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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why is unhealthy the new 'norm'???

Ok, I just don't get it. To be quite honest it can be really irritating.  Yes, I usually just try to smile and be polite, but in all honesty, I'd really like to say "Are you REALLY asking me that?", or "C'mon, you can't be serious?" It happens everywhere, in the airport, the grocery store, at work, at the gym.
Cashier ( as I am buying 4 bottles of water at the airport): "Wow, you must be thirsty"
Me (smiling and shrugging): "Yeah."
The person in line in front of me had 3 sodas and a candy bar...but no comment for them!

Gotta love the gas station too. The man in front of me is buying 3 bear claws (yes, I DID read the wrapper), a candy bar and a soda.  No comment from the clerk. All I had was a bottle of water...and what do I get? "Ya' know, if you buy one of those (points to some bin full of plastic wrapped pastry/snack cakes) you'll get a bottle of water for free."
"No, thank you." I said politely.  I'm thinking GREEEEAAAAAT clog my arteries, make me fat, rot my teeth and make me depressed..all that and I get 16 oz of water for FREE!  Ha, I'll keep my gallon and I will gladly pay for keep the rest! Damn pastry pusher!

The grocery store is by far the worst.  As I  place my items on the belt, I often pray that no one says anything to me. First of all, I feel like it is an invasion of my life for you to comment on each item I am buying in the first place.  Scan item, put in bag, smile and that's it. No running commentary on my groceries please.  Can I get that? Nope.  I am usually buying the same things, but depending on the cashier or bagger the comments vary.  Staples in our house: ground turkey breast, egg whites, sweet potatoes, black beans, kidney beans, water and maybe some apples or something else.

 As I am coming through with 4 packages of ground turkey breast, the cashier says, "What are you making?".
 I just smiled and said, "ground turkey breast".
"You like turkey?"
"Um, yeah."

The egg whites are always fun. As I am checking out with 12 cartons of egg whites:
Cashier: "What are you going to do with all of those egg whites?"
Me: "Eat them."  I'm is FOOD what do you THINK I am going to do with them? Wash my car? Paint my house? Color them for Easter? (yes, someone really asked about the Easter thing..)

Sometimes I'll get "Do you like egg whites?"
I just say "Yeah".  When I really want to say 'Nope, hate them.  Just like to see what you are going to say when I buy them!'

One of the last times I was there the bag boy says, "You like egg whites?"
"I don't. I tried them once and I just don't like them. I just drink milk."
I was trying really hard not to laugh...Ok, first of all, I really don't need to know that you don't like them..but thanks for sharing. Secondly, drinking milk has nothing to do with egg whites, but ok.

So for all of the "WOW, that's a lot of water" or "You must be thirsty" or "Gee, what are you going to do with all of those egg whites?" given how many comments does the person buying 27 frozen pizzas 2 cases of beer and 3 dozen donuts get? You guessed it, NONE!!!

WHY? WHY? WHY has it become normal for people to buy 27 frozen dinners, 8 cases of beer, 10 bottles of soda and packaged pastries of all kinds? No one comments on that.  "Gee, you must be hungry", or "you must really be thirsty", or "what are you going to do with all of those donuts?"
Why does healthy eating set off bells and alarms in people heads???

It happens when I am eating too. "what IS that?"
"Chicken and black beans" I say
"It looks gross."
I just shrug and keep eating.

I'm sorry, did I ask you what you thought it about it? Yeah I didn't think so.  Did I tell you that I thought your chinese food smelled awful to me? Nope, didn't do that either.  Never fails though.  If there is someone eating something healthy everyone has to comment on it, but there could be 10 people eating fast food and no one says a word.  I have a problem with that.  If we have plans of EVER making this country healthier we need to make it the NORM for people to eat healthy and buy healthy foods. Not some rogue happening that must be gawked at and interrogated.  Just sayin...
Until then, stop commenting on my groceries...

Monday, January 3, 2011

"New hCG Diet"-A WARNING!!!

I'm sure you have at least seen the ads for the New hCg Diet..or the Real hCG Diet...and I know that I have been asked about it by at least one person. I wanted to let you all know that you should run, not walk, but run as fast as you can from anyone trying to sell this product or this plan to you.  This plan has been made popular by Kevin Trudeau's book The Weight Loss Cure.  Too bad he is a convicted felon that knows nothing about health or money or anything else he writes about.  He is a con man...and apparently a good one. Do yourself a favor, continue reading and be sure to pass this on to your friends. Heck, it makes me so mad..I'd even pass it on to people I didn't like!! 

Here's the deal- hCG or human chorionic gonadotrophin is a female hormone found during pregnancy and is responsible for prolonging the existence of the corpus luteum and allowing the continued production of progesterone. In women, hCG has been used in the processes leading up to in vitro fertilization.  It has been used in cases of hypogonadic men to help Testosterone production. 

