19 Nov

Breast milk is the most natural and nutritious form of sustenance a mother can provide for her newborn child. It contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, as well as antibodies that help to boost the immune system of the baby as he or she develops into a blossoming child. Additionally, breastfeeding offers an unmatched bond between mother and infant, creating emotional security and trust through the skin-to-skin contact known as kangaroo care.

If you're expecting in the near future, now's a great time to consider breastfeeding your child. It comes with various benefits that your newborn wouldn't receive otherwise, as explained by our health expert Olin Idol in his book "Pregnancy, Children and the Hallelujah Diet."

"The nutrients the infant receives during these first six months will have a major impact on the long-term health of the child," Idol wrote. "At no other time in life will the baby have the same need for fats, proteins and a vast array of other macro and micronutrients, all of which are supplied in ideal quantities in breast milk."

Breast milk is another glorious natural tool given to us by God to ensure our babies can reach their maximum potential. Here are a few of the many benefits that come with breastfeeding:

Breast milk is rich in vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antibodies that boost your baby's immune system.

Reduced Risk for Chronic Conditions
According to the Office on Women's Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the cells, hormones and antibodies found in breast milk can boost your baby's immune system, protecting him or her from illness and disease. This reduces his or her risk for developing chronic conditions and experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Asthma.
  • Leukemia.
  • Ear infections.
  • Eczema.
  • Obesity.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Lower respiratory infections.
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome.

Enhanced Psychological Development
The psychological benefits that come with breastfeeding are just as important for your baby as consuming breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that holding your baby close to your body gives him or her the reassurance of physical presence, much like the warmth and togetherness the infant felt in the womb. Interacting so closely while breastfeeding gives your baby a sense of trust and protection, and the release of hormones sparks an emotional connection. Breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to develop an immediate, strong bond between you and your baby, which is beneficial for both of you.

Reduced Risk for Postpartum Depression
The American Psychological Association reported that 1 in 7 women develop postpartum depression, which is essentially depression experienced by the mother after childbirth. There are many ways to mitigate depressive feelings, such as spending more time with family, taking on Bible study or praying, but nursing your child may be the ultimate solution to postpartum depression. While breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is released, which is known to promote relaxation and nurturing feelings. Consider breastfeeding a way to enhance your baby's nutrition while promoting positivity and improving your emotional health. If you're still experiencing postpartum depression after breastfeeding, share your feelings with God, and let Him shine light on your new life with your infant.

Remember: Your baby will receive the optimal nutrition and benefits of breastfeeding only if you're following a healthy and wholesome diet. Mothers can get a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals by following the Hallelujah Diet during pregnancy and beyond. For more advice on smarter eating habits while you're carrying your infant and nursing after birth, refer to Olin Idol's book "Pregnancy, Children and the Hallelujah Diet."

The post The Benefits of Breastfeeding appeared first on Plant-Based Diet – Recipes & Weight Loss Supplements | Hallelujah Diet.

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19 Nov

Strength Training and Myasthenia Gravis

by Rosemary Spellman | October 15, 2019

In January 2018, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), a chronic autoimmune disease which causes muscle weakness. Most folks have visual and eye symptoms, but that’s never been a particular issue for me. In my case, it manifested as weakness in my arms, difficulty with speaking and slurred speech, and problems with swallowing and chewing. My anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody (AChR) bloodwork came back positive for binding and modulating (binding means that my antibodies attach to the receptors on the nerve and destroy them, modulating means that the message doesn’t get to the nerve and so the muscles won’t contract). I am on two medications, one specifically for MG which makes the acetylcholine stick around longer, and another which suppresses my immune system to not produce as many antibodies. I also receive monthly infusions of intravenous immune globulin which is made from donations of human plasma. The infused antibodies attach to and remove the bad ones that I normally produce.

