One of my clients here in Franklin is keeping a blog about his venture with stigletics, and I am really excited that he is allowing me to share a link to it on my site!  Besides raising his own accountability by sharing this endeavor with the world, so to speak, it's a great journal that will serve as a wonderful source of inspiration and information to all of my other clients and readers!
     Paul is an incredible guy with great desire to make some changes, so please feel free to read along and offer plenty of encouragement, and realize that you have the power to make positive changes in your life, too!  Way to go Paul!
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     Now it's time to expound a bit on why the 15 habits I've outlined in the previous post will improve your health and body composition, and I'll share strategies for implementation so you can see just how easy it is to look and feel better.

First, I'll share some health benefits of drinking water:
     Lose weight:  Drinking water helps you lose weight as it flushes out the by-products of fat oxidation. Drinking water reduces hunger - it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories.
     Natural Remedy for Headache:
Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although there are many other reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
     Look Younger with Healthier Skin:
You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increase skin elasticity.
     Better Productivity at Work:
Your brain is mostly comprised of water, so drinking water helps with concentration and alertness.
     Better Exercise:
Besides regulating your body temperature, you’ll also have more energy and more effective muscle contractions, proper hydration keeps your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll be less likely get cramps and sprains.
aids Digestion and waste removal: Drinking water aids in digestion, and the combination of water and fiber help keep your bowels regular.     Less Likely to Get Sick: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack, and can improve our immune system and combat high blood pressure.
     Relieves Fatigue:
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks of water, your heart, for instance, need to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so are you.
     Good Mood:
Your body feels very good and that always helps you feel happy.
     Reduce the Risk of Cancer:
Studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water also dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.

     Since your body is comprised mostly of water and other fluids, it is very important to stay hydrated.  Unfortunately, there are so many of the population that actually suffer from chronic dehydration, and even in a mild form, dehydration can have many effects on the body, including headache, dry mouth, muscle cramps and weakness, and constipation, none of which are conducive to having a good day.  And who wants to go the gym after working all day, not being able to use the bathroom, and experiencing headaches, weakness, and dry mouth?  Being mildly dehydrated is a great way to derail a successful exercise program, and lessen performance at work and the rest of your daily activities.
     The body's initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake, along with decreased urine output to try to conserve water. urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.  What can we take from this?  Drink water so that you do not become thirsty, and please note the color of your urine and make sure it is staying a clear yellow to a pale yellow color.  If it's has any kind of dark tint, that's your sign to replenish water as soon as possible.
     So, starting the day off with a glass is a great habit, as your body loses a great deal of water during sleep by mechanisms of sweat and urine.  I even like to keep a glass of water on the bedside table, just in case I wake up to use the bathroom.
     Since the majority of my clients have sedentary jobs and lifestyles, and many are professionals that sit at a desk most of the day, it is crucial to carry a water bottle with you to work, and have it filled and on your desk, so you will have no excuses to let yourself become thirsty during the course of the day.  Same goes for the rest of you - make sure you have a bottle of water every time you leave the house, and if you have a very active job, it is even more crucial to be proactive.
     My recommendation is to start small, and simply focus on incorporating one new nutrition habit successfully each week, so that in a few months you have developed healthier nutrition habits.  Keep your weekly goal visible in the house and at work, and master them one at a time.  So, my Challenge to you this week is to start your day with a glass of water, monitor the color and volume of urine, and lot let yourself thirst during the day!  Good luck!

