Model You

There is an alarming trend nowadays to strive for a social media declared “perfection” at any price. I was slowly becoming aware of this disturbing trend when I opened up Instagram one day and a top fitness model was advocating having a rib removed to lengthen the waist. I nearly died. Folks, bone surgery is a serious matter. Your red blood cells and platelets are made in your bones so if you get an infection in your bones, it can spread quickly. Other lymphocytes begin life here and go to the lymphatic system to finish formation. Having a bone randomly removed to achieve an artificial standard of beauty is a dangerous gamble.

I well remember more than one trend in “beauty” for women. As a young child I was encouraged to pattern myself after the busty models of Hollywood at the time. Their measurements were about as realistic as the original Barbie. Silicon breast implants were a thing then and they were usually mounted on a woman with an otherwise small frame, the waist measurement sometimes touted as being as small as 17 inches. Soon after this came the super-thin, anorexic high fashion model who looked as if her photo shoot had to have been done in ICU. Then there was a backlash and everybody got fat. The problem was, not too long after THAT…came the Britney Spears britches hanging on by a thread with a fully exposed midriff and those midriffs usually didn’t look like Britney’s. Walmart was a sight during that time! Then there was another backlash and everybody got fat again…

Oh, God, let’s not forget the “thigh gap”. There is no time and no place where food is available that the thigh gap is occurring naturally. Who decided that this was attractive? Personally, I don’t really believe it was most men. I have it on good authority that this is not something that they desire in a woman. And now we’re in the butt era which is actually a pretty good measure of fitness when that butt is natural, but when it’s inflated with artificial fillers at a block party, sometimes people die.

This artificially induced standard also affects men. There is “Stature Lengthening” surgery that is pretty horrific. A special type of “nail” is inserted in the bones of the limbs after the bone is “separated” and periodically the nail is adjusted to lengthen the bone. This process takes one to two years, and one of the Centers that performs it warns on their website that it may result in chronic pain and disability. There are practical applications for this process but it appears to have gone rogue in some practices and is being considered an elective, cosmetic procedure. I cannot even imagine how bad this could get.

I have an article that I saved to my phone home screen that I show young men occasionally. It is the story of how one body building champion preps for a photo shoot. This young man ingested 5 doses of a diuretic within 18 hours, along with 3 gallons of water to make his muscles appear more cut. The nurse in me was just horrified. It’s a wonder he didn’t die.

While we never intend to give license to be mediocre, the pursuit of an unhealthy standard of attractiveness is one of the most detrimental things that you can do for your physical and mental health. We are bombarded with artificial images of professional models who will literally do anything to make money in a cutthroat business where the standard has become a plastic fantasy. Because their livelihoods depend on creating this illusion, a bit of photo altering is also considered acceptable. If one does it, they all have to do it to remain competitive. One night I saw another top model who had not properly positioned her photographer to video her workout and her cellulite was on full display. That video didn’t stay up very long.

Did you know that one of the most beautiful models on IG is a doll? Seriously, a plastic doll. Try to imitate that.

At David’s Way we promote a totally achievable goal. Be the best that you can be. It’s that simple. It’s not easy because to be the best that you can be takes a lot of hard work. It takes time and patience and tons of commitment. It takes walking away when everyone else is indulging in unhealthy habits and foods. It takes going to sleep instead of going to the party. It takes study and a commitment to excellence. While this is not an easy path to walk, it is fulfilling. We were intended to be amazing creatures with amazing bodies and capabilities. Anything less is simply not living up to our potential.

Being the best that you can be will create an attractive, sexy, natural, healthy body that will stand the test of time. The “get gorgeous fast” route won’t that. Quite often these Frankensteinian procedures go wrong and people wind up looking like they were in a terrible accident and could not be fixed. There are enough true tragedies that can befall human beings that it is obscene to inflict some of these insults on an otherwise healthy body.

One of the reasons that people do this stuff is the same reason that they buy into fad diets. They believe it to be easier than making a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. While some of the initial procedures may be quick, the recovery time and the after effects of a procedure gone wrong are not. You may spend years trying to correct a botched procedure and lose most of your money and health in the process. There is no shortcut to healthy. You must create it. The artificial images that we are bombarded with appear to be healthy but remember, most of what you see is an illusion created to make that person a celebrity. Do you really believe that a body that has been riddled by chemical insult and random, elective surgeries is healthy? That body is in a constant state of repair, not vibrancy. Don’t try to take the short route. You very well may come to a dead-end road.

