Monday, January 31, 2011

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

Today, the USDA and the DHHS released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. The release was accompanied by an 112-page document outlining the new advice for what we should eat. This document was summarized by two over-arching concepts:

  • Maintain a calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight
  • Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages
Relatively impressive, though benign, advice. Both of those statements are true and are good rules-of-thumb. I contend we have a significant information gap and many people need a great deal of (honest) education to understand what that means (which is what we at Cybercise work on each and every day). 

And, as with most things, the devil is in the details. At this writing, I haven't read all 112 pages though I promise I will. I did a quick skim though and here is my list of pros and cons from the recommendations in the report:
  • Pros
    • Increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors
    • Recognized calorie needs are different in different stages of life
    • Reduce sodium intake
    • Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible
    • Increase vegetable and fruit intake
    • Increase whole grain intake
    • Account for all foods and beverages consumed
  • Cons
    • Increased intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products (These are highly processed foods and are suspect, at best, as your most healthful choice).
    • Only reduced sodium intake to 2,300 mg/day and then goes on to say 1,500 mg/day recommendations apply to 50% of the population (Huh? Why even go there. Make it 1,500 a day and be done. Who is beholden to the salt lobby?).
    • Suggests an increase in fiber, calcium and Vitamin D, which is good, though sets the stage for more "Now With Added (insert chemical food additive name here)" on package labels. 
    • Suggests we reduce trans fatty acids though doesn't go so far as to eliminate the loophole in current labeling regulations that allow each and every product you consume to have less than .49 grams per serving. (Hello? If you want us to reduce our consumption, get it out of our food.)
Credit where credit is due, this is a pretty good report. While I don't really like the way we create policy in this country (little baby steps at a time so we don't alienate too many special interests), I understand that moving the behemoth of our Government sometimes takes time and always takes compromise. 

Stay tuned for more after I devote the time to read the entire report. Now, if we can implement The Real Food label and eliminate GMO/GE foods. "You may say I'm a dreamer..."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wordle of Blog

Wordle: Cybercise Blog
Blog Wordle
Just for Fun

Friday, January 28, 2011

USDA (Unbelievable Series of Disappointing Actions)

If you're a reader of this blog, you've likely already heard that the USDA lifted all restrictions on the planting of genetically altered alfalfa. If you're not in the know, this means farmers will be able to freely plant "Roundup Ready" alfalfa and then freely poison the earth with the chemical pesticide Roundup.

Most alfalfa is used a feed for livestock so it is only a matter of time before we are consuming more and more genetically altered alfalfa and the chemicals used to keep the plants alive until harvest. Yes, I am disappointed. No, I do not have the science that says all of this is bad for us. Nor do I have the science that says all of this is harmless. What I do have is common sense and a general sense of foreboding about what this means for our organic farmers and natural food and our health of our planet. I refuse to believe dumping more chemicals on the earth is good for anyone (except, of course, the people who profit from said dumping).

As I sit here hoping someone will stand up and stop this from actually happening (Michelle Obama, are you reading?), I'm left to accept the current reality and do something proactive. I have added another row to the Real Food label so, at the very least, we'd be able to see if the foods we are buying include genetically modified ingredients. And while I was at it, I included some of the other things people look for while shopping.



Now we have a label that identifies, with simple red and green, if a food is:

  • Organic
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Kosher
  • Gluten-free
  • Genetically modified
  • Irradiated
In my black-and-white thinking, zero is zero and any amount counts. In other words, the ingredients must all be organic to qualify for a green tab "O" and if there is any trace of an ingredient genetically modified the GMO tab is red. I greatly dislike that products with less than .49 grams of trans fat are allowed to say the product is trans fat free so I don't want to leave any wiggle room with the Read Food label. 

It does occur to me we could continue to add things to this label so it is no longer useful (or perhaps as useful as the nutrition information now on the back of packages). I also recognize that if we keep growing this front-of-package label there may not be room for cartoon characters and flashy colors designed to lure people to the box. Hmmmm... something to think about there. Nonetheless, I would appreciate this kind of tool when I go to the grocery store. At this rate, if I'm buying anything other than whole, real, natural food I spend quite a bit more time shopping because I'm  reading through ingredients until I find a "lesser evil" package. 

