Several of my friends have been asking about the new World Health Organization report that eating red meat increases your risk of cancer. Processed meat was rated a definite human carcinogen and red meat was rated a possible human carcinogen. If you want to read the original report, you can find it here.
What does this really mean for our day to day eating? If you’re vegetarian/vegan, you’re probably wagging your finger saying, “I told you so!” HA HA HA. Food recommendations from the WHO, the USDA, etc often have a political agenda. Statistics are often used and mis-used to confuse and befuddle the public. I try to find several trusted viewpoints and make my own conclusion. (If you want to skip to the punch line, scroll down to the bottom.)
I immediately went to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s website. I have followed her nutrition advice in dealing with my autoimmune diseases for some time. She is known for her scientific research of autoimmunity and the autoimmune protocol nutrition plan. As expected, she already had an article posted with links to scientific research. If you want to read it, you can find the article at The Paleo Mom. She addresses the very legitimate concerns about eating processed meats and red meats. What the media will not tell you in the never-ending quest for attention-grabbing headlines is that studies also support that eating a diet rich in vegetables mitigates many of the negative effects of eating red meat. The rest can be decreased significantly by how you cook it. Also, the diet of the animal as well as it’s living conditions greatly influences the health benefits or detriments of red meat. The short of it is, know where you food comes from. If at all possible, buy from local farms that have pastured, 100% grass feed cows. I think research soundly indicates that processed meats are just bad for you and should be avoided.
Mark Sisson addresses some of the statistical analyses and the differences in the categories in his post on his blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. Oh gee how I hated statistics in graduate school. The media often uses statistics to confuse us and I think they often don’t understand the numbers! For example, the risk of colorectal cancer in the general population is 1.8%. There was a 17% increase in this risk by eating 100gm or about 1/4 pound of red meat each day. So now your actual risk is 2.1%, which is a 17% increase from 1.8%. If your risk had increased by 100%, then your actual risk would now be 3.6% i.e. doubled. So your actual risk of colorectal cancer is still relatively small. It’s worth minimizing for sure.
So, you don’t have time to read the literature yourself and you just want me to summarize it for you? Ok!
- Whenever possible, go for grass-fed, pastured beef. The meat will have anti-oxidant properties since these animals were eating grass rather than grains. They require much less antibiotics since they are healthier overall having eaten a diet their bodies were meant to eat. I buy a wonderful chuck roast pictured here and I cut it to make a beef stew. It has so much more flavor than grain-fed beef stew cubes that you can buy in the supermarket and it is healthier for you. I know those food labels are confusing so here’s a good article explaining the difference between grass-fed and pastured beef.
- Use gentler cooking methods to reduce production of carcinogens. Grilling season is over for us but next year, I will definitely be trying some marinades to reduce the carcinogens created in my grilled dinners.
- Eat your vegetables people! Nature gave us protection from the dark side of beef! Eat it! I have Kale, baby spinach, swiss chard in my breakfast shake everyday! One of my fav dishes is braised kale and carrots! If you want to try it, I use my pressure cooker but you can easily do this on the stove.
- If you deal with autoimmune disease as I do, you definitely want to be purchasing grass-fed, pastured beef. Since you want to eat foods which minimizes inflammation. Be sure to eat your leafy green vegetables at every meal!
I just started reading the book Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger. I’m just in the first chapter but so far it is an engaging read. If you’ve read it or will read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. What does this mean? In order to support my blogging activities, I will receive a few pennies from Amazon but you pay the same price for the item. I only link to items that I have read, used, and enjoyed!
I love this article, written by Beachbody’s Blog writer, Julie Stewart. I especially love mistake #2. I have often wondered why I see so many in gyms with that hunched posture. Lifting weights, when done properly, should IMPROVE your posture!
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been working out for a week or a decade—odds are you’re making a handful of common mistakes that are holding you back. We’re also willing to bet that most of them aren’t your fault—gyms, exercise communities, and even some popular fitness programs are rife with well-intended advice that’s rooted more in bro-science than real-world research. That ends today. Purge the following mistakes from your training program to accelerate your gains and squeeze out of every rep.
Mistake #1: You stick to a routine
The rapid gains you enjoy at the beginning of a training program will eventually taper if you keep doing the same workouts month after month (or year after year). “The body adapts to new stresses quickly,” says Yunus Barisik, C.S.C.S., author of the blog Next Level Athletics. Your job—and the goal of any good exercise plan—is to make sure that adaptation (also known as muscle growth) never stops. “And the way to do that is by regularly varying what you do,” says Barisik.
The fix: If you’re a beginner, mix things up every two to three months. If you’re a veteran, you’ll need to do so even sooner. “Those changes don’t have to be major,” says Barisik. Occasionally swapping new exercises into your workouts (or trying a completely new workout program) is a smart idea. “But even minor tweaks—changing your grip, lifting pace, foot position, or rest periods—can lead to big gains by not only working muscles you normally miss, but also working the muscles you normally target in new ways,” says Barisk.
