Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Capital to Coast Race Report

Race Report 

5th Annual Capital to Coast Relay
2 days   *   223 miles   *    12 runners/team

On Thursday Oct 16th, 20 runners from the Waxahachie area headed down to Austin, TX to run the Capital to Coast Relay.  Overall there were 51 teams participating and a course time limit of 40 hours to complete the race. 

So how did I get in this mess?  Well it started when a friend of mine mentioned putting an Ultra six man team together.  He was not able to work out a team, so I signed up with the local WRC (Waxahachie Running Club) team.  I was still intrigued to run the race as if I were on a six-man team, so I decided to run two of the 12 legs!

There were two teams from WRC and we had four vans.  My team van had five runners.  One runner was the oldest race participant at 69 years young – Henry Frare. One runner had been running for about 14 months and had completed a marathon – Andrew White.  The other two runners were not marathon runners but had a solid running base of 1-2 years – Andra Moore and Kristi Slate.

Team One – Look at the innocent smiles!

For me the event was very exciting!  Overall I thought “How hard could it be to run about three half marathons for a total of 38 miles?”  I did run back-to-back marathons for 52.4 miles in two days almost nine month ago.  What I did not expect were the challenges of sleep deprivation, the hot and humid temps, and the overall stress of the race venue – it is an endurance event, right?

The first day started with about three hours of sleep.  Having four guys in the same hotel room sleeping in full size beds was not very conducive to a solid night of rest, plus we had to get up at 2:45 for a 4 AM race start. 

The race started in downtown Austin just south of the capital at 4 AM.  There were 51 teams ready to go!  I did hear that a few teams started later. I guess they were fast enough to make up time with their faster pace!

My first 13 miles went fine, it was a lot of sidewalks and small hills as we headed south of Austin.  The vans would leapfrog their runners and meet them at 1-2 mile increments.  We seemed to be the only people around town with lots of yelling and excitement for all!  I passed the first exchange point and kept going. Here is where the road got a little lonelier as the runners started to spread out.  As we got closer to the 2nd exchange point, the road quickly turned dark and narrow with several hills to climb.  Luckily there wasn’t much traffic to deal with along the way.

After the handoff I got in the van and tried to get some rest.  During the run itself I had nothing but water.  Prior to the start I had a banana and a little bit of coffee - this was my regular pre-run routine.  My plan was to keep it simple and light for the race.  The next four runners ran their legs and then we got a bit of a break. 

We stopped for food in Sequin, a little country roadside eatery called Dixie Grill in Sequin, TX. I had lots of water, a small salad and a plate of steamed veggies. 

Afterwards we headed down to our next handoff.  The road I was to run for the next 11 or so miles was called Knockenut road.  We had a lot of laughs about the name of this road and I heard that while I was running the jokes in the van got more creative. 

We tried sleeping for a bit before my leg began but the sun was very hot, the side of the road was full of bugs and ants, and we also struggled to get a cell signal.

Once van #2 approached, it was time for me to run again.  It was a blacktop road and the thermometer read 93 degrees!  There was little-to-no shade along the way, so it was time to just grind it out.  At one point about five miles into the run, the road turned rough and rocky, and it became very dusty as the vans passed by. 

This is where I had to dig deep and just finish my leg of the run.  I got a little hope when the road turned back to blacktop; however, that lasted about a tenth of a mile as it turned back on to Knockenut and the rocks and dust returned.  Luckily I had a great crew and they were cheering me on and handing me water as I needed it.  At this point I took a few salt sticks for electrolytes and lots of water.

Once I finished my leg the other runners ran their portion of the race. I laid back in the van trying to rest and the day turned into evening as we continued on.  I had an apple and a cliff bar for dinner.

