Category Archives: Health

My Mom Was Feeling Run Down

My mom is not the type of person to stay inactive for very long. She may be in her 70s, but age has not slowed her down at all. If anything, she is more active in some ways. When I went to visit her not long ago, she was actually taking a nap. I was surprised because I had never known her to do that other than when she is sick, which she assured me she was not. I had been trying to get her to see my chiropractor in San Rafael for some time, because I knew what a difference he had made in my own life.

She was very resistant though, mostly because she just was not familiar with what they could do. When she told me she was feeling run down and low on energy, I knew that one of two things was probably going on.

Protein Foods that Fight Disease & Boost Weight Loss

1. Natto

Natto is a type of fermented soybean consumed most often in Japan. At 31 grams of protein in one cup, you can probably see why it ranked No. 1 on my list. It’s also a complete protein.

While I don’t recommend most soy products to my readers (due to the high prevalence of GMO options and phytoestrogen complications), natto is a fermented soy product that I think is worth the hype.

The smell and texture of natto often turn off people to trying it, but I enjoy the taste and don’t mind using it as a side dish — especially with all the benefits it provides.

2. Spirulina

This algae superfood looks a little bizarre, but this plant protein powerhouse has some unbelievable benefits, like heavy metal detox, HIV/AIDS improvement and cancer prevention.

While not a complete protein on its own, spirulina has a whopping 39 grams of protein in just a serving (part of why it’s a delicious part of a morning green smoothie). To supplement the methionine and cysteine it’s missing, just pair it with a whole grain or some nuts.

Spirulina also includes the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food. Glutamine is an amino acid that is called “conditionally essential,” because the body is able to create it on its own, but it’s used in such large amounts that you also need to consume it through foods. (8)

3. Tempeh

Another one of the world’s best plant-based protein sources is tempeh, an Indonesian soybean. Like natto, this probiotic-rich bean is fermented to eliminate the common issues soy often provides.

You’ll get 18 grams of protein in a serving of this complete protein. Some people boil and eat it with soy sauce or coconut aminos, and since it absorbs neighboring flavors, you can use it with almost any recipe. Try it in chilis, salads and stews for a start.

4. Nutritional Yeast

Don’t let the name fool you — this yeast isn’t the same stuff that helps to bake bread. Nutritional yeast only contains about 9 grams of protein per serving; however, unlike almost any other plant food, it usually includes fortified Vitamin B-12.

Generally, you should treat nutritional yeast like a condiment or an ingredient in cheesy dishes or as a shake ingredient.

5. Pumpkin Seeds

A cup of pumpkin seeds contains 12 grams of protein. (9) Another complete protein source, pumpkin seeds are high in healthy fats, magnesium, lysine and zinc (the latter two of which are often limited on plant-based diets).

However, a word of caution: if you are counting calories (which I don’t often deem necessary), you should know that a cup of pumpkin seeds contains 264 calories.

6. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving, and are also complete in their amino acid profile. They contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is probably one reason they have so many health benefits, like reducing inflammation and helping with multiple sclerosis.

7. Amaranth

A gluten-free “ancient-grain” cultivated first in history by the Aztecs, amaranth grains are an excellent source of nutrition. Amaranth is a complete protein, offering 9 grams per serving, and also contains over 100 percent of your daily recommended manganeseintake.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa is another one of those incredible “ancient grains,” although it’s technically not a grain at all, but a “pseudocereal,” a seed that you use similarly to barley.

Due to its 8 grams of protein per serving, complete inclusion of amino acids and relative ease of access, quinoa is one of my favorite plant-based protein foods to eat often.

9. Black Beans

Although black beans are short just one amino acid (hydroxyproline) of being called “complete,” they still offer an awesome source of protein at 15 grams per serving.

They also contain a large amount of lysine and leucine, two of the amino acids rarely found in plant-based protein foods. (10) Leucine is the primary of three branched-chain amino acids, which is extremely significant for weight loss and metabolism management.

10. Green Peas

Apparently, your mom was right when she said eating your peas was important — green peas have 9 grams of protein per serving and include significant amounts of leucine, lysine and glutamine. (11)

They’re also one of those high-fiber foods that help decrease your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Plant-Based Protein Nutrition

A major question people ask when considering plant-based dietary options is, “How will I get protein? Will I ever have enough?”

While kwashiorkor, the medical diagnosis for protein malnutrition, is rarely seen in first-world countries, it is common for people on the Standard American Diet to experience protein deficiency because of the prevalence of processed, empty foods.

As long as you take time to be intentional, as I said before, about your protein intake, you should be able to consume enough protein from plant-based foods.

However, if you start to notice you have trouble building muscle mass, constant fatigue, moodiness, bone/joint pain, slow wound healing or a low immunity, you should consult your doctor immediately to check your protein levels.

It’s okay that plant-based foods don’t all contain “complete” proteins, as long as you are careful to eat a variety of foods to fill in any potential gaps in amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids in proteins, 10 of which humans can produce on our own. The remaining 10 (or 9, for adults) are considered “essential” because our only source for them is through our diet. It’s not vital to have every single one of the 20 at each meal, but consuming a good variety of all of these amino acids throughout the day will help you achieve optimal health. (35)

Plant-based protein nutrition can, contrary to popular belief, also provide satiety, that full feeling at the end of a meal. Specifically, “dietary pulses” (beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils) have a potential to really help you feel full. (36)

Keeping in mind the vast benefits of plant-based protein foods, there are a few nutrients that plant-based nutrition simply does not provide in large quantities.

