Fitness Articles of the Week #44 – Interview With a Raw-Food Athlete, The FitDesk Exercise Bike and Coconut Bacon

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.


Channa Serenity: Raw Vegan & Fitness Model

Channa Serenity is a gorgeous raw-food vegan athlete who takes her health very seriously. She doesn’t even partake in cheat meals!


Grocery Sale Cycles – When Do Things Go on Sale?

This is helpful month-by-month guide for purchasing all kinds of things at the grocery store, but the most useful for me are the lists of seasonal vegetables.


The FitDesk is a Space-Saving, Apartment-Friendly Exercise Bike and Laptop Desk

I would love to have one of these. At $229.99, they aren’t too expensive either. The article mentions that resistance can be set with dials, which could be a bit of let-down. I’d be interested in seeing how it actually feels on various resistance levels.


PaleoVeganology: Speciesism = Creationism; Treat It That Way

This article brought up some very interesting points about being vegan. Why should I have to explain myself for being vegan? Why don’t omnivores explain themselves for eating eat?


Markus Rothkranz: The Power of Raw Foods (1/2) – YouTube

I’ve never heard of Markus Rothkranz, but it seems that I should. I’m becoming more and more interested in raw foods and Markus looks to be well known in the community.


Make an Impromptu Heat Pad

If you don’t have a heating pad nearby, but you have a sock and some dried rice or beans, you’re good to go!


10 Tips to Help You Find the Right Doctor

There’s one tip that caught my eye in this article – find a doctor who shares your beliefs. I’ve been looking everywhere for a list of vegan-friendly physicians, but no directories seem to exist.


How to make FAST Fake Bacon from coconut meat – YouTube

After finding Markus Rothkranz, I started following his YouTube channel and I came across this great recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will. I miss bacon, but I don’t like any of the fake bacons I’ve had so far, so hopefully this will be the answer.


The Science and Practice of Low-Carb Diets – YouTube

I find it very interesting that Dr. Eric Westman from Duke University suggests that it’s ok to eat the Baconater, a nearly 1,000 calories sandwich from Wendys, as long as you remove the bun. I’m sure there are many other health professionals that would disagree with that. If you have time, listen to the entire 40 min. interview to see what you think. I admit that he makes some compelling arguments, but I don’t believe all of his claims.


Quickie Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream at Home

Before going vegan, my favorite item from Dairy Queen was the cookie dough Blizzard. This recipe sounds so easy, I think I’m going to be making it soon.


Squat Exercise Builds More Muscle, Burns More Fat

These are the reasons you should be doing the squat in your workouts. It’s such an important exercise!


Interactive, motion-sensing walls to motivate gym-goers

I guess this is cool. Seems gimmicky to me, but the idea of seeing what your body could look like if you continue to work out sounds really cool.

Review of the Manual HealthyJuicer by Lexen

As you might already know based on my most recent posts lately, my fiance purchased a Breville juicer at the beginning of January this year. Juicing was something I’ve never done any research on prior to getting the Breville and when it comes to topics related to health, I become obsessed, and that’s exactly what I did with the topic of juicing. During all of the research I did, I learned an important thing about juicers; that there are centrifugal and masticating juicers and they each work in very different ways.

Basically, a masticating juicer squeezes the juice out of a fruit or veggie, while a centrifugal juicer shreds the produce and spins the pulp away from the juice. After watching a bunch of videos and reading dozens of articles on the differences, the general consensus seems to be that masticating juicers are simply better at juicing. The key main benefits are that they get more juice and the yield is richer.

We didn’t want to get rid of the Breville because we actually like it a whole lot, but I really wanted to give a masticating juicer a try, so I started looking around for something affordable, which eventually led me to the manual HealthyJuicer from Lexen. Everything I could find about this machine was positive so I wanted to test it out, which gave me the idea of contacting the folks at Lexen and seeing if they would be willing to part with one of their awesome HealthyJuicers so that I could do a review. Much to my pleasure, they agreed!