Any thoughts out there? Are these additions to the label too much or too little? Did I choose the wrong categories for the second row? Shall I simply give up and buy stock in Monsanto? 

I'm going to sit by the phone and wait for The White House to call. I am a neighbor, after all, and would be happy to pop down and give the Real Food label to Mrs. Obama and be ready to answer her questions as she calls the agency responsible for the Unbelievable Series of Disappointing Actions (aka USDA). 

The Real Food Label
v4



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Real Food Label Explained


As the debate on GMA and FMI's nutrition keys label continues, we're going to devote today's article to exploration of our Real Food label. If you'd like, you're welcome to go to the backstory.

The objective of a package label is to:

  • Clearly communicate
  • Be consistent across all products
  • Require little to no "training"of the end-user

The Real Food label meets these objectives and is designed to give inform consumers with a simple red-yellow-green system. The benefits of the Real Food label are:

  • People of all ages inherently understand green is good and red is not so good so little training would be required. 
  • Language and cultural barriers are minimized.
  • In a sea of packaged foods lining store shelves, the healthier options would be very easy to spot.
  • It provides subtle education which, over time, could help consumers become more aware.
  • It introduces "real food" and "miles traveled" to labels to further the underlying concepts and health benefits of whole and local foods.
  • The points system could be used for personal rewards, societal rewards (walking paths, new parks) or group rewards (schools, churches).
  • The QR code gives the consumer an opportunity to get more information and could lead to a "Yelp" type site for crowd sourcing and reviews of products.
  • Non-packaged foods could easily use the same labeling system attached to store shelves and displays vs. the package. There would be huge benefit of 100% consistent labeling across ALL foods. 
  • This label could also be required in all eating establishments (restaurants, carry-out, cafes, etc.) so consumers would have the same information about the choices they make while dining out. 
I'm not naive enough to think implementing this label design would be easy. The challenges:
  • Big ag, the fake-food industry and the restaurant associations would amass their lobbying power to keep this from happening. 
  • We have to establish the thresholds for red, yellow, green. Possible certainly, but it would require some wrangling because nutrition science is hotly debated.
  • Innovators would need to build the point system and the QR code system (I trust there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there to take this on).
All of that being said, we could easily implement the Real Food label in 9 months like so:
  • Month 1: Congress passes the Read Food Label Act. The President signs and while doing so names the Real Food Panel members. 
  • Month 2-4: The Real Food Panel members, comprised of nutrition and food experts, meets to establish thresholds (to be clear independent would mean no employer, consultant, investor or fiscal relationship to food or the Government)
  • Month 5-6: The thresholds are published for public opinion while the innovators develop and test the points and QR code systems. 
  • Month 7: Final rules published. Implementation begins. 
  • Months 8-9: Implementation period 
The moral of this story? If some enterprising leaders in our Government take this on, we could have the Real Food label system everywhere by October 2011. Now that is progress. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Use That, Not This

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute have released a new food label for the front of store-brand food packages. It looks like this:


After collaborating with a group of smart people at HealthCampDC 2010, we proposed the "Real Food" label that is much, much better and looks like that :


Keep in mind, folks, the food industry is working to get ahead of potentially new and more unpleasant regulations from the FDA. If you think the GMA and FMI are being the nice guys, think again. They're being the "we need to do something we can live with before we are forced to use something we really hate" guys. 

In my humble opinion, our food labels should be consistent, help to educate consumers and give them the information they need to learn how to make good food choices. Yes, I am a dreamer. My fervent hope (and dream!) is the FDA adopt something more in line with our "Real Food" label and tells food manufacturers to Use That, Not This. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Over 35? You remember.

I've heard smell is our most powerful sense. Through our noses, we can be taken back to a memorable time and place. The beach. The cologne from a bygone sweetheart. The smell of a summer carnival. Our first whiff of real chocolate. We've all had the experience of a scent from our past coming back to surprise us. Hopefully, most of those experiences are positive for you.

