Summer is here and people are making vacation plans. In order to get ready for that cruise or family vacation, many are looking for ways to get lean, eliminate bloating and lose weight. Here are the top fitness tips to get in great summer shape:
Foods to Avoid
Losing weight and eliminating bloat are key to looking your summer best. Here are the top foods to avoid this summer:
Grains. Grains are found in a variety of products, including hamburger and hotdog buns. In the 1960’s, grains were hybridized, making them resistant to drought conditions and pesticides. Modern grains may be easier to grow and cultivate, but they are now extremely unhealthy and dangerous for human consumption. Grains should be avoided for the following reasons:
- Spike in blood sugar. Grains have been called super sugars because of their effect on blood sugar and insulin. While many people consider whole grains healthy, eating two slices of whole grain bread raises glucose levels quickly in the same manner as drinking a 12 ounce soda. When blood sugar levels rise dramatically, they can fall just as quickly, causing a person to “crash,” with feelings of brain fog and sluggishness the result. They can also cause people to be hungrier than ever.
- Gluten. Most grains contain gluten, which can cause bloating, inflammation, diarrhea and leaky gut syndrome in those who are gluten intolerant.
In addition to hamburger and hot dog buns, other foods with grains listed in their ingredients that should be avoided are chips, crackers and cookies.
Vegetable oil. Before 1900, American households cooked with lard and butter. Today, most cookies, cakes, microwave popcorn and fast foods are made with vegetable oil. Even though they are called vegetable oils, they are extremely toxic.
Vegetable oils are used in most restaurants and households as well. Studies indicate vegetable oil has been linked to many health issues:
- Heating up vegetable oil prompts a release of aldehydes, which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, inflammation and dementia.1
- Vegetable oils can raise the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL’s) and decrease the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL’s) in the blood, which increases the risk of blood clots. This is also known as the “double deadly effect.”2
- Studies indicate the consumption of trans-fats can increase a person’s risk of depression by 50%.3
Vegetable oils have been deemed toxic and unsafe for human consumption worldwide. They have been banned in Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. New York City banned the use of vegetable oils in 2012, and the FDA has given food manufacturers until June of 2018 to totally remove them out of processed and fast foods.3
Vegetable oils go by many names:
Avoiding these oils is essential to good health.
Grilling. Grilling is one of the most popular summer events, but it’s also one of the most toxic. There are many studies citing the dangers of grilling:
- When meat is charred on the grill, it creates heterocyclic amines, (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A report from the National Cancer Institute claims that rodents fed a diet of HCAs and PAHs developed tumors of the breast, colon, liver, skin, lung and prostate.4
- The smoke from barbeques contains PAHs as well. The toxin can get inside the lungs when inhaled.
Conventional meat. Cows are meant to eat grass, but the majority of them are fed GMO and hybridized grain, which is not healthy for them. In addition to the cows being malnourished, the grains are laden with pesticides, which in turn affect humans when they are eaten. Remember, you are what you eat eats! Consumption of grain fed cows has been linked to the following diseases:
Cancer. Countless studies indicate that eating grain fed red meat has significant health risks.
- A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that women who ate red meat had a slightly increased risk of breast cancer:5
- Analysts at the World Cancer Research Fund analyzed over 800 studies on processed meat and conclude that bowel cancer is more common among people who ate processed meat. The researchers also believe there is a possible link between processed meat and cancer of the stomach, colon and pancreas.6
Increased risk of atherosclerosis. When eating grain fed meat, the gut can react in negative ways that may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease:
- A study in the journal Nature Medicine claims that ingesting high levels carnitine, which is found in red meat, increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease.7
- According to Victoria Taylor, a senior dietician at the British heart Foundation, “diets that are linked to good heart health are lower in foods like red meat, and include more pulses, nuts, seeds and fish as protein sources.”8
Diabetes. There is growing evidence that consumption of grain fed beef can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- A study of 149,000 American men and women found that the probability of developing Type 2 diabetes increased as the consumption of red meat increased.9
Humans have been eating red meat for thousands of years, but it was not until the cows were fed grains that these health problems started to occur. The grains are the root cause of the problem, and eating grass fed cows is the first step in eliminating these health issues.
Dairy. Due to its extreme toxicity, eating conventional dairy that is served in most restaurants and supermarkets may cause unwanted weight gain. Dairy products can be the root cause of other health problems as well:
- A Swedish study claims that women who consume more than 3 glasses of milk per day had twice the mortality rate of women who drank less than one glass per day over a 20 year span.10
- Many studies indicate dairy protein raises Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which has been linked to various types of cancer, including prostate and ovarian cancer.10
- Bloating, stomach pain, gas and diarrhea are common and all symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Many people are allergic to conventional dairy products, but like beef, the root cause is not the dairy but the grains that cows are fed. In addition to improved overall health, weight loss can occur when raw, organic, grass-fed dairy and grass-fed meat are consumed.