For one, the amino acid leucine, which triggers muscle growth, is not often found in most plant foods. (37) However, there’s a ton of it in spirulina, watercress and alfalfa seeds, so adding those to your regular diet can help, especially if you’re trying to build a lot of muscle. (38)

Plant-based proteins almost never contain Vitamin B-12. Because of this, it’s vital for vegans in particular to supplement their diet with an organic Vitamin B-12 or B-complex. Studies also recommend vegetarians be regularly screened for B-12 deficiency. (39)

The three exceptions to that B-12 rule are nutritional yeast, soy products (which I do not recommend) and nori seaweed, found in sushi wraps. (40) Nori has 9 percent of your required B-12 each day per serving, so even if you eat sushi every day, you’ll still need an additional supplement.

Lastly, vegans and vegetarians usually do not consume enough ALA or EPA, both omega-3 fatty acids found in fish that help to prevent heart disease. (41) For vegetarians, you may want to try a fish oil supplement. If you strictly consume only plant-based items, you should look into algal oil for these nutrients, although they are not available in the same quantities as fish oil would provide.

The good news is that plant-based proteins are great for your health. For most conditions and dietary changes, one of the first things I recommend is to start eating more protein-rich plant foods, because they offer a host of benefits, whether they make up a large portion or the entirety of your diet. Plant-based proteins have a ton of vitamins and minerals that are essential to bodily functions and longevity

Killing Lyme Disease Better than Standard Antibiotics,

Stevia kills Lyme disease? While it sounds too good to be true, there is legitimate evidence suggesting a beneficial stevia side effect could include killing Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease. Here, we’ll dive in to the University of New Haven study that opened our eyes to the stevia herb’s possible Lyme-killing properties, what’s happened since that study’s release in 2015 and if it’s too soon to recommend stevia as a Lyme treatment in humans.

Lyme is a stealthy infection, commonly called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms often mimic other ailments like thyroid disease, lupus, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Complicating matters, most doctors’ offices rely on the ELISA test when Lyme is first suspected, even though some studies indicate the test misses up to 50 percent of Lyme cases. Most people never recall a tick bite or see Lyme’s telltale bull’s eye rash, either. Now, if you are a Lyme patient who actually is properly diagnosed, getting effective treatment is a challenge, too. According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, no study has ever shown that a short course of antibiotics effectively treats the infection. (1)

Clearly, we need better options. A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology suggests we may need to shift our focus from antibiotics to plant extracts. While more research is needed in humans, I think you’ll be encouraged by the latest findings.

Lyme disease symptoms sometimes don’t go away with standard two- to four-week treatment of doxycycline or amoxicillin. University of New Haven researchers may be on to something more plant-based, though. The team found that exposing B. burgdorferi to stevia leaf extract wiped out Lyme disease in its different forms. (Yes, we’re talking about the liquid sweetener, stevia, which is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.) Those different forms include B. burgdorferi spirochetes, spheroplast (L-form), round bodies and the notoriously hard-to-kill biofilm forms. If you haven’t caught on yet, Lyme is a complex pathogen.

But why so many forms? It’s for survival. We know Borrelia shift into a more dormant, “round body” state when unfavorable conditions in the body strike. This even includes when your body’s immune system starts to mount an attack. Other things that trigger the Lyme pathogen to go into a more dormant, defensive mode include:

  • Antibiotic exposure
  • Temperature changes
  • High (or low) pH
  • Starvation
  • An attacking immune system

Some scientists say Lyme’s “biofilm” form is its most elusive. It’s in this form where the bacteria hide themselves in a complex mixture for protection against antibiotics. But the study found stevia leaf extract actually killed all forms of the Lyme germ, including its biofilm form.

It’s important to note that this was a lab study where scientists dealt with the bacteria in test tube and petri dish situations, so we need to follow up with studies in humans to see if stevia effectively kills Lyme in humans. In other words, we need clinical trials. (More on that later.)

Other important points of the stevia kills Lyme disease study: (2)

  • Researchers used four types of stevia: three in liquid form derived from standard alcohol extraction and one powdered. The powdered stevia diluted in liquid did notshow promise in killing off Lyme, but the alcohol extracted stevia samples did.
  • Stevia leaf extract outperformed individual drugs often used to treat Lyme disease (doxycycline, cefoperazone, daptomycin, and their combinations).
  • Interestingly, a week after treatment, viable B. burgdorferi started to surface again in the antibiotic groups. This did not happen in the stevia group, which appeared to be a complete kill off after seven days.
  • The biofilm associated with Lyme actually increased in size with individual antibiotic treatment. Not good!

If stevia kills Lyme disease, can we officially translate that into stevia acting as medicine in the human body? We’re not at a stage where we can prescribe whole leaf, liquid stevia extract to treat Lyme disease, but that’s not to say you have to avoid it in your diet.

Stevia also boasts blood sugar balance, weight loss and even anticancer properties. (3, 4, 5) While the University of New Haven Lyme study focused on stevia in alcohol-extracted, liquid form, I like to enjoy it in green powder form, too, since that is how people in Japan and South American have used it for centuries as a plant-based sweetener that doesn’t spike blood sugar levels and as a medicinal plant.