I contend our sense of taste can be just as powerful (presuming we give our body and our senses a chance to recover and restore after years of processed food poisoning).

I had two taste experiences lately that transported me directly back to my Grandparents dairy farm. The first was grass-fed, organic and minimally processed milk. It was as close as I've gotten to the taste of real milk in decades. I'm on the search for true raw milk though haven't identified a source (astoundingly, it is illegal to sell or buy raw milk in most states). Someone from South Mountain Creamery was sharing milk samples at the local MOM and I overheard him talking to another customer who asked about the cows. He replied, "Our cows are very happy!" I loved his answer so much I tried his milk. And, if taste is any indication, they are some happy cows. I exclaimed, "Wow, this is what milk used to taste like." And, it did. I bought some of this luscious milk in a glass bottle and actually enjoy milk again.

The second experience was at Elevation Burger who makes burgers from 100% grass-feed, 100% certified-organic, 100% free-range, 100% ground on-the-premises beef. While I ordered a burger with lettuce, tomato and ketchup, I actually ate most of the beef patty all by itself. I could picture my Grandma in the kitchen frying up the patties in her cast iron skillet. Elevation Burger makes a very, very tasty burger. They aren't everywhere (yet) but find one and give it a try (plus the people who work there were very, very nice).

My theory? If you are 35 years or older your body and taste buds can remember what food really tastes like. Far too much of our food today tastes nothing like nature actually designed it to taste. Tragic, isn't it? If you've organically grown your own tomato plants and enjoyed a warm-from-the-sun tomato directly from your vine, you might have a hint.

If you were born after 1976, I fear the influx of food processing and artificial ingredients have probably masked your ability to really taste. For those born after 1985, I suspect you have probably never actually tasted real food. Beyond tragic to a crime.

Fight back and reclaim your taste buds. If you are 35 or older, gather some younger people and go out in search of true, old-fashioned food. When you find it, you'll know. You'll taste it right away. And, when you do the younger people around you will have a glimpse (from the look on your face) of what is possible in a world of true, natural, unadulterated food. Awaken your body, make your taste buds happy and bring back the way food used to be. Only our lives depend upon it.


Over 35? You remember.

I've heard smell is our most powerful sense. Through our noses, we can be taken back to a memorable time and place. The beach. The cologne from a bygone sweetheart. The smell of a summer carnival. Our first whiff of real chocolate. We've all had the experience of a scent from our past coming back to surprise us. Hopefully, most of those experiences are positive for you.

I contend our sense of taste can be just as powerful (presuming we give our body and our senses a chance to recover and restore after years of processed food poisoning).

I had two taste experiences lately that transported me directly back to my Grandparents dairy farm. The first was grass-fed, organic and minimally processed milk. It was as close as I've gotten to the taste of real milk in decades. I'm on the search for true raw milk though haven't identified a source (astoundingly, it is illegal to sell or buy raw milk in most states). Someone from South Mountain Creamery was sharing milk samples at the local MOM and I overheard him talking to another customer who asked about the cows. He replied, "Our cows are very happy!" I loved his answer so much I tried his milk. And, if taste is any indication, they are some happy cows. I exclaimed, "Wow, this is what milk used to taste like." And, it did. I bought some of this luscious milk in a glass bottle and actually enjoy milk again.

The second experience was at Elevation Burger who makes burgers from 100% grass-feed, 100% certified-organic, 100% free-range, 100% ground on-the-premises beef. While I ordered a burger with lettuce, tomato and ketchup, I actually ate most of the beef patty all by itself. I could picture my Grandma in the kitchen frying up the patties in her cast iron skillet. Elevation Burger makes a very, very tasty burger. They aren't everywhere (yet) but find one and give it a try (plus the people who work there were very, very nice).

My theory? If you are 35 years or older your body and taste buds can remember what food really tastes like. Far too much of our food today tastes nothing like nature actually designed it to taste. Tragic, isn't it? If you've organically grown your own tomato plants and enjoyed a warm-from-the-sun tomato directly from your vine, you might have a hint.

