Author: David Yochim

Stress and The Carb Addict

It should be common knowledge and come as no surprise that stress causes significant damage to our health and wellbeing. No matter how much we might try to avoid stress in our lives, it can weasle it’s way back in like a camel getting his nose under  the side of a tent. This small, seemingly innocuous act will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences down the line. If a camel is allowed to get its nose inside of a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering. Stress can be that camel if you allow it.

For many of us, we may never be able to completely eliminate our stress, but we can take action to make the effort to mitigate how much we allow it to affect us. Learning how to mitigate the effect of stress is even more critical to those of us who are “Carb Addicted”. Stress hormones raise our insulin levels which makes most people turn to food when they are experiencing stressful situations. Carb addicts appear to be particularly sensitive to this response which is why learning stress reduction techniques are so critical to their health and well being.

Of course, the ideal life would eliminate having stress altogether, but how realistic is that? Life would be just dandy if it was all puppy dogs and rainbows. The problem is, puppies mess on the floor and rainbows fade away. Being as we cannot eliminate all the sources of stress in our lives, it is important to deal with it without compromising other areas of our lives.

Recognize stress when you see and feel it!

Learn to recognize when and how your body is responding to stress. It is easy for many of us to have stress build up to dangerous levels before we even recognize what is happening. As one who suffers from PTSD, I almost always felt like a hot, over pressurized pressure cooker waiting to explode. I can feel as if I am about to burst apart at the seams. When this happens, we can find ourselves retreating from the situation, or escalating it further which can make us feel guilty, or angry later on, or maybe a bit of both emotions. This places us under even more stress which can lead those of us who are carb addicted to eating away our emotions.

If you can learn to recognize  your body’s early response to stress, you will enable yourself to have much more control over it.  When you learn to exercise control over your stress, you will avoid the insulin releasing power that results in stress eating an entire pizza and a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. You will find that it becomes easier to not reach for calorically dense, nutritionally poor foods full of simple sugars. To be honest though, you might be surprised at how much cutting added sugars completely out of your life can lower your stress. Carb addiction is little different than nicotine addiction in that your body craves that which is causing those stressful cravings in the first place.

Learn to trust in yourself!

Some keys I learned in my own therapy for my Post Traumatic Stress DIsorder is to become sensitive to my body’s stress response. Rather than accommodating, or pushing through negative thoughts and  feelings as they begin to build, we are better off when we learn to stop the process before it has fully bloomed. and focus on just what it is that is making us so uncomfortable. Is that tightness you are feeling in the back of your neck  coming from being tired, or is it stress from seemingly impossible demands being placed on your life? Do you feel sick to your stomach over unfinished business with family or friends?

Is there really a good reason to crave eating carb heavy foods?

Are you hungry, or just trying to make yourself feel better?

Nursing emotions with food only serves to make you more miserable over time, and we all know this whether we want to admit it or not.

Learn to take the time to listen and learn about your body. Think about your stressful events backwards; if you lose your cool, stomp out of a room, or even quietly retreat, attempt to recapture what you were thinking or feeling before the emotional build up. Think about those thoughts or feelings, write them down if necessary, but do not place a judgment on yourself. Remain neutral in your feelings, and consider how you might react differently next time this situation arises. Remember that sometimes our stress or anger is entirely justified, however, what truly matters is what we do with this anger.

Who does it help by letting it control us?

Taking the time to learn how to move past stress and anger is critical to our own well being. This is not impossible, but it will take effort on your part. You have to choose to take charge of your emotions instead of letting them dictate your day for you..

When you find yourself under stress, you have three choices to make; you can avoid escalation, limit the duration, or you can decide exactly how you are going to let it impact you.

Avoiding escalation can alleviate back and forth emotions that keep you stressed. Know that by avoiding escalation, it does not mean that you have to hold your feelings in, but you can choose to not engage in a useless mental battle, especially with another individual. Pick and choose your battles, decide if this hill is worth dying for or not. If you ever find yourself trying to wrestle a pig, you only find yourself getting dirty while the pig enjoys it.

By limiting the duration of a stressful experience, you are taking charge of the moment. There is victory in taking charge whether you are going to get your way or not. When you understand that real victory in any stressful moment involves taking care of your body and health, you can then find yourself being able to calmly and effectively free yourself from the situation at hand.

Learn to set firm boundaries with others when they might want to argue with you. You might find the other individual is completely caught up in their own emotions, but this does not mean you have to get caught up in your own too.  Stick to your guns and separate yourself until tempers have cooled on both sides. You make the choice whether you are going to remain engaged or not. You will find the more you do this for yourself, the easier it becomes.

Removing the impact of stress.

