Friday, February 22, 2008

Throw Away the Bathroom Scale - Part 2

There seems to be a fear with bathroom scales, as I wrote about HERE, so I just wanted to add this to that post to help end this obsession with the reading on the bathroom scale HAVING to go down.

Alwyn Cosgrove, a world renowned fat loss expert and author of Afterburn, gave this interesting scenario (thanks to Chris Shugart) which I believe appropriately shows why we want to avoid be ingso fixated on the bathroom scale going down.

If we had a magic fat loss machine -- that you stepped in and pushed a button and you came out looking EXACTLY how you've always dreamed of looking and feeling - the exact dress or pant size you wanted, with the definition and muscle tone you want, at the bodyfat percentage you want, you can see your abs (if that's what you want), etc etc.

Would you be interested? Of course you would!!

But what if the side effect of the fat loss machine is that it increased bone density and muscle density by 100%. So while you looked and felt better than you've ever felt before -- the scale is 50lbs higher than it's ever been. So for example a 150lb-er would come out looking amazing, but weighing 200lbs...

Would that number on the scale make you not want the other results?

Now what if the machine did the reverse - you look exactly the same as you always have, but you'd weigh 50lbs less? Would you be happy with that? Probably not right?

I posted this picture quite a long time ago and used it in a recent seminar of mine as I believe its a good visual of the difference between body fat and muscle of the same weight.

At the top is 5-pounds of fat compared to 5-pounds of muscle below.

As you can see there is a huge difference.

So essentially if you were to add 10 pounds of muscle and lose 10 pounds of fat you'd look like you lost at least 20 pounds! But in this case the scale wouldn't move, but again does that really matter?


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

This May Throw Your Eating Habits For A Spin

What I about to share will most definitely ruffle your nutrition
feathers (if there is such a thing).

Raw fruits and vegetables (and the eliminating of unrefined sea salt)
may be doing more damage than good. You may in fact be EATING TOO

As strange as that sounds, I'm beginning to believe this is true.

As you may know I have battled intestinal problems for about 10
years. Without going into detail I believe I have found the
solution. With the help of God directing me, I came across Dr.
Jonn Matsen, a
naturopathic doctor in North Vancouver, author of Eating Alive,
The Secrets to Great Health from Your Nine Liver Dwarves, and
Eating Alive 2.

He has presented to me in person and in his books, particularly
Eating Alive 2, that the root of my problem and a myriad of other
chronic conditions that people suffer from such as atherosclerosis,
disease, strokes, etc is mercury toxicity (whether from amalgam
fillings or vaccinations)
and yeast overgrowth.

Without going into too much detail and boring you to tears I'll try
summary his theory.

He states that the mercury in your body acts as an antibiotic
killing off the good bacteria in your gut. As a result yeast that
are usually kept in check by the good bacteria begin to flourish
and grow. On a side note, yeast prefer an alkaline environment
whereas the good bacteria (probiotics) produce an acidic
environment and thus compete with the yeast for space. With the
yeast not kept under control they begin to affect a whole slu of
systems and metabolic processes in your body.

On top of this (feather ruffling about to occur) most people are eating too many raw
fruits and vegetables (high in potassium) which if not balanced by
higher sodium foods such as meats and/or sea salt, low calcium
absorption soon results. This low calcium absorption will lead to
calcium being taken from other parts of the body namely bones, valves, etc. We all know the implications of losing bone so I won't go into that but what about losing calcium
from valves? Well Dr. Matsen shows that as calcium absorption
decreases due to eating too many high potassium foods in relation
to higher sodium foods that your ileocecal valve (which connects your
small intestine to your large intestine) becomes weak. When this
valve weakens yeast and previously good bacteria that resided in
your large intestine back flow into your small intestine and cause
havoc. Good bacteria now become "bad guys" as they are where they
shouldn't be.

A few things these "bad guys" do are:
-eat sugars, from which they make alcohol
-eat your fats and your minerals
-steal your vitamin B12 as well as tryptophan and other amino acids
-deconjugate the bile salts in your upper small intestine which
further disrupts your amino acid absorption
-destroy the anzymes of your digestive tract so you can't digest
lactose or maltose or gluten (in wheat among other grains) any more
-most important they can overwhelm the glutathione enzymes in your
liver (think having problems with detoxification and elimination of

Not to good so far eh?