If you were born after 1976, I fear the influx of food processing and artificial ingredients have probably masked your ability to really taste. For those born after 1985, I suspect you have probably never actually tasted real food. Beyond tragic to a crime.

Fight back and reclaim your taste buds. If you are 35 or older, gather some younger people and go out in search of true, old-fashioned food. When you find it, you'll know. You'll taste it right away. And, when you do the younger people around you will have a glimpse (from the look on your face) of what is possible in a world of true, natural, unadulterated food. Awaken your body, make your taste buds happy and bring back the way food used to be. Only our lives depend upon it.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Mini Coca-Cola, where are you?

Way back in October 2009, I wrote about Coca Cola's announcement to create mini-cans of Coke. Each can with 90-calories of Coke was touted as a way to help people control their calorie intake. I, for one, have not yet seen a mini-can of Coke even over a year later. Granted, I don't go seeking Coke products but I am a pretty aware consumer.

Or... maybe, just maybe, Coke decided to not go forward with the mini-can concept. After all, I considered it a thinly disguised ploy to fool consumers to feel better about spending more money on a unhealhthy product (ala 100 calorie snack packs). Granted, drinking less Coke is better for everyone and if you don't have the power to just say no, less is better. Or, you could read the label and recognize the best thing is to put the can down (save for the occasional treat one or twice a year).

I'm curious if anyone out there saw and/or enjoyed a mini-can?? I'd love to hear from you. Where did you (or can you) find them?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Please Stop

I have two requests for this Friday, January 21, 2011:
  1. Food "experts" please STOP telling people to substitute low-fat or low-calorie ingredients to make a dish more healthful.
  2. People please STOP believing them and doing so. 
Here's the deal... altered, or processed, food is not good for you. The process natural foods have to go through to make them "more healthy" (which is disguised by the claims of low-fat, less sugar, more fiber or with vitamins) is far worse for your body than the natural, unaltered version. To make processed foods even slightly tasty, they are loaded with added sugars, salts and other chemicals. Your body does not need or desire chemical additives. When you eat real food, your body is more easily satisfied with a smaller number of calories because your body is able to utilize the natural nutrients in the real food. 

I continue to see cooking shows and segments on morning television that suggest people use non-fat yogurt instead of real, whole yogurt (like Greek) to cut calories. It makes me cringe. There is growing evidence that processed, fake food is the cause behind many of our health problems and obesity. The powers that be (processed food companies, big ag and pharma making profits on fake food and the side effects from it) have a great deal to gain by keeping you fooled. 

So, on this Friday is the middle of January, stand up and say "I won't be fooled" and then go out there and Eat(true). 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Make a List

Do you have a goal? A dream? A wish? Of course you do. Wishing is something humans do very well. How well you wish is another matter altogether. Do you want a new house? A different job? To find your one true love? Do you want to make a difference in this world?

Spend some time over the upcoming weekend writing down your dreams. Then write down 10 things you will do this year to get closer to each of your dreams. A simple task. A very powerful exercise.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hunger, Poverty and the Environment

I had the pleasure of attending the 15th Annual State of the World Symposium today to hear the discussion about "Innovations that Nourish the Planet." This fabulous book profiles several innovative food and agriculture projects happening in sub-Saharan Africa and includes ideas on how to spread these to other areas of the world. If you want some inspiration and hope, get this book.

David Beckman of Bread for the World spoke about how poverty, hunger and the environment are related. Hungry people without the resources to acquire food will exploit the environment to feed themselves and their families. And, I don't blame them.

I continue to be struck by the irony of, and curious about the ability to solve, the hunger and obesity problem. I would further Mr. Beckman's idea with the contention that poverty, obesity and the environment are also related. The poor have less access to whole, natural, organic foods which are, generally speaking, more expensive. The poor also spend a larger percentage of their time working so they have less time to prepare meals at home and therefore consume a larger portion of processed and fast foods. And, food stuffs with a larger negative impact on our environment (heavily treated crops and processed foods replete with chemical additives) comprise the majority of the food the overweight and obese consume.

