Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Time Coffee

It's funny how during the summer, coffee becomes dessert.

The minute the hot weather hits, coffee gets iced, blended, mixed, topped and garnished. It ends up being a Frankenstein liquefied version of a coffee cake.

Now, here is how I differ from most nutrition critics - I don't think there is anything wrong with this.

It is OK to drink a sugar, fat and coffee concoction as long as you realize that this is no longer your 100 Calorie morning cup of Java. It is now dessert. And it must be treated like dessert.

If you consume 300 Kcals and 50 grams of sugar from your coffee drink (which by the way isn't much worse than drinking 500 ml of chocolate milk) then you simply need to cut back on your calorie and sugar intake at some other point during the day.

A wide variety of foods can all be fit into a healthy diet, as long as by the end of the day, everything has balanced out to include a wide variety of foods and a reasonable total calorie intake.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why We Eat

Here is a great post from the forums about the benefits of fasting at how it teaches you to recognize when you are truly hungry...

"But, to throw another curve at my doubts, yesterday during my fast, when I really wanted to say to hell with it and make myself a gorgeous pizza with olive oil and fresh basil (conveniently ignoring that I would have to let the dough rest for twelve hours), I opened my pdf of Eat Stop Eat, looking for some sort of loophole. What I found instead was John Barban on page 62 saying, "I think if people’s lives were a little more exciting they wouldn’t need to eat so much to get some joy out of their day.” Ouch. That one hurt. It also kept me from breaking my fast."

The truth is, for all the reasons we eat, hunger is very, very far down the list.

we eat because we are bored, or out of habit, or because we are with friends, or because we were invited out for dinner, or because it's 'time' to eat, and then occasionally we eat because we are really, truly hungry.

Something to consider the next you hear someone say "I'm starving, let's go get something to eat".


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Your Teeth and Your Diet

I know this is an odd topic for a Nutrition Blog, but I have always wondered if there is a connection between the health of your mouth and the health of your body.

Like most people, I try to take good care of my teeth. I brush regularly, and I floss at least daily. I try to rinse after drinking coffee or tea and I don't chew sugar-laden gum.

Despite all this, visits to the dentist are rarely fun for me. In the past it was never a question of IF I needed a filling, but rather HOW MANY fillings I would need.

I say 'in the past' because for the last four visits to the dentist things have definitely changed for me. Starting about two years ago, I had my first "cavity free" visit to the dentist.

The hygienist took a look at my teeth, then my files, and said "What are you doing differently?" I answered "Nothing" because honestly, I couldn't think of anything I have been doing that was any different. I brushed my teeth the same amount, and I flossed the same amount too.

My next visit was the same, followed by the next. Then just the other day I was at the dentist and my hygienist said "Hey, I saw your book on the 'net". After a little bit of conversation she offered up the idea that "Maybe it's that fact that you give your mouth a break every once and while that has made your teeth so much better"

Not a bad theory. Now, this is a N=1 case report, completely uncontrolled and full of bias, but I think it is still worth some consideration.

I don't profess to know much about density, but I could see how if you are constantly eating, then your mouth would constantly requires the enzymes responsible for breaking down food, perhaps this creates an environment that is capable of degrading the enamel of your teeth.

Something to consider for those following Eat Stop Eat.


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Friday, May 23, 2008

More on Obsessive Compulsive Eating

I was sent a link to a blog this morning that is written by a woman who, for lack of better terms, has self-diagnosed herself as an Obsessive Compulsive Eater.

I clicked the link to find a very well written, very captivating account of a person realizing that all the typical dieting nonsense was actually psychologically damaging her relationship with food.

A very informative and interesting read:


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Work Out Update

I don't think I can properly express how refreshing the experience of moving my workouts outside has been.

Without meaning to use a horrible pun - it's been a breath of fresh air.

I've increased the weight for my weighted blast strap dips and rows by 2.5 pounds per workout. I'm up to 35 pounds now, and someone will need to explain to me why 35 pounds in a weighted vest feels much heavier than using 2 45 pounds plates attached to a dipping belt.

My plan is to continue to workout outside at least twice per week, adding 2.5 pounds at each workout, until I hit 5o pounds in the vest (while keeping all sets in the 8-10 rep range).

