Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Snatched from the Couch

I sat at Top Pot Doughnuts - hey, free WiFi - and read the following article about explosive exercise for a middle aged population. I was thinking, "cool, that's perfect for those middle aged folks." I'm 37. I am those middle aged folks. Upon realization, I won't lie, I almost ate a doughnut. Instead I sipped my Earl Grey like I'm all young and hip . . . . wait . . . .

The study was done in Finland where apparently they aren't afraid to get sued by a bunch of 30-somethings with ankle sprains and various maladies to whine about. They peeled them right off the coach and made them jump. That's beautiful. And if the following statement doesn't make you cry, you're just dead inside:

"With increasing age, the capacity to produce explosive muscle force declines more dramatically than maximal muscle strength. To maintain functional capacity, strength training and power-type strength training are recommended for middle aged and elderly people."

Notice that they didn't say, "With increasing age, the capacity to produce explosive muscle force declines more dramatically then maximal muscle strength. So, give it up, take up mall walking buy a chair to haul your butt up the stairs to your Craftmatic adjustable bed and start making excuses for why you can't, won't and don't."

"The injury rate in this study was low (19% in men and 6% in women). For comparison, injury rates ranging from 24% to 40% have been reported among middle aged male and female runners; knee injuries were the most common. Correspondingly, the injury rate was 12% for middle aged sedentary male and female participants in a supervised one year worksite exercise programme."

Injury is a convenient excuse used by a trainer who can't coach explosive movements and don't have a clue about the proper progression. The finger wagging injury conversation is the easiest way for a lazy trainer to get paid the same per hour without adding any additional tools to his/her skill set. I know that I honestly would never have figured out Coach Bergener's snatch progression on my own but because he poured his wisdom into that little piece of genius, I'm able to teach my clients. First, though, I had to put in the time to learn it.

"Despite the high amount of jump and sprint exercises in the training programme, knee symptoms did not show any significant increase compared with the non-exercising control group, which certainly contributed to the increase in self rated health and fitness among participants. However, old knee troubles recurred in male participants who had previously practised various kinds of sports that stress the knees, such as ball games. High BMI may also have increased the risk of knee disorders. Knee symptoms, especially knee pain itself without any exercise involved, are associated with poor perceived health and increased mental distress. In this study, the interruptions in training were short, indicating that the disorders and injuries were not serious."

I went to Dr. Rowe, my family physician, when I was a freshman in college. I had recurring knee pain that he once diagnosed as 'growing pains.' Given that I was the same 5 feet, 4 inches since the age of fourteen, something wasn't right. At this point, given all the aching, I should have been over ten feet tall. He poked, he prodded and he then looked at my philosophically, "sometimes things just hurt," he said. My insurance paid for the visit.

I had a friend who gave me place mats made in Zimbabwe - worst mass production ever. None of them were the same size and all the seems were crooked. Our bodies are like products from Zimbabwe - sometimes it's not the best craftsmanship. I remember watching 'Mini Med School' on PBS and the doctor was saying that one of the most vexing parts of spinal surgery is that everything looks completely different when you open someone up. Given that, it's no surprise that we have aches and pains and things that hurt. Sometimes we work through them and sometimes we work around them. It isn't a good reason to quit.

Feasibility of power-type strength training for middle aged men and women: self perception, musculoskeletal symptoms, and injury rates.

Surakka J, Aunola S, Nordblad T, Karppi SL, Alanen E.
Social Insurance Institution, Research and Development Centre, Turku, Finland. jukka.surakka@kela.memonet.fi

OBJECTIVES: To examine the feasibility of a power-type strength training programme for middle aged men and women, the impact of the training programme on perceived health and fitness and on knee and low back symptoms, and the rate of exercise induced injuries.

METHODS: A total of 154 voluntary, healthy, sedentary men and women participated in a training programme lasting about four months. The explosive force of leg extensor muscles was measured by means of standing long jumps and vertical squat jumps. Perceived health, perceived fitness, and low back and knee symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention by using a questionnaire. Musculoskeletal disorders and exercise induced injuries were reported during the training programme.

RESULTS: Perceived fitness improved in both men (p<0.01) and women (p<0.0001), but perceived health only in women (p<0.01). Men with increased explosive force in squat jumping also showed better perceived health (p<0.05), and women with increased explosive force in standing long jump showed better perceived fitness (p<0.05). Exercising men who had increased knee symptoms had significantly higher body mass index than the other exercising men (p<0.05). The exercise induced injury rate was 19% in men and 6% in women.

