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For June 25, 2017

  • Shaking the Salt Habit
    Shaking the Salt Habit

    Cooking Without Salt

    (By Chef Tom Ney, Prevention Magazine, August 1999) � First of all, remove the salt shaker from your dining table and your stove. Put them behind your spice shelf cabinet door (out of sight, out of mind). Now, get yourself down to your favorite supermarket and roam the aisles for about one hour. Explore all the low-salt and salt-free ingredients on the shelves.

    Scan the spice section for herb and spice mixtures that are salt-free. McCormick and Mrs. Dash are a couple that come to mind. Toss a small jar of mustard seed into your basket. Later, you will place the mustard seed in a good peppermill that stays on your stove, in place of the salt shaker. Whenever you get the urge to shake some salt into a pot or pan of cooking food, grind the mustard seed instead. I like to blend white mustard seed with brown mustard seed for the best flavor enhancement. (I recommend peppermills by Peugeot.)

    Back to the spice rack: Beware of general spice mixtures. Many, like lemon-pepper, chili powder and shrimp boil, contain large amounts of salt. Stock up on Italian herb seasoning and paprika instead. Celery and parsley flakes make great flavor enhancers for liquid dishes like soups and stews.

    Flavored vinegars or frozen lemon juice (Minute Maid squeeze bottles are a favorite) add a splash of zing to many dishes beyond salads. One of my favorite condiments for flavor is Dijon mustard. (Yes, I know it contains salt, but the little mustard you need to spark up saucy dishes is way better than shaking straight salt into the food).

    Don't pass up the canned vegetable aisle. There, you will find a huge variety of flavored tomato products in cans. Diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes can each play a starring role in boosting both flavor and color, in the pot and on the plate. Around the corner you will find an endless array of salsas and picante sauces. Most will contribute low-fat flavor without a high-sodium sneak attack. A little salsa goes a long way, when it comes to flavor.

    I do a lot of broth cooking. If you don't have time to make your own, canned broth can be found in the soup aisle -- you will find plenty of canned broths with reduced salt or low salt. Flavor the broths with fresh garlic, fresh gingerroot or lemongrass, and cook with them like you would butter, oil or tomato sauce. While you are in the soup section, check out Healthy Request and Healthy Choice brand cooking soups.

    All the help you need to cook conveniently salt-free is right in your local supermarket. Start your hunt through the aisles today, and you'll be surprised how many low-salt treasures you'll find.

  • Fat Loss in a Bottle
    Fat Loss in a Bottle

    Here are some nutritional supplements on the market that can help your weight-loss process along.

    Originally featured in: Men's Fitness May, 1999

    It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but thermogenesis could be the secret to losing your love handles.

    Literally meaning "the creation of heat," it involves cranking up the calorie- and fat-burning processes in your body. While exercise and diet are the keys, many of us are genetically limited as to how much fat we can burn.

    This is where modern science comes to the rescue: There are nutritional supplements on the market that can help the process along. The products discussed below won't work without a sound weight program and plenty of cardio, but they might be worth a try.

    Citrus aurantium

    This fruit, also called "bitter orange," contains a naturally occurring fat-burner called synephrine. Citrus aurantium can increase your body's ability to burn fat and may exert a mild hunger-suppressant effect. It has only recently been introduced in supplement form and should be widely available toward the end of the year.

    "Citrus aurantium is the ideal fat-loss aid for guys who have plateaued in their workout programs," says Douglas Kalman, RD, director of clinical research at Peak Wellness, a Greenwich, Connecticut�based health-care facility. The latest study performed at Peak Wellness on citrus aurantium showed no signs of potential side effects. Stay tuned.

    7-keto DHEA

    You've probably heard of DHEA, a hormone-replacement therapy that some guys use to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Unfortunately, DHEA is not very effective in guys under 35, and it's associated with some nasty side effects, including prostate enlargement, acne and premature baldness.

    Earlier this year, an altered version of DHEA was introduced. It's called 7-keto DHEA, and research indicates that it works by preventing your metabolic rate from dropping when you're on a calorie-restrictive diet.

    Kalman believes 7-keto holds great promise. "When individuals diet to lose body fat, their progress stops after a period of a few weeks," he says. "This version of DHEA can prevent this without the hormone-like side effects."

    Caffeine and ephedra

    These two controversial stimulants are thermogenic on their own but have an even greater effect on fat loss when combined. They are added to several ready-made drinks or pills found in health-food stores, sometimes referred to by their respective herbal names, guarana and ma huang.

    The problem, again, is side effects. Overuse of caffeine and ephedra has been associated with increased heart rate, insomnia, nervousness and even death. "Scientific studies have shown that [the combination] works, but I'm not crazy about the potential for side effects," Kalman says. If you're on antidepressant medication, ephedra is not an option.