Just remember, the overly processed, white powdered form used in the study is popular among shoppers today, but it didn’t show any Lyme-fighting effects. In fact, there’s an interesting backstory to the highly processed powder forms of stevia. That’s the only type the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will give the the “generally recognized as safe” stamp of approval to, despite the fact it’s chemically processed, contains genetically modified ingredients and only often contains minute traces of actual stevia. (6)

The whole leaf stevia extracted with alcohol are considered dietary supplements, so you should go over any medications you’re on to make sure there are no possible interactions.

Today, University of New Haven researchers are still investigating liquid stevia leaf extract’s impact on Lyme. According to the New Haven Register, professor Eva Sapi, Ph.D, and students performed confirmation studies after the 2015 study. Time and time again, stevia emerges as a Lyme fighter. She told the New Haven Register, “So far, we haven’t seen anything better,” including all the antibiotics most commonly used.

The article explains that Sapi dealt with Lyme herself and started testing all different types of sweeteners after hearing sugar may boost certain antibiotics. From her earliest experiments, liquid stevia extract jumped out as a possible Lyme fighter. Today, she’s waiting to learn the results of a clinical trial involving stevia and antibiotics in New York. (7)

Whether fasting can lose weight?

Alternate Day Fasting vs. Intermittent Fasting (or Time-Restricted Eating)

Technically, alternate day fasting is just another type of intermittent fasting. The most popular type of intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating (TRE). When you follow TRE, you limit your eating to a certain window of time — perhaps 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. — and refrain from eating the rest of the time. Using this example, your fasting time would be 18 hours a day.

Time-restricted eating seems to seriously affect the hormone levels that regulate our metabolism, blood sugar and fat-burning — in a good way, and it’s often combined with a ketogenic diet to affect significant weight loss. See, our bodies prefer working on a regular, clock-like schedule to maintain necessarily bodily functions. When you spend the day grazing through meals and snacks, it’s not really sure what’s happening: Will you be eating again in a few hours, or can it get started on the necessary repairs and maintenance?

But when you’re practicing time-restricted eating, the body learns that it’s on a schedule and that it can maximize those fasting hours to get stuff done. The results are higher fat burning, lower levels of inflammation (which is at the root of most diseases!) and more stable blood sugar levels, which can decrease your risk of diabetes. (2)

Best of all, when it comes to TRE, it’s less about what you eat than when you eat it. This doesn’t mean, of course, that during eating hours, you should go to town on potato chips and fast food. Whole foods, like quality proteins, healthy fats (yes, coconut oil is still healthy), fruits and veggies will always help your body perform best, no matter what eating plan you’re on. But it does mean that the occasional indulgence or cheese splurge won’t set you back the way it might in a strict, calorie-reduced diet.

For some people, however, alternate day fasting might feel like the best option. Let’s take a look at what makes alternate day fasting effective for some people — and why it might not always be the right choice.

Pros & Cons of Alternate Day Fasting

Pros

1. Alternate day fasting will help you lose weight. If your main goal with alternate day fasting is to lose weight, there’s no denying that this method is effective.

Though several studies have found that while there’s no major difference between restricting calories and alternate day fasting for shedding pounds, ADF seems to have the leg up when it comes to reducing fat mass over strict calorie reduction. (3, 4) This can be especially beneficial for obese individuals.

2. Alternate day fasting can help prevent chronic diseases. A fascinating review of human and animal trials focused on alternate day fasting found that ADF can be a powerful weapon in preventing chronic disease like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. (5)

In animals, ADF leads to lower rates of diabetes and lower glucose and insulin concentrations. In humans, ADF suggests higher “good” cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. And in animals again, alternate day fasting reduced the rate of lymphoma, increased survival times after tumors and lowered the multiplication rate of cancerous cells. This all suggests that ADF might actually temper cancer risk factors. While more studies are required in humans, these initial findings are really positive.

3. Alternate day fasting might be easier to follow … Let’s face it: dieting is tough. Counting calories, figuring out what you’re “allowed” to eat, juggling social commitments with a calorie-restricted eating plan — it’s enough to make you throw in the towel. For some people, that’s the beauty of alternate day fasting. It takes a lot of the guesswork around dieting out of the picture with really simple guidelines: eat minimal calories on fasting days, whatever you want within your caloric range on non-fasting days.

Cons

4. … but alternate day fasting can be hard to commit to long-term. One of the most interesting pieces out of the recent study is that the alternate day-fasting group had a higher dropout rate than those restricting calories.

Of those who stuck it out for the entire duration, there were also more “slip-ups” than the calorie-restricted group. The ADF subjects tended to eat more than the recommended calories on their non-fasting days.

Another study points to the fact that, for people on alternate day fasting diets, hunger on fasting days doesn’t seem to recede and could actually be detrimental to sticking to an ADF plan for a long period of time. (6) If losing weight quickly is your goal, ADF can definitely help but if you want a way of eating that you can sustain for a long period of time, that might not be it.

5. You might be too tired to hit the gym. It’s a myth that exercise is key for weight loss. But while abs are absolutely made in the kitchen, working out comes with its own health benefits — and you might be likelier to miss them if you’re hungry and tired from an alternate day fast.


Precautions

If you’re considering an alternate day fast eating plan, it’s important to speak with your doctor, particularly if you’re on medications that need to be taken with food.

You also might find it helpful to come up with a menu for your eating days to help you stay on track with your caloric needs without binge eating, which can derail your weight loss efforts.

