever, chills, and/or headache coupled with raised dots on the body. The area of the skin will feel like a stabbing pain and eventually the redness turns into blisters. Within 7 to 10 days the blisters do dry out and pain lessens. Shingles cannot be entirely cured, but the painful symptoms and longevity of the blisters can be reduced.  

Shingles is contagious to those who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine for it. A person is contagious until the blisters have dried out and crusted over. Pregnant women, infants, and those with weak immune systems are susceptible.  

Currently there are 2 vaccines available for shingles. These include Shingrix and Zostavax. Shingrix is actually considered 90% effective, so it is the preferred option. The CDC does recommend people over the age of 50 get this vaccination, even if they have had shingles before.  

Shooting pain should be kept away. Anyone who has had the Chickenpox should be aware of possible triggers and any symptoms associated with shingles. As we always intend to, keeping stress at bay is important. Be aware of germs and germ filled environments. Your body and immune system appreciate self-care. Don’t let the virus in and vaccination becomes very important.  

20 Oct


“Science of Fasting” (2016), Sylvie Gilman, Thierry de Lestrade 

Life expectancy is increasing, but that also means that the number of diseases and illnesses are increasing too. This requires medical attention, which plays into the money-making industry of Western medicine. In the fitness industry, clients ask about fasting for weight loss, but after watching, “Science of Fasting” (2016), this deprivation of food is actually a therapeutic approach to healing.  

Russia’s public health system actually recognizes fasting. It is covered by healthcare. The documentary highlighted one of the Russian clinics where residents come to stay for a supervised program. This is not a DIY (do it yourself) process, which is a popular approach when it comes to internet searched detoxes, cleanses, juicing trials, or fasts. Here, fasting can take place up to a period of 3 weeks, and it’s all about WATER…. just water. The hunger sensation does disappear after a few days. The body is detoxing and living off its reserves. The body at first undergoes a “crisis” period as the impacted organism feeds on itself. So let’s say an alcoholic is trying to reverse liver damage, there could be possible pain the few days in the area. To help with this, patients are given body wraps, colonics and are recommended to exercise.  

Of course this process is scary, because no one can tell how one’s body will react to food deprivation. But the body learns to tap into other energy sources. Our main source of energy is glucose and once the body has used this, it then taps into its energy reserves souring from proteins and fats. Now the body is using ketones for fuel.  Over the years, nearly 10,000 patients have been treated and 2/3 have experienced successful results.  

A physician in Moscow was the first to bring fasting to the medical board for review in 1973. As a physiatrist, he had a patient who refused to eat. So he just let him not eat. By the 15th day, the patient had a better attitude and felt recovered from his mental illness symptoms. Fasting has been shown to improve and reverse symptoms of depression, phobias, obsessions, anxiety, and schizophrenia. At first, not many doctors or the medical world were open to this idea because being hungry has a negative connotation. But this doctor, Nicoliath (possible misspelling), from Moscow has helped over 8,000 people with asthma, arthritis, and eczema.  

Fasting stresses the body. It then has to auto regulate itself. Faced with starvation, hormones start to act and tap into the reserves. For example, this process on a person with asthma would target the black histamine cells in the lungs, cleaning out this area through the fasting detoxification of this organ.  

Fasting hasn’t undergone a great amount of research because the pharmaceutical companies are not encouraging this. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, that equates to dollar signs for many years of medication. Studies have been done on penguins and rats, proving that these species can live off their reserves for nearly 4 months. This means that fasting is an adaption that body can undergo.  

The concept of fasting ties into many weight loss strategies like the ketosis diet. The body is using other sources for fuel. It is important that this is of course a temporary, short lived approached. I was intrigued by the medical findings and thought of the effects of fasting the body of meat and dairy have which reduce inflammation. Consult a doctor and be sure to have professional supervision if this is something you are considering. To learn more, I would highly recommend watching the moving, “Science of Fasting”.  