The reason why he believes eating too many raw fruits and
vegetables (salads included), or eating too well, is a problem has
to do with your kidneys.
Belows I've included his explanation of it.

The hot, sunny weather of August makes fruits and vegetables grow
and the quantity of these nutritious fresh foods in our diet
increases. August is also the time of year that many of us take
time off work and get outdoors much more. This combination of fresh
food and outdoor activity make August the healthiest month of the
year for many people.

During September, there's a tendency to continue eating a lot of
fresh fruits and salads. However, people are usually back indoors
more because the new school year begins and jobs resume. This sets
the scenario for ileocecal valve problems, commonly seen in people
who "eat too well."

The ileocecal valve is located between your small intestine and
your large intestine. This valve is usually kept closed so that the
food you've eaten stays in your small intestine long enough to be
digested and absorbed fully. It also prevents the good
micro-organisms in your large intestine from getting into your
small intestine, where their waste products could easily be
absorbed. As digestion and absorption are completed in your small
intestine, your ileocecal valve opens, and the food passes into
your large intestine or colon.

When your ileocecal valve is weakened, the billions of normally
"good" bacteria that live in the large intestine get through the
ileocecal valve, up into your small intestine, where they're not
supposed to be. There, they can become "Bad Guys"--they steal
important nutrients like vitamin B12 and tryptophan before you have
absorbed them, and they can also dump toxins into your liver. Once
your good bacteria become bad, yeast soon join the party. The
alkaline pH of the small intestine allows the yeast to multiply

Your ileocecal valve can become weak when your calcium levels are
low for more than five days--calcium helps to strengthen this valve.
Increasing your calcium intake doesn't necessarily solve the
ileocecal valve problem, because the cure depends on whether the
calcium is being absorbed by your body. Vitamin D is required for
calcium absorption--it stimulates your intestinal cells to make a
calcium-binding protein that dramatically increases your absorption
of calcium. Vitamin D is made by your skin when exposed to the
ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, and then it is stored in an
inactive form in your liver.

Vitamin D is relatively passive until it's activated by your
kidneys, which change the activation of vitamin D as the weather
changes. Sodium in the diet tells the kidneys it's not sunny, so
they activate vitamin D, while potassium tells the kidneys it is
sunny, so they don't activate vitamin D.

As I stated before, the ileocecal valve problem is commonly seen in
people who "eat too well." That is, they consume too many foods
that are high in potassium (such as salads and fruit), and don't
consume enough sodium in the form of animal protein or salt. This
confuses the kidneys into assuming they are in the hot sun of
mid-summer, so they deactivate vitamin D, resulting in less calcium
absorption and ultimately a weakened ileocecal valve.

As temperatures get cooler this month and/or if you're not getting
outside in the sun very often, I recommend that you switch over to
a more warming diet as outlined in Eating Alive II (cut back on raw
vegetables, including salads; seasonal fruit for the climate in
which you live; etc.). You might also consider taking calcium
and/or horsetail in supplement form, and if you're unable to get
regular sun exposure, take vitamin D as well. Eat leafy green
vegetables regularly for their vitamin K, which gets the calcium
into your bones. You can continue to eat salads when you're out in
the warm sun, but switch to steaming your greens the rest of the
year. And remember to add a little bit of unprocessed sea salt to
your vegetables and grains.

Visit Dr. Matsen's site at

Sorry for throwing your whole nutrition paradigm upside down but I
hope this was helpful and made sense.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Resurrect the body you were created to have,
Tyron Tweet This

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Cholesterol The Real Cause Of Heart Disease?

My friend and colleague, Vreni Gurd, a kinesiologist and CHEK Practitioner Level 3, just recently sent this out to me and I thought you'd be more than interested to know how the whole cholesterol-heart disease debate is backwards. I hope at some point we can put an end to the whole "cholesterol is bad and leads to heart disease thing". Its really blown way out of proportion. Do watch the short videos she mentioned if you can.