The simplest ideas are always, always best. The Innovations that Nourish the Planet contains many simple ideas working in Africa that I think could also serve both the hungry and overweight in the US. We have a great deal to learn from each other. And, we have the opportunity to thrive if we embrace our global food village.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who Knows?

What products are safe? Is Bisphenol A (BPA) bad for us as water bottles and canned food linings? Should we worry about the chemicals leeching into our skin from our shampoo and soaps? Is Genetically Modified Food a danger to our long-term health? Should we allow 2-methylnaphthalene to be used in our cereal box packaging? 


The bottom line? Who knows. Which is the very reason we are at risk. The FDA considers and  approves (in the vast majority of cases) chemically-created additives and genetically-modified organisms to be used in our food, health products and the packaging that gets those products to us. The problem with the entire system is that it doesn't take into account the entire system. Any one of these chemically-derived additives could be perfectly safe on its own in a laboratory. And, it could even be perfectly safe in a controlled environment where the other things it interacts with are also controlled. 


In the real world? Who knows. There are so many variables we cannot possibly predict the affects. The recent revelations on Flouride in our drinking water is only one example. There are, I fear, thousands of other examples.

One very effective way to reduce the number of additives you are consuming is to eat the vast majority of your meals at home, using whole, natural foods. If you buy whole food with minimal to no processing, you have a much better chance of avoiding the chemicals and additives that could be causing signficiant damage to your health. Eating true may require a bit more effort, particularly when you first start. Make the effort. It is an investment worth making.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thoughts to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up." 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


The challenges so many people face related to food continue to grow. These challenges are large and small:

  • The city of Detroit is without a national supermarket chain.
  • The rising demand for quinoa could cause the cost of this super grain to surpass what the people of Bolivia can afford to pay, even though they grow much of the world's supply.
  • In a growing number of countries, people use 50-70% of their income on food. 
  • It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef. 
  • The US Federal Government spends $10 to 30 billion a year on farm subsidies (mostly to large industrial farming operations).
  • There are 2.3 billion overweight people and 925 million hungry people worldwide. 
  • Food animal production in the US uses 29 million pounds of antibiotics annually.
  • Conservatively, 3.7% of farm workers have been diagnosed with a MRSA infection.
  • In 1997, 4.5 billion pounds of chemicals were used as pesticides (I'm afraid to think of what it is now).
  • The US produces 591 billions pounds of food a year, 50% goes to waste.
Each challenge, individually, is worthy of time and attention. Together, they represent one reality: Secure access to healthy, nutritious, whole foods. Why? Food and health are directly related. How can we shuffle the pieces of the puzzle to help all people live a healthy, full, peaceful and rewarding life? All people, the world over, or as Dr. King said "peoples everywhere." There is no "one nation" issue here. We are, truly, in a global food village which is growing smaller by day. Troubles and victories are shared by one and all, and I for one, think we should encourage such connectedness. 

I think part of Dr. King's message was that each of us need to grow to be "other-centered" by employing some "self-centered" behavior. Each of us is responsible for making good decisions for our own health. We are responsible to ourselves, our families and, globally, so there is enough healthful food and enough healthcare resources for all. 

Today, honor Dr. King by committing to live globally. Consider how you can improve your health so, together, we are able to build-up the health of "people's everywhere." Thank you, Dr. King. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Introducing.... Dana!

Dana is a busy Mom of three boys aged 9, 5 and 6 weeks. This week, she made a comment on Facebook about looking forward to banishing her "postpartum body." Not one to miss an opportunity, I suggested she might want to start Move.Eat.Be. and use Cybercise. We traded a few more messages and came up with a grand plan... Dana is going to follow Move.Eat.Be. and blog about it!

This is great for Cybercise because it will help us learn how we can make the program even better for Moms like Dana. We are ever grateful. This is also great for Dana because our program is available for her, 24/7, whenever she has time. When will she have time? We'll have to follow along and find out. Imagine, a way to get healthy and fit while doing all the other things a busy Mom of 3 has to do!

