Monthly Archives for September 2013

Archives for September 2013

Is Bison Healthier than Beef?

bison2First, let’s set one thing straight.

Most of us eat way too much red meat. In an often-cited study from Harvard, researchers found that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day.

In other words, we should eat red meat sparingly – if at all.

Having said that, there are significant nutritional differences between bison and beef. Also, it’s worth noting that bison is often incorrectly referred to as buffalo meat. Buffalo are different mammals, and only live in portions of Asia and Africa. In fact, they’re very different from the American bison that’s available in your grocery store.

One big advantage to bison meat is lower fat content. Though fat content varies greatly from cut to cut, you’ll generally find about half the fat in a comparable cut of bison. A beef burger, for example, has nine grams of fat. A bison burger of the same size has 4 grams. With reduced fat content, bison also has fewer calories than beef.

It’s also more common for bison to be grass-fed, though you’ll need to check with your supplier. Grass-fed meats offer a number of nutritional advantages. Beyond reduced fat, grass-fed meats are lower in cholesterol, higher in omega-3 fatty acids and contain more vitamins and antioxidants.

But let’s not get carried away; bison meat isn’t a nutritional miracle – and you’re much better off eating some steamed vegetables or a nourishing and colorful salad. But if you’ve got a craving for red meat, bison meat does offer a nutritional upgrade from beef.

Exercise 30 Minutes a Day: Lose More Weight. [Study]

heater-pounder-maleHere’s something that I see a lot.

Someone – let’s name him Jeff – decides to make a new and positive change in his life by working out for the first time. Jeff is ambitious and doesn’t want to take baby steps. Jeff wants dramatic results as soon as possible, and so he commits to an hour of exercise, six days per week. After a few weeks, Jeff becomes frustrated with a lack of instant progress and feels drained. And he’s having a hard time juggling all those hours at the gym with his other responsibilities. Something has to give. And so Jeff stops exercising.

While Jeff is fictitious, I see this happen time and time again. Different names, but same story.

When starting to workout for the first time, don’t bite off more than you can chew; make a reasonable gym commitment. And now, a new study is echoing that sentiment.

The University of Copenhagen study followed obese individuals on two different exercise programs. One included thirty minutes of exercise per day while the other lasted 60 minutes. After three months, researchers found that the shorter exercise group was more pleased with the program and enjoyed the changes in their lives:

People who exercised for a shorter span were happier, more energised and motivated to lead healthier lifestyles…


The group who exercised longer felt drained. Moreover, the shorter exercise group actually lost more weight; 3.6 kg versus 2.7 kg.

So what does it all mean? If you’re truly in it to win it, be wise enough to start small. Start with a truly do-able gym commitment, and then let it build naturally over time until you achieve the results you want.

Morning Workout Mantra.

Clear-Your-Mind-of-Cant1_0A mantra is a sound, word or phrase that is used as an instrument of the mind – usually to enter a state of meditation. It can help us slip into the space between our thoughts.

Beyond meditation, I like using mantras as a way to slip into a more motivated mood. For when I need an extra kick in the butt, I’ve put together the following workout mantra. Some of the words are from me. Some are borrowed from others. Either way, it’s wisdom that works.

Today is a brand new day. It’s a fresh start that isn’t defined by yesterday’s limitations. So release any negative thoughts. Replace I can’t with I can and I do.

Today, think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts become nourishing actions. Nourishing actions lead to constructive habits. Constructive habits create a long and healthy life.

Today, eat well. Laugh. Move often. Hydrate well. Sleep eight hours. Sweat. Be kind to myself and others. Thank my body. Look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. And repeat this everyday for life.

I am inspired. And I am inspiring. By letting my radiance and power shine, I lift up others to do the same.

Now get up and be glorious!

If my mantra resonates with you, feel free to use it or make it your own.

What other words or phrases would you include in your workout mantra? Let me know in the comments below!


How to Correct Muscular Imbalances.

legworkoutmain_0There’s no doubt that a solid and effective strength training program can yield some amazing results, but what happens when you notice imbalances in your muscular development? And how can you correct it?

