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Adaptation and the Anabolic State; Part 1 of the series: A-Z Fitness and Exercise

Adaptation and the Anabolic State; Part 1 of the series: A-Z Fitness and Exercise

All living things are capable of adaptation to some extent, but as humans we are absolute masters of it. We are amazingly capable of adjusting our behavior… which is a feat that many other creatures simply can’t or won’t do. It is incredible but we can even change our physiology and structure. Adaptation can involve conscious thought and distinguished efforts, but it is largely automatic, simply put: we just do it.  Adjusting, changing and fixing little things that the environment we live in has proved to be minor flaws are the basic ideas to adaptation.

Adapt or die is a grossly oversimplified explanation to the phenomenon/theory of evolution.

In fact our blob like state that we sometimes find ourselves in is actually an adaptation, “fat” is meant to improve our chances of survival. When we eat more than we need our body uses the excess to make itself a “rainy day fund” of stored adipose tissue (fat). When we do very little movement (not exercise at all) our body slowly loses muscle mass as a means to conserve resources and require less calories. This is a one-two punch for Mr. Couch Potato: when he over eats Mr. Potato gets fatter, when he does not exercise Mr. Potato loses muscle mass and it becomes easier for him to get even fatter. (As a general rule the more muscle mass you have the higher your Resting Metabolic Rate, RMR, will be; this means you can eat more and not gain weight.)

Adaptation can be the poison and the cure, your best friend and your worst enemy. It is, of course, much better to have friends than enemies. If we must have enemies or can’t escape having enemies, we should learn all we can about them to fight them. I am a visual thinker and I visualize two different images for adaptation. I envision little angles of eating right and exercise, who call themselves adaptation; in my mind they look like cherubs. I also envision tiny little goblin/imp looking creatures of sloth and gluttony (lazy and eating a lot) who also call themselves adaptation. Not everyone is as mentally capable of visualization as I am, but just the same the characterization of imps and angels should help with understanding. In this article I am going to focus on the good “angels” of adaptation… because we all know pretty well what those nasty little imps of sloth and gluttony will do to our bodies.

If we did not have such a high capacity for change, exercise and eating right would be utterly pointless. Thankfully we can adapt with relative ease. As a man of faith I feel that when I eat right and exercise I am honoring God, my Family, and Myself. When you look deep down at the amazing science of nutrition and exercise, it gets more and more miraculous as you learn more about the science. Regardless of faith, the science treats all of us the same or very near to the same.

It is pretty easy to see that exercise works out the muscles of the body, and it makes sense that the body would want to improve its muscles to make exercise easier. The body does this improvement through hormonal and physiological responses to exercise. For example, when we first start resistance training weights of 5, 10, or 15 pounds might be challenging enough but soon our bodies will adapt and it will be incredibly easy to lift this small amount of weight. The muscles are not the only thing that improve in response to exercise, indeed exercise gives us an entire body makeover.

The science of exercise, and how it improves the body through adaptation:

Blood Pressure:

Let’s start with the arteries and veins: when we exercise the arteries (and to a lesser extent the veins) constrict or relax in response to exercise. When we exercise the blood vessels (arteries and veins) of the muscles are told by our sympathetic nervous system to vasodilate, meaning they relax and become wider “pipes” for blood to flow through. (Our sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system, which is the parts of our nervous system that acts without conscious thought. We should be glad to have this system without it, we could not digest food and our hearts would not beat.) At the same time the blood vessels of many of the internal organs vasoconstrict: tighten and become smaller “pipes” for the blood to flow through. This most notably happens in the digestive tract (stomach and intestines). The actions described above primarily happen in the arteries and arterioles.

All of this expansion or contraction functions as a work out for the blood vessels, and improves their elasticity and general functionality. As the elasticity and general functionality of the blood vessels increases, our blood pressure regulates. This is primarily how exercise reduces high blood pressure. Those with high blood pressure have to be careful when they exercise because exercise causes a temporary raise in blood pressure.

Those with high blood pressure should avoid high intensity exercise, like lifting heavy weights and sprinting (and anything else that seems high intensity). If you want to do these types of exercises, for your safety you may have to wait a bit. Don’t worry; there is a good chance that your moderate/ light intensity exercise program will lower your blood pressure. Once your blood pressure is in a normal range your doctor might give you the go ahead to do the heavy lifting and sprinting that you wanted to do.

If one has a MEDICAL CONDITION, they should always get the go ahead from a doctor before starting or modifying an exercise program. Truthfully, all people should see a doctor before they start exercising. It is also fun to get a “before” physical.

Resting Heart Rate, and heart strength:

Resting heart rate is an excellent indicator of general health, one that people often overlook. A normal range is 60-90 beats per minute (BPM). A resting heart rate of 100 BPM is usually considered okay but anything over 100 is a bad sign and unless you are an athlete a heart rate of 40-50 BPM is also a bad sign. If your heart rate is less than 40 and you are not an elite athlete there is a good chance that you are going to experience a cardiac event (like a heart attack) in the very near future.  Bradycardia is the medical term used to describe a low heart rate (less than 60 beats per minute). If you are not a trained athlete or a healthy young adult, less than 60 BPM is often bad news especially when it is accompanied by palpitations.

Trained athletes typically have lower heart rates due to hypertrophy of the heart (muscle growth/ size and strength increase). Lance Armstrong and athletes like him often have a resting heart rate in the 30’s. (Most of us should probably talk to a doctor if we see our heart rates this low.) Lance’s heart is likely pretty darn big and is definitely very strong.

Cardio junkies (people who love aerobic exercise) are very thankful that there heart and lungs adapted. If they did not experience adaptation in the heart and lung department they would definitely not be able to do the amazing things they do. The tour de France is a 3 week long 2,200 mile bike race… this is a ton of biking. I have broken the 500 miles of cycling in a week marker, on an actual bike (it doesn’t count if you do this on a machine, my opinion)… it was really hard. All of the guys that manage to finish the tour are amazing to me.

If we take a look at these guys some of them are KINDA muscular but most are very lean. They do tend to have large quadriceps (a group of 4 different muscles on the front of the legs), but a body builder would have much larger quads. The reason they look the way they do is because the body does not get much stronger and the muscles do not grow much in response to aerobic exercise. There are three things that do grow tremendously due to aerobic exercise: metabolism (hardest to explain), Lungs (also hard to explain) and the Heart. Explaining how the heart adapts to exercise is simple. Resting heart rate is the best indicator of heart strength; in athletes a low resting heart rate indicates that the heart can pump a higher volume blood.

Exercise uses the heart; all exercise uses the heart from zumba to aquatic dance. All exercise increases heart rate, but only exercise of an aerobic nature significantly increases the heart’s stroke volume (how much blood is being pumped per beat). By asking the heart to pump more blood per beat the heart is physically stretched and it must physically contract over its full range of motion this is a great hypertrophy inducing exercise. In a weird way this is an example of how proper form produces more and better muscular growth.

It turns out weight lifting does little to stimulate hypertrophy of the heart. This is because while you are lifting, despite an increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure the volume of blood being pumped is not greatly increased and could potentially be less than average. Because the volume of blood per stroke is not higher (or not by much) the heart does not get to stretch out to its full range of motion. During a lift the muscles themselves engorge, you can see this: it is sometimes called “the pump”. This enlarged state of the muscles constricts the blood vessels that surround and intertwine with the muscles. The muscles elsewhere in the body, like in the digestive track, were already constricted (it naturally happens with most exercise), so basically during the “lift” the heart is frantically trying to pump blood through a kinked garden hose.

Doing this pumping blood through a body that is like a kinked garden hose is difficult for the heart, people with “weak” hearts should not weight lift. If you have a “weak” heart but want to weight lift you should for your safety, wait until your heart is stronger. There is good news: mild exercise, like walking, actually does improve the heart’s strength; most, as in nearly all people, can safely participate in mild exercise. Just the same ask your doctor what is and is not appropriate for you.

Weight lifting can strengthen the heart, but not my much. The good news is weight lifting while completely ignoring cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise is just plain silly. Doing some cardio as a warm-up prevents injury, and doing some cardio as a cool down helps clear away that nasty lactic acid. Being a cardio junkie that completely ignores weight lifting is also just plain silly… but more on that later.

A quick stretch immediately after a lift is a great way to open up the veins and get some much needed oxygen and nutrition to the muscles. Because stretching stimulates vasodilation, stretching is the best way to get the nutrition from our diets to muscles and joints. Note: some yogic stretches physically constrict blood vessels, but most do not. All the same you should never try to stay in a stretch of any kind for a long period of time (as a general rule not over 1-2 minutes, but some stretches like “child’s pose” are safe to do for much longer periods).           

Adaptation and Stretching/ Range of Motion      

Let us start with the bad news… tricky little imps of adaptation are out to get us; this thing can be out worst enemy. Bad posture, something that I often find myself guilty of, is just plain terrible for the body. Bad posture mostly refers to sitting posture but it can refer to posture in any position or even bad posture during exercise. When we have bad posture our spine is in an unhealthy position.

Sublaxation is a term argued over by medical doctors and chiropractors but if you have back problems chances are you have heard the term sublaxation. Vertebral Sublaxation in both communities (chiropractic and medical) is a nasty term used to describe an unnatural positioning associated with bad things like pinched nerves. There is a reason that the term sublaxation sounds like an awful way to poop your pants… because if things get real bad you might do just that (you might poop your pants). Indeed back problems can cause all kinds of incontinence.

