WORKOUT OF THE DAY

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Who is this Wim Hof Dude and can he help you?

If you haven’t heard of Wim Hof, you likely will soon, as the Wim Hof method (https://www.wimhofmethod.com/iceman-wim-hof) is gaining steam all around the world, helping people breathe better, and live better, in the process.

But first, who is this Dutch dude?

Wim Hof’s nickname is “The Iceman,” which he earned by breaking 26 World Records mostly related to cold exposures, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running half a marathon above the Arctic Circle in bare feet and a full marathon in the desert without drinking. Not only that, he also covered himself in ice cubes and stood in a closed container for almost two hours. Basically, the man is insane.

Prior to developing his methods that people around the world are now practicing, Wim Hof had a lot of stress, inflammation, suffering, depression and pain in his life that he wanted to get rid of. So he went into nature to figure out natural ways to combat the above. He soon discovered ways to gain control what he called your primordial connection—your brain, body and mind—“the way nature meant it to be,” he said. Now, through his workshops and courses, Wim Hof has become a popular teacher around the world, showing people a natural path to an optimal state of body and mind.

As crazy and almost ridiculous as it sounds, he really isn’t some pie in the sky weirdo. In fact, the man has intrigued the science community, who have used him and his methods in various studies and experiments, namely about pain suppression. Essentially if people can learn to activate the part of their brain that suppresses pain, we might not need prescription meds to do it for us.

Researchers have also had trained participants in the Wim Hof Method use the methods to control their sympathetic nervous system, as well as their immune response when they were injected with an endotoxin. Thus, there’s reason to believe it might be an effective tool to fight certain autoimmune diseases, among other illnesses.

OK, so what exactly is this Method?

It’s based on three pretty tangible concepts:

  1. Breathing (He teaches you to use breathing (belly breathing) to change the chemistry in your body and help fight stress etc).
  1. Cold Therapy
  1. Commitment

There’s a mini online class you can take here: (https://www.wimhofmethod.com/free-mini-class). It rolls out three videos to you, one a day, and puts you through very simple breathing and cold therapy drills etc. It’s worth doing.

In short, the belief is when these three concepts—breathing, cold therapy and commitment— are mastered, it helps you reduce stress, increase energy levels, improve mental health, improve performance, help recovery, and improve your sleep. Meanwhile, it has also been shown to improve symptoms of many diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s and asthma.

Check out more, as well as information about his various courses here: (https://www.wimhofmethod.com/iceman-wim-hof).

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Metabolic health is on the decline, even if you’re not overweight, new research says

While it’s not news that we’re becoming more and more overweight as a society, a new study published in the Journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders (https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/met.2018.0105) discovered that only 12.2 percent of Americans can be considered metabolically healthy, regardless of whether or not they’re obese.

Yes, only approximately 1 out of 8 people are can be considered healthy! Considering 60 percent of Americans are considered obese, this means even the thinner folks have metabolic problems.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean obesity doesn’t still factor in. Au contraire. The study also found less than 1 percent of obese adults are metabolically healthy.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about what we mean by metabolic health:

Basically, being metabolically healthy means your body is functioning efficiently. Being overweight does play a huge role in being metabolically unhealthy, but what we’re really referring to here when is becoming insulin resistant, having Type 2 diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome, and ultimately being at a high risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases.

OK, back to the study:

The study examined close to 9,000 people between 2009 and 2016 to discover who is at low risk and who is at high risk for various metabolic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

To come to their conclusions, they considered five metabolic markers, including blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), blood pressure and waist circumference. Those with no need to be medicated for any of the above factors (ideally with optimal levels of the above) are considered metabolically healthy.

Interestingly, some of the most important indicators that determined who fell into the 12.2 percent of healthy adults included being physically active, being female, being young, being educated and being a non-smoker.

While you have no control over your age, or whether you were biologically born male or female, you can definitely control whether you become a smoker and how physically active you choose to be…

Before you brush this off as just one study, here’s some more evidence about how being more physically active and physically fit improves the five markers of metabolic health: blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference.

  1. Exercise and blood glucose: There’s a boatload of evidence pointing to physical activity and physical fitness and how it lowers blood sugar levels and decreases you chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. This 2015 study, for one, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24888254) shows strong evidence that being physically active lowers blood glucose levels, especially for people who are already Type 2 diabetic.
  1. Exercise and triglycerides: For the record, triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. High levels are linked to poor metabolic health and heart disease. Once again, being physically fit lowers unhealthy triglyceride levels (https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/move).
  1. Exercise and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is the “good cholesterol.” High levels here are good and are linked to a decrease in heart disease and an increase in metabolic health. You guessed it: Exercise and being physically fit helps bring these levels up to a healthy place. Here’s a good article that explains more if you’re interested in digging a bit deeper: (https://www.verywellhealth.com/exe).
  1. Exercise and blood pressure: Exercise is commonly considered a drug-free way to lower high blood pressure. Read more here (https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/safe-exercise-tips#1).
  1. Exercise and waist circumference: OK, so exercise alone (and continuing to eat all the bad food in sight) isn’t going to help you reach an appropriate waist circumference for your build, but the good news is training with us means we’ll also help you with the other important piece of the waist circumference puzzle: Diet, diet, diet.

