Rest Day or is it?
For your reading pleasure !
The Importance of Movement
You’ve got to exercise to lose weight. And then, when you’ve reached a good weight and level of fitness for you: You’ve got to exercise some more, nearly every day, for the rest of your life.
Why? Well, because, you’re an animal. Sorry, sweetness, but you weren’t designed to sit still, no matter how cushy the cushions, no matter how firm the foam. No matter how inwardly inward, bookish, and thoughtful you are. You were made to move. And so, if you value your health, you will move, as much as you can, for as long as you can. You don’t have to hate it, or over-think it, or do it competitively. It doesn’t have to be expensive, adventuresome, social, or pretty, it just has to happen. Today. Tomorrow.
You won’t have to do it the same way every day, or commit to a lot of expensive equipment or spend thousands on memberships, although if that’s fun for you, then by all means. Just move. Just exercise.
We were built for movement, and our health depends on it. Movement increases circulation, circulation fires all the complex and interdependent biochemical reactions that make a body go and keep it healthy for the long run. Movement builds muscle, encourages bone formation, each activity driving up your metabolism to use up the energy you consume. And of course, the more you move, the more you can use what you consume, the less fat you’ll deposit on your frame.
We were never designed to sit still all day long. Instead, we were built to stay on our feet most of the day, wandering about, hunting down our food. If, like me, you spend a great deal of your day seated, mainly inert, moving from car to desk and back again, then you need to make up for it. Take breaks every couple of hours to walk up and down a flight or two of stairs. Walk on your lunch hour, park in the farthest spot. Try morning calisthenics, an evening at Next Level. Put an exercise bike in your office, and hop on for 15 minutes or so every couple of hours to pump up your heart rate while you think through your next tasks. Can you ride a bike to work? Walk? Get off the subway or bus route a couple of stops early?
At first it’ll be something you have to force yourself to remember to do. But eventually, with plenty of practice, you’ll find that moving comes, well, naturally. Just spend some time today remembering that you are an animal, and like all animals, you need room to move. Just do it.
What is BCAA ? Amino acids essential for muscle growth
As you may know, our body is mainly composed of water, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. But let’s just focus on our proteins. These molecules are essential for our body and not only for the building of our muscles but also for the proper functioning of our cells.
BCAA : essential vs non-essential amino acids
Proteins are composed of building blocks called amino acids. In our body, there are mainly 20 amino acids encoded in our genes. These amino acids are called essential and non-essential. As you may have guessed, the non-essential group can be derived directly from our genes or from our food. The essential group of amino acids can only be obtained through nutrition since no genes exist for these (in our body).
So, now that we have some good definition of amino acids, let’s talk about BCAAs. BCAA means Branched-Chain Amino Acid. There are three types of BCAAs : leucine, isoleucine and valine. And yes, these are essential for our muscles. In fact, BCAAs make up almost 30% of all muscle proteins. But only proper nutrition can provide enough of these amino acids to our body.
We could call them VIP : Very Important for Proteins. As many scientific studies have shown, BCAAs play a fundamental role for the building of our muscle. In fact, leucine is a specific anabolic trigger if you want to build some good muscle while bodybuilding.
BCAA : why are they important?
BCAAs play many different functions in our body : firstly, they serve as emergency fuel when glycogene has disappeared and blood glucose is falling down. This occurs through neoglucogenesis, in other words, our body pump inside our proteic reserves to create energetic fuel (glucose). With this additional source of glucose, our muscles are able to continue their contraction correctly.
Secondly, BCAAs and especially leucine play a pure anabolic role facilitating proteins building. Many studies have shown that this amino acid is a regulator of protein metabolism by increasing protein synthesis and in the same time decreasing protein destruction. Leucine regulates the muscle protein synthesis through the mTOR signaling pathway (this is a very important evolutionary pathway that intervenes in our health and in the same time can be altered in many diseases such as cancers).