So we all should sit up straight and stand tall no matter how uncomfortable it is right? WRONG VERY WRONG. Yes we should sit in a manner that is much closer to straight then slouch but we should not be over stressing our muscles to sit. The healthy middle ground that is perfect posture is actually easy to find. When you are standing breath in a deeply as you can… observe your posture: this about perfect and about perfect is perfectly fine. Most people when they inhale deeply have a slightly overly Lordotic (inward curvature) of the lumbar region, so be aware of this. The easiest way to good posture is to develop the habit of every once in a while taking a deep breath. If you develop this easy to develop habit of occasional deep breaths your posture will naturally and gradually improve.

When most of us envision someone sitting up straight what we actually are envisioning is someone sitting in a Lordotic state (lordosis)… this is bad and will cause lower back and other back pain. When we envision someone slouching we envision someone sitting in a kyphotic state (kyphosis)… this is also bad and will also cause all kinds of back pain.

Slouching is another adaptation… when we are slouching we are burning less calories then when we are sitting up straight. Anytime we are burning less calories it is an adaptation to conserve resources. When we slouch or lordotically “sit up straight” the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the back get stretched or constricted to unnatural lengths… causing pain.

All parts of the body have a functional range of motion; this is why how flexible we are is a huge marker of fitness. There are only three categories of fitness markers: flexibility, endurance and strength. One who loses sight of flexibility is doing their bodies a great disservice that will lead to INJURY and PAIN.

We don’t have to be able to do crazy yoga poses to be physically fit… but if you are all stiff and can’t touch your toes it is very bad: You do not have a functional range of motion. Those of us without a functional range of motion are, simply put, less functional but we could also be experiencing pain. (Of course there is the other extreme; overstretching and increasing the body well beyond its functional range of motion can also lead to chronic pain.) A functional range of motion (FROM) is just that: a range of motion which is functional.

Warning Science-y Stuff

The smallest functional unit in any muscle is the sarcomere; all muscles have these as their basic structure. The biceps alone might have as many as 100,000 sarcomeres. The sarcomere is composed of myofilaments. Each muscle cell is a tubular cell called a myocyte or myofiber. All in told, adding all the types of cells together, it is estimated that there are trillions of cells in the human body. 1,000,000,000,000 a thousand billions, a million millions… one trillion is a mind boggling number.

 All parts of the body are alive, excepting things like the water in blood and the dead cells of our hair. Bones = alive, muscles = alive, organs = alive, and what is truly amazing for most intents and purposes all of these living entities are functioning together harmoniously to produce one thing: the human body. No matter what your faith is the next time you find yourself questioning it, think about this: we are composed of a trillion + cells that must be in relative harmony for us to exist.     

Muscle cells contain contractile filaments which move using other muscle cells as anchors, this action physically changes the size of the muscle cell. If the contractile proteins, mostly actin and myosin, are relaxed they are not producing force (or at least not much). When the muscle is being either stretched or contracted a force is being generated. To produce a contraction ATP (adenosine triphosphate) must be used, calcium and plenty of other stuff is also involved it all gets very complicated.

The important concept to grab is that the muscle cells use each other as anchors and they in a weird way ratchet off of each other to produce power. STRETCHING can make you more powerful. It ups the power your muscle can produce in a neat way: it realigns disorganized muscular fibers.

Whenever our muscles are stretched the area of overlaying myofilaments of the individual sarcomeres is reduced, (when a muscle constricts this area increases). When all of the sarcomeres in a muscle are stretched to their limits, other connective tissue must then be stretched. In any and all muscles the sarcomeres are aligned in such a manner that their net efforts produce power. In organs the sarcomeres are supposed to be aligned in an omnidirectional manner such that they produce power in many directions, and this is a good thing. In skeletal muscles the sarcomeres are supposed to be aligned in a roughly parallel fashion to produce power in roughly one direction, and this is also a good thing. Unfortunately, organs will have some unnecessary levels of “parallel-ness” and skeletal muscles will have some unneeded “omnidirectional-ness.”

Most of the sarcomeres of skeletal muscle are roughly parallel so when we stretch them out in the direction that is roughly parallel to the sarcomere’s alignment; some of unneeded misaligned sarcomeres are dislodged from where they are anchored. If allowed to heal, these once misaligned sarcomeres will now be properly aligned. The more sarcomeres contracting in the same direction the more power that contraction produces. It is because of this fact that the weight lifter that never stretches is not as strong as they could be.

Sarcomere misalignment is both a naturally occurring phenomenon and an adaptation. A muscle that uses less of its sarcomeres to contract uses less energy to make the contraction. Indeed most adaptation that reduces the body’s functionality is about conversing resources.

Adaptation and Muscular Hypertrophy

                To become “muscular” you must overload the muscles. When you overload the muscles you are actually causing some damage to them, and to prevent future damage from the same load the body makes the muscles stronger. When a muscle cell is stretched or contracted beyond its ability little tears are made in the cell itself. Muscle cells are amazing little things; they are multinucleated cells, meaning they have many nucleuses. The nucleus is the organelle of a cell that contains the blueprints (DNA) of how the cell is made. Muscle cells being multinucleated translates into them having amazing abilities to heal themselves. The main reason aerobic exercise (cardio) does not tend to make a person bulky is because the actual load being placed on the muscles does ever exceed a person’s bodyweight.

(Performers of isometrics like flexing can achieve bulky because it is possible to exceed the load naturally provided by body weight alone.) 

At the end of the day all body healing is about filling gaps, muscles are really good at this. Envision a bridge that collapses in the middle because there was an earth quake that pulled the bridge apart. Now the span that must be crossed by this bridge is just a bit longer, and the bridge must be repaired to be just a bit longer. Or envision a weak little wooden bridge on a country road. Let’s say one day a big heavy truck drives over the bridge and it collapses. To prevent this in the future the wooden bridge must now get steel or concrete reinforcement and the bridge gets bigger and beefier.

The leading theory is that there are two kinds of muscular hypertrophy:  Myofibrillar and Sarcoplasmic. Mypfibrillar is characterized by the addition of extra contractile proteins resulting in massive gains in muscular strength but not much increase in overall volume. Sarcoplasmic is characterized by the addition of extra sarcoplasmic fluid in the muscle cell and huge gains in muscular volume, but not much gain in strength. According to this leading theory one type of hypertrophy cannot be had in isolation but differences in training can increase one type over another. (If you have not guessed by now hypertrophy is the fancy pants way of saying increased volume i.e. growing bigger and stronger.) Myofibrillar hypertrophy is most closely associated with Olympic weightlifters and power lifters. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is most closely associated with body builders.

Technically these two types of muscular hypertrophy thing is still theory: because there is not enough evidence to support it. The reason this is still theory is because when viewed under a microscope the difference between the biopsied muscle of powerlifters and body builders is actually hard to determine. The reason this theory is well supported is because when a protein analysis is done of biopsied muscle of different athletes it is often easy to guess which one is the powerlifter and which one is the bodybuilder: power lifters will USUALLY have more protein in their muscles. Other things can explain the difference in power between the extremely powerful “power” lifters/ Olympic weight lifters and the comparatively weak Bodybuilders. It should definitely be said that bodybuilders are usually extremely strong, they just happen to not be as strong as their smaller less muscular less well “defined” Olympic and power lifting counterparts.

Metabolic and neurological differences can be used to explain the disparity in strength between power lifters and bodybuilders.

Adaptation and the Metabolism Due to Exercise

Metabolic increases due to exercise are primarily due to muscular hypertrophy (bigger/stronger muscles burn more calories), but this is not the only way the body adapts to have a faster metabolism as a result of exercise. In response to exercise slowly over time our body’s slowly changes its hormonal balances, increasing the metabolism. The body also changes on the cell membrane level (the outside of a cell), by increasing or decreasing hormone receptors making the hormonal changes more effective. Inside of the cell changes in a number of ways. Often, in response to exercise, cells of the body increase the number mitochondria (the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell) in them because they need more energy. The cells of the body, most notably the muscles, also increase their glycogen stores.

This article is not really about the metabolism, and honestly… although it is interesting to some most people find the how it happens to be very dry and boring. There is a ton of chemicals and hormones and technical jargon that involved in the detailed explanation of how exercise increases the speed of the metabolism. Primarily these hormone and chemical changes have to do with the changes in our body’s insulin levels and insulin response system. Exercise has such a powerful blood sugar regulating effect that starting an exercise program has been shown to actually cure mild cases of diabetes: people have exercised the disease away. (Note: this is not possible very often, but exercise does consistently aide diabetics and mild exercise should be a part of any treatment plan.)

Muscles Adapt Faster and it is a Problem            

Exercise directly causes or indirectly stimulates adaptation on every level of the body. This is how we have the many benefits of exercise. With appropriate exercise every part of the body improves: the bones, the tendons/ligaments, joints, our organs, our BRAIN… all of it, everything gets better. Muscles get better and stronger very quickly in comparison to the rest of the body. This means that if we don’t wait for tendons/ ligaments/ joints to be strong we actually have our new found muscular strength to be a bad thing. This muscle hurting your tendons does not happen often with traditional weight training or most “classic” muscle building programs. However it is possible. When you are not in good shape trying to get into great shape too quickly brings a high risk of injury.

Good although vague news: it generally takes more time to go from bad shape to good shape than it does to go from good shape to great shape. This is because in the transition from good to great many of the metabolic and hormonal changes in the body have by in large already taken place. It is generally safe to quickly go from good to great shape because by the time the body gets into good shape the tendons, ligaments, joints and bones of the body are also in pretty good shape. If however one is in bad shape, meaning muscularly weak, then most likely the bones, tendons, ligaments and joints are also: WEAK.