Cholesterol, heart-disease mortality, and cholesterol-lowering drugs

More BIG news on the diabetes front this week, but I'll comment on it in a couple of weeks, as today's post is at least a month overdue. The idea that the saturated fat / cholesterol = heart-disease hypothesis is false has been in the popular press a lot (in the NY Times here, here and here, in Business Week for example) and coupled with the failed Vytorin cholesterol-lowering drug trial that was finally disclosed mid January, more and more people are beginning to question how in the world this idea was perpetuated for so long. The medical and pharmaceutical blogosphere is filled with doctors and scientists writing about the failed drug trial and what it means. All I can say, is it's about time!

Please indulge me, and take a minute and 17 seconds to watch this video on cholesterol levels and heart-disease deaths, based on data from the MONICA study that has been going on for 40 years, involving tens of thousands of people. Notice that there is no relationship at all between cholesterol levels and deaths from heart disease. On top of that, the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins like Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor etc.) at preventing heart attacks is now being questioned. These paragraphs from an article on the topic in Business Week Magazine explains the issue better than I could.

"The second crucial point is hiding in plain sight in Pfizer's own Lipitor newspaper ad. The dramatic 36% figure has an asterisk. Read the smaller type. It says: "That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor."

Now do some simple math. The numbers in that sentence mean that for every 100 people in the trial, which lasted 3 1/3 years, three people on placebos and two people on Lipitor had heart attacks. The difference credited to the drug? One fewer heart attack per 100 people. So to spare one person a heart attack, 100 people had to take Lipitor for more than three years. The other 99 got no measurable benefit. Or to put it in terms of a little-known but useful statistic, the number needed to treat (or NNT) for one person to benefit is 100.

Compare that with, say, today's standard antibiotic therapy to eradicate ulcer-causing H. pylori stomach bacteria. The NNT is 1.1. Give the drugs to 11 people, and 10 will be cured."

According to Dr. Nortin M. Hadler, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Anything over an NNT of 50 is worse than a lottery," According to the Business Week article, several recent scientific papers peg the NNT for statins at 250 and up for lower-risk patients, even if they take it for five years or more.

Posted on a pharmaceutical industry blog is this telling quote:

"What if you put 250 people in a room and told them they would each pay $1,000 a year for a drug they would have to take every day, that many would get diarrhea and muscle pain, and that 249 would have no benefit? And that they could do just as well by exercising? How many would take that?" asks drug industry critic Dr. Jerome R. Hoffman, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

So ask yourself, if you have high cholesterol and you have been put on cholesterol-lowering medication even though you have NOT been diagnosed with heart disease, whether the side-effects of taking the drug, like muscle pain, reduced memory, diarrhea etc. are worth it, since clearly lowering cholesterol is not going to lengthen your life. In fact, many other studies are indicating that those with cholesterol levels that are too low die more frequently than those whose cholesterol levels are too high.

If you DO have heart disease, statin drugs do seem to have a protective effect, but due to the failed Vytorin (ENHANCE) trial, as well as the failed cholesterol drug torcetrapib trial that ended in Dec. '06, it is becoming clear that the reason they are protective has nothing to do with lowering cholesterol levels. One of the other many effects of statin drugs, is to lower arterial inflammation, and this may be how the drug helps. I can think of a whole host of other ways to lower arterial inflammation that won't give you terrible side effects, like cutting out sugar, flour, refined omega 6 vegetable oils, processed food, upping one's intake of omega 3 fatty acids (particularly from fish), cooking with tumeric, etc.

So, if high cholesterol levels do not cause heart disease, what does? Dr. Malcolm Kendrick hypothesizes that stress is the biggest cause, and he has noticed that those that have a flattened circadian cortisol rhythm are at higher risk. As I've tried to indicate previously, problems with cortisol are likely the root cause of many of our chronic conditions today. He also went back and looked at the historical epidemiological data with respect to peoples that had high rates of death from heart disease, and noticed that frequently those populations were displaced, or their lifestyle had been altered, like the Finnish being moved by the Russians in 1948, or the American Natives being put on reservations etc. These sorts of events are HIGHLY stressful. For more on this idea, see this video. These days, stress and cortisol rhythm disruption is very common, and the sooner physicians start testing the cortisol circadian rhythms of their patients, the sooner we will get a handle on heart disease.

I look forward to your comments on my blog.

Related tips
Saturated fat - the misunderstood nutrient
High cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease
Stress and Cardiovascular disease
Inflammation and inflammatory conditions
Cortisol, our stress hormone

Taubes, Gary What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? New York Times Magazine, July 2002.

