Category: Nutrition

The Cost of “Comfort”

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Many years ago,  my Grandmother and I were talking about a family  member who really  needed to make some changes for her health, and my Grandmother said, “She’ll never lose weight or quit smoking because she’s  not  going to  do  anything  that  makes  her  uncomfortable.” No truer words have ever been  spoken.  Although my Grandmother is gone now, she was right. That person has continued her unhealthy habits and although she’s much younger than me, she has the health and life of a much older person than I do. She also looks much older. Her body has taken on the stereotypical “old lady” traits of bulging belly and huge, sagging breasts. She stays in the doctor’s  office  a lot and has serious health problems. She takes a lot of medication and still refuses to change her ways. The empty calories, cigarettes, alcohol and lack of fitness have changed her into someone who is barely reminiscent of her former self. She wouldn’t do the hard stuff like controlling her appetite or working out. She wanted comfort. Her medical bills are exorbitant.

Healthy habits can be learned and developed but there will always be a measure of discomfort when we push ourselves beyond our primal needs of a full belly and ease. I do not have any cravings now because I eat David’s Way. When I first quit eating  sugar, however, I  thought I would crack up for a few days. I was undoubtedly addicted. In a few days, however, the misery ended and now, years later, I’m the healthiest  and most fit that I have ever been. Without that struggle to kick sugar, I would not be where I am today. I was uncomfortable for a little while. One of the lessons that I had to learn is that good health and fitness take work and work is merely a skillset that can be learned.

In the case of my relative, she never would give up or limit any of her “comfort” foods. She thought it was just too hard. As a result, the pounds piled on over  the  years and her once beautiful figure became a burden to carry around with about 50 pounds of fat added to her frame. Her back, pelvis and neck gave way to injury and pain and she has had numerous surgeries in an attempt to be pain free. As a result of this ongoing pain issue, she has become addicted to opiates. Opiate addiction causes constipation and her belly is always huge and bloated. The extra weight and disproportionate distribution of her weight has furthur injured her back and the cascade of symptoms continues. It appears that she will live out her life as an opiate addict. Surely it would have been easier to have done without a few goodies. Her smoking has left her with ever worsening emphysema. A single breath comes hard. Was the eating with abandon and the momentary rush of the nicotine really worth the price?

There are methods to change our behaviors that really work but we must be willing to acknowledge that we need and want to change.

1-Clearly state what habits you truly want to change.  Be truthful  and focus on one habit at a time.

2- Analyze your bad behavior. Why are you doing it? At one time I asked myself that question and the sad answer was that I didn’t enjoy anything  else. I changed that.

3-Listen to your inner voice. We usually recognize our bad behaviors. Be truthful with yourself and allow that wisdom to guide you into better habits.

4-Every time you stop a bad behavior, replace it with a good one.

5-Remove triggers from your life. Whether it’s a person, a song, an old picture or simply a memory that you allows to ride roughshod through your brain, just say “NO!!!” Avoid negative triggers and be instantly happier and healthier.

6-Keep an ever upgraded visualization of yourself front and foremost in your mind. We can change the way our brain works and thinks with focus on the positive changes that we are willing to make.

7-Stop self talking yourself in a negative way. We tend to believe our thoughts. Make them good ones.

8- Break your goal down into manageable bits and pieces. When I began strength training I knew that I had to start small. I have lofty goals but they are not being obtained overnight. Build your good habits piece by piece. I had to decide where to lift and then what to buy. I had to commit to excellence in order to be safe. I had to be willing to work towards my goals slowly. I had to be willing  to work hard and then work harder. I had to make the decision to eat right. Making these practical decisions were a building block that had to go into the foundation of my program. If I had not done this first, I could have never successfully trained.

9-Give yourself Grace. Life happens. If you botch a workout or your nutrition one day, keep going. Stay committed and learn from your mistakes.

10-Remember, changing destructive habits takes time. You have to keep repeating the better behavior until the change is made in your brain. It won’t happen overnight but if you remain diligent, it will happen. I never crave sugar anymore. It may take several weeks to change some habits. Be patient. Your discomfort will pass and you will be free of the destructive behavior and free to create a better life.

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Lessons of the Iron

When I first got my inspiration to write about continuing to push through a weight loss plateau, I wondered if that was enough to write about and then I realized, that’s only one lesson of the Iron. The weight loss plateau is only one of thousands of difficulties that the Iron helps me to overcome. When I first began my journey with the Iron, my first question was, “How long will this take?” My wise trainer hesitated and kindly responded, “The rest of your life.” Thank you, David, that truth has sustained me and caused me to push when it’s hard, damn hard.

The weight loss plateau responds to the same tactics that the Front Squat responds to, diligence to pursue the goal regardless of everything else. It doesn’t matter if I feel like it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard thing to do. The Goal is everything. The Goal is all. The method that I use to get there doesn’t have to be pretty or comfortable. The truth is, lofty goals are hard fought and harder won. How many people find a hard fight fun or comfortable? Very few, I would imagine, but we all want to win. We all want what we want. Those of us who are willing to persevere when it’s hard are the ones who will be victorious.