CONCLUSIONS: Successful completion of the exercise programme, together with the increased physical activity and relatively low injury rate, may have contributed to the participants finding the exercise programme positive and stimulating and believing that their health and fitness had improved. The low rate of musculoskeletal injury suggests that this type of supervised exercise programme is feasible for untrained middle aged people.

Br J Sports Med 2003;37:131-136© 2003 BMJ Publishing Group & British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Thursday, April 19, 2007

For Nutrient Absorption, Fat Matters

I think it's remarkable that people have always managed to pair foods instinctively. When vegetarians attempt to eat complete proteins, it's necessary to pair foods with different amino acid profiles in order t0 achieve this. It sounds complex until you realize that most of the pairings have already been done effectively in agrarian based cuisines. Beans and rice are a perfect example as is peanut butter and wheat bread. In our family, it was toast with peanut butter and bacon - we were good little protein eaters from the get-go though we obviously had questionable palates.

Though we seldom ponder what makes us put foods together other than taste, there does exist some deeper reasoning. Even your standard salad is engineered with precision. Well, it was until we introduced fat-free salad dressing. Considering that most of the vitamins and phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables are fat soluble, the oil is crucial to absorption.

Last year Tara Parker-Poe demonstrated how important fat is to nutrient absorption in an article she wrote for the Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006). Dr. Eades, of Protein Power fame, excerpted her article on his site and saved everybody the subscription price to the Wall Street Journal. Now I have paired down Dr. Eades commentary to save you a little extra time:

"[Tara Parker-Poe] reports on a study of the nutrient absorption from fat-free salsa with and without extra fat. For the salsa study, 11 test subjects were first given a meal of fat-free salsa and some bread. Another day, the same meal was offered, but this time avocado was added to the salsa, boosting the fat content of the meal to about 37% of calories. In checking blood levels of the test subjects, researchers found that the men and women absorbed an average of 4.4 times as much lycopene and 2.6 times as much beta carotene when the avocado was added to the food."

"A study using salad with and without avocado was even more impressive. The first salad included romaine lettuce, baby spinach, shredded carrots and a no-fat dressing, resulting in a fat content of about 2%. After avocado was added, the fat content jumped to 42%. When the salad was consumed with the avocado, the 11 test subjects absorbed seven times the lutein and nearly 18 times the beta carotene. Lutein is a carotenoid found in many green vegetables and is linked with improved eye and heart health. "

"Another study done a few years ago at Ohio State University showed that salad dressing with oil brings out the best in a salad when compared to no-fat, low-fat dressings. When the seven test subjects consumed salads with no-fat dressing, the absorption of carotenoids was negligible. When a reduced-fat dressing was used, the added fat led to a higher absorption of alpha and beta carotene and lycopene. But there was substantially more absorption of the healthful compounds when full-fat dressing was used."

Researchers, who are often taken aback when fat does anything good, were astounded.
Study researchers say they were not only surprised by how much more absorption occurred with the avocado added to the meal, but they were taken aback at how little the body absorbed when no fats were present. “The fact that so little was absorbed when no fat was there was just amazing to me,” says Dr. Clinton.

Evil on the Horizon

I have some very good friends who are milk drinkers and every time I see them aim the carton for their mouth I want to dive on it like a live grenade. Though they appreciate my passion, I'm not sure it would go over well. Even still, I really didn't want to write about milk again but recent data forces me to at least give it a mention.

First, this from Dr. Mercola: There has been a continuing erosion of organic standards since large corporations started struggling for a share of the market. According to this recent NewsTarget interview with Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association, the standards for organic milk have been particularly compromised.

Horizon Organic, the company that supplies Wal-Mart, has continually ignored federal organic standards -- specifically, a cow's access to pasture.

Their "organic" milk actually comes from factory-style dairy farms where the animals are kept in intensive confinement and have been imported from conventional farms as calves.

In fact, the problem has gotten so out of hand that the Organic Consumers Association has called for a consumer boycott on Horizon and its partner Aurora Organic, its first for an "organic" product.

'Organic' is such a pretty word isn't it? It would be prettier still if it meant something. When it doesn't, don't spend the extra money just to see it in print. Instead consider naming your first child 'Organic' then you'd get to yell it off the back porch.

The other compelling reason to give milk another mention is the research by Dr. Loren Cordain. In The Paleo Diet Newsletter, December 15, 2006, Volume 2, Issue 5, Cordian explains how milk increases stimulation of the EGF Receptor, a hormonal receptor that's responsible for stimulating healing and maintaining the integrity of the cells lining the gastrointestinal track. Believe me when I say this is covered thoroughly and includes diagrams that either explain chemical processes or are 'Exhibit A' in a contested motor vehicle accident. Either way, I've included the punchline below.

