Monday, 31 January 2011

The Top 10 Most Inspirational YouTube Videos Ever

The Top 10 Most Inspirational YouTube Videos Ever

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The #1 Fat Loss Tip Of The Year

By Tom Venuto
If you stopped me on the street to ask me what my number one fat loss tip for this year is, there are a hundred different directions I could lead you. Of course, there is one strategy that stands out among the others, and in almost all cases, this would be the first thing I suggest. This is the one absolute requirement for weight loss, and it’s something you’ve probably heard of before. However, there’s one critical distinction about this familiar advice that you might not have considered - and this one thing makes all the difference in the world…

Let me quote Melvin Williams, PhD, professor emeritus of exercise science at Old Dominion University and author of the textbook Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport (McGraw Hill):

“Human energy systems are governed by the same laws of physics that rule all energy transformations. No substantial evidence is available to disprove the caloric theory. It is still the physical basis for bodyweight control.”
There are a variety of diet programs and weight loss “gurus” who claim that calories don’t count. They insist that if you eat certain foods or avoid certain foods, that’s all you have to do to lose weight. Dozens, maybe hundreds of such diets exist, with certain “magic foods” put up on a pedestal or certain “evil fat-storing foods" banished into the forbidden foods zone.

Other weight loss “experts” invoke the insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis which claims that carbs drive insulin which drives body fat. That’s akin to saying “Carbs are the reason for the obesity crisis today, not excess calories.”

They are all mistaken.

Of course, there IS more to nutrition than calories. Food quality and nutrition content matters for good health. In addition, your food choices can affect your energy intake. We could even point the finger at an excess of refined starches and grains, sugar and soft drinks (carbs!) as major contributing factors to the surplus calories that lead to obesity.

However, that brings us back to excess calories as the pivotal point in the chain of causation, not carbs. A caloric deficit is a required condition for weight loss - even if you opt for the low carb approach - and that’s where your focus should go – on the deficit.

Now, here’s that critical distinction…

You’ve heard it said, “exercise more and eat less” a million times. However, saying “focus on the deficit” is NOT the same thing. If you don’t understand the difference, you could end up spinning your wheels for years.
You could exercise more, but if you compensate by eating more, you cancel your deficit.

You could eat less, but if you compensate by moving less, again you cancel your deficit.
This type of compensation can happen unconsciously, which leads to confusion about why you’re not losing weight or why you’re gaining. That often leads you to make excuses or blame the wrong thing… anything but the calories.

Therefore, “focus on the deficit” more accurately states the most important key to weight loss than “exercise more and eat less.” Make sure you understand this distinction and then follow this advice.

Last but not least, keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to establish a deficit and many of those ways are really dumb. Eating nothing but grapefruits, cabbage, twinkies… but in a deficit?… Dumb!

A calorie deficit is required for fat loss, but once your deficit is established, the composition of your hypo-caloric diet DOES matter. That’s why any good fat loss program starts with calories but doesn’t stop there - you also need to look at protein, essential fats, macronutrients, micronutrients, food quality and how the diet you choose fits into your lifestyle.

Don’t let the simplicity of this idea fool you. This is the #1 key to your successful weight loss this year, and every year: Focus on the deficit!

Train hard and expect success,
Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?

By Tom Venuto

No Pain, No Gain. Is this aphorism just a fitness myth and downright bad advice? A lot of people seem to think so. As a bodybuilder with 25 years of training experience and more than two dozen trophies on my shelf, I have another perspective to offer you. Success with your body and in every area of your life is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and that means embracing pain. 

To reach high levels of physical and personal success you must approach your training, and your entire life, as an endeavor in constant growth. The ultimate truth is, you are either moving forward or moving backward; growing or dying. There’s no such thing as comfortably maintaining.

To grow, you must step above past achievements; beyond your perceived boundaries and limits. That means stepping out of the known, into the unknown; out of the familiar and into the unfamiliar; out of the comfortable into the uncomfortable. You must get out of your comfort zone. 

The Late Cavett Robert, who was founder of the National Speakers Association, said something I’ll never forget: “Most people are running around their whole lives with their umbilical cords in their hands and they’re looking for some place to plug it back in.”

Most people are scared of the unknown. They prefer to stay in that womb of comfort. When the going gets tough; when the effort gets painful, when the work gets hard, they always pull back into safety. But the extraordinary people do the opposite. They know they have to get out of the comfort zone, and into new territory or they’ll stagnate and die. 

Walt Disney once said that he never wanted to repeat a past success. He was always creating something new. They called it “Imagineering.” Disney’s mission was to continuously dream up and create things they had never done before, and look at what Disney has become today.

Here’s a little quote that you should post on your bulletin board, your computer desktop or somewhere you will always see it: 

“Do what you always did, get what you always got.”

You can't grow or change by doing what you’ve already done. You’ve got to train just to prevent yourself from going backwards. Maintenance doesn’t occur when you do nothing, maintenance is working to fight entropy, the tendency for things to naturally deteriorate.

Still, most people won’t leave their comfort zones. They won’t do it in business, they won’t do it in their personal lives. They won’t do it in their sport. They won’t do it for personal health and fitness. Why? The answer is simple… It hurts.

By definition, what’s it like outside the comfort zone? It’s UN-COMFORTABLE, right? Change is uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s physically painful, but it’s always mentally and emotionally painful, in the form of discipline, sacrifice, uncertainty and fear. 

The maxim, “no pain no gain” gets knocked all the time as if it were bad advice. The fact of life is that you don’t grow unless you’ are constantly stepping outside the comfort zone, and outside the comfort zone is discomfort and pain.

I find that it’s mostly the non-achievers who make out “no pain, no gain” to be a bad thing. But the winners get it. The champions understand stepping outside the comfort zone in a healthy context, so they embrace it.
When you’re talking about the Olympics, or pro bodybuilding or the Super Bowl or a world championship, you’d better believe it’s physical pain, it’s discipline, it’s sacrifice, it’s blood, sweat, and tears - literally. But for most people who simply want to go from unfit to fit, from overweight to ideal weight, it’s not so much about physical “pain”; it’s more like stretching yourself. 

How do you develop flexibility? What does your trainer tell you? You stretch to the point of discomfort, but not to the point of pain, right? You get into a position of slight discomfort and you hold it just long enough, then what happens? The discomfort goes away, because the muscle becomes more pliable, and the range of motion is increased. 

Each time, you stretch a little further, just barely into the range you’ve never been in before, and eventually, you’re doing the splits. And why do you approach it like that? Because you don’t want to injure yourself. Stretch too far, too fast and your muscle tears. 
The elite athletes and high achievers really have to push themselves; they’re going to push their boundaries and test their limits. But if you’re not an elite athlete or seasoned bodybuilder, and you take the advice, “no pain, no gain” too literally, you’re going to end up getting injured. 

I always say to my training partner when I watch him cringing during a set and he finishes up with that pained look on his face, “Are you injured, or just hurt?” He knows what I’m talking about. If he says he’s hurt, I say, “OK, good. As long as you’re not injured. Let’s get on with it. Next set.”