When I first began lifting I had some pretty quick “Newbie Gains”. It’s encouraging and it makes you feel like a “Lifter”, but when the progress slows and you’re struggling and fighting for every quarter pound gain, you will know whether or not you really are a Lifter. I found myself doing what a lot of folks do. stopping short on my squat. I was fighting the weight all the way to the floor, trying to control the descent. All that got me was an uncommitted squat, you know, the kind where you look at your video and think, “Wow, I should be lower.” We do that in everything. We take on a difficult task and do it pretty well but don’t go all in. You can do that but you will never get what you came for, in the squat or on the job or on a weight loss program or a relationship or anything else. It’s all or nothing if you want all it’s got to offer. I have learned to give it up to gravity, drop like a rock, don’t fight the process and then…all I have to do is get up. It works for everything, go all in and get what you came for and be strengthened. You will get up stronger.

I know people who hack around, doing all kinds of random resistance training and say that they lift but really don’t have the strength or the appearance of a lifter. Again, they are not committed to pushing and pressing through hard times. When it gets really hard, they do something else. Sometimes they will quit squatting or deadlifting and do the newest, dumbest, trendiest thing that they saw on YouTube or at their gym. God, if I see one more video of a trainer having someone squat on a ball while struggling to hold onto a barbell I think I’ll scream. The first thing that you need to understand is respect for the weight, it is relentless. Don’t do stupid stuff. Have an established program and stick with it through the hard times.At David’s Way we promote the idea, “Live to lift another day.” While lifting can be done safely, it requires forethought and diligence to safety and form. While our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, they are not indestructible. Respect the Iron. Speaking of form…

The day that I finally gave it up to gravity on my Front Squat and let it drop me was one of the happiest days of my life. Believe me, that’s saying a lot. I am 63 and live a full life. I grew up during the pursuit of happiness of the hippie era. I was a little young for some of it but that just made me more determined to experience my share of the good times and I did. I have traveled a bit, I have a son, I work three jobs, I write, I enjoy my dogs and am always up for a laugh. The day that I squatted below parallel on my front squat was still one of the best days of my life. Conquering that fear of descent changed my entire life. I knew that if I could trust myself to handle that weight, I could trust myself to handle anything. It was hard. I have learned to embrace hard things. The Iron has taught me that. Almost every worthy pursuit in life is hard. If we only do easy things, we won’t reach our full potential. The Iron makes me grow, muscle hypertrophy and mind hypertrophy. You gotta love it.

Living David’s Way, eating a low carb, (NOT keto), high protein, nutritionally dense diet and working out hard requires me to eat ENOUGH. Yes, now I am always concerned about eating enough. I have been a size 22. I have been 60 pounds overweight at my heaviest. I always had to worry about eating too much because I ate sugar and other simple carbs that contained too many calories and provided little to no nutrition. I was always hungry and craving something else. I was never satisfied. Now my biggest nutritional concern is making sure to get in all my calories before the day is over. I cannot lift if I don’t eat enough calories. Every bite that I eat is nutritionally dense and I have no cravings and rarely get hungry. I see food as fuel that is created to make me healthy and strong and by eating nutritionally dense foods, it does. I am finally free of the perpetual sadness that a “Dieter” lives with, I am not deprived. I am nourished.

There are many situations that we face in life where we can’t see the end of the journey. In order to reach our destination, it’s mandatory that we just trust the process. We get on the interstate and trust those road signs that tell us how far it is to our destination. We can’t see the destination, but we know it’s there. We trust the interstate system. The journey of The Iron is the same. I know that my destination is there. I know the shape and appearance of the body that I am furiously pursuing. I know the perfect form and ease of motion that awaits me. I know the strength and confidence that this journey brings. I just have to trust the process. The Iron has made good on every promise. It will continue to deliver as long as I trust it. My confidence and self-esteem is formidable. The Iron has made it so. I have made changes in my life that some people find astounding since I began this journey. Instead of “winding down”, I am “winding up”.

I almost never go to the doctor because I don’t remember the last time that I was sick. I take absolutely no medications. The financial impact of this alone is staggering. Good nutrition and The Iron is my first medical insurance. I don’t remember the last time that I needed the other kind. I spend my money on things that I want, not things that I have to have to stay alive. Neither of my parents had good health. My dad developed cardiac issues early in life and my mother was always sick. My good health is not genetic. It is choice.

Our choices are the most powerful tool that we have to create a healthy life. Every moment of every day we make choices. What would happen if you always made the choice for health? I challenge you, try it and see. Before beginning any weight management or exercise program, always have your doctor’s permission.

The Clean 15

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The Environmental Working  Group  has listed these foods as being low in pesticide residues. While some people  choose to eat organic foods, these conventionally grown foods are considered to be healthy for everyone.