Exercise makes all of the body stronger, but muscles adapt very quickly. This means that sometimes even when you can do the exercise or lift the weight, you shouldn’t. The best indicator of wither or not you shouldn’t be doing something is pain, basically if it hurts STOP. Exercise should never actually hurt, completely forget the old phrase: “no pain no gain.” Replace it with “No Strain, No Gain.” It is fine if exercise is difficult and mildly uncomfortable (it does not have to be many mild exercises are not in the slightest difficult or uncomfortable). Some exercise most notably weight lifting requires that you make yourself a bit sore to see the most gain. It is important and needs to be reiterated, even in the lifting of HEAVY weight there should NEVER be pain.

The best way to maximize gains is with proper nutrition.     

The body needs a ton of different things for nutrition to be proper: there are many different minerals and vitamins, we need water, we need electrolytes (like salt), and there are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. We need “enough” of these many different nutrients. To maximize fitness gains we need more than we would need for a sedentary lifestyle. This bit of basic common sense eludes many people, most notably “dieters.” Regardless of actual calorie intake the basic needs of the body do not change. If we do not get our essential amino acids (protein) from our diet; our body will take it from our muscles. If we don’t get the vitamins and minerals we need our body will take them from our bones and other mineral/ vitamin rich places.

This breakdown of body tissue is called catabolism (catabolic state) and it is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it is often a good thing. We need some catabolism to keep the body in balance, replace old cells, and even help fight cancer. But, we want to prevent excessive catabolism because excessive catabolism leads to many bad things, most notably weakness. Excessive catabolism leads to weakness everywhere including but not limited to the bones, the organs, and of course the muscles.

The building of body tissue is called anabolism (anabolic state). At any given time the body is always in BOTH an anabolic and a catabolic state. The exerciser is often interested in making muscular and other fitness gains. To maximize gains one should try and stimulate the body into being in a state that is mainly anabolic. If properly fed the average person’s body will try and be in a state that is mainly anabolic, this is obvious as the average person is not wasting away into nothing.

To maintain an increased level of anabolism; the vitamin and mineral requirements of the exerciser are higher than that of the average person, but often not by much. It is important to try and avoid over consumption/ supplementation of vitamins. I personally never recommend that a person exceed the recommended upper limit/range of a particular vitamin or mineral. For example: the exerciser needs additional calcium, but it is not recommended that ANYONE gets more than 2000mg of calcium a day (don’t worry if you do this every once and a while just don’t make a habit of it). A common recommendation for women over 50 is 1200mg of calcium a day, this demographic needs additional calcium. It is not well established how much calcium is needed for exercisers but I use 1200mg as a target for myself.

Fat recommendations vary wildly; I have never seen it recommended that saturated fat intake be increased. Recommended saturated fat levels are between as close to nothing as possible to about 30 grams a day. Those on an extremely high calorie diet, like many body-builders and elite athletes often have much higher saturated fat intake levels (often as high as 70 grams with 5000+ Cal diets). These elite athletes manage to maintain good cholesterol levels. If most of us ate this much saturated fat in a day we would have a crappy blood lipid profile.

The outer part of a cell, the cell membrane is a fat based structure, and indeed many parts of the body are fat based structures: the skin, cartilage, collagen, and many hormones. We need fat, exercisers need more fat if they are going to expect that their bodies build and repair these fat based structures. I have seen recommendations from just slightly over average to double. Regardless of actual calorie intake it has been found that a minimum of 10% of the calories should be from fat. So if you are going to eat more you are going to have to eat more fat as well. As you eat less and less it becomes increasingly important that the fat that you do get be predominantly healthy fats. Fat that is not trans-fat or saturated fat is healthy.

The big buzzword when it comes to exercise and nutrition is: protein intake, a subject that is constantly studied and debated. Most of us do not need a ton of protein from our diet to maximize our personal fitness gains. However if you happen to be a body-builder of about 100 kilograms (~220 pounds) who is in the gym 3-4 hours a day you could benefit from getting 180 to as much as 252 grams of protein.

Three basic protein recommendations:

All of these are based on lean body mass measurements; LBM is a person’s mass minus the fat. Most research is preformed and reported using the metric system. To be honest I do not feel like converting the following numbers for users of U.S. customary units. In the U.S. we actually use metric all the time… in fact metric is what is on the back of nutrition labels. So when you convert your body weight to kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2 you will eventually be using metric anyway when you go to eat the food.

Mild and Flexibility Exercises (Tai-Chi, Yoga) = .8 grams per kilogram LBM

Endurance Exercise (running, aerobics) = 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kilogram LBM

Strength and Anaerobic exercise (weight lifting, sprinting) = 1.4 – 1.8 grams per kilogram LBM

Four Duration Multipliers:

1 for an hour or less

1.1 for 1-2 hours (10%)

1.25 for 2-3 hours  (25%)

1.4 for 3-4 + hours (40%)

Rendering the following ranges

Mild .8 g/kg – 1.12 g/kg LBM

Endurance 1.2 g/kg – 1.68 g/kg LBM

Endurance High Intake 1.4 g/kg – 1.96 g/kg LBM

Strength 1.4 g/kg – 1.96 g/kg LBM

Strength High Intake 1.8 g/kg – 2.52 g/kg LBM

Amino Acids that Start with the Letter A

There are 22 standard amino acids 8-10 of them are considered essential depending who you ask. In truth most of the non-essential amino acids can be conditionally essential if a person has a medical issue. Aside from the standard amino acids there are many more non-standard amino acids. None of the amino acids that start with the letter A are consistently considered essential, but sometimes Arginine is considered an essential amino acid.

Alanine: Is a non-essential amino acid and can be manufactured by the body using pyruvate and branched chain amino acids. Alanine plays a key role in the glucose-alanine cycle: when we exercise in addition to pyruvate we generate alanine. The alanine then goes to the liver to make glucose, this allows for more of a cell’s ATP to be used for muscle contraction. The alanine cycle also transports ammonium to the liver to be converted to urea.

Arginine: Is a conditionally essential non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can make it but may not make enough of it. Primarily (can be biosynthesis in other ways) it is made like this: Our body makes citrulline in the epithelial cells of the small intestines from glutamine and glutamate… then citrulline is converted to Arginine in the proximal tubule cells of the kidney. Arginine is a pretty darn important amino acid, it does a ton of stuff for the body it helps with: cell division, wound healing, ammonia removal, immune function and the release of hormones. Arginine is a precursor for nitric oxide. Arginine has been used in the treatment of ED… if you don’t know what ED is it does not apply to you. L-Arginine is a fairly common supplement that has been attributed to reduced blood pressure, increased healing and while some claim supplementation increases Human Growth Hormone secretion this has been proven to be insignificant.

Asparagine: Is a non-essential amino acid. To make asparagine the whole process starts with a transaminase enzyme transfers an amino group glutamate to oxaloacetate which produces alpha-ketoglutarate and aspartate (aspartic acid). Then the enzyme asparagine synthetase from aspartate, glutamine, and ATP makes AMP, glutamate, pyrophosphate and asparagine. We need this amino acid for our nervous system and it plays an important role in the production of ammonia (yes the same type of ammonia that is used for cleaning).

Aspartic Acid: Is a non-essential amino acid. To make it: a transaminase enzyme transfers an amino group glutamate to oxaloacetate which produces alpha-ketoglutarate and aspartate (aspartic acid). (<- This is also the first step in making Asparagine.) Aspartic acid can also be made in the Urea Cycle. Aspartic Acid is participates in gluconeogenesis which is the incredibly important process by which our body gets glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. Aspartic Acid is used to make inosine, a precursor to purine bases (our body does need some purines). Aspartic acid also functions as a neurotransmitter.

We don’t really need to worry too much about any amino acids that start with the letter A. But it is a good idea to get some extra Arginine when you accidently get injured, because it can speed up the healing process. How we manage to make the non-essential amino acids is another example of adaptation, can you imagine if every nutrient was essential; having a balanced diet would be very difficult. Adaptation can be found in every part of the human body from the hair on our heads to thickened skin on the soles of our feet.

Happy exercising and make sure to get enough protein!


Cat and Dog nutrition, Mad Cow Disease and Human Cannibalism: Part 3 of the series: Weird Bants and the People Who Love Them.

Cat and Dog nutrition, Mad Cow Disease and Human Cannibalism: Part 3 of the series: Weird Bants and the People Who Love Them.

My wife and I think of our two dogs and our guinea pig as our little fur children. I also have a cat that I got when I was younger and before we were married. My wife is allergic to cats, but I still love my kitty. A lot of people love their pets like they are little people. We find that they have personalities like people so caring for them like they are human becomes easy.

Cats and dogs are not humans, but scientifically we are related and we do share some genetic similarities. We humans are biologically classified as Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Primates, Genus: Homo, Species: Homo Sapiens. It is hard to find ultra-reliable data for this, but for fun I am going to call the following numbers close… Cats and dogs are pretty genetically similar with cats having 82% homologous genes with dogs. But cats are oddly more closely related to humans than dogs with a surprising 90% similarity. Genetics can be truly mind blowing, but they are incredibly relevant in some circumstances. I call cats and dogs being so similar to us a pretty relevant factoid.

We are not all that genetically different from any animal, many gene codes for basic necessary life processes are present in most organisms. (For that matter, we have some genetic similarity to plants, but that is much harder to conceptualize and I am not going to talk about it in this article.) The more you learn about how animals compare and differ the more you can see this. There are 11 systems to the human body (SLIC MEN R RED): Skeletal, Lymphatic, Integumentary (skin), Circulatory, Muscular, Endocrine, Nervous, Renal, Reproductive, Excretory and Digestive. It makes sense to me that God would use a similar design with other creatures.

