Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going 'Pooless

A few months ago, I came across this article on MarksDailyApple.com about ditching the shampoo bottle. I was intrigued (hmm, maybe I could live without the sodium laureth sulfate, tocopheral, cocamide DEA and cyclopentasiloxane). So, heck let's give it a self experimenting go at it to see wha'happens! I am always in search of simplification. I believe that we can live happier and healthier when we dial it back to the basics and let our body do its job.

The rationale is simple. Unregulated chemicals, first gently caressed into your head, then washed down the drain into the world beyond. Sounds like something I could do without. Jacqueline Krohn M.D., author of The Whole Way to Natural Detoxification: The Complete Guide to Clearing Your Body of Toxins, notes that “Caustic chemicals, such as alkaline solutions, can…penetrate the skin. Once a chemical has penetrated the stratum corneum (the most superficial layer of skin), it moves through the epidermis and into the dermis. Then, the rich blood supply of the dermis readily transports the chemical into the bloodstream.”

Typical hygiene starts with shampoo, which while leaving your locks smelling like a ripe apple (still not sure why this is desired) does a swift and clean sweep of all of your hair's natural oils, leaving it bone dry and pissed about it too. Now, dont forget to "rinse and repeat" (read: "use faster, buy more often!!"). So then you need to follow it up with conditioner to replace those innocent oils. Which leads to the need for another product which necessitates the need for another and another and so on. So what seems like a trivial savings/product minimization at the onset, actually has quite a significant impact when its all said and done.

A quick primer:

Alcohol, isopropryl (SD-40) - Found in Anti-freeze. Ingesting less than an ounce is fatal. so rubbing into your scalp is good why? Can actually work as a “carrier,” helping other harmful chemicals penetrate your skin. Has been linked to headaches, dizziness, depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma.

Propylene glycol (PG) and butylene glycol
Both of these shampoo ingredients are known as petroleum plastics which work as wetting agents and solvents. Having this duo penetrate your skin can possibly weaken your protein and cellular structure. PG and butylene glycol are commonly used to make herb extracts and remove barnacles from boats. Yes, you read that right.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
These chemicals are what supposedly cleans your locks, also known as detergents and surfactants. Not only do these multi-talented toxins clean your delicate hair, they are also used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers.

So, I got a 35 lb bag of Sodium Bicarbonate aka Baking Soda at Costco. It should last me a year and is of course a natural mineral. I put about half a handful in the palm of my hand and add a tiny bit of water. I then rub it in my hands creating a paste, then massage into my hair with my finger tips. You'll need to find the right method/mix for you if you're interested in self experimenting. There are several different methods and recommendations. The first few days, my oil producing glands were still on hyper-drive, overproducing to catch up from the train wreck shampooing process mentioned above. It will take your body a few days or maybe a few weeks to adjust. In these first few days, my hair was indeed pretty oily, but alas, I pressed on.

I have been shampoo free for two months now, and see no reason to ever go back. My locks are golden and flowing. I dont feel the least bit greasy. I'm avoiding chemical exposure, doing my part to minimize my environmental footprint and saving money. What's not to love about going 'pooless??

For further reading and other testimonials:


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stop Eating Grains

If you really want to lose weight, stop eating grains.

Yes, I had a hard time believing it too. After all, I've been told for a lifetime to eat a whopping 6-11 servings of cheap and easy, government subsidized grains for my entire life. But a funny thing happened to me a few months ago.

As a health and fitness professional, it is my ethical responsibility to be in a continuous state of learning. And as an advisor and consultant, it is my duty to assess, research, question, and then disseminate the information that I passionately believe may help my clients, fans or followers to be more successful in achieving their goals. I am not alone in saying that I have observed a lot of failure, disappointment, frustration, negative reinforcement and even more confusion first hand in this industry while people have diligently followed the advice of conventional wisdom.

While everyone tries to "eat right" or at least "do better," and while fitness professionals, nutritionists, doctors, government agencies, celebrities and of course, the media tout the benefits of eating "right" and getting regular exercise (the simple rule of "calories in, calories out") we've gotten fatter. Much, MUCH FATTER. Clearly, something is broken and a paradigm shift is necessary.