12 Oct

Germs are everywhere. Bottomline. They can be passed from person to person, surface to person, on handles, knobs, countertops, light switches…. ALL over. Each day, we are surrounded by germs everywhere that we go. Some places are more ridden with germs than others, so be ware, be clean, and always wash your hands. Here is a list of 10 germ prone environments to take precaution when encountering:  

  1. Workplace – The desks, phones, keyboards, any work space shared with other accumulates germs. 
  1. Restaurants- There are many workers, many surfaces, and lots of food handling. Whose to say that all workers are in fact washing their hands often and after the restroom?? These places do undergo inspections, and this information is publicly available if curious which locations to avoid.  
  1. Public restrooms – Sitting on the toilet seat, touching any handle, and the choice for hand washing, leaves the bathroom quite germ filled.  
  1. Swimming pools – Chlorine doesn’t always kill all the germs. It is important not to let pool water in your mouth and to rinse off before and after entering. The same germs that cause diarrhea are those most passed in these waters.   
  1. Airplanes – Germs fester in these closed quarters where the air is shared. The bathroom and any surfaces in the cabin carries germs. The trays and arm-handles also have germs. Disinfect any areas you will be touching.  
  1. Day care centers – Diapers are everywhere, and they contain fecal matter. Germs can be passed among the shared toys. Children also like to put these toys in their mouths.  
  1. Schools – Kids might not put items in their mouths anymore, but its hard to know if everyone is washing their hands. Sickness can easily spread especially with shared desks and in the cafeteria.  
  1. Movie theatres – Colds and the flu can easily pass in these closed quarters people are sharing for a couple hours. The germs from previous movie watchers are also on each seat.  
  1. Your own home – All the kitchen surfaces, handling of meats, bathroom trips, sponges, handles, and light switches constantly used by everyone leads to germ sharing. Hand washing at home needs to be upheld as well.  
  1. Hospitals – Sick people, medical devices shared, increased exposure to more germs, and compromised immune systems are an everyday occurrence. Although these places are well kept, that doesn’t mean its patrons aren’t sharing their germs.  

Hand washing prevails and helps prevent sharing more and more germs. A healthy community washes their hands, and knows that sharing isn’t caring when it comes to germs and YOU spreading them.  

05 Oct

Juicing has become a popular craze among fitness and nutrition fanatics. Having a juicer at home is just about as common as having a toaster these days. The power of fruits and vegetables does wonders for our internal health and it is unlikely to consume the recommended daily totals (17 each). The reasons one might start to juice include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, or detoxing. It is no healthier than eating the same content, but a popular trend is a trend and jumping on board happens to the best of us. 

Personally, I like the texture and chewing action of eating. I feel satiated longer and feel that I’m getting more bang for my buck. Liquid doesn’t fill me up, at least not for long. So if I were to eat an apple vs. drink an apple you can see my point…. 5 min to chew an apple vs. 2 seconds to drink that sip of apple. And I do have to say from my research for this, there aren’t many claims other than being able to consume more fruits and vegetables per day that justify the benefits of juicing. So why so popular?? 

Adding to this, I watched a documentary called, “7 Days 2 Guys 1 Juicer”. In this film, Chad and Kenny were two obese middle-aged men, who for 7 days were put in a hotel to complete a 7 day juicing cycle. When they arrived the refrigerator was stocked with nothing but fresh produce. Not one item was in the freezer. From the gate, the men noticed how much work juicing really was with prepping the produce and then cleaning up after. This was quite the lifestyle change for them both, coming from backgrounds of fast food, no activity, and very little motivation to be healthy and make changes. Taken out of their environments, the men were forced to follow the plan precisely. They underwent withdrawal, headaches, and hunger pains. 

According to the documentary, juicing dates back to the ancient Greeks who used pomegranate juice as a love potion. In the U.S., juicing was introduced in the 1920s when there was a new popularity to be vegetarian or vegan. In the 1970s, Jack Lalanne sold his famous juicer. Today, people in their 20s and 30s have created a $5billion business out of juicing. There’s a status associated with high end juice bars connected to yoga studios. 

In the end, Chad and Kenny lost about 9 pounds each. I really anticipated a higher weight loss considering their past, which goes to show that juicing isn’t entirely weight loss oriented and the weight can be gained right back after stopping. Here’s the concept: “Doing the math, on average, an ounce of ‘mixed juice’ contains about 15 calories.  If you need 1,400-1,500 calories daily to achieve weekly weight loss, you could drink a whopping 96 ounces of this juice (about 12 cups) each day and still stay in that calorie range, which should result in weight loss. On this sample juicing diet, you would, however, only be getting 9 grams of fiber (36% of your need) and 25 grams of protein (41% of your need) each day, which is far from ideal.  This unbalanced nutrient intake would result in immediate muscle mass loss and an increase in hunger and food cravings. Other nutrients such as fat, vitamins and minerals would also be severely lacking.  Successful and safe long-term weight loss would not be achievable on such a plan” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800). 