It’s not about injury. That is bad pain. That is stupidity. But do stretch yourself.  You can’t improve unless you stretch yourself. If that’s what some people want – if they just want to “stay fit” – OK fine. It actually doesn’t take that much to stay fit, once you’ve already achieved it. 

But what if you want to improve? What if you want a new body? What if you want to change? If that's what you want, you’ve got to push yourself a little. You’ve got to break comfort zones. And if your body is not changing, then I don’t care how hard you think you’re working, whatever you’re doing right now is inside your comfort zone. 

The statement “no pain, no gain” has been misinterpreted, criticized and labeled a fallacy by many. However, the people doing the criticizing are almost always comfort zoners who haven’t achieved much. Don’t listen to them. Instead, follow the small percentage of people who step out and achieve great things. If you don’t like the sound of it, then say, “No effort, no gain.” We’re still talking about the same thing.

Embrace the discomfort like the champions do. Soon it subsides, you enjoy the benefits of the change and the pain is forgotten. You’ve reached a new, higher plateau of achievement. Enjoy the view for a short while. But be on guard because it’s not long before that higher level becomes your new comfort zone and then its time to press on again.

About the author
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer and best selling author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Italian IRONMAN (Olympian’s News), Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness, Muscular Development, Men’s Exercise, and Men’s Fitness Magazines. Tom’s hard work, no-quick fixes approach has won him multiple titles in drug tested bodybuilding including Mr. Natural Pennsylvania, Natural New Jersey, Natural New York State, Natural Mid Atlantic States and NPC Natural Eastern Classic championships. More important, tens of thousands of people in 141 countries have used Tom’s Burn The Fat program to lose as much as 253 pounds or just the last stubborn 5-10 pounds and achieve that coveted 6-pack of abs. To learn more about Tom’s all-natural approach to fat burning, visit his site at

Friday, 14 January 2011

Studies Show 4 Proven Tricks to Eat Less Food

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author - The Truth About Six Pack Abs

I found these 4 tricks (that are proven to help people eat less food and overall calories) while reading a fascinating book recently called 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman.  I think you'll find these very helpful if you're looking to control your caloric intake and reduce your body fat.
These tricks were tested in scientific studies and are quick and easy to implement.  I thought these were VERY interesting...

size of bowls and spoonsTrick #1 to Eat Less --  Several studies prove that the size of the bowl, plate, or spoon that you use can directly influence how much food and calories you consume.
Richard Wiseman, in the book 59 Seconds, talks about one study conducted where party guests were randomly given either 17 or 34-ounce bowls and 2 or 3 ounce spoons, and allowed to help themselves to ice cream. It was found that the party guests given the large spoons and large bowls had eaten 14% and 31% more ice cream respectively, than the people using the smaller spoons or smaller bowls.   

Interesting huh!

Another study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania used a bowl of M&Ms that were left in the hallway of an apartment building. A sign next to the bowl told people to help themselves to the M&Ms. Some days a tablespoon sized scoop was used in the M&Ms and on other days, a larger scoop was used in the bowl.  The researchers found that the larger scoop caused people to take TWICE the amount of M&Ms on average compared to the people that had used the smaller scoop.

I've also seen studies referenced in the past that showed that people who used larger plates consumed more calories than those using smaller plates.

The lesson -- Use smaller plates, bowls, and silverware and you may inadvertently reduce your calorie intake.  This also means saying NO to seconds and thirds!

woman eating fast or slowTrick #2 to Eat Less --  You've probably heard before that eating slower can help you to eat less because it gives time for the fullness signal to reach your brain and thereby shut off your appetite before you've eaten too much.

However, this study below found a twist on this!

According to Mr. Wiseman in the book 59 Seconds, a study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center had overweight participants eat a meal at 3 different speeds:
a)  their normal rate
b)  half their normal rate
c)  their normal rate at first, followed by half their normal rate (normal-slow combo)

The results were interesting...  Eating at the slower rate caused the men to eat less, but not the women (that's weird!).  However, the 3rd group that combined the normal pace at first with the slower rate after that caused both the men and women to have a large reduction in their appetite and eat less.  The normal-slow combo was found to be more effective than just the slow-only group.  Why?  I have no idea, but those are interesting results!

Mr Wiseman stated that the lesson here to eat less is "to start at your normal speed but then savor each and every mouthful".

chocolatesTrick #3 to Eat Less --  According to the book 59 Seconds, a series of experiments conducted in offices compared putting chocolates right on people's desks vs placing the chocolates six feet away. In another experiment, the chocolates were put inside either transparent or opaque jars.

When the chocolates were placed on the person's desk instead of 6 feet away, people ate on average 6 more chocolates per day per person.  Also, the chocolates in the transparent jars were eaten 46% more quickly than the opaque jars.

Just shows... out of sight, out of mind!  As you may already know, I recommend never even having junk food around your house at all...that way, you're never tempted by it and you're forced to only eat healthy foods... but then you can use your weekly cheat meals to eat junk food out at a restaurant. That way the junk food is never in your house to begin with!

eating pizza by the tvTrick #4 to Eat Less --  Studies have found that people eat significantly more when they are distracted by TV, movies, games, or other distractions.  In one experiment mentioned in the book 59 Seconds, people who were more absorbed by a movie ate significantly larger amounts of popcorn compared to those that were paying less attention to the movie.

In another experiment, people who actively listened to a detective story during lunch (being distracted by the story), ate 15% more food than those who sat in silence during their lunch.

The lesson -- ditch the TV and other distractions and focus on your food!  Enjoy every bite of your food and you will naturally consume less calories while enjoying your food more.

Interesting stuff in these 4 tricks huh!  Feel free to share this webpage with your Facebook friends or on your blogs/forums... or email the link to this page to your friends and family.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

7 Super-Effective Tips for Losing Stomach Fat & Getting Lean Six Pack Abs for Life

Lose Body Fat and Get a Lean Stomach for Good! 

Vince Delmonte interviews author Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist

1.  Mike, what is the number one component to getting a six pack?

MG: Your training style, nutrition, and mindset are all extremely important if you want to stand a chance at getting a six pack... However, if I had to choose 1 component that is most important, it would probably have to be nutrition. Maybe you've heard the saying before that "abs are made in the kitchen".

It really is true, and that's where the majority of people go wrong in the goal to get super lean. Of course, this also ties into mindset, because you really have to get your mind in the right place in order to have the discipline to be able to eat consistently clean enough to get six pack abs.

There's a lot of confusion out there these days about calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates... every "expert" disagrees with one another on proper ratios and types of diets.  I think people make this way too complicated.

If you are just to focus on a good balance between fats, carbs, and proteins, and make sure to eat only natural unprocessed organic foods (as close to their natural state as possible) instead of packaged, processed foods, a lot of the problems that most people have with cravings, a sweet tooth, overeating, blood sugar swings, etc all take care of themselves.

We still can't lose sight of the fact that you can overeat on healthy foods and gain fat even while eating healthy. Therefore, your caloric intake needs to be controlled to a level that will promote fat loss if that's the goal.