We finished our leg of the race and drove about 30 miles to Karnes Middle school where we could take a shower, rest and get a bite to eat.  At this point I had no interest in eating, so I took my shower and sought refuge on the gym floor around 11:30.  I did not have any sleeping gear, so I grabbed two Spiderman blankets and a State Farm pillow wrap and attempted to get a little rest.  The challenge was all the noise! I could hear every word spoken in the gym, every rustle of a bag, the commotion of runners entering or leaving the gym.  We got up about 2:45 AM and drove another 36 miles to the next exchange.

We stopped for coffee and gas along the way and then parked for about an hour or so as we waited for the next runner.  We then realized that we were one exchange point too far away, we made a mistake and had to backtrack!  This really created a sense of urgency as we flew back up the road to the correct exchange point. 

Here I was, running the 3rd and final leg of my race - 14 miles!  It was about 5 AM, very dark and not much to see on the road until I made it back into town.  I passed the next exchange point and kept on going.  Along the way I had a near mishap as I hit something in the sidewalk.  I never saw what it was, but I went stumbling forward as I attempted to stay upright and not face-plant into the concrete!  I survived, I did not fall, but my heart was now racing and I was wondered if anyone had seen me!  That day the running gods were with me and I was able to keep going.

As I got to the last four miles or so I really started to wear down….I went from a steady run to a run/walk blend just to keep moving forward.  I tried a Honey Stinger for some quick energy, but I wasn’t really hungry.  I was awake, but the legs just did not want to move.  My only thought was how I could move forward faster to end this punishment.  Looking back, it wasn’t that bad, I wasn’t injured or anything, I just had nothing left in the tank at that moment!  The endurance part of the event was made real to me, and I was at the point of pushing beyond my limits and seeing this thought through to the end.  I think this was “the wall” many talk about in a marathon but I had never personally experienced it.

Andra was the next runner up. I told her if she wanted to go ahead and make the exchange a bit early she could, we were losing a lot of time with my current pace.  She did this when I had about ¾ of a mile to go; however, I was not quitting.  I told her to go on and I was going to finish my leg no matter what.  I had 38 miles to run and I was planning on making it through all of them!
Once I got back in the van I was spent.  I wanted nothing more than to sleep; however, this is when the fun began!

Andra sprained her foot four miles into her run, so Kristi set out to take her place.  She went about four miles and was done so with three legs left, we were down to our last two runners!  Henry ran the next leg, he was solid for sure and even passed a runner.  Next up was Andrew - he started out with a solid pace and tore down the highway at a good clip. There was a slight change in the course because of a road closure and there was a lot of confusion at the new turn. Andrew finished the 11th leg and ran about half of the 12th leg when the next van took over to finish the race.

Our team had completed our portion of the race.  Now it was time to head down to Corpus and wait for the last runner to complete the race.  We made our way down about 35 miles and drove through some hard rain.  Apparently this hit the runners for about 30 minutes as well. 
We stopped for a late lunch and we were just glad to be done.  We checked into the hotel and received regular updates on both teams as they made their way to the coast.  Our team completed the race in 38 ½ hours!  The second team came in 27 minutes later just beating the cut off time!

Lessons Learned
Sleep is vitally important in these types of events.  Plan ahead, make sure to have sufficient gear to sleep when you can, either at the checkpoints or on the side of the road along the way.

Running Fuel - we ran out of bananas on day two and - because we were on the same road as a few hundred other runners - all the stores were sold out. 

We even stopped at McDonalds but they would not sell us any! 
Be sure you understand your exchange points! We could have really fallen behind if we had not quickly backtracked when we were at the wrong one.

Finally – make sure you know your teamOne or two of the wrong personalities can make it a miserable experience for the other runners on the team.  Luckily we got along very well.  One other factor to keep in mind is you have to be flexible – when we had to change up the runners due to exhaustion and injury, we had to be flexible enough to just jump in and run when we needed to. 

Both WRC Teams at the Finish Line

Me and my medal!

Team 1

Team 1, Van 1

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eating Guidelines to help transition to real food!