1-Avocados- The avocado is considered a fruit which is unusual in that it is not high in carbohydrates. It is high in healthy fats and contains 20 different vitamins and minerals for 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. It has 9 grams of carbs but 7 grams of fiber so the net carbs are only 2 grams.

2-Sweet Corn-Considered both a vegetable and a grain, 1 cup contains 177 calories, 36.4 grams of net carbs, 2.1 grams of fat and 5.4 grams of protein.It also contains 17% of the DV of vitamin  C.

3-Pineapple- While this fruit is low in calories, it is high in nutrition. One cup provides 82.5 calories, 1.7 grams  of fat, 19.3 grams of net carbs,1 gram of protein and 131% of the DV for vitamin C and 76% of the DV for manganese.

4-Sweet Peas-This popular vegetable is low in calories and high in protein. One half cup has 62 calories and 4 grams of protein which is much higher than most other vegetables. They have 7 grams of net carbs and 34% of the RDI for vitamin  A.

5-Onions-3.5 ounces of this pungent veggie contain only 40 calories and healthy soluble fibers called fructans which feed the beneficial bacteria  in your gut. People with sensitive digestive systems, such as those with IBS may have unpleasant effects from eating onions, however. These substances also help form short-chain fatty acids which may improve colon health.

6-Papaya-These delectable fruits are low in calories and pack a whopping 106.2% of the DV of vitamin C and 30% of the DV of vitamin  A.

7-Eggplants- One cup of eggplant provides only 20 calories and is rich in anthocyanins, especially nasunin which has been shown to protect cells from free radical damage.

8-Asparagus- Asparagus is very low calorie, only 20 for a half cup and contains anthocyanins, 57% of the RDI for vitamin K and 6% of the RDI for potassium.

9-Kiwis-This amazing fruit from New Zealand  packs a punch of 273 mg of vitamin C. They also contain high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein which help to prevent  macular  degeneration. Avoid these fruits if you are allergic to them.

10-Cabbage- This humble veggie is frequently overlooked. It contains 85% of the RDI for vitamin  K and 10% of the folate. It’s  high in fiber and contains sulfur compounds.

11-Cauliflower- Cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need including 77% of the vitamin C, 20% of the vitamin  K and 11% of the vitamin  B6.

12-Cantaloupe- This sweet melon is full of beta-carotene, containing about the same amount as carrots.

13-Broccoli- Higher in protein than most veggies, 3 grams per 1 cup, this veggie is still very low in calories at 31 per cup.

14-Mushrooms- This versatile vegetable contains antioxidants and  beta glucan which is believed to improve cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. Oyster and shiitake are believed to have the most effective beta glucans.

15-Honeydew- Honeydew melons contain 12% of the RDI for potassium and may help regulate blood pressure.

Enjoy these foods at your leisure as part of a healthy diet. Along with being low in pesticide residue, they are delicious and very high in many nutrients that are necessary for good health.

 

 

The Downside to Keto

As I was typing the title to this piece I was nervously watching out my front window to see if I had anything oncoming which I would quickly need to duck from, as I was pretty sure there existed a possibility of a firestorm of criticism coming my way from the true Keto believers. If you already have your panties in a twist over the topic, hold your fire until you have at least read this article in it’s entirety. First, for those who may not know, I will address what Keto is:

From Healthline.com

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.

What’s more, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Keto for a short duration to lose weight, it is actually a fairly healthy method to drop weight easily. However, I do not recommend it for either the short or long term unless there is a medical reason behind needing to resort to Keto. However, keep in mind that while there are many health benefits being attributed to a Keto diet, many of the studies are also far from conclusive at this point. This is a red flag for me as Keto has been around in one form or another for several years now. Long enough that all the studies should be conclusive by now. Take some of the health benefits with a grain of salt if you will…

Your weight loss with Keto is still a matter of caloric restriction.

The thing about a ketogenic diet is if you tell people to eat as much as they want, they might tend to eat slightly less than they would otherwise. It is only natural that you will eat less if you’re consuming foods that satiate you easier. You will have more fullness from vegetables, satiety from protein, feel fuller for longer from the fat. In a nutshell, it means that you will eat less food and therefore fewer calories than you were before. Your body will dip into your fat stores because you are restricting your caloric intake. Therefore you will lose weight. That is until you plateau.

How do I plateau on Keto?

No matter your nutritional habits, your weight loss or weight gain is always going to fall back on how many calories you have consumed verses the total amount of calories you have expended. If the equation is out of balance, you will either gain or lose weight, depending on which side of the equation is greater. You may not notice any significant weight change on a daily basis, but you will if you allow the equation to remain unbalanced over a period of a week or more. The weight you will gain is stored primarily as fat even if you are on Keto

Our body’s need healthy fats in order to get full benefit from other nutrients we consume each day. However, fats are calorie dense at 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram with protein and carbohydrates. Besides the obvious that eating too much fat can place you over your caloric needs based on your basal metabolic rate, consuming too much can increase your risk for a number of health threats.  It is not rocket science to understand that a diet rich in saturated fat (fatty cuts of meat and dairy foods) can raise the levels of cholesterol  in your blood. That increases the risk for heart disease.