Since the HealthyJuicer is designed as a wheatgrass juicer, and my Breville can’t do wheatgrass, I decided to pick up some wheatgrass from my local health food store. This is another topic I watched a lot of videos on and read plenty of articles about. Wheatgrass seems to be healthy, but I was more worried about the taste. Some of the videos I watched showed people complaining that the wheatgrass tasted like a freshly mown lawn. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy that taste.

So I set up the machine, which was really easy. Now, I could have it up and going in about 20 seconds.

Since the machine is designed for wheatgrass, that’s the first thing I ran through it. I was delighted to find out that wheatgrass juice tastes nothing like a lawn. I’ve heard that bad batches of wheatgrass might have a lawn taste, but good batches are supposed to taste sweet. Luckily, mine must have been a good batch, because it tasted sweet and it was really good. The only bad thing about wheatgrass is that it doesn’t contain much juice, so you sort of need a lot of it to get a good yield.

I liked it so much that I actually decided to buy a wheatgrass grow kit from Amazon to grow my own and to save a little money. That’s my first batch of wheatgrass in the picture below 😀

The HealthyJuicer is designed mostly for leafy greens, but I wanted to put it to the test. It passed with (mostly) flying colors. Since this juicer is manual, I was interested in how tough it would be to crank through some of the harder varieties of produce. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made lots of juices containing stuff like pears, spinach, apples, celery, kale, beets, apples and carrots.

Sometimes it gets tougher to turn on the hard veggies, for example when putting too many carrots in or when juicing a large kale stem, but it works it’s way through the machine quickly. It’s actually not much more difficult, but the handle seems like it might break if you put too much pressure on it. I’ve been grabbing the handle closer to the base when this happens. To be safe, I would recommend chopping up hard veggies into smaller pieces.

Considering that the manual HealthyJuicer is only $45, I would definitely recommend picking it up or giving them as gifts. I honestly can’t believe that it’s so affordable. To be fair, I haven’t tested any other wheatgrass juicers so I don’t know if the yields this one produces compares, but I can tell you that I’m happy with it. You can buy one from 877MyJuicer.com with free shipping and a 30-day return policy.

Fitness Articles of the Week #43 – Workout Recovery Tricks, Toxic Chemicals in Food, and Omega-3s for Vegans

I just got over a cold a week ago and then I got an ear infection which has left me dizzy and nauseous for the past week. I haven’t worked out for about two and half weeks! I think I’m finally getting over the ear infection and I really can’t wait to get back to the weights. Even if I’m not completely better, I’m gonna try to at least get a small workout in this weekend.

At least I’ve still been able to read! Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.

image courtesy of espensorvik

How Can I Quickly Recover After a Tough Workout?

If I do a really tough workout and I know I’m gonna be sore, my normal recovery routine consists of consuming hemp protein, creatine, and glutamine right after my workout and another before bed. Then the next day I try to fit in some sort of workout. This article has many more tips than just that. I’m pretty sure I’ll never try a contrast bath though.


Hat + Ball + Elastic Cord = DIY Reaction Trainer

I don’t box, so I’ve never seen a device like this, but this DIY method seems like a really good idea for people who do box. I’d be too afraid of it hitting me in the eye. I want to try one though, just to see how tough it is. I’m guessing it’s pretty difficult.


What’s In Your Food? Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

I definitely need to learn more about the ingredients in my food. BHA is harmful if swallowed or touched with bare hands. It comes with a warning that it can cause cancer, yet it’s used as a preservative in foods that we eat?


How many lives could a soda tax save?

This study estimates that adding a penny-per-ounce tax on soda could prevent 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 deaths in the next 10 years. I say do it!


Jimmy Pena’s Power Rack Training Series, Part 3: Isometrics

This is really cool. I would have never thought to use an empty bar in the power rack to do isometrics.


Metabolic Resistance Training: Build Muscle And Torch Fat At Once!