First things first, there are a few types of muscular imbalances. There’s symmetrical imbalances wherein one bicep, for example, is bigger than the other. Imbalances between opposing muscles are also common. And lastly, there are general imbalances wherein one part of the body is developed and others are not – think chicken legs.

Also, keep in mind that correcting muscular imbalances isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Sure, an imbalanced body doesn’t look cute. But imbalances can also be dangerous and increase your risk of injury.

If you experience a symmetrical imbalance and find that one muscle is becoming more developed than the same muscle on the other side of your body, there’s an easy fix. When you’re exercising, opt for dumbbell rather than barbell exercises. For example, when working your biceps, perform dumbbell bicep curls rather than barbell bicep curls. Unlike barbells wherein the resistance can be shifted to favor one side over the other, dumbbells ensure the same amount of resistance on both muscles.

When it comes to imbalances between opposing muscles, think of someone who has highly developed chest muscles and underdeveloped back muscles. In fact, this scenario strikes home for me. When I first started training, I ignored my back and focused on my shoulders and chest. Because the front of my body was so disproportionately developed, the result was shoulders that pulled in and a rounded back. It’s not a good look.

To prevent this type of muscular imbalance, ensure that you’re training agonist/antagonist muscle pairs. These pairs include:

  • Pectorals/latissimus dorsi (pecs and lats)
  • Anterior deltoids/posterior deltoids (front and back shoulder)
  • Trapezius/deltoids (traps and delts)
  • Abdominals/spinal erectors (abs and lower-back)
  • Left and right external obliques (sides)
  • Quadriceps/hamstrings (quads and hams)
  • Shins/calves
  • Biceps/triceps
  • Forearm flexors/extensors

Lastly, we’ve all seen guys with really big and obvious muscular inconsistencies. Most often, it’s guys with huge upper bodies and tiny, thin legs. To guard against this faux pas, create a workout program that trains your entire body. That means not forgetting the legs, bro.

What’s Better: Swimming or Running?

Dear Davey,

I’m trying to get in better shape, and I was wondering which gives you a better cardio workout – swimming or running?


0627-ent-olympic-swimmers-pool_awHey Luis,

First of all, both swimming and running provide great workouts. And either is better than sitting on your butt watching television. However, there are some pretty big differences between the two types of cardio.

It’s important to note that comparing running to swimming can be a lot like comparing apples to oranges. They’re both very different – and the effectiveness of either workout can depend on a number of variables. For example, a University of Florida study found that swimmers burn 44% more calories when a pool is heated to 68 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 91 degrees. The speed at which you swim or run also has a big influence. As does any incline you might experience during your run. In other words, it’s not that simple.

However, there are a few things that are quite definitive. Swimming is low-impact, and so it’s a great option for people with joint issues. Swimming will also give your upper a body a good endurance workout (running does not), assuming that’s something you want.

When it comes to calories burned, running does come out on top – but again, it depends on all those previously mentioned variables. Here are some general guidelines for a 155-lb individual who is exercising for 30 minutes:

  • Moderate intensity swimming: 214 calories
  • Running at 5mph: 298 calories
  • Vigorous swimming: 344 calories
  • Running at 10mph: 632 calories

If you can hold a 10mph pace, then running is advantageous from a purely caloric perspective. But if you run at 5pmh and can swim at a vigorous pace, then swimming could be a better choice for burning calories and getting your heart pumping.

Personally, my favorite cardio workout is high intensity interval training wherein I alternate between jogging and sprinting for a set duration. It provides a ton of amazing benefits; it doesn’t take a lot of time, minimizes muscle mass loss and provides a huge metabolic boost that you won’t get from steady-pace cardio.

But at the end of the day, the best form of cardio is the cardio that you’ll stick with. Find what works for you!


Does Eating More Meals Speed Up Metabolism?

small-mealsIt’s totally true that when you eat food, your metabolism speeds up to process what you’ve consumed. But it’s also true that this increase is quite small – and that it’s related to the size of the meal eatten.

Here’s how it works out.

If you eat 2,000 calories a day and split those calories over three meals, you average roughly 666 calories per meal. If you eat 2,000 calories a day and instead split those calories over six meals, you average 333 calories per meal. Instead of three larger metabolic boosts, you rev up your metabolism six times to a smaller degree.

