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Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Blood - Anaylzed!

Various people in my family had encouraged me to have a full-spectrum blood analysis done, just to be sure that eating 80 10 10 was not doing me harm. I saw my Doctor and to my surprise, I found him opposed to full-spectrum blood tests. I explained that I wanted to check that my vitamin and mineral levels were healthy. He explained that they did not do those tests and that the results of those kind of tests were inaccurate anyway. He was happy to test blood lipid levels, folate and b12 though. Dissatisfied, I chose not to get a blood test done at that time. A month later, I visited another Doctor. Again, I was met with immediate resistance. This Doctor stated that a person who ate a balanced diet could not possibly be vitamin deficient. I mentioned my concern about hair loss and that I ate close to a vegan diet and she approved the following tests, which I have recently received the results for.

Thyroid Function Assays
TSH 2.76 mIU/L (0.5 - 5.00)

SERUM/PLASMA GLUCOSE
Glucose 4.6 mmol/L (3.0 - 5.4)

VITAMIN B12 AND FOLATE
Vitamin B12 395 Normal > 180
RBC Folate 544 Normal > 575 Equivocal 500 - 575 Deficient < 500

LIPID STUDIES
Total Chol. 3.9 Desirable Range (none provided)
HDL Chol. 1.3 Desirable Range (>1.0) mmol/L)
LDL Chol. 2.2 Desirable Range (<2.5) mmol/L)
(<2.0) high risk
Triglyceride 0.8 Desirable Range (<1.5) mmol/L

LDL/HDL Ratio 1.7
Chol/HDL Ratio 3.0

HAEMATOLOGY
Haemoglobin 164 g/L (130 - 180)
White Cell Count 6.7 /L (4.0 - 11.0)
Platelets 203 /L (150 - 450)

GENERAL CHEMISTRY
Sodium 139 mmol/L (136 - 146)
Pot. 4.3 mmol/L (3.5 - 5.2)
Chlor. 103 mmol/L (98 - 109)
Bicarb. 29 mmol/L (20 - 33)

Urea 4.0 mmol/L (2.5 - 8.0)
Creat. 78 umol/L (55 - 110)
Urate 0.28 mmol/L (0.18 - 0.47)

Calcium 2.35 mmol/L (2.1 - 2.55)

Phos. 1.23 mmol/L (0.75 - 1.45)

Alk.Phos 62 U/L (30 - 120)

Doctors Comments

The Doctor's exact words were "You are disgustingly healthy!"

She exclaimed that she couldn't understand why my Cholesterol levels were so low without medication.

She said that it was interesting to note that my Folate levels were still in range, but a little on the low side. She was about to prescribe supplements but I interrupted and explained that I would prefer to eat Folate rich whole foods instead.

She said that I should blame my genes for my hair loss and to avoid using a comb.

My Comments

I eat on average, 10 bananas every day and have done so for about 1.5 years. I was told by a registered nurse that eating too many bananas causes an overdose of Potassium. My Potassium levels are within range.

On average, I consume 80% of my daily calories from simple sugars from fruit. I had heard that this would elevate blood glucose levels and put me at risk of Diabetes. My glucose levels are within range!

Many people opposed to the vegan diet point out that it is likely for an individual to become Vitamin B12 deficient. My B12 levels are sufficient, in fact, twice as much as the benchmark!

My low cholesterol levels, without the aid of cholesterol lowering medication, did NOT surprise me. I consume very little animal products and I have decreased the toxic load on my system by eating predominantly raw foods.

I eat very very little dairy, yet my Calcium levels are within range.

At the moment, I don't know much about Folate so I'll be sure to research that and eat more folate rich foods.

Ok, so what does all this mean to me? I haven't been sick, not even the common cold for more than 2 years. I feel healthy. I don't have any symptoms. I look healthy. I am fit and active and perform athletically at an above average level. I have excellent body composition, relatively low body fat, relatively high lean muscular tissue. I enjoy food and eat when I'm hungry until I'm full. I also indulge from time to time. I usually get enough sleep. I eat predominantly whole, fresh, ripe, raw organic fruits and vegetables. And now, my blood analysis results show that I'm a picture of health!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A workout guide