I talk about David’s advice to “Trust the process.” frequently because that is the key to longevity in fitness. If we have goals that we are continually working towards, the process will unfold slowly and magnificently. There is never a reason or a place to quit because in the trusting of the process, we are forever looking ahead to what we will become tomorrow and basking in the glow of what we have already accomplished. Trusting the process is a lifetime program and a lifetime commitment that creates new life and energy every day. This is a concept of life as opposed to the artificial standards that are actually a concept of death because in that concept, we are forever denied the satisfaction of seeing our strength and fitness naturally increase due to thriving health and robust strength that comes from the application of a healthy lifestyle.

I have often heard it said that, “I would look like that if I had that kind of money.” Guess what…You can look better. You don’t need a lot of money to avoid sugar and work out. As Nike says, “Just Do It.” Actually, David says that too. Quit using a lack of a lot of cash as an excuse for mediocrity and get to work producing your best self. As you travel the road to health and fitness you very well may pass some of those social media icons as they exit for the bar or the hospital. I’ve noticed that most of them frequent both places pretty often. Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The hare put on quite a show but in the long run, the tortoise took home the gold.

Advertisements

No Hill For a Climber, Understanding the Pathology Reports

With a cancer diagnosis it often seems as if for every question that gets answered, a half dozen more will pop up. At times, I’m not too sure if my over active and inquisitive mind is a blessing or a curse. By my very nature, I am compelled to fix problems, and to do so, it requires that no stone is ever left unturned. By obtaining answers to my multitude of questions, it helps me in thinking through further questions that must be asked, even if the answers to them are going to be difficult to hear. I am an optimist by nature, but I am also a realist. I would much rather know uncomfortable truths than to be comforted by gentle sugar coated platitudes designed to make me feel better. Sugar coating fixes nothing, ever.

Loraine and I have been caring for her brother Howard for the last year who also has cancer. He has liver cancer that is now at a pretty advanced stage. There is only one treatment protocol even being considered for him now, and it it damn scary to say the least. On top of this, I have a very demanding  trucking along with my continuous toils on my website. I must be careful in not conflating problems that arise with his illness over problems that have arisen with Loraine’s when I am fatigued. So far, this has not been too much of an issue, but I am often mentally and physically exhausted. I do not have a regular sleep pattern because of my job, plus my PTSD has made me a chronic insomniac for several years now. Actually, I have not had good sleep for a few decades now. It is what it is I guess. We are more prepared for personal battles than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Pathology Report

Sentinel lymph node, left, biopsy:

    • Metastatic carcinoma involving one of one lymph node.
    • Carcinoma is 4 mm in greatest dimension
    • Extranodal extension is present.

A few lymph nodes were removed from Loraine’s arm pit area on both sides during her bilateral mastectomy. This was done to confirm if the cancer has spread outside of the original tumor. One small breast cancer mass measuring 4 mm was found to exist in one of her left side lymph nodes. While this was not something we wanted to hear, we are thankful no other cancer was found in any of the other lymph nodes. We already knew from the first visit with Dr. Butler that if cancer was found in the lymph nodes, then radiation treatments were definitely going to happen, with a possibility of chemotherapy too. We will know further treatments once we have seen the oncologist and radiologist on the treatment team here soon.

Extranodal extension simply means the cancer has metastasized.

Left breast, mastectomy:

    • Invasive ductal carcinoma and ductal carcinoma in situ, completely excised
    • Lymph-vascular invasion is identified.
    • Fibroadenomas

My younger sister passed away from adenocarcinoma of the cervix, therefore seeing “adenoma” used in any term associated with breast cancer was terrifying to me. Thankfully,  fibroadenoma’s are  noncancerous tumors in the breast, that could still require some form of treatment for some women. These lumps are actually fairly common, yet they should still be taken seriously.

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), also known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is cancer that began growing in a milk duct and has invaded the fibrous or fatty tissue of the breast outside of the duct. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, representing 80 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct and has a low risk of becoming invasive. DCIS is usually found during a mammogram done as part of breast cancer screening or to investigate a breast lump.

While there is no good cancer, it is a relief to know that what was found in Loraine’s pathology report is that hers is both an early form (DCIS) and the most common (IDC) and treatable forms. Ladies, never ever forget, early detection saves lives. If you find a lump during self examination, get yourself to a doctor and have it evaluated. Your life depends on it.

Axillary contents, dissection:

    • One lymph node negative for malignancy

Right breast, mastectomy:

    • Fibroadenoma, measuring up to 9 mm in greatest dimension.
    • One lymph node negative for malignancy.

The pathology findings was followed by four or five more pages of medical jumbo mumbo that only a doctor can make sense of. Kind of like legal documents where five hundred multi-syllable words are utilized when only 50 common words would suffice. By explaining in common layman’s language to you what the reports mean, it also helps to bring myself to a more clear understanding of what we are facing.