Removing the impact of stress might require removing yourself physically or mentally from a situation. Sometimes this is difficult if not impossible altogether, but there are methods to remove the impact of stress on our body and mind. For some people a hot bath or shower might be enough, but for many of us, we can find relief through vigorous exercise which is just as important for our minds as it is for our hearts. Regular exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It’s a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. If athletes and patients can derive psychological benefits from exercise, so can you.

The vast mental benefits of regular, vigorous exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts — or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over.

Behavioral factors also contribute to the emotional benefits of exercise. As your waistline shrinks and your strength and stamina increase, your self-image will improve. You’ll earn a sense of mastery and control, of pride and self-confidence. Your renewed vigor and energy will help you succeed in many tasks, and the discipline of regular exercise will also help you achieve other important lifestyle goals.

If you fail to plan for your own de-stressing choices, your body will eventually push you into less productive alternatives.

Treat yourself as your own honored guest.

Take the time and energy to treat yourself well and you will find that your body will display the positive results!

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Bathroom Scales: Friend, Foe or Both?

Of course, if one is interested in losing, maintaining, or even gaining weight, bathroom scales are pretty much a must have item. Without scales, we have no way to measure our success, nor do we have a good method of knowing when we need to adjust our nutrition when the weight is not coming down as we hope. But, the scale can also be one of the worse items you can have for monitoring your weight. One of the hugest mistakes you can make when losing weight is to have an erratic approach to weighing yourself. Some dieters lose their blooming minds by jumping onto their scales as often as they open the door to their refrigerator. They will weigh themselves multiple times a day, not out of any kind of rational thought, but more out of a fear that they might once again fail themselves in their weight loss endeavor. Many people will weigh themselves after every time they go to the bathroom to see if they lost any weight. Many will weigh after each meal in order to see if they gained. None of this constant weighing will give you any tangible information that will help you over the long haul. All that constant weighing will accomplish is to drive you mad, it will add to your stress, which will once again lead you to the refrigerator or pantry.

What I advise, and what I do for myself is to only weigh one time per week at the very most. I get up on Saturday morning and step up on my scale one time and see what it reads and then step off. No matter what the scale reads, I do not get back onto it. I note the number and move on with my day. I do not react to the numbers unless I see a trend of it either rising or going lower over the course of about four to six weeks. One high reading is nothing, one high reading can simply be a result of water retention because something I ate had a little higher sodium content than what I normally consume.

Are you aware of how much your body weight can fluctuate just by water retention?

I have seen my own weight fluctuate by as much as nine pounds in a single day.

When you weigh yourself too often to judge your success or failure with weight loss, you are setting yourself up for aggravation or a false sense of success. You might experience critical self judgement based on a momentary reading, or, you might believe you can cheat a little because you have done so well for the week.  If you begin having self doubt over a temporary gain, or begin creating a reason to reward for a significant loss, you are only setting yourself up for failure. It is the trends that matter, not single readings.

Skip the scale ballet!

If you are the type who weighs too often, you have likely done what I call the “scale ballet”. The “scale ballet” is where you try to coax your scale into giving you the best reading when you step onto it. You might try stepping onto it very gingerly, you might try balancing your self fore or aft to manipulate the reading, you might even try keeping some of your body weight off of one foot as if this is going to help bring the weight down. Given that bathroom scales can be off in their accuracy, you are only hurting yourself by doing the “scale ballet”. Here are a couple of considerations if you are prone to doing this:

By trying to cheat the scale, you are only cheating yourself.

If your scales can be manipulated by how you stand on them, you need to chuck them in the trash and buy good scales that are accurate.

Stay Focused on being SMART!

Set yourself a “Specific” weight loss goal that focuses more on your level of body fat as a percentage of your weight rather than on a random number you would like to see on the scale.

Make tracking towards your goal “Measurable” in more than one way. Of course you want to see the number on the scale go down, but pay more attention to how you look and how your clothing fits. Your percentage of body fat matters far more than the number on the scale.

Make your long term goal “Achievable” by setting yourself many short term goals in order to get there. If you need to lose one hundred pounds, you need to only focus on ten pounds at a time. But, at some point your focus will need to shift to your overall body fat rather than your actual weight.

Make your goal be “Realistic”. Focus on being the best that you can possibly be rather than trying to be like someone you saw in a movie or on Instagram. It serves no good purpose to set yourself up with an unachievable goal. When you are not realistic, you are only setting yourself up for a miserable failure, you will crash and burn every time.

Make an effort to be “Timely” in achieving your goal. No, I am not saying to rush yourself, but you should set yourself up with a reasonable timeline to get to your goal. We recommend you set a goal of one pound per week for weight loss. This is realistic and very doable. But remember, single readings on the scale should not be the reason for making drastic changes to your nutrition and exercise.  It is long term trends that matter, not single scale readings.

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Garden of Life, Organic Fit, High Protein Weight Loss Bar Review

I was picking up some creatine the other day and spotted these bars just above the protein powders. I had not seen them before so decided I had to give them a try and then do a review on them.

