Sunday, May 28, 2017

Does Weighing Yourself Help You to Lose Weight?

Do weight changes translate into fat loss?
On a day to day basis a scale is an extremely poor tool for giving you information on changes in bodyfat levels which are very small.  Daily weight changes are mostly accounted for by four factors:  bowel movements, urination, starch and sugar intake, and blood volume.    Since your blood volume typically does NOT vary that much the other factors are more relevant.

Bowel Movements and Urination vary a lot between different people anywhere from 1.3lbs to 5.7lbs in a single day.    This is one of the reasons to consistently weight yourself after you wake up and go to the bathroom and before you eat or drink much.

However, the biggee when it comes to daily weight fluctuation, is usually glycogen storage levels.    Glycogen is just the storage form of glucose aka blood sugar.    All starch and sugar ultimately end up as glucose, glycogen or fat.     

For example, on the front end of a low carb diet you will show big weight loss which is almost all water because you store glucose/glycogen with water – hence the term carbo “Hydrate”.  Muscle and organs contain the highest levels of water, and this is significant because most of your bodyweight comes from muscles and organs. 
So daily changes in weight are NOT a good reflection in changes in bodyfat levels!

Can daily weighing help with long-term weight loss and fat loss?

In order to answer this question let’s review the scientific studies that have looked at this issue.     The recent advent of WIFI scales is allowing much more accurate weight records because prior to that people had to take the time to write down their weight each day.

In a recent WIFI scale study called the Weight Trial here were the results:

Over a six-month period, those who weighed daily lost about 13 lbs more than the control group.

Even those who weighed themselves up to five times each week lost less weight than the daily weighers.

Daily Weighers were more likely to do things like eating less food and watching less television so clearly the weighing helped by changing behaviors!

Although this study did not measure body fat, it is quite likely that the body weight loss did translate into significant fat loss.

For certain groups, daily weighing is a bad idea such as people with eating disorders and other psychological disorders including extremely low self-esteem.     In addition, daily weighing does not work for everyone.   For some people the inevitable plateaus or variations in weight loss can very frustrated and quit the whole process!

So daily weighing may be helpful for you, but it is not perfect and it does not accurately measure changes in bodyfat levels so it is important to do use some method of body composition testing to measure these changes which should be your ultimate goal!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Zucchini Noodle with Avocado Pesto Sauce

Most people love pasta, but regular pasta is not exactly a nutritional bonanza!   Pasta is basically pure starch which immediately is converted to sugar in your body and has no real micronutrient content.   But if you substitute zucchini pasta with avocado, pine nuts, and parsley it is a whole different ballgame!

Not only does it taste great – it has very little sugar, and plenty of healthy fats along with tons of fiber.  From a micronutrient standpoint, it is packed with nutrients including:

High levels of vitamin C

High levels of potassium and magnesium

Vitamin B-6

Recipe Ingredients:

2 Large Organic Zucchini
2 small ripe avocados
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons of avocado oil
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
Juice from 1 organic lemon
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste


1.       Spiralize zucchinis and then set aside.    Great article on how to spiralize veggies here:  and you can buy the hand peeler mentioned here:

2.       In a food processor or blender, add avocados, pine nuts, lemons, red pepper flaxes, salt and pepper.   Blend on high for 2-3 minutes until creamy then slowly drizzle in the avocado oil while it continues to blend and emulsify.

3.       Heat a large skillet on medium heat.   Once it is hot, add the zucchini noodles to the pan tossing them around 5 for minutes.   Add ¼ cup of the pesto sauce to the pan.   Using tongs, coat the zucchini noodles thoroughly.

4.       Serve it while it is hot garnishing with parsley.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Incredible Pistol Squat

The pistol squat requires mobility and strength from the entire lower body and core, and once you work up to being able to complete them you can get a great lower body workout anywhere with no equipment. 

Most people will not be able to perform the pistol squat properly without working through several progressions that help develop the specific mobility, strength and stability required to get through the exercise for repetitions.

Pistol Squat Progressions

There are two basic ways to progress to a full pistol squat. Either use a progressively lower bench or step, or use something to hold onto while doing a full pistol to help pull yourself up and progressively use it less and less until it is no longer required.

For the step progression, you can use actually stairs or use a chair to start.    Stand facing away from the chair or staircase and put all your weight on one leg keeping the other leg straight with the hip flexed slightly so the non-standing foot is held off the ground in front of you.     Flex the hips and reach back with your butt towards the staircase or chair and lower yourself down under control keep your arms straight and in front of you parallel to the floor to counterbalance your hips moving backwards.    Let the standing knee and ankle flex along with your hip as you reach your butt backwards and go down.    However, you MUST keep the heel of the standing leg down and this requires a lot of flexibility of the soleus tendon (soleus is the single joint calf muscle).    