Loraine and I have humongous challenges in the future ahead of us. We know that by the very nature of cancer there will be a mixed bag of good days and bad. With cancer,  you might find humor in topics that others will not know not know how to respond to. We might laugh when others might cringe. We have even cracked jokes about her getting a variety of prosthetic bra sizes to keep people guessing Loraine’s cup size. I have seen the comeback of a fierce fighting spirit in my dear wife that reminds me of why I fell in love with her in the first place. This same ferocity is how she survived the difficult years of my military career. As tough as my assignments might have been, I can still appreciate the hardest job in the armed forces belongs to the spouse of a service member.

This coming Tuesday, the drains should be all removed and Loraine will be able to begin returning to some of her normal activities. Her faith in God above has kept her spirits high, and it has been a chore to keep her from over doing it during the last two weeks of recovery. Nothing will keep my sweet heart down, we will beat this.

Work Your Butt Off

wp-15790528429952011594339826357162.png

The latest fitness craze is a fit behind. The truth is, that’s actually a pretty good measure of overall fitness because if you have neglected your health and fitness for very long at all, it’s going to show up in your butt very quickly. The good news is that these muscles are the largest muscles in our bodies and they do respond to losing body fat and exercise. It won’t happen quickly but if you’re faithful to your program, it will happen. You can get a great booty.

One way that women set ourselves up for disappointment is to forget that fitness is about being the best that we can be. It’s not in cutting a picture out of a magazine or screen shooting an IG model and saying, “I’m gonna get that butt.” No, you will get YOUR best butt and the only way that you will get someone else’s butt just might be the way that they got it, with invasive treatments and surgeries or some great photo shopping.

Interestingly enough, our butts are not just for looks! The gluteal muscles are the largest muscles in our bodies and when they are strong, we are strong. When they are weak, we are weak overall and much more prone to falls and injuries of all sorts. While the gluteus maximus does create the shape of our butt, it also enables us to raise our leg to the side, rotate our legs and move our hips forward. Imagine how feeble you will be if you allow this major muscle to atrophy. Your range of motion will become severely limited and you will walk with that stiff, old lady scissor walk instead of a nice, smooth sway in your hips. The gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus aid the larger muscle to perform various finer movements. The piriformis lies underneath the gluteus muscles and helps to shift your weight from one leg to the other while your thigh is flexed, such as during running. Keeping these muscles strong is mandatory for adequate range of motion during exercise and in everyday activities. Our glutes support us when we are standing and give us balance. If they become weak, merely walking across a room can become perilous. They help us push off with every step that we take.

While function is not what most people are concerned about when they consider their butt, function is paramount to good health and good looks. If you become debilitated and unable to work out, your health and the appearance of your body will spiral downward very quickly. Since the butt muscles are so big, when we engage them in a workout, they really burn a lot of calories, so a workout aimed at giving you a good butt will also torch some all-over body fat. If the butt muscles are weak, the hamstrings and knees will try to compensate, which sets you up for injury in these parts. Again, we’re looking at a possible immobility issue. When I first started heavy weight training, I did all kinds of crazy things to avoid just letting that Iron drop me low, forcing me to engage my butt to stand up . One of the things that I realized was that my knees were taking a beating when I was trying to cheat that squat. When I resigned myself to squat deeply and allow my glutes to bear the brunt of the iron, my knees never hurt again. Believe me, your big butt muscles are more able to take that descent and rise than your little bony knees. Drop it like it’s hot, Sista.

Exercise your glutes at least three times per week. While I only train heavy on my glutes two days, I walk as often as possible and that is a glute exercise. I have recently added weighted hip thrusts or glute bridges to my routine before squatting and deadlifting and it has improved my range of motion on my first rep. I don’t have to warm up. The weighted thrusts do that for me. My glutes engage better and my squat is deeper right off the bat. I love those weighted thrusts. Thank you, David. I also consciously engage those muscles with every rep. It makes a difference. My lifts feel easier and my body gets stronger.

While we all want a shapely rear view, we must remember, we can’t shape fat! In order to have a well defined backside, it’s imperative to shed the fat layers first. Yes the extra padding will make your butt bigger but it won’t give it a good shape. It will give you cellulite and sagging and a spongy texture. Lose the fat and shape the glutes and whatever you’re left with will be a fine behind. I love heavy squats and deadlifts for sculpting. Again, heavy weight training is not for everyone so find a good weight bearing exercise that works your butt and get your doctor’s approval and work it. Lose the fat though or otherwise you will never have what you want in a rear view.

Your muscles release energy in two forms but in three different ways.(1) Energy is released as heat when the muscle maintains a contraction, again as heat when the muscle shortens and as work when the muscle shortens against a load. This means that muscles stoke your metabolism with every movement of your body so when you work out to shape the muscle, you are increasing your metabolism as the muscle grows. This is a win-win situation. It becomes a bit self-perpetuating in that as you work to lose the fat and shape the muscle, you are igniting a metabolic fire that increases your basal metabolism, or the amount of calories you burn while sleeping. Get your doctor’s permission and start stoking your fire today! You will look and feel better and your entire body will benefit from the increase in your metabolism.

