Surviving Winter Holidays – Part II: Party Food and Alcohol

Christmas Party Food

Surviving Party Food

Party food is always a challenge – there is usually very little chance that it is healthy for you.

Winter holidays often mean you are going to be exposed to all sorts of bad, baked and sugary party food.  Cookies, cakes, gingerbread houses, candy canes, stuffing for turkeys (featuring questionable-quality grains and bread), apple pies, raisin puddings, etc.  Even if everything is done from scratch with real ingredients (and most home cooks these days, unfortunately, resort to using pre-made stuff out of a box or a bag – made with questionable processed and chemical-laden stuff), the mere amount of carbohydrates overall and grain products and sugar in particular, is enough to derail people with the most resilient health.  The result is – extra body weight, decline in performance (including mental performance) and, generally, feeling like crap.

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Surviving winter holidays – Part I: Sleep and Air Travel

Winter-Holidays-Party-Gone-Wrong

Ah, winter holidays…  It’s this time of the year again, when caution goes out the window.  ‘Tis the season to be indulging in lots of baked and sweet food, alcohol, partying, long nights and, sometimes, hectic travel schedules to reunite with your families.

Perhaps there is a reason why most people make their New Year’s resolutions at year-end and why a lot of these are going to involve losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, in general – after all, these resolutions are made after or right around the parties subside and you realize you have gained a few extra pounds after eating too many cookies and candy canes, drinking too many eggnogs and munching some questionable party food.

Some people might say “Oh, come on, it’s holiday season, surely we can let our guard down once for that occasion!”  (These are probably the same people who insist that kids should be kids and we shouldn’t interfere with their unquenchable desire for junk foods and buckets of sweets).  Look, I’m not saying that you should go through life with total inflexibility, like a robot executing a very rigid program and deserve blasphemy if you deviate even a little bit – it is impossible.  We are all humans and we, sometimes, have urges and desires that do not always fall on the healthy side of the spectrum.  It is unlikely that any of the dietary practices I’m trying to caution you against would be lethal from the very first time.  We cannot live in a sterile environment and always fully protect ourselves from detrimental effects of the environment, social activities or whatever.

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Soy: friend or foe?

Soy

If you look at the history of soy production and consumption, until around World War II it was basically limited to only a few Asian countries – and even then never reached any significant proportions, compared to what we have today.  Then, within a few decades, soy has been promoted to a “miracle food” pushed into anything Big Agra could get their hands on (think of soy milk, soybean oil, soy meal, tofu, tamari, tempeh, soy protein powders and even soy-based baby formula, among all others).  Ingredients derived from soybeans – very often used in processed foods – include: soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy lecithin, textured vegetable protein (TVP), hydrolyzed soy protein and more.

It has gotten to a point, where soybeans are now second largest crop grown in the US and, ironically, China, where soybeans are said to have originated, is now the single largest consumer of US-grown soybeans.

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Barbell Military Press: the missing link

Military Press

Military press is a perfect exercise to complete our list of best whole-body compound exercises.  We have already discussed squats, deadlifts and bench presses in detail in previous articles and barbell military press is your only missing link in ensuring that you achieve balanced muscle development, super strength and aesthetically pleasing proportions – once again, regardless of whether you are a gal or a guy.  With military press, most men would quickly fill their sleeves and ladies would get rid of flabby arms and get them toned and looking beautiful – but the effect of this exercise spans far wider, affecting many different muscle groups.

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Drinking water quality still a challenge

clean drinking water

Most people understand how important drinking water is.  Not everyone does it, but if you ask them – most will say they should. Still, soft drinks, coffee and tea and even alcoholic beverages are often the liquids of choice when it comes to hydration (although, as we know, some of those actually dehydrate).

We have previously discussed how the conventional advice to drink a certain number of glasses of water per day is a bit of a marketing hype and an exaggeration.  We have discussed how overhydrating may actually be counterproductive – especially if you don’t get all your ducks in a row in terms of mineral supplementation. In addition, technically, drinking water is not the only way to re-hydrate, as your body is quite good at extracting it from whatever liquids you consume.  The flipside of this is that a lot of people these days quench their thirst with drinks that contain a wide variety of harmful ingredients.  In terms of hydration – this may work (somewhat), but it wreaks havoc on their body in the long term.

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