Sooooo…contact us now to get you on track to better metabolic health. Because who doesn’t want to be in that top 12.2 percent?

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‘They say’ maybe you don’t need fish oil, after all. And maybe you don’t even need Vitamin D!?

Ten percent of the population in North America is reported to take both a fish oil and vitamin D supplement on a regular basis. We, too, have frequently pushed the importance of both of these supplements for good health.

But, in the name of being balanced, I wanted to report about a new study that was recently presented at an American Heart Association conference and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1809944) that is trying to prove us all wrong!

The research makes the bold claim that neither fish oil nor vitamin D—when taken by healthy people—is linked to lower rates of either cancer or heart disease.

(However, high doses of prescription fish in people with high triglycerides and other risk factors for heart disease DID, in fact, reduce the chances of heart-related death, according to the research).

The research included close to 26,000 healthy adults in the 50-plus category with no history of cancer or heart disease.

Participants were divided into groups. One group took 1 gram of fish oil and 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily, while another took the same dose of vitamin D plus a fish oil placebo. A third group took 1 gram of fish oil plus a vitamin D placebo, and a final group took two placebos.

After five years, the researchers concluded, when it came to cancer and heart disease, there was no benefit to taking either supplement.

So. Yeah. What do you think about that?

Here’s what I think: I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment…

The first thing that came to my mind was that the participants in the study only took 1 gram of fish oil per day, which I’d argue might not be a high enough dosage to receive many benefits. Check out our Fish Oil post here, where we discuss dosage (https://stoneagefuel.com/fish-oil-guide-better-heart-brain-health/).

To recap what we wrote about in our blog, one popular suggestion for figuring out how much fish oil you should take is as follows:

0.5 grams of EPA and DHA PER 10 POUNDS OF BODY WEIGHT. And if you’re recovering from an injury, are overweight, stressed out, not sleeping well or have a poor diet, this can even be upped to 0.75 to 1 grams per 10 lb. of bodyweight.

This means if you weigh 150 lb., then:

  1. Divide 150 by 10 = 15
  2. 5 g (of fish oil) and multiply that by 15
  3. 5 x 15 = 7.5 g

7.5 grams is considerably higher than the 1 gram of fish oil consumed by the participants in this study!

Second of all, while this new study might show there’s no link between fish oil in healthy adults and heart disease and cancer, as we have reported before, fish oil and vitamin D are linked to having health benefits beyond just cancer and heart disease. For example:

Fish Oil:

Known to:

-Improve mood

-Reduce inflammation

-Improve concentration and focus

-Improve bowel health.

And many people we know report it helps their athletic recovery at the gym (i.e. reduces DOMS).

Vitamin D:

Known to:

-Help maintain healthy bones and teeth

-Support immune system health

-Support brain health

-Support nervous system health

-Help regular insulin levels

And, of course, there’s the whole sunshine vitamin thing. If you go months at a time in colder weather climates where you don’t see much sun, then it’s super important to keep getting Vitamin D in the winter. Often times, the only option is a supplement. 

What do you think? Is this study onto something? Do you take fish oil? Vitamin D? Do you notice any benefits when you do?

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6-Week Challenge versus Lifelong change

2018 is wrapping up and 2019 is getting closer. In other words, BOOTCAMP season is here to rally the short-term fitness and diet enthusiasts far and wide!

 

30-day or 6-week fitness and diet challenges can be tempting. They make you feel like you’re committing to something valuable and manageable, as the short time frame of just 4 to 6 weeks seems less overwhelming than committing to something for one year, let alone for life. And they seem like a way to bring quick success in your life.

 

For the record, this doesn’t mean short term challenges aren’t valuable ever. They can be valuable to kick start you into something larger, but there needs to be a plan AFTER the 6 weeks are up! We find they’re also valuable when you are already on a fitness and diet journey, as a way to tighten up some of the changes you have ALREADY made. But a 30 day or 6-week challenge in a vacuum in your life, with no pre or post 6-week challenge plan, are generally not that useful for long term change.

 

Generally speaking, though, the whole concept of a short-term challenge is flawed. What happens after the 6-weeks are over?

 

Well, usually people just go back to their old habits of sluggishness and eating like crap, often because they exhausted all of their mental capacity during those six weeks, or because they didn’t see the IMMEDIATE results they were hoping for, so they wonder what it was all for anyway…

 

Here’s a TWO-STEP challenge to you:

 

  1. Commit yourself to a training program and a healthy way of eating for ONE YEAR minimum before you assess the results.

 

  1. Hire a coach for both fitness and diet, and surround yourself with a support team

 

Here, we’ll steer you in the right direction:

 

Diet: Commit for a year

 

We’re a big fan of Precision Nutrition because when you sign up as a client with them, you get a personal coach and coaching for an entire year, as well as daily lessons to complete and access to an online community, where you can connect with others who are also going through the PN program.