Keto prioritizes fat over protein, with carbs being kept to under 50g per day.

But David’s Way advocates high protein too, right?

Yes, I advocate a diet higher in protein while on weight loss mode because it keeps you satiated longer when combined with fats than carbohydrates will. That being said, if you consume excess protein beyond what your body requires for your activity level, the surplus of amino acids is excreted with your body’s waste products. Even with high protein you will can gain body fat over time when you consume too many calories.

Weight management is dependent on calories consumed verses calories expended when you begin a diet of any kind, including Keto. For example, lets say a fairly sedentary 40 year old, 5′ 2″ 300 pound woman begins Keto. No matter what, her body will require 1881 calories per day in order to lose 1 pound of body fat per week. She will do this easily on Keto as she is likely to be satiated before reaching those 1881 calories with filling foods that keep her full. Once this woman has reached 200 pounds her basal metabolic rate to maintain her weight at 200 is going to require  1837 calories per day which means that no matter the diet, she is going to plateau and gain weight slowly again.

She could eat 1837 calories a day in bacon, be fully within how most interpret Keto, and not lose any more weight!

Keto is unnecessarily too restrictive.

Here is a list of foods that get eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
  • Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
  • Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
  • Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
  • Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.

While I do agree with a good many foods on the list above, some of this is just plain ridiculous:

  • Fruit has too many good nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber for you to entirely exclude them from your diet. While they are a simple carbohydrate, they will not impact your blood sugar and insulin levels because of their fiber component. If you want to eat an apple or orange each day, then by all means do so.
  • Beans, legumes, root vegetables and tubers are also too good of a source of nutrients, fiber and protein to exclude them from your diet.

Guess what? You can and should eat these foods as a part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Your body needs carbohydrates as they are the most efficient source of fuel your body can consume. At David’s Way, we advocate eating complex carb foods while excluding simple carbs unless they are in the form of fruit which have fiber to regulate how the sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream.

What happens when I quit Keto?

First, when you begin Keto or any diet, you will very rapidly lose about 10 pounds of water weight in approximately your first week or two. After that, your weight loss will settle down.  Again, this rapid weight loss is going to happen no matter what type of diet plan you attempt which reduce your caloric intake.

We learn in junior high school biology that we’re full of water. Nearly as much as 70% of our bodies may be comprised of water. When we refer to “water weight”, specifically in the context of nutrition and physical fitness, we are talking about water stored in the cells of our body’s, which is joined to glycogen.

Glycogen is – more or less – a stored form of glucose which your body holds in your liver and muscle cells for when it needs a quick fuel source. Each glycogen molecule is made up of a protein core, surrounded by glucose sub-units. Each gram of glycogen stored in your body is bound to 3 or 4 grams of water.

Glycogen is what instigates sudden bouts of weight loss and weight gain during a diet. The reason you can lose 10 or more pounds of weight in the first week of a diet – especially a low carb one – is because you’re burning through your body’s glycogen stores and not replenishing them.

The reason why you can seem to gain a bunch of weight from one pasta and pizza binge is largely because you have “carbed up” and filled your body’s glycogen reserves. And here in lies a problem. Many, if not most people who begin Keto do not understand their weight loss and or maintenance is  still dependent on calories consumed verses calories expended. Once an individual reaches the point where their weight plateaus, they will often get frustrated and return to their old eating habits and subsequently regain all of their lost weight with a swiftness. You are far better off to learn to maintain well balanced nutritional habits over restricting yourself too far which Keto does for a good many people. We advocate dietary habits that are sustainable for life, not something temporary in nature only. We advocate a diet where protein, complex carbs and healthy fats are consumed in a balance that is right for your needs. We encourage protein as a priority simply because it is the macro-nutrient that repairs and builds upon our cellular structure. Protein keeps us satiated more so than carbohydrate foods which makes it easier to maintain a diet that does not exceed your daily caloric needs. Face it, steak and eggs is always going to keep you full and satisfied much longer than fruits and vegetables. But remember, that unlike Keto, we actually want you to eat your fruit, beans and vegetables, to include those baked potatoes that so many often unnecessarily believe they need to shun when dieting. In fact, if I have met my protein needs as a strength trainer, I will often have a baked potato drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with chili lime for a main course and still keep my body fat at 9 percent. If you are a strength trainer or endurance athlete, I recommend a good cup of oatmeal to fuel your activity as well. Keto does not allow for this amount of carbs, and for most, this kind of restriction is not sustainable for life, nor does it even make sense.