Remember, genetics determine the basic shape of your butt, however you can finesse that shape into your unique version of perfection with enough hard work, good nutrition and time and,as David  always says, “Trust the process.”

(1) https://www.nature.com/articles/142907c0

No Hill For a Climber, Pathology Findings

First and foremost, I want to thank God for giving Loraine and I the strength to face the uncertainties of life that we are now facing. Our faith will carry us through this journey.

Loraine and I also want to convey our gratitude to Dr. Elizabeth Butler and her entire staff for their compassionate care through this process. Dr. Butler and her nurses are beautiful souls who I firmly believe are in their profession because of a deep love for helping others to live their best lives under the most difficult of circumstances.

We are beyond blessed with our loving daughters and son in laws along with four beautiful granddaughters who have been a constant source of selfless loving support to Loraine and I both. Nothing has been too much to ask of my lovingly devoted girls.

To all family and friends who have called and checked on us each day, we love you dearly.

Pathology Findings

Tuesday morning Loraine and I drove to the Breast Cancer Clinic at Saint Luke’s for a post surgery follow up visit with her surgeon and to learn what was revealed about her breast cancer in the pathology reports. It was an anxious drive where we were both quite nervous about what would be revealed to us, yet relieved that we would now have answers to our many questions. I will say that our thoughts were that even if we were to hear bad news, it would be much more comfortable than the antagonistic not knowing that we had been living under. At least with the pathology reports in, we could begin planning the next steps in this difficult journey.

The week between Loraine’s mastectomy and the first follow up visit have been tough, yet my sweet wife has pulled through like a real trooper. Her spirits have been high as a result of her faith in God above, and her inner fighting spirit has really come to light. She has shown a true display of intestinal fortitude with this breast cancer, and has not let it get her down.

Loraine has experienced her fair share of pain following the mastectomy, but it has not been as bad as we had anticipated it would be.  Dr. Butler informed us that a mastectomy usually involves a lesser degree of pain than a lumpectomy because all or most of the nerves have been removed, therefore there are fewer receptors if any to transmit pain signals to the brain. Instead of pain, one of Loraine’s biggest issues has been adjusting to having four drains with suction bulbs hanging from just under her arm pits. But these should come out next Tuesday since she is healing really well.

Most of Loraine’s bruising has gone away, but some of the skin around the incisions is turning black and leathery. This looks kind of scary, but it is a result of the skin essentially being  a large flap wound. Because there is not a sufficient supply of blood to a few areas, the skin will simply die and slough off over the next week or so. She was given a prescription for Silvadene to stop the growth of any bacteria that may infect the incision.

After a thorough examination, Dr. Butler went over the pathology reports with us. It turns out the cancer was worse than anticipated, it was larger and has spread beyond the tumor. The tumor itself had grown to 3.8 centimeters which is pretty sizable and the cancer had spread beyond the tumor and into one lymph node. The tumor itself is a invasive ductal carcinoma that had metastasized to surrounding breast tissues and a lymph node. This diagnosis now means that radiation treatments are definitely in the works, and chemotherapy is now a possibility too. None of these treatments can begin until she has is fully healed from the mastectomy. We will now soon be meeting with two additional doctors on the treatment team. One physician is an oncologist, the other is a radiologist. We had hoped and prayed that the only course of action would be hormonal therapy, but I guess that was not in God’s plans. But, at least we are no longer bearing the heavy weight of uncertainty. The burden of not knowing is much worse than knowing. Again, at least now we can plan ahead for the future.

On a lighter note, Loraine was given a prescription for prosthetic bras to wear once she is fully healed. We have kind of laughed that she should get a variety of different cup sizes to keep people guessing if she is actually a B or a Double D

God bless each and every one of you who are following Loraine’s breast cancer journey and who keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

With cancer, there are fears and uncertainties which must be overcome. As with the uneasiness that comes from facing down a bully, the same mindset has to be incorporated when staring down cancer. You cannot allow fear to overwhelm your thinking. The lopsided fight is not one of your choosing, but you have to be prepared to throw back hard punches of your own in order  to defeat this cruel disease.

We are a family of fighters. Together, we will triumph!

Low Carb Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

wp-15790982664373701723940653749365.png

Serves 6

Calories  379

Net Carbs 8.7 grams

Fat 22.9 grams

Protein 32.7 grams

Ingredients

For the Onions

1 Tablespoon  olive oil

2 large  onions sliced about 1/2 inch thick

Salt

For the Peppers

6 small green  bell peppers, halved and seeded

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 pound beef top sirloin steak, sliced very thinly against  the  grain

1 cup riced cauliflower

1 cup chopped tomatoes

Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

12 ounces mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil til shiny and add onions and simmer slowly, stirring  occasionally,  for about 30 minutes to caramelize.