I will still keep one, possibly two (if it rains) gym workouts during the summer. But this will only to serve the purpose improving my Adonis Index Score. I am committing to not doing anything indoors that I could do outdoors.

My next step is to try keeping the weighted vest ON while doing the 400 meter baby jogs.

To see the original workout, check out Brad's Outdoor Workouts

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The Fourth Macronutrient

It's Wednesday and I'm already looking forward to the weekend.

I have spent almost all of my morning answering e-mail questions that did nothing but reaffirm my belief that obsessive compulsive eating is continuing to dig its claws into the North American "healthy lifestyle".

I received two different emails about two very famous fitness personalities. One was promoting drinking ice-water to lose weight, and the other was spreading the "if you don't eat every couple hours you will cause your body to burn lean muscle" misinformation.


As if these emails weren't depressing enough, I then swtiched to answering questions like "Will switching from normal tea to green tea help me lose weight for the summer?" [no] and "Can I drink Fruit Smoothies while I am fasting if they are made from organic fruit?" [no again].

Honestly, it's 9 AM and I feel like I need a drink.

So, it's time to talk booze.

I like alcohol. I like it because very few people choose their drink based on it's perceived health value. For the most part, alcohol has not been influenced by obsessive compulsive eating.

People like what they like because of taste, branding, the 'image' it portrays, or some combination of the three (except for those people who drink red wine for the antioxidants).

I drink scotch for the taste. It has nothing to do with a media push about how scotch can cure diabetes, or improve my anti-oxidant status. Just pure, simple taste.

Sometimes I feel like drinking a smoky glass of Laphroig, other days it is the Balvenie that catches me. I can assure you, I have never once thought "I should have a glass of scotch today to improve my health".

It is an occasional treat, and like all treats, I do it for the taste.

When it comes to beer I'm very picky. I like Guinness and Innis and Gunn (I highly recommend you try Innis and Gunn, especially if you like scotch). Again, this has nothing to do with anything other than taste preferences.

As odd as it may be, alcohol and to a lesser extent chocolate and coffee are some of the few remaining "foods" that haven't slowly been turned into "nutrition". (although, I fear coffee and chocolate are quickly falling to the dark side).

More of a rant than anything else, but I can assure you of one thing - It will be a cold day in hell before any Scotch Distiller starts putting green tea extract or caffeine into their product!!


PS- In case you were wondering, drinking ice-water will not make you lose weight, and eating every three hours has nothing to do with preserving your muscle mass. If you want to learn why, then you should read about the benefits of flexible intermittent fasting.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brad's Predictions - An Update

It was back in January when I made my predictions for 2008. It's been five months now, so I think it's time we took a look and evaluate my Nostradamus-like abilities.

1. Eat Stop Eat will become very popular - Well, we're not there yet, but it does seem like every day more and more people are talking about the benefits of flexible intermittent fasting. Just yesterday I read a multi-page article in Men's Health on the health benefits of fasting, so it looks like people are starting to take notice of how short periods of fasting can help you lose weight and improve your health. Good news for all of us.

2. More people become pro-supplement. I don't have any direct proof, but I think I may have missed the boat with this prediction. It may just be me, but I get the impression that many of us are now completely immune to supplement advertising, and have become tired of the "Rage against the supplement industry" stance taken by many on-line health and fitness personalities. To be perfectly honest, I find the whole topic of supplements boring these days.

3. More and more people will become aware of Obsessive Compulsive Eating. I think this one is definitely happening. I have noticed many similarities between my own personal beliefs about the way we eat, and the beliefs put forth in Michael Pollen's book "In defense of food" so the message is hitting the mainstream, albeit slowly. Hopefully this means more and more people are eating food because of the love of food, and not for fear of eating 'wrong'.

4. More people will photo-blog their food. Definitely happening. And, does nothing for me except point out that I need to improve my culinary skills.

I'm 2.5 out of 4 so far ;)


PS- You can see my original predictions here ==> Brad's predictions for 2008

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Fasting AND Memory

I just read an interesting article on Scientific American about the possibility that HGH might be able to reduce the brain damage caused by the abuse of opiate drugs.

In case it wasn't obvious, abusing drugs can damage cells in the brain. The cool thing is that Growth Hormone has the ability to help new cells grow in that area (neurogenesis).

Now here is the interesting part, the area in the brain that opiates disrupt is in the hippocampus, which is tied to memory.

