Thursday, March 10, 2011
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
March 13, 2011
Three weeks ago I reviewed the latest research
showing that protein restriction may be more important than
calorie restriction in extending a person's life.
However, this week I found two studies showing that sometimes
it is better to eat protein-rich meals. One study showed that
eating a carbohydrate-protein meal immediately after a hard workout
helps you recover faster so you can take your next hard workout
sooner (Sports Medicine, November 2010). The second study showed
that eating a protein-rich meal immediately after exercising
hastens muscle growth and repair in both young and old men
(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2011).
All sports training for strength, speed and endurance
is based on stressing and recovering. You take a hard workout
intense enough to damage your muscles, feel sore the next day,
and go at a far less intense pace for as many days as it takes for
muscles to heal and the soreness to go away. If you can recover
from your hard workout faster, you can do your next hard workout
sooner and you will become a better athlete.
Anything that increases the rate that protein building
blocks, called amino acids, enter muscles helps muscles heal faster.
Insulin drives amino acids into muscles. Hard exercise makes
your muscles far more sensitive to insulin during exercise and
maximally for up to an hour after you finish exercising (see
10.html ). So taking
a meal *rich in carbohydrate and protein, *within one hour of
finishing your hard workout, will help you recover faster for your
next hard workout. This will help you do more hard workouts that
make stronger and faster and give you greater endurance.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I eat a variety of greens, sprouts, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. I also eat a small amount of fruit. For breakfast, I drink a green smoothie most days with either spinach, mung bean sprouts, a banana, stevia to sweeten, and Super Green Powder. I sometimes add an apple and change the greens from spinach, to kale, collard, or today tiny baby bok choy.
For lunch I have a salad with spinach, mache, pea sprouts, English pea sprouts, radish sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and a variety of colorful marinated vegetables as a topping. I often add nasturtium flowers and eat this salad rolled up in nori. For a simple dinner, I have a variety of sliced vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, celery, radishes, tomatoes, and baby carrots with a raw almond butter dip or spread that I make hot, salty with garlic, or sweet with grated coconut and dates for variety of taste.
Without calculating anything, I have a variety of foods with amino acids, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and I always focus on taste and beauty of presentation so I have food for my stomach and my soul. I also take a variety of supplements for added insurance for my overall health, but no protein supplements, just whole food.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tips for being frugal and raw:
1. Grow your own sprouts. There is an abundance of information on the internet including instructional videos. Buy the highest quality, organic seeds for best results. The seeds are far less expensive than the sprouted foods.
2. Don't shop at Whole Foods unless it is the only place to find organic raw food. Brian Clement, known as a "purist" for raw food and the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute for over 25 years calls it "Whole Wallet". It is a beautiful store but very expensive, if you are on a limited budget.
3. In San Diego, chain stores have organic produce sections as well as Trader Joe's, Henry's and Sprouts markets, these are all less expensive than Whole Foods.
4. I shop at a small ethnic market chain that sells acceptable, non-organic foods for much less than any of the above.
5. Always buy these foods organic if possible:
Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Spinach, Cherries, Kale/Collard Greens, Potatoes, Grapes (imported).*
6. These foods have the lowest pesticides and are acceptable, non-organic:
Onions, Avocado, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Mangoes, Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwi, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet Potato, Honeydew Melon.*
*From the Environmental Working Group's Guide ot Pesticides: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15.
7. Don't waste money on pretty Himalayan Sea Salt, it is expensive hype, just buy sea salt.
8. Greens, vegetables, and fruits are very inexpensive compared to all other foods, expecially protein. Don't buy protein powders, we need very little protein..
9. Keep it simple, the more elaborate the recipe, the more the cost of your food. If money is a limitation, accept that as the current reality and stick to simple salads, blended drinks, water as a beverage. Don't juice everything, it cost you much more, is too concentrated, eliminates the usefull fiber, and you need to chew your food. Victoria Boutenko, the advocate for blended foods has actually invented a "tool" to chew on because only drinking your food and not chewing it is bad for your teeth. Blended foods are great, but doesn't it make sense to actually chew most of it instead of buying a tool to chew on? Ann Wigmore used to chew her wheat grass and spit out the fiber. I've chewed wheat grass and swallowed the fiber. It is great exercise for your jaws and wheat grass juicers are expensive. The benefit is the same. Juicing is an unnecessary convenience.
10. If money is really tight, it is far better to eat greens, vegetables, and fruits that are non-organic than to eat the junk that many of us ate before. Remember it is not just what you eat, but all of the bad foods that you no longer eat. Don't eat any processed foods, even if they are raw, they are just raw junk food. Processed foods are known as Value Added because they take cheap ingredients, process them, add sweeteners to make them taste good, package them with a colorful label, advertise them to get your brand loyalty and get you to pay more for all of this so-called "added value". An apple is superior to a dried or dehydrated apple and cost far less. Buy food that looks like it has just been picked with no added processing and you will save yourself the cost of the processing and marketing; and you will be far healthier, even if it is not organic.
11. Don't eat out at restaurants. One simple salad at Souplantation with a coupon can pay for a lot of organic greens, one of the best sources for great nutrition.
12. Chew all of our food, even your blended drinks in order to allow the digestive enzymes in your saliva to activate the digestion process of carbohydrates and you will get the maximum nutrition out of less food, feel satisfied sooner, and have more energy at less cost. "Fletcherize" your food.