I liked the taste. I thought the flavor was quite similar to that of semi-sweet chocolate chips. The chocolate is not overly sweet and has a slight bitterness to it much like good dark chocolates. There was no underlying flavor of artificial sweeteners like you can find with many protein bars on the market.

I liked the texture too. The texture was chewy, almost  brownie like. So far, so good. I would like to try other flavors going forward.

Nutrition:

Coming in at 200 calories per serving with 14 grams protein, 13 net grams of carbs with 14 grams of protein and zero added sugar is good. The nutrition gets better in that these bars also provide Vitamin D, Iron, Riboflavin, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium.  They make for a nutritionally sound snack item.

Ingredients:

Good Lord, look at all the ingredients. I normally steer clear of anything with so many. However, there is nothing bad in this list. I like that these bars have taste almost decadent and indulgent, while providing low glycemic, high protein support as part of your daily nutrition. What I’m not crazy about is their claim of being a weight loss bar. They contain 13-14g of organic prebiotic fiber to help you feel fuller longer which is good. But, you might experience a little bowel trouble if you eat more than one in a day while not drinking enough water. Excess fiber intake can cause constipation or diarrhea for many people. Think of fiber as bulk that attracts water in the GI tract. If you don’t consume enough water, dehydration of the GI tract can occur. This can lead to hardening and difficulty passing the stools. The average male adult should take in about 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day and for women the recommendation is 21 to 25 grams. So, if you eat more than one of these bars in a day along with other fiber rich foods, you could very well find yourself having bowel issues that nobody ever wants.

This product contains Svetol, or green coffee extract which has been touted as being good for losing weight. Here is what Healthline.com has to say:

There haven’t been a lot of studies on chlorogenic acids and their effectiveness as weight loss supplements. A review of human studies did show that green coffee extract may have the potential to help with weight loss. But the documented effects on weight loss were small, and the studies weren’t long term. The studies were also poorly designed. So, there isn’t enough evidence to say that the supplements are effective or safe. More research is needed.

This product also contains ashwagandha, 150mg of which is alleged to help you feel fuller longer.  What in the world is this ingredient?

Ayurvedic medicine uses herbs, special diets, and other natural practices as treatment for a variety of conditions. In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana. That means it’s an herb that helps maintain youth, both mentally and physically.

Historically, the roots of ashwagandha have been used to treat:

  • arthritis
  • constipation
  • insomnia
  • skin conditions
  • stress
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • diabetes
  • nervous breakdowns
  • fevers
  • snake bites
  • memory loss

The leaves, seeds, and even fruit have all been used in different ways for various treatments. Today, ashwagandha is sold as a supplement in the United States. It’s still used to treat many of the conditions listed above. It also continues to be important in Indian medicine.

Ashwagandha may be used in powdered form in dosages ranging from 450 milligrams to 2 grams. So, with only 150 mg being in a bar, it seems there may be too little of it to have any of the benefits alleged to the use of it. Ashwagandha and Ayurvedic medicine still remain somewhat of a mystery to modern science. Many of the studies so far have been too small, done only on animals, or had some flaws in their design. For this reason, researchers can’t say with certainty that it’s an effective treatment.

The bottom line is, these bars are nutritionally sound and taste pretty good if you like semi sweet to dark chocolate. However, they should only be a part of a diet that is carefully managed by tracking your intake of calories and macronutrients. This is true of all protein bars and protein supplements though. My concern is there are people out there who will see “Weight Loss Bar” and just assume these will help them to lose weight without making other changes. I know this sounds ridiculous to some of you reading this, but rest assured, there are people who think like this. We have encountered more than a few over the last couple years of running this website. Sometimes people who are desperate to lose weight, only think emotionally instead of pragmatically. I hate that there are products which are marketed as weight loss products that actually do little to nothing for weight loss. The “Snake Oil” salesmen of years past are still here, they just do not travel in wagons any longer. Now, they get their message out to the masses of gullible customers through instore and internet marketing.

As with any other food source, you have to use common sense when consuming them. Never just read a label and assume the product will work as advertised. Have an inquisitive mind, your health and welfare depend on it.

Power Fit Elite, Are They Kidding Us?

Maybe I can sell off my home gym equipment!

So many variables! Keep up that muscle confusion!

But, my workouts have been hard…

Do I need any more convincing this works?

Are they for real?

Always READ the SMALL PRINT!

Does your head hurt yet?

Do you feel as if your IQ dropped significantly after seeing this information?

I first became aware of the this dumb contraption over the weekend when I noticed there was an hour long infomercial advertising it on my television. The stupid runs strong and deep with this product on many levels! The Power Fit  Elite is a new brand of vibration plate fitness equipment which claims that people will be able to lose weight with just ten minutes of use, three times a week which is far below the American Heart Association’s recommended minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week. The claim is the vibration technology combines “unique oscillating movements and vibrations in order to target and work hard to reach areas like your butt, thighs, and belly”.