Life is indeed very complicated, but life forms are very similar to each other in many ways. All animals are a Eukaryote: meaning we all have cells membranes as opposed to cell walls like plants have. Cats and dogs are not just in the same kingdom we are in the same Class as we are. Cats, Dogs most things we think of as “animals” and surprisingly, the gigantic BLUE WHALE are all mammals just like us. Mammals breathe air and are “warm” blooded, we all have: a back bone, hair (not always obvious), three little bones in our ears, and mammary glands for nursing our young. If you were to ask a veterinarian how many systems to the bodies of cats and dogs they will tell you something that sounds an awful lot like the 11 systems that we humans have. It is spooky how similar we are.

We know that nutrition is very important for humans, yet for some reason we never think about the nutritional requirements of animals. OR WORSE we blindly trust dog food and cat food companies to be perfectly ethical and give our animals the nutrition they need. I see it all the time, I will be in line at a grocery store and the person in front of me will be buying tons of health food and then BAM a bag of dog food or cat food. Oddly the macro nutrient analysis for both dog food and cat food is nutritionally better suited for human consumption than it is for dogs and cats. DON’T EAT DOG AND CAT FOOD, it may not be that dangerous to do so, but do we really know what is in there?

I don’t recommend looking too deeply into the contents of dog and cat food because it gets really sad and extremely gross very quickly. IF the dog/ cat food does not say it is made with only “human grade ingredients” it most likely contains the meat of euthanized animals. Seriously doing a little research into this can cause nightmares. Anything that contains “Meat Meal” should also be avoided.   


Dogs and Cats are both carnivores (guinea pigs are herbivores). I know a good deal about the actual nutritional requirements for dogs, cats and guinea pigs; because these are the animals that I am responsible for to feed. My wife and I, am not comfortable letting the carnivores hunt for their food or our little herbivore scavenge and graze; because we do not want our little fur children getting lost. We feed our dog’s raw meat as they would have hunted for themselves if they could have, and we feed our guinea pig raw vegetables and grasses as he would have gotten for himself. My cat is not on a raw food diet because after she is done eating another cat that has kidney problems eats whatever she fails to eat. My cat is on expensive “for kidney health” cat food. Not all cat food or dog food is that bad but the kinds that are not horrible are always expensive. Feeding your animal the actual food they are supposed to eat is more expensive than cheap dog and cat foods, but it is also cheaper than expensive (higher quality) dog and cat food.

Typically feeding dogs and cats a “food” from a bag is the nutritional equivalent to feeding humans an all cookie diet. Dogs and cats are carnivores; they need lots of protein and fat and very little carbohydrates as this is what would be naturally present in a nearly all meat diet. (Sorry low carb people this is not a solid argument that carbs are bad for people.) Look at the back of the bag of dog/cat food you have, often it will say it has a guaranteed 10-15% protein content which is way too low to be healthy.

There are two reasons I choose to quickly write about the nutrition requirements for dogs and cats. 1. I do not think it is fair to feed your pets a diet that is bad for them, their only real choice is to eat the food we give them. 2. If we really want to see the potential effect near perfect nutrition can have simply switch your pet to a proper diet. Nutrition is not that hard for humans, if we know what we’re doing, but for most animals nutrition is SUPER easy.

There are many sites to learn more about how to raw feed your animals here is one of them:

All animals must ingest other organisms (plants are organisms) for substance the fancy science word for this is heterotrophs. Carnivores are very clearly a “hunter.” Herbivores are very clearly a “Gatherer.” Humans are hunters/ gatherers. Often during the course of our history it has been necessary to hunt animals due to a lack of ingestible food. Often during our history we have had to do the opposite and live solely off of plant sources. As hunting/gathering omnivores it is healthy for us to eat quite a lot of things… but is it healthy to eat people.

Zoological cannibalism is rare but it is not too terribly uncommon; most of us have heard about the infamous black widow spider… Female black widows eat the males as part of sexual cannibalism.  

It is not natural for Cows to eat other cows… But sometimes we humans are dumb enough to feed cows to cows. This is the leading theory behind what causes Mad Cow disease. It is known that if a cow that has Mad Cow disease is used as ruminant feed (ground up and fed back to cows) the disease will spread. Mad Cow can be spread to humans as well; mad cow is just as scary as the news networks made it out to be. Mad Cow causes the crazies and eventual coma and or death.

People eating people is always a bad idea!

There might be a special place in Hell for the Hannibal Lector like people out there. But is it really morally wrong to eat the already dead to prevent starvation? I say, yes, yes I do believe it is morally wrong, but morals aside is eating human flesh ever a good idea? It turns out the answer to this question is NO. When a human eats another human this weird gene known as the PRP gene gets pissed off (activated) and causes a chain reaction of abnormal prion generation. A prion is a protein found in nerve cells like that of your brain. Once prions become abnormal they have the nasty habit of making other prions abnormal and there is little the body can do to defend against it. If one finds themselves starving to death, don’t eat the dead guy next to you. Doing so could cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) a degenerative brain disorder similar to MAD COW. (CJD can also just sort of “happen” but it is rare.)

You would have to be a bit crazy to eat another human being, but doing so will physically change your brain and make you crazy and potentially kill you. If you find yourself in such a life or death situation you should fast, you will outlive the people who have resorted to cannibalism.  Cannibalism is perhaps the weirdest diet there is, and most likely the worst one for you.

Bar Food and the Bar Flies That Love the Stuff: Part 2 of the series: Weird Bants and the People who Love Them.

Bar Food and the Bar Flies That Love the Stuff: Part 2 of the series: Weird Bants and the People who Love Them.

I drink, and I have gone out with friends to bars and had a good time. I am fully aware of the negative health effects of drinking, however it can be a ton of fun and some foods taste better with beer or wine. I do not drink regularly, it is expensive, bad for me and I loathe the idea of developing a tolerance. These days I try my best to minimize alcohol consumption even when I do drink, which is rarely. When I was younger I use to “party” but I must admit I have never battled alcoholism.

I have seen people battle alcoholism and it is tragic to witness, the bottle will break a home faster than anything else. Beating alcoholism is very hard, but it is possible. Depending on how far gone from reality an alcoholic is, beating alcoholism may require professional help.

Not all “bar flies” are alcoholics (well I would not consider all of them to be) some go to bars to be social and drink a beer or two. Some people who go to bars or clubs DON’T DRINK. I am going to examine liquor, beer, pickled eggs and other pickled things, and the infamous nut/popcorn bowl.

Before we don the rubber gloves and ask the patient to bend over for an uncomfortable examination, we should in all fairness shout to the world: BAR FOOD CAN BE REALLY TASTY. Life can’t be about eating healthy all the time, because well that would be miserable. I personally recommend that my clients schedule dieting “holidays”: a day or meal where they can take a guilt-free break from their diet. I find that doing this gives them something to look forward to and near magically prevents “little cheating.” The food people eat when they are cheating will add up to a lot more calories, and the body will absorb more of those calories. I think this practice of taking a diet holiday should be done once to a maximum of twice a month. Perhaps your next diet holiday could be at the local bar (go easy on the alcohol you will find your tolerance dropped significantly, if you are underage obviously you should not drink).

It is worth it to ask the “regulars” or the bar tenders what is good at the establishment. Sometimes the local bar could be a hidden source of amazingly delicious foods like: artichoke dip, Buffalo wings, burgers and big meaty sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, cheese fries, nachos and all kinds of other really tasty definitively bad for you food. This food is bad for you, it is after all, designed to make you drink more alcohol, largely by being high is thirst inducing sodium. If you ate at the bar everyday it would be hard to stay on a healthy diet (not impossible, but really hard).

Alcohol as a Health Food??????

General proposed health benefits of alcohol are a hot topic these days. For a few years now wine has had a good reputation when it is to be consumed in moderation. Moderate alcohol consumption is commonly considered to be 1-2 drinks. It was the antioxidants in wine that we thought was what made it have a health improving effect. For me I think it is silly to drink wine for antioxidants, when antioxidants can be found in so many foods and beverages. Recent research is actually suggesting that moderate consumption of any form of ethanol alcohol be it wine, beer, liquor or cocktails could have some health benefits: Higher HDL, increased insulin sensitivity, and prevention of bone loss.

The problem I have with these studies and pushing alcohol as a health food is two things: 1. Alcoholic beverages do not have many nutrients in them (and yes I am counting the antioxidants of wine), 2. There is such a fine line between helpful and harmful and for some who have natural intolerances it might be a very fine line.

One thing that I take as a bad sign is pregnant women should never drink, it has again and again been shown to cause complications… this spooks me a bit. When one part of the population MUST be excluded when it comes to health recommendations, I always question if what is being recommended is really healthy.


I highly doubt that moderate consumption of alcohol is actually bad for you, I am just not sold that it is good for you either. It is probably not bad for you to have a glass of wine or a mug of beer with dinner or even having a shot afterwards (this is not an uncommon tradition). Adding orange juice to your vodka (it’s called a screw-driver it is nummy and a common cocktail), may add vitamin C but that does not mean you have made your vodka a health food; it just means that you added vodka to a health food. (Juice as a health food is actually debatable, because the fruit’s fiber is largely removed and this lack of fiber causes blood sugar spikes.)

When people add something as a health food to their diets they do so in a number of ways. But the common way that alcohol is added is simple addition. People don’t remove something and replace it with alcohol, they just add alcohol: meaning people are now habitually consuming more calories. More calories = weight gain = you probably don’t want that. If however, you subtracted all the soda you consume (absolutely not a chance in heck that soda is good for you in any way) and replaced it with moderate alcohol consumption, it might be a slightly good thing.

I do drink soda from time to time, but yes it is bad for you.