Finally, on fasting days, if you find yourself unable to think about anything other than food or feel extreme hunger, it’s best to eat a small meal. While eventually you might “train” your body to get by without much fuel on those days, especially in the early stages, it’s important to ease into this new method of eating without putting too much stress (both mental and physical) on yourself.

Chemicals in Mac and Cheese

The coalition sent 30 U.S. purchased, unopened mac and cheese packages to an independent lab. Nine of those included products from the market leader in packaged mac and cheese. The report did not name all of the brands in the study, but focused on this particular cheese product because researchers recently identified diary as the No. 1 food source of phthalates.

Here are the major takeaways of the chemicals-in-mac-and-cheese testing:

  • These packaged mac and cheese products are laden with phthalates.
  • Lab testing confirmed 10 different phthalates in the samples.
  • One single product even tested positive for six different phthalates.
  • 89 percent of the market-leading products tested contained phthalates.
  • Phthalates levels were about four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder compared to cheese in other forms, like natural cheese in block form.
  • All 10 cheese powders contained toxic DEHP, one of the most harmful phthalates that’s banned in countries around the world.
  • DEHP accounted for nearly 60 percent of all phthalates found in the cheese product items that were tested. (2)

The eye-opening report highlights the need for food manufacturers to test products for phthalate contamination — and figure out how to get it out of the food system.

Phthalates are ubiquitous in the dairy products we use. They can migrate into food at several points between the field and your plate, including during processing, packaging and prep. Think about dairy in general. There are lots of plastic tubes used to harvest the cow’s milk. Phthalate contamination in food can come from:

  • Inks on packaging
  • Tubing & hoses
  • Plastics & gloves
  • Adhesives, seals & gaskets
  • Coatings

Dangers of Chemicals in Mac and Cheese

Phthalates do the most damage when pregnant women and young children are exposed in certain amounts during critical windows of development. And it doesn’t take a lot. Our delicate hormones operate in the parts per billion range, and many exposures are powerful enough to interfere with that.

For most Americans, the diet is the single biggest source of phthalates. Researchers looked at cheese because one review study identified dairy as the largest source of food-based phthalate exposure. (3)

This is significant, since U.S. scientists estimate 725,000 American women of childbearing age could be exposed to phthalates at levels that could disrupt healthy development of their babies. (4) According to Charlotte Brody, RN, National Director of Healthy Babies Bright Futures:

Studies repeatedly show that these endocrine-disruptors may harm developing brains. Scientists say there are no known safe levels of phthalates for vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and young children.

Here are some of the health risks associated with phthalate exposure:

  • Abnormal thyroid function
  • Developmental problems
  • Testicular cancer
  • Abnormal sperm function
  • Infertility
  • Unhealthy sex hormone function
  • Abnormal infant sex hormones
  • Endometriosis (5)
  • Heart disease & diabetes (6)

Phthalates were banned from children’s teething rings a decade ago, yet the FDA still allowed the contamination to take place in food. That’s despite a petition from environmental and food safety groups urging FDA to get phthalates out of  food processing and packaging.

These chemicals are still legal in food even though scientists show their testosterone-blocking properties. This actually impacts the male fetus’ reproductive organ development, which can lead to cascading effects for decades into his life. A doctor interviewed by the New York Times says these hormonal changes can lead to “changes in the area of the brain that are important for sex differences between men and women.” (7)

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging says the market leader agreed to review the test results.

How to Avoid Chemicals in Mac and Cheese & Beyond

Phthalates are detected in the urine of most Americans, so until meaningful changes are made in food manufacturing, it’s going to be impossible to avoid all exposures. But there are major things you can do to drastically lower your exposure to not just chemicals in mac and cheese, but phthalates lurking elsewhere, too.

Avoid these things to reduce exposure:

  • Avoid processed foods as much as possible. If you’re craving comfort food, try my cauliflower mac and cheese recipe to avoid those shady powdered cheese mixes.
  • Eat a more organic, plant-based diet. Phthalates levels are higher in animal-derived foods products. (8)
  • Avoid artificial fragrances. Choose unscented instead or use appropriate organic, therapeutic-grade pure essential oils
  • Avoid air freshener sprays, plug-ins and melts.
  • Stop burning scented candles. Choose beeswax instead.
  • Avoid storing or heating your foods and drinks in plastic. Use glass or food-grade stainless steel instead.
  • Beware of the dangers of fracking. Phthalate contamination is documented through fracking wastewater spills

Plyometric exercise to keep your body fit

Plyometrics is a term coined by former U.S. Olympic long-distance runner, Fred Wilt and Michael Yessis, a biochemist, sports trainer and academic in 1975. While Wilt was warming up, he noticed that the Russians included different jumps into their warm-ups prior to competing. This was in stark contrast to the Americans, who warmed up with static stretching. Wilt theorized that one of the reasons the Soviets were so competitive was because of the plyometric exercises they had practiced and perfected.

Over the next few years, Wilt and Yessis would continue their work in the sport of track and field and more specifically, running. And with the help of Yuri Verkhoshansky, a fellow biochemist and sports trainer out of the Soviet Union, the pair eventually brought this information to the masses in 1984 with their first book, “Soviet Theory, Technique and Training for Running and Hurdling.” But why did Wilt and Yessis seek out Verkhoshanksy? Because of his work with the depth jump, also know as the shock method.