I spent some time researching MG, the various treatment methods and its symptoms before and after I was officially diagnosed. Myasthenia Gravis is a rare disease, and unfortunately there’s not very much research available for folks who are not in crisis. I managed to hunt down one article that discussed resistance training and MG, and thought that beginning a strength program might help with my symptoms. In my belly dance troupe there were two other women who had started strength training and absolutely loved it. They specifically recommended Fivex3 Training in Baltimore. I had often thought about joining the gym, but hadn’t really seriously considered it due to cost and travel concerns. However, once I was fairly stable on my medication and was receiving my monthly IV infusions, I decided to visit Fivex3 in October 2018, and talk to someone about my condition and see if strength training was an option for me. There was also a raffle for their on-boarding barbell package so I thought, why not?

The owner, Emily, was very nice, and although she didn’t really know much about MG, she was willing to do a bit of research to learn more about the disease. As it turned out, I won the raffle and decided I would start training in January 2019, once I had saved up enough money to pay for the initial coaching package. I also re-did my budget to see if I could feasibly add a monthly gym membership. When I finally decided to give Fivex3 a try, I also consulted with my neurologist about beginning a strength training program. She gave the okay, but reminded me to keep my expectations low and to take breaks frequently.

I wasn’t new to the gym scene. Prior to my diagnosis, I had done a little bit of weight training, but I would get bored quickly and never felt like I was making any progress. I also did not like doing exercises in a random order, and sometimes I couldn’t do all the exercises, which was also frustrating. During this time, I was training at my local county recreation facility, which only had machines with pictures on them, so I already felt out of my depth. Before beginning the strength program at Fivex3 Training, I decided to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, and definitely appreciated the scientific basis for the movements and programming.

Getting Started

I will admit that I was extremely nervous on my first day at Fivex3. Halfway through the squat portion with my coach, Craig Brooks, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and cry. The squat was a very hard movement for me. While Craig was coaching me through the squat, I started having flashbacks to when I was in the hospital bathroom, and I could not not get off the toilet. I told Craig about this traumatic experience and that squats scared me. He was extremely patient and understanding, and was able to explain things in ways that made sense to me, and helped me understand that I could and would actually achieve these movements. We spent six sessions working together on the squat, bench press, press, and deadlift. Fivex3 has plenty of light bars, so I was able to start with the lightest one available which helped me gain confidence with the exercises. If it had not been for Craig’s patience and commitment to me, I don’t know if I would have continued my sessions. He made me believe I could get stronger. Eight months later, I am, and getting stronger every day.

During the eight months that I have been training at Fivex3, I am happy to say that I have had only one small MG flare up, and surprisingly, I was able to bounce back very quickly. During my sessions, I make sure that I’m actually resting after my work sets and not wandering around aimlessly. Strength training gives me an objective measure of my muscle fatigue levels, which helps immensely in terms of determining the progression of this disease. During a time in March when my neurologist and I decided to postpone an infusion to see how long my donated antibodies were sticking around, I was suddenly unable to complete my heavy squats, when the previous week I had been doing squats with heavier weight without any issues. Before that particular day of training, I had not noticed any symptoms, but during my training session, I was able to determine that I was having a small flare-up before it became a crisis. I came back to training two days later and felt much better after completing some light bench and deadlift work.

I’ve been able to progress on all my lifts since I’ve had access to microplates, and only recently had to reset my deadlift. I feel less fatigued when carrying groceries up three flights of stairs because my legs are stronger. In rehearsals, I can complete particular dance movements without as much fatigue. I take very small jumps on my lifts – 1.5 lb increases on squats, press, and bench, 2.5 lb increases on deadlifts – which is very, very conservative for squats, but that is because I find squats to be the most taxing lift for me and my condition. I train twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, a schedule I am able to consistently maintain. My neurologist is very pleased that my symptoms are under control, and that I am getting stronger.

Myasthenia Gravis is an incurable disease. I am so happy that I have found Fivex3 and Starting Strength, a strength training program that has allowed me to keep my symptoms under control and has made me stronger. I look forward to my weekly training sessions, and am excited to see where things go from here. I hope that anyone else with MG gets a bit of hope from reading this and looks into strength training and Starting Strength.

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19 Nov

The most common things look different depending on where you happen to be standing. If you view something especially complex from an unfamiliar location, it may be unrecognizable. I ask you to consider trying to understand better, by looking at things from different perspectives – the often asked question, “How are you doing?”, in relationships, training, your career, or a motorcycle trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway.  How are you getting along?  What’s your progress?