This is also good for you. First of all, if you don't know Dana she is very funny so I promise you a few laughs. Second of all, you can follow her journey and learn from her as she goes along.

Dana will be beginning Move.Eat.Be. on Sunday and planning her week.  If you'd like to join her we'd be happy to have you along. It is not too late for you to enroll and invest the next six months in finding your own best path to wellness, too.

Learn more about Dana and follow her story here.

And, lastly, in the interest of full disclosure. Dana is my cousin and a terrific friend which makes this more fun for me and motivates me, even more, to make sure Move.Eat.Be. is awesome. I'm looking forward to her honest feedback and ideas to help me make Cybercise work for her and be even better for you. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Be.


For the last few days, we've been taking a closer look at the segments on our Wellness Wheel I introduced last week. If you're a new reader, our Wellness Wheel is designed to help you assess your overall approach to your wellness and is based on the principals we teach in our Move.Eat.Be. program.

Today, we're going to examine the last segment Be.. Be. is about discovering and then creating your very best life. Be. is about understanding what makes you truly happy. Be. is about finding why you can't wait to jump out of bed each morning and greet the day. Be. is knowing when all of the parts of your life are in balance, you are most happy and most effective. Throughout our Move.Eat.Be. program we explore these ideas and share practices so you will finally, once-and-for-all, and truly Be. happy. 

Be. has six spokes. Let's take a tour:
  • Self. Your most important job in this entire lifetime is to take good care of you. When you take good care of you, you are much, much more effective in all of the other areas of your life. Taking care of you first makes taking care of others much easier. Too often, we put our own needs last (or discard them completely) for the sake of something or someone else. We help you rediscover you and help you do something for yourself every day. 
  • Family. Now that you are taking care of you, you are ready to take care of your family. A loving, supportive family is one of the most precious things we have. At least once per week, doing something for a family member helps us feel loved and connected. Often, the simplest things are best: a phone call, a greeting card or a hug. 
  • Friends. Friendships inspire us, they energize us, they engage us, they fuel our fire. Each week, it is important to tend to our friendships. 
  • Work. We all work. Some of us work at home, some of us work for ourselves and some of us work for others. Doing work you enjoy is a huge part of Be.ing happy. If you're not doing work you enjoy right now, we'll help you make a plan to get there. 
  • Purpose. When you were little, you had a dream. A dream to be an astronaut or a doctor or a pilot or President. A dream to be a chef or open a flower shop. A dream to help others. Create world peace. A dream to make the world a better place because you were here. Find your dream and work toward it, each and every day. 
  • Fun. The best part about fun is when the rest of your Be. slices are thriving, most everything is fun! Fun can be had anytime, anywhere. If you've forgotten fun, it's time to remember. Part of being happy is making sure you have some fun everyday!
We love Be. and we know that wellness is about more than getting exercise everyday and eating healthful, real food. Wellness happens when all parts of your life are going well. Let's create your best life, well lived. 




Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Eat.



In case you missed yesterday's post about Move....Last week I introduced our wellness wheel (WW) tool to help you assess your overall approach to your health. Our WW is based on the principals of good health we teach in our Move.Eat.Be. program.

This week, we are taking a closer peek at each segment and spoke of our wheel so you are better able to use this tool in your own life.

Today, we'll going to examine Eat., perhaps our favorite part of the wheel! There are many guidelines about what and how much you should eat each day. The real secret is there is no real secret. Yes, you are better off eating real, whole, natural and organic food (nothing in a box!). No, there aren't a single set of rules that apply to everyone. For the purposes of this article, we are going to include broad generalizations as long as you promise to understand this is not dogma for everyone to follow, simply some guidelines so you have a place to start. Part of Move.Eat.Be. is helping you explore what works best for you through a series of food experiments and self-awareness. Deal? Okay, good! Now let's get to it. 