The depth jump is a tested plyometric exercise, which starts an athlete on a box of a chosen height. They jump off the box, quickly rebound and jump as high as possible. In Verkhoshanksy’s 1968 work in which he describes the shock method, he concluded that, “the height of the vertical jump was highest when the athlete performed it immediately after landing from a drop height of 50 cm (20 inches).” It would take 16 years before Verkhoshanksy’s connected the dots between the depth jump and athletic performance.

In 1986, he conducted a 12-week study in which he tested whether the shock method would increase explosive strength in volleyball players. He concluded that not only was explosive strength significantly improved over the course of the study but that maximal strength in isometric movements was improved as well. (01) And so began the use of plyometrics in athletic training.

But, why are plyometric exercises so important? Why should we care about creating plyometrics workouts? It lies in the mechanics of the vertical jump.

The mechanics of the vertical jump, as stated by a 1998 study lead by Brian R. Umberger of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, lies in the structure of the two joint muscle. The idea is that muscles that span two joints — i.e. the quads, hamstrings and calves — transfer their energy during a vertical jump to create a highly coordinated sequence of muscle actions to produce this specific movement. (02)

Because of this, the vertical jump can be a useful indicator of lower limb power, muscle recruitment and coordination for many athletes. Not only is it a great test for athletes, but it is also a great training tool to develop that explosive power and athletic coordination. And it’s for these reasons that plyometric training is so important not only for elite-level athletes but for the general population a

 4 Benefits of Plyometrics

1. Increased Agility

Plyometric training recruits the major muscles of the legs in a specific sequence. This sequence generates explosiveness, lower limb power and increases overall agility. (03)

This is important because agility is functional. Have you ever tripped on a curb or on your shoelace? Agility is the difference between just tripping and falling on your face. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines agility as “a state of being agile; marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.” And one of the best ways to improve your dexterity is through plyometrics.

2. It’s a Great Way to Mix Up Your Training

Do you ever feel like you’re in a training rut? Do you feel like you’ve plateaued and aren’t seeing the same improvements in your strength and stamina as when you started?

The body will adapt to the stress and stimulus you introduce to it. This principle is called the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands or SAID. If you don’t continue to challenge your body in new ways, your performance will become static and unchanging. Introducing new movements and greater challenges keeps your mind engaged and your body agile.

3. Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Yes, plyometric training is considered a cardio workout, plus it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness because of the recruitment of the major muscle groups during each exercise. This along with varying the intensity and speed of each movement elicits the same response as running or rowing in increasing your heart rate. (04)

4. Increased Proprioception

Proprioception is a fancy word for your mind understanding where your body is in space in relation to other objects. The mind senses the world around us and tells the body how to respond in an efficient and effective manner. This connection, just like anything else, can be strengthen and trained.

By including plyometrics into your training routine, you teach yourself how to move more efficiently through space by increasing your reaction time, smoothing out your footwork and developing a greater awareness of yourself in space.


Top Plyometric Exercises

This list of plyometric exercises only includes some of the most common exercises you’ll see in general fitness programs or classes. The overall list is long and all exercises include some form of dynamic movement or jump training.

Whether you are looking for specific plyometric exercises for runners or beginners or new movements to include in your weekly training routine, these 10 plyo exercises are simple, require little equipment and are scalable to any population. Try adding one of these exercises to your next workout and feel the difference!

  • Box jumps
  • Box squat to box jump
  • Squat jumps
  • Toe taps
  • Jumping pushups
  • Lateral jumps
  • Jumping lunges
  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Plank jumping jacks

My Plyometric Workout

Plyometric exercises can be incorporated into your workouts in a multitude of ways. You can add a single movements as a superset by alternating between a weighted movement like a front squat or weighted lunge and a box jump. Or you can create longer plyometric circuits with 3–5 movements that creates one long workout.

What is a plyometric circuit? This type of workout takes multiple exercises and creates a series of movements to be completed one after the other. Time domains, rep schemes and movements can vary depending on your goals and current fitness level. But the great thing about circuit training is that it allow you to mix up your training, rest between movements and work your entire body or just a group of muscles so you never hit that dreaded plateau. (05)

Want to give it a try? This circuit is short and sweet and can be done for a single round or for multiple rounds depending on your fitness level and time restrictions. Before you start, make sure you warm-up properly before diving into this plyometric focused workout.

Precautions

As with any fitness regime or modality, there are some precautions we want to acknowledge before diving into plyometric training.

1. Focus on precision and technique

Jump training should be graceful, smooth and light on your feet. Focus on landing onto the box or floor during any jumping movement lightly and with precision. Because of the dynamic nature of this movement, learning to land comfortably on your feet in the same position you started will help you prevent injuries and help you capture the benefits of this movement.

So what is a good landing position? You should land with your feet hips distance apart. Your knees should be bent to allow your shoulders to stack vertically over the center of your feet. (06)

2. Warm-up thoroughly before training begins

Before performing your workout, it is a critical that your muscles, heart and mind are ready to move. (07) Start by moving your whole body either by running, rowing or walking up stairs for up to 5 minutes. Then, move to dynamic stretches to increase your range of motion and then to muscle activation to make sure your muscles are firing correctly. Warm-ups are a great way to increase your performance and help prevent injuries for all plyometric exercises.