Progress is certainly not a simple thing to assess – it depends, of course, on your perspective.

The regrettable process of going from young to old provides us the opportunity to view activities, places, things, and people from many different angles. Young people view things differently than old people. What is young or old? It depends on where you’re standing.

A friend and I were talking on the phone recently (talking and not texting accurately indicates that we are old). We were discussing a mutual friend’s progress, and I mentioned how quickly it had occurred.  He reminded me that “a few years” to our younger friend was a significant portion of a younger person’s life. To him and me, it was simply no time at all.

I have instructed, mentored, learned from, trained, facilitated, and coached a variety of ages in a variety of subjects for a few decades now. I have learned from some truly remarkable people. And every time I think I have experienced the worst instructor presenting the worst material in the worst possible way, I am surprised by someone even worse. 

Young people, new to an activity, typically lack accurate personal expectations of progress in that activity. They lack personal knowledge of their own or others’ capabilities. Sometimes they’re overly optimistic, but sometimes they expect less than they are actually capable of. They simply don’t have the life experience to know what is possible. Their expectations of progress in a given activity are influenced by others – coaches, teachers, friends, family, the media, and those more senior in the activity. Progress estimates of the young are often dependent upon the quality of those supposed to be helping them.

I have seen this demonstrated in shooting, lifting, public speaking, and numerous other professional and recreational activities.  These outside influences impact the expectations of the young and can continue to impact them after they have grown older. One of the first things we should look for when coaching anyone – or perhaps simply one of the first things we should always look for – is damage and scars left behind from bad learning experiences, whether the learning experience was formal or not. Regardless of the person’s age, an appropriate training program defines the requirements, assesses the difference in the existing state and the desired end state, evaluates and develops training options, delivers the chosen training, and then evaluates the results. 

The coaching discussed here is focused on improving the athlete. The methods used to help someone learn are based on helping the person progress. If you don’t know the difference between helping someone get better and a selection process designed to deny access, I invite you to do a bit of research and think about it.

Even after engaging in an effective program with good coaching, you will still have quite a few negative influences sabotaging your efforts. Some of the most memorable events in life are the times we were told stupid shit by people we were expected to believe. Think of all the idiot adults who told you something stupid when you were young. Consider every guy that “knew a guy who did Martial Arts,” every moron coach with bad breath, every bored teacher, every family member who had some spectacularly poor advice, and you can understand the problem. For someone with a miserable teacher in school, I view not being called out and embarrassed in class to the point of tears as very good luck. 

“Normalization of Defects” is often described as failing to create efficient systems because of an organization’s satisfaction with “workarounds,” and it absolutely applies every single time we step up to help someone learn. We have to constantly consider the needs of our audience, the materials we are using, and how we present. The measurer is always going to be the individual we are helping. Good enough is not good enough, and especially with youth we have to constantly ask if there is a better way.If an athlete can find the right coach, if he can suffer through the morons trying to keep him down, and if he can make it to the gym to train, he will begin to have an idea of what he’s are capable of. He will begin to understand progress.

Not too long ago, I was on the range with some shooters. It was a pretty diverse group of various skill levels. Some cops, some security types, a few Ninjas with all the cool stuff, and a couple of new shooters. One of the new shooters was very young compared to the rest, a female in jeans and a t-shirt with a borrowed inexpensive holster, magazine pouches and a stock Glock. 

We reached a point in the class where we were drawing from the holster, on a buzzer, for a timed single shot into a silhouette target. She was exceptionally fast; fastest on the line. This caused some discussion among a few of the other shooters. One of the most impressively-dressed shooters with exceptionally expensive “kit,” who had spent a lot of time sharing his resume (some of which may even have been true) simply couldn’t understand why this new shooter with the cheap holster was consistently faster on this drill. “She has to be anticipating the buzzer, you see. That’s the only answer.”

“No, she is not anticipating the signal. The reason she is beating you is not very complicated,” I said. “She is faster than you, and that is how she is beating you every single time. She is faster than you…a lot faster.” 