So, what’s wrong with increased stimulation of the EGF receptor? First off, when a member of the EGF hormonal family binds the EGF receptor it sets off a chemical cascade that ultimately causes more EGF receptors to be synthesized. This process is known as up regulation. Higher concentrations of EGF up-regulate the EGF-R (12, 13). So, by ingesting supplemental betacellulin from cow’s milk, the number of EGF receptors may increase in the gut and in peripheral tissues bearing the EGF receptor. A higher betacellulin concentration in the bloodstream along with increased numbers of EGF receptors causes an increase in signaling (flux) through the EGF receptor pathway.

Overexpression of the EGF receptor and hence increased flux through this pathway occurs in a wide variety of cancers including: breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, bladder, stomach, and head and neck cancers (13, 14, 15). Higher concentrations of the EGF receptor increases cancer recurrence, reduces survival and increases tumor progression and development (13). Activation of the EGF receptor by the EGF family of hormones, including betacellulin, promotes cancer by 1) increasing cell proliferation, 2) decreasing programmed cell death (apoptosis), 3) increasing tumor formation and progression and, 4) increasing growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) within tumors (14).

NOTE TO MICHAEL: Yes, I know you love milk. I understand that it's free at Microsoft. I get that it zone blocks oh-so-nicely. I dig that it's a darn convenient source of calories. But, Baby, with the support of your friends and family we can kick this thing!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lean On Me

Do you suppose it's a coincidence that I generally publish research that agrees with me? I'm sure every resource I draw on has some distance runner flapping reams of contrary data in opposition. They'll have a counter argument - a long, slow, muscle-wasting diatribe I'm sure. But again I say, there's nothing wrong with endurance athletics as long as it's done for the right reasons. I assume to atone for unspeakable sin.

In that vain, Alwyn Cosgrove recently wrote an article for Testosterone called The Hierarchy of Fat Loss which sounded as titillating to me as Cosmopolitan's Every-Issue tease that in this issue - THIS VERY ISSUE - the secret to getting your abundant backside into a size zero is revealed. I think I read that article every month while I was in high school and every month my 'abundance' remained to startle me whenever I saw my profile in shadow. It continues to sneak up on me from time to time when I'm not looking.

Alas, I figured, it was Alwyn Cosgrove - with whom I often agree - and I had nothing else to do since I already read my freakishly accurate Horoscope in the Seattle Weekly so I gave the article a quick once over. This stuff wasn't new but then few things I read that are spot-on are.

I've described my job before - at least from the angle of nutrition - as a responsibility to say the same thing every day, without fail and from new and fresh angles in the hopes that one day it lands in the ear like the voice of God with profound prophecy. Try saying, "Hey, why not try eating less . . ." with cheerleader enthusiasm for the umpteenth time (I wanted to say that because it puzzles me that there's an elusive number called 'ump' and all I know about it is that it's very large even before I 'teenth' it).

It would seem tedious that everyone is still talking about 'leaning out' and even slightly incongruent in a world where muffin-tops are almost a fashion accessory. They must be all the rage if designer labels cut jeans in a way that seems to spotlight them in all their bulbous glory. While one group pays obscene 3-digit price tags for clothes that puts body fat on center stage, another pays an equally obscene price on fat-burning supplements that, if their lucky, won't cause organ failure.

Cosgrove had me hooked from the opening line though. "There's pretty much nothing that can be done to out-train a crappy diet." My heart's aflutter.

Caloric Deficit - Now There's a New One

You quite simply have to create a caloric deficit while eating enough protein and essential fats. There's no way around this. Yep. It really is that important. Several trainers have espoused that the only difference between training for muscle gain and training for fat loss is your diet. I think that's a massive oversimplification, but it does reinforce how important and effective correct nutrition is toward your ultimate goal."

Simple, huh? Maybe to you this sounds like the 'new and fresh angle' I was talking about or it counts in the running tally of days-in-a-row I've said this. He then outlines three other key points. All of them might have been mentioned by me before though perhaps without resonating like the words of the Divine.