My guidelines to a healthier lifestyle by eating higher quality foods

I am often asked about what I eat and how I make daily food choices.  As a result of all these questions, I wanted to provide some high-level guidelines to friends and fellow athletes.  The best summary I can give you - eat real food! 
Often we are led to believe we are eating real food when we really aren’t.  Even worse, we are led to believe that some of the “fake foods” out there are better for us.  Please keep in mind, this is a guideline and not a strict “do’s and don’t” strategy.  It is about making better choices, not feeling overwhelmed or confused. 
We should all strive to “eat to live” not “live to eat!” 

What to drink:

Sodas/Juices/Energy Drinks - Our bodies are not designed to drink our calories. Sodas, juices, sports drinks, etc. are all filled with sugar and/or fake sweeteners. When you drink these products, you are still left feeling thirsty and you have not given your body any real food to sustain itself.  Do not believe the commercials - you do not need to fuel on sports drinks, like Gatorade, to be more competitive. 
Note that energy drinks like Monster® and Red Bull® are very unhealthy and can be outright dangerous to your health.  Avoid these drinks; they have no place in a healthy lifestyle!
What is the best and easiest way to improve your health? Drink water! We do not need to drown ourselves in it, but choosing water is the best option for your health.  Feel free to squeeze in a lemon or lime for flavoring, which is a healthy option.
Keep your coffee and tea but don’t overdo it.  A few cups a day is ok, but where many people get in trouble is all the flavorings and sweeteners.  Tea and coffee should be plain or with a small amount of heavy crème or coconut crème.  The fat in the crème will help make the drink more satisfying without the sweet stuff.

Eating out:

Fast Food - If you eat fast food, then you will most likely struggle with your health and weight. Fast food today is essentially a product devoid of most nutritional value.  It is a chemically processed food and, for the most part, it does nothing but add empty calories to your diet. Think about this: how can McDonald’s serve a “Big Mac” for the same price it did 20 years ago? The only way they can do this is by using a food that is completely altered and is no longer a real food. Fast food is designed to stay “fresh” for a long time by altering its composition.  Please avoid fast food all together!
Other restaurants (non-fast food) – When I eat at most restaurants, I typically do not order meals right off the menu.  I go for the veggie plates and salads.  I scan the menu to find the healthiest thing on the menu and then order it along with a few other sides.  Most places are very accommodating if you ask politely.  You should not get any push back, you are the customer! 
Keep it simple – just ask for a plate of veggies!  When ordering a salad, ask for the dressing on the side.  The best dressings are non-creamy ones - oil & vinegar are usually your best options.  The best option is to restrict the use of dressings – up to 90% of their ingredients are hidden sugars and other additives.

What about sugar and other sweet stuff?

Sugar is one of the largest contributing factors to obesity today. Sugar and its 40 or so associated friends are hidden in everything - items like ketchup, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, bread, and so much more. It is estimated that almost 80% of foods today contain some form of sugar. Read the labels.  Sugar is used to make food taste better, substituted for missing ingredients such as fat, and is commonly used as a preservative.
Sugar creates problems for the body - it raises insulin levels which will increase fat stores. This is also true for sugar substitutes. They can actually be worse for you because of their chemical composition.  Some of the newer sweeteners have little known long term studies on side effects so be careful.
Here is a list of many other forms of sugar:
You may find it hard to eliminate all forms of sugar, even if you are reading labels.  It can be done, but it takes extra effort to read the food ingredient’s list and know what to look for.  Once you break the sugar addiction, your food will actually taste better.  Fruit will be sweet again and that milk chocolate candy bar will lose all of its appeal.

What about Low-Fat?