Mistake #2: You forget about your back
In their pursuit of head turning muscle, many people focus only on those they can see in the mirror—pecs, shoulders, arms, and abs. “And that’s a problem,” says Barisik. “Overemphasizing the front side of your body can lead to muscular imbalances, a hunched posture, and an increased risk of injury.” Since most people are already “anterior dominant”—meaning they more frequently use the muscles on the front of their bodies—such one-sided training often worsens existing postural and performance issues.
The fix: Stop using a mirror to gauge your progress—it’s the muscles you can’t see that you should focus on. To balance your upper body, perform two pulling exercises (chinup, row) for every pushing exercise, such as the overhead press or bench press, says Barisik. To balance your lower body, perform two sets of hamstring-dominant exercises, like the deadlift or kettlebell swing, for every set of a quad-dominant exercise, like the squat or lunge. After a few months (read: once your posture and musculature balance out), you can switch to one-to-one ratios, says Barisik.
Mistake #3: You train too hard (or not hard enough)
More isn’t always better when it comes to building strength and losing fat. “Most people don’t know how to safely push their limits,” says Michael Wood, C.S.C.S., Chief Fitness Officer of Koko FitClub. “You might think you’re working out efficiently, but few people actually optimize their training stimulus.” While you need to challenge your muscles to make them grow, you never want to push them to the point where you inhibit their ability to repair themselves. Why? Because when it comes to muscle, repair equals growth. On the other hand, if you don’t push your muscles hard enough, you won’t trigger growth at all. Your goal: To hit the intensity sweet spot where you maximize results without compromising recovery.
The Fix: If you’re lifting weights, always stop two reps short of in your last set of an exercise. Those reps provide no additional growth stimulus, and might actually slow muscle growth by extending the time needed for recovery. That said, you shouldn’t have more than two reps left in you, as that’s a sign you aren’t pushing hard enough. If you’re doing intervals or circuits, use a heart rate monitor to fine-tune effort and rest. Determine your max HR by multiplying your age by .7 and subtracting that number from 208. During work periods, build up your intensity to 75 to 85 percent of your max, says Wood. During rest periods, let it fall to 65 percent of your max HR before beginning your next round.
Mistake #4: You don’t dial in your diet
You’ve likely heard the adage “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” It’s true, so heed it. If your eating habits aren’t aligned with your fitness goals, you’ll never hit them. “Many active people eat too many carbs—especially simple carbs like sugar—and don’t pay nearly enough attention to fat and protein,” says Bob Seebohar, M.S., R.D., CSSD, C.S.C.S., a sport dietitian and owner and founder of eNRG Performance.
The fix: Step one in upgrading your diet is to reduce your consumption of added sugar (according to the government’s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, such foods should comprise no more than 10 percent of your diet). Eat at least two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day. “And make sure every meal contains a balance of protein, fat, and fiber,” says Seebohar. “Neglecting these suggestions will yield poor blood sugar control, higher insulin levels, increased fat storage, and decreased fat burning.” Increasing your protein intake is particularly important. In a study by the U.S. Military Nutrition Division, people who ate twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein—1.6 grams instead of .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight—preserved more muscle as they lost weight than those who stuck to the RDA. If you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein quota is 109 grams.”
Many of my friends having been asking me about my goals for the year and what I use to help me track and attain my goals. I found from talking with friends that most people never accomplish their lofty goals that they set Jan 1 of a new year. I started researching goal setting so that I would
be able to help my friends reach the goals they are setting. So there are two systems i will be using myself this year. The first is by Chalene Johnson which I will detail here. The second is by John Lee Dumas which I will detail in a blog post tomorrow because this one got much too long!
Chalene Johnson wrote the NY Times Best-Seller PUSH – 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve! As well as being a celebrity trainer for Beachbody, she is also an entrepreneur who now helps others be successful at marketing their businesses.
Chalene writes, “The only way to achieve success is to make and keep a plan. I will give you the strategies to design the dream-life that you can’t wait to live and I’ll share the methods of realizing the goals to get you there!
- Master carefully crafted and diligently maintained to-do list
- Develop and honor your Priorities
- Set, refine and achieve meaningful goals
- Experience unbelievable success in all areas of your life
But best of all, I am going to show you how to make this a habit that you can manage in ten minutes a day!”
What I like about Chalene’s system is that she helps you rank 10 aspects of your life such as spirituality, spouse/SO, family/friends, finances, mental health, fitness. You then pick the area that needs the most work to focus on for the next day 30 days. If you’re presented with a task, you ask yourself if that task will help you achieve your PUSH goal. It really helps prevent you from saying YES to things that are only sabotaging your own success in achieving your goals.
Chalene has a FREE video series which takes you through PUSH. You can find that here, http://www.30daypush.com
Each year in working through her PUSH goals, Chalene found herself hating all the planners on the market so this year, she made her own. She has provided the planner for FREE along with videos to guide us through it. “This workbook takes you step by step through the process of setting goals for the key areas of life as well as how to set a PUSH Goal – a goal that makes all of your other goals possible. You will map a course of action, so you know exactly what you need to do every day to achieve all of your goals in 90 days or less!” The Free planner can be found —–> HERE.
