Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stress and Weight/Ways to Reduce Stress

When it comes to weight loss - for the most part, It's Not Rocket Science.  Expend more calories than you consume.  It's not always that easy though.  A thyroid condition may significantly affect your metabolism, for instance.  Another factor may be the fact that you are stressed out and ineffectively managing stress.  There is a stress hormone, Cortisol, that can effect your weight.  If your body is constantly in a state of stress or you go through a period of ongoing stress, the continually elevated cortisol 1.) contributes to craving for high caloric and fatty and sugary foods, 2.) makes your body more resistant to insulin which then contributes to fat storage,  and 3.) contributes to fat being relocated from other areas of your body to your abdominal area.  There is also an enzyme called 11-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase-1 or HSD that exists all throughout your body and converts an inactivive form of corisol (cortisone) back into cortisol (contributing to the higher abdominal fat buildup). 

There is really only one suggestion to try to keep your cortisol levels under control - figure out ways to keep your body from staying in a state of constant stress. 

1.  Don't sweat the Small Stuff - You really need to prioritize things and let other things go if they are stressing you out so much that your health is being negatively impacted.
2.  Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
3.  Breathe and laugh -  sounds like common sense but alot of folks forget.
4.  Realize that you can't do it all and don't be afraid to ask for help - you are no good to anyone if you're no longer around.
5.  Don't be so hard on yourself.
6.  Try things like meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.
7.  Have balance in your life.
8.  Know how to unwind/wind down/relax - it could be as easy as a hot bath or a glass of wine at night.
9.  Exercise - it helps lower cortisol levels.
10.  Eat a healthy diet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Diabetes Alert Day (Today Tuesday March 26th)

What better day to make and follow some It's Not Rocket Science Resolutions than the American Diabetes Association's 25th annual Diabetes Alert Day - today Tuesday March 26th.  Today, the American Diabetes Association challenges everyone to take the Diabetes Risk Test at  It contains algorithms that will enable you to assess your risk for Type II Diabetes.  You can also participate in the test at or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.  If you don't get to it today, it will still be there tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and so on.

Twenty-six million people have diabetes and 7 million of those don't even realize they have it. Studies show that Type II diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of bodyweight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day for 5 days a week) and healthy eating. 

So, 1.) take the Diabetes Risk Test to know your risk and 2.) take care of yourself.  Have a great day. Remember, It's Not Rocket Science.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Brand new research on salt and sugary drinks (from Harvard)

Harvard scientists this week released research findings from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study that included 303 medical institutions from 50 countries around the world.  Some of their significant findings included:

  • Eating too much salt lead to the deaths of 2.3 million people across the world in just 1 year.  Although the U.S. Government recommends a maximum of 2300 milligrams a day and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500 milligrams a day to avoid risk for heart disease and stroke, the researchers said that 1000 milligrams per day or less is optimal.  As noted in one of our chapters in It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions - the body needs FAR less salt than even that.  American Heart Association Surveys show that Americans average about 3,400 milligrams a day.
  • 60% of cardiovascular deaths linked to salt intake occurred in men and 40% in women.
  • Heart attacks were the cause of death in 40% of the sodium related deaths, stroke another 40% and other types of heart disease made up the rest.
  • About 40% of the deaths occurred in those under 69 years of age.
  • The United States' research showed 429 deaths per one million U.S. adults linked to eating too much salt - about 1 in 10 U.S. deaths.
Sugary Drinks

  • Drinking sugary drinks was linked to 180,000 obesity related deaths worldwide in 2010 including the deaths of about 25,000 Americans.
  • Overall, 1 in 100 deaths of obese people globally can be blamed on too many sweetened beverages.
  • Of the 2010 deaths linked to sugar sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, or sports beverages - 132,000 deaths were from diabetes, 44,000 from cardiovascular disease, and 6,000 from Cancer
Kim and I have chapters in It's Not Rocket Science:  52 Resolutions on both of these topics.  For more, go to - buy the book and see Chapters 12, 14, and even 49.

On another note related to information in the public domain this week that we addressed in the book, April's Prevention Magazine features an article called "Meet Your Future" about telomeres - the topic of our book's chapter 29.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New information about Alzheimer's and a great resource (Power Foods book)

A lot of new information about Alzheimer's Disease is out today -

  • It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death of people over 65 (and the only one of the leading killers to have no identified good treatment)
  • 1 in 3 Seniors dies with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia
  • Deaths from Alzheimer's Disease increased 68% between 2000 and 2010 (85,000 people died from it in 2011)
  • More than 5 million people have it (5.2)
  • 13.8 million people is a projected number of people who could have it by 2050 (1 in 85 people)
  • People who have Alzheimer's have a greatly increased risk of dying from it within 10 years (only 30 percent of 70 year olders who don't have it die before their 80th birthday but 61% of them are expected to die before 80 if they do have it  or some form of dementia) 
  • The health care costs of those with Alzheimer's was $200 billion last year and is expected to rise to $203 billion this year and $1.2 trillion by 2050
Sources:  Alzheimer's Association
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alzheimer's is the fastest growing health threat in the United States according to a another study by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Fortunately, there is a GREAT new book out by Dr. Neal Barnard ( called Power Foods For the Brain that contains all the most important research and studies and delivers a program to boost brain health, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, stroke and other less serious brain malfunctions.  Barnard, the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, lays out a 3 step plan to protect your mind and strengthen your memory.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Consumption of Fatty Dairy Products Linked to Early Cancer Death

Kaiser Permanente researchers just released results of the first study to look at differences in the effects of the consumption of high fat versus low fat dairy products on life span after a breast cancer diagnosis.  Here is the link:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Protein for Vegetarians/Vegans

The question that I always get asked when the topic arises that I am a vegetarian is - "How do you get the necessary protein?"  Well, the recommended daily allowance for protein is between .36 to .45 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  So, for example, for me that equates to between 78 and 97 grams of protein per day.  The top sources of protein for vegan vegetarians are:

1.  Vegetables (particularly avocados, broccoli, spinach, kale, peas, sweet potatoes, french beans, asparagus, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, watercress, sweet corn, and artichokes) - Avocados are particularly high in protein.

