Eat Your Greens. It’s Brain Food!

Do you eat greens? Some people eat salads to manage their waistlines. Some eat greens because they want more fiber in their diet. Some folks, don’t think about leafy greens at all. Would you eat more greens if I told you greens are good for your brain? And that if you eat greens regularly, your brain could be younger by an average of 11 years compared to non-greens eaters.

In a study published in the magazine “Neurology”, researchers found that by increasing the daily consumption of greens by 1.3 servings a day, test subjects significantly slowed down their cognitive decline. For those who added the additional serving of leafy greens to their diet everyday slowing of cognitive decline such that their brains appeared to be 11 years YOUNGER that the test subjects who did not eat leafy green.

What is the relation of leafy greens to a younger brain? It is believed that the primary nutrients and bio-actives in leafy greens, vitamin K (phylloquinone), lutein, β-carotene, nitrate, folate, kaempferol, and α-tocopherol, play an essential part in keeping the brain healthy, and thus slowing the natural decline that comes with aging.

A healthy mind and body, in sync with each other, is a great way to live out your life.

If you would like to read more about this topic, you can find the study published in Neurology here 

The LIVESTRONG site also has some additional studies done on this topic and those studies back up the latest study. Check that out here.

34 Minute Metabolism Busting Workout

Are you wanting a new routine or looking to make a change to your current routine? I really like the video being featured on the LIVESTRONG site. The routine is 34 minutes, so it isn’t too long. You are constantly moving; thus, your heart rate is accelerated and your fat burning metabolism is kicked up. Extra bonus, you don’t need any equipment!  You can do this in your home before you go to work, or as soon as you get home without dedicating hours of your time or breaking your wallet.

Check out the video from Stronger, located here

Video Creenshot from livestrong and stronger

Let me know your thoughts about the routine and if you add this to your workouts. I’m adding the routine to my “off days”, when I’m not running.

Don’t Let YOU give up on YOU

Here is a little fitness inspiration. The picture and associated article are from Runner’s World. What you will read is a cool little story about how 50-year-old Molly Friel just qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials! That was not a typo, and YES, she kicked butt. Read her story at Runner’s World:

Reading this article inspires me to say, “Don’t let YOU give up on YOU”. Don’t give on your health. Don’t give up on your fitness. Don’t settle for the slow slide into obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other degenerative maladies. Don’t put yourself in the position where you look back 20 years from now and say, “If I had only done a little more exercise, I could now … enjoy my retirement… travel more… explore places I have never been…. play with my grandchildren.”

At 52 years old, I completely understand the challenges of a health and fitness routine. Can getting started on a fitness routine be difficult? Yes. Can staying vigilant of health issues be tiresome? Yes. I no longer bounce when I hit the floor. When I mix up my exercise routine, my muscles are now sorer for longer than when I was younger. But, I do believe that nothing worth gaining ever comes easy, and gaining and keeping your health is worth every sore muscle. Decide today that YOU won’t give up on YOU. I’m not saying that you need to run a marathon Molly Friel, but if you want to run in her footsteps, go for it! Molly is a great example as to why we shouldn’t let age define our health or our fitness.
If you don’t have an exercise routine today, think about it over the weekend, put together some simple plans, and get started. Starting is always the hardest part. Once you are in motion, you’ll keep moving. And don’t fret if your plans are too simple. Just move, and your health will fall into place. Plus, I’ll continue to provide you with new ideas each week and after a while, you’ll find the routine that works best for you.
I’ll have write more on this topic in the following weeks. Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, I hope you can enjoy some exercise, and if you cook this week’s food recipe, let me know how the recipe turned out for you.

Beef Vegetable Soup

photo by Graham Brown

I know, last week I posted a soup recipe and I’m doing it again today. What can I say, I like soup! And here is another soup that for me is hitting all the right notes: 1) Healthy, 2) Easy to make, 3) will warm you up on a cold day. Note that this recipe utilizes the slow cooker, just like last week’s recipe. So, get your prep down, drop the ingredients in the crock pot, and go take care of your busy life.

One thing I will change on this recipe is that I will drop the potatoes and add greens. I grow Swiss chard and it had become a favorite vegetable of mine to add to salads, soups, or to sauté. It is such an easy and versatile vegetable, packed with fiber and minerals, and yet has a mild flavor. By dropping the potatoes and adding the Swiss chard, I will increase the fiber count and decrease the simple carbohydrate count. Simple carbohydrates (starch, i.e. sugar) is the bane of my diet, and consequently, the bane of my health. I’m sure than many of you also face many of the same challenges health that I do because starch likes to take up residency around our midsections. I’m putting my foot down on starch!

Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 14-1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup loose-pack frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley sprigs (optional)

Nutrition facts per serving: 269 calories, 28g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 4g fiber

For directions on how to put these ingredients together for a delicious soup, please click here and see the rest of the details. https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/seven-easy-slow-cooker-recipes/?page=4

Five Reasons Why People Overeat

Photo created by Wide-Body

In a well-done article, Parade magazine explores five reasons people overeat. What I like about this article is that the reasons given for why people overeat is because people have formed poor habits that they are likely unaware that they have. And because these same people are unaware they have these poor habits, they are also likely to be unaware of how the poor habit is impacting their ability to stop overeating. How many of these bad habits do you have? I know there is one habit in here that I was unaware of until I read this article.

The Five Reasons Why People Overeat are:

  1. Overestimating the value of exercise. The treadmill says you burned 500 calories, so you think that it is okay to supersize your next meal. Problem, exercise machines inflate the calories burned number.
  2. Your primary social activity is eating out. Large restaurant plates, alcohol, and good friend can lead to overeating, and you may not even be aware it is happening. Try an event that is more active with your group of friends.
  3. You need more sleep. A lack of sleep messes up your hormone levels, leading you to crave more food, and thus overeat. You can keep your appetite in check by getting more sleep.
  4. You eat food labeled as “healthy”. Here is a something I never considered; Some people subconsciously associate healthy food choices with being less filling, and thus over eat the healthy choices. Who knew? Not me. Portion control doesn’t go away just because you’ve made a healthy food choice.
  5. You are not eating enough fat. “Say what? Are you saying I need to eat more fried chicken?” Eating more fat doesn’t mean eating more fried foods. In the case of fried foods, much of the fat used in the frying is saturated fat, which goes straight to your belly and hurts the heart. Instead, the fats you need in your diet are unsaturated and found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon, and olive oil. These fats add flavor to food AND satisfy your appetite

I have to say that I learned something new, and had a couple of suspicions verified. To read more details and see the opinions of experts cited in the please click here at parade.com.

Do you find articles like this helpful? Are there actions that you’ve taken in your own life that would be helpful to other people? If so, please share them as we would like to hear from you. Either make your comments below are send me a message through the contacts page. Thank you.

Does Ibuprofen Cause Male Infertility?

picture created by Wide-Body

The headlines on January 9th were essentially screaming, “Ibuprofen Linked to Male Infertility!”. When I see headlines read like that, then I know is the time to look for the devil in the details.

The study in question was published January 8th in the journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, and the key highlights from the study are:

  • In a small sample group of men (n=31, ages 18-35)
  • The men ingested 1200mg of ibuprofen every day for 6 weeks
  • At the end of six weeks, the men had a 23% increase in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). The rise in LH was noticed after just two weeks.
  • An increase in LH is indicative of problems within the testes.

It is important to note that the study did not measure sperm production and that testosterone levels of the men in the study remained normal.

Let’s also talk about the details that are important to not overlook:

  1. A sample of 31 men is very small. In medical research, it is not unusual to start with a small sample. If there are interesting results from the small sample, the researchers can then publish their results and make a case for why they need a larger budget. Once they have funding for a larger budget, the researchers can test a large sample and prove or dismiss the results of the small sample.
  2. 1200mg of ibuprofen a day, for two weeks or more. That is a lot of ibuprofen! 1200mg is the daily recommended limit, and if an ordinary citizen is taking that much ibuprofen everyday for two weeks straight, then that person really needs to be in the care of a pain doctor.

The lesson here is that more research needs to be completed on this topic, and that unless you need to be ingesting 1200mg of ibuprofen everyday for at two weeks, you should be safe to take ibuprofen as needed.

If you would like to read more about this study, the web site Live Science has done a nice job discussing the details, here.

Texas BBQ Can Be Healthy? YES! EAT MORE BRISKET!

photo from Kreuz Market. Get there. Now!

I’ve seen a lot of crazy health and food plans (Ever heard of the “ice cream diet”? Yes, there is such a thing) so when the latest “This is healthy!” trend comes across my desk, I’m more than a little skeptical. I’m sure you can imagine my thoughts when I saw the news headlines say “Texas BBQ Brisket is healthy!”. Yep, my first reaction was, “What are you talking about, Bubba?”

