Wood-fired, fresh flatbread hand spun to a thin crust, light on the homemade tomato sauce, topped with authentic mozzarella, dried oregano and greasy pepperoni. A dish that will probably forever fill my pizza craving as long as I roam this planet. I’ve had this special array of ingredients slapped together and served to me countless times all over the world. When the stars align, it even seems I’ve managed to eat a slice of pizza multiple times a week when a mash of personal desires are mixed with various social events. Am I addicted to pizza? Actually, this questioned has never crept into my thoughts until I read a recent article on curejoy.com called The science behind pizza addiction and what it means. Research has shown that addiction can occur with many highly processed foods and pizza was near the top of the list. “Pizza, like drugs, causes sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar while signalling changes to the neurological dopamine reward system,” states the Curejoy editorial. Other addictive foods that unsurprisingly made the list included chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream and french fries. Ever had an uncontrollable urge to buy a large McDonald’s french fry and nothing else? You are not alone. Maybe you are a processed food obsessed, pizzaholic or maybe you are not. The overall message is that you are aware of your processed food intake so you can take mitigating steps to improve your health and diet over time. Eliminating pizza all together is a drastic step and one I personally will not take, but I am conscience about my overall eating habits to ensure a healthy balance of natural foods. Before you go searching for your local Pizzaholics Anonymous meeting, try just reducing your monthly calls to your favorite pizza delivery establishment.
It is not a stretch to assume the majority of people who participated in this year’s Thanksgiving dining experience ate more than average during their idle conversations among various distant family members and friends. Regardless if any of those stagnant conversations resulted in arguments or new bonds, most will at least have this one thing in common, they ate too much. In an article from examine.com, “When you binge on Thanksgiving, what happens inside your body,” they calculated that the typical calorie intake on Thanksgiving is about 1,000 calories more than an average day. Fortunately for us, the studies reviewed in the article concluded that this short-term overeating does not necessarily result in fat gain, but merely a slight weight gain. Various factors can cause weight gain like excess water or the frequency of bathroom trips. To give you an example, “the average morning pee weighs half a pound. The average poop weighs a third of a pound.” What type of food you eat also plays a role in holiday weight gain. Studies showed that over eating on proteins will cause less fat storage than over eating fats or over consuming alcohol. Lifestyle will play an important role as well. Are you moving from chair-to-couch-to-bathroom-to-chair watching TV or are taking a walk around the block or playing a family game of touch football?
For me, slight weight gain isn’t an issue and I think it’s good to lounge around at times. We have enough stress in our lives already. However, overfeeding can also affect your gut bacteria. “Over 90% of your serotonin is in your gut, and gut serotonin plays a role in regulating body weight.” This is more of a concern for repeat over feeders and probably shouldn’t worry if it’s only a holiday binge.
Overall, the studies in the article show that you do not need to agonize over your holiday meals, but rather focus on your overall eating habits and lifestyle. If anything, the studies may give you that confidence to go ahead and eat what you want, so indulge (on occasion). Christmas isn’t too far away to put on another impressive display of eating ability, but let’s all keep up a regular workout routine and good eating habits until then.
Due to changes in blood pressure criteria made by the American Heart Association (AHA), millions of Americans “…will need to change their lifestyles or take medicines to treat…” their newly diagnosed condition, according to an article in the TheNew York Times. This startling update from the already controversial AHA prompts the need for further investigation on the impact and true agenda of this decision. Western medicine has provided many benefits to society, but these benefits also come with less transparent, more sinister, opportunistic business agendas. AHA is a known lobbyist group, non-profit business, that manages to collect nearly 1 billion dollars USD every year to push various pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.
Question to ponder #1: How many more unnecessary prescriptions will now be pushed onto millions of patients to meet these new standards, as opposed to, encouraging a moderate ‘lifestyle’ change to naturally control blood pressure?
This is not the first time the AHA has changed guidelines that resulted in an increased supply of prescription drugs. In 2013, the AHA targeted cholesterol levels, changing guidelines that would make 13 million additional people in the U.S. eligible to receive statin therapy. Again, the focus being on the potential increase of prescription drugs when attention and energy should have been spent on encouraging and facilitating a change to our overall eating habits and lifestyle. However, the latter would not be as profitable for many companies.
Question to ponder #2: How many people do you know that have been prescibed a ‘preventative’ cholesterol-lowering prescription drug only because they reached a certain age and told it may lower their risk of cardiovascular disease in the future?