1)  Drink a glass of water immediately upon waking, and stay fully hydrated throughout the day

2)  Consume first meal of day within 1 hour of waking

3)  Limit starches to breakfast and/or immediately post workout

4)  Consume at least 5 servings of non-starch vegetables and 1 serving of fruit a day

5)  every meal or snack contains some protein

6)  Consume at least 10 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids a day

7)  Avoid drinking sugar (eat the fruit instead of drinking the juice)

8)  Consume at least 10 – 15 grams of whey protein within the hour before and the hour after any exercise lasting more than 30 minutes in duration

9)  eat before getting hungry (4-6 times a day, not including pre- and post-workout protein)

10)  Plan an eating strategy daily so you are not forced into unhealthy choices, and always have a healthy snacking option close at hand

11)  Read labels and be informed of the nutrition content and ingredients of EVERYTHING that passes your lips

12)  Acquire at least 90 percent of daily caloric intake from nutritious choices

13)  Eliminate or severely limit High Fructose Corn Syrup, “refined” ingredients, hydrogenated oils and trans fats, and foods with ingredients that can’t be pronounced

14)  Do not keep temptations or junk food in the house - buy unhealthy treats in a single-serving portion, or throw away what’s left after satisfying your craving

15)  Choose non-gluten dietary sources whenever possible

     Adopting these habits will help you achieve a leaner body composition while retaining as much lean body mass as possible, and should improve your blood labs at the doctor's office, too!  If you are trying to gain weight in the form of slabs of muscle, there are some additional protocols that need to occur which are all centered around pre-, peri- and post-workout nutrition.  I will be expounding on strategies to successfully implement these habits in future blog posts!
     I will even go one step further - not only are they inessential, they are also completely unnecessary.  In fact, there are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) and Essential Amino Acids, (EAA's); there are NO essential carbohydrates.  The word "essential" means that the body cannot convert another source into these nutrients that are absolutely essential for the body to function.  If there is one thing your body can and will convert from other sources, it would be the conversion of fatty acids and Amino Acids to glucose.
      The following is an excerpt from a biology textbook written by a retired university of harvard professor:

Human Nutrition - Human Dietary Needs
The human diet must provide the following:
  • calories; enough to meet our daily energy needs.
  • amino acids. There are nine, or so, "essential" amino acids that we need for protein synthesis and that we cannot synthesize from other precursors.
  • fatty acids. There are three "essential" fatty acids that we cannot synthesize from other precursors.
  • minerals. Inorganic ions. We probably need 18 different ones: a few like calcium in relatively large amounts; most, like zinc, in "trace" amounts.
  • vitamins. A dozen, or so, small organic molecules that we cannot synthesize from other precursors in our diet.
Here's a link to the rest of the page!