Healthy Summer Alternatives
The list of foods a person should avoid may be intimidating but there are countless delicious and viable options available.
Many people avoid fried foods because of the oil, but not all oils are bad. The following oils are healthy and are suitable for preparing dishes in a variety of ways:
Coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for medium heat sautéing. It can help with weight loss, is good for the heart, boosts the metabolism and is great for the skin.
Olive oil. Olive oil has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Best to use raw or for low-medium heat cooking.
Ghee. Grass-fed ghee is rich in vitamin A, D, K2 and conjugated linoleic acid. Best for medium heat cooking.
Butter. Like ghee, grass-fed butter provides the body with a variety of healthy nutrients, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and is best for medium heat cooking.
Grilling. When it comes to grilling, the best advice is to cook the food inside and take it outside to enjoy. Grilling is discouraged, but the following tips may be helpful for those who insist on grilling outside:
- Marinate. Researchers at Kansas State University marinated steaks in different mixtures of vinegar, herbs and spices. After grilling, the carcinogens were decreased ranging from 57 to 88 percent. Use grass fed meats only.11
- Avoid flame flare ups. When the fat drips onto the flame, it causes flare ups. Lean meats have less fat, which helps minimize flare ups.
- Remove charred pieces. The charred pieces of meat are extremely carcinogenic. Dispose of those pieces immediately, and do not eat them.
- Cook quickly. The longer food is on the grill, the greater the probability of Heterocyclic amines, (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) forming. Remove food from the grill immediately after cooking.
Indoor grilling tips. Grilling indoors is the preferred method of cooking because it avoids the dangerous carcinogens that are created when grilling outdoors. Here are a few tips on grilling indoors:
- Use your broiler. The fire on an outdoor grill is below food, while fire on the broiler is above it. This helps eliminate the threat of carcinogens forming while still providing flavor similar to the outdoor grill.
- Smoked spices. Using smoked spices will give food prepared indoors an outdoor flavor. Try adding smoked paprika, smoked olive or chipotle chilies or smoked sea salt to impart an extra punch.
Practice Diet Diversity. Diet diversity is the practice of changing the diet periodically and eating different foods for an extended period of time. It can also mean not eating for a predetermined amount of time (incorporating a technique called intermittent fasting).
Diet diversity has been around for thousands of years, albeit involuntarily. In previous generations, as the seasons changed, certain foods came into season, while others went out of season. The weather affected the production of certain foods as well. As a result, people ate what was available at the time, or not at all. For example, during the winter season, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds were not available, so meat and fat were the primary foods eaten, which in essence was a low carb diet. In the summer, fruits and other high carb foods were available, so those were eaten primarily. This type of diet diversity eating caused the hormones in the body to shift and go through ketosis.
Ketosis is defined as a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood and can be an effective way to lose weight.
For more on ketosis, read Part One and Part Two.
While our ancestors dealt with real life feast or famine scenarios in their diet diversity, incorporating intermittent fasting is an easy way to imitate this safe (and natural) type of eating into modern life.
Diet diversity has two important benefits:
Eliminate allergies. By not eating certain foods for an extended period of time, a person can determine what foods they may be allergic to and allow time for the gut to heal as well.
The body burns fat. The body switches its energy source from glucose to fat, causing the body to work more efficiently and shed unwanted pounds.
Diet diversity can be compared to exercise and working out: exercise routines must be changed periodically to stimulate muscle growth and increase performance. If the routine is not changed, the body will adjust accordingly and become stagnant.
When it comes to losing weight, the body will adapt if you’re eating the same foods day after day, week after week, month after month. When diet diversity is incorporated, the body is force to change and adjust, which will stimulate weight loss and other positive changes.
There are several ways to partake in diet diversity:
Vary the diet. Try eating high (healthy) carbs one day a week and/or a whole day of fasting once a week.
Try intermittent fasting. Skip breakfast and eat within a 4-8 hour time window daily, or a few days per week.
The body has been able to adapt to cycles of feast and famine since the beginning of time. Diet diversity is an excellent way to lose weight and get fit for the summer.
Burst training and fasting go hand in hand and are powerful when done together, i.e. working out on a fasted stomach. Burst training is an exercise program where a person performs at 90-100 percent of their maximum for 30-60 seconds, followed immediately by 30-60 seconds of rest or exercise at lower intensity.