Resting Metabolic Rate

"I think it's fairly obvious that the bulk of calories burned are determined by our resting metabolic rate or RMR. The amount of calories burned outside of our resting metabolism (through exercise, thermic effect of feeding, etc.) is a smaller contributor to overall calories burned per day. We can also accept that RMR is largely a function of how much muscle you have on your body — and how hard it works. Therefore, adding activities that promote or maintain muscle mass will make that muscle mass work harder and elevate the metabolic rate. This will become our number one training priority when developing fat loss programs."

In other words, not long-duration cardio which doesn't promote lean mass, it depletes it thus putting the burden of caloric deficit on the duration of the workout itself. Which, if you have a couple of hours a day to invest, no worries, but if it turns out you have other things to do . . . . . .

Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption

"The next level of fat loss programming would be a similar activity. We're still looking at activities that eat up calories and increase EPOC. EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) is defined scientifically as the "recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels" and "can require several minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals."
Essentially, we're looking for activities that keep us burning more calories after the exercise session."

"Light Exercise" includes long duration cardio. Though the cumulative fatigue of long slow duration makes the work seem anything but 'light', the fact that percentage of VO2 Max during exertion is usually around 60% makes this kind of work 'light' by a more classic definition. Remember, anything you do for two hours straight appears excruciating - I find sitting that long just as trying. If you compare the 600 give-or-take calories burned in an hour of jogging and put it next to the 600 calories in 20 minutes of sprint intervals - the sprints are the gift that keep on giving while the jog is just a flat 600 calorie burn.

Expenditure During Exertion

"This is the "icing on the cake" — adding in activities that'll burn up additional calories but don't necessarily contribute to increasing metabolism. This is the least effective tool in your arsenal as it doesn't burn much outside of the primary exercise session.
Let's put this fat loss continuum together in terms of our progressive training hierarchy."

The Research

Basically we're using resistance training as the cornerstone of our fat loss programming. Our goal is to work every muscle group hard, frequently, and with an intensity that creates a massive "metabolic disturbance" or "afterburn" that leaves the metabolism elevated for several hours post-workout.

Wikipedia might have that definition for 'CrossFit.'

A couple of studies to support this:
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

This study used a circuit training protocol of 12 sets in 31 minutes. EPOC was elevated significantly for 38 hours post-workout.

Thirty-eight hours is a pretty significant timeframe for metabolism to be elevated. If you trained at 9AM until 10AM on Monday morning, you're still burning more calories (without training) at midnight on Tuesday.

Can we compound this with additional training within that 38 hours? No research has been done, but I have enough case studies to believe that you can.

If the numbers above were about money, this would be the fodder for a midnight infomercial.

Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.

Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn't result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.

Thirty-six sessions of up to 50 minutes is a lot of work for one additional pound of fat loss. However, the addition of resistance training greatly accelerated fat loss results.
One more:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.

Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

The aerobic group performed four hours of aerobics per week. The resistance training group performed 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps, 10 exercises, three times per week.

V02 max increased equally in both groups. Both groups lost weight. The resistance training group lost significantly more fat and didn't lose any LBM, even at only 800 calories per day. (The reason the calories were so low was to really take any dietary variables completely out of the equation and compare the effects of the exercise regime on LBM and metabolism.)
The resistance training group actually increased metabolism compared to the aerobic group, which decreased metabolism. It seems that resistance training is a more significant stress to the body than a starvation diet.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fish Food

It would appear as if I converted my Y2K bunker to a bird flu bunker simply by changing the title on the cabinet door except that my dozen cans of sardines have no dust on them. That's more than can be said for most of the rest of my apartment. It's because I just restocked what for me is often a dietary staple.

Except for the fact that anyone living or working in an establishment that isn't expected to be firebombed at any moment, won't allow you to open a can of sardines within a 50 foot radius, they're a darn convenient protein source. I love them, but even I open the pull-tab on the can as if I'm defusing a bomb for fear I'll be funked by fish juices for the rest of the day.

Compromise is often made for the sake of convenience but in the case of sardines, you get quality protein, omega-3, calcium and a fraction of the mercury in tuna fish. At my body weight, sardines contain 10% of my weekly allowable dose of mercury while a standard can of tuna has 140%! It's good that tuna is that toxic, though. It's the hope of expiring from the toxicity before I have to try and gag down that last dry, metalic bite that keeps me going. Maybe sharp lids offer the same promise - like wearing cyonide capsules in case of capture.

It's the fact that I can get better quality in a nearly indestructable form that thrills me. Most things in the front of my pack double as some sort of battering ram or medieval shield defending me against broadsword attacks. You'd think so when you see the unrecognizeable and clearly pulverized items that come out of there. It's nice to know that my protein source won't get mauled before I liberate it. We could all use those kinds of features in our food sometimes. (by the way, the can doubles as a weapon if you can peg an attacker in the forehead and then spray said villian with fish juice for easy identification in a line-up. It's like a super hero only weird).