Finally, BCAAs and especially leucine can modify our body composition and accelerate weight loss. In animal for example, BCAAs have a unique anti-obesity effect : they increase fat leptin secretion, decrease food intake and body weight via the mTOR pathway. (The mTOR pathway is an intracellular signalling pathway important in apoptosis.) They also improve muscle glucose uptake.
Several clinical studies have shown that BCAAs possess some effect on skeletal muscle atrophy and can have a substantial role for reducing sarcopenia, the aging associated loss of muscle mass.
As you see, every person should think twice about taking some supplements of BCAAs especially if you’re older and want to strengthen your muscles or if you exercise your muscles in order to become the next Mr./ Ms. Olympia.
by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
There is a reason for the saying “you are what you eat”. After all, a building is only as strong as the quality of bricks which are used to build it. Therefore, it is critical to eat the right food for health. This is a very useful analogy in understanding nutrition.
There are in fact two deeper ways to look at the statement “you are what you eat”.
Firstly, it’s not just what you eat and drink – it’s also about what your body is able to absorb. Assimilation of nutrients is very important, and many of us are lacking in this aspect. There are several main reasons for this – leaky gut, intestines which are clogged up with years of waste, lack of enzymes, etc.
I would also go further and add that “you think what you eat” and “you feel what you eat”. You may not know this, but yes, the foods we eat not only affect our physical bodily functions, but also impact our mental functions and our emotions!
Understanding diets and good health
One key to understanding nutrition is knowing that the foods in our diet provide the fuel and nutrition for every single function in our bodies. Superior nutrition and health cannot be divorced. When our diets are wrong, improper or lacking, there are a hundred ways our bodies could go out of whack.
A poor diet and the wrong foods can result in:
- Lack of nutrition, which affects the proper functioning of bodily systems;
- A high intake of toxins and poisons, further burdening the body’s immune system as well as other organs and systems;
- Malfunction of the body’s elimination systems, leading to wastes accumulating in the body;
- Lethargy and general ‘heaviness’, which can translate to an unhappy emotional state as well as mental issues such as difficulties in thinking properly or clearly; and
- Hormonal imbalances, which can again lead to mental and emotional issues such as depression, behavioral disorders, etc.The next step in understanding nutrition is knowing that, when combined, the above negative factors can lead to the development of serious degenerative diseases. Of course, diet only forms one part of the whole story, as our lifestyle habits, living environment and mental and emotional outlook also very directly impact our health.The core is having a solid diet for health
In understanding nutrition, we have to next realize that food and diet must form the foundation of any health promoting lifestyle or protocol.
It all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Firstly, as I had mentioned earlier, you can’t build a strong house using flimsy bricks and substandard cement.
Many people today, myself included, use modern health-promoting devices and gadgets. In my opinion, some of these machines are good supplementary measures to take, especially because the lives we live today are highly toxic and stressful.
However, you may have the best drilling machinery, the most high-tech cranes, modern trucks and other sophisticated equipment, but if your raw materials are weak and of poor constitution, just HOW are you going to build a strong house?
How about natural, vitamin, mineral, herbal and other kinds of supplements? They form part of the raw materials too, right?
Yes, they do. But in terms of weight and volume, these supplements form only a small fraction of our total food intake. Hippocrates, widely regarded as the father of modern medicine, wisely told us to use ‘food as our medicine’. That is a key statement inunderstanding nutrition and its importance.
The modern day diet is terrible
Most of us living in more developed cities have horrible diets. We eat little natural and fresh foods, especially raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts; while stuffing ourselves with large amounts of harmful processed foods and fast food.
Our diets are high in saturated and unhealthy fats, refined sugar, carbohydrates, cholesterol, protein, etc, while lacking in vitamins, essential minerals, enzymes and other beneficial food substances such as phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
Worse still, the foods we eat contain a lot of harmful chemicals and substances, such as pesticides, hormones, steroids, artificial flavorings, preservatives, etc. This modernday diet is literally a disease and death promoting disaster!