When a person exercises on an empty stomach, the body eventually runs out of glucose in the liver, which is its primary energy source. Once this happens, the body starts to burn fat not only during exercise, but up to thirty six hours after exercise.
Also known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT, burst training burns sugar, not fat. As a matter of survival, our bodies must replace that stored sugar. The body will increase its growth and anabolic hormones so it can become an efficient fat burner to replace it. As a result, it then burns the fat. It does not want to burn the muscle to replace the stored sugar that it needs to survive.
Endurance sports are extremely popular, but studies indicate that burst training may be healthier and more beneficial than endurance training:
- Endurance exercise elevates the stress hormone cortisol, which stores fat and breaks down muscle. On the other hand, burst training also raises growth hormone to balance out the cortisol levels.
- Reports in the journal Clinical Science found that 93% of long term endurance athletes had gut problems.12
In addition to weight loss and fat burning, other benefits of burst training include:
Decreased risk of diabetes. Burst training can improve glucose control and metabolic function in those with Type 2 diabetes.
Heart disease. Much research has been performed on the benefits of burst training with promising results:
- A study in the American Journal of Human Biology claims that burst training is a time efficient way to boost cardiovascular health in adolescents.12
- Burst training “significantly enhanced VO2 max and O2 pulse and power output in active men and women” according to the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research.12
Burst Training Exercises.
The following exercises are great for burst workouts:
- Jumping jacks
- Running on treadmill
- Riding a bike
- Jumping rope
Burst workouts can be done for 10-20 minutes, 2-3 days per week. Less time, more results!
Diet: The Secret to a Lean Body
Public perception is when it comes to losing weight and having a lean body, exercise is key. A lack of exercise is the primary reason why they are overweight or obese. Exercise is an important component of good health, but diet is more important than exercise when it comes to how your body looks. It is estimated that 70-80% of the human body composition is really determined by what we eat. Exercise is an added bonus.
Most fitness professionals tell a person to exercise a minimum of 60 minutes daily and eat every 2-3 hours. In actuality, the opposite is true: eat 1-2 times per day and exercise less than half the time for best results.
Many people have a difficult time staying on their diets while on vacation. Here are some great tips to stay on track:
Keep healthy snacks handy. Coconut butter, grass fed cheese and jerky, avocados, canned wild sardines, and mixed nuts are easy to carry and high in fat. They are energizing and keep blood sugars level.
Restaurants. More and more menus have healthy choices to choose from, including grass fed beef. Other options are chicken salad, lamb, omelets and veggies. Avoid bread and sauces that are high in bad fats and vegetable oil.
Airplane flights. When traveling on planes, take the glutathione supplement GCEL to keep your glutathione (GSH) levels high. Gcell raises intracellular GSH which is key to removing toxins from the body. GSH is in every cell in the body, and if levels get too low, the cell can die from toxic overload and inflammation. GSH is the strongest antioxidant in the world, and is has many healing properties. GSH is important for airplane flights because of the low levels of radiation that are on planes.
Following these tips will ensure good health for this summer and years to come.
- 7 Ways to Maintain or Lose Weight on Vacation
- The Truth About GMOs and the Diseases They Cause – Exclusive Interview with Jeffrey Smith on Genetically Modified Organisms
- Cancer as a Metabolic Disease – An Interview with Dr. Thomas Seyfried
- Diabetes: The Unspoken Solution
- Healthy Fats – The Fat that Makes You Skinny
- Intermittent Fasting – A Top 5 Strategy to Create Your Best Health Ever
- The Ketogenic Diet – Part One and Part Two
- Burst Training – A Top 5 Strategy to Create Your Best Health Ever
- Ground Zero: How to Heal Your Leaky Gut
- R4: Reducing Cellular Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
- The Telegraph – Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic cancer-causing chemicals, say experts
- Vegetable Oil
- Be Brain Fit – 7 Reasons Canola Oil Is Bad for Brain Health
- National Cancer Institute – Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk
- Dr. David Perlmutter – Grass-Fed Matters: Red Meat Causes Cancer?
- Cancer Research UK – Processed meat and cancer – what you need to know
- Prevention – 10 Reasons To Stop Eating Red Meat
- Express UK – Red meat is direct cause heart disease, experts warn
- WebMD – Red Meat Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk
- T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies – 12 Frightening Facts About Milk
- Cooking Light – Nutrition Made Easy
- Livestrong – The Facts on Why Burst Training Beats Steady State Cardio