As long as I keep a stock of sardines and some dried fruit handy, I never have to worry about getting an emergency meal that's reasonably nutritous. In that way, I can avoid a lot of preservatives and nitrates found in deli meat, prepackaged hardboiled eggs or any number of other convenience foods that can conveniently undermine your health.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Flap About Spot Reduction

We trainer's are so darn smart. We sit down with a new client who, when quizzed about goals, inevitably grabs a flap of flesh and points, "I want to get rid of this!" and then shakes the offending handful a little for emphasis. Where the client sees fat, we see an opportunity to educate. How cute, we think. We're going to have the 'you can't spot reduce' conversation now and the client will be wowed by physiology and my command of it. How cute, the client thinks. The trainer is wrong again.

It turns out that you CAN spot reduce. It's minutia really so I wouldn't get worked up and dust off your thigh master just yet. It's notable, however, that many folks in the industry still have only some of the answers but all of the pomposity. Hopefully we'll be able to spot-reduce fat-headedness. Here's the data on the study:

Are blood flow and lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue influenced by contractions in adjacent muscles in humans?

Bente Stallknecht1, Flemming Dela1, and Jorn Wulff HelgeUniversity of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Aerobic exercise increases whole-body adipose tissue lipolysis, but islipolysis higher in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) adjacent to contracting muscles than in SCAT adjacent to resting muscles? Ten healthy, overnight-fasted males performed one-legged knee extension exercise at 25% of maximal workload (W max) for 30 minutes followed by exercise at 55% Wmax for 120 minutes with the other leg and finally exercised at 85% Wmax for 30 minutes with the first leg.Subjects rested for 30 minutes between exercise periods. Femoral SCAT bloodflow was estimated from washout of 133Xe and lipolysis was calculated fromfemoral SCAT interstitial and arterial glycerol concentrations and blood flow.

In general, blood flow as well as lipolysis was higher in femoral SCAT adjacent to contracting than adjacent to resting muscle (time 15-30 min: blood flow: 25% Wmax: 6.6 ± 1.0 vs. 3.9 ± 0.8 ml 100 g-1 min-1, P < class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_16">Wmax: 7.3 ± 0.6 vs. 5.0 ± 0.6, P <> 0.05; lipolysis: 25% Wmax: 102 ± 19 vs. 55 ± 14 nmol 100 g-1 min-1, P = 0.06; 55% Wmax: 86 ± 11 vs. 50 ± 20, P > 0.05; 85% Wmax: 88 ± 31 vs. -9 ± 25, P <>

In conclusion, blood flow and lipolysis are generally higher in SCAT adjacent to contracting than adjacent to resting muscle irrespective of exercise intensity. Thus, specific exercises can induce "spot lipolysis" in adipose tissue.

This topic was tossed about in Performance Menu in the forum some time ago but I just got around to mention it. This is interesting stuff but still no cause to flap flesh at me. Use your words.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Changing It Up

If I didn't constantly wear white Hanes premium tank tops purchased on sale and in bulk at Target, I might be re-engineering my spring wardrobe and packing away winter clothes right about now. In my defense, nothing cripples your fashion sense faster than wearing a uniform every day for eight years straight. Nobody does that other than comic strip characters without suffering a stunting fashion PTSD. I'm in a support group now with Peppermint Patty but then I digress - perhaps habitually.

Even if my tank tops are perennial, there are dietary and fitness habits that are not. Every season I need to reconsider scheduling, food availability and how I'd prefer to spend my time. In the spring, I notice that I get antsy in the gym and I plan ways to duck out early. I also notice that standing at the stove while the sun shines feels like a task assigned by an evil stepsister without even the faint hope of rescue and cool shoes (which leads to me to the question: if you dance and consequently sweat in glass slippers, do they fog over and if so, um, ick! but again, I digress)

Local and Lavish

Last year, I tried to do an 'Eat Local/Eat Seasonal' thing until the fall when I think I suffered some sort of Yam/squash toxicity and nearly went mad. Roasted root vegetables - shudder. Even now I hurry past the isle in Whole Foods and try not to look a yam in the eyes. It's a noble cause and worth trying when it's not nearly as painful and there's a little bit of choice. It's beneficial because you'll be eating food at its nutritional peak, it will be cheaper, you'll cut down on the cost and waste of fossil fuels by avoiding vegetables that clearly vacation more extravagantly than you, and you'll support local farmers who are wise enough to grow something other than corn and soy even when it's not subsidized.