2. Beans/Legumes - Soybeans (they make up tofu and tempeh) are loaded with protein but other sources that are high in protein are lentils, refried beans, garbanzo beans/hummus, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans and peanuts (which are actually a legume and not a nut.)

3.  Nuts/Seeds - Cashews, sesame seeds/tahini, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, the various nut butters, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seed.

4.  Non-Dairy Milk like soy milk and almond milk.

5.  Grains - Quinoa is particularly high but amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, wheat germ, oat bran, oatmeal, and sprouted grain bread products are high also.

6.  Protein Powders - Hemp powder is a Vegan friendly protein powder that is very high in protein content.  There are others too but hemp powder is particularly high in protein.  The THC content of hemp powders is barely measurable.

Also, if you are a breakfast cereal eater like me - the leading source of protein that I have found among the cereal family is Kashi GoLean.  Special K Cereal Plus Protein is a close second in terms of well known cereals that are high in protein.

So after seeing the above list, It Does Not Take a Rocket Scientist to see that there are plenty of sources for adequate protein for vegetarians/vegans.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

National Nutrition Month - What does "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" mean to me?

Being that it is National Nutrition Month (,) I took the opportunity today to add the National Nutrition Month widget to this blog.  I am truly very happy that there is such a month and it is not just a day or a week but a full month.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals) asks us Bloggers to write a post about what it means to each of us to "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day."

I have outlined alot of what it means to me in the e-book that I co-wrote with Kim Williams called It's Not Rocket Science:  52 Resolutions - a book available at our website ( - focusing on healthy resolutions (including 13 specifically on diet/nutrition and others in chapters on wellness and reversing aging and even some in the fitness chapters that focus on the importance of good nutrition.)  "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" to me means practicing what I preach and following the principles outlined in It's Not Rocket Science:  52 Resolutions. 

Some specific principles of "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" that I try to subscribe to and that I believe in are:

  • Follow at least a vegetarian and better yet, a vegan style vegetarian diet - avoiding all animal products
  • Keep your diet low-fat (total fat should between 20% and 35% of total daily calories, saturated fat should be 10% or lower of your total daily calories)
  • Keep your diet low in sugar intake (under 15 grams/daily)
  • Keep your diet low in sodium intake (less than 1500 mg/daily)
  • Get the following fluid intake a day -  91 to 95  ounces a day (women) and 125 to 135 ounces a day (men).  80% of fluid intake comes from drinking water and other fluids, 20% from food.  That being the case - that means women should get about 73 to 76 ounces of their total water intake from fluids each day and men 100 to 108 ounces.
  • Snack on things like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
It does not take a Rocket Scientist to know, even if you don't read the studies closely and only read the  major headlines, that proper NUTRITION is critical for overall health and wellness.  It can (and most certainly will) add years to your life and help you reverse certain diseases and avoid other ones.

Use National Nutrition Month to jump start your adoption of healthy (or healthier) eating habits.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Protect Against Cancer

See link

Sunday, March 10, 2013

World may be all vegetarian by 2050

You may have missed this story but the Stockholm (Sweden) International Water Institute last year (August 2012) said "there will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes toward diets common in western nations."  The report said that humans would have to cut from getting 20% of their daily protein from animal-based products to 5% by 2050 to accomodate water deficits. 
The scientists speculated that a shift toward vegetarian diets could help free up large portions of arable land to human food production.  Statistics show that a whole years worth of showers use about 5,200 gallons of water while it takes 5,214 gallons of water just to produce a single pound of beef. 

If this were to happen - it would be a dramatic shift in dietary habits for most people - but (as the research discussed in the book The China Study and the documentary Forks Over Knives proves) average lifepans would likely dramatically increase and the occurrence of major diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Disease and even Cancer would dramatically decrease.  Obesity percentages would plummet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tame your sugar cravings

Trust me, I say the following from personal experience - limiting sugar intake may not be easy but it is critical.  It is my major WEAKNESS when it comes to diet/nutrition and I need to practice what I preach.  It is very important, if you have a sweet tooth, to tame your sugar cravings.  Fructose consumption should be kept down to between 15 to 25 grams a day.  I just read a great tip by Dr. Mercola which is that - the single most important physical step that the average American can take to improve your health would be to switch all your beverages to pure water.  Soda is loaded with sugar and switching to water will eliminate alot of your sugar intake.  Some other ways to reduce sugar are to

1.  Use stevia
2.  Use organic cane sugar
3.  Use organic raw honey
4.  AVOID all artificial sweeteners - they damage your health
5.  AVOID agave syrup

Remember that basically FRUCTOSE is converted into FAT.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Recommending a book/Reminder to EXERCISE

I am recommending a book - besides Kim's and my book (which by the way is called It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions - in case you haven't bought it at  The other book I am recommending is Main Street Vegan:  Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World by Victoria Moran.

Remember also that exercise not only helps you lose weight - it releases key anti-stress hormones and chemicals and will make you feel much better.  Occasionally, like this week, I get off the exercise track and consequently, feel awful.  Our bodies NEED exercise to not only burn calories but also to help us think clearly and combat stress.  Next time you have a choice between being a couch potato and going to exercise - choose to exercise.  You will not regret it!!