So, a few months ago, I stopped teaching high intensity exercise classes. (Not intentionally as a means of removing this from my life, just as a professional evolution.) I went from teaching about 5-10 high intensity classes a week between cycle and strength formats to zero. I maintained a moderate activity level with my clients/bootcamps - but my movement was nothing impressive and FAR from what it was previously. I've always been lean - 8-10% body fat - and always weighed in around 170 lbs +/- 2 lbs. While teaching the copious amounts of classes, I didn't have high energy. I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. Yet, we tell people - intensity, intensity, intensity - more, more, more - and if its not working, DO MORE!! I was shoving oatmeal down my throat morning after morning, refueling with bagels or tabuli sandwiches (basically wheat on wheat) and finishing it off with a pasta dinner and supplementing in between with fruits. Using conventional wisdom, it sounds like a pretty healthy diet!

At the same time that I stopped frequent high intensity exercise, I also gradually weaned myself off of grains, following my reading of Mark Sisson's blog, MarksDailyApple.com and his book, The Primal Blueprint. I had heard much about the Paleo and Primal diet, so I thought - this is pretty crazy, but as part of my due diligence, let's give it a try for a few days and see what happens. Well guess what? In the midst of doing zero high intensity exercise and maintaining a similar caloric intake - less the grains of course - I lost 10 lbs while maintaining my lean muscle mass. All of this in a matter of about 3 weeks and remember, I didnt have much to lose in the first place! All of this with no caloric restrictions, more energy with my body off of the insulin roller coaster, and a forgiving 80/20 rule, so yes, I can enjoy a beer (no grains 80% of the time will get you 100% of the results without the negative reinforcement of "cheating" and the ability to enjoy cake on a birthday or eating out on a special occasion).

I am now a lean and mean 160 lbs with about 6% body fat. Why? The cliffs notes version is this: Grains = Carbs. Carbs = Sugar. Sugar drives insulin levels. Insulin drives fat storage. Without the easy to burn carbohydrates, my body is a fat burning machine - and yours can be too.

There are a host of reasons to avoid grains, so I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the science behind it via the links provided here. It is far too deep a discussion for one post.

I highly recommend that you consider this approach - after all, you've probably tried everything else. And its not just good for your waistline - its good for you and will no doubt cure many if not all ailments that may nag you, from headaches/migraines to irritable bowl syndrom to tooth decay. But dont take my word for it. Study it first. If you learn the "why," "what" to do is much easier. In my next posts, I will share some of my go-to's, favorite foods and food prep techniques, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

DIY Parmesan Kale Chips

Kale is a leafy green super food, loaded with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer goodness, high in beta carotene, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. It also contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol both of which are believed to have powerful cancer prevention properties.

I made my first batch of DIY Kale Chips last weekend and perfected the recipe today. A few tweaks (easy on the oil, dont use the stem) and perfecto! A surprisingly yummy, crunchy, flavorful and healthy snack. Kale Chips squash any snack attack and are a great mindless muncher - try substituting them for popcorn while watching your next movie. You can dress them up various different ways - and even incorporate dipping sauces - depending on what you have on hand, but in general if you have some olive oil and sea salt you're good to go!

DIY Parmesan Kale Chips

Start with quality organic Kale like so...

Sprinkle with EV olive oil (cold first pressed is best), then add Parmesan cheese, sea salt and garlic - dried or minced. No specific measurements, just have at it.

Pop in the oven til crispy (10-15 minutes at 350) and enjoy the thin and crispy goodness!

MyBootcamp Potomac - Now Enrolling for May

After a very successful launch of our first group bootcamp - MyBootcamp, Potomac will be continuing for May! $90 for the month, Tuesday and Thursday at 9am at Orchard Ridge Park. Please email info@roifit.com or contact me on Facebook to reserve your spot (yes space is limited), so contact me today!

Here is a quick video from our first day - rain or shine, we work hard and have fun! Let's GO!

Friday, April 29, 2011

My New Toy - TRX's Rip Trainer

Here is a video of David demonstrating the new Rip Trainer from TRX. It is a great addition to my toy trunk and a great complement to the TRX Suspension Trainer as it primarily focuses on dynamic power and explosiveness in the transverse plane - ie rotation - and asymmetrical resistance training. Your body needs to be able to both rotate effectively and prevent rotation effectively and without injury. In the same spirit of the TRX, it is compact, light-weight and with multiple anchoring solutions, you can take it anywhere! So, whether you are training for high performance in sport or life, Rip It!