5 Things You Didn’t Know About Water Flossing – And a Water Flosser Review!

sterline-water-flosser

I received a water flosser at a discounted price in exchange for writing an honest review. I did some research to learn about the benefits of water flossing and wanted to share that with you.

Check out the video below to learn about the 5 things you (probably) didn’t know about water flossing and then check out my review of the Sterline Water Flosser. You can ” target=”_blank”>get the Sterline Water Flosser for $40.99.

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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.

Lifestyle Changes That Have Left Me Feeling Great Every Day

I’ve been feeling exceptionally great lately – I’ve been thinking more clearly, I feel alert all day and I have tons of energy. It’s awesome, but the problem is that I don’t know which of my lifestyle changes to attribute it to! I’m always trying new health products, exercises and body hacking experiments and in the past couple of months I’ve changed quite a few things.

  • Started taking a pre-workout shake consisting of dextrose and hemp protein
  • Drinking high-quality coffee with MCT oil
  • Mobility stretching and foam rolling before workouts
  • Changing up my workout routine
  • Cold showers
  • Taking Aniracetam w/ choline every morning
  • Getting more sleep

Why I Do The Things I Do

Pre-Workout Shake – I started doing this after reading an article from Mike Roussell, Ph.D. titled “Ask The Macro Manager: Should I Drink Protein Before Or After A Workout?” I’ve always had a post-workout shake, but after reading this, I learned that a pre-workout shake has a ton of benefits – it can fuel your muscles, it can jump start protein synthesis and it can help you burn more calories.

Coffee and MCT Oil – I’ve learned about the many great benefits of drinking coffee from the Bulletproof Executive blog and at the age of 30, I finally decided to start drinking it. Coffee can improve your memory, it’s an excellent source of antioxidants and it can improve athletic performance if taken before a workout. Like coffee, MCT oil is thermogenic, which converts to energy quickly. MCT oil has also been shown to improve nutrient absorption of some nutrients and provide better immune protection. I add it to my coffee and blend it in a bullet blender or shake it up like crazy in a blender bottle.

Mobility Stretching and Foam Rolling – Ever since doing P90X for the first time several years ago, I’ve known first-hand about the benefits of warming up before a workout. I didn’t warm up as often as I should have after finishing P90X, but then I read this article a couple months ago about warming up with mobility and foam rolling exercises. I do this routine before every workout now and I love it. After finishing the mobility exercises, they recommend foam rolling these areas: plantar fascia, calves, quads, IT band, hips, glutes, pecs and lumbar and thoracic spine.

Changing Up My Workout Routine – I try to not to switch up my routine too often because that’s a big reason people never see progress in the gym. People tend to switch up routines before seeing if the routine really works. This was my problem in my beginning years of working out, but I finally wised up and created a routine based on big compound lifts and I’ve continued to see progress ever since. I do still like to switch things up though, especially if I start to plateau or if I get bored. Instead of completely changing routines, I’ll instead rotate lifts or I do a totally new routine for one or two weeks and jump back into my regular routine after that. I haven’t modified my routine at all in about seven months and I started to get bored, so I decided to do a week of Crossfit and then a week of a random routine I pulled out of a Muscle & Fitness magazine. It was exactly what I needed to prevent myself from getting burned out on my routine. I hope to do something like this every couple of months from now on.

Cold Showers – I first learned about the health benefits of cold exposure after reading Tim Ferris’ book, “The 4-Hour Body.” Tim Ferris noted several reasons why someone should take a cold 30 minute shower; increased lean muscle gain, improved immunity, effective treatment of depression and increased fat-loss. I didn’t start taking cold showers after reading his book though. More recently I read an article from Dave Asprey about cold thermogenesis and then Ben Greenfield did a podcast on cold thermogenesis with Dr. Jack Kruse. It was finally starting to sink in. Then I read a free Kindle book called The Flinch by Julien Smith which had “homework” at the end of one of the chapters that suggested taking cold showers for a week. I did it and I stuck with it for three months. I just recently started taking warm showers again, but I plan to experiment with cold showers again in the future.

Aniracetam w/ CholineThe benefits of taking smart drugs like aniracetam is something else I’ve learned about from reading the Bulletproof Executive blog. Aniracetam has been shown to sharpen memory and learning abilities and it also optimizes the use of oxygen in the brain. It also heightens the effects of caffeine. Most people take choline supplements with racetam drugs (Aniracetam, Piracetam) because racetams lower choline levels in the body, but if you’re in the small percentage of people who are choline dominant you need to be careful about overwhelming your choline system. If you get headaches or clenched jaw you probably shouldn’t supplement with choline. I haven’t really noticed a difference after taking Aniracetam in 750mg capsules, but perhaps the amount I’m taking makes the effects too subtle. I plan to experiment with higher dosages soon.

