Friday, October 10, 2014
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Originally a gunpowder mill, the DuPont logo is often associated with paints and coatings. They make kevlar and ammunition. They support ongoing wars both within US borders (ie: The War on Drugs) as well as military invasions abroad.
They also make and sell food.
DuPont recently invested more than $4M opposing the Proposition 37 bill. Why? The bill just requires any GMO food (Genetically Modified Organism) to be labeled. GMO food is said to be totally safe, according to the U.S. government. GMO food is FDA-approved. GMO food is pretty much present in every particle of today’s non-organic food supply.
So what is GMO food? It’s a cross, or a fusion, between two things which are genetically different. Many people get confused and think that GMO food is like crossing the biggest tomato from one crop and the biggest tomato from a different crop. Well that’s not GMO. That’s just farming.
GMO means crossing two unlike organisms...like crossing a strawberry with a fish. Sound too bizarre? Take a look at the following:
This is a GMO strawberry. It is crossed with an Arctic Flounder. Why in the world would someone even think about trying to fuse a fish with a fruit? Through trial and error scientists have been able to “create” this unique strawberry which looks like a strawberry, and tastes like a strawberry, but has the ability to grow in freezing temperatures thanks to traits supplied from the genetic makeup of a fish which lives in freezing conditions.
What else have scientists successfully crossed? What if we crossed this:
Well...if scientists were able to genetically fuse corn with a cockroach one would be able to grow a very resilient corn, one that is resistant to most pollutants, high levels of radiation, and so on.
Would you eat a corn/roach fusion?
You probably already have. If you have eaten anything from a fast food chain, or virtually anything in the store or any restaurant which contains “corn starch”, “corn oil”, or “corn sugar” and it is not explicitly organic, you are likely eating roach corn. I dare you to now, go to your pantry and/or your refrigerator and read some ingredient labels. If it is NOT organic, and contains corn of any variety, you are basically eating roaches.
At this point you are probably thinking, “Yeah, Bret. But what’s wrong with eating roaches that taste like corn? I like eating roaches.”
Well, nothing is wrong with eating roaches, as long as they are organic. Many people in many countries around the world rely on insects as a source of protein in their diet. But when insects are genetically crossed with an unlike genetic code a creation exists which may or may not contain the original nutritional content, and may or may not be digestible.
Now that we know what a GMO is, let’s get back to the crosshairs.
While everyone is screaming about the evils of Monsanto I have been reading up on DuPont. These guys should be getting as much GMO press as Monsanto, if not more. This company is positioning itself to control the world's food supply:
They rank #1 in innovation, quality, and social responsibility.
And they intend to control the food supply of the world.
Monday, December 26, 2011
It is never too early to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Each moment is a choice. I am extending you my hand and inviting you to join me as you make one of the most important decisions of your life. Will you choose illness, dis-ease, and a shortened lifespan? Or will you choose wellness, happiness, and longevity?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Recently one of my clients asked a fantastic question.
Q: Do humans tend to store more fat during Fall and Winter months?
Certain uncontrolled studies have shown humans to experience seasonal weight fluctuation, with winter body mass being about .5kg/m2 higher than in summer. According to The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a patient-controlled study conducted at the University of Colorado showed that body fat was not affected by season, although cholesterol levels increased between November and February.
However, there are a variety of factors which may influence fat storage during winter months which we may consider.
As days shorten less Vitamin D is available from the sun which in turn decreases serotonin levels and creates a condition commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Lower serotonin and the accompanying depressive mood can result in "emotional eating", which consists of ingesting larger than normal quantities of carbohydrates in an attempt to anti-depress.
The winter holiday season includes a slew of Western celebrations such as Halloween, Election Day, Black Friday, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day. Holidays are source of stress for many, and emotional stress triggers the production of cortisol, the dreaded steroid hormone manufactured by the adrenal gland which increases blood sugar levels, increases blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, and plays a major role with regard to appetite and obesity.
Testosterone, the "hormone of desire", which is responsible for increased sex drive, muscle gain, and fat loss, rises and falls throughout the year but peaks during summer months with lowest levels occurring during the winter months.