So an interesting hypothesis that doesn't involve drug use would be that while you are young growth hormone keeps neurogenesis moving smoothly and thus your memory working smoothly. Once old age hits and GH levels drop, this leads to less neurogenesis and memory starts to decline.

So based on this hypothesis, GH could be related to age associated memory loss.

This theory seems to hold some weight too. Elderly patients treated with synthetic growth hormones have experienced improved memory.

My thought is this: Rather than immediately turning to injecting synthetic drugs, we could look to more natural ways of increasing Growth Hormone and thus preventing age associated memory loss.

Fasting for instance.

If you've read Eat Stop Eat then you know that even short periods of fasting can increase GH levels.

So yet another possible benefit of incorporating flexible intermittent fasting into your life may be improved memory.

Fasting - It's not just for weight loss.


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Friday, May 16, 2008

Obesity and Corporate Identity

Obese people make Corporations happy. If you are overweight you are part of a select consumer group. And, you are a target of new found "corporate identities".

Take this article I found in this morning's newsletter.

Making a head start in this area, Nestlé Research Center (NRC) has announced a new collaboration with General Electric (GE) Global Research to gain access to GE's cutting edge technology.
"Through this collaboration with GE we have the opportunity to use cutting-edge diagnostic tools to increase our understanding of how nutrition and lifestyle choices impact body composition and metabolic health," said Prof. Peter van Bladeren, Head of Nestlé Science and Research.

"With this knowledge, Nestlé can continue to deliver science-based nutritional products to improve and enhance the quality of peoples' lives."

Nestlé is in the midst of transforming from a general food company into a health, nutrition and wellness company. Such a transformation is heavily reliant on R&D and the current annual spend of the company is reportedly almost €1bn.
What interests me is the second last sentence.

Nestlé is in the midst of transforming from a general food company into a health, nutrition and wellness company.
This is a very big, very successful food company that is now officially making the transition into health, nutrition and wellness.

It looks like (in the eyes of the corporate world), the days of "food" are over. We are now entering the era of "nutrition".

"Food" was ice cream being bought because of the flavor. "Nutrition" is ice cream being bought because of the added protein, polyphenols and green-tea extract.

This is a prime example of why the simplicity of 'eating less' to lose weight and improve health will probably never catch on. The complexity of 'eat differently' has far better economic ramifications for big business.

In the battle of simple (like the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle) versus complex (Obsessive Compulsive Eating), only one of these styles creates a need for new product development, innovation in food processing, increased need for marketing and PR and a label claims with a 'good for you' message. Which is precisely why complex is so appealing to big business.

Unfortunately for big business, it is Simple that works best when it comes to food, health and weight loss.

Find the easiest, simplest way to eat less and enjoy the foods you eat. This is the key to weight loss and health.


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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Childhood Obesity

Here is an absolutely astonishing fact from research conducted at the University of Guelph:

"In a typical high school with more than 1,000 students, the cafeteria would sell only three to five pieces of fruit in total per day, which is extraordinarily low, and virtually no one is buying plain milk.”
If Dr. Wilson's research is correct, than the obesity epidemic is only going to get worse in the next couple years.

Combine these stats with the lack of physical activity in children and we are in a whole lot of trouble.

And, don't think an hour in the gym is going to fix this problem. While exercise is highly effective, its calorie burning ability is greatly exaggerated.

In a recent research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men who were asked to walk briskly for 15 minutes 14 times in a one day period (that's 3.5 hours of walking) only increased the calorie burning by 500 Calories. This is roughly the same amount of calories in one slice of Starbucks Banana loaf.

Exercise helps. Eating less works. Eating less and exercising is the magic combination to promote and maintain weight loss.


PS- In another research study published this month it was suggested that lifestyle modification works better than traditional dieting. I couldn't agree more. I beleive on of the main reasons so many people are having long-term success with Eat Stop Eat is that it teaches you to change the way you think about eating. Learn more about Eat Stop Eat by visiting HERE.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Coffee for weight loss?

I've been following my friend Adam Steer's battle with coffee for a couple weeks now.

Adam is trying to "give up the juice" for two weeks, before starting back up with a respectable 1-2 cups per day (a far more reasonable number than his previous average of 4-5 cups per day).

