The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #141 – Coffee Hydrates Your Body, Why It Takes So Long To Cure Rare Diseases, and How Bananas Cause Aggression and Anti-Social Behavior In Monkeys


Coffee Hydrates as Well as Water, Study Says

I’ve always believed that coffee was dehydrating because that’s what health experts have always said, but it turns out that it’s all based on the results of one study performed way back in 1928, which after further research, may have been wrong. Even Bonfils suggests not consuming coffee before or after donating blood because it can cause dehydration. I’m so happy to learn that it’s not true.

My Potato Project; The Importance of “Organic” – YouTube

This little girl’s simple science experiment explains why you should avoid eating conventional produce and should always try to eat organic foods instead.

Unblind My Mind: What are we eating?: Dr. Katherine Reid at TEDxYouth@GrassValley

I first learned about Katie Reid when she wrote a post for Seth Roberts blog that discussed how she reversed autism in her child by removing glutamate from her diet. I mentioned this post in my weekly update back in May 2013. I highly recommend reading it when you get the chance. I also wrote a review of this TedTalk here.

Rare Diseases – in Honor of Sam Berns

“Orphan” diseases are really sad. These diseases are so rare that doctors and physicians are often unable to recognize the symptoms and may ignore them entirely based on the idea that they may be psychiatric issues. And since rare diseases are so hard to study, and since cures for these disease don’t provide much profit to the pharmaceutical industry, there’s not a lot of research that goes into to discovering cures.

$25 Standing Desk Hack

DIY’ers are the best! I might actually do this because it’s so cheap. All it is a TV stand, the LACK TV Unit ($15) and the SUMMERA Pull-out keyboard shelf ($10), both from IKEA. The TV stand is 35 inches wide and 17 inches tall. I did some measuring and on my computer desk, which is probably standard height, this would place the top of my 20″ monitors right at eye level (I’m 6 ft. tall). Each of my monitors are 18″ wide, so that’s plenty of space to put both of them on the shelf and even if you have enormous monitors, this would probably still work since only the base of the monitor needs to be on the stand. Next time I’m near IKEA, I’ll pick these parts up and try it out.

Monkeys banned from eating bananas at Devon zoo

The zoo keepers at this zoo have removed bananas from the monkeys diets because they say that the bananas that humans consume contain much more sugar than the bananas that monkeys in the wild would eat. Since the monkeys are no longer getting so much sugar from bananas, the zoo has found that the monkeys are calmer, less aggressive, more sociable, and have thicker and fuller coats. Maybe humans should consider cutting back on bananas too.

How Glutamate Is Destroying Your Brain

In this video, biochemist Katie Reid discusses how she reversed autism in her 3-year-old daughter in three stages: she added nutritional supplements to her diet, she removed gluten and casein from her diet, and she reduced foods that contained large amounts of glutamate.

The nutritional supplements, such as magnesium, B complex, vitamin D3, and Omega 3 help correct deficiencies that are common in most people and the other two stages; the removal of gluten, casein and glutamate are really the same because as Katie discovered, high amounts of glutamate is found in foods like bread and pasteurized (commercially available) dairy products.

Free glutamate is an amino acid found naturally in many foods and is even good for the body. The problem with glutamate is that many of us get it in excess, which is when chronic health issues happen.

It isn’t just autism that may be reversed by reducing glutamate. By reducing glutamate intake, you can prevent/reverse issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Scleroris
  • OCD
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Epilepsy

That’s just a short list of the health issues caused by excess glutamate. There are many more.

So what can you do to reduce free glutamate in your diet?

Well, Katie Reid operates a nonprofit called Unblind My Mind, which is an organization created to raise awareness about the link between foods and the health issues they may cause and she has created an excellent resource of recommended foods (even bread!). That’s a pretty good place to start.

You also need to be careful about purchasing products that contain MSG, which is often hidden behind unsuspecting ingredients. You can find a full list of those ingredients names here.

I certainly plan to reduce glutamate in my diet moving forward. Has Katie’s advice convinced you to change your diet?

* Update (1/16/14): I just realized that Dave Asprey sells a supplement designed to fight against glutamate as well. There’s a lot more useful information about glutamates on that page and it’s all backed by research, which you can see at the bottom of the page. It can be hard to trust someone when they are trying to sell you something and I’m sure that’s why he cited the research – he knows that people will be weary of his claims.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #140 – The Acupuncture Myth, 11 Expert Tips On Fighting a Cold, and How Cheap Meat Results In Animal Cruelty


Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Are there any actual benefits to acupuncture? According to this article there isn’t. Even if acupuncture turns out to be only a placebo, at least it helps people who believe something is really happening. I’m not sold on acupuncture either way, but I’m going to continue using my Himalayan acupressure mat to help me relax before bed.