While onions cook, blanch peppers in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain on paper towels, pat dry and arrange in a 9×13 pan.

Heat the other Tablespoon of olive oil and cook the steak til golden brown, drain excess fat and transfer to plate.

Cook the cauliflower in the pan where the beef was cooked, until golden brown and add the beef, tomatoes and onions into the pan and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes and mix well.

Stuff the peppers and top with 1 ounce of cheese each. Bake until the cheese melts and the peppers are tender and then brown under broiler for about 2-3 minutes.

 

No Hill For a Climber, Caretaker Thoughts

It was a week ago yesterday my beautiful wife Loraine underwent her double mastectomy. It has been a week of sleepless nights for a number of reasons such as pain, stress and worry. Later today we will be meeting with Dr. Butler to receive the full pathology reports where we will learn the full extent of the cancer, and it will be determined when she can begin undergoing radiation treatments and possibly chemotherapy too. An appointment will also be made with a different oncologist on the Saint Luke’s team who will be putting together the actual treatment plan. My job takes me out on the road tonight, so I will be writing about the pro’s and con’s of available treatment plans later this week.

I am going to give my best attempt to not get too rambling with this article, but I honestly have not slept more than a couple hours at a time ever since Loraine’s diagnosis, so please bear with me if I do take you through an entire forest of my thoughts just to show you a tree.

Family and friend support.

Loraine and I have received a considerable outpouring of love and support from family and friends since her diagnosis and surgery. There have been daily calls to Loraine from many people, others have delivered food to the house after her surgery in order help us from needing to cook. Our wonderful daughter Jennifer, along with our beautiful granddaughters, have come to the house several times now to help with cooking and cleaning. I have had several people reach out to me as well. There have been people I never would have expected that now contact me regular, letting me know they are there if I need someone to talk to. We love each and every one of these thoughtful individuals.

However, the flip side to all of this love and support is the unexpected silence from the phone when it comes to others.  The silence from some can be quite deafening! Loraine and I do both have a good support network, and I understand that people are busy with life and problems of their own.  I am not looking for long drawn out conversations nor sympathy. But know that sometimes a simple heartfelt message can mean the world to one who is suffering.

I damn sure do not want empty words of promises to be there if we ever need help, only to find the one making promises is conveniently too busy when you need it.

Adjusting to wound care.

Even though a mastectomy is a surgical procedure, the aftercare is still wound care. Loraine has two sets of stitches that are both at least nine inches long with two drain tubes emanating from each incision. Monitoring the incisions is a must in order to identify infection or other problems should there be any. And along with this comes keeping the drains emptied and the contents documented on a log provided by the surgeon.

Loraine’s pain level following the mastectomy has been better than I anticipated it would be. Not saying it does not hurt, but I honestly thought it would be much worse for her. One of the biggest issues for her has been adjusting to sleep with the drain tubes with suction bulbs hanging from her sides. One wrong move in your sleep can have your body painfully tugging at the drains. Should you ever experience this, you need to keep your drains secured to where they cannot be pulled as you roll onto your side during sleep.

Caretakers, stick to your normal routines!

As a caretaker of a loved one it is paramount that you still take care of yourself. You cannot help your loved one if you too become sick in the process.

Now is not the time to let healthy nutritional habits become derailed. Stress eating of unhealthy foods might make you feel good in the moment, but they only serve to damage your health in the long run. If you think it is fine to make an exception because you are tired, hungry and stressed, then those exceptions will become the norm. You could easily find yourself sick and morbidly obese. This helps no one, and especially does not help you.

If you have an established exercise regimen, keep it. If you do not, you might consider beginning one, even if it is only walking.  Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.  Regular exercise will help  shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

If you have activities of any type that you normally do, then stick to them as much as humanly possible. It is perfectly fine for you. While it might be selfless to give up all that you enjoy to care for your loved one, it is also selfless to maintain your own life in the process. You have to take a mental break from time to time in order to not burn yourself out. You need the interaction with others, you need to share a good time and laugh with friends.

Stay on top of your medical bills.

I know this is a tough one for those on a tight budget. Hell, the financial burden is a tough one for all. There has been a quarter million dollars billed already with Loraine’s office visits, procedures and surgery. And we are just in the infancy of this battle.

Make payment plans early with your providers that you can live with. It will do no one any good if you are not able to buy groceries or to pay your utility bills if you are only able to pay doctors and hospitals. Doctors and hospitals will work with you, but you have to stick to your agreements too.