2.  Excellent Mike!  Next question... What is one thing I might be doing, unknowingly, steering my quest for a six pack in the wrong direction?

MG:  I'll give 2 things that may be steering you in the wrong direction...
a. Too much cardio

Some people, in their efforts to try to get lean, focus way too much on hours and hours of cardio exercise. The problem is that this can backfire on you by making you lose lean muscle mass over time, which decreases your resting metabolic rate. Once this happens, it becomes easier to pack on body fat than ever before.  I've even seen many people that do too much cardio and end up getting that "skinny fat" appearance, where they have very little muscle tone, yet they have excess stomach fat (even a "gut" possibly).

Instead of excess cardio, focus more on high intensity weight training (yes, even during a "cutting" cycle, where heavier training is even MORE important). This will help maintain your lean muscle mass throughout your body, so that you don't experience the metabolic rate decrease. Maintaining as much lean muscle mass on your body at all times is one of the most important things for staying super-lean for life.

b. Not eating enough healthy fats

This is another area where I see people go in the wrong direction. They are trying to lose body fat and they end up going WAY too low on their fat intake. When you decrease your fat intake too much, you are basically messing up your fat burning and muscle building hormones. It's not uncommon to see people decrease their fat intake too low and end up reducing their testosterone levels significantly.

Try to get some sources of healthy fats with every meal to make sure you don't go too low... This could be avocados, any and all nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, etc), seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), nut butters (almond butter, natural peanut butter, etc), virgin coconut oil (good source of medium chain triglycerides), extra virgin olive oil, grass fed beef (good source of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3s), whole eggs (yes, whole eggs...not egg whites), etc.

3. What is one unique way of boosting your metabolism, to finally burn fat, that I might be overlooking?

MG:  Incorporate any form of clean & presses into your routines twice per week. This could be barbell clean & presses or using kettlebells or dumbbells.  If I had to choose one exercise that burns the most calories and has the biggest impact on increasing your metabolic rate, I'd have to choose high intensity clean & presses (with squats and deadlifts being at the top of the pack also).  I like alternating the use of barbells for C&P's one workout and kettlebells for another.
If you want to learn more about how to train with kettlebells, see this article.

4. What is your number one plateau busting secret to lose the last 10 pounds?

MG:  When you get to the point that you're already fairly lean, but just need to lose that last 5 or 10 lbs of body fat that is covering up your abs, you really need to take your workouts to a whole new level of intensity.

Consider adding all-out wind sprints and/or hill sprints into your routine if you want to take it to the next level of intensity.

As for gym workous, this also means no jibber-jabbering for 5 minutes in between sets at the gym... Instead, you need laser-focused intensity, and one of the best ways to keep high intensity is super-setting or alternating sets. This means while you're resting one area of your body, you're working another area of your body. I usually like to do this by alternating a really tough lower body exercise such as a squat, lunge, or deadlift, with a multi-joint upper body exercise such as a bench press, overhead press, bent over row, or pullup.

Think short rest periods, full body exercises, multi-joint exercises, lots of sweat, and your chest heaving for air... if that's what your workout is looking like, then you're on the right path.  If not, then you're not working hard enough.

5. What is your advice for me to deal with the social temptations of alcohol, eating out, and junk food?

MG: This is something many people struggle with, but if you set some limits, it can be easy to deal with and still stay lean. One thing I'd suggest is to make sure to not get in a habit of drinking alcohol excessively on a daily basis. If you're going to go out and have some fun with friends, try to limit the drinking to only 1 or 2 days max per week. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we can still go out and have fun with our friends without getting totally smashed.

You need to decide what is more important in your life... do you want to live healthy and have a strong lean body, or do you want to get full-blown drunk every night? There's a lot more to life than alcohol.  This article explains some tips for moderate drinkers to stay lean.

As for eating out... If you're serious about getting and staying lean, eating out should only be an occasional event. Cooking your own food on a daily basis is extremely important as it's very hard to know what is in all of the junk at restaurants and fast food joints. One of the tricks I use when eating out is to NEVER eat fries or sodas (in fact, I never eat fries or sodas AT ALL). 

Instead, go ahead and order that burger, but substitute steamed veggies or a salad for the fries. Almost every restaurant will make that substitution for you. And water or unsweetened iced tea are the best beverage options to keep the calories under control when eating out.

6.  Why do I lose motivation when trying to get a six pack?

MG: Most people lose motivation because they simply aren't seeing the results fast enough. If that's why you lose motivation, go back to all of the tips and techniques we've been talking about in here and see where your nutrition or training programs are going wrong so you can get faster results.  Be patient and consistent and the results will come.

Also, you can really stay motivated by focusing on what has been successful so far. For example, maybe your fat loss hasn't been what you wanted so far, but maybe you've increased your pullups from 8 to 13 and your squat weight from 185 to 225 lbs for the same reps. Keep focusing on your successes rather than your failures, and keep going for more successes.
More motivation tips -- Train regularly with a partner. This will keep you both focused and will keep you accountable to someone other than yourself. You don't want to disappoint someone else that you've made a goal with.

Also, keep a picture up in your house or at work of someone's body that motivates you to strive for those results. Look at it every day and keep visualizing your own body improving. Set a realistic goal and a time frame to achieve that goal, such as "I will lose 15 lbs of body fat in the next 8 weeks". The important thing here is realistic goal... don't expect to lose 30 lbs in 30 days (despite those weight loss scam ads that you see everywhere claiming BS like this).

7. I understand you have the number one six pack abs program on the Internet -- Truth About Abs.  Why do you think it's so popular?

My Truth about Six Pack Abs program is so popular because it works!  It's REAL nutrition and REAL training programs instead of useless gimmicks and fads.  I give the TRUTH on what people really need to get lean sexy abs for life and why they DON'T NEED fad gimmicks like diets, ab infomercial gadgets, and bogus fat burning pills that people waste way too much money on.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

2 Pre-Meal Tricks to Control Your Blood Sugar Response and Stay in Fat-Burning Mode

I've been telling you about some of the really cool experiments that Tim Ferriss has done in his new book that I've been reading, The 4-Hour Body, and I wanted to show you this one today...

You may have heard different websites or anecdotes in the past about these 3 substances and their possible effects on reducing the blood sugar response of a meal (taken either before or during a meal), which can, essentially help to keep insulin levels lower post-meal and keep the body from depositing extra body fat.
These 3 substances are:
  • vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon
But do they actually work in controlling blood sugar response from a meal?

Well, that's what Tim decided to test out on himself as one of his experiments that he did in The 4-Hour Body. Tim actually used a blood sugar meter (normally for diabetics) that attached probes into his abdomen to get constant measurements and graphs of his blood sugar and response to different foods and meals.
In his tests, he tested all 3 of these "additives" before meals.

The results?

The pre-meal vinegar

The vinegar failed!

Tim tested both white vinegar and balsamic vinegar and neither showed any lowering effect on his blood sugar in his tests.  He even drank 3 Tbsp+ of vinegar before meals as a last attempt to see if vinegar could have any blood sugar controlling effects.  But he found no effect.