Getting More Sleep – I think we all know that sleep is important. It helps your entire body recover. It clears your mind and heals your body, which is especially important for people who exercise. One of the vegan athletes I follow is DurianRider, a raw food fruitarian, who is always talking about the importance of going to sleep really early in order to get as much sleep as his body needs, so I decided I’d try to do the same.

I’m always learning new things (which you can see by reading the weekly update post that I publish every Friday here on MixedFitness.com) and I’ve been testing and “upgrading” myself for years. I wish I would’ve tracked everything I do to see what works and what doesn’t, but I definitely plan to track things from now on.

What I Have Planned For the Future

  • Meditation
  • Sprinting exercises
  • Adventures and fun activities (hiking, trampolines, repelling, paintball, indoor skydiving, go karts)
  • Brew Kombucha
  • Remove wheat from my diet
  • Do a one-week juice fast
  • Learn to roast my own coffee
  • Start doing mobility exercises

Meditation – Meditation is a topic that comes up in my daily reading all the time. I always read about the benefits but I never do it. Did you know that meditation can strengthen the brain? It’s also a great way to clear your mind and reduce stress levels. You only need to meditate for a couple of minutes per day to see a benefit, so that’s how I want to get started. Setting aside two minutes a day should be easy enough.

Sprinting Exercise – Since February of this year I’ve had “add sprinting to routine” in my fitness notes, and I never got around to doing it. I’ve read all about the benefits of sprinting over the years, but I didn’t write that note down until reading “The 6-Week Sprinting Solution from T-Nation. Now there’s snow on the ground and I most likely won’t be doing sprints anytime soon. This one will have to wait until the spring season.

Adventures and Fun Activities – I read an article a couple of months ago from PsychologyToday.com about how spending time with friends can increase happiness, health and longevity. I can’t find the article anymore so you’re just going have to believe me that it’s true 😉 Anyway, I often skip going out with friends because I’ve convinced myself that I’m too busy, but since reading that article I’ve started saying yes every time someone invites me out and I’ve noticed that I’ve been much happier. I think planning more activities and adventures will help me get away from my computer and work and will let me enjoy life with friends and the people I love.

Brewing Kombucha – Kombucha tea is a fermented drink that is a probiotic, like yogurt for example. It introduces helpful bacteria into the body and heals the gut. I’ve actually just started brewing my own Kombucha so this is a goal already mostly accomplished. I’ve brewed one batch so far and it came out great. I didn’t get enough out of it to drink daily and feel the benefits, but I’ve got two batches going now and when those are done I’ll do four batches. That should be enough to drink at least one tea per day. I bought an extremely over-priced kit from Kombucha Brooklyn, but you can get everything you need for much cheaper if you buy everything from your local department store. All you need is a scoby, which you can get from a friend, buy online or from Craigslist. Here are directions on brewing your own Kombucha tea

Removing Wheat From My Diet – By now you’ve probably read about the drawbacks of consuming gluten, and wheat in general, especially if you’re paying any attention to the growing Paleo movement. The claims are that wheat makes us fat and it causes inflammation in the body that can last up to six months. Dr. William Davis wrote the book “Wheat Belly” which really got the ball rolling on this idea. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve read many other reports on the subject. I’m not totally convinced, but I want to experiment with removing wheat from my diet to see if I notice a difference.

Juice Fasting – I’ve been wanting to try a juice fast (not green smoothies) ever since watching the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. That movie is how I discovered raw-food vegan vloggers like John Kohler and Dan “The Man” McDonald (the Life Regenerator). Dan McDonald has covered several of his own fasts (juice and water) on his YouTube channel and talks about the healing powers of fasting all the time. I know it fasting sounds crazy, but studies have shown fasting to protect against brain diseases. And raw-foodists are always talking about how juicing is great for detoxing because it gives you the calories and nutrients you need, without putting strain on the digestive system because there is no fiber to digest. I’ve also been following popular Redditor Israel Torres as he juice fasts his way to health. He has lost a ton of weight and is currently doing his fourth 60-day juice fast right now. I don’t want to do a juice fast to lose weight, but I still find it interesting.