If money is extremely tight, then consult with your doctor and hospital about financial assistance that may be available to you. There is a lot of help out there for you, but you have to do the leg work to get it. There are benevolent organizations that donate millions of dollars each and every year to needy people, but you have to reach out for it, they do not seek you out. That would be a monumental task for any organization, you have to have personal initiative and accountability to find help. This is just a simple fact of life.

In caring for your loved one, do not quit loving yourself too.

Your “Diet” Will Always Fail You

New Years Eve has come and passed, as have a good many resolutions to become a new person by losing weight and getting healthier in the new decade. These personal resolutions that were so heartfelt on New Years Eve, will by and large be empty promises by the time the 2020 swim suit season begins appearing in all the department stores. Possibly even quicker…

How do we know with absolute certainty how fast people with good intent jump off the weight loss wagon? We know this through personal experience of having had our own individual weight problems. We know this because of Brenda Sue’s past employment with one of the largest, if not the largest, weight loss companies in America. We know this because we have readers who privately confide these struggles with us through our  web site contact email.

How many of you might have tried a quick weight loss diet plan beginning New Years Day to find that you have already derailed your diet train right off the side of a mountain?

Have you tried a magical 7 day diet plan to only find yourself feeling even more hopeless when it did not work for you as you frivolously believed it would?

Years ago, in the “Old West” days in America, we had unscrupulous men traveling around the country with horse drawn wagons, selling miracle cures at every town where they were still unknown. These “Snake Oil” salesmen would often get run out of town when the local towns people figured out they were crooks cheating them out of their hard earned money. It would be nice to know these types have disappeared in the dustbin of history, but they have not. The “Snake Oil” salesmen are still among us. You can not turn to any type of media, whether television, radio, internet among thousands of other types of media, without seeing the evidence that these crooked bastards are still here. Except now, they have perfected their craft to be even more deceptive in their scandalous ways. There is an old saying that I think also can be applied to people who are desperate to lose weight as well. The saying is “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

There are a great many weight loss plans or schemes floating around, some good and some not so good. It is down right foolish, or naive to believe a good many of them will give you lasting results. Simply put, it is foolhardy if you have a weight issue to believe that you can just go on a diet and hurry through to get it over with in order to return to your old ways. And, this is the main problem with going on a diet instead of adopting the mindset to entirely change your thinking in regards to losing and managing your weight. You have to get “dieting” out of your mind and instead get your mind wrapped around the fact you have to reverse course and adopt an entirely new lifestyle of healthy eating if you want your weight loss to be permanent.

Not all calories are created equal!

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we tell people through our numerous articles, and through personal consultation that it is paramount to track their calories consumed each and every day. If you do not track what you consume, it is far too easy to find yourself stuck at a  weight loss plateau, or even gaining weight. You have to keep yourself accountable to yourself. You have to make personal accountability of your nutritional habits a lifestyle if you want to keep your weight off for good. If you find yourself eating only 500 calories per day over what your body requires for maintenance, you will find yourself gaining a pound of fat back each week. You have to be at a caloric deficit in order to lose weight, and then you have to  remain disciplined with your nutrition for the rest of your life. This is true for damn near every one barring there are not any legitimate health issues that will keep you from losing. But, know this, these type of health circumstances are not the norm. It is not likely there is anything wrong with your body that you cannot lose weight for good. You are not a special snowflake where the rules of nutrition do not apply. This is a painful truth for many. It is not your body that will not shed the pounds, rather it is your thinking that keeps you heavy. I tell you this not to be insulting, but to help you. This would not be my 700th article if I intended to be hurtful to anyone.

There are many ways you can track your calories. We provide a calorie and macro-nutrient chart on our website to assist with this, you just have to do a little of your own math. You can read labels, and you can find caloric information on many internet sources. One day, I will incorporate an app that will track all of your calories and macro-nutrients right here on my website.

But, you need to know that simply tracking calories is not enough because not all calories are equal in their benefit to your well being and health. It would be misleading to say that a calorie is a calorie no matter where it came from. For instance, a package of sugar laden Strawberry Poptarts and 8 ounces of skim milk is 483 calories with 90g carbs (76g of simple carbs), 10.2g of fat and only 12.3g of protein. This package of Poptarts has only 2g of fiber and 32g of sugar. There is absolutely no nutritional value to any variety of Poptarts which are so very popular across all of America.

Now, for roughly the same amount of calories you could have 2 boiled eggs, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 turkey sausage patty, and a cup of skim milk for 466 calories, 41.2g of complex carbs, 18.7g fat, 34.9g protein, 4.2g fiber and only 2g of natural sugar. This breakfast can be made ahead and warmed in a microwave in about the same time it takes to stick your Poptarts into a toaster. This breakfast will provide you with plenty of protein and fats to keep you satiated longer along with complex carbs to fuel your body longer than simple carbs from sugar will. Calories are not equal.