Never drink denatured alcohol it has things added to it to make it “unfit” for consumption.  

Ethanol alcohol is metabolically considered a carbohydrate (and a poison, to the low-carb people: carbs are not poison, alcohol just happens to be). Because there is nowhere in the body to store alcohol, your body makes metabolizing alcohol a priority, and it gets it done quickly. About 20% of what is consumed gets absorbed in the stomach; the rest is absorbed in the intestines. Alcohol metabolism gets very complicated, but it primarily happens in the liver. Alcohol can stimulate increased insulin secretion resulting in low blood sugar; increased insulin secretion can also stimulate fat storage.

Exercise and alcohol do not mix well the combo causes really low blood sugar.         


The ethanol alcohol in liquor is the result of fermentation of sugars into alcohol by yeast. Not to gross you out but the alcohol is a metabolic byproduct of the yeast. To get liquor to be more alcoholic than what naturally occurs with fermentation alone, the liquor is distilled. Distilling is essentially a boiling off of the alcohol into a gas leaving some of the water and other components behind. This gas is condensed and collected to make a beverage that is more alcoholic than it originally was. Ethanol fermentation is what causes bread (that has yeast) to rise, the yeast also gives off CO2 which is what makes things rise.

Liquor is usually about 40% alcohol by volume with the rest being almost entirely water and some impurities. Alcohol is a carbohydrate, and liquor has no protein or fat; meaning it is off limits for most low carb diets as it is entirely carbs. It is in the “impurities” that liquor has its unique substances like flavonoids and things that are good for you, but simply put there is just not enough there to count. The average shot of liquor (1.5 ounces) has about 100 calories. Liqueurs are flavored liquors, and are packed full of sugar and of course more calories. Darker liquors have more of these good for you flavonoids, but again not enough to count for anything: liquor is not a health food (this really should not have surprised you).


Unlike liquor beer actually has some protein in it, and is a much more complicated beverage. It is sometimes called liquid bread, this is a misnomer. Bread has a higher amount of protein in it then beer, by percent of calories, white bread is about 11% protein and beer is about 4%. The protein in beer is not enough to justify drinking beer as a source of protein, or choosing beer over other alcoholic beverages. The amino acid profile of beer is very bad and does not compare to that of bread or other grains. Beer protein typically provides absolutely zero of the essential amino acids and for this reason should not be used when adding up total protein intake.

Moderate consumption, 1-2 beers, has (like moderate consumption of all ethanol alcohol) been shown to perhaps have health benefits. I however, have to disagree… at 200-300 calories 1-2 beers is 10-15% of the total calorie intake on a 2000 calorie diet, but it provides nowhere close to 10-15% of the nutrients we need. In beer, there is often some calcium, iron, folate, thiamin, b vitamins and even a little bit of other good stuff but again it is simply not enough to count. Beer is not a health food.

Pickled Eggs and Other Things:

Pickled things in bars are often packed with tons of sodium, which makes you thirstier. It seems like bars will pickle just about anything. I have to tell you I love pickled eggs and I have never tried pickled pig’s feet. Pickled eggs are an acquired taste, as are most of the pickled things you find available at the bar. Pickled things you may find in a bar: pickled cucumbers (a pickle), olives, okra, peppers, watermelon rinds, snakes (yeah some bars will do this), fish, eye balls (I have personally seen this one), onions, sausage, pigs feet, and of course pickled eggs. Bars really prove that you can pickle just about anything.

The common pickle made of cucumbers is low in calories because the cucumbers are low in calories. Many pickled things are similar nutritionally to their non-pickled counterparts. Pickling causes chemical changes in foods changing texture, flavors and even color. Diffusion of salts and seasoning into the food happens with pickling. Heat affects protein is a similar way as the acids, alcohols and salt found brining and pickling solutions, it helps predigest it. Pickling preserves food and this was the original purpose to pickling. By being acidic and or salty pickling creates an inhospitable environment for most bacteria, enzymes and microbes which is why it prevents food’s decay. Pickling can also use fermentation, not all pickling uses it, with “friendly” bacteria (Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus plantarum) to prevent spoiling.

Pickling can be done at home, and for many things does not require much or any salt, making homemade pickles and pickled eggs potentially much better for you. Homemade pickled things have the potential to be health food.

The acetic acid in vinegar used in pickling does increase your fat burning metabolism but the effect is very slight. Adding vinegar to a meal slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, this can have a noticeable effect on blood sugar levels.     

The Bowl of Nuts or Popcorn:

Nuts are good for you, and popcorn is not good for you. To be fair popcorn is not that bad for you either, many foods fit into this category popcorn happens to be one of them. Bar popcorn typically does not have much more than a bit of salt on it, so it is not high in calories. It is not what is in the bowl, it is the fact that the bowl is communal and everybody can put their hands in there.

The acidity of the brine has a protecting effect on the pickled food in the jar that sits on the bar, but (sometimes people don’t even have to reach into the jar because of tongs)… that little bowl has no such guardian. There can be all kinds of gross stuff like germs, urine, and fecal matter. That guy that just got back from the bathroom and reached into the bowl may not have washed his hands. The good news is that little bowl could help you lose weight… the bad news if it does help you lose weight it will be due to food poisoning.

Please don’t try and get food poisoning to lose weight.

Bar food does not sound like it is a diet plan but for many it is. For those that eat at the bar THAT much usually it makes them fat and unhealthy pretty quickly. The bar diet is unfortunately pretty common, you may even know a bar fly that eats his dinner of unhealthy food at the bar every night after work. I do not recommend the Bar diet.

Alcoholism is often considered a disease by society, medical professionals and friends and family of alcoholics. I am still of the opinion that anything which can be cured through pure will power and a common sense detox program is not a disease. Alcohol is physically and psychologically addictive yes, a disease… NO. Alzheimer’s, Birth defects, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy… the list goes on and on, all can be considered a disease. It is good news if you don’t consider alcoholism a disease, because you can’t always beat a disease, you can always beat alcoholism.

If you are fighting alcoholism right now, keep it up, I believe that you can do it.

The Alkaline Diet and perhaps the silliest Ana diet The Rainbow Diet: Part 1 of the series: Weird Bants and the people who love them!

The Alkaline Diet and perhaps the silliest Ana diet The Rainbow Diet: Part 1 of the series: Weird Bants and the people who love them!

Irrelevant preface:

I have decided to change the name of this series, as this is the first post I am sure no one will mind. Banting is an old fashioned term for dieting. The term was popularized in the 1800’s by an undertaker named William Banting, this whole thing was about low carb dieting. He started his low-carb diet based on the advice of a Doctor name William Harvey, who had heard of low carb dieting as a means to control diabetes. Before the discovery of insulin the ONLY way to control diabetes was with proper Banting.

A reader that I care for deeply pointed out to me that she disliked the word “Dieting”… I have to agree. Diet is the word DIE with a “T” tacked on to the end of it. Words by themselves can mess with the psyche, word associations can play with the mind.

I prefer the term bant and banting, because it makes me think of pant and panting. Pant and panting make me think of exercise (not all exercise needs to involve panting). Chances are you thought of exercise when I suggested bant sounds like pant, but I bet you thought of a different kind of exercise! GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER !!! Or keep it there (that all caps thing was a joke)… I don’t really care what you do with your own mind as long as you keep it to yourself, it’s yours, and so is the word Banting. If you learned a new word today, HOORAY.

Now for the article:

The Alkaline diet is all the rage, in researching for my last series this diet kept popping up over and over again. A lot of people love this diet, but as of right now I would call this a hipster diet. Meaning that if you are reading this and you are on the Alkaline diet most likely you are in fact a hipster. Do you ever wear wool caps when it’s 90 degrees outside? You might be a hipster. (I have hipster friends I actually enjoy these people they entertain me.)

So what is wrong with this diet nutritionally, good news, not much. This can be a healthy diet. The basic things to eat on this diet are fresh citrus, low-sugar fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and legumes. Doing this you can pretty easily get all the nutrition you need and avoid many bad things that are in other foods. All of the foods you are supposed to eat on this diet are health foods.

Root vegetables and potatoes are tubers. Tubers are a neat way for plants to repopulate and spread without seeds, they also function as a way for the plant to survive the winter by using them as food. Potatoes are stem tubers, and grow off of stem shoots (you have seen this if you did not cook your potatoes right away). Technical lingo: they are a development of large stolons (means branch) that thicken into a storage organ. MIND BLOW TIME: PLANTS HAVE ORGANS TOO.     

The Alkaline Diet is a lie, shim sham, you have had a blind fold pulled over your eyes and been Wet Willyed in the ears. It is riddled to the brim with laughably wrong pseudoscience.

The pseudoscience: following the diet is said to help maintain a slight alkalinity to the blood, without stressing the body’s regulators of acid-base homeostasis. Doing this, they claim, as most fraud diets do; will do just about everything that is good for you: from speeding up your metabolism to improving your eyesight. (Remember, the Alkaline diet is a healthy diet, the “science” behind it just happens to be complete bull poopy). I find this diet’s pseudoscience so laughable because it actually does the EXACT OPPOSITE that it claims to do. Alkaline dieters following the diet have a tendency to have slightly more acidic blood than average.

The actual science:

The body makes chemical compounds, and we eat chemical compounds that the body then proceeds to use, the whole thing is so complicated that we may never run out of stuff to study. The body keeps the blood’s acid level roughly between a pH of about 7.35-7.45. The blood must stay very close to this range, if it gets too acidic (blood pH drops) it’s bad, and if gets too basic (alkaline, blood pH raises) it’s ALSO bad. It is bad if it gets too acidic (acidemia) primarily because the enzymes in the blood can lose their ability to function, potentially causing DEATH. If the blood pH get too alkaline (alkalemia) the body’s immediate response is to decrease ventilation, (breathe less) you may not notice it. Meaning if you did manage to chronically have alkaline blood not only would you be suffering from the unique dangers of pH imbalance, you would suffer from ALL THE PROBLEMS that you would get from not getting enough oxygen.