    A recent study demonstrated that as little as 6 grams of pyruvate per day can enhance fat loss and increase muscle mass in guys who exercise regularly and follow a reasonably low-fat diet.

    "I like this one because it basically has no side effects, it's all natural, and data shows pyruvate can not only effect fat loss, but can make you exercise harder and longer," says Kalman.


    Yohimbine is a natural substance derived from the bark of two African trees. It is a potent vasodilator that first became popular because it increases the blood supply to the penis. In fact, yohimbine was the pre-Viagra impotence treatment for millions of men around the world.

    Yohimbine also increases levels of norepinephrine, which has a marked effect on fat utilization by the body. However, it may cause stimulatory-type reactions such as dizziness, irritability, headaches, anxiety and increased heart rate.

    "The side effects are pretty common," says Kalman. "Also, it can have negative interactions with antidepressant medications." If yohimbine strikes your fancy, stick to the prescription brand Yocon, or make sure over-the-counter varieties declare that they are standardized for yohimbine activity. Ask your doctor before trying it.

  • Need Help for Hurting Joints?
    Need Help for Hurting Joints?

    (From "Ask Dr. Weil, August 13 1999)

    Question: I am a 54-year-old yoga teacher and vegetarian. I'm having lots of hip pain, especially at night. I haven't found a movement that relieves it. Any suggestions?

    Answer: I would recommend getting a diagnosis based on a physical exam and X-ray. One possibility is osteoarthritis, a common cause of age-related aches and pains. You're a yoga teacher, so it could also be bursitis.

    Bursitis is usually caused by repetitive overuse or injury to a joint which irritates the bursae, cushioning sacs between the bones. The result can be chronic aching in the outer area of your hip which can radiate down into the buttocks or the outside of your leg.

    Standard medical treatment calls for a steroid injection to relieve the inflammation, but I suggest you try other measures first. The following strategies should help:

    • Take niacinamide. Start with 500 mg twice a day, increasing the dose by 500 mg every three weeks to a maximum daily dose of 2,000 mg.
    • Take one to two grams of powdered ginger per day in capsules.
    • Try boswellia, an Ayurvedic herb. Follow instructions on the package.
    • Soak in hot water as often as possible, and use ice packs if the pain is acute.

    You may also want to follow the advice in "The Arthritis Cure" by Jason Theodosakis, M.D. (St.Martin's Press, 1998) regarding glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Massage, acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, and visualization may also offer relief.

    Finally, you could try DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), a solvent (found in most health food stores) that penetrates the skin and helps heal inflammation. Paint a 70 percent solution over the painful area with absorbent cotton. You may feel some warmth or stinging and may get an odd, garlicky taste in your mouth. Apply three times a day for three days. If your hip feels better, cut down to twice a day for three more days, then once a day for a final three days. If it doesn't help after three days, discontinue use.

    You might also want to take a break from yoga. Simple rest, to keep pressure off your hip, may turn out to be the best treatment of all.

    Copyright 1999 Asklepios Enterprises, Inc.

  • Dan Wirth - Part 2: Simple Guidelines for Effective Weight Training
    Dan Wirth - Part 2: Simple Guidelines for Effective Weight Training

    This is Part 2 of a 2 Part article. Part 1 ran on August 1st.

    What is weight training? - Machine or free weight implements that are pushed, pulled or lifted for the isolation of specific muscle groups. Machine exercises generally have a pre-set range of motion and require less balance and control so learning is faster. Free weights (dumbbell, barbells) are usually more advanced forms of training where virtually any movement can be done for overall development.

    Fundamental Guidelines

    • Frequency - 2 to 6 times per week
    • Duration - 20 to 130 minutes
    • 1RM - One repetition with maximum weight
    • Intensity - Relationship of weight used to your maximum strength level
    • Volume - Number of sets and repetitions performed

    Intensity and Volume Guidelines

    Phase Sets Reps Intensity of 1-Rep-Max (1RM)
    Endurance 2-4 15+ 50% or less
    Hypertrophy 3-5 8-12 60% to 70%
    Base Strength 3-5 6-8 70% to 80%
    Strength and Power 3-6 4-6 80% to 90%
    Max Power and Strength 3-6 1-3 90% to 100%

    Each Phase of training has a corresponding intensity and volume range. Training for endurance is much different than training for maximum power! You should spend the most time in the phase of training that most closely matches your goals. However, you will always want to spend some time in the other phases of training so that your progress doesn�t stagnate from a lack of variation. This is what periodization is all about! All Fitrex.com programs will follow a specific periodization �map� depending upon the emphasis of the program that you choose!

