Shed fat fast—the healthy way
I need to lose 10 pounds fast. My 15-year high school reunion is coming up in two weeks, and I really want to look good. What can I do?
A: The much anticipated and dreaded high school reunion event. Personally, I say you don’t sweat the few extra pounds. But if you insist on the crash diet, I’m here to help.
As I’m sure you know, this type of rapid, short-term fat loss endeavor is not all that healthy and is definitely not something I recommend you do for extended periods or for short periods over and over again. It can really mess up your metabolism and is hard on your body. That said, let’s look at how to do it as healthfully and efficiently as possible.
If you follow my suggestions below you should be able to cut the 10 pounds in two weeks, while maintaining a decent metabolic rate, burning mainly fat and maintaining muscle tone. However, your energy levels will probably drop a bit during the diet and when you return to your normal eating routine you will put most of the weight back on fairly quickly. So be prepared for that. (Another reason why I don’t advocate crash diets.)
Calories: Consume 1,000 calories per day in four equal meals of 250 calories each. This will create a modified fasting state stimulating rapid fat utilization.
Macronutrient mix: Use a 60/20/20—protein/carbs/fat ratio. This translates to 150 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of fat for your 1,000 calorie day. This ratio will promote the most rapid fat loss focusing on fat and sparing muscle.
Supplements: Use a quality pure protein powder with soy, casein and whey as your main protein source. Take a good multivitamin and mineral, an EFA blend, a good antioxidant and a non-stimulatory "fat burner" with coleus forskohlii, green tea and acetyl L-carnitine. These supplements will ensure proper protein intake, stimulate fat mobilization, keep hormones as balanced as possible, and help detoxify your system as fat is burned.
Water: Drink at least 1 gallon of cold water per day to clear toxins from the body, help with hunger, and actually burn calories from the action of warming the cold water in your system. Also, because much of this short-term fat loss will be water loss you are more prone to dehydration. Consistent water intake is key.
Fiber: to eat all of your carbs as whole low-glycemic fruits and veggies. Including apples, cherries, fresh peaches, fresh pears, broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, etc. This will keep things "moving" properly and help fight hunger.
Note: Make sure to include some form of light resistance training in your two-week test diet. It will go a long way toward sparing muscle and focusing your fat loss on fat stores.
Improve varicose veins in four weeks
Q: Lately I have noticed little blue "spider veins" appearing on my lower legs. Are there any foods I can eat or supplements I can take to help make them go away?
A: Don’t panic. You are not destined to wear knee-high support stockings. We can fix this … or at the very least keep it from progressing further.
You see, varicose veins are not a disease per se. They are usually the result of lifestyle considerations. They develop due to an increase in venous blood pressure in the legs over an extended period of time. This can be a result of various things, including a job that has you standing for hours at a time, a low-fiber diet causing you to strain excessively on the porcelain reading throne, or even pregnancy. They all tend to increase the pressure in and strain on your veins. This strain weakens the vascular wall structure over time causing them to expand and become "leaky." Voila … varicose veins.
There are two main approaches to natural treatment. First are the physical measures that can be taken to decrease the pressure. These measures will be dependent upon your particular situation—what it is that is creating the pressure in the first place. If you believe you do strain unnecessarily on the throne, then adding some good natural fiber sources to your diet and making sure to drink plenty of water will go a long way toward alleviating that. If you have a job that requires you to stand for long periods, try to move about as much as possible instead of standing still. Even do "toe raises" as you stand. The action of your leg muscles from the movement will help pump blood up your legs, avoiding pooling and pressure problems.
Next is the use of herbs to help not only decrease the venous pressure, but to directly support the structure and integrity of the vascular walls. The following will explain what herbs to use, how to use them and what they will do.
- Look for a standardized extract containing 40 percent asiaticoside and 30 percent asiatic acid.
- Take 60 milligrams two times per day.
- Enhances connective tissue structure of the vein walls.
- Improves blood flow, thus decreasing pressure build-up.
- Use the root bark extract.
- Take 500 milligrams three times per day.
- Decreases capillary permeability (stops the "leaks")
- Increases venous tone, thus improving blood return up the leg.
- Look for blueberry extract with 25 percent anthocyanidins.
- Take 100 milligrams three times per day.
- Reduces capillary fragility.
- Increases integrity of venous wall.
- Improves venous tone.
If you implement the necessary lifestyle changes and use these herbs religiously for four weeks, you should see noticeable improvements.
The truth behind microwave myths
Q: I tend to cook just about everything I eat in the microwave. But I’ve heard microwave cooking can destroy the quality of food and even create dangerous toxins. Is this true?
A: In one word, no. The whole "microwave radiation will get trapped in your food and kill you" myth is just that. It simply doesn’t work that way. What micro waves do is interact mainly with moisture in foods. Because they are so small they easily pass through the solid components of foods. Upon encountering water within the food they excite the water molecules to a rapid vibrational state, thus creating heat. Microwaving foods is like steaming foods from the inside out. No microwave remnants are left over and no strange and unique toxins are created in the process.
As a matter of fact some research has been done testing the effects of microwave cooking on the vitamin content of various vegetables. The studies tested microwaving against boiling and steaing. What researchers found was that cooking veggies in a microwaveable plastic bag or container for four minutes on high heat actually preserved more of the vitamin content of the veggie then boiling or even steaming.
But it is important to keep in mind that just as in traditional cooking (boiling, steaming, grilling, frying, etc.) if you overcook any food in the microwave you will end up killing the vitamins. And in the case of meats, over-zapping can (just like over frying) create unhealthy trans fatty acids and other undesirable byproducts.
So zap away with confidence, but keep the cooking times as short as possible. And if you really want to dig into the safety of microwaving check out the Microwave Food Safety document at the government site www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/microwav.pdf or call 202-690-0351 for a hard copy.
In The News
Coffee may protect against diabetes
A new study just published by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day may decrease diabetes risk up to 30 percent. Harvard researchers followed the health of over 10,000 men and women for the past 15 years to assess the impact of various lifestyle choices on different disease states. One focus in particular was that of the effects of coffee drinking on the incidence of diabetes. They even tested regular coffee consumption against decaf coffee and tea. What they found surprised everyone. It turns out that women who drink four or more cups of coffee per day seem to decrease their risk of contracting diabetes by about 30 percent. Decaf coffee and tea did not have the same protective effect.
Abbott Nutrition strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program and perform exercises under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer or conditioning coach. The effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition should be determined by your health care professional. The suggestions here are in no way intended to substitute for medical advice.