This is one of those magazine-style articles that are very hard to believe. Personally, I’m a bit skeptic. I thought the idea behind this training is interesting though. I was planning on doing a routine similar to this just to break up my normal routine, so I’ll probably give this one a shot for a couple weeks.


Enjoy low sugar fruits!

Fruits are healthy, but they also contain sugar, which isn’t a good thing if you’re trying to keep the fat off. Eat fruit with lower amounts of sugar instead.


Dr. Doug McGuff on the Benefits of Exercise

This is a fantastic interview about exercise. You will definitely learn something if you take the time to listen to the whole thing. It’s long, but it’s worth it. You should also read the accompanying article. Dr. McGuff’s blog is now in my RSS feed. I don’t want to miss anything this guy says.


The New Raw-Food Diet

I’ve been considering going to an all raw-food diet, but after reading this interview, I’m having second thoughts. According to Victoria Boutenko, a 100 percent raw diet is effective for healing, but a 80-95 percent raw diet is a better choice for sustainable living.


Omega-3 Fats in Vegan Diets: A Quick Primer

If you’re vegan, you need to make sure you’re getting the Omega 3s you need. This article opened up my eyes to why flaxseed and other types of oils are so important, even if you’re already taking Omega 3 supplements. Lucky for me, I already consume flaxseed oil daily in my salads.

(Almost) Everything a Beginner Needs to Know About Juicing Vegetables

Why We Bought a Juicer and Why You Should Too

My fiance, Michelle, recently watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and she immediately proceeded to visit the official movie website and order one of their suggested juicers, the Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain. I didn’t know anything about juicing and when Michelle told me that she paid $200 for a juicer, I thought to myself “Wow, this must have been a convincing movie,” so I watched it too.

The movie was extremely inspiring.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead follows Joe Cross, an Australian man who was obese, eating unhealthy and was taking tons of medications to keep himself alive. He decided it was time to turn his life around, so he travelled to the U.S. where he would do a 60 day juice fast while his doctor regularly checked his blood levels. He then travelled across the nation and spoke to people along his journey about health issues around the world.

This is where the story gets inspiring. Along the journey, Joe met a truck driver who was in worse condition than he was. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but I think it’s safe to say that meeting Joe was probably the best thing that has ever happened to him. It’s stories like this that make me wish I went to school to become a nutritionist.

What You Need to Know About Juicing

The movie was focused on losing weight, but the benefits of juicing are about more than that. I don’t want to lose weight, so it’s all about the nutritional benefits for me.

There are some key things to keep in mind about juicing.

You typically don’t want to juice only fruits, because it removes fiber which results in a high concentration of sugar. When consuming fruits, you want the fiber to regulate suger into the blood stream, so that you don’t get a sugar rush. If you want an all-fruit (or mostly fruit) drink, consider making a smoothie in your blender instead.

You should be juicing mainly veggies anyway. Most people have problems getting their daily recommended amount of vegetables, so if you’re going to use a juicer, use it in the way it will benefit you the most. Admittedly, an all-veggie juice doesn’t typically result in the tastiest drink (unless you use carrots or beets), so it’s fine to throw in an apple or an orange for some sweetness. I actually made a straight green juice with no fruits on my second juicing experience ever and what a mistake that was (the picture at the top of this article). It was super-healthy, but I didn’t have a taste for green juices yet, so it was tough to get through. I’ve heard that most people have a hard time with straight green juices at first, but the taste buds will eventually get used to it.

Juicing removes fiber, and that worried me a bit at first. Fiber is important isn’t it? It helps prevent constipation by moving foods through the digestive system. It has been known to lower risk of diabetes and heart disease by lowering cholesterol and glucose levels. It slows the absorption of sugar and it also makes meals feel fuller, which keep you from feeling hungry for a longer time.