Try to lightly touch your butt down to a stair or the chair then drive the standing foot down, squeeze the glute extending your hip, knee and ankle to the starting position.  Perform sets of 5 – 10 reps each leg.    Overtime find progressively lower steps, benches or individual stairs so that you are progressively squatting lower and lower until you can perform a full squat on one leg all the way down to the ground and back up again keeping your non-standing leg straight and parallel to the floor while the hip is flexed.

The second option to progress to full pistol squats is to hold onto something that you can pull on while doing a full pistol squat thereby assisting the stance leg.    You can hold onto a suspension trainer, a cable machine handle, door frame, chair or table, or resistance training band or rope anchored above you.    A great way to do this is to anchor a suspension trainer or resistance band above you to a secure point then grasp the two handles and pull on them as required to do a full pistol squat.    Over time progressively use less and less assistance from the upper body, switch to just one hand, then lessen grip and assistance until you can perform full pistol squats.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

How to Obtain the Benefits of Broccoli without Eating Broccoli!

Regular consumption of Broccoli has many proven benefits, but the most significant set of benefits come from two key compounds:   Glucoraphanin and Sulforaphane.     They have been the focus of over 650 scientific publications. 

Sulforaphane is responsible for the following benefits:

Supports the body’s detoxification processes

Protects cells and more importantly cellular DNA from damage which is the instigator of cancer!

Activates more than 200 genes

Supports normal cell division and growth

Boost endogenous anti-oxidant production

Supports gut health

Supports regeneration of cartilage

Supports Bladder and Prostate Health

Supports Respiratory Health

Helps prevent and treat multiple forms of cancer including prostate, stomach cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, throat cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, and breast cancer to name a few!

Sulforaphane is actually produced from Glucoraphanin in broccoli through the action of an enzyme called myrosinase produced by intestinal bacteria or contained in some foods. 
Here is where the challenge lies!    Cook broccoli too much and you destroy the Glucoraphanin and the myrosinase.    Eating it raw is problematic for sulforaphane production as well so it is really hard to get this just right.  Also for many people the taste of broccoli is really unpleasant.   In addition to obtain therapeutic amounts of sulforaphane you need to eat about 2 pounds of broccoli each week!

Endogenous vs Exogenous Anti-Oxidants

Everyone has heard of anti-oxidants which are a crucial part of our physiology.   Anti-oxidants come through two key sources:   from chemicals in food (particularly plants) know as exogenous antioxidants, and from the body producing its own supply of anti-oxidants known as endogenous anti-oxidants.    Although both play important roles in health, endogenous anti-oxidants are much more crucial and important to overall health and disease prevention.

In general, Endogenous Anti-Oxidants cannot be consumed and must be generated by the cells of the body.    As we age the body produces progressively lower quantities of these vital substances, but there are substances which ramp up endogenous anti-oxidant production.   Sulforaphane is one of the most potent substances for increasing the production of endogenous anti-oxidant production and dramatically increasing the detoxification of the many toxins that we encounter in our environment, food and drink.    This is critically important for health and one of the most important ways to prevent cancer!

Obtaining Sulforaphane without eating broccoli 

The good news is that broccoli sprouts contain 10 – 50 times more sulforaphane that one ounce of broccoli sprouts contain the same amount of sulforaphane as 1.5 pounds of broccoli.   So fresh broccoli sprouts are a great alternative and have a light taste.     However, some people’s gut contains less than optimal levels of the right types of bacteria which are key for producing the necessary quantities of myrosinase so production of sulforaphane can be limited.

A great way to insure you get myrosinase is to add a little horseradish, mustard, or wasabi (has to be REAL wasabi which is rare) because all of these foods are high in myrosinase.    Horseradish contains much larger amounts of myrosinase than broccoli or broccoli sprouts and ALSO contains glucoraphanin so adding a little to broccoli or broccoli sprouts will dramatically boost the benefits.   Just a little real horseradish (teaspoon is more than enough) is all you need!

Sulforaphane Supplements

Sulforaphane is not stable as a supplement so consuming it by itself is not a good strategy.     That being said there are supplements made from broccoli sprouts and broccoli seeds that contain significant quantities of Glucoraphanin and Myrosinase which generate significant quantities of Sulforaphane when consumed.      Broccomax contains standardized quantities of myrosinase and glucoraphanin and is proven to generate significant quantities of sulforaphane in the body, and Mercola Fermented Broccoli Sprouts also provides similar benefits.   Both can be found from multiple sources on the internet.