Health and Fitness

Transit Time

The title of this blog may catch you off guard. When I say “transit time“ I don’t mean the time it takes to get across town. I’m talking about how long it takes for the food that you eat to travel down your esophagus, to your stomach, through your small intestines, your large intestines and then be expelled through your anus.

I’ve always thought that eating raw vegetables could cover up or buffer other bad dietary habits. Science has shown that my hunch was correct. This is because they decrease the transit time through our a gastrointestinal tract as well as providing the many other well-known health benefits.

Digestion takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hrs.. The average transit time is 30 to 40 hours in someone who is not constipated. The three best ways to speed things up are 1. Eat more fiber. 2. Drink more water. 3. Exercise daily.

A unique way in which faster transit time greatly affects your body weight is through the hunger modulating hormones. Leptin is a hormone made by fat cells that decreases your appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite and also plays a role in body weight. Studies have shown that fiber-enriched meals decrease post prandial glucose, insulin and ghrelin. These high-fiber meals provide the additive effects of decreased fat storage and decreased hunger.

To decrease your transit time and more easily achieve an ideal weight, eat more vegetables, especially brassica vegetables such as kale cauliflower or broccoli. Further, increase your consumption of legumes, beans and lentils, as well as colorful, organic, seed-containing berries

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson was a dynamic baseball player, best known for erasing the unofficial color barrier in major league baseball. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbet’s Field. The class and dignity that he displayed might even have outshined his dazzling offensive and defensive skills.

This past week, and on April 15 every year, major-league baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson day. He will always be remembered for breaking down barriers and opening up opportunities for minorities in professional sports. Even more important however was his fight for equality as a businessman, public speaker, and in politics. Every year on April 15, baseball honors Jackie Robinson‘ s legacy by celebrating his life, values and accomplishments.

Years ago I listened to an autobiography of Jackie Robinson while on a road trip. I was fascinated to learn of his philosophies on life success and justice. When researching this current blog post, I read many of the quotes that were attributed to Jackie Robinson. They give a snapshot of his wisdom and dignity.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.“ “The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity. “ “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.“

It is clear that this phenomenal baseball player made an impact not just with his play, but also with his words. With eloquence and dignity, he spoke out against injustice and stood for fair and just treatment of all. He said that “Your time is limited, so don’t waste a living someone else’s life and to keep rising every time we fall.

He’s truly an American hero.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Five Reasons to Ride Your Bike

1. Biking may not cure diseases alone, but it will make our bodies healthier. It improves our cardiovascular fitness, lowers blood pressure, and increases strength, balance and coordination.

2. Bicycling won’t solve climate change alone, but if adopted en masse, it can make our communities healthier. The transportation sector accounts for nearly 30% of all US greenhouse gas emissions, with cars and trucks delivering nearly 1/5 of these emissions. Together we can make a difference.

3. Biking can make our roads safer. As we all bike more, it will become safer. Drivers’ behavior changes to adapt to more bicyclists on the road. Further, communities adjust their city planning to accommodate more bicyclists, creating a virtuous cycle.

4. Biking will improve your happiness and your cognitive function. Your daily commute may reduce your stress and anxiety and improve sleep. It is well-known that moderate exercise can improve attention and memory and slow cognitive decline.

5. Biking can help you lose weight and maintain and ideal body weight. A one hour daily cycle ride at a moderate pace or 15 mph will burn 465 cal. Multiply that times five days a week equals 2325 calories! That’s more than a pound per week.

Currently, the Trek bicycle company is promoting the #GoByBike movement. They are asking that you choose your bike for one or more trips each week and tag a photo of your bike with #GoByBike for the health of our people and planet. “Collective action makes a world of difference, and what you do today matters for tomorrow.“ Both for you and for the planet.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

You Are What You Eat Ate

We’ve all heard the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. They are a group of poly unsaturated fatty acids that are important for multiple functions in the body. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids decrease heart disease and premature death. They have further been found to help symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. They even may help treat and prevent anxiety and depression. They also have been shown to decrease inflammation and it’s myriad effects in the body, and may improve bone and joint health.

Over the past two generations, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the average American diet, has greatly increased. For ideal health, the ratio should be approximately 1 to 1. With the advance of processed foods, over-consumption of simple carbohydrates and factory produced meat and fish, the ratio has approached 6 to 1 for many people. This makes chronic inflammation worse and greatly contributes to our country’s epidemic of chronic diseases.

It is so important that you not only consider what you eat but what you eat ate. Factory raised fish, corn fed cattle and chickens raised in overcrowded pens all have poor ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

Whenever you can, buy free range fish such as salmon. It is more expensive but the health benefits are worth it. Buy beef that was grass fed and allowed to graze in open fields. This produces beef that is much healthier for the consumer. Free range chickens as well as the eggs they produce, contain a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and are much better for you. To further optimize the health benefits of your fish or steak, never burn it or overcook it.

In 1826, the French lawyer Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you what you are“. There is no stronger medicine then the food we eat. Increased inflammation caused by modern food processing skews the ratio of omega six to omega-3‘s. Increased inflammation contributes to multiple chronic diseases. These include fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, pain and inflammation of our joints and heart disease to name a few. Take the time to seek out dark leafy green vegetables, high omega-3 meats and only healthy oils such as extra-virgin olive oil.

“Consider what you eat ate“

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

The Number One Cause of Obesity

Have you ever noticed that when you look at pictures of your ancestors from 100 years ago, they were all thin. What has changed that has caused the rates of obesity to skyrocket?

The causes are many. People may say it is because we are moving less and exerting less energy to do our work. Food is more plentiful and easier to obtain. We are spending more time sitting in front of the television playing video games and eating unhealthy snacks and drinking sugar laden sodas. All of these reasons are valid.

The number one reason that I point to however, is the common practice of grain roller milling. Although Romans were thought to be the first have started the milling industry thousands of years ago, roller milling did not become commonplace until approximately 100 years ago. Roller milling breaks a grain open, grinds it and turns it into flour. Unfortunately, this process takes a nutritious grain and turns it into nutritionally poor flour. Most of the vitamins and minerals and all of the essential amino acids contained in the endosperm of the wheat are lost with roller milling. Early food scientist learned that they actually needed to add vitamins back to white bread to partially make up for this loss. Hence the term “enriched white bread“

By grinding, finely cutting, or milling grains, they are made more digestible. But by that doing so, they are more rapidly broken down to sugar. This sets off the well-known insulin release reaction and tells your body to store fat. This fat surrounds your internal organs, increases body fat and leads to obesity.

The high-fiber contained in whole grains, or less easily digestible steel cut oats, or whole kernels of corn versus corn flour, provide added benefits of more rapid intestinal transit time. Ironically, they are less easily digestible but promote satiety and better glycemic control.

Today most white and wheat bread are produced from flower from a roller mill. We substituted efficiency for nutrition. In order to turn back the clock and return to the thin, healthy body habitus of our forebears, we need to return whole grains to a primarily plant-based diet.

Stay well!