In the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe went on a fast for 60 days, but from the research I’ve done, it doesn’t seem to be a sustainable diet. Eventually everyone needs to break their fast and go back to food. Nobody is going to go on a strict juice diet for the rest of their lives, so if you’re planning to go on a juice fast, you might be forgoing fiber for now, but it won’t be permanent. Personally, I probably won’t be replacing any my meals with juices, but instead just complimenting my meals, although I see no reason why someone wouldn’t want to replace meals, as long as they are getting enough calories to maintain energy levels.

Another great benefit of juicing is that since the fiber is separated from the juice, the body doesn’t need to break down any food. The body can’t digest or absorb fiber, so by consuming only the juice, you conserve energy and your body can assimilate the nutrients of the juice quickly. That is a huge benefit.

You should drink your juices immediately after juicing. Once the fruits and vegetables are pulverized by the juicer, the nutrients will begin to break down after coming into contact with the air. Some people suggest that you can store your juice for up to 24 hours if using a dark, air-tight container, but research suggests that nutrients will still be lost during that time. If you need to take your juices with you, don’t let the nutrient break-down deter you. It’s still very healthy. I’ve been looking for affordable portable juicers and this manual juicer from Lexen looks like the perfect juicer to take to work to avoid this problem. It has great reviews and is super-affordable.

Cleaning is a part of the process that many people probably don’t want to deal with but if you want your juicer to last a long time, you’re going to have to clean it regularly. Right now I’m cleaning the machine after each use, but if I start juicing more often throughout the day I might only do a quick clean of the filter after each use and then do one thorough clean of the whole machine at the end of the day. It’s really not that bad. I recorded myself cleaning the machine if you want to see what’s involved. It took me three minutes, but I’m sure that I could do it much faster now.

WARNING: I forget sometimes that my visitors might have kids nearby and I unintentionally added a song to this video which has explicit lyrics. Turn off the volume if your children are around 🙂

Before you buy a juicer, do research into the type of juicer you want. There are two main types; centrifugal and masticating. A centrifugal juicer, like the one we bought, is high powered and runs at fast RPMs. It’s great for juicing hard vegetables fast, but it isn’t so good at juicing leafy greens. A masticating juicer is perfect for leafy greens, but it’s slow, prone to jams and you’ll usually need to cut up your fruits and veggies into smaller pieces before running them through. Watch some videos on YouTube to get an idea of which you think is best. I’ll actually be posting an article going into more detail of the different types soon.

Also, as you might have seen from my cleaning video above, cleaning doesn’t take long for a centrifugal juicer and from some of the videos I’ve seen of masticating juicers, such as the Omega VRT330, all you need to do is pour in a little water while it’s running. It’s more of a rinse, but it seems to be good enough until you do a full clean at the end of the week. There seems to be a lot of benefits of using masticating juicers over centrifugal. I’d love to own one of each if I could afford it.

Here’s a video of us using the Breville we bought so that you can get an idea of how easy it is to juice.

A Quick Recap

  • Go watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 😉 Hulu (free) | Netflix (w/paid account)
  • Juicing removes pulp, but it’s not a big deal
  • Juices consisting of entirely fruit are not recommended
  • You should juice mostly vegetables
  • Juicing is an easy way to get your daily recommended dose of veggies
  • Your body doesn’t have to break down the food with juices
  • Nutrients are more easily assimilated in a juice
  • Juice should be consumed immediately after juicing
  • Cleaning is generally quick and easy
  • Do research on whether a centrifugal or masticating juicer is right for you

I absolutely love juicing. I’ve been searching for recipes all over the internet and I’ve been trying everything I can. What I like most about juicing is being able to take a cup of spinach, 3 carrots, an apple, and 2 stalks of celery, turn it into liquid and drink it for breakfast. That’s a pretty damn healthy breakfast don’t you think? I would have never taken the time to eat all of that for breakfast, but juicing allows me to get a large amount of healthy food quickly and easily.