3. Don’t forget to rest!

When you first start to use plyometric boxes or add plyometric exercises to your routine, it’s critical that you not only rest between exercises to allow your body to adapt and prevent over use injuries but that you also take days off from this type of training. In as little as 2 training sessions a week, an athlete can improve their agility and athletic performance. (08)

Plyometric training is an incredible way to improve athletic performance and fitness through increased power, agility and speed. This type of training can be a great addition to any fitness program with the proper dose and a focus on form and techniqu

Causes and symptoms of hepatitis b and its natural treatments

Hepatitis B is caused by a viral infection. The virus can survive outside of the body for at least seven days. During this time, it can infect a person if it enters his or her body. It can be detected within 30 to 60 days after infection. It can persist and develop into chronic hepatitis B, especially if someone is infected at a young age.

It can be transmitted or spread in several ways, including (8):

  • Perinatal transmission: One of the most common ways that it spreads in endemic areas is by transmission from mother to child at birth.
  • Exposure to infected blood: Another common cause of hepatitis B is exposure to infected blood. Transmission from an infected child to an uninfected child during the first 5 years of life is especially common. Some scenarios that put a person at risk of transmitting the virus through exposure to blood include sharing razors, toothbrushes or any sharp instruments with an infected person. If infected blood comes into contact with open sores of an uninfected person, this can spread hepatitis B.
  • Sexual transmission: Sexual transmission of hepatitis B occurs when the body fluids, such as semen or vaginal secretions, of an infected person enter the body of an uninfected person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, hepatitis B most commonly spreads through sexual transmission, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of all acute hepatitis B cases. People with multiple sex partners or men who have sex with men are the most at risk of transmitting hepatitis B through sexual exposure. (9)
  • Needle sharing: The reuse of needles and syringes can transmit hepatitis B. This can happen in a health care setting or among people who inject drugs. It can also spread through instruments contaminated with blood used in tattooing or medical procedures.

Anyone can get hepatitis B. But some people are at a greater risk of exposure to the virus. This includes people who:

  • have multiple sex partners
  • inject drugs or share needles
  • have spent time in prison
  • live with or have close contact with a person with chronic hepatitis B
  • are exposed to blood at work (such as health care workers)
  • are hemodialysis patients
  • travel to countries with a high hepatitis B

Conventional Treatment

Because the symptoms of hepatitis B are similar to those of other viral infections, an accurate diagnosis should be made with a blood test that detects the hepatitis B surface antigen HBsAg. If the presence of HBsAg persists for at least six months, this serves as a principal marker of risk for developing liver disease later in life. During the initial phase of the infection, patients will test positive for HBeAg, an antigen that indicates that the blood and body fluids of the infected person are highly infectious.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. But for people with chronic hepatitis B, antiviral agents are usually prescribed to slow the progression of liver disease and reduce the incidence of liver cancer. Some of the most common medications used by patients with chronic hepatitis B are tenofovir and entecavir, which are used to suppress the virus. These drugs don’t cure most people. But they do help by suppressing the replication of the hepatitis B virus and therefore reduce the risk of developing life-threatening liver conditions. Many people with chronic hepatitis B have to stay on these medications for the rest of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccine can be used to prevent the possibility of infection with the hepatitis B virus. WHO recommends that “all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours … The birth dose should be followed by 2 or 3 doses to complete the primary series.” WHO also indicates that the low incidence of chronic hepatitis B cases in children under the age of 5 is due to the widespread use of hepatitis B vaccine. And the vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic liver conditions due to the infection. The CDC reports that since 1991, the rates of acute hepatitis B in the U.S. have declined by approximately 82 percent. The vaccine lasts for 20 years. It’s probably lifelong, so you don’t need a booster vaccination. (10, 11)

It’s important to note that yeast is used when making the hepatitis B vaccine. So anyone allergic to yeast should not receive it. The vaccine also isn’t recommended for people who have had serious allergic reactions to a prior dose of the vaccine.

To protect infants from getting hepatitis B from his or her infected mother, the CDC recommends that the infant receive a shot called Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Then the infant should receive two to three additional shots to finish the series within six months. Precautions should be taken with infants of infected mothers because they have a 90 percent chance of developing chronic hepatitis B if the infection isn’t treated properly. (12)


5  Natural Treatments to Manage Hepatitis B Symptoms

1. Eat a Healthy & Well Balanced Diet

One of the most important ways for a person with hepatitis B to live a longer, healthier life is to focus on maintaining an adequate nutritional balance with a whole foods and anti-inflammatory diet. Eating foods that contain chlorophyll can also be beneficial for reducing oxidative stress and liver damage. Some of the most beneficial, detoxifying, liver-cleansing and cancer-fighting foods include (13, 14):

  • leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens and romaine lettuce
  • cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts
  • root vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash
  • fresh fruit, especially blueberries, strawberries, goji berries and citrus fruits
  • fresh herbs, like basil, parsley, oregano and ginger
  • organic meat and wild-caught fish
  • grass-fed cattle or chicken liver
  • probiotic dairy, like kefir, cottage cheese and yogurt
  • nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds
  • unrefined oils, such as healthy coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil

Some common symptoms of acute hepatitis B are nausea and vomiting. It may be helpful to eat a more substantial breakfast. Then keep your lunch and dinner on the lighter side if you experience an upset stomach. You can also add 1–2 drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water to help get rid of nausea naturally. To be sure that you’re getting adequate nutrients and fluids, try fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies instead of heavier meals. This will be easier for you to digest and using immune-boosting ingredients will help you to recover.