Do yourself a favor and make intelligent nutritional decisions. At David’s Way, we recommend a well balanced diet that only excludes refined sugar, simple carbs that have no fiber component, and most processed foods such as oven ready meals as an example. Our way is not a gimmick like some are, nor is our methodology something temporary in nature. David’s Way is a lifestyle of healthy nutrition and physical fitness.

We encourage you to be accountable to yourself and track all that you consume to both ensure you do not eat too many calories for your basal metabolic rate needs, nor to eat too few calories.

We want you to still enjoy foods, therefore under our recipes section, we provide numerous healthy recipes that include delicious sugar free cakes, cookies and pies. If you cannot find a particular recipe, let us know and we will either create or find what you are looking for that also falls within the parameters of healthy eating that we promote.

 

 

Stay Healthy and Fit This Winter!

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I’m always shocked when I  hear someone say that they stay sick all Winter! Why? There are steps that you can take to help yourself  stay healthy this Winter.

Cold temperatures  tend to make us crave carbohydrates due to low light levels affecting our serotonin  levels. Carbohydrates naturally  boost serotonin so when it’s  depleted, strong carb cravings set in, especially if we’re hungry and run down. To offset some of these cravings, eat a good high protein breakfast and have healthy snacks available throughout the day. Cravings are much less intense when we are satiated.

Make sure to get some Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your diet. They tend to help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with cold weather. If you have less pain you are more likely to continue working out and be more fit. Omega-3’s are also known to help with depression which is more common during Winter months. Depression  can curtail your work out which is a shame because working out is known to decrease depression in some people. That is not to say that any of these will prevent or cure major depression. That is a subject to be taken up with your doctor, but these habits can help with simple Winter doldrums.

Mushrooms and spices help boost immunity. Try different  varieties of mushrooms in recipes and reap the benefits of naturally-occurring antibiotic-like substances found in all types of mushrooms. Liven up your regular  recipes with garlic, ginger, cilantro and other tasty spices that can help you sail through Winter with better health. Eat green and orange veggies to help ensure that you’re  getting  a good variety of nutrients.

Stick to your regular  workout schedule. Don’t  let Holidays and family and friends hinder you. Exercise helps balance your hormones and helps keep your body running more smoothly during stressful times. You might want to investigate ways to work out  at home so that the cold weather doesn’t  keep you from working out. There are videos and all kinds of home gym equipment that can help you keep your fitness commitment.

Get your vehicle inspected for safety and winterize your ride. Don’t  get caught out in freezing  weather in a stalled out car. Your life may depend on the safety of your vehicle during cold Winter months.

Be safe about your decorations during the Holidays. Open flames of candles cause many house fires every year. Decorations with lights get very hot if they are left on. Be sure to unplug all Holiday decorations when they are left unattended. Be sure to mind your fireplace and keep it safe. Keep your chimney clean because creosote fires are common in the Winter and they will burn your house to the ground. Make sure that you have CO detectors  and smoke detectors  installed and working with good hot batteries. Never just remove a battery to make the unit quit beeping.

Install handrails and use ice melt on your frozen sidewalks and other walkways. If you fall you may not only stop your fitness  program, you may be in the hospital until Spring!

Wash your hands frequently  and keep them away from your face. Transferring a microbe to your eyes while shopping could give you a preventable upper respiratory infection. Use some common sense.

Get your rest. Sleep helps support your immune system. During the Holidays stress can take an extra toll on your overall health. Replenish with quality rest. If you are a strength trainer, rest is always imperative.

Always stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps flush trouble making bacteria out of your body.

With minimal effort you can navigate this time of year safely and in good health. Take care of yourself and enjoy this Season with no down time and great the Spring with an increased level of health and fitness.

 

 

Winter Skin Care

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Winter comes with unique challenges for our skin. The low humidity and indoor heat combine to create challenges where skin care is concerned. Nutrition  aimed at giving us healthy skin can make a difference  in these cool, arid conditions.

1-Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel  and herring are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which help to maintain skin health. They help keep the skin thicker, more supple and moisturized. Omega-3’s also decrease  inflammation which can cause redness and acne. There is some evidence that they also help protect the skin from UV light and help with psoriasis.

Fish is also a source of good protein which helps increase the strength and integrity  of the skin. The zinc in fish helps with production  of new skin cells and overall skin health.

2-Avocados are also a source of healthy fat that is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized. This fat is also thought to help with protection  from UV light which can cause wrinkles and other forms of sun damage. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin  E which helps protect  the skin from oxidative  damage.

Vitamin E is believed  to be more effective  when combined with vitamin C and 1 avocado contains about 20% of the RDI for vitamin E and 34% of the RDI for vitamin  C.

3-Walnuts are a good source of essential fatty acids which your body cannot make itself. They are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 is thought to produce inflammation, since the ratio of these fats in walnuts is good, walnuts are thought to fight the inflammatory response. Walnuts also contain significant zinc and small amounts  of vitamin  E, vitamin C and selenium.