    Dan Wirth M.A., C.S.C.S.
    Fitness Director (Fitrex.com)
    Director of Strength and Conditioning
    The University of Arizona
  • How to Avoid Gaining Weight as You Age
    How to Avoid Gaining Weight as You Age

    Tips to Battle the Bulge

    (PHYS, September 1999) � You're smart, healthy, young. You eat sensibly and work out regularly. And in 10 years, if you stay faithful to your current diet and exercise program, you'll probably be about 10 pounds heavier than you are today. That unwelcome prediction reflects a basic physiological fact: At approximately age 30, your metabolism starts a gradual slowdown. Diet and exercise as you will, experts declare, it's just not possible to preserve a perfectly lean, youthful body composition into middle age and beyond. That's the bad news. The good news is that new evidence suggests that if you start out lean and fit in your twenties, gaining a couple of pounds in your thirties and forties might increase your odds of surviving to a healthy old age.

    Although there are no quick and easy solutions to the pound-a-year problem, the following are some good strategies for keeping weight gain to a minimum.

    Reduce Your Caloric Intake
    Clearly, you can reduce the effects of your slowing metabolism by cutting down on calorie intake and stepping up on exercise. "Even for the person who is exercising religiously, her food intake is not going to be able to remain the same," says Leslie Bonci, R.D., assistant director for nutrition at the Center for Digestive Health at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and nutritionist for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Change doesn't have to be drastic. Bonci says it's relatively easy to trim your daily calorie intake by 100 calories every decade after age 20: "It's just a little bit of a cut-down � light beer instead of regular, one-quarter cup less cereal in the morning. A very subtle change is enough to keep the body in balance."

    Eat a Low-Fat, Vegetable-Rich Diet
    Sticking to a low-fat diet may help to keep your metabolism from slowing down even further. Obviously, eating lots of high-fat foods increases your daily calorie intake. In addition, because high-fat foods cram calories into a small volume, you wind up eating a lot in order to feel full. High-fat diets are also thought to have a subtly nefarious effect on metabolism, Bonci says, turning down the body's metabolic thermostat slightly, so you burn up fewer calories per day even as caloric intake climbs.

    Eating a vegetable-rich diet appears to help avoid spreading middles as well. American Cancer Society scientists who tracked 79,000 men and women for 10 years found that those who ate 19 or more servings of vegetables each week were less liable to add pounds to their waists. On the other hand, those who gobbled up more than three servings of meat per week were more likely to gain at the waist. Why the veggie diet may be so protective isn't yet clear.

    Increase Your Gym Time
    If you plan to lessen weight gain as you age you'll definitely need to increase the time you spend at the gym. "Our data suggest that you can probably compensate for some middle-age weight gain by becoming more active," says Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Life Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. But expect to put in far more than the half hour of moderate physical activity five or more days a week currently recommended for American adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I've always felt that the government exercise recommendations are excellent for the comatose," avers Williams.

    Keep in mind that the amount of fat you burn with exercise seems to decrease with age. In a study comparing moderately fit adults in their twenties with those in their seventies, Samuel Klein, M.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that older subjects burned up to 30 percent less fat during exercise than did younger ones, even when they did the same amount of work. Older exercisers burned up more carbohydrates. Klein found that elderly subjects began to burn more fat after 16 weeks of intensive exercise. "If older people train, they have more normal patterns of fat oxidation," Klein says. "It goes back to where it is in younger adults."

    All in all, working out regularly will help keep you strong and fit as you go through middle age and beyond. "There's a lot of Scandinavian data that suggests that individuals in their sixties, seventies and eighties who are very physically active tend to live healthier, happier lives," says Metter.

    The real indicator of healthy aging isn't a number on a scale or a measurement on a tape. "On my checklist, the question is how much vitality do I have," Bonci says. "I may be 40, but if I can still run and lift, and if I feel strong and fit and have a lot of energy, I know I'm doing something that's good for my body and good for me."

  • Stretch longer for better flexibility
    Stretch longer for better flexibility

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- When it comes to working out, holding a stretch for 15 seconds appears to improve flexibility more than holding a stretch for just 5 seconds, results of a study suggest.

    The finding, from a study of 24 college students with an average age of 20, is published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

    "Recommendations for duration of stretching in flexibility training programmes range from 5 to 60 seconds, yet justifications for these selections have largely been absent," report Jennifer M. Roberts and Karen Wilson, of the University of Sunderland, UK.

    In the study, the students were split into three groups and during a 5-week period participated in a program in which they stretched for 5 seconds, 15 seconds, or did no stretching at all. Those in the 5 second group performed each stretch nine times and those in the 15 second group did the stretches three times, so that both groups had a total stretch time of 45 seconds.

    Both groups showed improvements in passive range of motion -- the ability to stretch in response to an external force, such as a coach pushing on a limb. However, those who stretched for 15 seconds had a clear advantage over their peers when it came to increasing their active range of motion -- their ability to stretch their own muscles.

    "This study indicates that a 5-week active stretching programme significantly increases active and passive range of motion in the (leg)," the authors conclude. "Stretching for a duration of 15 seconds produces significantly greater improvement in active range of motion than stretching for 5 seconds."

    Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine 1999;33:259-263.


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