I am not going to claim that I could teach her better, because she didn’t have any bad habits to unlearn, or some other pathetic, inaccurate assumption. Sure, we had coached her, helped her learn firearms safety, handgun basics, created a positive environment where she could learn, and provided a well-defined performance measure. We created a learning environment that defined, encouraged, and measured progress. However, my answer is still the same: she was faster because she was faster

Some wanted to minimize her progress and take away from her performance. Their lame comments about the “real world” and the “street” were like water wings under their precision combat apparel-clad arms, keeping them afloat in their personal pool of confident tactical superiority.

Fortunately, most of the shooters and coaches were different. They reinforced this new shooter and went out of their way to discuss what a superb performance it was. For this young shooter, this new measure was her performance standard. Any progress would be measured against this moment. She expected to do well, and she did.

It is not uncommon to see some people attempt to minimize a young person’s progress, in both athletics and the workplace. It has been my experience that the person minimizing the accomplishment is threatened by it. Don’t allow this behavior around those you are helping learn.

We should encourage progress. We will have fair and honest corrections to make along the way; nonetheless, we focus on the good. For every corrective action we reinforce three or four things done well. 

I am currently enjoying watching the career progress of someone young I have had the opportunity to help over the years. She is progressing quickly in a tough work environment and doing very well. Of course there are the anticipated jealous shots and jabs from less accomplished people. I take great delight in pointing out my friend’s success at every opportunity. 

Once young athletes begin to understand what they are capable of, be very careful to keep their progress incremental. Move forward one step at a time. It won’t be long before they want to take bigger jumps in weight, or try to shoot faster than their current skill allows. This desire for faster progress has to be managed in a respectful manner. 

Keep in mind how many changes someone young is going through. For the young, time goes by slowly even though their growth potential means that change is coming rapidly. By the time they have gotten used to what normal is, normal has changed. People get uneasy in times of change, and youth can sometimes be a constant state of unease.

As coaches, we must learn to over-communicate, to repeat ourselves over and over. Then listen intently to the questions, really listen, no matter how many times you think you answered them.  Don’t assume your athlete knows why you are doing what you are doing. Consider that if somebody “just ain’t getting it,” you may be the problem. Always look for a better way. Because younger people have less experience to draw upon, their new experiences are more impactful, and more memorable. Words of encouragement and words of pain will be remembered, perhaps forever. 

In Starting Strength, we want to make a little bit of progress for as long as we can. We want to avoid failing. Sure, it’s going to happen, and there are things to be learned from it. But we want our young trainees to learn to view failure from the vantage point of progress, as a part of the process of improving.

“They have to learn to get back up!” Yeah, thanks for sharing that, never heard that before, so very insightful. How about we spend some time helping them learn to stay on their feet, then learn how to fall without busting themselves up, then work on the whole getting-back-up thing? Of course, we are going to explain this training plan in detail to the person we are helping. We want them to know and understand the why of what we are doing. They will learn how to get back up if we put it in the appropriate performance progression.

Pretty quickly, you may notice a degree of fearlessness in youth. This is certainly admirable, however something just being hard is not the goal – progress is the goal.  Discuss the reasons for the programming in terms of goals and progress. Explain your decisions about why you are both doing things the way you are doing them.  If you tell young people they are going to hurt themselves, you are generally ignored, because as you may remember, you thought you were indestructible at that age too.

If a young athlete takes a layoff for whatever reason, he will often expect the same performance out of himself when he returns. These expectations can lead to frustration, slow progress, and even injury. “I know I can do this, I’ve done it before, so why can’t I do it now?” This can be tougher to manage than you think. Like all of what we do, it requires a lot of communication. Ask questions of your athlete, provide honest answers, and provide honest and safe feedback.

Ask them what they want, how they view progress. Then, with them, define a plan to get them back to where they were and beyond. Remind them gently, they have been there before, they know the way. Keep training sessions well organized and moving forward. Limit the time they are waiting for you.  No matter a persons age, they are the customers, you are the vendor – respect that. Keep individual sessions short, and work hard to keep them engaged. There are lots of distractions for both young and old. Often I hear that young people are less patient and lack discipline. I think older people have simply gotten better at tolerating idiot instructors and don’t show it as readily as younger customers.

