Happy Birthday!

This week my blog is 4 years old! 

 

 I started the blog in February, 2010 with this post:

I went to the gym today, as a matter of fact I exercised today, for the first time in 38 days.  Will this be the day I restart my fitness-centered life?  Let me back up.  I had been exercising regularly and rigorously for 20 years (minus the last 3 years).  I used to run 20 miles a week, I lifted weights, ran three half marathons, three 10 mile races, and countless 10K and 5K races.  I skied, snowboarded, ice skated, hiked, roller-bladed.  I had a house full of fitness equipment.  I easily exceeded the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

But then I stopped.  A combination of personal issues led me to alter every aspect of my life, including my fitness routine.  I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since.  In the past 3 years I joined 3 different gyms.  In total I’ve gone a total of 7 times  I even started running.  I was up to 4 miles three times a week, but then I stopped.

But, I went to the gym today…

I am happy to report that over the past 4 years I have indeed gotten back into fitness and into healthy eating.  I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol and other health risk factors through exercise and healthy eating.  I’ve run some road races including two half marathons, got back into weight training and started practicing yoga.

This blog is called, Let’s Get in Shape Together, and as the name implies, the blog is meant to encourage you, my readers to also start, or continue, on your own health and wellness journey.  I like to share news and information that I find on healthy living, I try not to get too preachy…. And, I try to adopt the healthy habits that I write about.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have adopted a near vegan diet, and I have never felt healthier or stronger!  I have several posts on the health advantages of a plant based diet, the health risks of milk and dairy, and the dangers of genetically modified foods.

Lately I’ve begun to change other aspects of my daily life.  I have been using less and less plastic in favor of glass for food storage.  I now use a non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets.  I am even attempting to change my make up and skin care products and make-up to those without toxic chemicals.

I’d love to hear from you on healthy changes you’ve made in your life, or health/wellness goals you have for yourself.

 

 

 

My Journey to Better Health

I haven’t posted in a while as I felt I was getting “preachy”.  Perhaps too much information about the dangers of animal protein, diet soda, sugar and dairy.  But it is hard not to share what I’ve learned about nutrition and health.  To me it seems so basic — healthy eating leads to a healthy body, and I want everyone to know the information that is out there and to live healthier lives.

 But, frequently I am met with comments such as the one I heard recently, “Yeah, I know all about what is good to eat and what isn’t, I’m just not going to eat that way.”  I simply said OK and stopped talking.  What I wanted to say was, “What???  You’d rather get sick and take pills that may or may not lea to ther problems??  Do you think it will be easier to eat healthy once your doctor ‘orders’ you to??”,  Oops, there I go again….

Rather than spew statistics about dairy consumption and cancer rates, meat and hear disease, or broccoli and it’s cancer preventative properties, I will share with you my real life experience.  Maybe it will give someone encouragement to take nutrition seriously!

I always ate “healthy”, that is I ate a  healthy Western diet — not too much red meat, plenty of chicken, fish and dairy, fruit and vegetables, and not too much dessert.  But I had gained 10 extra pounds that I wasn’t losing and more disturbing, my indicators for heart disease weren’t good:

  • Cholesterol 220 (healthy range is under 200)
  • Triglycerides  a whopping 182 (healthy range under 150)
  • C-Reactive Protein (a measure of inflammation in the body) 5.5 (low cardio-vascular risk is under 1.0!)

So I made some changes.  As with any new situation, the first place I turned was some reading material.  I highly recommend Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The China Study by Dr. T.Colin Campbell, and the documentary, Forks Over Knives.    I also started seeing a physician who practices not only conventional medicine, but also integrates complementary medicine, balancing medicine with healthy nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.  (Shout out to Sage Integrative Medicine and Dr. Marney Roemmelt, MD).

Now, 18 months later, after eating a near-Vegan diet of mostly veggies, beans, grains, fruits, nuts and no dairy (no milk, cheese, butter or eggs),  my health is substantially better.  I lost those pesky 10 pounds easily, and my risk for heart disease has gone down dramatically:

  • Cholesterol 180
  • Triglycerides 78
  • C-Reactive Protein 0.5

Plus, my sports performance has improved.  (check out No Meat Athlete for information on athletic training and performance on a vegan diet).  I also have more energy, am more alert and have far less colds than before.

While this approach may not work for everyone, the research clearly shows that people in countries who eat less meat and dairy have far less incidence of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and auto-immune diseases that are so prevalent in western countries.  And, before you say, maybe it’s in their genes; research shows that when people from those mainly plant-based cultures move to our western meat and dairy eating countries, within 1 generation their incidence of the “western diseases” matches those of the native population.

So, I encourage everyone to at least incorporate more vegetables and fruits into their diet, to cut way down on meat (including chicken, pork and fish), perhaps to only 3 times a week, and a small portion at that (3 oz) — substitute other protein sources such as quinoa, tofu, tempeh, beans, more vegetables (yes vegetables have protein) and nuts, and cut out dairy!