Here is the rub:

When used in conjunction with good diet and exercise, their website promises that people will see weight loss results faster than they would with traditional exercise.

If you think this contraption will work for any physical fitness benefit or weight loss, you are seriously being mislead, and quite possibly, very gullible. This is a fad/gimmick just like the old machines with the oscillating belts that shook your entire body.  There are no shortcuts to achieving a fit and trim body. If you want to lose weight and improve fitness, you must adopt a healthy diet and include physical activity in your daily routine. It is foolish to believe you can do otherwise.  This contraption is not going to help you get a bathing suit body you can be proud of, and you need to know whole body vibration can be harmful in some situations. You had better check with your doctor before using it, especially if you’re pregnant or have any health problems.

You may see similar machines appearing in your gyms. They might tell you that by performing calisthenic exercises such as squats, crunches and pushups while sitting or standing on a vibration machine, might substantially increase the weight-loss potential of your activity. But here is what you need to know:

  • Commercial gyms are in the business of making money more than they care about getting you fit. These gyms make money by selling as many contracts as they can – each extra member is pure profit as nothing more has to be provided.
  • Vigorous exercise can be tough and it can get boring. Therefore commercial gym owners have found that it works best to bring in new fangled equipment in order to keep new members coming in. Most people who sign contracts at the beginning of the year with a gym, do not remain committed to their fitness, and the gym owners know this.

There are no shortcuts to getting fit and trim, nor are there any magic potions to get you there. It takes consistent, repeated effort, day after day, year after year. The more often you do it (eat clean and exercise), the more habitual it becomes — but always, it takes effort. If you want a fit and trim body, you have to adopt the lifestyle lived by fit and trim people! Those in the know, are not doing their exercises on a damn vibrating plate.

Those vibrations are not going to negate the sweet treats and other bad foods in your diet.

Healthy eating and an exercise routine needs to become as much a part of your daily life as work, grocery shopping, or doing laundry. You must stop coming up with excuses and accept exercise as a normal, daily part of life, whether you feel like it doing it or not.

Getting fit and trim is not just about appearances, it is about being as healthy as you can be. A vibration plate is not going to get you healthy in any way. These contraptions are marketed to people who are not committed to being healthy. They are marketed to people who will not commit. The people behind the Power Fit Elite tell you that all you have to do is use it ten minutes per day for three days a week. Is thirty minutes of your time truly a commitment?

Let’s not kid anyone, we know thirty minutes is not being committed.

The Power Fit Elite is a total waste of money.

If you have money to just throw away, you can throw some my way.

Look, if you are going to buy a worthless piece of home gym equipment that will soon only serve to collect dust. Then by all means, at least get yourself something you can hang laundry from as a constant reminder that as your clothing keeps increasing in size, there is something you can do about it.

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bar Review

From Quest’s website:

No other protein bar tastes like sneaking a spoonful of cookie dough straight from the bowl – that’s why Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is one of our best-selling flavors.

I first heard about Quest brand protein bars on a prominent weight loss social media forum that I follow. Folks were excitedly raving about how good these sweet treats were for satisfying their sweet tooth while not being loaded down with sugar, yet full of healthy protein and fiber. I just had to try a few of the flavors for myself, especially when I heard how good the chocolate chip cookie dough protein bars can be when heated briefly in the microwave.

Looking at the nutritional values, these bars seemed to be quite promising, especially given all the hype I have seen in regards to them. And I have to admit, that I have always loved chocolate chip cookie dough. Hell, who doesn’t?

The bar looked quite appetizing when I opened the package. It actually did resemble cookie dough. When I took the first bite, the taste was not so bad, in fact, despite being a bit too sweet, it was indeed pleasant. The chewy texture was good too. As I took my second bite, the taste became sweeter, and then even sweeter with the remaining bites until I came to a conclusion of what I thought about these bars;

If your mother or grandmother ever makes chocolate chip cookie dough that tastes like this, then do all a favor and break their mixing bowl and spoon. Close their kitchen!

I tried to like this product. In fairness, I had a second bar which I did heat in the microwave which only served to make that sickening sweet taste even worse. That gross sweetness overpowers everything about this protein bar, it is all you can taste after a couple bites. It is almost a sweet chemical flavor that completely ruins the bars. I have sampled other flavors such as cinnamon roll, cookies and cream, and blueberry muffin. It is the same experience with each I have tried. The initial taste and texture were good upon the first bite, and then it all goes down hill with each subsequent bite. Every flavor I tried all ended up tasting the same as the other. Just a sickening, artificial chemical like taste.