Monday, February 21, 2011
by Dr.Gabe Mirkin
Researchers at the University of South Carolina found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart attacks than those who sat for fewer than 12 hours a week (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, May 2010).
Many of the men who suffered heart attacks also exercised regularly. Their exercise programs did not protect them from the heart attack-causing effects of sitting in cars or while they watched television. This month, a review of the world's literature shows that exercise may not protect you from the life- shortening effects of prolonged sitting (Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, July 2010), and many studies show that animals (rats and mice) that do not have exercise wheels in their cages develop insulin resistance, have higher blood fat levels, are fatter, and die earlier than those who have the exercise wheels.
Now we have to explain:
1) Why sitting causes premature death and heart attacks:
• Resting muscles require insulin and respond poorly to insulin in drawing sugar from the bloodstream.
• North Americans eat a lot of refined carbohydrates that cause a high rise in blood sugar.
• A high rise in blood sugar causes sugar to stick to cell membranes, which kills these cells to cause heart attacks, strokes, premature death and nerve damage.
2) How exercise prevents premature death and heart attacks:
• Contracting muscles prevent a high rise in blood sugar by pulling sugar from the bloodstream without needing insulin.
3) Why exercise does not protect many people who spend a lot of time sitting in one place:
• Contracting muscles draw sugar maximally from the bloodstream during exercise and for up to an hour after you finish and tapers until you lose all of its benefit at about 17 hours (Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 July; 88(1): 51-57; Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 1983;245(5):R684-R688; Journal of Applied Physiology, February 2010).
• While you sit, your resting muscles do not draw sugar effectively from the bloodstream and 17 hours after you finish exercising, you have lost this benefit of exercise.
4) Why intense exercise is more effective than more casual exercise in:
• Preventing and treating diabetes (Circulation, July 2008).
• Preventing heart attacks in obese people without weight loss (MSSE, Oct, 2006).
• Preventing heart attacks than exercising more frequently (MSSE, July, 1997).
• Reducing belly fat (MSSE, November 2008) (storing fat in your belly is a sign of inability to respond to insulin).
• Preventing premature death (Heart, May 2003).
• Preventing metabolic syndrome and heart attacks (Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, July 2009).
• Raising HDL (good) cholesterol (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, March 2009).
Further data to show that intense exercise is superior to casual exercise:
• The faster aged runners run, the lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels (MSSE, October 2008, Arch Int Med, 1999;159(8):882).
• High intensity interval training maximally improves every conceivable measure of heart function and heart strength. (Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, July 2009).
Caution: Intense exercise can cause heart attacks in people who already have blocked arteries.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
February 20, 2011
Restrict Protein, Not Just Calories, to Prolong Life
Recent research show that protein restriction may be far
more effective than calorie restriction in prolonging the lives of
humans. Many studies show that restricting calories prolongs the
lives of yeast, worms, spiders, flies, insects, rats and probably
monkeys. Humans who severely restrict calories have long-life
characteristics, such as low cholesterol and blood pressure and
hearts that are more than 15 years younger than those of other
North Americans their age (Experimental Gerontology, August 2007).
However, most of the test group of humans who restrict
calories do not have a drop in a hormone called Insulin-Like
Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) that appears necessary for living a long
time. High blood levels of IGF-1 are associated with premature
aging and diseases of aging such as diabetes and cancer.
IGF-1 levels are lower than normal in worms, flies and mice on
restricted-calorie diets, but not in humans. This week a report
shows that IGF-1 shortens life by increasing cell DNA genetic
damage, and causes cancer by blocking apoptosis that causes cancer
cells to kill themselves before they destroy their host (Science
Translational Medicine, February 16, 2011).
Luigi Fontana, a professor of medicine at Washington
University in St Louis, noticed that most calorie-restricting
humans eat high levels of protein, about 1.7 grams per kilogram of
body weight/day. This is more than the US government-recommended
intake of 0.8 g/kg/day, and even higher than the 1.2 g/kg/day that
the average American eats. Dr. Fontana asked humans on calorie
restricted diets to reduce their intake of protein to 0.95 g/kg/day.
After just three weeks of reduced protein intake, their IGF-1 levels
dropped markedly (Aging Cell, September, 2008).
Among the calorie-restricting humans, vegans have lower
levels of IGF-1 than meat-eaters (Rejuvenation Research, February
2007). Strict vegans also have significantly lower IGF-1 levels
than people who restrict just calories, even if they are heavier
and have more body fat. Strict vegans take in about 10 percent of
their calories from protein, whereas those on calorie restriction
tended to get 24 percent of calories from protein. Other data
show that diets lower in protein might protect against some
cancers. So restricting protein may be more important than
If fruit flies and rodents are fed special diets that
restrict protein, they can eat as many calories as they want and
still live longer (Nature, December 2009). This suggests that as
long as you are not overweight, you may not need to restrict
calories. Instead, restrict only protein which is far easier to do.
Furthermore, you can probably eat all the fruits and
vegetables you want and not restrict calories as long as you
restrict protein. That's very good news because it is far easier
to restrict protein than it is to restrict all foods. The only way
that you can restrict calories and still remain healthy is to eat
a diet based on vegetables. It now appears that you extend your
life far more by reducing protein that you would by restricting
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