John Tierney Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus October 9, 2007

Nina Teicholz What if bad fat isn't so bad? No one's ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease MSNBC Health, Dec. 13, 2007.

John Tierney How the Low-Fat, Low-Fact Cascade Just Keeps Rolling Along New York Times, October 9, 2007

Alex Berenson Cholesterol As a Danger Has Skeptics New York Times, February 9, 2008.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick A Raised Cholesterol level does not cause heart disease You Tube Video from BMA Meeting, Leeds, Nov. 2007.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Familial Hypercholesterolemia You Tube Video from BMA Meeting Leeds, Nov. 2007.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick About Statins You Tube Video from BMA Meeting Leeds, Nov. 2007.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick What causes heart disease? You Tube Video from BMA Meeting Leeds, Nov. 2007.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick CVD Populations You Tube Video from BMA Meeting Leeds, Nov. 2007.

John Carey Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good? Business Week, January 17, 2008

Tara Parker-Pope WELL; Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life? New York Times, Jan. 29, 2008.

John Carey In the Real World, a Slew of Side Effects from Statins Business Week, January 17, 2008

New York Times EDITORIAL; Cholesterol Drug Bombs Jan. 16, 2008.

Merck Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals Provides Update on ENHANCE Trial Nov. 19, 2007.

Herper, Matthew, The Vytorin Question, Nov. 19, 2007

Dr Aubrey Blumsohn Ezetimibe (Zetia, Vytorin): the smell of bad science Scientific Misconduct Blog, Nov. 24, 2007

Hughes, Sue Concerns Raised on Delay of Ezetimibe Data Medscape News, Nov. 23, '07.

Dr. John Mack Vytorin Study Stallin' - Notes from the Field Hands Pharma Marketing Blog, Nov. 26, 2007.

Insider Vytorin - There's none so blind.... Pharmagossip, Jan. 31, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Throw Away the Bathroom Scale!

A colleague of mine in the fitness industry, Tony Gentilcore
(, wrote
an interesting mini-article on the importance of ditching the
bathroom scale. I think EVERYONE that's trying to lose weight
(particularly fat) should adopt.

Please see Tony's mini-article below.

I’ve been working as a strength coach and personal trainer for
close to six years now, and I have trained a wide variety of women.
In my experience, most tend to have a certain “look” they’re after.

To achieve this look, women need to do three simple things: lift
weights, eat more protein, and more importantly, throw away their

While the scale can be an indicator of progress (especially for
those women who need to lose 20+ lbs for health reasons), I do feel
that many women tend to put too much emphasis on it and are
neglecting the big picture.

The majority of women can understand why it’s important to lift
weights, and eat more protein from a body composition standpoint.
However, when it comes to suggesting they throw away their scale,
it’s as if you were saying they should dump their best friend.
Considering that most women have a love/hate (emphasis on hate)
relationship with the scale, I’m surprised more women don’t just
chuck it out the window and be done with it forever.

Many women make the mistake of equating progress with the number on
the scale going down. If they don’t see the number going down on a
weekly basis, they feel they’re failing. Let me make this simple.
The scale can be very misleading and in a lot of ways, invalid. How
do you know the weight you’re losing is fat and not valuable
muscle? You should be more concerned with what the mirror is
telling you. Are you losing inches around the body? Do your clothes
fit better? Perhaps these results are less quantifiable and harder
to notice, however, the sooner you realize that these are better
indicators of progress, the better off you will be.

Without getting overly technical, muscle weighs more than fat yet
takes up 25% less space. This is why you will often see contestants
on the television show “The Biggest Loser” weigh the same as many
professional athletes, despite being twice the size. Following
a resistance training program helps build muscle which increases
strength and firmness. Aside from that, muscle is also
metabolically active tissue which will also help you burn more fat.
In essence, someone might see very little overall weight loss or
even GAIN weight in order to achieve “the look.” The latter is
especially true for petite women.

As an example, a 5′4″, 140 lb woman with 25% body fat wants to look
leaner and achieve that “toned” look. She wants those flabby arms
to go away and she wants to fit into those pair of jeans that she
used to wear back in college. To do so, this particular woman feels
she should lose weight and get down to 110-115 lbs. If she takes
that course, she may look thinner, but at the expense of looking
older, emaciated, frail, and weak. In other words, she could
totally pass for an Olsen twin.