Remember: no matter the age of those you are training, look for evidence of the idiots who have been there before.

Youth provides a different perspective on most things, including progress. To understand how to help, we should understand their perspective the best we can, and see things from their point of view. In the beginning, they often don’t have any idea about what progress to expect, after they’ve been training a few months they may become impatient with the slow steady progress, and if there is a layoff, they will expect the same numbers the first day back. Age and experience will moderate this perspective.

It has been my privilege to help young people, old people, the learning disabled, professionals, novices, people with special needs, people who have fond memories of training, and people who shut down completely at a thoughtless word or gesture because of past horrible learning experiences. I try hard to help others learn, but I still make mistakes, and I have a long way to go.

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19 Nov

Cookies, pies, cakes, pastries – are all plentiful this time of year. Whether it is a part at the office, church or home yummy sweats seem to abound. Of course, this is to be expected as the holidays affords many opportunities to celebrate. The question is what does all this celebrating do to our health.

Have you ever noticed that just after Thanksgiving or Christmas/New Year’s that so many people have runny noses, colds and flus? How did you feel last week after the Thanksgiving weekend? Did you, your wife. friends, co-workers, parents, siblings or children have some sort of a cold?

The immune system isn’t a single organ, it’s actually millions of tiny cells and organisms that help to protect your body. It’s a HUGE system that spans your entire body.

Sugar impacts your white blood cells by competing for space in those cells with Vitamin C. When Linus Pauling did research in the 1970s to find out how the body uses Vitamin C.  He discovered that white blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses. Sugar and Vitamin C are similar in their chemical structure. When you eat sugar, it directly competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C! The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells.

Ok, maybe you know the damaging effects sugar has on the immune system but take a look all the other negative side effects from sugar that can be found in those delicious cookies, pies, cakes and donuts?

  1. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
  2. Sugar can cause juvenile delinquency in children.
  3. Sugar eaten during pregnancy and lactation can influence muscle force production in offspring which can affect an individual’s ability to exercise.
  4. Sugar intake is associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease.
  5. Sugar can cause two blood proteins – albumin and lipoproteins – to function less effectively which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.
  6. Sugar can increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can damage cells and tissues.
  7. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness in children.
  8. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
  9. Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection.
  10. Sugar causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function – the more sugar you eat, the more elasticity and function you lose.
  11. Sugar reduces high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
  12. Sugar can lead to chromium deficiency.
  13. Sugar can lead to ovarian cancer.
  14. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.
  15. Sugar causes copper deficiency.
  16. Sugar interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  17. Sugar may make eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration.
  18. Sugar raises the level of neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
  19. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
  20. Sugar can lead to an acidic digestive tract.
  21. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.
  22. Sugar is frequently malabsorbed in patients with functional bowel disease.
  23. Sugar can cause premature aging.
  24. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
  25. Sugar can cause tooth decay.
  26. Sugar can lead to obesity.
  27. Sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  28. Sugar can cause gastric or duodenal ulcers.
  29. Sugar can cause arthritis.
  30. Sugar can cause learning disorders in school children.
  31. Sugar assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).
  32. Sugar can cause gallstones.

How about making a difference at the Christmas parties and dinners this year by bringing desserts that might enhance the immune system rather than something that will contribute to the colds and flus people will experience when January comes around. Click here for some health dessert ideas.

Try making some Christmas Fudge for your next Christmas event. Click here for some other great dessert ideas. Maybe you would like to share one of your favorites here.

Excerpted from Suicide by Sugar by Nancy Appleton, PhD and G.N. Jacobs. Used with permission.

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19 Nov

A Simple Guide to Eating for New Trainees

by Ray Gillenwater, SSC | November 19, 2019

As a new Starting Strength trainee, one of the biggest opportunities for error outside of the gym is failing to eat in a way that optimally supports the growth of lean muscular bodymass. The most important aspect of diet for a new trainee is protein intake. Yes, overall caloric intake is critical, but learning how to eat enough protein requires the biggest change in habits for most people. Once a protein goal is met, adding calories with carbs, or removing fat calories, becomes a fairly simple day-to-day adjustment. 