You can read about Adam's experiences by visiting his blog here ==> ADAM STEER

I've also been trying to alter my coffee habits . I'm a big believer in the idea that when you are following Eat Stop Eat, little changes in the way you eat on your eating days can have dramatic results in the long run.

So, I've cut the sugar out of my coffee.

Since I have 2 (sometimes 3) coffees over the course of the day, this small change should result in about a 50-100 calorie decrease in my daily intake.

Like I said, small changes can create big results with Eat Stop Eat.

If you are looking to make a change in the way you eat, start small and conservative. The easier the change, the more likely you are to stick with it, the more likely you are to see results.


PS- Here's something odd, I still find my coffee to be noticeably sweet, even without the added sugar, perhaps its from the cream?

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Friday, May 09, 2008

How much water do I need to drink per day?

Every one knows you need to drink 8 glasses of water every day for optimal health.

Unfortunately, according to Scientific American, this may be another nutrition factoid that we have been misled to beleive as fact.

To listen to the 60 second podcast, or to read the transcript, visit:

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Creating my own Mobile Gym

It is finally summer in Canada.

This means it is time for me to move my workouts outside. Starting this week, the majority of my workouts will be done outdoors, with wife and baby. This way I get a little more family time, and a big long break from the crowded gym.

I'm still going to hit the gym once, maybe twice a week to do some shoulders training, (I'm trying to get my Adonis Index Score up to 1.5), but other than that, it is outdoor training only.

The accomplish this, I have three pieces of equipment that I know keep in the back of the car at all times.

1. My Blast Straps - I use these to do all kinds of Dips, Push-ups and Rows.
2. My weighted Vest - I have 25 pounds loaded into it right now, I'm hoping to get it up to 50 in the next month.
3. The Instep Jogger. The front wheel wobbles a bit, but other than that, we can get up to some good speeds no problem.

With these three pieces of equipment we can get in a great workout pretty much anywhere.

Yesterday we did:

2 set weighted blast strap dips
Super-setted with
2 set Weighted blast strap rows
followed immediately by 400 meter baby jogger run around the track.

We did this circuit 4 times, followed by one walking lap around the track. The whole workout took about 30 minutes.



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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sticking to my diet while travelling

Looking back at last week I can definetley tell you that I got what I deserved.

Instead of taking my own advice, I rationalized my way into doing something very, very foolish.

I spent this week traveling. Not normal 'business-style' travel, but a very rare family trip to visit my little brother (he's two inches taller then me, but I'm older so he's still 'little brother').

This trip included my parents, my wife and my little girl. Since I was traveling with a larger group than I am used to, I somehow concluded that it would be easier for me NOT to fast during my trip.

I can't exactly recall my reasoning, but it was good enough to somehow self-talk myself into dong something I knew I would regret.

I have always been an advocate of planning my fasts around my flight times. By doing this I avoid paying for overpriced junk food while waiting for my flight, then paying for overpriced processed food on the plane.

But for some reason, for this trip I decided to ignore my own advice.

Bad idea.

My 5:30 PM flight was delayed until 7:30 PM. To make matters worse, we arrived at the airport way ahead of schedule, figuring we would need some extra time since we were traveling with an 11 month old baby.

After an hour of sitting around my gate, it began.

I walked down to Starbucks and ordered a tall Americano and a slice of Banana Loaf.

(MISTAKE NUMBER ONE- One slice of banana loaf from Starbucks contains over 420 Calories. Add in the Americano with a little bit of cream and that was a 500 Calories "snack").

After my coffee break I strolled my daughter around the terminal, doing several laps as she pointed with delight at every other baby in the airport.

When I returned to my gate I found that my father and my wife had bought some Twizzlers Licorice.

This really bothered me.

I have had tremendous success maintaining a fairly lean body by using a simple combination of eating sensibly and fasting once or twice a week.

My wife on the other hand, has lost all her baby weight and is now ten pounds lighter then she was before she became pregnant. She accomplished this through a combination of fasting once or twice a week and sensible eating. Only for her sensible eating includes twizzlers, dairy queen Blizzards and chocolate.

To say I am a little envious of her ability to eat anything she wants and still lose weight while fasting would be a gross understatement.

So, after watching my father and my wife split a bag of twizzlers, I tried to ignore sweet tooth by playing "airplane" with my daughter, but after about 15 minutes, I cracked and went to the store and bought a small bag of very over priced cashews.