Dietary fat does not always equate to added body fat! Fat in your diet is not a bad thing when you eat the right kinds of fat; our bodies actually need fat to stay healthy.  For athletes it’s a great source of dense energy.
How long have we been told to eat low fat foods only to see a huge increase in obesity in America? Eating fat should take place in its natural form: nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and coconut oils, butter, heavy cream etc. When you see products labeled "low fat" or "fat free" - there is usually sugar and/or other chemicals hidden in the food to make up for the taste.
Our bodies do need some fat (10-20%) and athletes tend to need more because of the high density of energy it provides, Do not feel you have to avoid fat, but be careful about how much you eat. Make sure it is good healthy fat.
What about low carb?
There’s a lot of buzz these days about low carb.  I think this statement, when made by others, should fall into two categories.  Low carb by itself can be dangerous because it leads some people to avoid all the healthy carbs which are found in most plants.  No one should be telling you to give up your greens or veggies! 
The other side of low carb is bread, pasta, crackers, beer, and many other packaged foods.  These “carbs” should be avoided.  They are typically highly-processed foods devoid of real nutritional value.  Why do you think the food companies have to fortify the food they make? The raw ingredients are not in their original state when used to make these products.

What about meat?

I am plant powered so I do not consume any meat, which also includes fish and chicken.  I am an ultra runner who has been plant-based for over two years.  I have found that eliminating meat from my diet has given me a tremendous boost in energy and I don’t have any digestion problems (indigestion, diarrhea, etc.).
If you are going to consume meat then keep it “clean” and only eat small portions.  By clean I am referring to buy locally-grown and organic if possible. Our meat sources today are very polluted – they’re saturated with hormones, antibiotics and other unhealthy chemicals so they can “keep it safe” for human consumption. 
Be aware that chicken is not necessary better than beef - meat is meat.  Industrialized chicken farms have as many, if not more, issues with product quality and safety as beef.  It’s not necessarily any better for you.

What about protein?

So where do you get protein especially being plant-based?  I get my protein from plants, especially green leafy ones!  Our bodies only need 8-10% protein in our foods.  Guess how much protein is in a variety of plants?  You guessed it - it varies from 9-10%.  Raw nuts, beans and other legumes are also a good source of protein.

What about dairy?

Our bodies are not designed to drink milk or consume any other dairy products.  We are the only mammal that drinks the milk from another species and we are also the only species that drinks milk after we are weaned from our mother.  Some people are lactose intolerant and can’t have it.  Those who are not lactose intolerant need to be careful because dairy can cause problems with excess mucus and may create other digestion problems.  As with meat, if you are going to eat dairy, then make it the best, cleanest version you can.  Skip the low-fat and just eat the real stuff.  Over-processed dairy is actually worse for you than the real thing.

What about fruit – it’s a sugar right?

Fruit is a great source of nutrition. Fruit is naturally sweet, but can cause issues for some people - especially the high-glycemic fruits like bananas, grapes and melons. Overall, fruit, like all other whole foods, are good for you and very healthy in moderation. Do not feel like you have to avoid fruit because people call it bad or call it sugar. If you are plant-powered it is a great anytime snack. I recommend that you experiment with fruit. Some find it easiest to digest on an empty stomach instead of being used like a desert.  Others may need a fat source with the fructose sugar that comes with fruit. Ultimately, one’s insulin sensitivity will most likely determine how well your body utilities the nutrients from fruit.

Packaged foods:
Packaged and canned food should be viewed with great scrutiny.  Read the labels, avoid packages with more than 7-8 ingredients.  Food with unfamiliar ingredients should be avoided, know what you are putting in your body!

Breads, Pasta, Crackers and Cookies:

These foods should be avoided or limited.  Typically, commercially-available versions of these foods are made with highly-processed ingredients.  There are some homemade versions that are good, but if you are buying them in a store, then limit these foods. 
The challenge, for example, is enriched white flour.  It has little nutritional value and there is usually a high concentration of chemicals, sugar, and salt in these foods.