2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods and Drinks

To help prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus and ease the symptoms of an acute infection, avoid consuming foods and drinks that increase inflammation. This includes sugar, refined oils, refined carbohydrates, conventional dairy products and farm-raised meats. Try not to eat processed foods that typically contain refined ingredients and additives. It’s also very important to avoid drinking alcohol or using over-the-counter drugs, especially acetaminophen. They can worsen liver damage, which is a concern for people with hepatitis B. (15)

3. Stay Hydrated

Vomiting is a common symptom of hepatitis B, which can cause dehydration. You need to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day so that you don’t become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Have at least an 8-ounce glass with every meal and water between meals, too. Drinking fresh fruit and veggie juices can be helpful. So can consuming bone broth, which is full of essential nutrients that will boost your immune system and help you to fight the virus. Instead of turning to sports drinks that are full of sugar and artificial flavors, drink coconut water, which will help you to avoid an electrolyte imbalance.

4. Reduce Stress

To help relieve hepatitis B symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus, you have to reduce stress levels and take it easy. Don’t engage in strenuous activities, especially if you are feeling tired and low energy. Allow your body to rest. Try some natural stress relievers, like taking a short walk outside, doing some gentle yoga. Take a warm bath or read an uplifting book. Another easy way to reduce stress and bring on feelings of peace is to diffuse lavender essential oil at home or work. If you don’t have a diffuser, just tub 1–2 drops of lavender oil into your temples or inhale it directly from the bottle.

5. Try Milk Thistle

Milk thistle benefits and supports the liver. It’s a powerful detoxifier. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing bodily toxins that are processed through the liver. The silymarin found in milk thistle acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical production and oxidative stress. It even acts as a toxin blockade agent that inhibits the binding of toxins in liver cells. Research on milk thistle shows it can be used to treat acute and chronic viral hepatitis and liver disease

Mediterranean style diet

Meals from the sunny Mediterranean have been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life, along with a reduced risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.Now you can add lowering your risk for dementia to the ever growing list of reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet or one of its dietary cousins.

New research being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in London this week found healthy older adults who followed the Mediterranean or the similar MIND diet lowered their risk of dementia by a third.
“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging,” said lead author Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.
McEvoy stressed that because the study was conducted in a nationally representative older population “the findings are relevant to the general public.”
“While 35% is a greater than expected decrease for a lifestyle choice, I am not surprised,” said Rudolph Tanzi, who directs the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and recently co-authored a book with Deepak Chopra on genes and aging called “Super Genes.”
“The activity of our genes is highly dependent on four main factors: diet, exercise, sleep and stress management,” said Tanzi, who was not involved in the study. “Of these, perhaps diet is most important
inRead invented by Teads
Eating the Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life
McEvoy’s study investigated at the eating habits of nearly 6,000 older Americans with an average age of 68. After adjusting for age, gender, race, low educational attainment and lifestyle and health issues — such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, smoking and physical inactivity — researchers found that those who followed the MIND or Mediterranean diet had a 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment.
The more people stayed on those diets, said McEvoy, the better they functioned cognitively.
Those who marginally followed the diet also benefited, but by a much smaller margin. They were 18% less likely to exhibit signs of cognitive impairment.
What are the Mediterranean and MIND diets?
Forget lasagne, pizza, spanakopita and lamb souvlaki — they are not on the daily menu of those who live by the sunny Mediterranean seaside.
The true diet is simple, plant-based cooking, with the majority of each meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a few nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra virgin olive oil. Say goodbye to refined sugar or flour and fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are consumed rarely, if at all.
Meat can make a rare appearance, but usually only to flavor a dish. Instead, meals may include eggs, dairy and poultry, but in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet. Fish, however, are a staple.
The MIND diet takes the best brain foods of the Mediterranean diet and the famous salt-reducing DASH diet, and puts them together. MIND encourages a focus on eating from 10 healthy food groups while rejecting foods from five unhealthy groups.
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, with DASH standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
MIND was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center in the US.
Those who follow MIND reject butter and stick margarine, red meats, cheeses, fried or fast food and sweets. Instead, they eat at least six servings a week of green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, and at least one serving a day of another vegetable. Three servings a day of whole grains are a must.
They also add in at least three servings of beans, two or more servings of berries, two servings of chicken or turkey, and once serving of fish each week. Olive oil is their main cooking ingredient, and they drink a glass of wine a day.

Physical Therapy Helps Ankylosing Spondylitis

Even though medications provide much relief from AS symptoms and could even slow down its progression, physical therapy can be a valuable part of your ankylosing spondylitis care. Physical therapy components, like stretching, exercise, improving posture, and even strategies such as selecting the right mattress and workplace chair, focus in on your specific needs to improve your quality of life.

Since ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects your spine and functions associated with your spine, using the supporting modalities make sense, says rheumatologist Daniel Clegg, MD, chief of the division of rheumatology the University of Utah Healthcare in Salt Lake City. “Physical therapy for range of motion and posture are really important, because if you aren’t in a good posture and have the unfortunate outcome of fusing in that position, that can be even more debilitating.” Physical therapy can help maintain your quality of life, adds Dr. Clegg.