Tim includes some theories in his book on why the vinegar didn't have any effect.

The pre-meal lemon juice

Better news with the lemon juice!  

In Tim's personal tests, he used 3 Tbsp of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (not store-bought stuff with preservatives and artificial additives) prior to his meals and this lowered his blood sugar response to meals (compared to his controls) by approximately 10%.

Remember that lowering the blood sugar response to a meal can help to control insulin levels and therefore keep your body in fat-burning mode for longer...and prevent cravings too!

The pre-meal cinnamon

Yet another score!

If you've read my articles in the past, it's no secret that cinnamon can be powerful in terms of helping to blunt blood sugar response to a meal.  In fact, I regularly take 2 cinnamon capsules (approx 1 gram) if I know I'm going to eat a meal that contains moderate or high levels of carbohydrates.  Some studies show that cinnamon can reduce the glycemic response of a meal up to 29%!

But there are different types of which is best?

Tim actually tested 3 types of cinnamon in how they affected his blood sugar response to meals.

Saigon cinnamon (aka Vietnamese cinnamon) was found in Tim's tests to be the most effective at controlling blood sugar.

Cassia cinnamon came in 2nd place in effectiveness

Ceylon cinnamon came in 3rd place in Tim's tests in effectiveness in controlling blood sugar response to a meal.

Tim did note however that all 3 types of cinnamon helped control blood sugar to some extent.  I personally like to use cinnamon in smoothies, in yogurt or oatmeal, with apples and almond butter, or in capsule form before any meals that are going to have more than 35 grams of carbohydrates.

Keep in mind that if you take medications, you need to consult with your doctor to make sure that cinnamon use does not interfere with the medications (especially with blood thinners).  Tim also warns that 4 grams per day (about 1.5 teaspoons) is probably the max amount of cinnamon that anyone should take.

So there you go!  Lemon juice and cinnamon are the 2 tricks that Tim revealed through his own blood sugar testing that helped to control blood sugar response and therefore can help you to maintain lower insulin levels and stay in fat-burning mode longer!

This is just one of the dozens of really cool experiments that Tim did on himself and with athletes, etc in his new book, The 4-Hour Body.   Make sure to grab a copy today if you haven't already... this has been one of my favorite fitness books I've read in years... fun stuff!  And for under $15, this is a no-brainer...I'd pay that much for just 1 chapter in this book.

If you liked this article, please feel free to share this page below with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, your blogs or forums, or by emailing them this page.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Truth about Low-Carb Diets vs Controlled-Carbohydrate Meals

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of the best seller:  The Truth About Six Pack Abs

bad carbs - pancakesOne of the problems I see with "diet talk" is that nobody seems to agree what "low carb" really means... One person may think of "low carb" as an Atkins style diet with as much fatty sausages, hotdogs, and nitrate processed meats as you want and virtually no carbohydrate based foods at all.

Another person may view "low carb" as 40% of daily calories coming from carbs instead of the traditionally recommended 55% to 60%.

If you think about it, in a 40/30/30 type of diet, the majority of the calories are coming from carbs, so that obviously can't be called "low carb"...yet some people do call it that.

Because of these drastic differences in how different people view the term "low carb", sometimes my clients are confused as to what I recommend.

First of all, I don't recommend "low carb" or "high carb" per se... I don't think it's vitally important to have any sort of exact ratio.  I think everyone needs to explore for themselves how they feel at different ratios of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

After all, the most important aspect to your success is your total caloric intake vs your caloric expenditure over a given time period.

But where carbohydrate intake becomes important is in how it can affect your hormones and blood sugar in your body and stimulate cravings. You could tell someone to eat 2500 calories/day of a higher fat and higher protein content combined with reduced carbs and they may actually finish the day at 2500 calories because their appetite is satisfied.

However, tell that same person to eat 2500 calories per day in a high carb fashion, and they may end up eating 3000 or more calories per day because the higher carbohydrate diet stimulated their cravings and they ended up overeating.

I know personally, if you throw a big steak in front of me and a big pile of vegetables, my appetite will be satisfied when I'm done that meal and for hours afterward.  However, you throw a big plate of pasta in front of me, and I'm gonna devour the entire plate, and then head back for seconds and maybe even thirds.
This is what happens for a lot of people... once you start eating large portions of carbs like pasta or rice or cereals, it becomes hard to stop and then you're craving more carbs an hour later too!

So what I've found to work best for me, and a large % of my clients in the past is to eat in a "controlled carbs" manner... this doesn't mean atkins style... it means very reduced grains, zero refined sugars (to the best of ability of avoiding), and instead, getting almost all of your healthy carbs from vegetables, fruits, and maybe beans on occasion.

This ends up being very similar to the hunter-gatherer type of diet of meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies, which I believe is the healthiest way to eat.

Sometimes it just takes thinking a little differently about the way you eat and what's considered "normal" in order to get rid of some of the useless grains and sugars in your diet.
For example, why do we need to eat a burger on a bun? Most people don't even think of doing it any other way because that's what's "normal".

One of my favorite lunch meals lately has been cooking up a grass-fed bison burger with no bun, and then I top it with grass-fed cheese, sliced avocados, diced onions, and salsa.  I have a big side of sliced fresh veggies like carrots and red peppers (with hummus sometimes), and then maybe have a little bit of fruit or berries on the side too.

What you end up with is a meal that's pretty well balanced between protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs instead of overloaded with the refined grains from the typical hamburger bun.
Think about breakfast you really "need" the toast with your eggs, or can you do much better with loads of veggies with your eggs instead?

That's what I like to do for breakfast... whole eggs with cheese and loads of veggies, avocado (yeah, avo's are one of my favorite foods), and some green or white tea (or lately I've been really digging this mango yerba mate tea...mmm) with a little raw honey.  So I get my carbs from the veggies and the little bit of raw honey instead of from the typical toast and orange juice that loads you up with extra carbs.

...Just some ideas in case it helps you to think differently about where you get your carbs from.

Monday, 10 January 2011

One of The World's Greatest Snacks -- A Healthy Treat for a Lean Body

Why pistachios not only taste delicious, but are also jam-packed with nutrition for your lean healthy body

by Cat Ebeling, RN, BSN & Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialistco-authors of the new Fat Burning Kitchen program

pistachios nutrition
Some people mistakenly think that pistachios are a "fattening" food... but despite having loads of healthy fats, these yummy little snacks can actually HELP you to burn off stomach fat.  Let's see why...

Do you remember eating pistachios when they used to be dyed a deep pinkish/red? They were always so delicious, but after eating a bunch of those bright "red" nuts, your fingers and hands would be stained red.

Pistachios, as we now know, do not grow as magenta-colored nuts but come in a nice natural tan colored shell with a mild-tasting, crunchy, green and yellow interior. Nuts have risen in popularity lately, but did you know that pistachios are probably one of the most nutritious of all nuts?
It's hard to compare anything to the nutritional benefit of nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans... but pistachios give them a run for the money!