(MISTAKE NUMBER 2 - While considered 'healthy' nuts are another hidden calorie bomb. The three ounces I ate contained another 500 calories)

At 7 PM, protein guilt started to kick in.

What's 'protein guilt' you ask?

Protein guilt is the term I coined for when you convince yourself you need to eat some food because you have not eaten enough protein that day.

It is an Obsessive Compuslive Eating habit that I should have been able to identify as soon as it happened, but for whatever reason, on this particular day I fell for this little OCE mind game. A large Chocolate Milk was my protein fix.

(MISTAKE NUMBER 3 - Chocolate milk doesn't contain any more protein than normal milk. What it does have is over 200 more Calories. Plus, considering my breakfast, plus the cashews I easily had eaten around 70 grams of protein already that day so I definitely did not need the extra milk)

So, by the end of the day, I let the Airport rob me of 15 dollars, and let some poor nutrition choices add 1300 Calories to my daily intake during a 4 hour stay at the airport.

lesson learned. When you are in high traffic areas where the food choices are limited and the food marketing is severe, pack your own food, avoid protein guilt and foods with high calorie contents, or best case scenario, fast during your trips.


PS- I think the airport is a perfect example of why Eat Stop Eat works so well. The idea of simply flipping the switch to "off" makes resisting temptation a lot easier then lowering the amount of food you eat. It makes the decision making process incredibly simple.

PPS- Craig Ballantyne is starting his second Turbulence Training Transformation Contest very soon, and I'm proud to say his first ever winner used Eat Stop Eat as part of her winning plan. You can read her story HERE

(Playing airplane while waiting for the airplane)

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eat Stop Eat Before and Afters

Craig Ballantyne's Next Transformation Contest is starting soon, so for some extra motivation I thought I'd share some great new before and After pictures from people who have great results following Eat Stop Eat, a sensible diet and an effective workout program.

Dr. Geoff Dover from the University of Florida has lost over 40 pounds by following Eat Stop Eat!
Megan Gabel from Keystone Heights has done an extraordinary job transforming her body by using Eat Stop Eat and dedicating herself to a workout program.

PhD candidate Chad Fenwick from the University of Waterloo has undergone such an amazing transformation I had a very hard time actually believing these two pictures were of the same person! He lost over 60 pounds in 4 months!

These are just three examples of real people with real jobs and real responsibilities accomplishing amazing things with the help of Eat Stop Eat.


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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Paleolithic Diet AND The Economy

I have some bad news for you. Gas prices in North America are going to continue to go up. What’s worse, this means that eventually food prices are going to go up too.

As an example, the Florida orange I have sitting on my desk right now was grown somewhere in the sunshine state. Yet I live an hour outside of Toronto. This means that at some point this particular orange was on a plane, train or automobile making the trip to my local Fortino’s.

That long trip took a lot of gas, and therefore it also took a lot of money. And right now it costs a lot more then it did two years ago to do the exact same trip. This increased transportation cost will eventually be passed on to us the consumer, as big business rarely like to absorb extra costs all by themselves.

So, what can we do?

Well, here’s an idea. I know a lot of people who try their best to eat in a Paleolithic style. I’m definitely not an expert on this style of eating, but I now that typically this means higher protein, lower carbs, zero processed foods and occasional periods of flexible intermittent fasting.

But there is one major thing many of these people are forgetting. Paleolithic man had no choice but to eat locally grown foods. And I mean really in “within an arms reach” local.

So if you want to fight the rising cost of food consider shopping for locally grown meat and produce, and if you have room consider a family garden.

For as long as I can remember my grandfather always had his own vegetable garden and my mother used to grow her own tomatoes. Something as simple as a windowsill herb garden could not only save you some money, it could also help the environment and lower the burden on the world food supply.

Yep, a little home grown basil and parsley can do all that.

If you don’t feel like taking the time to tend your own garden, still try locally grown foods. It takes a little extra effort to find locations where you can buy local, but your health and your wallet will benefit from the effort.


PS- If you are interested in another great way to help the economy, the environment, the global food supply and your health, then its time to check out the benefits of fasting. It's easier than you think to cut back on how much you eat. Learn more about fasting for weight loss.

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