Over the last 3 years, I have followed many fitness and strength building programs. Each program has been successful in providing results. The main thing is that you train safely and consistently. However, it is very common for people to hit plateaus. Whilst everyone has a unique genetic potential that will influence an individuals body shape, size and athletic ability, there are parameters and techniques that when applied correctly and inclusively, will enable everyone to continue to make improvements. I want to share these with you. Firstly, it is vital to appreciate the components that affect muscular growth and cardiovascular fitness. Rest and recovery is commonly overlooked. The average person requires about 8 hrs sleep every night. A person who is active and strength trains will need more. Growth and repair happens when we sleep and rest. If you wake up to an alarm, your body simply has not had 'ENOUGH' sleep. The value of a good nights sleep can not be over stated. The more you train, the more you must rest. When you are tired, the most effective and healthful way of regaining energy is to sleep! Nutrition and the way you eat is also very important. The most nutritious foods are whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Increase the percentage of these foods in your diet. Every fruit and vegetable contains some protein and fat and carbohydrate. See for yourself www.nutridiary.com. For optimal athletic performance, eat sweet fruits before and after working out. These foods are hydrating, easily and rapidly digested, nutrient dense and full of readily available energy. After working out, they promote the quickest recovery and contain all the amino acids required for muscular growth and repair. Eating hard to digest foods like meat and dairy before training will work against you. Once you are getting enough sleep and are feeding your body efficiently, it's time to focus on training. Warming up is crucial. About 10 minutes is good. Once you feel warm and your heart rate is elevated, you are ready. If you are strength training, now is the time to warm up the joints and increase the blood flow to the muscles you are about to exercise. Body weight exercises like push up or weights about half your max are great. Do 2 sets of about 15 reps. Now, the key is to stay warm and work as hard as possible, incorporating as many muscle groups as possible for the next 30 minutes. I train upper body like chest, then straight to a lower body movement like leg extensions, then straight into some stretches for about 30 seconds. I repeat this cycle two to three times before moving on. Working out in this way means that you are staying warm, working at a high intensity, keeping the heart rate and blood flow up and are stimulating more muscle growth. Each muscle group is sufficiently rested between sets. Lift safely and as heavily as possible aiming to reach about 8 reps each set. Next you could alternate back with calves and abs. Then shoulders with hamstrings and lower back, then arms and anything else you feel like adding if you still have the energy. Most people spend a lot of their time standing around doing nothing in between sets. What a waste of time! An hour all up is all you need to see some serious gains. I workout in in this way 3 times a week and then try to add in a Yoga class, or a walk or jog each week. Each workout, aim to work a little harder than the last. Focus on strengthening your weakest links by doing exercises that you usually don't do. Also, have at least one days rest in between workouts. I have found that by working out in this way, I have been able to not only continue to build muscle, but also increase my cardiovascular fitness at the same time. The more efficiently you train, rest and feed, the faster you will achieve your goals.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My stance on The 80 10 10 Diet

It all started a couple months ago when a good friend of mine decided that he needed to give up alcohol for 6 weeks. We both ate well, trained hard but for him, boozing it up to the extent of 20 - 30 standard drinks per week was the norm. That's you I'm talking about Roaddog! Anyway, I decided to set myself a challenge. Booze was not really an issue for me so I decided to try the 80 10 10 diet out. I had been introduced to it about 18 months before by reading a thread on a health forum. The guy was terribly intelligent and put forth many compelling arguments as to why humans were designed to thrive on this way of eating. Since that time I swapped protein shakes for fresh fruit after workouts and was surprised at my increased strength gains and improved energy and recovery. In general, I started eating more fresh fruit and veg, reduced meat consumption and still ate grains and dairy. I remember my first vegetarian day. I was so surprised that I actually got through the day without eating meat! I had been mislead by mainstream body building and fitness advice. I thought that I needed to eat all this protein to grow muscle. My diet was relatively clean, or so I thought. I ate very little junk food, no soft drinks, limited alcohol etc. My weight hovered around 70kgs. I'm 173cm and was about 30 at that time. I could never get the 6 pack abs kind of definition I was after. Back to recent times, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to eat 80 10 10 and see what it could do for me. There was a learning curve, it wasn't always easy, especially the first 2.5 weeks but I was committed and my determination saw me through the month without giving in to the temptation of eating cooked food. I followed 80 10 10 almost exactly, especially the last 2 weeks when I had a much better understanding of what 80 10 10 meant. In any case, for 4 weeks I ate nothing but fresh ripe raw and in many cases organic fruits and vegetables, and a few nuts and seeds. I also drank nothing but water but actually drank very little as with every bite of raw f&v, I was already hydrating myself. I experienced amazing benefits! Increased energy, perfect digestion, clean skin, mental clarity, strength gains, faster recovery, sounder sleep, increased muscular definition (hello abs) and a feeling of lightness and athleticism. I feeling I hadn't felt since I was a teenager after playing lots of sport my whole life and before partying! Loved it! No negatives whatsoever! I recorded a video journal of my progress http://www.youtube.com/user/GetRealHealth. After this, I went back to eating cooked foods again, but with a vengeance! Immediately, I felt a slump in my vitality. The contrast hit me in the face! I then decided to go 80 10 10 with the exception of 1 cooked meal a week. This worked well for about 3 weeks. I slowly started eating more cooked foods and then I had a one week holiday where I lifted all the constrictions I had placed on myself and just had fun! Since then, I now eat predominantly whole fresh ripe raw organic fruits and vegetables because I want to and feel great doing so. If the need or want arises, like a social outing or just because, I will eat something cooked like grass-fed beef or drink a coffee, or eat some take-away or drink Tequila shots etc without feeling like I have 'broken' a rule. I have also decided to 'live a little'. This freedom combined with my optimal results eating 80 10 10 has enhanced my overall quality of life. I have found a great balance and really enjoy eating a shit load of fruits and vegetables.