So what does this amount to? According to John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, not much:

The calorie difference is so small it doesn’t add up to a hill of beans.

Moreover, having six smaller meals can mean three additional times per day to slip up, overeat or make unhealthy choices.

Having said all of that, smaller meals can work – but it’s really a matter of preference and strategy. For example, six smaller meals can help curb hunger by making your body feel “fed” constantly. But you have to find what works best for you.

As for the idea that eating more meals means a huge metabolic boost, it’s busted.

How Your Subconscious Mind Sabotages Weight Loss.


Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Early in our lives we’re “programmed” with certain beliefs that shape us. For example, if you were praised and supported as a child, you most likely developed a sense of confidence. But if you were repeatedly ridiculed, especially about your weight, deep down you may feel unworthy. This belief may erode your confidence even as you strive to do all the right things to lose weight.

When there is something you desire, but can’t seem to make happen—like losing those last 20 pounds, for example—chances are your subconscious, hidden beliefs are blocking you. Your conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg. It’s visible and obvious. From this place your desire is clear: “I want to lose weight.”

Your subconscious mind, however, is the mass of ice below, hidden beneath the surface.  It carries beliefs rooted in your past and is much more powerful than the small tip above. To permanently lose weight, your conscious and subconscious minds must agree. For example, if your subconscious mind says, “I’m a failure,” your journey may feel hard. But if your subconscious mind says, “I’m worthy and capable of reaching my weight loss goal,” you most likely will.

Meet Alice

Overweight since childhood, Alice wanted to lose 50 pounds. She believed her weight was the reason she couldn’t meet another man after her divorce. She and her ex-husband were childhood sweethearts and now that she was older, she believed no one would want to date her.

Whenever Alice attempted to improve her lifestyle habits to lose weight, she stopped eating healthfully. This pattern continued for several months, even as she earnestly wanted to become thinner. Because she understood the power of her beliefs, she examined what kept getting in her way. Alice discovered contradictory beliefs that sabotaged her progress.

On one level, Alice wanted to lose weight. But on a deeper level, she feared men wouldn’t want to date her even when she was thinner. She often said, “Who would want someone like me?” Staying overweight paradoxically offered Alice both hope and protection—hope that “someday” she’d meet a man when she was thinner but also protection from being rejected by men when she was thinner.

What a double bind!

Alice’s Strategy

Alice reached her goal weight, and while she hasn’t yet begun dating, the confidence and self-assurance she feels makes that less of a priority.  Here are the steps Alice took to release negative and contradictory beliefs that held her back:

Positive Affirmations
Alice strengthened her self-talk by frequently repeating these affirmations to herself: “I am loveable,” “I am worthy,” “I am beautiful.”

Thought Stopping
Whenever Alice became afraid or thought she was unworthy of being loved, she deliberately stopped herself. She took several deep breaths to calm her body and then said to herself, “This thought is not a fact. It’s just a belief I’ve had for a long time. I choose to let it go.”

Every day Alice used visualization to imagine herself five pounds lighter. Once she reached that goal, she’d imagine herself five more pounds lighter, and so on. Visualizing small steps helped Alice slowly adjust to changes in her body and feel less afraid of reaching her goal weight.

Emotional Freedom Technique
Alice used an energy psychology technique called EFT or Tapping to help eliminate her limiting belief of “I’m not worthy.” Considered a cousin to acupuncture, EFT is a process of using your fingertips to tap on certain energy meridian pathways on your body. EFT has been shown to be very effective with helping to eliminate limiting beliefs as well as anxiety, fears, and other psychological blocks.

Besides counseling, Alice routinely interacted on Calorie Count’s on-line forums and sought additional support through Overeaters Anonymous. These resources helped her feel less isolated and offered her much needed encouragement.

It’s not your fault if you’re having a hard time losing weight if you don’t even know what hidden obstacles are blocking you. But if you want to reach your goal, it’s up to you to find out. As Alice did, learn to identify limiting beliefs and remove the emotional obstacles that keep you stuck. Doing so will not only help you release weight with greater ease, your results most likely will be permanent.

15 Minutes of Exercise = 3 Years Longer Life.

live_long_and_prosper_car_sticker__55182Numerous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between exercise and longevity, but a massive study published in The Lancet further quantifies the benefit.