Again, it is a hormone. Hormones cannot be sold legally without a prescription form your  doctor. IF someone is selling hCG it is either done illegally, or is NOT hCG.  If it is NOT hCG, well then what IS it?? Your guess is as good as mine...  It could be anything.  Some hCG sites are selling injectable forms in addition to pill forms of the 'substance'.  I'm not too sure about you but for one thing- I do not like needles; and for another thing..I am NOT going to inject God-knows-what into my body, never mind take a pill made of who-knows-what.  

What if it IS hCG? Well, besides the fact that it is illegal to sell, would it help you lose weight? Nope.  There is no evidence that it would.  In fact, every study that I have seen looks at hCG injections in conjunction with a 500 calorie per day diet.  Now I'm no rocket scientist, but I'm going to tell you that regardless of injections, if you take people and put them on a short term diet of 500 calories per day- THEY WILL LOSE WEIGHT!! Did the hCG do it? NO!! There weren't even any differences between experimental and control groups. Save yourself tons of frustration and some money as well-- not to mention your health-- avoid Kevin Trudeau and his con.  


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Breakfast. What is yours doing to you?

Client "I'm eating healthy. I just don't understand why I'm not losing weight OR getting leaner."
Me "Really? Tell me what a typical day looks like for you"
Client "Well, for breakfast I have whole grain cereal, a banana and orange juice"
Me (trying not to choke) "Whole grain cereal? Really? What kind?"
Client "______________" (insert name of popular boxed cereal touted as whole grain)
Me (trying harder not to choke) "Who told you that was healthy?"

Ok so that may not be what I would say but it is definitely what I am thinking.  Sometimes I really just want to ask people (in all seriousness) "WHY do you think that is healthy?" I really wonder if anyone has an actual answer to that.  I'm sure I would get a lot of "well, the commercial said so."  No, the commercial DID NOT say inferred it.  You did exactly what the marketing team hoped you would.  You made the jump- some how connecting the information presented in the commercial to "this product is healthy and good for me, I should buy it".  Congratulations, you fell for it.  Here is a bit of advice...and if you know me I'm sure you have heard me say it many times before-- it is MARKETING! They don't care if they kill you, they want to make money.  Plain and simple.

Client: "But it is whole grain, it HAS to be good for me."
Me: "It WAS whole grain. Now it is a whole grain that has been smashed up, ground into dust, had other things added to it and stamped into some sort of flake, square, circle or other enticing shape."
Client: " But it is made from whole grain.  It says so right on the ingredients list!"
Me: beating my head against the wall and wishing I could strangle each and every person in the marketing departments of these major companies.

Can whole grains have a positive effect on your health? Yes they can. Did whole grains give their lives to make that cereal? Yes, they sure did.  So the cereal is good for you? No, it is not.  Confused? Probably.

Let's look at it like this. Take a potato. With me so far? Now turn it into a potato chip (or even a french fry). Is it nutritionally the same? Does it bring the same benefits to your body as it did in it's original state? No and no. Still with me? Let's try this one.  Take a tree. Add sunshine and rain and what happens? Well, it grows.  Photosynthesis takes place taking in carbon dioxide and water and releasing oxygen. When the wind blows, the branches sway.  Now take a piece of paper, pretty much a tree smashed up, ground into dust with other things added to it and stamped into some sort of enticing shape.  Sound familiar?  Add sunshine and rain and what happens? (Yes, I can hear you laughing from here...) The paper is probably ruined.  Is photosynthesis taking place? Absolutely not. What happens when the wind blows? Well, you probably just lost your piece of paper!

What am I trying to demonstrate here? Simple.  Changing the structure of an object (or food item) changes its function regardless of what the ingredient list shows. What would the ingredient list of your piece of paper say? Tree.  Does it still act like a tree? Nope.  Does your whole grain cereal list whole grains in its ingredient list? Yep, sure does.  In fact, take a look at the ingredient list of one popular "multi grain" cereal:
Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Whole Grain Barley, Whole Grain Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Starch, Brown Sugar Syrup, Corn Bran, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Trisodium Phosphate, Canola and/or Rice Bran Oil, Distilled Monoglycerides, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients)Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate)Color Added, a B Vitamin (Niacinamide)Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate)a B Vitamin (Calcium Pantothenate)Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate)a B Vitamin (Folic Acid)Vitamin A (Palmitate)Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.