Finally, an enzyme called LPL, or Lipoprotein lipase, promotes fat storage and spikes during the winter months. LPL is what makes it possible for hibernating animals to survive during hibernation. When LPL levels rise, fat storage becomes easier.
Tips to Stay Lean During the Winter:
- Take a Vitamin D supplement daily. I personally recommend Carlson's Vitamin D3 4000IU gels. Also, look into indoor tanning. Contrary to what your dermatologist may tell you, controlled doses of UVA and UVB radiation actually safeguard against sunburn and lower incidence of colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Find a reputable facility, ask about their bulbs, UVA/UVB concentration levels, exposure time, and do some research on your own. Diving in for a few minutes of UVA/UVB exposure each day can have a very positive effect on your health.
- Take a probiotic. There are many brands to choose from, I take OrthoBiotic and Culturelle. Probiotics should be alternated every 1-2 months so that new colonies of flora are circulated. Gut health is total body health.
- Exercise! Find a gym, get an accountability partner or a personal trainer, and hit it. HARD. Moderate to vigorous exercise 5-6 days per week, 1 hour per day, will increase testosterone production, lower cholesterol, boost energy, improve mood, reduce stress, regulate digestion, and balance hormone levels. Workouts which involve conscious breath exercises such as yoga are highly recommended.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
As a young child I recall a phrase used by adults called, "huffing and puffing". The term was applied to any person who was unhappy with their circumstances. I developed a neural association between deep breathing and negativity, and I learned to breath shallow whenever possible. I did not wish to be labeled a complainer, so I kept my inhalations and exhalations suppressed.
Through the years I engaged in a variety of physical activities including westernized sports, gymnastics, martial arts, massage therapy, and yoga. I also studied breathing for childbirth as well as sexuality and the effects of breathing with relation to climax. Each activity incorporated its own style of breathing, and some activities even conflicted within themselves in terms of speed, timing, and forcefulness, but without exception nearly all elicited the practitioner to engage in very deep breaths, with full expansion of the lungs, followed by an audible exhalation.
One day while meditating it dawned on me. I was huffing and puffing.
huff and puff - to breath noisily; to complain.
How odd. I was peacefully meditating and focused on my glottis - and I wondered - why is it that in American culture there is a negative connotation to deep breathing? And had I been alone as a shallow breather?
I began to observe others. I noticed that most of the people who took deep breaths did so on cue during times of irritation. A woman might appear overwhelmed at a desk job while multitasking, and would respond with a deep breath and an exhalation. A man might be upset upon hearing unfavorable news, and would respond with a huff and a puff. Of special interest were smokers. They seemed to always shallow breathe until they lit up, and only then would they gulp air to ingest maximum smoke. Unfortunately I never really noticed people taking deep, controlled inhalations and exhalations routinely. It confirmed that I was not alone, I existed in a society of shallow breathers.
I looked into the effects of shallow breathing:
- high blood pressure
- nervousness and irritability
- sexual impotence
- memory problems
Not surprisingly many folks in my country suffer from these maladies. I checked out the effects of deep breathing:
- increased energy
- relieves asthma
- improves circulation
- increases supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells
- calms nervous system
- eliminates toxins
- massages internal organs
- increases flexibility, improves athletic performance, aids in faster recovery from exercise
My investigation revealed that "huffing and puffing" created health, while shallow breathing created suffocation and death. This did not answer my question as to why deep breathing was frowned upon, but it reminded me that by continuing to take deep breaths periodically throughout the day I was doing well to facilitate a healthy mind/body.