 

The idea with PN is that it’s a full year long commitment, and they really focus on helping you make small changes slowly build into big, and more importantly, lasting change. Check out more on the PN website here: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/). They also have a great blog with a wealth of reliable and useful information.

 

Fitness: Coach for life and community

 

While Precision Nutrition does a great job tackling the psychology of change and putting you on the path to eating and moving better for life, what’s missing is that all-important IN-PERSON coaching and greater community of people to keep you on track (PN is a 100 percent online program). If you become a PN client, they strongly encourage you to also create a support network of people in your real life.

 

This is where we come in:

 

With us, you’ll also have a coach (not just for a year) but for life to work with you at whatever fitness level you’re currently at to improve how you move, heal injuries, and become more fit than you ever could have imagined. You’ll also be surrounded by likeminded, health conscious people who will quickly become both your supporters and friends, making your new, healthier way of living much easier to stick with.

 

Contact us now for more information.

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Are you eating enough sumac? What about sorghum? Or Wakame?

You’re a full grown adult. It’s rare you come across a new food you didn’t know existed, right? It would almost be like someone telling you there’s a new color you have never seen before? It just doesn’t happen…very often, that is.

Today’s the day: I’m about to tell you about some spices and foods that likely aren’t on your radar, and that might be hugely beneficial to your health.

Starting with…

Sumac

Sumac is a spice, from the Middle East, that has an antioxidant measurement that legitimately raises the bar. Truth: Antioxidants are higher in sumac than any other food!

You know how they say kale is a superfood because it’s ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is high? In other words, kale is high in antioxidants. Well, sumac puts kale to shame, as it’s 176 times higher than kale.

Beware, though, you only need a little bit of sumac sprinkled on your salad. It’s salty and lemony (a great salt substitute if you’re afraid of too much salt in your diet), and a little bit goes a long way.

Baobab Fruit

That’s right: A new fruit is in town. It’s tangy and a little citrusy, and it’s called baobab fruit. From a tree grown in Africa, its fruit and seeds and leaves have only come to the western world recently (since about 2008). At least, that’s the year the European Union authorized it as an ingredient.

Like Sumac, Baobab fruit is incredibly high in antioxidants. Acai is another popular fruit known for being high in antioxidants, but Baobab’s ORAC is 40 percent higher than Acai! It also boasts six times amount of vitamin C as oranges and twice the amount of calcium as milk.

Sometimes you can get it at Whole Foods, but other times you need to go to an African grocery store to find it (which can be quite rare depending on where you live). Read more about this fruit here: (https://www.powbab.com/blogs/news/6051886-what-does-baobab-fruit-taste-like).

Sorghum

You may have heard the word sorghum, as it is becoming more and more common on superfood lists these days, but you likely haven’t thought about what it actually is.

Basically, it’s an ancient grain (also from Africa) and can be prepared like rice, or ground into flour, or even used in beer. What’s great about it, however, is it’s gluten-free and is a good source of protein. And once again, antioxidants are high. Check out more here: (https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jane-dummer/sorghum-ancient-grain_b_6888394.html)

Teff

Similarly, teff is a cereal grass (from North Africa) that is high in minerals like iron and zinc. Like sorghum, it’s also gluten-free. It can be cooked into things like polenta of flat-breads, or you can turn it into gluten-free pancakes!

Wakame and Arame

It’s probably not news that seaweed has become more popular and healthy than it appeared to be when you were a child, but did you know certain types of seaweeds are better than others: Enter Wakame and Arame.

What makes wakame, a seaweed, particularly beneficial is its high mineral and vitamin levels—magnesium, iodine, calcium, and iron, as well as Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K. Pretty much all the vitamins, are found in this seaweed. It’s also high in folate, which helps your body make new cells (and is especially important for pregnant women).

As for Arame, it’s actually a type of kelp that usually gets reconstituted as a liquid and is then added to soups and casseroles. Like Wakame, Arame is high in vitamins and minerals and also super high in antioxidant capacity.

Arracacha

If you’re looking to replace potatoes or sweet potatoes and are tired of yucca root, this South American root vegetable Arracacha might be the right call for you. Its flavor is a cross between celery root and carrot, and it’s great for purees, mashes, and soups. However, unlike potatoes and sweet potatoes, Arracacha is pretty low in calories and is also high in calcium.

Purslane

A new lettuce has emerged, except it’s actually a weed, like a dandelion, and it’s called purslane. It’s popular in both Greek and Mexican cuisine and is super high in Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as in vitamin C and E, and it’s also a great source of soluble fiber. Basically, though, it’s a lettuce. It’s crunchy, but also offers a bit of a lemony kick. It’s a perfect addition to mix with other lettuces, or spinach, in a salad.

Feel free to add to the list: What foods and spices do you use that have health benefits that others might not know about? Share your secrets!