4-Sunflower seeds  are an excellent source of vitamin E and selenium, zinc and protein. Nuts and seeds are good sources of good-for-your-skin nutrition.

5-Sweet potatoes are an excellent  source of beta-carotene which acts as a natural  sunblock. This is not to say that you can leave off the chemical sunblock but beta-carotene definitely helps it do it’s  job. This may help prevent wrinkles, cell death and sunburn. The beta-carotene also gives your skin a warm glow which adds to a healthy skin appearance.

6-Red and yellow bell peppers have huge amounts  of vitamin  A and are a great source of vitamin C which creates collagen in the skin to help it stay firm and strong. This can help decrease wrinkles and dry skin as we age.

7-Broccoli is a good source  of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene and sulforaphane. Sulphoraphane is a powerful protector from the sun. Winter sun can be intense when it is reflected off of snow and we tend to use less protection in the cold so nutrition  that assists in protection is an excellent  idea for Winter months.

8-Tomatoes contain all of the major carotenoids and vitamin  C along with lutein and lycopene. Lutein and lycopene also help to protect  your skin from the sun. Pair carotenoid foods with a fat like olive oil to boost absorption  of carotenoids.

9-Soy contains isoflavones which have been shown to improve skin elasticity and moisture and help protect from the sun. Since soy has estrogen-like properties it’s  better suited to women’s  needs.

10-Dark cocoa has been shown to decrease scaliness and roughness of the skin after 6-12 weeks of consumption. While we don’t  advocate eating chocolate with sugar in it, we have chocolate recipes that do not contain sugar. Just search for Lava Cake or Brownies on our Home Page!

11-Green tea has been shown to decrease roughness and improve skin thickness and elasticity. A cup of hot tea on a cold Winter day can do more than warm you.

Use a serum for more supple skin on your face and neck and moisturize with a rich body moisturizer immediately  after bathing and again 12 hours later. This will help to keep your skin soft and supple through the dry Winter months. Never go to bed with make-up on your face because it’s  drying and promotes wrinkles. The already dry Winter air will compound this effect so take it off, Ladies!

You are not destined to rough, red scaly Winter skin. With a little foresight and planning you can emerge in the Spring soft and supple.

Pasta Zero and House Foods Brand Shiratake Noodle Review

One of the toughest foods for many on a weight loss journey to give up is their pasta. Many of us who have lived on tight budgets have made spaghetti such a large part of our subsistence that it is hard to even begin to imagine a life without it. However, eating a spaghetti dinner, or one consisting of any other pastas can cause a huge downfall in our weight management, especially for the carb addicted.

What’s not to love? Pasta is full of simple carbs and is such an excellent carrier of tomato, cream and cheese sauces which are often also loaded up with added sugars. These delicious meals are easy on our budgets and also create an instant endorphin rush as we eat them. Meals high in simple carbohydrates are quite enjoyable, but are the devil for one trying to lose weight. After all, who eats just one serving of spaghetti? I never could…

Having family members who cannot stand the thought of giving up pasta in order to lose weight has been a catalyst for me to find a type that is suitable by not being high in simple carbohydrates. This seems to be an almost impossible task, despite the many which are marketed as lower carb, rice pasta, gluten free pasta, along with others made from black beans and lentils. I have scoured the shelves in all of my local grocery stores to no avail, and then began a search upon the internet to see if there is anything out there to fill the bill of a truly low carb pasta. Enter Pasta Zero.

What is Pasta Zero ?

This food product doesn’t contain any wheat, making it gluten-free. The low calorie spaghetti is made from the root of the konjac plant, which is sometimes called a konnyaku potato. It’s a soluble fiber food that’s packed with calcium, fiber and folic acid. This gluten-free spaghetti also doesn’t contain any fat, egg or dairy. It’s just 15 calories per serving and has a slightly firmer texture than traditional wheat pasta. This pack of noodles pairs deliciously with your favorite pesto, red or white sauces. Each 8 oz Bag of Nasoya Pasta Zero Shirataki Spaghetti is easy to prepare. Simply heat, serve and enjoy. Have this spaghetti along with side dishes and meat for a fulfilling meal. It’s vegan and can be stocked in a cabinet until needed.

Ingredients: WATER, KONJAC FLOUR, CHICKPEA FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, CALCIUM HYDROXIDE, REDUCED IRON.

As you can see from the nutritional information, despite Pasta Zero being very low in carbs and calories, it is not any different than any other pasta as there is almost no nutritional value to the product. The only nutritional plus is there are 3 grams of fiber per serving. Other than that, this product is a nutritionally empty vessel to carry your pasta sauce of choice. While this product is maybe a better choice than regular pasta being as it is not full of simple carbs, I simply do not advocate eating any foods that are lacking nutritional values.

