Filed under: General Health
I have written before about the importance of air quality to your health (Breathing Green, Indoor Air Pollution, Dangerous Dryer Sheets). I recently came across a really cool tool to learn about the air quality for where you live.
I was reading my UMaine Today magazine, which highlights interesting research being done at the University (alas they haven’t been too interested in The Effects of Ecosystem Management on Wheat Composition), and came across 10Green.org.
Your city gets an air quality score from 1-10, the higher the number the better. It is impossible for any city to get a 9 or a 10 because global greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are at such high levels everywhere. However a place like Seattle scores a 7, which is great. A place like Auburn, Maine (where I live) scores a 5, which is decent. A place like LA scores a 3, which sucks.
The website not only provides a score, but it provides an explanation as to its score as well possible negative health consequences from each of the 10 hazardous pollutants it uses to calculate air quality.
The goal of the website is to provide people with real-time information. Too much of the focus of climate change research and advocacy has looked at what will happen 50 years from now. That is a hard concept for people to worry about, because it is not right now. This score is about right now, and having that knowledge to protect your health (and that of the environment) immediately.
There is a lot you can do even if your local air quality is substandard. Get some HEPA filters for your home. Get some plants for your home (I cover options on both of those on my Indoor Air Pollution post). Plant some trees and greenery around your house. Move to the suburbs where there is less traffic and more trees. Decrease exposure to fragrances and strongly scented items.
Check out 10Green.org and let me know what you think!
I also wanted to mention that Mike Robertson is putting on his annual Midwest Performance Enhancement Seminar at his facility in Indy. It is chock full of awesome presenters, including MR himself, Bill Hartman, Lee Taft, and Dan John to name a few. If interested, definitely check it out.
Filed under: General Health, Weight Loss
I don’t know about you, but I certainly tire of receiving credit card offers all the time, car insurance junk and other miscellaneous junk mail. I shred the credit card offers and I recycle what I can, but I came across some cool information recently that is much more effective at saving the earth than even recycling – stopping the junk mail altogether!
In fact I came across this info as I was researching what I can and can’t recycle in my new town. Here is what I discovered:
A staggering 4 million tons of junk mail is sent each year – much of it never opened. Even if the junk mail is recycled, there are enormous environmental costs associated with production of paper, ink, energy to produce and deliver the mail as well as in the process of recycling. It is must more effective to stop the mail at its source.
If you are interested in no longer receiving junk mail, simply send a letter with your complete name, address, zip code and the phrase “activate the preference service.” Send this to:
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 15012-0643
In fact the Direct Marketing Association estimates that this will stop 75% of all national mailings!
The worst offender, for us anyway, are the credit card companies. Nearly constant solicitation. While the above tactic won’t stop them, there is another strategy.
All of the major credit agencies sell aggregate credit information to any bidder. To stop direct mail and credit companies from soliciting your business you need only make one call (1-888-5 OPT OUT or 1-888-567-8688). A recording will confirm your phone number, name, address and social security number. The service last for 5 years.
I just did both of these this past week, and I am really looking forward to getting less junk!
If you need a little more convincing, if everyone in the U.S. was able to reduce their average of 10.8 pieces of junk mail received each week, we could save nearly 100 million trees each year.
On another note Precision Nutrition is opening up its doors for another round of its tremendously successful Lean Eating Program. And this time they are putting up $75,000 of their own money to the best transformations.
To find out how you can win the cash — and get in the best shape of your life — check out today’s post:
Can $75,000 inspire you to lose fat & get healthier?
Filed under: Uncategorized
I know it has been quite some time since I have blogged. Well I can tell you much has happened since April 4th!
My wife and I closed on our first house just a few days before that, and we spent many weeks renovating, updating and painting the entire place. In the process I also cut the hell out of my hand, requiring 12 total stitches. Mind you this was at about 8pm the night before my daughter’s first birthday party. It was awesome timing.
We are moved in and mostly settled, though we will be working on small projects throughout the summer, and from what everyone tells me, the rest of our lives.
In addition, as noted in the title, I also accepted a position with Precision Nutrition! I have taken a position as a Lean Eating Coach, in addition to writing articles and working closely with Dr. John Berardi to develop top-notch seminar presentations. At the moment it appears that I have a few speaking engagements set up, and as they become finalized I will let you guys know.