Try the following:
1. Inhale through your nostrils for 5 seconds until lungs are completely expanded
2. Hold the breath in suspension for 5 seconds
3. Exhale through your nostrils for 5 seconds until lungs are completely emptied
4. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat
If you are not used to deep breathing you may feel immediately energized or possibly lightheaded. This is because your body was just bathed in oxygen. Continue to practice the 5•5•5•5 breathing each day and try to increase the duration of each step, to 10 seconds, then 20 seconds, and so on. As you are able to extend the duration of each step you will feel a corresponding lowering of heart rate, an increase in mental alertness, and a whole host of health benefits.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Wait, don't tell me - you were waiting in line at the checkout and a magazine article grabbed your attention, "Lose 10 pounds in 5 days!" You snatched the mag, skimmed through 50 pages while spilling subscription cards onto the floor, only to discover that people in some place like Miami or L.A. are eating specific fruits or gobs of meats or drinking raw eggs to slide back into pants from their senior year of high school. So you stocked up on some weird stuff you can't pronounce, and you gorged yourself all day every day, yet the scale hasn't budged. Am I close?
You and I are products of a fast food generation, where shops need a drive-thru, and microwave ovens are too slow, and whatever it is should have arrived 5 minutes ago. We have been programmed to expect too much in too little time, to circumvent nature, to manipulate technology, and to pervert laws of physics to satiate our desires. We demand immediate gratification.
In the world of weight loss marketing is everything. Fads always have been and always will be, and savvy sellers know how to push people's hot buttons. Combining eye-popping keywords with exclamation points they generate magazine sales, pushing advertised products while making outrageous claims. In the end, there is no way around nature. And so it is we should look to nature, and not a salesman, for solutions to body transformation.
I began my own (latest) journey of fat loss in April 2011. I was almost 35% body fat, and I weighed about 240 pounds. I had been eating lots of processed food, most of it high in carbs and animal fats. Chicken Alfredo. Lasagna. Broccoli Rice Casserole.
You are what you eat. My body became a walking tub of Broccoli Rice Casserole.
I began an exercise program using HIIT on an elliptical trainer at Anytime Fitness in San Antonio, TX. At first I could barely pedal at 180 strides per minute, and I could not last longer than 5 minutes. I continued to blast away at the gym for about 1 hour each day, for a couple of weeks. I was able to jog on the elliptical for longer and longer, but my fat seemed to be stuck to my frame. It was then that I decided to experiment with my diet.
No dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, butter)
No carbs (rice, pasta, cereal)
No animal flesh other than fish (bovine, pork, fowl)
100g of RAW vegetarian protein per day
Loads of plant fats (avocado, olive oil, almond butter)
I was intensely curious about what would happen if I avoided cooked food altogether. I commenced on an all raw diet - just like nature intended. Salads, fruits, nuts, seeds. If it was something I could pick from a tree or bush or pull directly from the soil and consume, then I ate it. If humans had tampered with it in anyway other than brushing off the dust, I avoided it.
I also chose entirely organic foods. If it was not 100% USDA organic, I did not ingest it. I wanted to see what would happen if I avoided toxins altogether. Many people think organic is simply easier on the environment, as in, easier on the Earth. It is. And we should consider that we are all parts of a whole. What damages the soil, air, and water invariably wreaks havoc on our internal environment, that is, our biological terrain.
A typical breakfast for me involved black coffee and a raw, vegetarian protein shake. Then came my workout, where I committed 1 hour to HIIT on the elliptical, followed by 1 hour of weight training. Immediately following my workout I consumed another protein shake and a few tablespoons of raw almond butter, as I prepared my lunch. Note, I did not cook my lunch. I prepared it.
This simple diet worked. It was all organic, almost entirely raw, and the cool thing was, I ate as much and as often as I wanted. I never let myself get hungry. And it worked. I went from 35% to 14% body fat in less than 4 months. I lost about 50 pounds of pure fat. And I even gained some muscle. So how did this actually work?
High-Intensity Interval Training has been a hot topic lately. But the principle goes back about 10,000 years. You and I carry a gene around from our caveman ancestors. When triggered properly our bodies will begin to shed fat stores while simultaneously building muscle tissue. In order to trigger this genetic switch, you must study and learn about how to implement HIIT into your program.
Insufficient protein can result in catabolism, and any fat loss program should be concerned with preserving and potentially building lean muscle mass. Most American trainers and coaches recommend a daily intake of 1g protein/pound of body weight, whereas those outside the states usually advise 1g protein/kilogram of body weight. I have written a separate blog on protein which I encourage you to check out. I personally veer from mass marketed whey proteins and prefer non-GMO soy, pea, or rice proteins. Lean meats such as fish and chicken (organic) are good sources of protein, although it is easily possible to maintain healthy protein intake and a full spectrum of amino acids without consuming animal products.