As you can see, some foods bring you benefit while others bring you nothing but immediate satisfaction of hunger or a craving. Some foods give you absolutely zero nutritional benefit, it is only wise to give these up in their entirety as they only serve to pollute your body and contribute to the onset of disease. Wholesome foods bring you vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, along with trace elements that keep your body healthy. These nutritional properties are not found in refined sugar, and not in sufficient quantities in most foods that are heavily laden with sugar.

Food quality directly influences the balance of nutrients verses pollutants that it provides!

Good peanut butter can be a nutritious source of protein, unsaturated fat, phytochemicals, and vitamins. Yet, cheap peanut butter of low quality will only provide you with a lot of refined sugar and harmful transfats. It pays dividends with your health to buy quality foods. The expense of healthy choices will offset the expense you would otherwise incur through costly doctors visits and medications. Being as many ailments are a direct result of dietary habits, most are actually preventable if you eat healthy and exercise some. You do not need to buy only the expensive organic foods, just use common sense when you shop. Read labels and you will find many medium priced options that offer a good compromise between optimal heath benefits and living on a budget.

 

Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie

wp-1578791864351636545177005779725.png

Serves 8

Calories 219

Net Carbs 3 grams

Fat 11 grams

Protein 24 grams

Ingredients

Filling

1 Tablespoon butter

1.5 pounds chicken breasts cut into cubes

4 ounces yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup carrots, finely diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas, (no need to defrost)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, (to taste)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)

Topping

1 cup super fine almond flour

1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into large chunks

2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 egg white

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F

Grease a 9 inch round baking pan.

Filling

Melt butter in a skillet. Add chicken and brown lightly on all sides.

Add onions and carrots to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until onions begin to brown. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in vinegar and scrap up browned bits. When vinegar has almost completely evaporated, stir in broth.

Simmer until mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes. You should be able to draw a line on the bottom of the pan and it won’t immediately fill in.

Once the broth has thickened, add heavy cream and peas. Simmer on low until thick and gravy-like. Season to taste with salt and pepper after tasting. The broth may make it salty enough.

Topping

Whisk together almond flour, flax seeds, xanthan gum, baling powder and salt.

Cut the butter in until the mixture appears mealy.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and the egg white together and then stir this mixture into the dry ingredients.

Gather mixture into ball and place on a piece of parchment paper dusted with almond flour.

Press or roll the dough into a circle about 8 inches in diameter.

Assemble

Pour filling into prepared baking dish.

Gently place dough over filling.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

 

Cleveland Kraut Beet Red Review

If you like sauerkraut, you need to try the products being produced by Cleveland Kraut. Even if you do not normally care for sauerkraut, you still need to give them a try. I have had three of their kraut products and have loved each one so far. These folks truly have a gift of knowing the perfect blend of ingredients where each come through with none over powering another.

Fresh fermented beets and carrots make the Beet Red kraut earthy & tart. Add a beautiful bite to meat dishes, hot dogs, and salads paired with goat cheese. Cleveland Kraut

Ingredients:

Red Cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Kosher Salt

The great irony with my love of this product is I do not normally care for the taste of beets nor that of carrots. Yet, the earthy sweet flavor of these two ingredients come through to compliment the tartness of the kraut. The beets and carrots provide a superb touch of natural sweetness  and crunch. There is a hint of pickled beets that comes through the flavor, yet it is only a hint. The carrots are also not prominent, but you do know they are there. I can think of many foods I could pair Beet Red with, but this morning decided on pan seared, chili lime seasoned salmon with scrambled eggs topped with habanero hot sauce.

Sauerkraut is a low calorie, genuinely healthy food that is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Its probiotics also help your body absorb these nutrients more easily. It is a food that should be added into your diet if you have never tried it.

Health benefits of sauerkraut:

Sauerkraut is a rich source of immune-boosting probiotics and nutrients.

For starters, the bacteria that populate your gut can have a strong influence on your immune system. The probiotics found in sauerkraut help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, which keeps your gut lining healthy.

A stronger gut lining helps prevent unwanted substances from  “leaking” into your body and causing an immune response.

Maintaining a healthy gut flora also helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and may even boost the production of natural antibodies.

Moreover, regularly consuming probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut may reduce your risk of developing infections such as the common cold and urinary tract infections.

If you do get sick, regularly consuming probiotic-rich foods may help you recover faster and could reduce your chance of needing antibiotics by around 33%.

In addition to being a rich source of probiotics, sauerkraut is also rich in vitamin C and iron, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.