Romanian researchers screening nearly 100 people with AS confirmed that a postural assessment along with correcting any misalignments should be part of the physical therapy strategy for people with ankylosing spondylitis.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for AS

“The most important thing physical therapy can provide is helping with respect to self-management of ankylosing spondylitis,” says physical therapy expert and educator Maura Iversen, chair and professor in the department of physical therapy at Northeastern University in Boston.

“The main symptoms are loss of mobility of the spine over time, which can be very debilitating with respect to aerobic capacity,” says Iversen. If your vertebra and your ribs fuse, your rib cage loses flexibility, which means your lungs are less able to expand fully.

Physical therapy can also help with other symptoms including tendon pain and stiffness and painful joints. Correcting your habits of movement and positioning early on with AS can help maintain your long-term mobility and health. For example, uncorrected poor posture could result in a curved spine and, eventually, difficulty looking at level or up.

Physical therapists with AS skills can provide strategies to reduce AS pain, create exercise plans that will help you stay mobile and active longer, find ways to work around your changing mobility, and even restore mobility after you’ve lost it.

Making the Most of Physical Therapy for AS

Iversen says that paying for AS physical therapy can sometimes be a challenge for patients, so she plans her sessions in order to maximize time. That means teaching people stretches and exercises they can do at home without her and using their sessions with her to focus on activities that can’t be done outside of her office. She also might use computer or phone video chats to record patients walking in their usual, relaxed posture and then provide a comparison of correct movement and posture so they can self-correct at home.

Because ankylosing spondylitis is a progressive condition, you might be building a long-term relationship with a physical therapist or physical therapy practice, so it’s important to trust the PT you’re working with. Your doctor can help you decide if PT should be part of your plan and can help refer you to a therapist who understands the needs of AS

Artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight

If you’re gonna call something “diet,” it should have to actually help you lose weight. But like dieting itself, diet foods don’t work as well in practice as they do in theory.

So put down that Coke Zero and listen up. Maybe you think the jury is still out on artificial sweeteners. Someone once told you they cause cancer. Someone else said they could help you kick your sugar habit. Yet another person claimed that only natural sweeteners are healthy, so you considered switching to stevia. Well, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that the scientific verdict on this stuff is actually pretty clear. The bad news is that none of those artificial sweeteners will help you lose weight. Oops.

This may be a revelation to you and that sanctimonious stevia sipper in your yoga class, but it’s not news to the medical community. Years of research has shown little benefit to switching from the real deal to a sugar-imitator. It’s just in the news now because of a meta-analysis published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A meta-analysis is basically when a group of researchers search for all the studies done on a certain topic and gather them to see whether there’s some overarching consensus. In this case, they searched for all the research about whether zero-calorie sweeteners helped people lose weight.

The vast majority of the studies they found were observational, so the quality of evidence isn’t great. Not to mention the few long-term, randomized controlled trials were sponsored by industry, which means they’re liable to be biased. But even with those issues, the preponderance of evidence says clearly and loudly that artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight. Note: they also don’t give you cancer. So there’s that.

Some of the studies showed that those who ate non-nutritive sweeteners had higher BMIs and elevated risk for cardiometabolic problems. There are two ways to interpret that. One is through the lens of a relatively new idea that artificial sweeteners can change the way your body metabolizes sugars. There’s some evidence that if your body starts to learn that “sugary” things don’t contain calories, it could screw up your response to the real thing. But it’s also possible that people who eat artificial sweeteners tend to already have health problems. If you’re overweight or at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, you might switch to the supposedly healthier zero-calorie sweetener option. In a study that only observes the differences between sweetener eaters and non-eaters, it would seem that people eating the zero-cal option are contracting problems from the sweetener itself. But let’s all say it together: correlation doesn’t imply causation.

In a surprise third option, it’s also possible that people who eat non-nutritive sweeteners over compensate by eating more calories overall. If I drink a diet soda, surely I can have another scoop of ice cream. But surely you can’t. We see this phenomenon in exercising too: People who start to exercise to lose weight often overeat because they now have an excuse to eat more. If you do SoulCycle before brunch, you might feel like you earned an extra margarita—but that cocktail probably has twice as many calories as you actually burned listening to a peppy man on a bike tell you to pump it harder.

This news shouldn’t be your excuse for switching to regular Coke: you should just try to get out of the sweet game altogether. Sugar, especially refined sugar, boosts your insulin levels and makes you an addict in much the same way that hard drugs can (though the effect is significantly counter-acted by other ingredients in many natural sources, like fruit). One soda a day quickly turns into one soda per meal, and soon anything that’s not sugary just tastes bad. Artificial sweeteners are no better. When given a choice between a hit of coke (no, not the soda) and some saccharin (you know it as Sweet-n-Low), cocaine-addicted lab rats chose the saccharin. The researchers literally could not give the rats enough cocaine to get them to choose it over the sweetener.

Humans probably can’t get addicted to sugar to quite the same extent. An addiction diagnosis in humans, whether it be to illicit drugs or food or sex, is a serious thing. It’s not just craving, it’s an inability to function without the thing you’re addicted to. Sugar and drugs both play into positive reward loops in your brain, but so does caffeine. You experience some “withdrawal” symptoms with all of them, but if you can get through the day without sugar you’re not actually addicted.

But don’t let the fact that you’re not a true sugar addict lull you into complacency. Sugar is not good for you and it does give you cravings. Kick the habit now and your body will thank you later.