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you diet. I’m not asking you to punish yourself inside or outside of the gym. As much as the rest of the fitness industry wishes it to be true, the amount of mental anguish and novelty associated with your fitness routine and/or nutrition program has no bearing on its efficacy. Restrictive diets are for physique competitors, athletes, those that need medical intervention (the morbidly obese, type II diabetics), and your friend that just went vegan because of a documentary she saw on Netflix. Being a strength trainee is about improving the quality of your physical existence. If you demonize entire food groups or adhere to pop culture’s latest pseudo-scientific food ideology, you’re on the path to neuroticism, not an improved quality of life. 

If you legitimately need to diet due to a health issue, hire a Registered Dietitian that’s also a Starting Strength Coach. Otherwise, take this time to enjoy yourself. It is possible to love every meal you eat while achieving your training goals, along with being more capable, looking better, and improving your overall health – it’s one of the best things about doing the program. 

As a reminder: Our goal is to get stronger. Stronger means more muscle mass. Building lean muscular bodymass requires eating lots of protein, with enough calories to be in an anabolic (growth) state. How much protein do you need? I don’t know. But for the majority of trainees who are not obese, a great place to start is to eat 1g of protein per pound of target bodyweight, or current bodyweight, whichever is greater. So if you’re 6’2” and 168 lbs (like I was pre-Starting Strength), eat at least 250 g of protein per day. If you’re 5’8” and 210 lbs (untrained), eat at least 210 g of protein per day. In a unique situation? Hire a professional and don’t follow general guidelines. 

How can you possibly eat that much protein? By treating animal protein like the priority it is and centering your meals around it. For example, if you’re not a fat guy, here’s what your day might consist of: 

  • Breakfast: Four eggs, three slices of cheese, three strips of bacon, glass of milk: 69 g protein
  • Lunch: Carnitas bowl with rice and beans: 67 g protein
  • Snack: One scoop of Starting Strength whey protein with water or OJ: 24 g protein
  • Dinner: 12oz ribeye steak (the rest of the meal is irrelevant when steak is involved): 91 g protein 

Result: 250 g of protein, no hunger pangs (since protein is the most satiating of the macros), full recovery from training stress, and (hopefully) no guilt. 

gillenwater after training and some weight gaingillenwater after training and some weight gain

Yes, you’ll get protein from other food sources, like the non-steak food items you eat with dinner. That’s okay. Eating “too much” protein is less of a problem than not eating enough. If you overshoot and need to adjust down (I have had zero trainees report this as an issue), that’s an easy problem to solve. 

Don’t do anything else, at least not yet. Just hit your protein goal and make sure your coach agrees that you’re adequately recovered from your last training session next time you come into the gym. As an underweight guy, you’ll need to eat lots of carbs (white rice is easy) and plenty of fats (dressings, oils, dairy) to ensure that your total caloric needs are being met. Don’t overcomplicate this – you certainly don’t want to develop a guilt-based relationship with food. Resist the temptation to create problems where there are none. There is no need to pay attention to the latest nutrition craze on Instagram, or to your co-workers that are doing a team juice cleanse. Try this instead: Lift big, eat big, sleep great, and whenever possible, enjoy the hell out of life.

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19 Nov

Diet culture is toxic, haven’t you heard?


For many, the impetus behind the anti-diet culture movement is all about putting an end to fat-shaming and our unhealthy obsession with losing weight.



While this is a noble cause, it’s not what this piece is about. Because the truth is, 50 percent of my clients have expressed to me a desire to lose weight—mostly for health, emotional, and aesthetic reasons. I’d like to help them reach their goals.


I truly believe the diet culture is hurting our chances of achieving long-term body composition changes, and more importantly, improved health. Be it the latest 7-day cleanse that promises to fix your gut or speed up your metabolism, or the popular 6-week or 30-day diet challenge of the year, more often than not we find ourselves back to the drawing board the moment the short-term diet or challenge is over.