A couple in Vancouver wrote the '100 mile diet' about this very topic and you can join the movement. Why, you ask? Because it gives some direction and purpose to your nutrition at a point BEFORE you start zone blocking Frozen Mudslides and calling it good. You can always fake an injury at the end of the summer and quit before you get bum rushed by beets.

Salad Solutions

Summer salads look phenomenal because they're nutrient dense, full of variety, and a perfect excuse to slop everything into one bowl like pet food and pretend it's not because you're lazy. And there's good reason to eat raw food other than lack of time or focus. Like the '100 Mile Diet' there's a whole movement (ok, that's kind of a potty humor pun, my apologies) associated with raw foods and their health benefits. The article "Enzymes: The Difference Between Raw and Cooked Foods," by Emily Kane ND explains:

Although the enzyme-producing organs continue to function over the entire course of a healthy life, they eventually wear down, especially with the "standard American diet" (which, in the naturopathic community, we call SAD.) Dr. Francis M. Pottenger's nutritional studies have shown that a regular diet of cooked or canned foods causes the development of chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality. Professor Jackson of the Dept. of Anatomy, University of Minnesota, has shown that rats fed for 135 days on an 80 percent cooked food diet resulted in an increase pancreatic weight of 20 to 30 percent. What this means is that the pancreas is forced to work harder with a cooked food diet. "Although the body can manufacture enzymes, the more you use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out..." wrote Dr. Edward Howell, who pioneered research in the benefits of food enzymes. A youth of 18 may produce amylase levels 30 times greater than those of an 85 year old person.

Enzymes are what make seeds sprout. Sprouts are, in fact, one of the richest sources of enzymes. Other excellent sources are papaya, pineapple and the aspergillus plant. Science cannot duplicate enzymes, because they are the stuff of life itself. Only raw food has functional "live" enzymes. Therefore the liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines must come to the rescue and furnish the requisite digestive enzymes to the individual nourished solely on a cooked food diet. This extra activity can be detrimental to health and longevity because it continually taxes the reserve energy of our organs. Furthermore, cooked food passes through the digestive tract more slowly than raw food, tends to ferment, and throws poisons back into the body. Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer as a killer in America and is related, in various ways, to eating enzyme-deficient cooked food.

Prolonged intestinal toxemia may manifest the following symptoms: Fatigue, nervousness, gasto-intestinal discomfort, recurrent infections, skin eruptions, hormonal disturbances, headaches, arthritis, sciatica, low back pain, allergies, asthma, eye, ear, nose and throat disorders, cardiac irregularities, pathological changes in the breasts, and so forth. All of these conditions have been shown to respond to therapy directed to correcting the bowel toxemia. Of course, it is important to have fiber in the diet to scrub the colon walls clean, but even more important are the enzymes which will allow proper digestion and assimilation of vital nutrients. Cooked food often passes into the bloodstream as unsplit molecules that are deposited, as waste, in various parts of the body. If it is a fat molecule we know it as cholesterol plaque; if calcium, arthritis; if sugar, diabetes. White blood cell count rises dramatically after ingesting a meal of canned or cooked foods ("digestive leukocytosis"). Elevated WBCs are correlated to bacterial infection, inflammation and depressed immunity. Raw foods do not produce this reaction. All raw foods contain exactly the right enzymes required to split every last molecule into the basic building blocks of metabolism: Amino acids (from protein), glucose (from complex carbohydrates) and essential fatty acids (from unsaturated vegetable fats).

Go Outside, duh!

Don't skip your workout entirely, just make room for it outside. It seems like an obvious answer but you'd be surprised how many people take an either/or approach to this issue. Just because you don't like biking or running doesn't mean you can't find a worthwhile activity that will keep you active.

I have a kettlebell that spends most of it's winter behind my driver's seat potentially killing my gas mileage and doing funky things to my tire alignment and wear patterns. In the summer, I bring it to Greenlake. It would be worth doing even if there wasn't a secret joy in swinging it all Hagar the Horrible style to the alarm of soccer mom's with strollers and yippy dogs who swallow the impending yap when they realize I might level them. It would be better if I could glare all crazy-like.

Whatever you decide to do, create some intentionality around it. The biggest issue with a change in seasons is the lack of a plan which switches you into coast mode. As a result, everything unravels and you forget why (though arguably, that could have something to do with the poorly zone-blocked Mud Slides . . . .)