Nutritionally, this product is sound enough if you do not care about the taste. Even though I thought they were nasty, you might enjoy them. It appears that many people do. I believe the worse part of the taste comes from the stevia since it can leave a bad aftertaste for some people. Not all are susceptible to the taste, but apparently, I am susceptible. I was hoping to enjoy these bars, instead I found that I cannot recommend them to anyone…

No Hill For a Climber, The Journey Continues

Monday, May 4th, after four long months, Loraine’s battle against breast cancer is finally going into its next phase. With all that has transpired since her double mastectomy it seems like an eternity has passed. Hopefully we can put most all of this behind us once she has completed her course of radiation treatments. Of course, there will be regular monitoring for a recurrence over the next five years.

What are radiation treatments, and how do they help?

I find it amazing that a source of cancer for many is also a treatment protocol to kill cancer for others. Whoever came up with this concept was certainly thinking outside the box. Radiation therapy for breast cancer uses high-energy X-rays, protons or other particles to kill cancer cells. Rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation therapy than are normal cells.

Beside killing cancer cells, radiation is also utilized post surgery to help prevent recurrence. It can also be used to provide relief from pain and other symptoms of advanced breast cancer

Radiation therapy for breast cancer may be delivered in two ways:

  • External radiation. A machine delivers radiation from outside your body to the breast. This is the most common type of radiation therapy used for breast cancer.
  • Internal radiation (brachytherapy). After you have surgery to remove the tumor, your doctor temporarily places a radiation-delivery device in your breast near the tumor site. He or she then places a radioactive source into the device for short periods of time over the course of your treatment.

You need to know going into this battle that removal of the entire breast is usually not enough in itself to rid you of breast cancer. A mastectomy does not eliminate your risk of having a recurrence in the remaining tissues of the chest wall or lymph nodes. Therefore you need to be prepared for these treatments. Unless chemotherapy is planned, radiation therapy usually begins three to eight weeks after surgery . However, if chemotherapy is planned, radiation usually starts three to four weeks after chemotherapy is finished.  Loraine’s course of treatments will include one radiation treatment a day, five days a week over a span of six weeks. Spreading out the sessions helps healthy cells recover from radiation exposure while cancer cells die.

Will there be any side effects from the radiation?

Of course there can be side effects, we are talking about radiation right? Loraine was instructed to have an aloe vera gel to apply to her skin with the first treatment to mitigate the effects of burning of the skin, which would be similar to getting  a sunburn.

Side effects from radiation therapy will differ significantly depending on the type of treatment and which tissues are treated.  We are told, side effects tend to be most pronounced toward the end of the course of treatments. Once her treatments are complete, it could be several days or weeks before side effects clear up. I sure hope she does not experience prolonged effects, life has been hell already in battling the  staph infection that caused the four month delay in getting here.

Common side effects during treatment may include:

  • Mild to moderate fatigue
  • Skin irritation — such as itchiness, redness, peeling or blistering — similar to what you might experience with a sunburn
  • Breast swelling
  • Changes in skin sensation

Depending on which tissues are exposed, radiation therapy may cause or increase the risk of:

  • Arm swelling (lymphedema) if the lymph nodes under the arm are treated
  • Damage or complications leading to removal of an implant in women who have a mastectomy and undergo breast reconstruction with an implant
  • Rib fracture or chest wall tenderness, rarely
  • Inflamed lung tissue or heart damage, rarely
  • Secondary cancers, such as bone or muscle cancers (sarcomas) or lung cancer, very rarely

Why has it taken so long to begin Loraine’s radiation treatments?

Before Loraine was healed from her double mastectomy, she had a very bad and deep staph infection settle in where her left breast had been. After three months of intensive treatments and thousands of dollars in additional medical bills later, we have finally whipped it with antibiotics and daily cleaning and dressing, and weekly doctor appointments at Saint Luke’s hospital’s wound care center. The wound from this infection was quite ghastly to say the least, and seeing it at it’s worse was not for the faint of heart. But, we got through this. To add insult to injury though, is Loraine’s physical therapy was put on an indefinite hold because of how serious the infection was. And then came the COVID-19 virus and the physical therapy center was shut down…

Post mastectomy physical therapy aids in the overall recovery process by focusing on regaining strength and increasing the range of motion for the shoulder and arm. Early intervention by a physical therapist can help women regain full function following mastectomy surgery, regardless of whether or not a woman has had reconstruction.  Because this rehabilitation therapy is a specialized protocol, it gets tailored to each patient’s specific needs.