Fitness Articles of the Week #42 – Water Fasting, Training While Sick and Hi-Tech Scales

image courtesy of IngaMun

The Broncos are in the playoffs and they’re up against the Patriots tomorrow. I usually do my cooking on the weekend so that all my meals are ready for the upcoming week, but I’m dedicating this Saturday to hanging out with friends and watching the game, so I did a bunch of cooking last night and I plan to do a bunch more tonight. This week I made the Ginger “Chicken” from the cookbook ‘How it All Vegan’ and it came out absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to eat it next week and I can’t wait for the game tomorrow. Have a great weekend and see you next week!

GO BRONCOS!

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.


WHY I CHOOSE TO STARVE MYSELF ~ WATER DIET DAY #9 – YouTube

I’ve been watching Dan (liferegenerator on YouTube) for a month or so now and I really enjoy his videos and the information he provides. He’s currently doing a water fast and this video goes over the process with one of his doctors. Very informative if you plan on fasting.


Diesel Crew – Equipment Review: Instant Fat Bar Handles

In last week’s article review I had mentioned that I wanted to get some fat bar grips and then with perfect timing, here came an article reviewing three different brands of grips. The Fat Gripz seem to the be the best option for me, which is why they are now sitting in my Amazon wish list, waiting for me to buy them 😉


Don’t Let Sickness Derail Your Progress

Sadly, I came across this article right after I had a bad cold. Interestingly, I did many of the tips recommended in this article without even thinking about it. I got plenty of Vitamin C from my normal diet and I take glutamine every morning as part of my supplement regimen. I get vitamin D everyday when I’m beat down by the sun by working in an office that has huge glass garage doors. I also took naps immediately after work, which is the first time I’ve ever done that during a cold, and I will forever do that in the future from now on because it helped me tremendously. I’ve never tried hydrogen peroxide in my ears though, but I will next time.


The Post Punk Kitchen 100

A great post of the top 100 things for vegans from The Post Punk Kitchen. This list includes tips, websites, recipes, gadgets and other things. It’s random, but very cool. I think the best one out of this list is the vegan cadbury eggs. I hope to get some of these for Easter this year!


How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body – NYTimes.com

People who do yoga regularly probably won’t be happy to read this article, but it completely makes sense. Despite the beliefs of yoga having healing effects, unless you’re athletic and in great shape, it’s more likely to lead to injury. Even if you’ve never had a bad experience with yoga in your life, that’s not to say something won’t happen in the future. Personally, I’ll continue to do yoga, but I pretty much stick to the basics.


Avocados: The Super-Fruit

Avocados are definitely super healthy. I usually eat one avocado every day in a kale salad. Mmmmm.


10 Stubborn Body Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science

Here’s a fun one to read. Did you know peeing on a jellyfish sting is a bad idea? And did you know that obese people tend to have higher metabolisms than do lean people? Yup, it’s not the metabolism, it’s the sedentary lifestyle.


Wi-Fi Smart Scale Records Fitness Goals Over Time

This is sweet! This scale from Fitbit can track weight, BMI and body fat percentage, and then send the information to the Fitbit website. This would be a great way to track progress over time. I currently do this by writing it down in a notepad, which kinda sucks. I want one of these scales! $130 is a little steep for me though.


How to Keep and Reheat Your Leftovers for Long-lasting Tasty Meals

I make it a habit of never wasting any food unless I absolutely need to, but my fiance is the exact opposite. She hates reheated food. If you’re anything like her, you should probably read this article to learn some tips on how to reheat food for the best taste.


5 Healthy Facts about Spinach

I think we can probably create an article like this for every single fruit and veggie in existence. Spinach is definitely a super-healthy vegetable and all of us should be eating it regularly. Since getting my juicer, I’ve been trying to consume spinach more regularly.


Anatomy of a Vegan – Infographic

You know that veganism has made it big when someone creates an infographic about it. There are lots of interesting stats here. Did you know that 46% of vegan households spend $51-$100? I spend about $20 per week, but that will probably go way up if I go raw vegan, which I’m strongly considering.