The Dangerous Success of the Dairy Industry

I have spent 30 years in the field of advertising and marketing, and so I milk know the power of advertising.  One of the most successful marketing campaigns over the past 50 years has been that of the dairy industry.  They have convinced us that drinking milk is essential to our health.  However, the more research I do, the more I realize that this is totally untrue!  Casein, the protein found in milk and other dairy products is in fact detrimental to our health.  Did you know that:

I strongly recommend that you read The China Study and read or watchForks Over Knives for more information.

For more information and references please refer to my earlier post on this subject.

I Want What I Want and I Want it to Be Good for Me!

wallpaper-download-free-candy--43883

There is a new study, paid for by the National Confectioners Association that states that:

1.)    “Frequency of candy consumption was not associated with the risk of obesity, overweight/obesity, elevated waist circumference, elevated skinfold thickness, blood pressure, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, or insulin resistance.”

2.)    “Increased frequency of candy consumption among adults in the United States was not associated with objective measures of adiposity or select cardiovascular risk factors, despite associated dietary differences.”

Come on people!!  Don’t get me wrong, personally I LOVE chocolate, but I don’t pretend that it is good for me (even dark chocolate).

We are a society that wants what it wants and doesn’t want any consequences.  I want to eat candy and I don’t want it to be bad for me, and voila! Here is a study that supports that very notion.  When looking at research that seems contradictory, the most important thing to consider is, who has paid for the study?

We really can’t blame the National Confectioners Association; they have an economic interest in encouraging people to eat candy.  As long as refined sugar and food coloring is legal. Sugar manufacturers have a right to try to sell their products.  (Same is true with tobacco, as long as it is a legal product, we can’t fault tobacco companies for selling cigarettes)

But what is clear to me is that we need to take control of our own health by using our own common sense.  Does it make sense that candy, (basically 100% sugar with no nutritional value), would NOT be contributing to this country’s overweight epidemic and all its consequences?

Does it make sense that inhaling smoke ????????????????????????????????????????????????? (you know the stuff that kills people in a house fire), WOULDN”T be bad for you?

 

Does it make sense that drinking cow’s milk (the hormone laden breast milk of another mammal whose sole purpose is to grow a baby calf to a full sized cow weighing 2 tons in a short period of time) could possibly be a good idea?  Feel free to see some of the stats on dairy here.

Where Do You Get Your Calcium?

We have been trained since childhood that dairy products are good strong bones and teeth, in other word they are our best source for getting calcium.  But it turns out that the Dairy Industry has been the source of almost all of this information!  Let’s look at some facts as reported in The China Study.

  • Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promotes all stages of the cancer process”
  • “Plant protein did not promote cancer cell growth, even at higher levels of intake”
  • “Milk has been linked to Type I diabetes, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases…casein, the main protein in dairy foods has been shown to experimentally promote cancer and increase blood cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaque”

And interestingly,

Whoa!

Given the research linking dairy products with heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases, I have decided to look for other, plant-based sources of calcium!

First of all, how much calcium do we need?  The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults 19-50 and men over 50, and 1,200 mg/day for women over 50.

Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Grains, Legumes and Beans, and Fruit are great sources of calcium.  And, green vegetables also have calcium absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk. (3)

VEGETABLES (per cup)
Bok Choy 330 mg
Bean sprouts 320 mg
Collard greens (cooked) 260 mg
Spinach (cooked) 250 mg
Turnip greens (cooked) 200 mg
Kale 180 mg
Mustard greens (cooked) 100 mg
Swiss chard (cooked) 100 mg
Seaweek (Wakame) 120 mg
Okra 130 mg
Broccoli 45 mg
Fennel 45 mg
Artichoke 55 mg
Celery 40 mg
Leeks 44 mg
NUTS, NUT BUTTERS AND SEEDS
Almonds 1/4 cup 95 mg
Tahini 1 Tbsp 65 mg
Sesame seeds 1Tbsp 63 mg
Brazil nuts 1/4 cup 55 mg
Hazelnuts 1/4 cup 55 mg
Almond Butter 1 Tbsp 43 mg
GRAINS
Cereals (calcium fortified, 1/2 cup) 250-500 mg
Quinoa, cooked, 1 cup 80 mg
Brown Rice, cooked, 1 cup 50 mg
LEGUMES AND BEANS
Soy beans, cooked, 1 cup 200 mg
Tempeh, 1 cup 150 mg
White beans, cooked, 1 cup 140 mg
Tofu, 4 oz 120 mg
Navy beans, cooked, 1 cup 110 mg
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 80 mg
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 75 mg
FRUIT (per cup)
Rhubarb 350 mg
Figs, dried 300 mg
Apricot, dried 75 mg
Prunes 75 mg
Orange 70 mg
Kiwi 60 mg
Blackberries 40 mg
OTHER
Blackstrap molasses, 1 Tbsp 135 mg

Lastly, it is important to look at factors that leach calcium from our bones: (3)

  • Animal Proteins
  • Salt
  • Caffeine
  • Refined Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Nicotine
  • Aluminum containing antacids
  • Antibiotics, steroids, thyroid hormone drugs

Sources