Seriously, move your ass!

I'm not going to beat around the bush, Humans are designed to be active, lean, strong and fit! You might eat the best diet in the world, but if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you will fall well short of your potential and your health and mood will pay the price! There will never be more than 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. If you are the type of person who makes excuses like, 'I just don't have enough time to exercise' then so be it, but be aware that there will be a price to pay. Everyone has a unique history so it's impossible to predict exactly how an individual's health with suffer, but be assured that regular exercise, including strength training, is a critical component in achieving optimal health. Ignore the late-night ads trying to flog off the latest exercise gimmick machine that so conveniently folds away so you never have to see or use it! No problem if you have issues or can't afford going to the gym. None of these things existed in our past anyway! All you need is the motivation to move. Go for a walk, play with your kids, ride a bike, go for a swim, join a sporting club, re-connect with activities you once loved! Throw in a few sit-ups, push ups, dips, curls, any movements against some resistance and your body will respond in ways you probably don't even realize! You will feel a greater sense of vitality and look better naked! Food will taste even better! Having trouble sleeping, do some exercise and see what happens then! We have been blessed with an extremely athletic and capable body. Unfortunately, many people do not respect this and/or actually have no concept, or have a misconception of health and fitness. Being over fat and sedentary has become the new norm. Day after day, through poor lifestyle choices, many people gradually destroy what they have. Despite our best intentions, modern marketing strategies tend to leave people confused. When we lose the will, we lose the way fast! But, I assure you, everyone can turn their health around, regardless of age and weight, by creating a new mindset and moving health up on their list of priorities. Get off you ass, get moving, do it regularly and you will understand why I'm so dam passionate about this! Once you feel the benefits yourself and see your life improve, it will become second nature. If you experience what it's like to drive the best car, would you want to go back to driving the old bomb you were used to?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eating Mono Meals


I'm sure we have all heard that it's important to eat a wide variety of foods. Those fortunate enough to have access to amply amounts of food tend to combine many different foods into the same meal. Some meat, salad, sauce, condiments and spices served up between bread is a common sandwhich that contains foods from nearly all food groups. How does our body handle a cocktail of ingredients like this? Not terribly great! Meat requires different digestive enzymes and stomach PH than plant-based foods like vegetables and starchy foods like grains require a different environment again! The end result is that the body is not able to optimally breakdown and absorb nutrition from those foods. It can't create 3 contrasting digestive environments simultaneously! It is super important to digest food optimally. A person may put quality foods in, but if the body can not digest optimally, essential nutrients will not be absorbed. The key is to limit the amount of different foods that are combined in each meal. The optimal scenario is eating a meal consisting of only one type of food or a few foods closely related within the same food group. Dr Graham, in his book The 80 10 10 Diet, explains the digestive benefits of mono eating. A mono meal consists of eating only one type of food until satiety. This could be 8 bananas or 1kg of grapes or half a watermelon etc. When only one particular food is consumed in a meal, the body is able to create the optimal digestive environment required for the breakdown and absorption of the nutrients in that food. When the body digests efficiently, less gas is experienced and food passes more comfortably though the system. Because the body uses less energy for digestion, the person has more energy available for being active. You may be thinking that by eating mono meals, you may not be eating enough variety of foods. In fact, the opposite is true. Over the course of a day, week, season, year, if a person eats mono meals of whole fresh ripe raw fruits and vegetables when they are in season, a large variety of foods will inevitably be eaten.