All in all this is going to be a pretty cool job. I get to work from home, help hundreds of people every year lose tons of weight and change their lives, do some writing and speak at some cool events. Not too mention I get to do all of this for an awesome company that is doing things the right way, and I get to work for the guy that was probably the single biggest reason I got into this field in the first place.
Now this doesn’t mean my blog is done, it simply means I will probably post less than I used to, though more than I have in the past 2 months!
It feels good to be back!
Filed under: General Health, Nutrition
This week I wanted to highlight a fantastic food that can be utilized in many different capacities – guacamole! A while back (like 3 years ago) I wrote a piece about my favorite condiments, which of course guacamole was on the list and that certainly has not changed.
In particular I want to highlight the Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Packs. While I don’t normally endorse 100 Calorie Pack foods because they are usually junk, in this case you get a pre-set portion of a healthy item. In addition since guacamole tends to good bad quickly when exposed to air, utilizing these small packages limits waste.
One great way to use guacamole is in place of meals where you, might use mayonnaise. It provides that same creamy texture, but is less calorie dense, provides a serving of produce (avocados are one of those in between types, where they are treated as both fruit and vegetable) and provides a good source of fiber, potassium, lutein and more.
In terms of consumption I like to use half of the package on my sandwich or wrap, and use the other half with a serving of baby carrots, cucumber slices or bell pepper slices. You are using produce as a condiment for produce! Now that is a winning combination.
In the end guacamole can be used in a lot of different ways, provides a creamy texture with a mild flavor, is made up of mostly avocados and provides more than 25 essential nutrients.
Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training
Strength Training Programs: The 7 Most Common Power Clean Technique Mistakes - by Wil Fleming. This was a guest post on Eric Cressey’s blog that I thought was excellent. Wil addresses seven common technique mistakes of the clean (probably the most butchered exercise in history, and that is saying a lot!) in an easily understood manner, along with some helpful videos.
Q & A: Fixing the “Tuck Under” When Squatting Part 1 & Part 2 – by Tony Gentilcore. Having the pelvis tuck under when squatting is an incredibly common problem in the gym (when people are actually squatting to depth). Tony does a great job of outlaying what the problem is and some solid, but simple techniques to fix it.
Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh. This is a running series over at Precision Nutrition, and I just find them simply fascinating. Bryan Walsh is an uber brilliant dude, and in this particular case is able to identify what is causing this patient’s thyroid, cholesterol and immune system problems.
Filed under: General Health, Nutrition
In today’s piece I wanted to give a nice little tip on fruit preservation – specifically bananas. Bananas are one of my favorite fruits. Apparently when I was wee little lad I used to stand up in my crib and yell “nanas” over and over to my mom until she fed me some bananas, and that love affair has never ended. However, unlike most foods, I am rather particular about my bananas; I like them a little green, and once they are spotted brown I simply won’t eat it. Fortunately there is way to keep bananas at their desired state of ripeness far longer than you might think possible.
Normally bananas are kept in a fruit bowl or hanging from a rack. While this is fine, if you are like me and really prefer your bananas at certain point in time, then that is far from optimal as they brown quickly. This leads to bananas simply going uneaten, and I hate wasting food. A far superior method is to actually keep your bananas in the refrigerator!
Once bananas have reached your desired level of ripeness, simply place them in the fridge in your fruit drawer and they will remain at that state for nearly a week! The peels themselves will change plenty, turning brown and kinda nasty looking, but the fruit itself hardly changes, preserving that delicious flavor. Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Filed under: Uncategorized
A long time ago I posted a blog linking to a talk called How I Fell in Love with a Fish. It was a talk on Ted.com and it was truly incredible and I urge you to check it out. I am pointing this out today because Ted.com is simply an incredible website with incredible talks by incredible people. I watched a video this morning of a 17 year old kid who created nuclear fusion in his parent’s garage when he was 14! How is that even possible?
I watched another video recently about the surprising science of motivation. In this talk Dan Pink discusses how our ideas of extrinsic motivation in today’s work environment are actually inhibiting work and creativity, and allowing people more autonomy and the use of their intrinsic motivation is a far more compelling option.
Specifically he highlights a very interesting comparison. Back in the 90′s Microsoft put together this huge, well-paid team to create an online encyclopedia. Two years later another company had the same idea, except that no one got paid, people simply wrote the information for fun or passion. This company was Wikipedia. Which model won?
Check it out – Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation.