The study examined more than 400,000 men and women from 1996 to 2008, and placed individuals into one of five groups depending on weekly exercise levels: inactive, low activity, medium activity, high activity or very high activity. Then, mortality risks were compared to the inactive group – and life expectancy was calculated.

The low activity group exercised an average of 92 minutes per week, or roughly just 15 minutes per day. Despite their low levels of activity, this group still benefited from a 14% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 3 year extension of life expectancy. With some very quick calculations for this group, it means that roughly every minute at the gym extended their life by 3 minutes. Not too bad.

In this way, it’s smart to think of exercise as an investment in your future. It’s like a 401k or retirement plan for your life. Invest a few minutes today for a huge benefit down the road.

Moreover, the benefit of exercise on longevity increased for each subsequent group, though with diminishing returns. Every additional 15 minutes of exercise decreased the mortality rate by another 4%.

The takeaway is pretty simple: Move more, live longer. If you want to enjoy a long stay on this planet, regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure a lengthy and healthy life.


Are Cage-Free Eggs More Nutritious?

Free_range_chicken_flockWhen you go to the market to pick up eggs, you’ll see labels like cage-free, free-range and organic. It begs the question: What do these labels really mean? And are any of these eggs healthier than others?

Before we talk nutrition, let’s cover the different types of eggs you’ll encounter.

Standard Eggs

These are the inexpensive eggs that most consumers purchase. In fact, 97% of eggs purchased in the United States fall into this category and are laid by hens living in battery cages. While this method of egg farming is cheap and efficient, the conditions for hens are poor; cages are very crowded and hens never see the outdoors.

Cage-Free Eggs

Most people are surprised to learn that conditions for cage-free hens aren’t much better than those experienced by battery cage hens. Though these hens don’t have cages, they usually live on the floor of a barn with little room to move – though it can be different from farm to farm. These hens have perches and some nesting materials. It’s also worth noting that there is very little oversight for cage-free claims, so the actual farm conditions may vary from the packaging.

Free-Range Eggs

These hens experience the highest quality of life, and usually have access to nesting boxes, perches and the outdoors. Because these hens are less tightly controlled and the process is less efficient, free-range eggs tend to be quite pricey.

Organic Eggs

The USDA defines organic eggs as coming from hens who were fed no antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts. In order to quality for the organic label, the diet fed to the hens must have been grown on land that hasn’t used toxic or chemical pesticides and fertilizer for at least three years. Organic does not mean that the hens were treated particularly well, nor does the USDA require organic eggs to be from cage-free or free-range hens. Having said that, most organic egg producers raise cage-free hens.

So which eggs are the healthiest? According to at least one study, there are no nutritional differences among the different egg types. Nonetheless, moral questions persist and each of us must decide how we want our food treated.

The best bet is to find a local farmer who sells eggs. Visit his or her farm. See how the hens live. And then decide for yourself.

In the comments below, let me know which type of eggs you buy and why!

MYTH: Meat is the Only Protein Source.

PBIf you spend a lot of time lifting weights, you know the importance of fueling your body. But most exercise enthusiasts don’t know that eating hoards of meat isn’t necessary to reach your daily protein targets.

It’s true that meat is rich in protein. A chicken breast, for example, contains about 36 grams of protein. A hamburger patty has 28 grams. A serving of tuna can have up to 40 grams. The numbers are certainly impressive, but meat products aren’t the only source of protein. And the truth is, most of us could improve our health and longevity by reducing red meat consumption.

So let’s explore some other protein sources.

Not to be outdone, a cup of roasted peanuts has 35 grams of protein. A cup of cottage cheese has 26 grams. Eggs have 6 grams of protein each. Lentils have 18 grams of protein per cup. And a cup of oatmeal mixed with peanut butter and hemp seeds has 25 grams.

And that’s just getting started.

In actuality, a diet that includes beans, nuts, whole grains and even vegetables is rich in protein. Sure, a chicken breast for dinner or a serving of fish can help – but it’s certainly not necessary (or advisable) to consume a massive steak or 10 cheeseburgers a day.

Keep your diet lean, colorful and balanced!