When you first open a bag of Pasta Zero, you will notice a mild earthy smell. I have read reviews where it was reported the odor was a bit fishy, but that was not my experience. Once I drained and rinsed the product as per the instructions, I tasted it plain, without sauce. I found the flavor to be mild and somewhat earthy, but it was not too bad. I then transferred the pasta to a pan and heated it with a tomato basil pasta sauce and plated it. The product looked like any other spaghetti in appearance, some might not know the difference if they are not paying close attention.Once heated, I thought the earthy flavor came through with a bit more prominence, but is was not anything over powering. I honestly cannot think of anything I have ever eaten to compare the flavor too. It tastes different than anything I have ever consumed.

We all have different tastes when it comes to what we like and dislike. You may love this product, you might hate it. I was kind of indifferent in that I would eat it if it was prepared for me by a friend, but I would never go out of my way to buy it again. At $2.28 for a 8 ounce package, the price is steep when compared to regular pasta, yet still cheap per serving when you can have a plate of it with your favorite sauce for under $5.00 If you feel you must have pasta in your life, I would say Pasta Zero is worth trying at least once. While I did not care for it too much, one of my family members thought is was pretty good despite being chewy in texture. Taste is all subjective to the individual.

House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti is almost identical to Pasta Zero with only minor differences. It is made from a blend of tofu and konnyaku (or konjac), an Asian yam, Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti contains 20 calories and only 6g of carbs for the whole package.

Ingredients: water, soybeans, yam flour, calcium hydroxide, glucono delta lactone, calcium sulfate.

Upon opening this product packaging, I found the odor to be no different that that of Pasta Zero. Slightly earthy, but not overwhelming as I had been lead to believe from some of the reviews I have read. I had read that these types of noodles are better with Asian sauces over tomato or cream based sauces and since I had a good spicy peanut sauce recipe in my head, that is how I prepared it.

I found this product to look like regular spaghetti much like Pasta Zero, and the texture had the same chewiness too. The difference was in the flavor. The earthy flavor was a bit much for my personal taste. After consuming about half of what I prepared, I chucked the rest in my garbage disposal. I could eat this to be polite if someone served it to me, but I’m not sure I could pretend to enjoy it. Again, taste is subjective to each individual, you might love them. I found the flavor to be the same as that of Pasta Zero, only it was stronger. The price point was about the same as Pasta Zero at about $2.50 a package. While this is an inexpensive meal choice, to me the cheapness is also reflected in the lack of good nutritional value. I personally believe in making every bite of my food count towards making a positive contribution to my nutritional needs. I find this product to be lacking in this area. While I’m not bursting at the seams to buy either product again, I would recommend going with the Pasta Zero over House Foods brand. But hey, you might just think the opposite.

Remember this about pasta, it releases endorphins in your body which make you feel better in the moment. These two products are not going to do this. If you just have to have pasta in your life but know you need to cut it out in order to control your weight, I would make a comparison to non-alcoholic beer to a serious beer drinker. While an O’Douls might taste kind of good, it will just be enough to get a serious drinker to put it down and go get the alcoholic version which are much better in taste and how they make you feel. Fake pasta is the non-alcoholic beer version of pasta, it is the decaffeinated cup of coffee in the morning that brings no satisfaction to a coffee drinker. You may very well think differently, these are just my opinions. If there was no one who actually liked these products, they would not be found on the shelves of your local grocery store.

Quest Protein Chips Product Review

Nutritional Info

Calories 140

Net Carbs 4 grams

Fat 6 grams

Protein 18 grams

When I first saw this product I was pleasantly surprised because most protein snacks are sweet and this is obviously a savory, salty, crunchy one. I just had to try them. Since these chips have 18 grams of protein and only 4 grams of net carbs, they are a much better choice than regular tortilla chips at only 3 grams of protein and 30 grams of net carbs. While they are not a “health food”, they are definitely a healthier alternative.

At $2.48 per serving most people are not going to binge on these chips. I found them at Walmart in the pharmacy with the protein powders and bars. They come in three flavors in my store, Nacho Cheese, Barbecue and Ranch. I went for the Nacho Cheese because that is probably the most common tortilla chip flavor.

I don’t like Quest brand protein bars so I wasn’t expecting much from these chips. The first bite seemed overly seasoned and salty but I took another chip out of the bag and suddenly, the seasoning was really working for me. They are high in sodium, 340 mg, so naturally they are salty. In mere minutes that bag was gone! I really liked these chips.

If you have had to rehab from binging on chips, leave them alone because they are good enough to get that craving started again and you are not likely to keep paying this price. If you start wanting them all the time, you would most likely go back to the cheaper regular tortilla chips and wreck your weight management efforts. If you are not prone to that particular addiction, you can enjoy these occasionally with ease.

They have a crunch that is similar to a fried flour tortilla, a softer crispy crunch but definitely crunchy and satisfying. They are obviously cheesy with a smoky undertone that reminds me of smoked cheddar, all in all a tasty protein snack.