My fat loss program involved the total elimination of carbohydrates, which resulted in a state of ketosis. When the body runs out of glycogen stores a process called lipolysis occurs. During lipolysis, fats (lipids) are hydrolyzed into free fatty acids by the liver to be used as energy. I recommend ketosis for fat loss to my clients who have a healthy liver, while encouraging the use of antioxidants and a liver support supplement.
It is my opinion that it is the ingestion of toxins, rather than clean calories, causes fat storage. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, larvicides, food coloring, artificial flavorings and sweeteners, and the host of poisons in our air, water, and soil generate a toxic load which gets stored in our adipose tissue. As fat tissues are broken down into fatty acids by the liver, the toxins are released into the bloodstream where they search for new fat tissue to "lock" into. In order to achieve sustainable fat loss it is imperative that toxins are purged from the body and only non-toxic foods are reintroduced. For this reason I only recommend eating food which has qualified for the USDA Organic seal. By eating only USDA Organic you are assured that no new toxins are ingested as the liver works to turn fats into energy while eliminating toxins which have been stored in both adipose and liver tissues.
Leukocytosis is a condition where a person's white blood cell count is higher than normal, which indicates illness. While viruses and bacteria are obvious causes of increased white blood cell production there is another culprit which is usually overlooked - cooked food. When humans ingest cooked food a process known as digestive leukocytosis occurs. Here's how it works. When we cook food we radically change its molecular structure. Nutrients are removed, minerals are reduced, and the cooked material becomes unrecognizable to the body. The digestive system responds to cooked food as an unidentifiable, foreign invader. In its efficiency the body acts quickly to protect itself by producing white blood cells. If you have ever indulged in a cooked meal of processed food it is likely that you felt tired, even sleepy, after eating. This lethargic feeling is actually not so much the digestive system doing its job to assimilate nutrients but is instead caused by massive white blood cell activity. By eating raw foods, as they occur in nature, we can enjoy the full nutritive benefits of our food, we won't unnecessarily tax our immune and digestive systems, and we avoid the tired feeling which accompanies the consumption of cooked food. Ovens, gas stoves, and electric stoves are all appliances which change the molecular structure of foods, and microwave ovens not only unnaturally alter food structure but also infuse radioactive particles into whatever they irradiate. It is time for a new way of thinking. We have been programmed to expect "hot" meals. This is cultural. Our bodies actually desire raw meals. This is natural. If we want to lose fat and gain health, and sustain it, we must embrace a natural view of food preparation. It is simply unwise to intentionally mutate the food we eat, and the concept of eating radioactive particles is beyond insane. If you have a microwave oven - don't use it!
Our bodies need plenty of rest for tissue remodeling. As we embark and journey through radical fat loss our systems will require more ease and downtime. Hormones which aid in healing and cellular regeneration are strongest between 10PM and 2AM, regardless of where you are at on the globe. Seize this time by settling into bed so as to be asleep during this special period.
A final consideration when discussing adipose tissue is stress. "The Silent Killer," emotional stress has a powerful relationship to the storage of visceral, subcutaneous, and belly fat. Practicing yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindfulness are all excellent methods for coping with stress. Fat stores will diminish in proportion to stress reduced. Give it a try.
The road to getting "ripped" and hard-bodied is multifaceted and there is no one simple shot, or magic pill, or super food which contains the solution. Body transformation and fat reduction is achieved through a systematic holistic approach and a lifestyle of a clean, healthy diet coupled with moderate to vigorous exercise. As you explore in your journey of self-improvement it is helpful to surround yourself with a support system of health-minded peers. Friends and family can have a strong influence on our diet and exercise regimen, so choose your relationships carefully. The services of a life coach, nutritionist, alternative medicine practitioner, and most importantly - a knowledgeable personal trainer - can help to insure you reach your goals safely, in the shortest possible time, and the results will be long-lasting.