The Shortest Path to Health


Many of us want to improve our health. Most people worldwide NEED to improve their state of health. Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes to name but a few, are relatively new lethal degenerative diseases that are becoming more prevalent at a shocking rate! Our environment, lifestyle and food and water supply is deteriorating. We continue to settle to a new normal. On average, humans are now 10kgs heavier than they were 30 years ago! Most people would understand that our environment is more polluted than ever and that lifestyle factors such as inactivity, smoking, drinking, fast-food etc all contribute to our health decline. Health-conscious people generally seek health advice from mainstream practitioners and inevitably end up consuming vitamin supplements, super-foods, herbal remedies and so-called health tonics and shakes. Whilst a person may experience an improvement because this may be a step in the right direction relative to their previous eating habits, most people never reach their desired level of health. This is because mainstream health advice is for one, no way near thorough enough! You simply can not achieve optimal health if only one factor of health is considered. What a person eats and drinks is important, activity, sleep, toxins and stress are also other important factors. The shortest path to achieving optimal health is following an intuitive program that provides thorough advice about improving all of the key components required for health. Living in line with nature and understanding our basic requirements is critical. Our current lifestyle and food supply has derailed us from the path of health, which would otherwise be our natural state. Every other species, by design, is fit and healthy. This occurs automatically in nature when the basic requirements of the species are met. Humans too, would be fit and healthy, as the natural state, if our basic requirements were met. Of course, not everyone or everything is created equally, so there will always be exceptional circumstances. As a species, in general, we must eat food that we have physiologically evolved to thrive on, drink clean water, be active, get sufficient sleep, sunlight and feel sufficiently relaxed. Health becomes compromised when we neglect one or more of these basic needs. Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed into thinking that turning to prescription drugs, herbal remedies, fad diets, detox programs, supplements, superfoods etc are the answer. Since most sick people follow this model, yet fall short of optimal health and or develop further complications, it motivates me to get to the truth, take control of my health and help other people.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The 80 10 10 Diet


This diet was designed by Dr. Douglas Graham and he has been practising it for over 25 years!

Essentially, eating 80 10 10 (811rv) for short, involves aiming to consume on average 80% calories from carbohydrates, 10% from fat and 10% from protein. The rv stands for raw vegan. Effectively, all grains are eliminated, as is dairy and animal products. It's a plant-based diet that revolves around consuming mostly whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits, tender leafy greens and some nuts and seeds. You eat 3-4 meals a day, when hungry, until satiety.

Fruit provides sufficient calories in order to fuel the body. You simply can not eat enough vegetables to be able to sustain you throughout the day. Fruit contains simple sugars which are the body's fist choice for energy. If you consume more energy than you burn, regardless from whether it came from fats, cabs or proteins, you will likely store the excess as fat. However, it is nearly impossible to over consume fruit. This is because fruit is mostly water, high in soluble fiber and essentially, fills you up! It also takes sufficient time to chew your way through 8-12 bananas in one sitting and this gives your brain time to realise that you are actually full.

Fruit is a nutrient dense, raw, whole food that is delicious! Babies intuitively are interested in fruit. Following our instincts when it comes to food choices, is the underpinning logic of eating 811rv. Every other creature in nature eats raw, whole, organic food in which they have evolved to thrive on. Why should humans be any different? A dog will salivate at the sight of a piece of raw meat, and will inevitably eat the lot, including the bones. If we were true carnivores, we would have the same instinctive urge. But for most people, the very idea is repulsive! The body is telling us that raw meat is simply not part of a human's optimal diet. We need to listen to our body. When we cook meat and other foods not palatable in their raw state, enhance flavour and aroma with salt, spices and condiments, we effectively bypass our body's natural protective senses. We are then able to eat foods in which humans never evolved by design to thrive on. This comes at a price!

Graham makes a strong case that humans are frugivores by design, in his book The 80 10 10 Diet. Whilst most calories are consumes from fresh fruit, tender leafy greens are an essential part of this diet. These greens are easy to digest, can easily be eaten raw and are mineral dense. Since vegetables provide few calories per bite, it is necessary to eat the equivalent of a head of lettuce each day.

Restricted amounts of healthy fats in the form of nuts seeds and fruits such as avocado, with the last meal of the day, complete the 80 10 10 diet. These food sources help increase the daily protein and fat intake to 10% each which is ideal! To put protein requirements into perspective, mother's milk is only 6% protein! As adults our need for protein is never more than 10%. Do you know anyone who is protein deficient? It's almost impossible.