The Different Juice Fasting Stages of Detoxification

I would like to juice fast for 30 days someday, but it doesn’t sound like a fun process. It seems very beneficial to the body though, but you need to keep in mind that this isn’t science-based medicine (as far as I know) so a lot of this information is based on claims not backed up by scientific studies.

Fitness Articles of the Week #41 – Dirty Food Label Tricks, Squat Tips for Back Problems and Delicious Energy Bar Recipes

It’s my first weekly update of 2012! I didn’t have any plans to set resolutions this year because I always have personal goals in mind all year round, but the new year definitely has a great feeling of starting fresh. I’m excited for what 2012 has to offer and I hope you feel the same way!

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.


Top 10 Food Label Tricks to Avoid in 2012

Isn’t it ridiculous that we have to worry about things like this? I hate having to see if my food has partially hydrogenated oils or having to make sure the first ingredient in my bread has the word “whole*” in it. Our food industry and its regulators are a failure.

* With everyone talking about how bad all forms of wheat is, I’m not sure it even matters if the label says “whole” anymore.


Kirschen’s Powerlifting 101: What’s Up With The Chains?

I’ve never had the opportunity to use chains when lifting weights, but I’d love to try it someday. Perhaps I’ll invest in some at some point.


Should You Go Vegan to Get Skinny?

Great article from a vegan dietician. I agree completely. Go vegan for healthy benefits, not to lose weight. Just as a side note, from what I’ve seen personally, people who go vegan and then revert back to omni typically don’t have a meal plan in place. If going vegan is your New Years resolution, make sure you’ve done your research and you have a solid plan in place.


Newton’s Way of Squatting

If you have back problems, you should read the squatting methods mentioned in this article to build some muscle in those legs. The safety squat bar seems cool, but I won’t be able to afford one of those anytime soon.


Popular Programs – Starting Strength & Stronglifts

This is an excellent analysis of two of the most popular strength training programs around. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing the Stronglifts routine with great success. I’m still considered a beginner lifter, but I hope to change that throughout this year.


A foldable, zippable compact hiking shoe

How cool are these?! I want a pair!


Reddit’s Guide to Fitness [Infographic]

I love when infographics are done right and you can bet that Reddit users will do it right. This thing pretty much covers it all.


Vibration-based exercise app lets users run through virtual cities

I really wanted something like this early last year when I was using the cardio equipment at the gym. Since I’m trying to bulk right now, cardio isn’t a part of my routine, but I want to do some cycling training before Spring, so I just might have to give this app a go in the coming months.


Brutal 500 Rep Workout – YouTube

10 exercises at 50 reps each. I’ve done workouts like these and they will kick your ass. You can bet on being sore the next morning… and probably for 2-3 more days following the workout.


Superpower Energy Bars for School Days and Work Days

Here’s a whole bunch of energy bar recipes so that you don’t have to eat the processed crap from the store. I admit that I keep a box of Builder’s bars in the cabinet and at work just in case I need some quick food, but I’d really like to start making my own. I rarely eat energy bars because of all of the weird ingredients, but I could definitely see myself eating the bars in these recipes regularly.


20 Must-Read Fitness Sites for 2012

I wasn’t sure what to expect after clicking through to read this article, but I was pleasantly surprised. These sites are operated by some of the smartest in the industry. I actually read a few of them regularly and now I have several more to add to my list.


Q&A With Vegan Bodybuilder Michelle Risley

There’s a great video here with Michelle Risley discussing why she went vegan and how she’s able to be a bodybuilder while maintaining a compassionate lifestyle.


Vegans Muscle Their Way Into Bodybuilding – NYTimes.com

Vegan bodybuilding is getting more popular everyday! I also learned that Robert Cheeke was a skinny vegan as a teenager and became the bodybuilder he is today entirely on a vegan diet. Proof we don’t need meat to get buff.


11 Training Tips for the Skinny Fat Ectomorph

I also have the “skinny fat ectomorph” body type which has made getting bigger a real struggle for me over the years, so the tips in this article are sure to help me in the future. I’ve been wanting to buy some fat bar grips too.