Obesity causes over 25 diseases, so we do want to make sure proper nutrition is in place, but the type that is sustainable. In a world that praises fat-free and all natural that comes out of a box, something isn’t right with our food. Fresh is always best. Have a juice here and there to compliment your eating. It can be a nice, cold, refreshing, sweet beverage. Take your fitness journey tips, use them to your advantage, and make those changes the best you can, each and every day!!!! 

28 Sep

Methadone is a type of opioid that has been used to treat pain. Other names for this drug include “jungle juice”, “junk”, “meth”, or “dolls”.  It was actually created by doctors during World War II. At that time, the drug was used to treat extreme cases of pain but now it used to help treat addictions, including addictions to painkillers or more commonly, heroin. It can be taken illegally or prescribed by a doctor. In either case, methadone comes in the form of powder, liquid, or a tablet.  

This opioid has the ability to change the way the brain and the nervous system react to pain. Medicinally, post-surgery or injury, a doctor might prescribe it to treat pain. It also has the ability to block the high that comes from heroin, oxycodone, morphine, or codeine. For addicts, it can help treat addiction because it still can provide a similar feeling but does not have the withdrawals symptoms. This is called maintenance therapy. Therefore, methadone works a replacement to the more serious drug of choice. It is not a cure all for addiction but can be used as part of a treatment plan. It can take a year or more to actually effectively treat or fight off an addiction, but this depends on how each individuals body responds.  

Methadone isn’t the miracle drug. There are side effects such as itchy skin, restlessness, nausea, heavy sweating, constipation, trouble breathing, chest pain, or even hallucinations. Long term use can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. Just like other drugs, the body does build a tolerance. The body can adapt and need more and more to feel the effects. Methadone can be abused and become habit forming.  

It is estimated that 1 million Americans are addicted to heroin, and about 120,000 of these people use methadone to assist their addiction. About 20% of methadone uses, remain on the drug for 10 or more years. When a person is trying to alleviate their heroin addiction, they in turn become addicted to methadone. The search for the high is still there. A person becomes dependent and avoid activities and situations that will cause distress or interrupt their access to methadone. Eventually a person will try to stop taking methadone completely, but as with other drugs, there are withdrawal symptoms. A person may become agitated, irritated, and have the chills, as the body tries to live without dependency. Professional treatment is available. Methadone is often thought as replacing one addiction with another, but when heroin is life threatening and leading to high risk situations, this drug becomes the lesser of two evils. The thinking of an addict might not change, and that is the dilemma that one becomes powerless to until proper help and sought after and worked through.  

21 Sep


A nice heart cold cut, lunch meat, whichever type of deli meat you favor, reading the labels of these pre-packed proteins is very important. There are so many types of deli meats from bologna to turkey breast, making a selection available for every taste bud. However, this “meat”, really isn’t just meat, rather, it’s a concoction of different by-products filled with chemicals. The fat and sodium in excess increase the health risks increase for developing Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, while chances of heart attack and stroke also rise.  

Processed meats contain plenty of preservatives, hence their shelf life in your refrigerator. These particular preservatives are nitrates or nitrites. These are a potential carcinogen. All of the added flavors, smoking, salting, and curing the meat, have been linked to cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers processed meat, which is deli meat, to be a Group 1 carcinogen. Other additional ingredients include like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Those don’t sound like they are meant to visit the digestive system.  It seems like a couple slices of bread with lettuce and tomato with whichever meat, would be a healthy lunch choice. So easy to make must mean too good to be true. Some meat labels say they have no artificial sweeteners or are uncured, but the label needs to say nitrates or nitrites free. We are easily lured by the words “natural” or “organic”, but further investigation needs to be done. Eating ingredients that we are unable to pronounce should probably be avoided. Bologna is basically a mix of sausage, pork, chemicals, and preservatives. In other words, avoid.  

This doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut deli meat out of the picture. However, looking for low sodium options is important. One slice of typical deli meat can contain over 200 mg of sodium, and most sandwiches are layered with meat. It is interesting that the World Health Organization has found that eating just 50 grams of deli meat or any processed meat daily increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 18%. Anything packed and preserved has been transformed from its original taste for us to have easy access to and for manufactures to prey on our pursuit of convenience. Choosing a deli counter versus a packaged is also a better option. A person can also roast their own meat and slice it themselves. The more far removed you know where something has come from, the more you should remove it from your diet. In the end, hold the mayo and cheese, and tell the person crafting your sandwich that you will pass on the nitrates too.  