Although I have a strong  working knowledge of physiology for strength training, I have no expertise in what is required, or good, for post mastectomy therapy. Size, location and the type of mastectomy are important considerations when choosing the type of therapy. Exercises to maintain shoulder range of motion and arm mobility are important in restoring strength and promoting good circulation. This is far beyond my scope of experience and I would be worried of either causing more harm, or just causing unnecessary pain with little to no positive results for her. Our bodies are meant to be in alignment.  When we live and move in non-optimal alignment, serious orthopedic injuries can occur.  Breast cancer survivors can often develop painful neck and shoulder impingement.  Physical therapy involves myofascial release which is a type of medical massage.  Focus is placed on gently releasing tension along thickenings of fascia and scar tissue.  Releasing this tension restores posture and alignment.  It also relieves knots and painful areas in all parts of the body. Loraine has been suffering quite a bit of pain as a result of not being able to get in for this necessary therapy.

If you’re being treated for breast cancer, it’s important to find a licensed massage therapist who has experience with breast cancer patients. Since many cancer centers are connected with programs offering massage therapy, ask your doctor for recommendations. If you are not trained in this, leave it to the experts.

  • If you have had lymph nodes removed, the massage therapist should only use very light touch on your affected arm and the area around the underarm.
  • If you have arm lymphedema, the massage therapist should avoid the affected arm and underarm areas completely. Traditional massage therapy can worsen lymphedema. A massage therapist who has experience with breast cancer patients may already know this, but it’s important to make sure he or she understands.
  • If you have arm lymphedema, your arm and underarm area should be treated by a different kind of massage especially for lymphedema, called manual lymphatic drainage. Look for a physical, occupational, or massage therapist trained and certified in manual lymph drainage to treat your lymphedema.

Breast cancer sure throws you into a huge learning curve to say the least. There is so much we have learned, yet I wish we never had to in the first place. We knew that a double mastectomy would be painful, but we were not prepared for the pain which has come afterward. Loraine has been diligent in keeping up with her exercises the physical therapist has given her, but the  other therapy components which she has not been able to get to has lead to great suffering on her part. Loraine is a very tough woman who never complains about her aches and pains. It is heartbreaking at night to awaken to hear her crying in her sleep because of the pain she experiences as a result of not getting the myofascial release therapies. Usually after a surgery, pain subsides with time. In her case, the pain has become worse. She called me on the road the other morning in tears because it was hurting her so badly. I never felt so helpless in my life in not being able to bring her any comfort. Even if I had been home, I could not have made it better. Hopefully, now that she has healed, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have the curve flattening, maybe we can get back to the business of getting her better. Thank you to all who have kept us in your prayers and positive thoughts.

God bless and thank you for reading.

PBfit Peanut Butter Powder Review

The first time I ever heard of powdered peanut butter, I could not help but to wonder just what in sacreligious, voodoo kind of malarkey could this possibly be. I have always been a peanut butter purist, my favorite being Smucker’s Natural Creamy that is only made with two ingredients — peanuts and a dash of salt. Before I quit consuming sugar, I was also partial to Jiff, Skippy and Peter Pan. I have loved peanut butter my entire life, and could not believe anyone thought a powdered peanut butter you mix with water could ever be a good idea.

I was wrong…

Powdered peanut butter is a great product, despite not being all that good in my opinion for a sandwich. It is more a texture thing for me than anything, since the flavor is still pretty good. I love adding it to oatmeal and protein shakes. I also find it to be wonderful on apple slices

I normally buy Walmart’s brand of powdered peanut butter as it is the best value for the price, and I can tell no difference in the flavor between theirs and others I have tried such as PB2 and Kroger’s Simple Truth. Saturday when I was grocery shopping my store had neither the Simple Truth or PB2 brands, but they did have PBfit on the shelf which I had never seen there before. Since I did not feel like driving over to Walmart just for powdered peanut butter, I bought the PBfit without even looking at the nutrition and ingredients label.

I never buy a new product without first looking at the label carefully.

I made the assumption that PBfit would be just like the other products I have used.

I know better than to just make assumptions!

I like to mix a little Splenda and Saigon Cinnamon into my powdered peanut butter and then spread it on an Ole Extreme Wellness, high fiber tortilla as a delicious and healthy snack. Since I had never tried PBfit, I decided to forego the Splenda and cinnamon in order to get a good taste of this product as it comes from the jar.

My first impression was it actually tasted better than the others.

It had a sweetness to it. That sweetness was a huge red flag that I had better check the nutrition and ingredient label. To my dismay, this product contains coconut palm sugar.

I am carb addicted, Type 2 diabetes runs strong on both sides of my family. When I was heavier, I was told by my doctor that I was prediabetic. Thank God, being prediabetic can be turned completely around through good nutrition and exercise. As a rule, I do not eat anything that contains added sugars, for any reason, ever…

The other brands of powdered peanut butter I have used only provided 50 calories per two tablespoon serving. If I had read the label and saw that PBfit provided 70 calories for a two tablespoon serving, I would have been going straight to the ingredient list, but I didn’t this time.

You might be thinking that 70 calories is not bad, and the sugar content is minimal.