Foods and Ingredients To Avoid:

Hydrogenated Oil / Trans Fats: This oil is very difficult for the body to digest, raises LDL (the bad cholesterol), and lowers HDL (the good cholesterol).  They are also active agents of heart disease, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and cellular deterioration. 
·         Common foods include: vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads, and chips
Red Dyes #40 & #3, Yellow Dyes #5 & #6: these have all shown significant links to cancer and thyroid issues.
·         Common foods include: candy, cereals, and frosting
Margarine – there is nothing healthy about margarine!  It’s made from highly-refined oils and even hydrogenated oils.  Your best bet is real butter or alternatives such as almond butter.
Hot Dogs and any other meats high in nitrates – these foods are highly processed and when these nitrates are broken down in the stomach they can have a very adverse effect on the body such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Artificial Sweetener & HFC (high fructose corn syrup) – Splenda® (sucralose), Sweet ’N Low® (saccharin), Equal® (Aspartame), and Sweet One® (Acesulfame) are all linked to increases in cancer.  They still have the same effect on the body as sugar by raising the insulin levels in the blood stream.  HFC is a highly-processed form of corn syrup and most commonly made from GMOs (genetically modified organisms) which also have strong links to cancer.  If you want something sweet, stick with sugar.  It’s the least evil of all of these.  In the end, you will still gain weight using these sweeteners.
Microwave Popcorn – this product is very popular; however, the chemicals used to make microwave popcorn are very dangerous to our health.
MSG (monosodium glutamate)this chemical has been shown to be a neurotoxin and has very negative effects on the body, including migraines, cancers, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Benzoate – commonly found in bread, it is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to increase rates of cancer.
Olestra – this is a fat substitute that’s a synthesized chemical - most commonly used in fat-free chips.
Other resources:

Nutritional Information & Whole Foods

Food labels have become a long list of unrecognizable chemicals and food derivatives. If you read food labels, do not focus on calories or fat, but focus on ingredients. Any product with more than six or seven ingredients should be avoided. Any food label with ingredients that you have never heard of is a problem! Focus on eating whole, natural foods. Go back to eating the way we are supposed to - from the garden. Stay away from the middle aisles in the grocery stores and you will make better choices. Making meals is easy if we keep the ingredients simple.


Diets do not work, lifestyle changes do! If you continuously chase the latest fad diet, new food report about super foods etc., then you will continue to get frustrated. Diets are temporary and usually create stress on the body because your body thinks that it is starving, especially if you are doing calorie restriction. When you starve your body, your body will do everything it can to retain the fat stores for survival. We cannot change the basic instinct to survive. The only way to lose weight and not starve your body is to change what you eat.


Exercise is very important today because of our lifestyle and conveniences. Our bodies were designed to move. Because we sit at our desk all day, drive cars, go through drive thru’ s and use elevators, our bodies are not moving like they should be. To make up for this, just get out the door and exercise. Whether it is running, walking, hiking, cycling, or going to the gym, get out and move every single day! If you do take up an exercise program, take it slow and easy. The biggest mistake newbies make is going out to hard and getting injured or hurt.

Calorie In / Calorie Out

We are taught that a calorie is a calorie. This is simply not true.  If it were, then we could eat 2,000 calories of sugar and be done for the day, right? If you use calorie restriction to lose weight, then you will quickly find that it is not sustainable. Your challenge is to eat high-quality foods and the calories will take care of themselves. The problem is when we eat foods devoid of nutrition, i.e. processed foods, then the body is still hungry and we need to eat more. When you eat whole, natural, high-quality foods, you will actually eat less food but be healthier in the process.

Drug Problem

We have a huge drug problem in America. We get sick, we take a pill; we have a chronic illness, we take a pill; we cannot sleep, take a pill. How about this approach: if you are sick, then look at what is causing it. Chronic illness such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, impotence, sleep disorder, headaches etc. can almost all be alleviated, or at least reduced, to manageable levels by changing our diet. Not only can we cure these diseases - we can also have a huge impact on long-term illness such as cancer and obesity.