Eat. has seven spokes which we'll explore below. 
  • Vegetables. Including lots and lots of whole, fresh (and organic whenever possible) vegetables is an excellent way to improve your health and wellbeing. Best: Many (five or more) servings of vegetables a day, many dark, leafy green ones and the rest of the rainbow of colors for balance.
  • Fruits. Fruits are also an important part of a healthy diet and bring you many nutrients and vitamins. Best: Lots (three to six) servings of fruits a day. All colors!
  • Whole grains. Like barley, bulgur, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelt, wild rice. While true whole grain bread and real oats, count as whole grains, most of what we have access to doesn't fall into the "true" and "real" category so beware. Best: Choose whole grains that look like they look when they're harvested and have three or more servings a day. 
  • Plant Protein. A great source of healthy amino acids, plant protein includes things like beans and lentils. Quinoa (also a whole grain) has lots of protein so you get bonus points! Also nuts and seeds fall into this category. As does tofu and whole soy beans (the things we now make out of soy beans - not so much, read why). Best: Get most of your daily protein from plants. 
  • Water. A healthy body likes plenty of water. A general rule of thumb is 64 ounces each day. Best: Replace all sugar-laden or fake drinks (vitamin, juices, ades, mixes, energy, powders, etc.) with water. 
  • Lean Meat. Whoa. The big controversy! This is where I have an opportunity to anger a significant portion of my readers. So, I won't... For me, a three or four servings of lean meat each week (in which I include eggs) makes me feel my best. I know this because I've tried lots of meat, no meat and a little meat. The right answer is different for everyone. Best: Experiment and find what works best for you. 
  • Treats. I happen to think a healthy relationship with food includes treats on occasion. For the most part it doesn't matter what treat you choose. What matters is enjoy them on occasion, in reasonable portions, and you enjoy them mindfully. Best: Two or three treats each week. Enjoy while doing nothing else (no TV, driving, computing, blogging, etc). 

Now that you know our Eat. wheel a bit better, we hope you'll use the tool and some experiments with your own Eat.  so you get to know your own body and what food works best for you. Bon App├ętit!





Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Move.


Last week I introduced our wellness wheel (WW) tool to help you assess your overall approach to your health. Our WW is based on the principals of good health we teach in our
Move.Eat.Be. program.

Based on some comments and feedback, here is a closer look at each segment and spoke of our wheel so you are better able to use this tool in your own life.

Today, we'll start with the Move. segment of our wheel.

Move. has five components: Cardio, Flexibility, Strength, Core and Rest. Incorporating each of these activities into your overall approach to exercise is ideal. During Move.Eat.Be. we help you experiment with different aspects of each component so that you better understand how to get each of these activities into your life in an enjoyable and sustainable way. 

Here are some of the tips from Move.Eat.Be.:

  • Cardio. It would be great if we could each get 60 minutes of cardio each and every day. Cardio exercise strengthens your heart, gives you energy, burns off stress and improves your immune system, not to mention the added benefit of weight loss. Sixty minutes a day is a big investment, and while worth it, is simply not realistic for everyone. If you can't do 60 minutes, aim for 30. A 15-minute walk during lunch and 15 more minutes after dinner might work for you. Cardio ideas include: run, jog, brisk walk, bike, row, jump rope, and dance. 

  • Flexibility. Stretching your body (and your mind)  is a great idea. We subscribe to the idea that doing some stretching or yoga each day is best. These programs are typically gentle and are a good way to balance out your more vigorous exercise (and other daily stressors). We recommend you start the day with a morning yoga routine and end the day with a total body stretch. 