So if diets don’t work, what does?


Build the Right Habits

I’m a big fan of Precision Nutrition’s principles, hence why I’m currently going through their Level 1 coaching course.


At the heart of it, success comes not from following an exact plan that leaves you feeling guilty when you fall off course, but from taking every imperfect day as it comes, by making as many right choices as you can along the way—but also knowing you’re going to make mistakes, too. Success comes from working on your nutrition by constantly striving to build better habits.


I know that sounds like just more fluffy rhetoric, so here are three small, practical things you can do RIGHT now—like today—to lay the foundation to see results.


They might seem insignificant on their own, but if you keep building on them, and adding more small actions each week and each month, I guarantee you’ll gain more than embarking on those quarterly turmeric cleanses.


1. The Five-Minute Action

This is sort of like the concept of compound interest: Over time, it adds up!


Choose one, small, emotionally and mentally manageable change you’re willing to make today.



I interviewed a Precision Nutrition client a while back who lost 100lb over the course of a year. The first five-minute action she committed was taking the stairs at work. Literally, she just started walking three flights of stairs. This small step was the starting point for what became a huge and lasting change.


Maybe for you, it’s cutting sugar from your coffee or committing to eating vegetables with every meal. Keep the action small and manageable, and once it feels normal, add in a new five-minute action.


2. Chew Your Food

It’s possible you have never considered this one, but chewing your food more thoroughly could be the answer to your digestion issues—bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation—and may help you lose weight. And it may also help your habit of eating too much.


How so?


Well, digestion starts in the mouth. Salivary amylase breaks down starch, and the more you chew, the more your food gets exposed to this enzyme, which kickstarts the digestion problem. Also, when you break your food down into smaller pieces from chewing it more—aim for 30 chews per bite—it’s then more manageable for your body to process, and also helps you absorb more nutrients. This goes a long way in helping your metabolism becomes more efficient.


This Chinese study found that chewing more led to weight loss and an increase in energy.


The study looked at 30 young men, 14 of whom were obese and 16 were considered skinny. The first observation the researchers made was that the obese men tended to ingest their food faster and chewed it less than the skinny men.


After this was noted, the obese men were fed a high carbohydrate meal and asked to chew their food either 15 or 40 times per bite. The researchers found when they chewed more, they actually ingested 12 percent fewer calories.


The researchers believe chewing more leads to lower levels of the hormone ghrelin and higher levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone called cholecystokinin. Together, these hormones tell the brain when to start and stop eating. So basically, chewing more creates a hormonal response in your body that stops you from eating when you’re full, helping you to maintain a healthy weight.


So, chew more. And start at dinner tonight.


3. Failure As Feedback

One of the biggest reasons I have seen clients fall off the healthy eating horse is because they’re discouraged because they failed.


But as my good friend Jennifer Broxterman, a registered dietician and the owner of NutritionRx, explains, it comes down to changing the way you think about failure.


“Failure should be seen as feedback, not as a result,” Broxterman said. She encourages her clients to view feedback like data points a scientist would use to figure something out. And to view it with a mixture of curiosity, compassion and radical honesty.


“Let’s be curious, kind, and truly honest about what pushed you off your course,” she explained.


When you change the way you think about failure, and when you view it as an opportunity to change something in the future, rather than an outcome that causes you pain in the present, you’ll be able to embrace the course—bumpy as it may be—to long-term change.


4. Bonus Tip: Be Patient

As the cliché goes, change doesn’t happen overnight. (And it doesn’t come from a 6-week diet.)


But change can start to happen right now in three simple steps:


  1. Pick a small, manageable five-minute action and turn it into a habit. Repeat.
  2. Chew your food 30 times a bite.
  3. If you mess up, chill out. Be kind. Be compassionate. Figure out what threw you off. And then continue.

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19 Nov

Starting Strength Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy Will Morris presents his concept of Training Barrier Construction during the Starting Strength Nutrition and Rehab Camp held at Wichita Falls Athletic Club in October 2019.