     In this biology textbook, there is not one mention of carbohydrates being necessary!  That's because the body will convert glucose, as needed, from other sources in the body.  There is absolutely no requirement for living from carbohydrate sources.  So, while carbohydrates are composed of sugar molecules, and glucose is essential to our bodies, carbohydrates are not specifically needed or required to sustain life.
     Carbohydrates are an immediate source of energy for the body; so, if your body does not have an immediate use for that energy, an insulin response is triggered and the body stores any energy it does not immediately require in fat cells for later use.  So, the body will not release and convert fat cells to glucose if there is already a source of blood glucose that does not require conversion.  Our bodies are made for survival, and the body is very good at what it does; our bodies will primarily follow the path of least resistance, or go for the easiest option, so to speak.  Couple that with the fact that our bodies are programmed to store fat away as a mode of survival, because starvation used to be a very valid concern, and the fact that we could survive for years without ever getting out of bed due to modern-day conveniences, and you begin to see why, in this time of abundance and easy living, it's incredibly easy to consume much more energy than our bodies could ever utilize.  And, in a nutshell, that's why we have an epidemic of obesity and type II diabetes.
     So, why do the FDA and most registered dieticians claim that calories from carbohydrates should comprise the bulk of your "healty diet"?  Well, registered dieticians are regulated by the FDA, and the FDA is regulated by money, and cheap genetically modified grains are they largest profit margin of any food source, and you better believe agencies like ConAgra have lobbyists throwing kickbacks and money at government officials, and that these companies have the largest advertising budgets of all food producers.  But that's for another discussion.
     My next blog post will delve a bit into this carbohydrate dilemma, and we'll discuss the differences between carbohydrate sources, and learn how to manipulate carbohydrates to reap their vitamin and mineral benefits without the side effects of a bulging waistline and skyrocketing blood sugar!
     One of the biggest sources of misinformation on what foods we should be eating comes straight from the united states government food and drug administration - the USDA dietary recommendations.  If I were to advise a client to follow the "food pyramid," as most registered dieticians and other nutrition professionals still suggest, they would never progress to any of their body composition or health goals; however, they would reach a very high level of frustration, a growing waistline, higher triglycerides and cholesterol, and be at higher risk of developing chronic inflammatory diseases and type II diabetes, like most of America.
     One of my favorite organizations for quality information is the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit organization that has a mission to dispel food myths, especially those spun by the FDA and corporate agriculture.  Their site gives great info and almost too much food for thought.  I came across this article on their site regarding the 2010 changes to the USDA guides, and thought it very interesting.
     When I was between the ages of 10 and 16, the whole low-fat high-carb craze was sweeping the nation like wildfire.  if one wanted to be healthy, just consume as little fat as possible each day, and get the majority of your daily calories from carbohydrates.  I was even learning this in health class, as we would study the food pyramid and talk about needing 400 grams of carbohydrates a day in our 2000-calorie diet.  following this advice left me with 20 percent bodyfat, no lean muscle mass to speak of, and a whole host of stomach and digestive issues.  And please keep in mind that I was an extremely active child and played every sport there was to play.
     Well, finally, after years of chronic indegestion and gastrointestinal distress, I went in to the doctor thinking I must have somehow developed an ulcer or something more serious.  After a barrage of expensive and invasive medical testing, the docs told me that my stomach just produced more acid that normal, and that indigestion was just something I was going to deal with, and sent me packing with a prescription of prilosec.  Keep in mind that I was 18 years old and couldn't leave the house without a container of antacids.
     Very discouraged with the constant burning pain of indigestion, I went on about my daily routines thinking this was just the way things had to be.  Until one day when I went in for a chiropractic visit over some neck pain I was having...  Dr. Greg Bierly in Louisville, KY.  It was my first visit to his office, and I walked in to a warm welcome by dr. Bierly himself, since it was after hours and he was kind enough to stay later and accommodate my schedule.
     After asking me to expound upon my reason for seeing him, and watching me like a hawk as I'm describing my symptoms, he patiently waits for me to stop talking and said, "What's going on with your stomach?"  My jaw fell open in disbelief that he would know something of my ongoing digestive issues, and I began wondering how he got ahold of my medical history, as I had never mentioned any of this to him.  "what do you mean," I asked.  At that point, the neck issue fell to the wayside as he began taking a detailed medical history, asking me questions about everything except my neck.  This went on for well over an hour as I gave him a detailed account of my lifestyle and dietary habits.  Upon completion of this detailed history, he looked at me and said, "Quit eating your oatmeal in the morning and I bet your indigestion will stop.  It's the Gluten, the grains in your diet; I believe you have a mild allergy to gluten that is the cause of your indigestion.  Let's try to take all of the grains out of your diet for two weeks and see what happens."
     We had gotten so far off track that we had almost forgotten about my neck pain, which I mentioned, and he put me on the table and made a few adjustments in about 5 minutes.  So, 1.5 hours of history for a couple of adjustments.  When I walked out of his office, I was just baffled over the amount of time I spent there, how much time he spent just talking to me like an old friend, and by his suggestion to quit eating grains for two weeks.  But at this point in my life, the indigestion was so out of control and painful that I was willing to try anything, so even though i thought the doc off his rocker, I decided to follow his advice.
     My indigestion was gone by day five.  By the end of the two weeks, I had noticed some other changes, too.  My skin had cleared up to almost flawless, my energy levels were through the roof, and my pants were fitting a bit loosely around my waist.  This kooky old chiropractor had just changed my life - only now do i realize how much that visit changed the course of my existence.  And all I could think was:  "But I was eating healthy!  Just like I was told in health class!  Just like the USDA Guidelines spell out!"