The recorded Periscope/Facebook Live video can be found at Katch.mehttps://ktch.tv/5KZF. In this one video, Chalene takes you through the workbook. However, previously, she did a 5-part series on Periscope were she went through and did her goals and actions and gives you time to do it along side her. If you would prefer those videos with more detail, the links are below.
STEP ONE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5DVN
STEP TWO: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5DY6
STEP THREE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5D-0
STEP FOUR: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5D_P
STEP FIVE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5F2h
If you find this helpful, please leave a comment! I would to hear what your PUSH goal is for 2016. The best way to stay accountable to your goals is to share it with friends and family!
This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link to Chalene’s book PUSH. What does this mean? It means you pay the same price for the book but I will get a few pennies from Amazon’s profits for recommending it to you to help offset the cost of this website.
Today, I listened to a Phoenix Helix podcast Episode 30. I love her Stories podcasts which are Episodes 1, 14 and 30. In each of these three episodes, Eileen interviews people with different autoimmunity diseases. Today several of the stories really hit home for me.
In the first story, Tracey reversed Scleroderma, Polymyositis, and Raynaud’s with the Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP). She had severe muscle destruction from her disease and is now back to participating in golfing tournaments and helping to (GASP – she’s 50) take care of her grand babies while running several businesses. Many of her symptoms sound like mine. Even with exercise, she continued to get weaker.
In the second story, Joe healed her severe Psoriasis with AIP. This story was interested b/c stress was a HUGE trigger for her Psoriasis. Even now in near complete remission, a lot of stress will bring on patches. Also sugar is a huge trigger for her autoimmune issues. So while paleo community has “paleofied” many treats using natural sweeteners, even those can be problematic. As Eileen says, if you’re on AIP and still not getting better, remove AIP treats completely to see if that is a trigger. Jo has a blog www.comfortbites.com with best trips for treating psoriasis. What hit home for me was that when she was stressed, it was hard to make wise food choices which of courses makes you feel worse.
In the third story, Dora discusses healing Grave’s disease with AIP. She is early in her journey but is slowly making progress in getting better. She got huge improvements, including a goiter shrinking, after just a few weeks on AIP and being off of steroids for a year. If you want some AIP version of Chinese dishes, check out Dora’s blog, Provincial Paleo.
In the fourth story, Freyja successful treats uveitis with AIP after numerous steroids including eye injections did not work. Interestingly, while she has no symptoms before her diagnosis and AIP, when she went back on a standard diet within hours she felt like she had the flu, she developed psoriasis in 3days, and her back pain which she had learned to live with and had disappeared on the 3months of AIP, was back.
In the fifth and final story, Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which her mom also had. While Parkinson’s is not thought to be autoimmune disease, Barbara was told by her doctor to try Dr. Wahl’s protocol for just a few months. She got her life back w/ Dr. Wahl’s protocol. When the holidays came and she ate standard foods, her Parkinson’s symptoms returned.
These stories really drive home for me the importance of nutrition in fighting any chronic illness.
Ok, well I titled this post with a rhetorical question – OF COURSE you need phytonutrients in your diet! While nutrition research is unreliable because usually it is based on someone’s recall of what they ate over a period of time, I think the research is pretty clear that a plant-based diet has NUMEROUS health benefits. So what are phytonutrients and where can you get them, you may ask!
Here’s what Kim Kash, Team Beachbody Blogger had to say about phytonutrients:
Phytonutrients are chemicals found in plants that are necessary for the health and defense of the plant. Some of them can also be useful to the human body. They’re found in all fruits and vegetables and many phytonutrient-rich foods have deep or bright colors—such as blueberries, red cabbage, tomatoes, and kale. However, not all of these foods are jewel-toned! Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices are also sources of these chemical compounds.
Generally speaking, phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they may reduce cancer risks and promote liver health. There are upwards of 25,000 of these chemicals, but some in particular have been studied extensively and are known for their health benefits. Here are a few:
Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, are responsible for the yellow, orange and red colors in fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant benefits in the body and promote healthy eyes and vision.
Ellagic acid, found in fruits including strawberries and raspberries, is thought to help protect the body against cancer.
Flavonoids, which are divided into several categories including catechins, hesperidin, and flavonols, may lower the risk of asthma and certain types of cancer, and act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, acts as an anti-inflammatory, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Sulfides, found in onions and garlic, are antioxidants, and support immunity and cardiovascular health. They also stimulate the body to get rid of harmful chemicals.
One great way to get the benefits of many different phytonutrients is by eating foods that cover the full spectrum of the rainbow! Here’s a list of just some of the ones that you can try.
So check out the list of fruits and vegetables and see how many you can get in each day to reduce your inflammation and lead a healthier life!