Understanding nutrition and seeking the best diet for life
So, then, amidst all the food and health information out there, what exactly is the bestdiet for health?
In my view, there may not be a simple, clear-cut answer for this. There are dozens of different kinds of supposed health-promoting diets. In my journey of understanding nutrition, the biggest controversy I’ve encountered is perhaps whether or not to eat meat.
Meat – to eat or not to eat? If to eat, how much?
On the page on good health habits, I encourage the consumption of a vegetarian diet. (Note that there are different ‘degrees’ of vegetarianism. For example, vegans do not eat animal by-products such as eggs and milk.)
In understanding nutrition and its importance, I read and listen to several experts. And vegan diets are strongly advocated by many proponents of natural health and healing, including Dr Richard Schulze, the famous herbalist, and Dr Lorraine Day, the medical doctor who undertook a natural healing protocol and recovered fully from late stagebreast cancer, among others.
On the other hand, ‘official’ nutrition and health information provided by mainstream medical and health authorities maintain that meat and dairy products form essential parts of a healthy diet.
Some even say not eating meat would lead to nutritional deficiencies. Personally, I don’t buy that theory. After all, there are millions of strong and healthy vegetarians in the world, and most of them are in much better shape than meat eaters.
Understanding nutrition – looking at some particular diets
Let me briefly discuss some famous diets.
A particular one is the ‘Atkins Diet‘, which advocates high protein and low carbohydrate consumption.
Another diet is the ‘Macrobiotic Diet’, which emphasizes the consumption of natural, whole and unprocessed foods. It includes certain kinds of meat, but cuts down drastically on sweet foods, including fruits.
There is also the ‘Budwig Protocol’, which has been used successfully for over 50 years to treat many serious diseases, especially cancer. No meat is allowed in the diet, although cottage cheese is a core component, while yoghurt and milk may also be used.
Then there is the ‘eat right for your type’ diet or blood type diet, which abides by the theory that people belonging to different blood groups need different types of diets to enjoy optimum health.
Tips for a better and healthier diet – understanding nutrition by examining the key similarities of many healthy diets
The truth is, many people are enjoying great health and / or have been healed from many life-threatening conditions, even cancer, on many different types of diets. So, then, there must be valid truth in each of them.
Despite all the differences and controversy, there are some common takeaways which we can apply to our own diets.
Vegetarianism vs meat-eating
One thing I wish to address is meat-eating.
Meat causes high cholesterol, clogged arteries, heart disease, stroke, and other serious ailments. This is an undeniable fact. Studies show that vegetarians suffer less from these diseases.
There are also studies which reveal that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.
And I’m quite sure you know that much of today’s meat is produced in an unethical and unhealthy manner, and contain many toxins such as drugs, steroids, hormones, etc.
Whether or not you believe that meat-eating is necessary for good health, detrimental to health, or if you are somewhere in between, the reality I’ve discovered in my journey on understanding nutrition is that most of us today are eating way too much meat. It’s not only killing us, it’s also killing the environment.
If you don’t want to go vegetarian, do at least try to eat less meat.
Alkaline bodies vs acidic bodies
Meat, milk, processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, prescription drugs, etc – these make our body terrains acidic, which in turn provides an ideal environment for the development of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.
Most of us need to alkalize our bodies, and foods which help do so include raw fruits and vegetables and fresh juices. This is another key factor of understanding nutrition – alkalize our bodies!
Fast food provides poor nutrition
Do I even need to say this? Avoid fast food. It is low in nutrition, (too) high in fat, carbohydrates, protein, and generally very unhealthy. I used to love fast food, but barely even touch it nowadays.
Low glycemic foods vs high glycemic foods
Most of us eat too much high glycemic foods i.e. they convert to sugar quickly, thereby raising our blood levels of sugar at an unhealthily quick rate. Eat less of these foods, and consume more low glycemic foods.