Just a one-ounce serving of pistachios will give you over 30 vitamins, minerals and other super nutrients.
One of the best things about nuts in general, is that they are full of minerals that are VITAL to our body's proper functioning. And if you have paid much attention to nutrition news lately, you may be aware that minerals are getting harder and harder to obtain from our diet, and many people are mineral-deficient in one way or another.

So what are these great nutrients in pistachios?
Well for starters, pistachios are full of copper, phosphorus, and manganese (different from magnesium).
Copper is made up of multiple enzymes that help to create many of the necessary biochemical reactions in your body and also forms connective tissue. Manganese also helps form connective and skeletal tissue, and is instrumental in growth, reproduction and (this is good!) carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Phosphorus is very important for strong bones and teeth and works with calcium to prevent osteoporosis.

Other important minerals are magnesium -- necessary for more than 300 different important biochemical reactions in your body, and good for your heart and blood pressure; potassium --an electrolyte that keeps the body in the correct acid/base balance and also helps in forming proteins, metabolizing carbohydrates and building muscle.

And there is more to this nutritional powerhouse...

Pistachios are a rich source of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for good nerve transmission, muscle building, a good mood, lots of energy, and infection-fighting power. They are also one of the highest protein nuts (as well as healthy fats), so they make a great satisfying snack that keeps your blood sugar and insulin at a good steady level.

In one study on pistachios and antioxidants, pistachios ranked up in the group with the highest amount of antioxidant activity above over 100 other foods. Antioxidants help to prevent free radical damage, which saves your cells and prevents aging and disease among other things.

We hear a lot about eye health and nutrients for the eyes lately, and guess what-- pistachios contain generous amount of lutein and zeaxanthin which prevent macular degeneration and other eye diseases related to aging.


Last but not least, pistachios are full of appetite satisfying fiber -- as much as a serving of oatmeal.
Nuts in general are a great source of fiber, which is valuable for fighting cancer, controlling blood sugar, and aids in a feeling of fullness. Most people only get about half the recommended amount of fiber they need in their diets, so eating pistachios will help add to your dietary intake.

Healthy Fats

While eating extremely large quantities of pistachios would be a LOT of calories... the good news is that the protein, good fats and fiber in them are nutritious and satisfy so much of the nutrient needs of your body, it's VERY difficult to overeat them.

Even when only eating small servings of these nuts, they have been proven to provide a high rate of satiety. Besides, having to shell all those pistachios actually ends up making you eat them a little more slowly, so the message to your brain that you are full happens on less nuts than if you were eating something already out of its shell.

Try to go for the all-natural or organic pistachios with no salt of low salt. Some brands of pistachios are a bit heavy on the salt.

Eat well and stay lean!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Can "Energy Drinks" Actually Improve Your Strength, Endurance, and Energy Levels... Or is it All in Your Mind?

Plus an important lesson on how to help your mind control your exercise and diet results

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
author - The Truth About Six Pack Abs

You may have noticed from a lot of my ezine issues that I speak a lot about the power of your mind and how this controls the results you get in your body.

This is yet another example of the power of the placebo effect, and probably the only reason anybody gets any results whatsoever from typical supplements (I'm talking more about bogus "miracle" diet pill supplements rather than legitimate whole food or herbal supplements).

I recently read about an interesting study regarding energy drinks and whether they actually give any results (sorry, I don't have the exact citation or the exact numbers involved), but here was the general details of the study...

The researchers split the group into 2 large groups of people.  The first group they gave one of these typical "energy drinks" that you see everywhere (which I've mentioned before are a complete waste).

Now here's the important part... the researchers specifically told this 1st group of people that the energy drink they were receiving would increase their strength and endurance levels and increase their energy output.

The 2nd group received the exact same "energy drink" but was not told what the drink was, so nothing was said about it improving anything. For all these people knew, they were just being given a drink because they were thirsty.  They were not told that this drink was an "energy drink".

The very interesting results:

The 1st group, which was told that the energy drink would improve their strength and endurance, actually DID increase their strength outputs and endurance tests.

However, the 2nd group, which received the EXACT SAME "energy drink" was NOT TOLD that it would help anything, and therefore, they showed no measurable signs of improvement on any of the tests!

Wow... yet another powerful example of how it's ALL IN YOUR MIND!  

Energy drinks don't really help with anything, but if you strongly believe in your mind that something you are doing will improve your results, it really CAN help your results.  This is the placebo effect at its best!

One way that this phenomenon can be applied to your nutrition and workouts:

1. When you're performing certain exercises, you need to really strongly BELIEVE IN YOUR MIND that those exercises are transforming your body... in return, that strong belief will improve your results in the gym MUCH more than just mindlessly going through the exercises.

2. When you are eating healthy food, you need to really strongly believe and think about how much that food is making you leaner, stronger, and giving you more energy. If you believe strongly how much that food is helping you, it WILL help you much more than if you didn't think positively about what you were eating.

This is very powerful stuff!  Your brain really CAN control your fitness results or lack of results.

If you liked todays article, feel free to copy/paste and email this page on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that would enjoy it.

If you want to learn another super-powerful technique to make your MIND WORK FOR YOU in getting you the exact body that you want... make sure to read this webpage below... this is a secret that many have used after years of struggling to finally see success with their fitness results and permanent weight loss:

Powerful fat loss mind technique that you need to know

Have a great one!
Talk soon,
Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Shocking Breakdown of a Fast Food Meal

I wanted to show you a surprising breakdown of a typical fast food meal that MOST people don't realize...

Here goes... Did you realize that when you eat a typical meal at a Fast Food joint, that you are basically eating almost entirely CORN (genetically modified corn too) ... and no, there is really NOTHING healthy about eating almost all of your calories from corn!

Let me explain...

Let's think about the typical fast food meal that somebody gets at a corner fast food joint... that common meal would be:

a cheeseburger
a side of fries
a soft drink (usually soda)

Surprisingly most people don't realize they are taking in about 90-95% of their calories essentially from CORN when they eat this kind of fast food meal (can we really call it a "meal").
The other calories come from wheat and soy derivatives mostly... certainly nothing healthy there either!  Let's break it down...

The soda or other soft drink obtains 100% of it's calories from a corn derivative -- high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The cheeseburger contains beef from a factory farm feedlot where the cattle ate almost entirely corn... also the cheese comes from milk from unhealthy corn-fed cows from factory farm feedlots... between the beef and the cheese, almost all of your calories are originally derived from corn, but just transformed in a way.

The bun on the burger contains corn derivatives including HFCS. The rest of the calories in the bun come from refined wheat flour and possibly a small amount of soybean oil.  Basically, almost 100% of the calories from the burger come from corn, soy, and wheat.

Now comes the fries...

Most of the calories in the fries come from the oil that's soaked into them from deep frying in either corn oil or soybean oil (hydrogenated usually).  NOT good! 

So basically, the ONLY calories in this typical fast food meal that don't come from corn, soy, or wheat is the potato portion of the fries... and of course when potatoes are deep fried in oil, they create cancer-causing acrylamides.