Both acidemia and alkalemia, you may call them thingies as I might in a personal conversation, can cause kidney problems. The body compensates for fluctuations in blood pH using primarily two methods: breathing (the faster method) and the kidneys (the more long term method). The body does not choose one method or the other it uses both at the same time. We increase ventilation, by breathing more or deeper to raise our blood pH. More air means more oxygen to bond to free hydrogen making the blood more alkaline and back to normal, we decrease ventilation to do the opposite. The kidneys directly make, release into blood, excrete into urine, or do some other sort of kidney voodoo with acids and bases. This stuff gets COMPLICATED; it is so complicated in fact that your doctor may not feel comfortable treating you if you have a disorder related to blood acid-base homeostasis. Seeing a specialist is often a good idea.

The bright side:

Good news though, even though the pseudoscience behind The Alkaline Diet is complete bull poopy, it is still a diet that tells you to eat healthy foods. With typical use this diet is typically healthy. I would not mind having a client on The Alkaline Diet, because: with my guidance, I could ensure they get enough of each macro nutrient. Many foods on their “no” list are healthy foods, and I think it is sad that Alkaline dieters might not be enjoying these foods flavors.

Most people who are strong proponents of one diet or another are guilty of FEARMONGERING; the Alkaline diet is no exception. Most “this is the best diet you should do it” people use a number of tactics to scare you. When they scare you of something, very rarely do they scare you of a thingy that you should earnestly be afraid of. Most of the time they are just being greedy and mean, they happen to not care that their pants are on fire. Some of them are just plain stupid, but most of them are regular old fashioned unethical, sorry.

If ingested in small enough quantities, even many POISONS will do little to no harm… So you should never spend time being afraid of what you should or should not eat, fear sucks, do not be afraid. Instead of fear try the concept of awareness, you should be aware that eating an extra strip of bacon may be bad for your heart. (This is not going to stop me from eating the extra strip of bacon, I love bacon, and I will just have less bacon next time and not eat bacon every day).

These fad diets that get famous (The Alkaline Diet is a fad diet) are great because they often spread awareness and they get people thinking. Unfortunately, they often have people eating bull poopy sandwiches. Everyone and anyone explaining anything tries to make what they are explaining sound understandable; those that are great at this make the best teachers and the best con artists. As far as I know, everything that could be used for good; can also be used for evil.

These “My diet is the best” people are trying to get you to accept their concept by using what I call the sandwich technique (I am not alone in calling this technique the sandwich technique.) I am going to explain how to properly do the sandwich technique.

The sandwich technique:

The Top Piece of bread: it is always something that you are at least a little familiar with, you may even understand the top piece of bread. You are comfortable with the top piece of bread. Even if you are not comfortable with the top piece of bread the top piece of bread is normally verifiably true. If you looked it up you would find credible sources to confirm the facts found here.

The Middle of the Sandwich: this is often something either completely amazing or seemingly so simple that you FEEL stupid about never noticing it before. The middle of the sandwich is all about convincing you that the facts in the middle of the sandwich belong there; between the two pieces of bread that you already know belong in the sandwich. The middle can be used for good and evil: If the middle of the sandwich’s facts is true then it is being used for good; if the middle of the sandwich’s facts is a lie then it is being used for evil.

The Bottom of the Sandwich: this is also always something that you are at least a little familiar with that is verifiably true. This part of the sandwich is usually not easy to understand. It is filled with facts you know to be true, but maybe you have not personally experienced to be true. These facts are usually harder to physically see or touch, but they are hard facts. The facts here can be seen or touched by experts, using the right equipment, which you don’t have. Even if these facts don’t take the “you trust the experts” approach; they always take advantage of the best, kindest, most loving, parts of our nature like: our natural DESIRE to trust, our WANT to be caring, and our NEED to feel like we belong.

I don’t think the people who buy into fad diets are stupid, and I don’t look down on them, and neither should you. Chances are the people that believe in these fad diets are good people with big hearts. Being a kind, loving, trusting person who wants to belong, is a wonderful thing. At the same time we probably should not make fun of skeptics, because it looks like having a little bit of skepticism is a good idea.

I believe that athletes come in all shapes and sizes. I believe that the super fat sumo wrestlers are athletes and the super thin marathon runners are athletes. For me amazing physical ability = athleticism. I feel it is important to recognize that while there are of course examples of all shapes and sizes being healthy, there are also examples of all shapes and sizes being unhealthy. The extremely thin and the extremely fat are usually unhealthy. The perfectly sculpted body builder, that guy/ girl you think is “hot”, the average person, and Mr. Couch D. Potato, all can have health problems and all of them can be “unhealthy.” This proves that health is not about the scale or the mirror, health is about what is hidden on the inside. Weight is an indicator of health it is not a decider of health.

If the body of their dreams is healthy, I will do my best to help my clients get into their dream bodies. I accept and respect the decisions people make about how they want to look. I would help a sumo wrestler train for their next match, and an ultra-thin marathoner train for their next race. I want my clients to be comfortable with themselves and how they look.

I have personally been fat and I have personally been thin, but I have always been comfortable in my own skin. This comfort is a product of having kind and loving parents, great family, friends that feel like family, and an amazing wife. How I feel about myself and the people I have that help me feel that way, no matter how I look at it, is luck. I am a lucky man, personally I feel that all of these people are blessing from God, but I respect your beliefs if you call it all happenstance.

Lol no segue, whatsoever… segue is pronounced Segway. A Segway is that two wheel scooter thing, a literary segue is a transition. All that emotional stuff made me have to take a break so… On my break I looked up how to spell segue properly.

Ana diets are all about tricking the body into one thing or another. Sometimes I look at these and see the methodology and perhaps even how they may scientifically be working physiologically. When it relates to the human body, Physiological effectiveness is not always all that relevant, when something has physiological effectiveness. We can think our way into and out of, a lot of things, our minds are very powerful and the placebo effect is very real.

The rainbow diet is possibly the prettiest diet of the Ana diets I know of. No Ana diet is healthy, and fasting when you are THAT thin is an unhealthy idea. The rainbow diet is popular in the pro-anorexia community and most anorexics already know about it. The rainbow diet does not have to be a “for anorexics only” diet. Some people have tried doing this with a healthy amount of calories like 2000 calories for fun or as a challenge, perhaps because they were bored and unchallenged.

The basic idea of the Rainbow Diet: Eat a different food of a different color each day of the week. For each day ONLY eat foods of the same color, making a rainbow of colors. This as a traditional Ana diet is dangerously restrictive when it comes to calorie intake.

Many find this diet especially effective perhaps because it is not boring, when a diet is not boring it is easier to stick too. A food’s color can sometimes be an indicator of what nutrients are in a food like the color orange: apricots, pumpkins, tangerines, oranges and carrots all have a good amount beta carotene. Because of this relationship between food nutrients and food color, eating a diet with a wide variety color is a good idea. It is a good idea to eat a diet that resembles a rainbow. This diet is a challenge, but an achievable challenge. Each day is a different achievement. If you finished a day without eating a food that is a different color than the allowed color that day, you achieved that ENTIRE day, and it feels great to do so. If you slip up and accidentally eat the wrong color or “cheat” you have to try again the next day. When done by an anorexic if they cheat they simply just exercise to counteract the “cheat” (this is actually common of most all Ana diets). There are so many lessons that can be learned from this diet it deserves reiteration in the form of a list.

You can skip the list you just read ALL of it.

  1. If dieting is boring it is harder to stick to.
  2. Eating a colorful variety of foods is a good, nutritious idea.
  3. Challenges are okay, because achievement feels amazing.
  4. If you make a mistake you should try to fix it and you often can.

I don’t want this post to be “thinspiration” (inspiration that anorexic people use to continue on their dangerous diets). But instead of fear mongering and telling what you already know about the dangers of anorexia. I am going to tell you how to LOOK as thin as you do, if not thinner, but do so and be healthy like a super-thin marathon runner.

Marathon runners and most runners for that matter eat a healthy diet; often they obsess about eating a healthy diet. Obsession about eating healthy is generally not frowned upon in the running community (although many people still find it confusing). Runners eat a healthy amount of calories because they understand that calories are your body’s source of energy and they come with nutrients. Runners do argue about what to eat, but they all agree that you should try to eat healthy.

Training for anything requires plenty of nutrients.

Anorexics (near always) have a much higher body fat percentage than super THIN marathon runners or super HUGE body builders. Many huge, and healthy, body builders have body fat percentages around 3.5%. I do not consider myself a true “body builder” I personally am currently around 7% body fat; most anorexics are around 10%. It is true that digital machines and scales that electronically measure body fat percentages by measuring the relative conductance of the body (how easy electricity passes through it), are not accurate for the morbidly obese and the anorexic. It is hard to get reliable body fat percentage numbers for these two demographics. Decent body fat percentage numbers can be gotten for these groups using pinch tests, and more accurate tests are difficult but possible and expensive. If you can pinch fat on the front of your thigh when you are flexing, you have more fat than I do. (No worries readers I am muscular and in excellent health, I just happen to weight a good bit and have a low body fat percentage, this paradox is why BMI is BS).

