Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

September 2021 // Archive

Date based archive
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.  

01 Sep

The world has seen a dramatic change in the foods we eat over the last 20 years. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have increased the yield of food production dramatically. Canola, cotton, corn, and soy have been forever changed. 10% of all farmland is for GMO crops and 70-80% of processed foods come from GMOs. But what does this mean for public health and our environment?? There are arguments to both sides…. of course.

U.S.A. leads the world in GMO production. There are two types. BT are GMOs that resists pesticides in corn including the root worm and corn beetles. These corn beetles are called “the billion dollar bug” because of the destruction they can do to these plants. BT is the name for the gene inserted into these plants. The bug eats the toxic gene and is killed. The toxicity at this point doesn’t affect humans. HT means Herbicide tolerant and is most common in soy. A type of spray is used for these bugs and controls weed growth among the crops. 90% of our soy production has HT and in Argentina it is 100%.

Supporters of GMOs say this is the answer to our growing population. By 2050 we will have nearly 9 billion people. How can we provide for everyone?? Most countries either import GMO food for its people or to feed its livestock.
The trouble is that bugs and weeds have grown a tolerance to BT and HT. It’s like Darwinism, in which adaptation occurs. So more and more is needed to kill them and if the bugs and weeds aren’t absorbing the toxicity, then guess what?? We are. Not only this, but how are we not affected by the spraying done in our environment?? Cross pollination is unavoidable because how can this spray be controlled to just a specific area. Studies have started to link cancer and birth defects to GMOs, but our government doesn’t want to recognize this. Why would South Africa not use GMOs to increase cotton production by 76%?? Even the Pope blessed “golden rice” which is GMO enriched to have more Omega 3 and Vitamin A which is heathy for us and can help children who are deficient in these nutrients.

We are now facing GMAs, Genetically Modified Animals. There has been a cow genetically constructed to produce the same milk woman do. This could help children who cannot breast feed. Salmon has been modified to be bigger. We don’t always know the difference when we are buying these items at the store.

I am an advocate for clean eating, but at some point I have accepted that I don’t really know what exactly I’m eating all the time. The documentary I watched for the help in writing this Blog, “GMOs: Lies and Truths”, was the sickening truth maybe we should all hear. We can only control what we can control, but it’s scary to think our government advocates for products that can harm us (this always makes me think of Coca-Cola but that’s a whole other Blog haha). Read labels, education yourself, and always make the best choices you can for your BODY.
Frederic Cataignede. (2017). GMO Lies and Truths.