You wonder how anybody can eat even one bite of fast food knowing these facts... or maybe they DON'T know these facts...and that's the problem.

Now you can see how 90-95% of the calories in a typical fast food meal actually come mostly from corn, soy, and wheat derivatives... and certainly NOT healthy versions either!

A few weeks ago, I saw a really entertaining documentary about how CORN has pretty much become the majority of our food supply due to the economics of it.  

The documentary was called King Corn, and I'd highly recommend picking the DVD up from Amazon and watching it... highly entertaining, but also pretty scary how we let economics ruin something as important as our food supply.

Another documentary that I think EVERYONE needs to watch is Food Inc This is a must see, and after seeing both of these documentaries, your views on what you eat and our horrendous food supply will change. 

This is why I make an effort to try to get almost 100% of my food from local farmers markets, health food stores, and a local farmer where I purchase all of my grass-fed meats, farm fresh eggs from free roaming hens, raw grass-fed milk, and tons of produce.

Feel free to fwd this to your friends and family to show them what they are really eating at Fast Food joints!

If you missed my article recently about the shocking statistic about what makes up 67% of the total caloric intake of the average American, see it below... it is a VERY sad statistic...

Have a great day!
Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Friday, 7 January 2011

Your Cooking Oils - Healthy vs Unhealthy

(the truth may surprise you!)
Some of these oils are healthy and some are VERY unhealthy -- soybean oil, olive oil, coconut oil, corn oil, etc... Let's take a closer look.

by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

Today, I wanted to give you my take on a confusing subject to most people:
...why some oils and fats you may use in cooking, baking, or other food use are actually harmful to your body, and why some are healthful.

Here's the deal...
A lot of people seem to think that anything labeled as "vegetable oil" is good for you. NOT A SHOT!

Most of what is labeled as "vegetable oil" is simply heavily refined soybean oil (processed under high heat, pressure, and industrial solvents)... sometimes perhaps it may also be heavily refined cottonseed, safflower, corn, grapeseed, or other oils too.

In most instances, almost all of these processed oils are NOT HEALTHY for you.

If you buy processed food or deep fried food, you can usually be certain that these unhealthy oils are used to prepare your foods (or worse, it may use hydrogenated versions of these oils... aka - trans fats!). 

You may have even bought some of these oils for your own cooking or baking at home.
The problem with soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, and other similar oils is that they are mostly composed of polyunsaturated fats which leaves them prone to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light. 

Processed polyunsaturated oils are the most inflammatory inside our bodies because of their high reactivity to heat and light. This inflammation is what causes many of our internal problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.

Note: It's ok if a polyunsaturated fat isn't processed such as in whole foods like various nuts and seeds... In that case it's not inflammatory, and is a great source of healthy polyunsaturated fats for you. By the way, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are both polyunsaturates. Your best bet is to choose raw nuts and seeds whenever possible to avoid the oxidation of polyunsaturated fats that can occur during roasting of nuts and seeds

However, all of the vegetable oils listed above are generally heavily refined during processing, so that makes them already inflammatory before you even cook with them (which does even more damage).

Here's the actual order of stability of a type of fat under heat and light (from least stable to most stable):

1. polyunsaturated
2. monounsaturated
3. saturated

Here's something that mainstream health professionals will never tell you...

Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with!

Why?  Because they are much more stable and less inflammatory than polyunsaturated oils.

This is why tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils are best for cooking... they have very little polyunsaturates and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat/light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use. 

That's also why natural butter (NOT margarine) is one of the best fats for cooking. This all goes directly against what you hear in mainstream health talk... because most health professionals don't truly understand the biochemistry of fats, and falsely believe that saturated fats are bad for you... when in fact, they are actually neutral in most instances... and saturated fats from tropical oils are actually good for you as they contain mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are lacking in most people's diets.

In fact, lauric acid is one of the abundant MCTs in tropical oils and is known to strengthen the immune system.  Lauric acid is even being studied currently in medical studies for controlling contagious diseases.

To summarize... your best cooking or baking fats are generally butter or tropical oils such as palm or coconut oil.  Olive oil (extra virgin preferably) is ok for lower cooking temps as it's mostly monounsaturated, so moderately stable.  The mostly polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, grapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, etc, are the least healthy for cooking or baking.

My choices for top healthy cooking oils that I use:
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (only for low temp cooking)
  • Real Butter (grass fed if possible)
Of course, with all of that said... we should keep in mind that trying minimize our cooking with oils can help to reduce overall calories. Cooking with oils in moderation is ok and can actually help satisfy your appetite more, but be careful not to overdo it as the calories can add up fast.

Also, please don't be fooled by deceptive marketing claiming that canola oil is healthy for you -- it's NOT!

Here's a related article about good trans fats vs. bad trans fats that I did previously (an eye opener to most people)...

Don't be lazy... be lean.

PS - if you liked todays article, feel free to fwd this on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that would enjoy it.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The #1 MOST Important Diet Lesson You Will Ever Learn

The ONLY Way to Eat a Truly Healthy Diet for a Lean Body and Disease Prevention by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Author of best-seller:  The Truth About Six Pack Abs

This article might surpise some people... because most people don't view nutrition in this way that I'm about to explain.  Instead most people get thoroughly confused about nutrition and calories, protein, carbs, fat, diet foods, low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-carb, healthy label claims, vegetarian, raw foods, etc, etc.

However, if you view nutrition in this way that I'll explain below, it solves every single confusion about nutrition that you could ever have.  I will warn you though, this is very BIG PICTURE thinking, and it helps explain a lot about the human body when you think about things this way.

Ok, the #1 MOST important aspect about nutrition involves the study of ARCHAEOLOGY (and anthropology)!

What the heck am I talking about?  Well, let's dig in...

Yes, everything about the human body that is either healthy or bad for us currently, all stems from hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years of evolution and how the human body adapted to everything around us, including food, exercise, our environment (city vs nature), and lots more.

We know from archaeological records that our current human species (homo sapiens) originated approximately 200,000 years ago... however, our close cousins (ancestors prior to homo sapiens), such as homo erectus, date as far back as several million years.

If you study evidence about what our ancestors ate, it gives obvious clues about how the human digestive system evolved and what are the healthiest foods for us to eat in today's world.

This obviously explains why relatively new chemicals and food types (that humans were NEVER meant to ingest) cause so many health problems, such as artificial sweeteners, HFCS and other corn derivatives, white bread and other refined grain products, refined oils such as soybean and unhealthy canola oils, and so on.
Now this discussion could get pretty involved and encompass an entire book, so let me give some important statements to best summarize this:

1.  Despite what you'll hear from extreme vegans, extreme raw foodists, and other believers in "extreme" types of diets that eliminate entire portions of the historical human diet, the human digestive system evolved to eat a mixture of plants and animal foods (yes, we evolved as omnivores), as well as a mixture of raw food AND cooked food.

I know, I know... You'll get heated debate about both of these topics...meat eating vs veganism, and raw foodism... however, it's historical FACT that our current species (and historical ancestors back over a million years ago) in almost every culture around the world, ate at least some % of plant-animal food combination and raw food / cooked food combination (even if it was at different times of the day, or even different times of the year).