They are still a processed food so I won’t make them a regular part of my diet but for that late night trip to Walmart without enough calories in me and my stomach getting a bit empty, they filled the gap nicely. Although I won’t buy them often, I’m happy to see a higher quality protein snack for those times when convenience is paramount. If you find yourself wandering the aisles looking for a small snack to tie you over until you get home, you might want to try Quest Protein Chips. The crunch is a delight.

Caulipower Margherita Pizza Review

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Well, I was anxious to try this pizza because it seemed like a good thing. There is no wheat flour in the crust to degrade into sugar, so that is a plus. Compared to Freschetta Margherita Pizza, it is a similar nutritional choice. Caulipower Margherita has 330 calories, 34 Net Grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat and 12 grams of protein while Freschetta Margherita has 370 calories, 46 Net Grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat and 16 grams of protein. The Freschetta serving is 1/4 of the pie while the Caulipower pizza is 1/2. The Caulipower pizza sounds like a lot more , but 1/2 of that pizza is not much because it’s so thin. The addition of cauliflower is probably insignificant when you consider that this is still a highly processed food with a long list of ingredients. At David’s Way we favor whole foods.

The nutritional information is good to know but the truth is that when we reach for a frozen pizza, we are interested in taste and texture. Here’s where we may disagree if you like these pizzas. While there was nothing bad about this pizza, there was nothing good. The crust seemed like an under cooked biscuit that didn’t rise properly because it had a chewy, gummy texture even after cooking until it was quite brown on the bottom. The Margherita flavor is simply a combination of tomato, basil and parmesan cheese. This may be part of the problem for me. It was thin and chewy and seemed like glorified cheese toast. I do like a hearty pizza if I eat pizza, which almost never happens these days. We have a wonderful “Pizza Casserole” recipe here at David’s Way that satisfies me so I don’t venture into fast food for pizza. Again, I prefer whole foods. I could eat the Caulipower pizza but had no reason to eat it except that I was hungry. It was certainly not because I loved it.

At $6.48 it was cheap enough, but I cannot imagine being satisfied with half of that pizza. It was barely an appetizer. Because I am a strength trainer, I am accustomed to being full and satisfied. At David’s Way, we never go hungry except for the minor hunger that we sometimes experience during the fasting hours of Intermittent Fasting. We always have more calories to eat than we can easily manage. This serving of this pizza made me hungry all night long. For 370 calories I could have had a massive amount of whole food with substantial protein that would have sustained me nicely, all night.

If you are a fan of the Margherita flavor and style of pizza, you may like this pizza better than I do. Everyone is different, but for my calories, I will stick with whole foods and our recipes here at David’s Way. Caulipower Margherita is available at Walmart if you want to give it a try.

The Role of Nutrition in Cancer Treatment

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Wisdom

You have heard it said that you are what you eat. While this is a definitive Truth, there is nowhere that this is more important than during cancer treatment. Proper nutrition can have great benefits for those engaged in the fight of their life with cancer.

Stay Strong

Muscle atrophy and malnutrition are common among people who have cancer. Lack of physical activity over an extended period of time along with a decreased appetite causes muscle loss. Plenty of lean protein in the diet will help to prevent this debilitating condition. Without adequate muscle, the patient is at an increased risk for falls and a farther downward spiral of appetite and nutrition because muscle increases your metabolism which drives your appetite. Stay healthier by nourishing your muscles.

The Perfect Storm

It is necessary to restrict added sugar in the diet because added sugar causes inflammation in the body which causes changes in DNA and can lead to cancer development. The excess calories from sugar are used to rapidly create more cells and every time we make a new cell there is a chance for the DNA code to be faulty. Sugar also increases fat cells and when those fat cells are stored as visceral fat which surrounds our vital organs, our hormone levels are affected in a way that influences when cells divide and die. Visceral fat also exists in a low oxygen state due to it’s compact storage deep within the body. Cancer thrives in a low oxygen state so the extra visceral fat gained by the excess calories from sugar greatly increases the risk of cancer development and proliferation. Obesity is a known contributor to cancer risk.

Incriminating Evidence

At David’s Way we encourage a low carbohydrate diet with no added sugar or simple carbs which break down into sugar. A study of tumor growth in glucose based diets as opposed to a low carb, or ketogenic diet, revealed that tumor growth INCREASED by 32% in people on the glucose based diet but DECREASED by 24% in those on the ketogenic diet. While one study is not definitive, the results cannot be ignored. (1)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats along with the lean protein may also decrease the chances of forming new cancer cells due to the phytonutrients and fatty acids abundant in these foods. Fatty acids are also believed to help preserve muscle mass and function in cancer patients during treatment. Processed meats, all refined carbs, salt and alcohol may increase your risk of cancer. At David’s Way we promote these healthy foods and avoid the cancer causing foods that are believed to increase the risk of the development and proliferation of cancer cells. Visit often and read our articles and use our recipes. We’re here to answer your questions and encourage you on your journey to better health.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cancer-and-diet#bottom-line