Wheel of Lunch

The Wheel of Lunch is a neat little tool built on the data from Yelp. You enter your zip code, distance and a search query, such as “breakfast,” “lunch,” or “dinner,” and the wheel will spin and land on a random place to eat. If you have special dietary needs, you can also type in phrases like “vegan,” “paleo,” “grass-fed,” and “gluten free,” and it will come back with restaurants that should have at least one option that fits those dietary needs. It’s most likely based on the words people have used in their reviews so it might not be entirely accurate, but it works pretty good from what I’ve seen.

World’s Leading Experts Reveal 11 Top Tips For Bulletproofing Your Body From Colds And Flus

I love how different all of these tips are. This isn’t the typical generic advice you’d find on WebMD or what you’d get from a family physician. This is expert advice from people who do real research. The recommendations from Dr. David Minkoff made me laugh because of how specific it is.

Go With Your Gut And Try Coconut Milk Kefir (Recipe)

I’ve never tried kefir. I’ve seen a lot of articles that talk about the benefits of kefir, so I really want to try making my own, although the “sour” description doesn’t sound too appetizing and the chunky look of it doesn’t seem so good either, but I’m willing to give it a try.

Animal Cruelty Is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat

This is a long, but excellent article about how the factory farm industry works. In short, factory farms are disgusting, inhumane and heartless organizations who hire people with the same characteristics. I’m vegan, but I realize that not everyone wants to give up meat, so I always try to push people in the direction of purchasing from local, humane, and sustainable farms who let their animals live naturally.

We ‘Mirin Vol. 49: Quadzillas

Need some inspiration to get your legs in tip-top shape? Check out this post of 20 bodybuilders with amazing quads. I am in awe of ever person I this post.

The Best Kept Secret: Why People HAVE to Squat Differently

I don’t know why, but it bothers me that the author keeps saying “bony” instead of “bone,” but nonetheless, this is an excellent article. Lots of people say that we all have to squat a certain way, but as the pictures in this post clearly point out, not everyone has the bone anatomy to be able to do certain types of squats. If you’re not able to squat a certain way, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your hip anatomy though, it could also be mobility issues, or both.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #139 – Supplements for Lucid Dreaming, The Health Benefits of Avocados, And A New Open Access Medical Journal


Oops, I usually post my weekly updates on the weekend, but I’ve been so busy trying to get ahead at work to prepare for my maternity leave, that I let this update slip for a couple days. My wife’s due any day now! There probably won’t be an update at all that week…or more 😉

Recipe for Lucid Dreaming

I’m extremely interested in trying this out. All supplements are legal to buy, although Ben Greenfield does recommend trying at your own risk. I may or may not try this, but right now, I’d like to. He says to take 15mg melatonin, 300mg 5-HTP, and 3000mg L-Tyrosine. That’s it. Go to bed.

Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel’

Proof that books can transport our minds to another world and the neurological effects can give our brains a boost for up to five days. Neat!

12 Free Healthy Apps for Freelancers and Others

I’m a technology nerd, so I always love posts that list a bunch of fun new apps to play with. From this article, the most interesting apps to me are Breathe2Relax, FirstAid by American Red Cross, MindShift, and Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite.

The Many Things Avocados Do For You (Plus a Recipe!)

Did you know that discolored parts of the avocado contain molds and histamines and that you can safely cut those parts out without having to worry about the rest of the avocado being contaminated. Did you know that the avocado closest to the skin his highest in carotenoids? There’s some great information here and an interesting guacamole recipe too. I made the guacamole and I prefer the traditional method for sure, but the health aspects of his recipe make it enticing. My wife didn’t like it at all, so fair warning. I think it’s the apple cider vinegar.

Hip Thrust with Resistance Band – YouTube

If you don’t like using a barbell for hip thrusts, this is a pretty cool method. I don’t have any heavy duty bands like she uses in this video, but they’re still on my wish list. I’ll get them someday.

eLife – Open Access Journal

eLife is a new journal featuring research studies in life sciences and biomedicine. I heard about eLife after reading this article from Randy Schekman, the scientist who founded eLife after he noticed luxury journal editors limiting the types of research they publish based only on its likelihood of being popular.