Some cultures, such as the Inuit of the arctic and several tribes in Africa, thrived in stellar health on almost an entirely animal-based diet, and other cultures around the world thrived on almost an entirely plant-based diet... But all cultures generally had some mixture of plant and animal foods, even if the amount of animal food was small in some cultures.

Similarly, virtually every culture around the world has also historically consumed BOTH raw foods and cooked foods in differing amounts of each... but there's no real evidence of societies thriving on 100% raw food diets.

But what about the argument that raw foodists make claiming that all animals in nature eat 100% raw foods, but humans are the only species that eats cooked food...

Well, there's a simple explanation for that... humans were the ONLY species with a well developed enough brain to understand how to control fire and therefore cook our food... And since we've been cooking a portion of our foods for the entire existence of our species (200,000 years) as well as our ancestors back several million years, our digestive systems have adapted to eating a portion of our food cooked.

The bottom line... we were designed through evolution to eat a mixture of both plants and animals as well as cooked and raw foods... But let's clarify an important point in #2 below...

2. Although I say that we were meant through evolution to eat an omnivorous diet of both plants and animals, one thing that we were NEVER meant to eat is factory-farm raised animals, or eggs or milk from factory-farm raised animals.

Factory farming is an entirely new phenomenon that's still only decades old, so essentially, these types of meat products were never meant to be part of the human diet.

Chemically (nutritionally), factory-farm animal products are VASTLY different from animal products that were raised the way they were meant to live and eat. Examples of these differences can be seen glaringly in the nutrition profiles of grass-fed meats vs grain-fed factory farm meat, free range eggs vs factory eggs, wild fish vs farmed fish, and so on.

We're talking about major differences in omega-3's vs omega-6's, differences in vitamins and minerals, differences in other healthy fats such as CLA, and lots more.

So although I don't fully agree with veganism, at least from a nutritional standpoint (moral arguments aside), I also don't agree with our current state of affairs of the majority of our food supply of factory farm raised animal products (at least here in the US, where the condition of the factory farm animals and nutritional quality of the food is horrendous).

That's why I try to not support the factory farm industry as much as possible (which is most meats and dairy in your supermarket) and instead, I try to eat almost solely grass-fed meats from free ranging animals, wild game, wild fish, eggs from local farmers from free roaming hens, and dairy only from grass-fed cows that are allowed to graze almost entirely on forage.

3.  Although I point out that many historical cultures around the world thrived on vastly different percentages of animal products vs plant products in their diet, here is another type of food that we were NEVER meant to eat:


Yes, I know it hurts to hear it, but cakes, cookies, crackers, microwaved meals, chips, sodas, granola bars, sugary sports drinks or energy drinks, and 1000's of other products that line our supermarket shelves were never meant to be part of the human diet, so it's obvious why it causes so many health problems for us.
This gets back to what I always say about trying to include as many "1-ingredient" foods as you can in your diet if you want to eat like we were meant to eat.

"1-ingredient" foods means healthy meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, tubers, fruits, and veggies.  It's really that simple.

4.  Ok, this one starts to get a little controversial... but, remember that agriculture is also a relatively new phenomenon in the big picture of the human diet when you expand far back in history a couple of million years.  And when I'm talking about agriculture, I'm mostly talking about the massive influx of grain-based foods into the human diet that occurred with the invention of agriculture.

The mass production of grains through agriculture is only a few thousand years old... Compare that to our ancestors historical existence as hunter-gatherers as far back as a couple of million years, and our current species (homo sapiens) 200,000-year history as hunter-gatherers.

If you think about it, as hunter-gatherers, we would have had very limited access to grains, and they would have encompassed a very small % of our historical calorie intake, since they weren't mass produced and processed. Instead, we thrived on mostly game meats (including the organ meats, where most of the micro-nutrients are found), wild fish and seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, tubers, fruits, and veggies.

From this perspective, grains probably never accounted for more than 1-3% of our historical calorie intake... and as you know from one of my recent articles, currently our modern processed diet that the average person eats consists of 67% of total calories from grains such as corn, soy, and wheat and their derivatives... now THAT'S a shocking revelation in why our entire food supply is backwards, and how that affects your waistline!

It also makes you think about how ridiculously wrong our "food pyramid" really is, which promotes the bulk of our food to be eaten from grains.

I could go on with more examples, but I think you're seeing the major points here... the most important aspect to eating a healthy diet that promotes a lean, healthy body is to acknowledge what our ancestors ate throughout the millions of years of evolution.

And that certainly wasn't processed "diet foods" with fancy label claims deceiving you into thinking they're healthy... instead, it was the 1-ingredient foods I listed above, eaten in a combination of raw food and cooked food.

A couple final thoughts on how to fit these suggestions into your healthy eating plan:

1.  Try to become a "locavore" as much as possible... if you can get local farm-fresh produce, that is the most environmentally and socially responsible, as well as healthy way to get your produce.  Research if you have farmers markets and farm stands that might be in your area, or deliver to your area.

2.  Try to choose organic foods as much as possible... but local food will many times trump organic food that had to travel thousands of miles to make it to you.

3. When choosing meat and eggs, try to choose grass-fed meats as much as possible, free range chicken, turkey, and pork raised in a humane manner, and eggs from hens that truly roam free outside instead of being confined to "chicken factories".  Many times, this means making the effort to seek out local farms or co-ops that deliver to urban areas.  This site is a great source of meats that were raised in the healthiest manner, and they deliver right to your doorstep:

Remember that eating healthy and responsibly doesn't mean eating bland boring food... there are tons of ways to eat in a healthy and socially/environmentally responsible manner.

Please share this article to help your family and friends eat healthier and to help us all collectively choose our food from more responsible sources than factory farms.  Please email this webpage link to all of your friends and family and share this page on your blogs, forums, as well as Facebook and Twitter pages.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

3 So-Called "Healthy" Foods that You Should STOP Eating (if you want a lean healthy body)

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of the best-seller: 
The Truth About Six Pack Abs

I was reading a statistic in a nutrition book recently, and this is going to shock you...
Now before I tell you the statistic, let's keep an important fact in mind... according to well renowned nutrition author Michael Pollan, and his amazing book called In Defense of Food, humankind has historically consumed approximately 80,000 different species of edible plants, animals, and fungi, and approximately 3,000 of those have been widespread foods of the human diet.

Now get ready for a shocking and appalling statistic...

Currently, the average adult in the US consumes approximately 67% of their total caloric intake from only 3 foods -- CORN, SOY, AND WHEAT (and their derivatives).

What would be considered a reasonably healthy amount of corn, soy, and wheat in the human diet?  Based on 10's of thousands of years of human history, and what the natural diet of our ancestors was (indicating what our digestive systems are still programmed to process), this would probably be in the range of about 1% to 5% MAX of our total calories from corn, soy, and wheat.

Considering that modern humans are eating 67% of their total calories from corn, soy, wheat... you can see why we have massive problems in our health, and our weight!