Natural and organically grown foods vs genetically modified foods and chemicals
Another key point in understanding nutrition is knowing that foods which are natural are better accepted, absorbed and used by our bodies. The result is better nutrition and less harmful metabolic by-products being produced in the digestion process.
Commercially farmed fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When we eat these foods, we consume these chemicals too. Most of them are harmful and carcinogenic!
Genetically modified foods are tampered foods, and it is doubtful if our bodies are able to digest and assimilate them well. The nutrients in naturally grown foods, on the other hand, are in harmony with our bodies and easily absorbed and used.
In addition, commercially raised animals are fed hormones, steroids, drugs, and unhealthy junk foods.
If you can afford it, go organic. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have been shown in studies to have significantly more nutrients than their commercial counterparts. And of course, they are also natural, clean and health-promoting. In addition, organic farming protects our environment.
Raw foods vs cooked foods
When fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are cooked, they lose a significant part of their nutrients. Almost all their enzymes, which are critical for proper digestion and vibrant health, are killed by heat.
Most of us eat way too much cooked foods, and we thus need more raw and fresh foods and juices in our diets.
Whole and natural foods vs processed foods
Processed foods are usually devoid of nutrients and contain harmful chemicals such as preservatives and flavorings. Even if they are fortified with vitamins and minerals, these are probably not of natural sources, and thus not well absorbed by the body.
Eat more natural and whole foods, e.g. food which is not genetically modified and which is plucked from a tree or dug from the ground, with no or minimal processing carried out.
Different mindsets to diets, food and nutrition
Understanding nutrition should not be tough. But it gets confusing with all the conflicting information and different kinds of ‘health diets’ out there. Perhaps, there could indeed be different answers for different people.
Most of us want an easy health diet. You see, basically, there are two main groups of people, those who ‘eat to live’ i.e. they view eating as a necessary function to continue existing, and those who ‘live to eat’ i.e. they enjoy food.
The latter group probably place taste above health, and therefore a healthy diet is not foremost on their priority.
The former group, on the other hand, perhaps view eating as a kind of chore, something which they would like to just ‘get out of the way’ before moving on to more important things. For this group, they probably just want to order all their food from a counter, or have them ready in cans and packets, or just have to pop them in the oven for ten minutes. If they could, some of them may even choose to get all the food and nutrition they need in a pill! I belong to this group, incidentally.
My personal experience in understanding nutrition
For more than two and a half decades, I consumed the ‘usual’ or ‘conventional’ diet – comprising foods from the different food groups, lots of meat and dairy products, processed foods, soft drinks, etc. I even saw many medical doctors for illnesses and took many kinds of prescription drugs.
But my health never got better. In fact, it spiraled downwards, and I developed new problems as the years went by.
Amazingly, I almost never saw the link between my poor dietary habits and my ill-health. Maybe I did, but pretended not to, because change is always difficult.
It was only when my health deteriorated more, and I panicked, that I started reading up and realizing that my poor dietary habits had played a big part in contributing to my state of health. Only then did I change.
I went vegetarian for some time. Went for more raw foods, kicked out most processed foods, and added organic produce. And I felt much better. It all makes sense.
At the moment, I am feeling my way around, grasping for and settling into a new equilibrium.
Conclusion of understanding nutrition – being on the right diet
You will probably have to do some searching for yourself too – some experimentation, and some trial and error. The tips discussed above could be a good start in finding a better and healthier diet for yourself.
Regarding understanding nutrition, what I do know, is that when you are on a good diet, one which is in harmony with your body and satisfies its nutritional needs, you should not:
- have frequent digestive problems like indigestion, gas and flatulence;
- have weight problems i.e. if you are overweight, you should gradually experience weight loss;
- be hungry all the time – this is a classic sign that your body’s nutritional needs are not met and that is why it is constantly craving for more food.
Importantly, you should feel good (or at least better).
I wish you all the best in your journey of seeking the best nutrition for life for the wonderful body which has been given to you.