How To Get Started

Starting today, do something to get you going. You know what you need to do - you just need to start doing it! I did not make all of these changes in a day.  As I stated before it’s a journey. Take one idea above and embrace it. Make it your own and try it for a month. What I found through my journey is this: when I made a change and felt better - I wanted to do more. Then I changed another thing, and so on. It does not have to be difficult or painful. I enjoy life more today because I am living to my fullest potential. I sleep better, feel better, have more energy, and I have not been sick or injured in two years! How is that for living proof!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cheat Days and Why They May Not Work

I am not a big fan of planned cheat meals or cheat days and I will tell you why.  First of all, the word “cheat” implies you are doing something wrong.  Our foods choices are just that - choices.  There is no right or wrong per se; it is about what is best for us individually.  For me, I do not eat meat, so do I go and eat meat on cheat days????  In my case - never!  However, if I choose to eat a piece of cake on my birthday is that cheating?  For me the answer is “no,” because I am not cheating. I am choosing to eat something I normally wouldn't eat every day because it is a special occasion.

I think it is much better to focus on high quality foods every day and limit or move away from foods we decide are not in our best interest.  When we live for cheat days then we are saying these foods are ok to eat once a week.  We then begin to look forward to cheat days vs. focusing on what is best for us on a regular basis. 

How do we define a cheat day?  Do we eat a full day of food that is total garbage and then spend the next three days regretting it and waiting 2-3 days for the food to be eliminated from our bodies?  By then we are only days away from the next cheat day (if we set them up as once a week).

I think the intention of a cheat day is honorable, but I just don’t know how effective they really are at changing our long term view of food.  My goal is to only eat the best foods for my body and as I continue on this journey my diet has got cleaner and cleaner.  One day there will not be any cheat foods.  Food I once wanted will no longer appeal to me.  Sugary sweets and other unhealthy food will be totally replaced by healthy alternatives so there will be no need to cheat. 

I understand it is a journey and we all need our tricks, but please be careful with this one.  The best option may be one that gives you the opportunity to enjoy the unhealthy meal or occasional sweet on special occasions and avoid making it too complicated or timing days filled with foods that do not support our long term health.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Training in the heat and what to do

As we approach the heat of the summer I wanted to share my thoughts on training in the heat.

First of all the biggest challenge you will face is taking the time to adapt!  Spring in Texas has been fairly mild so it seems for 2014 we went from mild temps to HOT!  Adaptation takes a few weeks to occur, and this will only happen if you are training at least 2-3 days a week outside.  Keep in mind your workouts should be about “effort” and not “pace.”  If your normally run a 9 min per mile pace in 50 degree weather or less, your pace may drop to 10 ½ minutes or more if it is 95 degrees!  It doesn’t mean your overall pace is dropping or your running will suffer, it just means the same effort will produce a slower pace. 

What is the best way to measure effort?  A heart rate monitor is the best tool.  If you train in zone 2 for example (180-age, plus 5 if you are very active, minus 5 if you are not active at all) then you can track your progress over the summer.  You will be amazed at how much you can still improve your performance once the cooler temperatures return in the fall.

Over training in the heat can be very detrimental.  If you train at your regular pace in the heat, it would be equivalent to doing speed work during every work out.  This will result in fatigue and possible injury.  Remember that even if it is just warm, the humidity will make it tougher for the body to cool itself, so even if it is 80 degree early in the am, if it is also humid then it will be just as tough as running in hot weather.

Things to make the heat more bearable: first, try to run or work out in the shade, this will help keep you cooler (it is all relative right).  Second, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, not just during your workout, but before and after.  

Finally, make sure you replace lost electrolytes in your body.  If you train for more than an hour, it is a good idea to take in products like “salt sticks” or “s-caps”.  While Gatorade and similar products tout electrolyte replacement, they also come with excess products like sugar (or worse, fake sugar) and other chemicals which will hamper your performance.