It's not a surprise that we have so many intolerances and allergies, specifically to soy and wheat (and gluten intolerance)... the human digestive system was simply never meant to consume these substances in such MASSIVE quantities.

Keep in mind that these massively high levels of corn, soy, and wheat in our modern human diet is a relatively new phenomenon that originated from the economics of the multi-billion dollar corn, soy, and wheat industries.  It really HAS been all about the money... NOT about our health!

By "derivatives" of corn, soy, and wheat, this means the food additives such as:
  • high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • corn oil
  • soybean oil (hydrogenated or plain refined)
  • soy protein
  • refined wheat flour
  • hundreds of other food additives such as maltodextrin, corn or wheat starch, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, etc, etc
This doesn't surprise me... consider how much soda or other sweetened drinks (with loads of HFCS) that the average person drinks daily... this is a LOT of calories from just 1 sole corn derivative.  Even marinades, salad dressings, ketchup, breads, and 100's of other foods contain loads of belly-fattening HFCS!

Also think about how many processed foods we have that are either fried in soybean or corn oil... and even if the foods are not fried in these oils, these oils are additives to almost every processed food... chips, candies, cakes, salad dressings, tomato sauces, burrito wraps, corn chips, breaded chicken, etc, etc.  This is a LOT of calories from these 2 other corn and soy derivatives... both of them EXTREMELY UNHEALTHY!

On top of that, think about how much breads, cereals, pastas, muffins, and other highly processed wheat products that most people consume each day.  Again, this is LOADS of unhealthy, blood-sugar spiking, nutrient-poor calories, that more than half of the population has some degree of intolerance to anyway.

It gets even worse!

Not only are we eating 67% of our total calories from corn, soy, and wheat... but because of the economics involved (specifically with cheap corn and soy) we are also feeding most of our farm animals corn and soy now too... again amplifying the amount of corn and soy that passes through the food chain and (from a biochemical standpoint) ends up in our bodies.

Probably the 2 worst examples of this blatant mismanagement of our food supply is how our factory farmed chickens and cows are fed.

Cows are fed mostly corn in factory feedlot farms, even though their digestive systems are only meant to eat grass and other forage. This makes the cows sick (hmm... E-coli anyone?), alters the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of the fats to unhealthy levels, and also diminishes the healthy CLA fats that would occur naturally in grass-fed beef.  All of these problems go away if our cows are fed what they were made to eat naturally - grass!

Our chickens are also fed a diet of mostly corn and soy and crowded in tight pens in horrendous conditions... when the fact is that a chicken was meant to roam around the outdoors eating a mixture of greens, insects, worms, seeds, etc.  When chickens are kept inside in tight quarters and fed only grains, it leads to an unhealthy meat for you to eat, and less healthy eggs compared to free-roaming chickens allowed to eat an outdoors diet.

Our food supply has gotten so screwed up that we're even feeding our salmon and other farmed fish corn and soy...again because of the economics involved.  How ludicrous is this, considering that fish are meant to eat a diverse diet of smaller fish, worms, bugs, etc.  Again this makes farm raised fish unhealthy in terms of nutrition compared to the wild counterparts.  If you want to see something even scarier about farm-raised fish, watch this quick video about the toxic fish you might be buying.

So even when you're eating chicken, beef, and fish, you're still essentially getting even MORE corn and soy into your body...considering that the cows, chickens, and farmed fish ate mostly soy and corn.
So it's actually WORSE than just 67% isn't it!

Why is it so unhealthy to consume 2/3rds of our calories from corn, soy, and wheat?

Well, this section could encompass an entire book, so to keep this short, I'll just throw out a few random reasons...
  • Skews the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in our diet to as high as 30:1, when a ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 is considered healthy.
  • Problems with gluten intolerance (related to heavy wheat consumption)
  • Problems with weight gain, blood-sugar swings, and reduced insulin sensitivity (and progression of diabetes) due to excessive refined corn and wheat flours, as well as HFCS in our diet
  • Soy and corn are the most genetically modified crops (which also allows more pesticides and herbicides to be used, which are usually "xenoestrogens")
  • Many of the pesticide and herbicide residues in these crops are xenoestrogens, which can increase "stubborn" belly fat 
  • Soy products and derivatives contain a double-whammy of xenoestrogens as well as phytoestrogens... again creating an environment in your body for fat storage, carcinogenic effects, and even "man boobs" for some men in very severe cases
  • The feeding of corn and soy to animals reduces the health and nutritional benefits of those animal products
  • and the list could go on and on and on...
So how do you avoid all of this overwhelming amount of corn, soy, and wheat in our food supply, and finally take control of your weight and your health?

1. Don't purchase processed foods!  It all starts with your grocery cart discipline... choose only 1-ingredient foods such as fruits, veggies, beans, eggs (free roaming), nuts, seeds, and meats from grass-fed or free roaming animals that are raised correctly.  Only resort to junk foods or processed foods on a 1-day per week "cheat day" but ONLY when dining out... that way, the processed foods aren't in your house to tempt you.

2. Get most of your carbs from fruits and veggies instead of grains.

3.  Avoid store bought salad dressings as they almost always contain soybean oil and HFCS (instead, try my homemade healthy salad dressing)

4. Make sure that your tomato sauces don't have HFCS and soybean oils... look for sauces made with olive oil instead.  Remember to avoid unhealthy canola oils too!

5. If you like guacamole (one of the healthiest snacks on the planet!), try veggie sticks with guacamole instead of genetically-modified, oil-soaked corn chips

6. If you like hummus, try veggies sticks with hummus instead of pita chips or other bread.

7. Reduce your cereal, bread, and pasta intake by having these foods only on "cheat days" and stick to more of the 1-ingredient foods I mentioned in #1 above.  Try some of these healthy snacks as good alternatives (yes, I know that one of the 13 snacks on there has sprouted grain, which is fine on occasion).

I could go on with more examples, but I think that's good for now.

So with all of this said... Is my diet perfect?  Well, no of course not!  Nobody is perfect, and I can give in to temptation on occasion just like anybody else.

However, I'd estimate that my corn/soy/wheat consumption is only about 2-4% of my total caloric intake compared to 67% for the average person.  The way that I achieve this is to simply not bring any corn, soy, or wheat products into my house, so I'm never tempted by it.  Therefore, at least 6 days/week, I eat virtually no corn/soy/wheat, except for the occasional piece of sprouted grain toast a couple times a week (which is a better option than typical "whole grain" bread).

I do, however, give in and sometimes eat breads, pasta, and even corn chips, etc. when I'm dining out.  I see these as my cheat meals and try to do this no more than once per week.  I still completely eliminate sodas and deep fried foods though...they are just TOO evil!

Please share this article with your friends and family on email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, etc... this is one of the MAJOR reasons that we are so unhealthy and overweight as a society... 67% of our calories from just 3 foods (and their derivatives) is an appalling statistic!  Don't give in to the marketing machine that is the corn, soy, and wheat industries!  Take control of your OWN health instead of letting big corporations take control of your health.