Medpagetoday.com [Statin study in this article was funded by the ACC/AHA and the author and co-author have disclosed relationships with statin producing companies. This was not a third party study and can have conflict of interests]
I played competitive youth football, and other sports, up through high school varsity. Many people have. It is one of the highlights of high school to be able to play under the lights of a roaring crowd and blaring pep songs of dueling marching bands. Concussions? Long-term brain injuries? What was that? The only concern at that time in ones life is ‘what will I do when I graduate.’ The debate of head injuries that has come to light in the past few years is a healthy one. The science is new and not fully understood, but there is enough evidence to support beneficial dialogues, as opposed to, suppressing or ignoring the information due to fears of disrupting a billion dollar football industry or the way-of-life in west Texas. NFL lobbyist and avid football fans aside, there is an issue to resolve. The headline in the article from Fox News, ‘Recurrent concussions are down in high school sports’, is quite auspicious. Quickly followed by this ominous statement, “…children playing tackle football before age 12 may result in long-term neurobehavioral problems.” This topic is too new to come up with any valid conclusions, but it is time to raise more awareness and ask more questions. It has caught my attention enough that I have considered encouraging our youth to take up a golf club over the pig skin. My main reason for this, you can golf the rest of your life in beautiful locations. I haven’t played real American football since I was 18 years old and now I hit the links every weekend. Do I regret playing football? Absolutely not, but I wouldn’t mind having a much improved single digit handicap now because of free high school coaching and forced practicing I would have received.
With passage of laws requiring U.S. high schools to report young athletes’ concussions, more of these head injuries are being reported – but the rate of repeat concussions has gone down, a new study shows.
While traveling this week, I decided to try a no-weight CrossFit workout I read in Muscle & Fitness. There are a few to choose from in the article and I randomly selected a workout shared by Tia-Clair Toomy, the 2017 Fittest Woman on Earth. It is an “Every Minute on the Minute” style workout that includes four rounds, each round being 5 minutes long.
Min 1: 100m run
Min 2: 10-15 pushups
Min 3: 20-25 air squats
Min 4: 7-10 burpees
Min 5: Rest
Overall, I thought it was a good workout, especially, since I was away from home and had limited time in the evenings this week. It also engaged muscles I had seemed to ignore recently as I did feel a little tender in certain muscle groups the follow day. A “good” soreness that lead me to believe I did something meaningful in the workout. After round 1 and 2, I had thoughts that I may had picked a workout that was a little too easy (I was doing the max reps listed and a slightly over a 100m run outdoors). I used an automatic reset timer on my watch to ensure I was keeping exactly to the minute for each exercise. By Round 3, I began to notice I was begin to lag a little and gasping for more air. Minutes began to feel like seconds. Round 4, a small mental battle begins in my head. Debating with myself if I should go “all-out” for Round 4 or keep the same pace. “Of course go all out, there’s only one round left,” I had to quickly convince myself. One of those self talks you feel you shouldn’t need to have. The final round 100m run, all-out, left me with my hands on my hips looking for any ounce of air I could sweep into my lungs, and fast, Min 2 was approaching rapidly. Push ups, easy. Air Squats, done. Burpees, another mental dilemma, but finished strong. The slow walk back in a nice breeze, with some time to think (technology free), was a good way to end this workout.
Did you try one of the workouts in the article? Share your comments below or start your own conversation at forum.salusupdate.com. Also, see the latest health headlines from around the world at www.salusupdate.com.
Good news for spicy food lovers. It my help you to reduce your salt intake according to an article from Live Science. In many American diets, any reduction in sodium is most likely beneficial. Packaged and many processed foods tend to have high salt content per serving. Help to reduce your taste for salt by using my delicious and spicy Salus Update Salsa (almost a spread) recipe:
What you’ll need:
Two handfuls of your favorite hot pepper (I use jindungo peppers. They look like habanero peppers, but red in color with different taste)
4-6 green serrano peppers (for flavor and adds a little green color)
2-4 garlic cloves
1/2 small onion (your favorite kind: white, yellow, red)
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Baking sheet lined with foil
2 table spoons of vinegar or lemon juice
Small food processor
Plastic gloves [caution: DO NOT HANDLE THE BAKED PEPPERS WITH BARE HANDS. The oils from the pepper can be very hot (spicy) if you touch your face or eyes after handling]
Heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F)
Spread out your peppers, peeled onion, garlic cloves onto the baking sheet.
Cover everything with olive oil. Don’t worry about using too much, you’ll use the remaining oil when processing the salsa.
Lightly cover the ingredients with salt. You need very little here. I use about 3 pinches of salt.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until you’ll get a slight char on the peppers.
Carefully remove pan from oven, then put on your plastic food handling gloves
Begin adding your ingredients into the food processor. Remove the stems from the peppers. For better consistency, I cut the garlic and onion into smaller pieces.
Blend your ingredients to the consistency and taste you desire. Adding the amount of oil, garlic, and onion you prefer.
Blend in the vinegar or lemon juice for preservation
Store in your favorite glass jar and in the fridge
Use on sandwiches, eggs, chips…just about anything! Very easy to make with only a few, natural and healthy ingredients.