You might also notice that at 5 grams total carbs, minus 3 grams of fiber for a net total of 2 grams of carbohydrates is actually pretty good. You would be correct!

 You would be correct also in that coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index (35) than white sugar (60 to 65), meaning it doesn’t spike your blood glucose and insulin like table sugar does. Regular table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup don’t contain any vital nutrients and therefore supply “empty” calories. Coconut sugar does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm such as the minerals iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, along with some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants along with a fiber called inulin. But, it is still very high in calories (same as regular sugar) and you’d have to eat a ridiculous amount of it to satisfy your need for the those particular nutrients. It should not take being a doctor or rocket scientist to understand that added sugar is unhealthy because of how it causes a significant rise in blood sugar levels. Added sugars are calorie dense and nutrient poor,  it provides virtually no vitamins or minerals.

Table sugar has a high fructose content. Within your body, only your liver cells break down fructose. What happens to fructose inside liver cells is complicated. One of the end products is triglyceride, a form of fat. Uric acid and free radicals are also formed. None of this is good. Triglycerides can build up in liver cells and damage liver function. Triglycerides released into the bloodstream can contribute to the growth of fat-filled plaque inside artery walls. Despite claims that coconut sugar is effectively fructose-free, it’s made of 70–80% sucrose, which is half fructose. For this reason, coconut sugar supplies almost the same amount of fructose as regular sugar, gram for gram.  Over time and when consumed in excess, added sugars may cause all sorts of problems like metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We can look around and see people with these issues everywhere we turn in this modern world. Just think of the percentage of people you know who have weight issues or are outright obese compared to those who are fit and trim. In western society, 68% of our population have weight issues and it is not getting any better.

You may or may not care about the sugar content in this or any other product. Maybe sugar has not had a negative effect on your body. However, for those of us who are carb addicted it is not good to make exceptions and consume any of it. Each individual has a different threshold for how much sugar and simple carbs they can consume without it causing ravenous cravings later. But for some of us, our threshold can be quite low. I am one of these people with a low threshold. For me to make an exception to consume sugar is no different that when an alcoholic makes an exception to drink a beer. Each time we make exceptions, it just becomes easier and easier to continue making exceptions in the future.

Because of the sugar, I am going to chuck the rest of this new jar of PBfit into the trash. However, they do have a sugar free version sweetened with monk fruit that I will be trying should I ever see it in my grocery store. Until then, I will stick to my other brands.

No Cow Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bar Review

I thought I was done having to leave the house this afternoon when my better half asked me to pick up her prescriptions at the drugstore for her. Being the wonderful, loving, best husband ever, that I am, I ventured back out for her. As luck would have it, the protein and supplement aisle leads me straight to the pharmacy in the back. Like a kid browsing excitedly in the toy aisle, I get the same over nutritional supplements. I like to try protein bars to see what my future competitors are putting out to market since I have a few recipes I have perfected and plan to get to market too once I find a commercial bakery that is reasonable enough.

When I read a label and it says Chocolate Fudge Brownie, I expect the product to at least bear some semblance to a brownie. The bar looked appetizing enough before I bit into it, but the texture was nothing close to being brownie like. All I could think was it seemed as if someone had moistened some powdered whey protein enough for it to bind and then pressed it into a bar. It was dense enough to not be powdery, but not by a very large margin. However, the flavor was not bad. It was chocolaty, and had bits of almond in it. This redeemed it enough that I would eat one again to be polite if someone gave it to me, but I am not going to buy another one anytime soon. The texture might not be an issue to many of you, but I just found it to be a little weird for my palate.

Ingredients:

Protein blend (brown rice protein, pea protein), soluble corn fiber, glycerine, cocoa nibs, palm oil, almonds, cocoa powder, natural flavors, salt, water, cocoa butter, sweetener blend ( erythritol, stevia leaf, monk fruit)

Although these protein bars have a funky texture, they are nutritionally sound enough and do not taste horrible. Word of caution though, these bars contain 15 grams of fiber and could cause the same effect as Citrucel or any other fiber supplement to help you with your bowel movements. Just something to consider…

 

 

Sweet Earth POGO Review

This product caught my eye today when strolling down the freezer aisle of my grocery store. Chai, Cocoa & Pumpkin Seed Wrap sounded good, and the fact it has 13 grams of protein and 0 grams of added sugar made the purchase an easy choice for me. I am always looking for good protein bars that taste good while not being a glorified candy bar as many of them are. There is nothing about this product that resembles candy.

This product can be eaten thawed, heated in a microwave, or toasted in a toaster oven. I heated mine in the microwave, but plan to toast them in the future should I buy it again. (I probably will)

At first bite, I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for a chocolate taste being as cocoa is listed on the front of the label. I could not detect any at all, but that was not a deal killer for me. I found the texture to be somewhere between that of bread and cake. I was hoping for a little chewiness, but again, this was no where near reason enough for me to not enjoy it. I enjoyed the texture and the delicious flavor was a perfect blend of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Wheat flour is the main ingredient, but the bar did not have a wheat flavor to it at all.

