Random Friday Thoughts

Filed under: General Health

Sometimes in this profession you get used to being surrounded by people who have a pretty good grasp on training and nutrition, and you sometimes forget how things that seem so easy and obvious to you, aren’t always so to everyone else. I am often reminded of this Curse of Knowledge when I deal with new clients. Things that I think everyone knows and are common knowledge, are completely new and foreign to them. Some examples are what I want to share today.

1. Nutrition Facts do not tell you everything about a food. Prime example – a high qaulity extra virgin olive oil compared to a highly refined canola oil will look similar nutritionally based on their nutrition facts, but are an entirely different animal. One has been gently processed and contains not only undamaged healthy fats, but also a significant amount of antioxidants, including chlorophyll, carotenoids and polyphenols, the other has been refined, damaged and altered until it no longer resembles a food, if it once contained beneficial compounds, they have been processed out. This canola oil is just a transport for calories, and nothing more. The Nutrition Facts do not reflect the differences, but they are there and imperative for optimal health.

2. As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of tea, but not all tea is created equal. A lot of people think green tea tastes terrible, so I make some new suggestions. Tazo Zen Green Tea is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It is absolutely amazing, with a delicate lemon-mint flavor. I am totally dominating a cup as I write this.

3. Fat-free hot dogs are not food. I can’t imagine anything more processed or further from it’s original source(s), whatever that may be. It does not belong in anyone’s diet, nor should it even exist. If you are eating this “food”, we have some work to do. You know who you are.

4. Find small ways to increase your energy output. A client at CP who works a stressful desk job in finance has found a clever way to get in more exercise. Every time he gets up to go to the bathroom, or grab a snack, anytime at all really, he tries to crank out something. He might do some pushups, or some bodyweight squats or lunge variations. He also might do some stretching or mobility work. Not enough to work up a sweat, but enough to burn a few extra calories and keep his energy levels up. It all adds up. Excuse me while I bust out some squat thrusts, no big deal.

5. I am all for people reading and educating themselves, but always have a filter. Keep an open mind, but do realize that many people and sites have agendas and are often manipulating info to push a certain product. A healthy dose of skepticism is probably not a bad idea when reading information that may challenge everything you think you know about fitness, unless I wrote it, because then it is always right!

That’s all I got for this week, enjoy your weekends!

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Posted on March 27th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

15 Comments

  1. Tom Boziuk Says:

    Brian,

    So how do you know the quality of the food you’re eating? Reputation of where you’re buying it? For example, how would one determine if the green tea you’re getting is high in antioxidants, etc or not? Are you going by taste? I’m rather curious.

    -Tom Boziuk

  2. Danny Says:

    that dude doing pushups at work must be a psycho

  3. GriffinS Says:

    I’ve often read about the large difference in quality of EVOO. Which commercially (No Trader Joes near by, just regular grocery stores) available brands would you recommend?

  4. Steph Says:

    Hmm, I wonder if that “cranking out guy” wears his CP beanie to the office. I want video.

  5. Travis Says:

    What about EVOO vs Safflower oil vs Grapeseed Oil?

    I’ve always used safflower and grapeseed in place of EVOO.

  6. Jack Says:

    Brian,

    What are your thoughts vis-a-vis tea and aluminum content? I’m typically sipping on things like rooibos, honeybush, green tea, peppermint tea, etc throughout the day but have seen various folks mentioning aluminum as a potential issue.

    I’ve typically taken the stance that the host of benefits from various teas outweighs any potential risk (sort of like proper sun exposure for its vitamin D-producing UVB rays as protection against rather than a trigger for developing melanoma).

    Combined with regular consumption of wild blueberries, macadamia nuts, fish oil, periodic detox sessions in a FIR sauna, avoiding cookware prone to leaching heavy metals into food, and staying away from aluminum-containing deodorants; I figure this should provide some neuro-protective insurance against Alzheimer’s.

    While my post may sound a bit kooky, I’d appreciate any of your thoughts relative to tea and any risk posed by aluminum.

    Thanks for your time.

  7. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Griffin,

    I haven’t honestly looked into that enough to give you an answer. I do know that it should be in a dark bottle, and it should be slightly greenish color. I will look into it more for you.

  8. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Travis,

    Safflower Oil and Grapeseed Oil are both very high in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is n-6 fatty acid, which is thought to be an inflammatory fatty acid and many people attribute a lot of our health issues to our poor n-6 to n-3 ratio. Most vegetable oils, like safflower and grapeseed contribute to the poor ratio, and possible health issues. EVOO is high in monounsaturated fats and has a good amount of research backing it for health benefits.

  9. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Jack,

    There isn’t much evidence whatsoever about dangerous levels of aluminum in tea. Might there be some? Sure, depending on where it’s grown, but it is miniscule. I agree with your assertion that the benefits outweigh any potential, though very small, risk. There are much more important things to worry about.

  10. JMJ Says:

    I’m with you on the Tazo Zen Green! It’s awesome! My wife picked up a box for me, sort of by accident, and now it’s a staple for my green tea consumption.

  11. sal Says:

    Hey Brian.. is caffeine free green tea as beneficial as regular green tea? I prefer to drink tea at night, but am limited to caffeine free teas so im not up all night. Is caffeine part of the health benefit of tea? Does the decaffeinating process affect the health qualities of the tea, since it is more processed.

  12. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Sal,

    Caffeine Free green tea is not as beneficial no. A harsh chemical process is usually employed to decaffeinate the tea, decrease the antioxidant content and harming the product. I would urge you to check out Rooibos tea. It is caffeine free and has some tremendous antioxidant levels. Good Earth makes a good one, and I have heard great things about the Republic of Tea’s vanilla one.

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  14. My, what a lovely tea party « No Magic Pill Says:

    [...] enhance mental functions. Several fitness/nutrition folks around the Interwebz frequently offer suggestions (Rob Cooper seems to be a regular, especially on Twitter) as to which teas to buy and try, and [...]

  15. Fixed Rate Mortgage Guy Says:

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