The human body has dozens if not hundreds, more likely thousands of different defensive mechanisms against the bad for us things we do. (This is not a good excuse to live an unhealthy life most of these defense mechanisms have some very negative, sometimes unhealthy, consequences.) One of the defense mechanisms the body uses to prevent rapid fluctuations in body fat percent: is making more fat cells. The more fat cells you have the harder it is to gain weight and the harder it is to lose weight. The morbidly obese have more fat cells than average.

It could be possible that anorexics have more fat cells than average too, more study is needed. Unfortunately, biopsies are the best way to discover how many fat cells a person has. IT IS NOT ETHICAL, to take a biopsy of an Anorexic’s fat, because the Anorexic needs that fat and biopsied tissue is not returned to the person. Bone marrow can be returned to the donor. It has been concretely shown that anorexics have more “yellow” bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow (medulla ossium flava) is mainly made of fat cells and its job is to make more fat cells.

Anorexics I am truly sorry if the next thing I say makes you cry, it is not my intent to hurt you. I want to let you know that you can look very thin like you want to, but have a healthy body. As of right now as you are reading this if you are an anorexic: Your bones are TOO fat. Because your BONES are so FAT your body does not get enough of a lot of the things it needs like red blood cells.

Blood cells are also made in the bone marrow, how much of each type of bone marrow we have is largely demand based; meaning if we need more red blood cells we will have more red bone marrow (medulla ossium rubra).

Training for marathon running does not have to be incredibly time consuming, but it is of course going to take a bunch of effort. Training for a marathon does not automatically mean that you will be thin or in the case of anorexics get fat or muscular. If you want to maintain your figure while you train (want to stay either curvy or thin) it is not too hard to do using adjustments in nutrition.

Anyone can become a runner; you can start today with proper diet and a couch to 5k program. Proper diet is not too hard to do and neither are couch to 5k programs.

A fun seemingly irrelevant note to end on:

It may be really hard to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time; IF you try to start doing them at the same time. If you start rubbing your stomach and THEN start patting your head WHILE you are already rubbing your stomach at the same time, you might find it much easier to do both at the same time. (This works give it a try.) The same can be true of diet and exercise… it is just funny how the body works.

Have fun exercising and happy banting!

DV’s, Calories and losing a pound of fat, plus a recipe! Part 10 of the series: Dieting does it work for you?

DV’s, Calories and losing a pound of fat, plus a recipe! Part 10 of the series: Dieting does it work for you?

A brief history of the concept of Daily Values: always. That’s it every culture from the dawn of time has had some idea or another about what should be eaten and how much. Sometimes historical guidelines were a little off but usually they were for one reason or another good idea to follow.


The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States government puts out the above chart; these are the official government stamped recommended Daily Values. This is a very general guideline meant for most of us (a potential flaw in the guideline). The FDA does recommend specific values for different demographics but they are not incorporated into this system. On food in the US nutritional labels are based off of these values. In the US products meant for infants often describes Daily Values as they reference to infants. Just for fun other governments like to disagree slightly.


The Food and Drink Administration of the United Kingdom uses a system called Guideline Daily Amounts, GDA (England, Great Brittan whatever you want to call this place). In the UK the labels on food are based off this system as it is described for women. It is felt that the described GDA for women is the best option of the three, to apply to the general public. The UK system differs from the US system largely by recommending different amounts for different demographics largely men women and children. The US does this too, but they do not incorporate it into the official chart that is in use.

It is not just the governments that disagree… it is everyone. Chances are you disagree with some of these values, I know I do. Just the same, there is research behind the values that a government puts out… because well a healthy population is a cheaper population. Healthy people put less financial stress on many systems including the government. With the UK having Universal Health Care they are doubly financially incentivized to publish good numbers. In the article above, it details that the numbers are fine to stick close to as a guide, but should not be treated as a target. This is elaborated by saying a person should eat no more than the GDA’s for sugars, fat, saturates (saturated fat) and salt.

For a safe bet, you should stick with the charts and the numbers off of them. If you must use the images know that the lower end of the field is usually for adult females and the upper end of the field is for adult males.

Most people involved with nutrition disagree with the amount of vitamins and minerals that government guidelines recommend, and indeed these numbers are always being studied…. But they do not have anything resembling a consensus as to what the numbers should be. Peoples (including doctors and other professionals) personal recommendations are often WAY higher or WAY lower. But guess what they are rarely as safe as the government recommendations.

Low Carb Diet: usually safe 98% + of the time maybe, but NOT always… the US government’s recommendation of 300grams may make you fat (debatable). However, there is near zero risk that your body suffers from extreme ketoacidosis. If your body is not capable of a healthy ketogenic state (a very small amount of people are not capable) and you stubbornly continue on your diet despite all kinds of discomfort you could develop extreme ketoacidosis and… DIE.

Low Fat Diets: I hate low fat diets (I need to be honest about my bias), not only are they uncomfortable but they are also potentially lethal. The FDA recommends 65 grams of fat with no more than 20 from saturated, this is not a low fat diet (at 29% of calories some, not me, would even consider this a high fat diet). People usually experience negative side effects; thank god most people on low fat diets cheat and have fatty food when nobody is looking.

A list of really bad potential side effects of a low fat diet:

LOW FAT DIETS ARE USUALLY DANGERIOUS, A common recommendation is a minimum of 18-20 grams of unsaturated fat.

  1. Depression (suicide = death), fats are biological precursors to most hormones in the body including mood regulating hormones, when your body goes without the fat to make the hormones it needs; it can use it’s fat stores to some extent. However while the body is getting that fat it is going without and you are depressed (amongst other bad things). Your body over compensates, hooray for insanity causing mood swings, and you become manic… to much mania and the average body builds up a resistance to everything that causes mania. Meaning deeper and deeper depression.
  2. Poor vitamin absorption (potentially lethal), some vitamins like vitamin C are water soluble meaning they break down into something the body can use by being in water. Some vitamins are FAT soluble meaning breaking down into something the body can use MUST be done in fats and oils. If you are not getting enough fats in your diet your body CANNOT fully compensate for it. You will not get enough vitamins like A, D, E and K which are fat soluble. The body cannot or at least will not put fat from its fat stores into the stomach, and bile only has about 1% fat not enough to prevent malnutrition. Malnutrition is one of the worst ways to die.
  3. Increased cancer rate, this one may take a good while to take into effect but it has been repeatedly shown to be true. You do things to try and prevent getting cancer like wear sunscreen, and avoid this or avoid that, stop avoiding fat, by avoiding fat you are asking for cancer.
  4. Heart disease: those omega fatty acids that everyone is talking about being so good for your heart are FAT. You have most likely developed the mentality that these Omegas are good for you, well good news they are, so get some already.
  5. Overeating: fat is the most satiating nutrient you could consume. Not getting enough fat could result in hunger, thusly overeating.
  6. Imbalanced nutrition: I am a huge proponent of wiggle room in nutrition but your diet must resemble something that could be called balanced, and any time it does not you are putting yourself at risk.

Low Protein Diets: The FDA recommends 50 grams of protein, this is actually a pretty low protein diet being only about 10% but the non-active body does not really need much protein. If you are on a diet with less protein than about 40 grams: you can EXPECT weakness and mood issues. Muscles need protein to make repairs and when they don’t get it, they become weaker and weaker. Amino acids from proteins do more than just build cells. Tryptophan is a biological precursor to serotonin which we need to feel happy. I am thankful that these diets are becoming increasingly rare.

So what does the FDA recommend as for macro nutrients?

65 grams of Fat (no more than 20 saturated) = about 585 calories.

50 grams of protein (the world health organization gives guidelines for amino acids) = about 200 calories

300 grams of carbohydrates = about 1200 calories

This translates into 1985 calories: 29.4% Fat, 10.1% Protein and 60.4% Carbohydrates.

So how much is considered too much of each.

Protein: according to the National Academy of Sciences to much protein is 35% of daily calorie intake. On a 2000 calorie diet this is a whopping 175 grams of protein. Studies are done all the time on this topic and numbers like to dance around like crazy. I have never seen anything recommended by a reputable source over 1.8 grams per kilogram and the recommendation was for body builders. Assuming a weight of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) this is 180 grams of protein, damm close to the Academy’s numbers. I do not have a problem and I hold my tongue, when my clients say they are getting 40%. Over this tends to do no harm (unless you have kidney issues) but getting over this is typically utterly useless.

Fat: does not have well established maximums, however consuming over 30% increases risks for things like obesity, insulin resistance and cardiovascular problems. Consuming more than 30% fat slows down the metabolism (so does getting less than 10% fat). If you are on a low fat diet you should be especially careful to minimize saturated fat intake.

Carbohydrates: Assuming you meet the minimum of 10% Fat and 10% Protein your max carb intake would be 80%; which is 400 carbs on a 2000 calorie diet. This does not have to lead to weight gain, if the right carbs are consumed. These numbers are fairly common for vegans, and vegans are generally a lean group of people.

Oddly governments don’t even always agree with themselves… The “food plate” from the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, does not rightly match the RDI’s of the Food and Drug Administration. In my opinion this is a good thing, I would prefer it if my clients followed the food plate model. The food plate is a much more balanced model.

Apparently the USDA is really here to help because they offer for free what many internet sites charge for (there are non-government free versions too). They offer a program called super tracker which helps you track your diet and physical activity. I was fact checking this and the government’s program is one of the most accurate I have seen to date, and is probably the most accurate free one. These types of programs are common but this one looks really good.

Many smart phone apps that I have found that do this, are really good, and often free.