Roasting My Own Coffee – I’ve really been into drinking coffee lately and I think I may be on my way to becoming a coffee snob 😉 I would love to seek out high quality green coffee beans and roast my own to see how they come out. I’ve watched several videos on YouTube showing how to roast beans in a cheap popcorn popper, so that’s probably what I’ll try first.

More Mobility Exercises – The mobility exercises I mentioned above are designed more for doing as a warm-up before working out, but I’d like to work on specific body-part mobility exercises, such as the ones mentioned on MobilityWOD.com (mobility workout-of-the-day). I want to do mobility work to improve my lifts, especially the shoulder press. I’m seriously lacking in shoulder mobility.

What About You?

Are there any changes that you’ve made in your life that makes you feel great? Any goals or experiments that you have for yourself in the future? I’d really like to hear about them in the comments section!

My First Dentist Visit in Over 10 Years

I went to the dentist’s office yesterday for the first time in over 10 years. I know, it’s terrible, especially for someone who runs a health and fitness blog, but I haven’t had dental insurance ever since I turned 18. I got dental coverage last year, but I’ve been putting it off, and for too long it seems. My gums started to hurt last month and I decided that I would finally look for a dentist and make an appointment.

When I went in yesterday, I was extremely nervous and anxious. I wasn’t scared of the pain (well, maybe a little), but I was worried about how many problems my teeth and gums would have. I was almost positive that I had at least one or two cavities.

I was also scared that I might have done some serious irreversible damage that might cause problems later in life. Some type of gum disease or something. I don’t know. Well, it turns out that I did cause some irreversible damage, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

X-rays and a Deep Cleaning

Because it has been so long since I’ve been to the dentist, they wanted to do a very thorough x-ray scan. They did 18 scans in all, which felt like forever. You’re probably familiar with the process; They cover your body in a lead blanket, then they put those little square things in your mouth and you have to bite down while the edges jab into the roof of your mouth and under your tongue. OUCH! I hate those things.

My scans came back good. The hygienist did a little poking and prodding and found nothing wrong. It turns out that after 10 years, my teeth are actually pretty healthy. No cavities!

I had some tartar build-up, like most people probably do, so she started the cleaning process to get rid of it. It took quite a while, but she said that it won’t take anywhere near as long next time, as long as I continue to make regular visits. She was actually worried that the deep clean would have to be split into two visits, in case there would be too much blood for her to work with, but I guess it was fine since we made it all the way through.

The Irreversible Damage That I’ve Caused

I had my tongue pierced when I turned 18 and I got rid of it when I was about 28 (2 years ago). The reason I got rid of it is because I chipped a lot of teeth. I did some serious damage. Teeth don’t grow back. Each time I chipped another tooth, it hurt whenever I ate, but with time, the tooth seemed to smooth over and it wouldn’t hurt anymore.

The dentist told me that as long as it’s not bothering me, he wouldn’t need to do anything. I would assume that if you really wanted to fix chipped teeth like mine, you could get porcelain veneers, but that would be a little pricey. I’m not worried about aesthetics and my chipped teeth aren’t noticeable anyway. It sucks that I have permanently chipped teeth, but they work.

What isn’t good though, is that I also have two labret piercings, which have also caused damage. I’ve had them for around 6-8 years and I never noticed a problem, but slowly over time, they’ve been wearing away at my gums. The gum line where the rings have been rubbing are now so low that the it has uncovered the very bottom of my teeth, exposing nerves. Last month I thought my gums were hurting, but come to find out, it’s the nerves of my teeth. 🙁

Click the image for the full-size photo

I really wish I would’ve have known better when I got the piercings. The problem isn’t necessarily the rings themselves, but it’s the ball on the rings, which you can see in the picture above. In the past I would turn the rings around so that they balls would be hidden behind my lip. Last month when my gums started to hurt, I turned the rings around so that the ball is on the outside. I’ve noticed that the rings don’t touch my gums at all this way.

The hygienist told me that the damage can’t be undone. The gums won’t grow back. She said that I could use fluoride as a sealant though, which should prevent the pain for a few days, but I’ll have to keep reapplying it.

I read a few stories online from people who have had the same receding gum line due to labret piercings, who claim to have regrown their gum lines, despite the dentist also telling them that it will never grow back, so I’m hoping that my dentist is wrong too.

Anyway, to go to the dentist after more than 10 years and to find out that my dental health is fairly good, I’m really happy.

Now I don’t have to go back for 10 more years 😉

Just kidding, I’m going back every six months from now on.