Wow! Look at all that whole grain.. Bull$*@t!!!!  Remember, just because it once was, doesn't mean that it still is.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? On to the next piece of the puzzle, the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).  The glycemic index is the ranking of foods based on the blood glucose response after ingestion as compared to a reference food.  Basically how quickly it is converted to glucose in your body after it enters your mouth.  (Glucose is your body's prefered energy source) The reference food is either glucose itself or white bread and is assigned a value of 100.  Water is assigned a value of zero.  Most foods will fall somewhere in between 0 and 100.  Notice I said MOST, as some foods will have a value greater than 100. The rate at which carbohydrates are converted to glucose is affected by many factors some of which include physical characteristics (surface area, solid vs porous), type of starch present (amylose-amylopectin ratio), sugar content, type of sugar, fiber content, fat content and acidity.  Foods assigned a higher number produce a larger, transient glucose spike.  Lower numbers cause a mild, more sustained increase.  

So why does this matter? Well, we have to look a little more in depth at how the body of a healthy individual responds to an increased glucose level.  A very simplified version: in response to increased glucose levels, the pancreas (beta cells) secretes insulin in hopes of returning the blood glucose level to a near normal range.  The insulin binds with the glucose and removes it from the blood stream.  High levels of glucose require high levels of insulin. 

 Insulin is a very powerful hormone. In the proper amount it is life sustaining. It promotes muscle building and prevents muscle breakdown. However, too much of it causes problems. Insulin is the one and only hormone responsible for storing fat.  High insulin levels also completely stop all fat burning.  Reams of scientific studies show that excess insulin is a factor in diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Eating foods that are higher GI/GL is basically like dumping massive massive amounts of glucose into your system.  From there insulin spikes and VOILA! fat storage!!! 

Follow me so far? Your breakfast is making you fat.  Yes, you read that right. Take your 'whole grain' cereal or 'whole grain' bagel, grind all of that whole grain up and what happens??? Well, I bet you just increased the surface area of that 'grain' and pretty much destroyed the fiber (to name just a couple things) making it muuuuuch easier for enzymes to convert this to glucose. Woohoo, hello high GI!!! Now to add insult to injury, studies have actually shown that after having a breakfast comprised of high GI foods you are actually going to store more fat after you eat lunch too. REGARDLESS of what your lunch consists of. Yes, your lunch could be the most perfect lunch on the planet and if you had a high GI breakfast, you are going to store more fat after eating your lunch compared to someone eating that very same lunch, yet had a low GI breakfast.  So fat storage from breakfast AND from lunch- talk about NOT reaching your health and fitness goals!!

STILL NEED CONVINCING??? Let's take a look at the GI/GL of some popular breakfast items (and a few other items just to put things in perspective).
Remember the closer the number is to 100, the more it reacts like glucose in your system and the more it causes fat storage.
Breads/bagels         103
Special K cereal       98
Cornflakes               94
Cheerios                  74

Jelly beans            112
Coke                      76

(taken from  Please see for more information)

Hmmmmm...bagel...over 100??? Special K, 98, and higher than Coke???? Wait a second..are both of these things touted as being healthy???  Yep.  Less than 5 minutes ago I saw a commercial for one of those products and it's 'weight loss program'.  How can that be since it actually causes fat storage???  Well...they didn't advertise it as a fat loss program, now did they??? (I promise you'll hear more on THAT later)

Glycemic index/glycemic load is one very important part of the mystery of proper nutrition, but it is only a tool in out tool box.  Just because something is low GI does NOT mean it is automatically good for you.  Take ice cream for example it has a GI of around 51, Pizza Hut pizza may range from 30-40 while soy milk has a GI of 34. I would not classify any of those as 'good for you'.  Remember, foods with a high fat content will have a low GI, so use your common sense as well.  For now, go back and take a look at your breakfast. Are you storing fat from the moment you get up???


Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!!! My hope is that it will be your happiest and healthiest one yet!

One key to making this happen...NO MORE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!!!!!! Yes, you read that right.  Stop making them!!! I made one years ago and have stuck with it ever resolution was to never make one again.  "But Michelle", you are thinking "how else will I reach my goals?"
Well, I didn't say that you couldn't or shouldn't make changes and aim for your goals, but it is absurd to think that just because it it January 1 (or a Monday or any other arbitrary day) you will somehow magically stick with those changes.  Why do you think that only 10% of the people that make resolutions actually stick to them?? Because they were the only ones READY to make the changes!!!! The fact is, you will stick to them when you are READY.  So if you feel you are ready to do it today, well then do it. If you felt you were motivated and ready on December 27th, then you should have started it then...and not waited until may have lost that spark of motivation and deep desire to attain your goal.  If you are ready 2 months from now well do it then.  My point? Making resolutions when you are not ready to embrace them is a sure fire recipe for disaster and just plain stupid.  Not only will you fail to stick with the plan, you will be much less likely to attempt that (or any other) change in the future.