The Athlete’s Immune System: Part 1

Tom Phillips Cyclocross Athlete immune system

Training plan checklist: cardiovascular support, musculoskeletal support —immune system support?! Yes, every training plan should consider the unique needs of an athlete’s immune system—and here’s why.

You’ve trained for months, diligently following your plan, logging miles and/or time in the gym. So, you’re ready to test your limits, land a PR and perhaps a spot on the podium. However, if your training plan ignores your immune system, your post-race days could be filled with more than just memories, but also illness. In this two-part post, I’ll explain why —and what you can do about it.  Continue reading

Grill Smart: 7 Healthy Grill Tips

Tips for Healthy GrillingGrilling is not only incredibly quick and easy, it can also be one of the healthiest ways to get a meal on your plate —if done correctly. In fact, no matter what food you are putting on the grill, simple changes in what you do before, during and after it hits the grill, as well as the side dishes, can make a very significant difference in the health of your meal. So, fire it up!

What Makes Grilling Unhealthy?

Caution, carnivores! Yes, science is a killjoy at times. But, meat eaters simply need to use a bit more caution than vegetarians when getting their grill or BBQ on. This is not an opinion. It’s basic chemistry. Cook meat at a high temperature and carcinogenic compounds will form. Grill it, and they will come. In fact, the higher the temperature and the longer the cooking time, the more of these compounds will form in the food. The result when you eat these foods? Damaged DNA and increased risk of cancer and many other chronic diseases. Continue reading

Did your father’s waistline influence your own?

Fathers' Influence on Child's Obesity Risk

 

Did your dad’s diet and physical activity level impact your weight? Perhaps.

As a child, you likely noticed your father’s waistline, but not the health implications for both of you. However, as we mature, most people can’t help but look to their parents’ physiology as a contributor of their current as well as a possible future physique. But, it seems that parents, specifically the father’s waistline, may influence a child’s risk of obesity beyond genetic inheritance. Continue reading

Mind, Mood & Food Conference at Esalen Institute

Mind, Mood & Food at EsalenMind, Mood & Food at Esalen

Can the thoughts in your head and what’s on your fork impact both your mood and cognition? 

That was the question explored during the recent Mind, Mood & Food conference I attended at Esalen. This was my first Center for Mind-Body Medicine conference and my first time at the famous institute in northern California. It was an unforgettable week and a very rich experience. Here are some highlights and takeaways for your mind and mood! Continue reading

The Ginger Mezcal Cocktail

Ginger Mezcal CocktailNow is the time to try the Ginger Mezcal! —even if you don’t think you’re a Mezcal fan. This cocktail just might convert you. At least that is what I found in my very extensive clinical research. 

The Ginger Mezcal

I found this cocktail (referred to as a Domo Arigato) via the brilliance of seriouseats.com. I like the Ginger Mezcal for its simplicity and use of fresh ingredients, including one dear to my heart, ginger.

The slight smokiness of Mezcal balances the tartness of lime, a hint of sweetness and the spicy heat of fresh ginger juice. Yes, fresh, as in not from a bottle. Just straight fresh ginger juice, not ginger syrup or a sweetened juice (see note). But, what distinguishes this drink is an almost imperceptible savoriness from a dash of toasted sesame oil, which brings it all together.  Continue reading

Breakfast: Fuel Your Day —or Disease?

Breakfast. Fueling your day -or disease?Eat a healthy breakfast.

It sounds simple enough. But what exactly does that mean?

While there is no definition of the “perfect breakfast,” there are ideal and less than ideal ways to energize your body. So let’s compare typical breakfast options to various types of fires, their fuel and how they burn.  

The Cooking Fire

A cooking fire is the equivalent of a stove range. It can burn slow and steady, lasting all day if needed. The breakfast equivalent will keep you energized all day with stable blood sugar. It should always have lean protein at its base. Because, like seasoned firewood, lean protein is a slow burn fuel. It improves glycemic response, inhibits the secretion of ghrelin, a hunger hormone and stimulates the secretion of the satiety hormones, such as peptide YY (PYY), glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CKK).[11]   The net effect? You feel more satisfied and have fewer food cravings, which may also help maintain healthy body weight. Continue reading

Supplement Quality – Does it Really Matter?

Nutritional supplement qualityWhether you’re planning a cleanse, following doctor’s orders or simply upgrading your daily health routine, nutritional supplements might be part of your plan. But, should you be concerned about supplement quality? ─ In a word, yes. Here’s why and a few common misconceptions about the supplement industry. 

Doesn’t the FDA Monitor the Supplement Industry?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does provide oversight to the supplement industry. However, don’t let this give you a false sense of security about your supplement safety and efficacy. Some aspects of the FDA regulation might surprise you.  Continue reading

8 Alcohol and Sugar-Free Detox-Friendly Drinks

8 Detox-Friendly BeveragesDetox-friendly drinks anyone?! January means simultaneously starting fresh and taking it back a notch. We celebrate the new year and our bodies by getting back to (ideally) the best of our pre-holiday patterns. Whether you are doing a full-on detox program, whole30, or recovering from holiday transgressions, you’re likely taking a break from alcohol, perhaps sugar and caffeine as well. But, that can leave a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —as in what are your beverage options? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even if you flavor it up with lemon, mint or ginger, liquid boredom will eventually set in.

Following are 8 health-supportive and detox-friendly drinks I’ll have on rotation this month. Some of these are warm drinks and some are cold. All are not only non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, but they have no refined sugar, don’t require a juicer and they’re rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hopefully, these ideas will help you stick with your health resolutions —and get you through what might have been your coffee breaks or happy hours.

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Antioxidant-Rich, Healthy Cranberry Compote

Maine LR-4301

This antioxidant-rich and healthy cranberry compote deserves a place at the table year-round. Because cranberries bring a lot more to the table than just tradition and a dash of ruby-red. That favorite holiday condiment is actually a potent anti-microbial. In fact, cranberries could help keep you feeling festive all year-round.

Originally, researchers attributed the protective effect of cranberries to their acidity. This has long since been disproved. We now know that cranberry’s anti-microbial properties are due its high levels of a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins (PACs).

In plants, PACs provide protection against pathogens and predators. In humans, a unique structure of the PACs in cranberries essentially renders whatever bacteria it comes in contact with a non-stick surface. So, cranberry’s PACs help prevent an overall bacterial invasion that can result in an outright infection. If bacteria can’t stick to our cell walls —it can’t infect. And, if it does stick, it will have less chance of spreading.

Research shows that the PACs in cranberries inhibit bacteria (especially E. coli) from sticking to bladder walls, reducing urinary tract infections and may help prevent ulcers by suppressing H. Pylori infections. They may also prevent cavities by inhibiting unhealthy oral bacteria. This same non-stick ability may also lower the risk of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and adhesion and by reducing cholesterol.  Clearly, cranberries have a place on the table the other ten months of the year!

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Don’t Make This Apple Season Mistake!

How to Select the Most Nutritious Apple VarietiesCooling temperatures mean apple season, at least where I’m from (Washington State) and where I lived until recently (New York). So, those of us in harvest mode head to the farmer’s market or apple orchards in search of our usual favorites. Right?!

Actually, this is a mistake. Or, at least a missed opportunity. With the greatest selections of varieties available, this is THE time to try buying, snacking, serving or baking with new-to-you apple varieties. Selected mindfully, veering onto the apple path less traveled could have game-changing health benefits compared to the same old, same old grocery store varieties. Here’s why. Continue reading