Fat has around 9 calories per gram. There is 1000 grams in a kilogram, meaning a kilogram of fat has 9000 calories… scary. A kilogram is ~2.205 pounds so a pound of pure fat is 4081.6 calories. The fat in your body is contained within fat cells, which are held in place with connective tissue and of course there is muscle in the mix as well, when all of these are factored into the equation the commonly accepted number for number of calories in a an average pound of fat is about 3500 calories. The average kilogram of fat is about 7700 calories. (These numbers are for typical adipose tissue, fat, which contains about 80% fat by volume)

3500 calories should be considered to be about a maximum number of calories that could be in a pound of fat.

Contrary to popular belief fat is not kept by the body until it is needed. Fat cells are constantly releasing and storing fat, this is a very good thing. Fat cells do have a tendency to pick up other nasty things (toxins) and store them, but because they are constantly loading and unloading their cargo toxin build-up is not too bad (or at least not supposed to be). If fat cells did not do this, losing weight would be very dangerous. (Some toxins are released during weight loss, but this is normally not cause for alarms because of this load/unload function of fat cells.) Fat-cells also store vitamins like A, D, E, and K thus helping prevent malnutrition.

Adipose tissues, fat, aside from being a storage area, serve an endocrine function, fat makes hormones. (The fat itself does not make hormones the fat cell does). I am not going to get into their functions. These hormones are currently a subject of many studies. As far as I know there is not a single hormone that the body makes that has no effect on health when it is out of balance. It has been proposed that obesity throws these hormones out of balance. A list of adipose tissue hormones: Adiponectin, Resistin, Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1, TNF alpha, IL-6, Leptin, Estradiol. Adipose tissue also secretes some other stuff like proteins and things; the point is fat cells are busy little things.

The FAT gene

Being genetically predisposed to obesity is extremely rare, and it usually involves the hormone leptin. If you super want to see if you blaming your genes has any merit, you can start contacting all the blood testing labs near you to see if they will test your leptin levels for you. Most likely you are not genetically obese. The famous “famine” thrifty gene hypothesis has been proved invalid many times. Chances are you can apologize to Mom and Dad because their genes did not make you fat. A predisposition to over-weight is a little less rare genetically, and usually this has to do with water retention. Those who retain water easy will quickly lose this extra water when they lose weight… so the moral of the story is: stop blaming your genes.

“Burning” a Pound of Fat:

The human body has 20-27 billion fat cells with the capacity to have up to around 300 billion fat cells. When we lose weight we do a combination of having our fat cells reduce in size and if we have extra we slowly lose the extra fat cells. The size of a fat cell in a healthy adult ranges from .2 micrograms to .9 micrograms; inside a fat cell is a single tiny droplet of lipid (fat) and some other stuff, but there is also organelles like mitochondria and there is a nucleus.

Having a calorie deficit is important to weight loss; a calorie deficit is essentially negative calories. When you add up everything you ate and then subtract the calories you burned just being alive and the calories you burned during exercise, if you get a negative number then you have a calorie deficit. These formulas almost never take into account the speed of your metabolism or the fact that with all exercise your body continues to burn calories as it heals in response to the exercise. Just the same it is important to have a calorie deficit when doing this math. This is known as Calories In minus Calories Out (Cal in – Cal out).

Years ago it was common knowledge to burn a pound of fat it required that you have a calorie deficit of 1000 calories, when following Cal In – Cal out. If you had asked a doctor in the 90’s they probably would have given you 1000 for a number to burn. Today it is common knowledge that to burn a pound of fat you have to have a deficit of 3500 calories. The average doctor today would give you the number 3500.

3500 is a complete and utter lie; it is nonsense, really think about it. Think about how complicated those fat cells are?

It takes calories to get the fat from those cells:

The body produces a number of hormones when it needs the energy it has stored in its fat cells: Epinephrine, Growth Hormone, ACTH, Glucagon, and Thyroid Hormone. It takes calories to make and use these hormones. These hormones act in a way opposite of insulin and trigger the release of fat cells triglycerides and glycerol. The triglycerides (fatty acids) must be broken down into glycerol through lipolysis, this takes calories. Some parts of your body can use the glycerol and fatty acids directly, using those takes calories. Other parts of the body require glucose and so the fat has to be broken down even further using gluconeogenesis, which also burns calories. The brain always needs some ketone bodies so more calories must be “burnt” to make them. The list goes on and on… the body is dang complicated and trying to boil it down to a simple subtraction problem (calories in- calories out) in my opinion is in insult to the all-knowing nature of God.

The real formula is: Calories in – calories out – ? = weight loss, maybe. There are some things that only God knows the exact answers to.

I highly doubt that medical science will ever be able to come up with a reliable formula for weight loss that will apply to the general population because we are all different people.

It is, however, very possible to roughly formulize weight loss, I do it all the time. I use the formula: Calories in – Calories out – [R (for calories used during recovery) + M (for metabolism) + V (for hidden variables)] = weight loss. To come up with this formula you MUST work backwards. You must clearly and carefully annotate everything you do for a week to a month and measure your weight before and afterwards. Then, with a little math, you can get a rough formula (this may be really hard for you to do, sorry it is pretty easy for me). The formula is good until it stops working, and it will eventually stop working.

There is a gem of comfort to all of this: it takes less than a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose weight. Your number might be a 1000, it might be 2500 it might be 1999. It is not uncommon for it to be as little as 500 for the morbidly obese. If you become an elite athlete losing a pound of fat will eventually become very difficult and the number can be as high as 3500, so perhaps if weight loss goes slow for you were destine to become an elite athlete?

For those that are thinking about Liposuction yes you lose the cells themselves, but guess what it is common that the body strikes back at you with a vengeance. Often those who get lipo eventually end up having more fat cells than they did when they started. The more fat cells you have the harder it is to lose weight.    

Experiment, experiment, experiment and then experiment some more: find what works for you!

Below is one of my more recent experiments, I have been experimenting with making recipes for weight loss powders that could be used to make weight loss shakes and weight loss snacks. This recipe has no artificial ingredients, no protein isolates, and is packed full of nutrition. It is also pretty cheap to make, around $40 for a whole month’s supply. I call this recipe Ninja Food Diet-Powder, but you can call it whatever you like. If you are allergic to nuts and seeds don’t add them but do add some other source of fat, your body needs fat. The nuts and seeds (including the flax) are to “complete” the protein of the lentils. Lentils can also be pared with whole grains or whole grain germs like wheat germ to “complete” the protein. Protein completion is not all that necessary with this recipe because lentils are only deficient in two essential amino acids methionine and cysteine and skim milk powder has an abundance of these two amino acids.

Ninja Food Diet-Powder     

To make a month’s supply you will need:

Skim Milk Powder – 64 servings (~15$)

Milled flax seed – 32 servings (~5$ no need to buy the expensive one)

Lentils – 96 servings (~8$)

A mixture of nuts and seeds – 32 total serving’s worth (~10$ no need to buy expensive nuts and seeds)

A day supply is hard to make (you will understand if you try) but you would need:

2 servings of skim milk powder

1 serving of milled flax

3 servings of lentils

1 servings of a mixture of nuts and seeds

Have a little extra to account for some loss during preparation.

Preparation is easy, but can take some time if you are comfortable in the kitchen 1 hour.

  1. Prepare the lentils into a lentil floor (alternatively you could directly buy lentil floor, but make sure it is “whole lentil” lentil floor so you are getting all the protein and nutrients). Using a blender, a coffee grinder, or a food processor grind up some of the lentils. Then using a fine mesh sieve, sift the lentils, keep the floor and put the large pieces back into the machine you are using. Repeat this process until you have the lentil floor that you need (I store the leftovers and use them in soup).
  2. Prepare the nuts and seeds into a near butter. Using the same machine, grind up the nuts and seeds until they are fine, it is okay if they become a bit like a nut butter, you don’t want any large pieces.
  3. Gradually kneed lentil floor into the nuts and seeds mixture until they have been completely combined. I find it is best to do this by hand, so make sure your hands are nice and clean before you get them messy. The oil you feel on your hands is mostly natural unprocessed nut oils which are good for you (if you bought oil roasted nuts you may be feeling some of that oil). I have discovered this is a little easier to do with a bit of extra virgin olive oil on your hands.
  4. Add the resulting mixture with the skim milk powder and milled flax (which don’t normally need any additional grinding). Mix well and you are done.


A month’s supply of this is heavy and takes up a lot of space. I used a brand new clean garbage bag (two actually double layered) in the final mixing stages, and I happened to have containers large enough to store all of this stuff.

This powder is quite versatile it can be used to make shakes or no-bake cookies.

With my ingredients I get about 640 calories a day 180 from fat (1.9 grams saturated 18.1 grams unsaturated), 54 grams of protein and 37.1 grams of fiber. This comes out to about 192 total grams of powder a day this is about 1.5 cups of powder. To make a shake I mix ½ cup of powder (4 ounces) with 6-8 ounces of water. To make no bake ninja cookies (sometimes I call them ninja food pills when I roll them into balls) mix the powder with 1/3 by mass as much water so if you have a pound of powder mix it with 1/3 pound of water. When making ninja cookies I lucked out and could use a tablespoon of prepared dough and get really close to 1/12 a daily serving. (With 53 calories and 4.5 grams of protein, 3.1 grams of fiber these little cookies are very filling.)

When I run out of this powder I am going to be making a vegan version for myself to test. I want to see if there is a difference in hunger suppression effectiveness. I made a vegan version for a client and I am getting very positive feedback. As is this powder is very bland, it has a bit of a plant flavor and a bit of a nut flavor, but its blandness is a good thing. This powder is easy to flavor, I have used chocolate milk and other flavored beverages.

You do not have to use this or anything special to diet, but one thing is for sure you should find what works for you. I believe that all people can get healthy, including you, good luck.