If you are gluten sensitive, you need to be aware of the wheat and also the added wheat gluten.

These bars are a little higher in carbs than I would typically eat in a snack. Yet, at 4 grams of fiber per serving and 13 grams of protein, I would not mind having one in my lunch box every so often when I am out on the road in my semi.

I’m anxious to try some more of Sweet Earth’s POGO products, but have one word of caution to those who do not consume added sugar — some of them do have added sugar. As with any food that is new to you, be sure to read the nutrition and ingredient labels before making your purchase.

 

Know Your Carbs

I sometimes find it simply incredulous that in this modern world, where all the information known to mankind can be found right in the phone in our hand, there is so little knowledge of basic nutrition. Don’t believe me? Then check out any of the big weight loss forums such as Weight Watchers Connect, My Fitness Pal or Spark People to name just a few. Many people have little to no idea what makes them fat, nor can they figure out how to lose it. We see evidence of this here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness too when we receive private emails from our readers wanting specific advice to help them lose weight. We encounter people almost daily who have no understanding of macronutrients and the role they play in our bodies. It is not uncommon for the question to arise regarding just what is the difference between sugar, simple and complex carbohydrates. It gives me a laugh when I have people tell me that my methodology is too restrictive because I advise to not eat sugar and simple carbs, only for them to tell me they are just going to do “My Keto:.

This in itself tells me they have little understanding of nutrition. And, what in the world is the difference between “My Keto” and just doing Keto anyway…

What are carbohydrates?  

Carbohydrates are forms of sugars, fibers, and starches. They can be found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods—bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie.  Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.

The healthiest sources are complex carbohydrates which come from unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates, or simple carbs, include added sugars, white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods.  These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Simple Carbs are simplistic nutrition!

Simple carbs are sugars. While some of these occur naturally in milk, most of the simple carbs in the American diet are added to foods.

Common simple carbs added to foods include:

raw sugar

brown sugar

corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup

glucose, fructose, and sucrose

fruit juice concentrate

When metabolized, carbohydrates get broken down and turn into sugar. The hormone insulin gets produced by the pancreas and takes sugar from the blood to the cells to use for energy. Because simple or refined carbohydrates, such as white breads and sweets, have little to no fiber content, they are broken down more quickly, creating a faster blood sugar surge and placing more demand on the pancreas. When you have diabetes, either your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or the insulin it is making isn’t being used efficiently. Over time, excess stress on the pancreas can cause it to burn out, making it difficult to keep up with the glucose load, resulting in high blood sugars. Having too much sugar in the blood for long periods of time can cause serious health problems if it’s not treated. Hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems. For these reasons along with the addictive nature of simple carbohydrates, we recommend not consuming them at all. I can guarantee when you get completely off of sugar and simple carbs, you will find that you feel much better and that weight loss comes easy.

Complex Carbohydrates are smart nutrition.

Complex carbs pack in far more nutrients than simple carbs. They’re higher in fiber and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling, which means they’re a good option for weight control. In limited quantities, they are also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because the fiber component helps manage blood sugar spikes after meals. Fiber and starch are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol.

The main sources of dietary fiber include:

fruits

vegetables

nuts

beans

whole grains

For better blood sugar control its best to choose more complex carbohydrates, rich in fiber such as whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, etc. These types of carbohydrates produce a slower glucose rise. In addition, these types of foods are also more nutrient and fiber-rich, making them better choices for weight loss and overall health.

Do not assume you can pig out on complex carbs just because they are healthier than simple carbs!

While  complex carbohydrates are certainly healthier than simple carbs, you cannot eat an endless amount without negatively impacting your blood sugars. The quantity of carbohydrates is just as important as which carbohydrates you choose to eat. Healthy carbohydrate foods are not free foods as Weight Watchers would have their followers believe. All carbohydrates count in your overall nutrition and calorie consumption. For example, oatmeal is a complex, high fiber carbohydrate, but it is still a carbohydrate that will raise blood sugar. Therefore, it’s important to portion control how much you eat. The amount of carbohydrates you should eat per meal varies from person to person and is determined by a variety of factors such as gender, calorie needs, weight, blood sugar control, and activity level. For most people following a consistent carbohydrate meal plan, they are able to eat about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and obtain good blood sugar control. If you consume more carbohydrates than your body requires, you will find that your odds of experiencing future health problems will increase.

Besides type 2 diabetes and weight gain, long-term complications include:

heart attack or stroke

damage to the eye and loss of vision

kidney disease or failure

nerve problems in the skin, especially the feet, leading to sores, infections, and wound healing problems