16 Sep

Food thrown out, gone bad, or not eaten, has become a wasted resource in America. Some studies have put food waste at 30-40% which is almost 1/3 of our national food supply. Of course, the perishable food items, specifically fruit and vegetables, are the most commonly thrown out. It can be tempting to point the finger at restaurants or grocery stores, but the reality is that food waste is a household phenomenon. Food distribution can also be considered part of the problem.

Shockingly, Americans are throwing away nearly 6 billion pounds of food every month. The main reasons for this include:

1.       Cosmetic reasons: Foods such as fruits and vegetables have blemishes on them or lose their appeal becoming discolored over time.
2.       Over-purchasing and over-stocking: Buying in bulk is the new fad and stores cater to saving money when this is done. The consumer feels they are getting the best value for their dollar, even if they don’t eat all they have purchased.
3.       Sell-dates and expiration dates: There can cause confusion about how long a food can be stored for, and most people are overly cautious and better safe than sorry when it comes to this factor. 

The problem is that hunger and food insecurity are a problem in America. Nearly 40% of food supply is being lost. There are nearly 50 million people who live in households that do not have adequate food supply. Our food supply costs nearly $165 billion and 25% of our fresh water supply is used for this production. That means that water supply is also wasted.

We might have been raised and told to finish everything on our plates. Yet today’s food culture displays the bigger the better, making portion distortion a leading cause of the obesity epidemic. It is important to learn how to shop, cook, and store food properly, even if it takes added time or extra dishes to clean. Get behind the movement of legislation that supports lowering food waste helps our society as well. Donating extra food is always highly recommended. Someone who is looking for their next meal at a shelter, on the street, or at the food bank, are in need. These facilities are primarily volunteer based, and every little effort will help. Check the shelves at home before grocery shopping to see what you truly need first. Buying in bulk is resourceful, but this may be more applicable to processed foods with a longer life that allow for more time to eat them. Food is our fuel and the body needs nutrients to function. Don’t waste such an important resource we are lucky to have.

09 Sep

Oh that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach…. bloating is no fun for anyone. It’s almost as if the belly is swollen. And then the gas that comes with it. Well, bloating happens to us all so let’s learn about this issue and maybe ease our discomfort if we can. You might even pass for pregnant sometimes haha. 

So what exactly is bloating?? By definition, bloat means, “Abdominal distention from swallowed air or intestinal gas from fermentation” (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com). I just don’t feel myself when I’m bloated and it doesn’t take away my appetite which leads to more food in that gassy belly. Just being honest with you all haha. For myself, I know what causes this feeling for me (eating too fast), so let me share with you the most common reasons and I’m sure you can relate too (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/bloated-bloating):

1. Overeating is probably the most common cause of bloating. Smaller portions should ease the pain.

2. Eating rich and fatty food can make you feel uncomfortably stuffed. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer. Avoid bloating by limiting your fats in your everyday diet

3. Eating too fast add to the risk of bloating after a meal. The remedy is simple – eat more slowly. Satiety signals can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain and dampen appetite. Many weight loss experts believe that eating slowly helps prevent overeating. 

Gas can also be a culprit for bloating. Gas builds up when air is swallowed or there bacteria in your gut is building up to push food through your intestines. Carbonated drinks and chewing gum are common ways one might swallow more air unintentionally. Certain types of food can also cause the gassy, bloated feeling. Here are some familiar types (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/bloated-bloating):

  1. Beans and lentils contain indigestible sugars called oligosaccharides. These sugars must be broken down by bacteria in the intestines

2. Fruits and vegetables with such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots

3. Sweeteners can also cause gas and bloating (Sorbital and Fructose)

4.  Dairy products can be a source of intestinal distress and bloating if you have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar

5.  Whole grains due to their fiber content. 

We don’t normally even talk about this subject because we don’t want anyone to know that a good fart would alleviate some serious stomach cramping right then. In fact, “Figures show that 70% of people suffer regularly from belly woes, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux and plain old constipation three of the most common causes” (http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestlye/health/boated-stomach-5-common-causes-1196763). 

We tend to learn the hard way what can cause bloating. Seems like if we eat super healthy with vegetables or if we eat super bad with fats, we can fall victim to bloating either way haha. But the point is that our digestive health is important on our fitness journeys. We don’t want any excuses to miss a workout or not fuel our bodies properly. So we just have to listen to our bodies and know our sensitivity. After all, no one wants to be that person at the studio who farts haha.