Filed under: General Health, Nutrition
I hope you all enjoyed my recent post Today’s Health Tip as I am planning on making that a new weekly feature on the site. As much as I like writing more in-depth articles, sometimes all I have time for, and all you want to read, are quick and readily applicable tips you can incorporate into your daily lives.
Continuing in the theme of that post I want to quickly discuss a topic that I touched upon earlier, that of genetically engineered food. As discussed a few days ago when produce is genetically engineered it will have a PLU code starting with the number 8, however do any of us actually want genetically engineered food? I know I don’t, but unfortunately it is around for the time being. If it is going to be around, I certainly want to know if the food I am purchasing has genetically modified ingredients, because at the moment food companies do not have to provide that information.
Fortunately the Environmental Working Group is trying to change that, with the Just Label It campaign. They have a petition that you can sign right online that is being sent to the FDA. They currently have 84,000 signatures with a goal of 100,000. The deadline is March 27, so if you want food companies to tell you if they use genetically modified or engineered food in their products, this is your chance to let them know.
—> Click here to sign the Just Label It petition <—
Just for example to let you know how prevalent this is, in 2010 the National Agricultural Statistics Board annual report stated that 93% (93%!) of soybeans produced in the US are genetically modified, specifically Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybean. Just an FYI, Monsanto is a chemical company (they make Roundup), not a food company and they own patents on the genes of more than 93% of soybeans, 80% of corn, and 95% of sugar beets planted in the U.S. — all genetically modified to be resistant to their weed killer Roundup. Gross.
These particular soybeans have been linked to infertility in hamsters, early death in rats, organ dysfunction in rats and more. If GMO crops are in there, I want to know. I don’t want to feed them to myself, my wife, or especially my daughter. Sign the petition to force companies to simply tell you if they use GMO crops or not, it is that simple.
Filed under: General Health, Nutrition
I am currently in the midst of reading Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home. In it I came across a nice little tidbit that I had heard once before but had forgotten all about. When shopping for produce sometimes it can be difficult to tell if it is organically or conventionally grown, and it is almost impossible to know if it is genetically modified. Well here is a little trick that can give you all of that information – the PLU code on the sticker.
Conventionally grown produce has a four-digit code, such as 3577, while organic produce has a five digit code that begins with a 9 (such as 93577). Genetically modified produce also has a five digit code and will begin with an 8 (such as 83577). Nice to know huh?
Bonus Tip – This spring and summer my goal is to increase my local food consumption. My wife and I get local eggs, butter, yogurt, corn, strawberries and a little more while the Farmer’s Markets are open here in Maine. I want to expand that and greatly increase my local produce consumption this year. With that in mind I am going to utilize a website called eattheseasons.com to let me know which foods are in season each week and month. Check it out yourself.
Filed under: General Health
I was curious to know your opinion/ advice on the whole aluminum in grooming products and its effect on our bodies. Also, I try to follow your recommendation for avoiding products with fragrance and would like to know which grooming products, shampoo, soap, etc. you use?
This question was in response to my recent post One More Reason to Go Green, and Do Your Research, and it is a good one. To be completely honest I haven’t really looked into the whole aluminum in grooming products thing thoroughly, though it is certainly on my agenda! As much I would love to address this here, after some initial digging it requires more research on my part to give a solid answer, if one can even be given. My initial glance hasn’t found the data convincing in either direction.
As for grooming products such as soap, I personally use Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented, as it is fragrance free. Many of the chemicals in grooming products go far, far beyond my limited expertise in the area so I would love it if others could chip in with evidence-based thoughts on the topic.
In general I tend to err on the side of caution and believe in the “better safe than sorry” approach, however it is also important to keep in mind that “the poison is in the dose.” Meaning that occasional exposure to many potentially harmful things is often not something to concern yourself with (unless it is something like airborne asbestos) simply because the amount of exposure is far below what is necessary to cause harm.
Some things that I use around the home that I consider worth it are Seventh Generation hand soaps. We usually go with the Just Clean option, though they do have some that are scented with essential oils (not “fragrance”), I just find that they seem to dry my hands out a little. We also use their Free & Clear dishwashing soap. I steer clear of anti-bacterial soaps as much as I can as triclosan is considered carcinogenic, which is the same reason we do not use Colgate Total toothpaste as that is it’s active ingredient.
Fore more information on healthier products, check out The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database with more than 69,000 products rated for their safety. For example my soap above gets a score of 2, which is very good.