Keep it clean, stay focused and enjoy the experience.  All your workouts in the “dog days” of summer will pay off once the cooler temps return.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Letting Your Workout Ruin You Eating Habits

I hear this all the time – “I just ran five miles so I earned this donut!”  Well, if we constantly live this way - then we will derail any efforts put forth to become healthier, leaner, faster and stronger.  This mentality may also result in weight gain!  While we do need to eat more food as we work out or run, it needs to be high quality food.  We cannot view our workouts as calorie in/calorie out (I have discussed this in previous blog posts). 

The other side of this equation is the overweight runner.  Many people tell me that I am thin because I run.  This is not true – I lost the weight BEFORE I started running long distances.  Poor food choices will cause weight gain even if you are running or working out every day.  How many overweight marathoners do we all know?  These people put in a ton of miles and many of them do not lose a lot of weight.  I am not calling any one out here, I am just saying running or daily exercise doesn’t make you thin by itself.  Weight loss is found in the kitchen, not on the trail!

My view is this:  The training should remind us that we need to eat clean so we can do more, have less injury, and achieve our goals!  In 14 months I ran five marathons and a 50K Ultra. I was able to do this because my diet supported this level of training.  When you eat high quality foods, your body will reward you because you can do more!

It can be a slippery slope to run to eat.  We should view food as “eating to live!”  I am not saying we should never have a treat, but the daily thought pattern of rewarding yourself with bad food because you worked out is not sustainable.

Change your thinking and change your life!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top foods and ingredients to avoid:

Hydrogenated Oil / Trans Fats: This oil is very difficult for the body to digest and raises LDL (the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (the good cholesterol).  They are also active agents of heart disease, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and cellular deterioration. 
·        Common foods include: vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads and chips

Red Dye #40 & 3, Yellow Dye #5&#6: these have all shown significant links to cancer and thyroid issues.
·        Common foods include: candy, cereals, and frosting

Margarine – there is nothing healthy about margarine, it is made from highly refined oils and even hydrogenated oils.  You best bet is real butter or alternatives such as almond butter.
Hot Dogs and any other meats high in nitrates – these foods are highly processed and when these nitrates are broken down in the stomach they can have a very adverse effect on the body such as headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Artificial sweetener & HFC (high fructose corn syrup) – Splenda (sucralose), Sweet ’N Low (saccharin), Equal (Aspartame), Sweet One (Acesulfame) are all linked to increases in cancer and they still have the same effect on the body as sugar by raising the insulin levels in the blood stream.  HFC is a highly processed form of corn syrup and most commonly made from GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) which also have strong links to cancer.  If you want something sweet, stick with sugar, it is the least evil of all of these.  In the end, you will still gain weight using these sweeteners.
Microwave popcorn – this product is very popular however the chemicals used to make microwave popcorn are very dangerous to our health.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) – this chemical has been shown to be a neurotoxin and has very negative effects on the body, including migraines, cancers, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Benzoate – commonly found it bread, it is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to increase rates of cancer.
Olestra – a fat substitute that is a a synthesized chemical most commonly used in fat free ships.
Other resources:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Smoking & Cancer, Chronic Illness & Medicine

Our view of Healthcare today is so skewed that I really struggle when people can’t make the connection between food and chronic illness.  I love the analogy given by Dr. Joel Fuhrman – today’s healthcare could be compared to trying to find a cure for smoking vs telling people to quit smoking. 

When we continue to seek medication and surgeries to fix our problems then we will never know what it means to be healthy.  Our lives will be filled with pain, illness and medical bills. 

I know it was not that long ago that I did not care much about what I ate and it showed, but at the same time I was not sick (yet).  You would think sick people would be very interested in this advice but they really aren't.  I have tired many times to make small recommendations to those who are ill and they say everything I suggest is not what their Doctors tell them.  Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it is obvious they do not know either.