It turns out that Bubba may know a thing or two about brisket eating healthy. Research conducted by the good folks at Texas A&M University has identified brisket as having high levels of oleic acid, a fatty acid sometimes known as Omega 9. What is the big deal about oleic acid? That is the same fatty acid which is helpful in boosting your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also turns out that brisket is one of the preferred trims of beef used in ground beef, and that means your next hamburger patty may not be all that bad for you. According to Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, “Americans consume over 50 percent of their beef as ground beef…. Ground beef is not going to kill you. When you take the beef out of fat, it reduces LDL, but also reduces HDL. Our studies have shown that fat is a very important component of beef.”

This is where I need to temper expectations and say, “all things in moderation”. If you are having a problem with your cholesterol and you want to increase your oleic acid, there are other foods, and those healthy choices (olives, avocados) are probably what your doctor would prefer you eat. There are saturated fats in beef that are not good for you in excess, hence you shouldn’t overconsume beef daily. But please, do enjoy your next Texas style BBQ brisket. I know I will, and likely at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor. Or Style Switch in Austin. Maybe at Kreuz in Lockhart. Possibly Cooper’s in Llano. Oh wait, I still need to get to Snow’s in Lexington. Oh, sorry…. I got carried away, dreaming of succulent smoked meat.

If you want to read more about the Texas A&M study, click here: https://today.agrilife.org/2016/08/19/health-benefits-beef-brisket-discussed-texas-beef-cattle-short-course/?hootPostID=1483ce6c04e6213ddea5cee7742b8726

Do you want to learn more about oleic acid? The Livestrong foundation has a nice insightful post located here: https://www.livestrong.com/article/492098-omega-3-fatty-acids-peanuts/

WELCOME!

Welcome to my site, “The Wide-Body”. For those who used to follow my former site, “The Wide-Body Speaks”, welcome back!

For the uninitiated, this site is for the everyday athlete who has an interest in Health, Fitness, and Food. I research those topics, make sure the information comes from credible sources that I can cite, add my two cents, and do my best to provide you with an engaging, educational, and fun read. Each week I’ll be publishing new material throughout the week, thus keeping the site fresh and interesting for you. The typical publishing cadence will be:

  • Early in the week, I’ll feature a new idea on exercise. By publishing this early in the week, you’ll have time to plan for a way to incorporate the new idea into your exercise regimen.
  • Mid-week, I’ll publish features on Health, as well as the occasional miscellaneous item. The field of health and medicine is constantly changing, and new advancements are being made that could impact you in a positive way. I will do my very best to stay on top of the latest developments.
  • End of week, I’ll feature Food. My food features are always focused on healthy options that can be prepared and cooked quickly, or can be placed in a slow cook crock pot while you are away. Let’s face it, after working all day, most folks don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen, and for some folks, the lack of time is a barrier to healthy eating. I hope to overcome that barrier.

This site only works if you participate. I want to hear from you, so please send me feedback on topics. Did a new exercise regimen work for you? Did you try the new recipe and you family loved it? Let me and the rest of the readers know.

For additional details about me and this site, check out the pages on this site, “Who and What is a Wide-Body” and “Why this Site?”

I’m looking forward to traveling on this adventure with each of you. And thank you again for visiting this site.

Chris Stiehl, aka The Wide-Body

A Practical Cardio Workout for Travelers

One of the goals of this site is to provide the readers with practical ideas that can fit into the personal and professional lifestyles of most people. As a former corporate road warrior, I know all to well the challenges business travelers face when they are on the road and trying to stay fit. Some business hotels have excellent exercise facilities, but likely, you usually find yourself in a hotel near a regional airport, surrounded by concrete and generic shopping centers, and no discernable way to exercise. Stuck in a place with no way to burn off some energy is frustrating, and could be counterproductive to your professional work.

Cranked Up Cardio by Runners World screen shot

The folks at Runners World and Westin Hotels have put together this nifty 20-minute cardio plan that you can complete in your hotel room without the need of additional equipment. Bonus; the creators of this plan say that by doing this plan, you will also prevent injury. But you don’t need to wait to travel before starting this plan. Some folks are currently stuck in their homes because of cold weather and this plan could help those experiencing a little cabin fever.

https://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/cranked-up-cardio

It’s Time to Drop the Holiday Fat

HIIT by Grokker.com

This workout is appealing in so many ways.

1) Attached to this link is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, which have been proven to do the best job of burning excess fat and getting you into the best condition for your body.

2) You don’t need to join a gym to do this work out. There is a minimum amount of equipment that is needed, and that needed equipment is YOU.

3) If you decide you want more of this program, Grokker.com, the producer of this video, has what you are looking for, and the monthly fee is a lot less than a gym membership.

So, if you are looking to burn some off some excess holiday weight, give this workout a shot and let the rest of know what you think. Power on, mi amigos!

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/express/hiit-it-hard-with-this-challenging-workout/