  • Strength. Strength training is very important, particularly as you age. A well-rounded strength routine will help you maintain bone density and will up your metabolism. And, the best thing about strength training is it is easily done in small chunks of time all throughout your day. Keep a set of weights under your desk and do a few shoulder presses, tricep extensions and squats several times a day. A 10-minute strength training break each hour is a great way to increase the exercise in your life. 
  • Core. Core work is perhaps the most disliked type of exercise. Nobody really likes doing sit-ups (though we all like the idea of six-pack abs!). Having a strong core is great for balance and helps you avoid inadvertent injuries while doing other daily activities. We recommend some core work two to three times per week. And, rest assured sit-ups isn't the only way to work your core. 
  • Rest. Perhaps our personal favorite! Rest means two things: getting adequate sleep and giving your body a chance to recover from other exercise. Adequate sleep means 7-9 hours a night. You've heard it before, it has proven true over time. Make sleep a priority in your life! As for the recovery kind of rest, traditional wisdom said a day of rest in between any exercise is what you need. Newer thinking is questioning that theory. Your body will be most healthy if you do some kind of exercise each and every day. And, it is wise to rest major muscle groups between strenuous strength training sessions so as not to risk injury. Our best advice is listen to your body. It will tell you when it has had enough (but don't let the lazy bone inside of you get the better of your wellness goals). 

There you go! A glimpse into Move. and some ideas for you to up the exercise in your life. Remember, you will be most successful with your mission to wellness if you experiment and learn what works best in your life and for your body. Make the time and invest in you!





Monday, January 10, 2011

The 10-to Workday Workout



Here at Cybercise, we are big proponents of working out in 10-minute increments. Let’s face it, few of us have 60+ contiguous minutes to devote to exercise so the 10-minute approach helps you get enough exercise each day as you fit it into the other things you’re doing.

To start the new year, we’ve created the  “10-to Workday Workout.” The idea is simple… during each workday at 10 minutes before the hour, you stop what you’re doing and exercise. Assuming you work from 8:30 to 5:00 PM each day and you do a 10-to program each hour, you’ll have done a whopping 90 minutes of exercise before your workday is over. 90 minutes! Doing 90 minutes of exercise 5-days a week adds up to 450 minutes! This will go a long way in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals for 2011.

We encourage you to get your co-workers on the plan as well. Create a supportive culture of wellness in your organization. You’ll all be happy, healthier and more productive for it. Plus, you can have some fun! If you’re boss starts asking why you’re not working you can mention healthier, more fit employees are better for the company’s bottom line. No excuses! So, let’s get to it…

Details:
  • We have two program schedules, A and B, for you to follow on alternate days. Monday is an A day, Tuesday is a B day, Wednesday is an A day and so on.
  • We’ve created two alternatives for each workout: One for no equipment (A1 and B1) and one for some gear and a Cybercise membership (A2 and B2).
  • Yes, you may have to get on the floor in your office (which is why getting your co-workers to join you will help prevent strange looks).  Many office floors are cleaner that our floors at home… how many of us have a cleaning crew that vacuums our home each night? If you’d like, bring a spare sheet or towel from home.
  • No, you don’t need to change into workout clothes. These short workouts won’t cause too much sweating so you can get back to work energized but not damp. If you’re wearing leather-soled shoes or heels, just slip them off before you begin.
  • For the A1 and B1 workouts do as much as you can in the 10 minutes. Since these routines don’t require any equipment, feel free to look around you and use something heavy for added resistance. A ream of paper weighs about 5 pounds. That 3” ring binder filled with that report? 8 pounds or more. Be creative! To help you with form, we’ve linked each exercise to the written tips and techniques on the Cybercise website (accessible without a membership).
  • For the A2 and B2 plan, we’ve linked the name below directly to the workout video on the Cybercise portal. And, as your progress you can move on to the more challenging level II programs we offer. You’ll need a Cybercise membership to access this video content.


10-to Workday Workout: A

A1
A2
8:50
9:50
10:50
11:50
12:50
1:50
2:50
Brisk Walk
3:50
4:50

10-to Workday Workout: B

B1
B2
8:50
9:50
10:50
11:50
12:50
1:50
2:50
Brisk Walk
3:50
4:50

There you go: An easy-to-follow plan of short workouts for you to follow each day. We recommend you round this program out with 30+ minutes of cardio in the evenings after work (like a walk after dinner). And on the weekends, get out there and get your heart pumping with cardio and play! Adding a little yoga when you wake up and before bed is a great way to ensure you have a comprehensive weekly menu of exercise to help you reach your health and wellness goals!