Whether you trust my advice or not, I challenge you do to this – do your own research, do not let Dr. Oz tell you every day how to live.  Discover for yourself what real food can do for you.  I challenge you to try it for 30 days and I think you will find that maybe I was right!

Change your food, change your life!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Funding Cancer and Gene Research

As I learn more about health and nutrition, and the impact it can have on our health, I’m questioning all the money spent on science and research.  I am not against finding cures and doing medical research, but I feel we are overlooking the most obvious and key component - which is “what is causing our bodies to break down?”  Food is medicine; our bodies regenerate most of our cells every 100 days.  How can we not believe that food plays a critical role in how our bodies respond to disease?

I see that a lot of money is being spent on finding the “fat” gene - really?  Come on!!  Mother Nature gave us the fat gene to help us survive.  Long before readily-available grocery stores, we went through periods of feast and famine.  Our bodies are designed to store fat to handle the times when there is a scarcity of food!  There is no need to find the fat gene, but there IS a need to educate our society.

We are too driven as Americans to have it all and not pay the consequences.  It really is not that difficult to eat real food; however our government, Big Food, health care companies, and retailers simply do not care.  They want the money!  And if they find a cure for obesity then they will cash in.  But what is the cost?  Do we keep eating the way we do and make ourselves sicker?  Do we keep spending millions and millions of dollars to figure out how to fix our ills, or would the money be better spent educating others how to eat a high-quality meal without all the side effects?

There is not enough money in the world to fix all the cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illness out there.  There truly is only one way to fix most of our health problems.  It has been proven time and time again, but this type of information is lost in the mass hysteria and our tendency not to take personal responsibility for our own actions.

I used to be the fat guy - the one looking for a quick fix.  But once I realized how simple things really are, I found that I enjoyed life a lot more.  My senses are at their peak, my energy level is high, I do not get sick, I look great, and I do not fear aging!  No amount of medicine can ever achieve that!

Live life to the fullest and take care of the one and only body God gave you!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nutritional Science is killing us!

Now I know what you are thinking - B.J. has gone off the rails and has eaten too much fruit!  But hang on and let me explain.  Today we live in a society of counting nutrients and calories.  We want to make sure we have this many vitamins, this many calories, this type of protein, this kind of fat, etc.  On the surface these seem reasonable, but here is where we lose sight.

Nutrients, by themselves, are almost meaningless.  If nutrients were the only thing that mattered, then we could take a few pills filled with nutrients and call it a day.  However, Mother Nature does not work that way.  Real, whole foods are complex - we are just beginning to understand how they work.  When we “fortify” food, or add in nutrients, we are losing the benefit of eating the food in its natural state.  We aren’t smart enough to trick Mother Nature.  We can’t strip a food down to its single nutrient and serve it up as meeting our daily recommendations.

What about all the nutrients we do not understand or know about yet?  How can we believe that taking a product like wheat, refining it, stripping it of all its nutrients and then trying to make it healthy again by adding in nutrients is a good thing?  The best example of this is children’s cereal.  At its core, cereal is made up of highly-processed flour and sugar, and is devoid of any nutrition.  It is a box of worthless flour and sugar, with chemicals added to make it bright and colorful.  Then “Big Food” adds in some “fake nutrients” and calls it healthy because it meets all the requirements for nutrition.

Really?  Do we truly believe that this stuff is healthy?  It does not end there. Most packaged foods are created the same way.  If you eat packaged foods from the pantry or freezer - then be aware that you are not giving your body the true nutrition it needs.  When this happens, your body will continue to crave more food until it finds what it needs.

The only way to give your body what it needs is to eat real, whole foods in as natural a state as possible.  The more it is cooked, processed, and altered - the less nutritious it is.

To make sure we are eating a well-balanced diet, we must eat a variety of foods, making sure there are plenty of colors – greens, yellows, reds, etc.  If you do this, then for the most part you will be eating a healthy diet.  You won’t have to worry about all the single nutrients that most people get caught worrying about.