In particular, upping your vitamin C intake when you have the common cold may help you get rid of symptoms more quickly. (1)

(1) www.healthline.com

High Fat Verses Low to Zero Fat

In the past few decades, there have been many high-profile claims made in academic literature and other media sources that allege the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960’s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease. With this downplay of sugar being a culprit, the emphasis was instead directed towards the dangers of dietary fat in our diets.

There are some who stick by the veracity of this claim, while there are other well respected sources who have debunked this rumor as a myth that never occurred. Legend has it,  documents unearthed in historical archives regarding the sugar industry funding of Harvard nutrition scientists in the 1960’s, were identified as “smoking gun” evidence the sugar industry successfully meddled in science and “derailed” the course of governmental dietary policy. Essentially, it is claimed the sugar industry wanted the focus of obesity problems taken off their industry and placed more squarely on the risks of fats such as in butter and beef instead. Allegedly, this shift of focus was also to largely ward off new taxes that were going to be implemented by the government onto sugar sweetened foods and drinks as they were being identified as a part of our society’s early problems with obesity.

Is this conspiracy story about the sugar industry shifting focus to the health issues from fat true? I do not know, I can neither prove nor disprove the veracity of the claims against it. Are there really people in the sugar industry this diabolical? I am normally not one who buys into conspiracies. However, there does seem to be a correlation between the low to no fat craze and our rising obesity epidemic.

However, thinking people know that correlation does always mean causation.

Yet when it comes to thinking people, it seems we have far too many in our midst who have lost their collective minds when it comes to their nutritional habits. Look around you. Everywhere you go, you are now  in the minority if you are fit and trim. Sixty eight percent of our population in America are out of good physical condition by being overweight or obese. Twenty five percent of our population are prediabetic.  This is a sad state of affairs that needs to make a turn around before it gets worse.

Over the last few decades we have watched as our grocery store shelves filled up with many low fat or zero fat goodies for us to eat. We have low fat cookies, cakes, ice cream, yogurts and on and on and on. Low to no fat food items as far as the eye can see.  There has been a monumental push to get fat out of diets, yet people are fatter in America than ever. Even the government has been pushing this foolish idea of eliminating fats from our diets.  Because a diet low in fat has been deemed to be healthy, government policies have affected nutrition programs in schools, hospitals and the military. Yet, we keep getting fatter.

The American Dietetic Association replaced the four basic food groups with the food pyramid in the effort to reduce the consumption of fats. Their intentions were good, but intentions without good results mean jack squat nothing. There has been a tremendous amount of time and resources expended to get people to reduce their fat intake, yet the incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disease is not subsiding in the least. In fact, it is getting worse every damn day. Is it possible all the researchers missed some critical element to this problem?

Maybe not entirely.

There is nothing wrong about researchers and the government trying to get us as a nation to reduce our fat intake as there are many unhealthy fats in far too many foods available to us in this modern world we live in.

There has been a serious misinterpretation of the message to eat low fat.

It has been assumed by a vast swath of our population that if we adopted a low fat diet in order to prevent heart disease, this allowed us to eat as much as we wanted of foods that are low or zero fat. The food industry ran with this assumption and loaded our grocery store shelves full of low to zero fat options, yet people never considered the fact these products began having extra sugar added to them in order to improve the taste lost by fat removal. It has become the norm that instead of eating only a couple cookies they would eat an entire package of them.

What’s the harm? They are fat free!

News Flash!

Fat free is not calorie free!

You cannot just switch to a low fat food and eat with abandon to your hearts content. You still have to use common sense with your dietary habits, or your are doomed to a lifetime of obesity. In the past, I have seen on Weight Watchers social media where people will manipulate their diets to accommodate treats for every day consumption. They will justify their snacking because low or zero fat foods are low to zero points on the Weight Watchers program. This program takes the emphasis away from accountability to calories consumed, therefore a good many are always either struggling to lose weight or failing to lose altogether. At the end of the day, your weight loss or management depends on not consuming more calories than you expend each day. And this is regardless of the fat content or lack thereof.

Look, if you want to eat low fat or zero fat foods, then go right ahead and make yourself happy. But know that this is not helping your health in the least if you are not going to be personally accountable to yourself by managing your dietary habits. If you eat more calories than you burn off, especially if you are sedentary, you are going to be fat, It really is that plain and simple. You really cannot even intelligently argue the point.

The abundance and availability of low fat and zero fat foods has resulted in a fatter society not a thinner or fitter one. Eat healthy fats, your body needs them to better absorb nutrients that keep you healthy. Not only this, but full fat foods taste better and are usually more satiating than their low fat counterparts. Use your head and think about what you are doing the next time you are making food choices. Ask yourself if the choices you are making will actually improve your health or not. You owe this to yourself, you deserve to treat yourself better.