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19 Nov

Think you’re going to strut out of the gym with a pump but no sweat on your shirt? Not today, bro. Here are five ways to melt your face, and your body fat, at the end of any workout. You don’t even have to count reps when you do it!

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19 Nov

This loaded cauliflower soup recipe is a lighter twist on the classic loaded baked potato soup—full of creamy, rich flavor and topped with bacon and cheese for a fraction of the calories, carbs, and fat. Easy to make and ready in 40 minutes. (200 calories or 3 WW points)

Loaded baked potato soup is prime comfort food, but it’s also loaded with calories. My lightened-up version swaps the potatoes for low-cal/low-carb cauliflower while keeping all of the comforting appeal.

How to Make Loaded Cauliflower Soup

  • In a Dutch oven set over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, set aside, and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high.
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and drippings and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower, the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Bring the broth to a boil; cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the cauliflower is completely tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Let the mixture cool slightly then carefully pour it into a blender. Add the whole milk. Attach the blender lid on top, removing the center piece of the lid to let steam escape. Cover that center opening with a towel, holding your hand over the towel, and process the soup mixture on low at first (gradually increasing the speed) until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the smooth soup back into the Dutch oven on the stovetop and set it over medium heat to let it warm through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper, if needed
  • Crumble the cooked bacon slices. Serve the soup in bowls topped with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.
creamy cauliflower soupcreamy cauliflower soup

Why use cauliflower in this soup recipe?

Cauliflower is the ultimate blank-canvas veggie. You can roast its florets, pulse it into “rice”, mash it, and even blend it into a creamy soup like this one. Like potatoes, cauliflower doesn’t have a strong flavor so it’s the perfect low carb substitution in lots of recipes (you can even add frozen cauliflower florets to smoothies for bulk and creaminess!).

low calorie soup recipelow calorie soup recipe

What so you serve with this soup recipe?

This recipe makes 6 servings and each serving is around 230 calories, so it’s great to serve as an appetizer or as a light lunch. To make it a fuller meal, serve it with a side of crusty bread, cornbread or a side salad.

Top tips to make this recipe

  • Cooking the veggies in a little bit of the rendered bacon fat infuses the soup with rich, smoky flavor.
  • Use a stick blender or stand blender to puree the soup into a silky-smooth consistency.
  • If using a stand blender, make sure you allow the soup to cool slightly before pouring it in your blender. Attach the blender lid on top, removing the center piece of the lid to let steam escape. Cover that center opening with a towel, holding your hand over the towel, and process the soup mixture on low at first (gradually increasing the speed) until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for around 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
  • The soup also freezes well. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
loaded cauliflower souploaded cauliflower soup

For more delicious soup recipes for the cold weather:

If you have tried this Easy Granola recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family-friendly food!

Loaded Cauliflower Soup

This loaded cauliflower soup is a healthy twist on the classic loaded baked potato soup. This lightened up version is lower in calories, carbs and fat but is still creamy, savory and rich. Easy to make, too!

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Total Time40 mins

Course: Soup

Cuisine: American

Keyword: easy cauliflower soup, loaded cauliflower soup recipe, low carb soup recipe

Servings: 6

Calories: 200kcal

  • 6 slices center cut bacon
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chopped cauliflower (from a 2-pound head)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • In a Dutch oven set over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, set aside, and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high.

  • Add the chopped onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and drippings and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower, the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Bring the broth to a boil; cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the cauliflower is completely tender, about 15 minutes.

  • Let the mixture cool slightly then carefully pour it into a blender. Add the whole milk. Attach the blender lid on top, removing the center piece of the lid to let steam escape. Cover that center opening with a towel, holding your hand over the towel, and process the soup mixture on low at first (gradually increasing the speed) until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the smooth soup back into the Dutch oven on the stovetop and set it over medium heat to let it warm through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper, if needed

  • Crumble the cooked bacon slices. Serve the soup in bowls topped with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.

1 serving (1/6th of recipe or 1 1/4 cups soup topped with 1 slice of bacon, crumbled, and 1 heaping tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese): 3 WW Freestyle points
Adapted from Cooking Light Cauliflower Soup

Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 889mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 292IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 1mg

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November 2019
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