Let’s take the right course instead. Six months later the same 5’4”
woman has followed a resistance training program (which is also
great for strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis), changed
her diet to include more protein (ie: chicken breast, lean beef,
eggs, cottage cheese, whey protein shakes) and less refined
carbohydrates (ie: cereal bars, bagels, 100 calorie snack foods),
and most importantly, she threw away her scale. Now she’s 135 lbs
with 18% body fat. She lost eleven lbs of fat and gained six lbs of
lean muscle, for a net loss of only five lbs. But she looks like
she lost 15 lbs. She’s not “skinny-fat.” She’s stronger and
healthier. And she can fit into those jeans no less!

In a nutshell there are a lot of things that have to fall into
place in order to attain “the look” that you’re after. Nonetheless,
I do feel that if more women would put less emphasis on the scale
to gauge progress and focus their attention on other indicators
such as losing inches, the better off they will be. What are you
waiting for? Throw away that scale!

Want help in knowing what to do to get that lean, "toned", firm
body? Check out Turbulence Training.

Tyron Tweet This

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Q & A

Q: My question is...

Grimm's naturally smoked-fully cooked Turkey pepperoni
-extra lean
-No MSG added
-Gluten free

turkey, water, spices, canola oil,salt, garlic,sodium phosphate,sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, smoke.

Is it ok to eat???

Jenn <><

A: Great question Jenn. Thanks for asking.

At first it looked good as I read down the list and saw extra lean, no MSG added, and gluten free that is until I hit canola oil and sodium nitrite.

Since canola oil is a polyunsaturate fat (comes from rape seeds) and is therefore very delicate with heat, air, and light. Most, if not all, canola oil available on the market (whether in packaged foods or not) is refined, heated, and deodorized thus the fragile, delicate oil has been damaged and altered forming free radicals and trans-fat. Structurally, trans-fats (found in vegetable oils and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats such as margarine and shortenings) are closer to plastic than fat!

A little tidbit of information that might be of interest to you. The process of hydrogenation began in 1912, a time when heart disease was rare. However, today heart disease causes some 40% of all deaths. Is there a connection? If heart disease resulted from saturated fat consumption as they tell us then shouldn’t we find an increase in saturated fat consumption since 1912? However the opposite is true. Animal fats (saturated) declined from 83% to 62% and butter (also saturated) declined from 18 lbs. per person per year to 4 and cholesterol has only increased 1%. The real shocker is the consumption of margarine, shortening, and refined oils (conventional sesame, safflower, sunflower, canola oils) has increased about 400% and sugar and processed foods has increased about 60%!

I would stay away from sodium nitrite, nitrates or any other preservatives for that matter (which sodium phosphate sodium erythorbate may be). These potent carcinogens have been linked to cancer of the esophagus, stomach, large intestine, bladder, and lungs. Nitrites and nitrates are colour fixatives, in that they give meats a blood red colour, convey a tangy effect to the palate, and prohibit the development of clostridium botulinum spores. Both have been found to cause cancer and tumors in test animals. According to The Safe Shopper’s Bible, children who eat hot dogs cured with nitrite, a dozen or more times per month, are ten times more likely to develop leukemia. Also, children born to mother’s who consumed hot dogs once or more weekly are twice as likely to have childhood brain tumors. Funnily enough traditionally sausage was a healthy, high-fat product containing nutrient dense organ meats and preserved through lacto-fermentation, which increases nutrients, while bacon was preserved through salt curing and smoking.

There are may safe, healthy forms of jerky-like meats out there, just look for the ones that have NO nitrites, nitrates, preservatives, or MSG in them.


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Friday, February 1, 2008

Another Article Published in North Shore Magazine

I just had an article published in the latest issue of North Shore Magazine on how randomly choosing exercises could be dangerous. Feel free to visit the site and read the online version.


P.S. want to get these same results?

"It only took a few sessions before I started to notice a difference. By the time I'd finished two and a half months, I was feeling great and had lost 12lbs (2 dress sizes!). Now, I feel really excited when I go to each session."

Sandy Racicot, Veterinarian Assistant Tweet This