You’re Worried About Ebola & ISIS – But Still Not Motivated To Workout?

o-EBOLA-facebookThere are a lot of pressing issues in today’s world – and it’s easy to get caught up in the media hype. If you turn on the television, it seems like the end of the world is near. Between the latest reports from the Middle East or the tragic Ebola news from West Africa, it’s unsurprising that many people are scared. Some, even panicking.

And let’s be clear: Turmoil with ISIS in the middle east and the spread of Ebola is horrific, awful and very real. And both as a country and as individuals, we should do all that we can to ensure that all people are allowed to thrive with healthy, happy and productive lives.

But let’s also be clear: According to this article, you should fear your furniture a lot more. Every year, furniture accidents kill about the same number of Americans as terrorism (about 30 fatalities) and injured many, many more (about 40,000 emergency room injuries).

There’s something even more dangerous. Each and every day, 2,200 Americans are killed by the same culprit. That’s 800,000 Americans per year. In perspective, 4,000 people have died worldwide of Ebola. That isn’t to minimize their deaths, but rather to draw attention to the the scope of this even more rampant pandemic. This killer is heart disease. And you’re at far more risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack than ISIS, Ebola or even cancer – combined.

Americans are rushing to the stores to buy gloves and face masks – and orders for full body hazmat suits are spiking online. You can even buy one with Amazon Prime! And yet… and yet, 80% of Americans still don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week. Exercise that helps dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease.

Let’s get something straight: We’re worrying about the wrong things. If you remove media hype and add logic, we’d be lining up outside the local gym or neighborhood park to get our bodies moving. You might die in a terrorist attack or from Ebola. But with 1 in 3 American deaths attributed to heart disease, the real killer is hiding in plain sight.

Are Watermelon Seeds Edible And Healthy?

watermelon_with_seedsWe know that watermelons provide some great nutritional and health benefits. In fact, National Geographic lists their top five reasons to chomp down on watermelon as follows:

  1. Soothes sore muscles
  2. It helps heart health
  3. Could reduce male impotence…
  4. Many vitamins and minerals; few calories
  5. Could fight cancer

But what about the seeds? Most of us are accustomed to either spitting out the seeds or removing them before consumption. Alternatively, there are many seedless watermelon options available for purchase. But by cutting the seeds out of the equation, are we selling our watermelon experience short?

Yes.

Not only are watermelon seeds edible, their packed with nutritional benefits. Loaded with heart-healthy fats, these seeds are rich in minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and copper. Moreover, a one ounce serving has a respectable 8 grams of protein. The only downside to watermelon seeds is that they’re relatively high in calories. But with just a slice or two of watermelon, it won’t be a problem.

I’m not sure who started the watermelon spitting rule, but now is a good time to break tradition. Next time you opt for watermelon, treat yourself to the seeds. Just make sure that you chew them to ensure nutrient absorption.

When it comes to watermelon seeds, don’t spit. Swallow.

 

 

Fast Food Chains Cut Calories From Menu Items.

surgeons-general-warning-for-fast-foodI’m not a fan of fast food. I’m a fan of good, nourishing food. And the two are rarely one in the same.

However, fast food chains could be taking a step in the direction of better nutrition. According to a new study that examined the menu items in 66 of the 100 largest U.S. restaurant chains, new menu items added in 2013 had, on average, 12% fewer calories than the previous year. It amounted to a difference of about 60 calories per food item.

Of course, whether consumers actually opt for these new options over a Big Mac is yet to be determined.

Moreover, it’s unclear whether calorie reductions were achieved through smaller portions, more nutritional ingredients or some combination of both.

Researchers speculate that restaurants are making the changes ahead of impending federal regulations that will require chains to post calorie information on the menu. Whatever the motivation, the researchers believe that reducing calories in fast food menu options may have a significant impact on calorie reduction.

P.S. If you want to dramatically improve the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

Why Are Gay Men Skinnier?

gay guysOver the weekend, I visited a very gay gym in Palm Springs, California. Though most of the exercisers were well into their 50s, 60s and 70s, they were in better shape than most 20-year-olds. It raises the question: Why are gay men in better shape than straight men?

To answer that question, we must first examine whether or not it’s even true.

Certainly, the stereotype is that gay men are fit and muscular. But in reality, gay men come in all shapes and sizes. As a community, we’re not defined by a single body type.

However, when comparing gay men as a whole with straight men, it is statistically clear that gay men have a lower average body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight – and, on average, gay men are thinner and a third less likely to be obese. This has been confirmed time and time again including an article in the American Journal of Public Health.

Of course, a lower BMI doesn’t necessarily mean that gay men are in better shape. It does mean that they’re skinnier. But skinny isn’t a synonym for healthy. I have many skinny friends that couldn’t run a mile.

Instead of asking why gay men are in better shape, it’s more accurate to ask why they’re skinnier. So why are gay men skinnier?

It’s a great question with no clear answer, especially given the breadth and depth of our community’s diversity. Based on my experience, here are a few possibilities:

  1. Gay culture is very body-focused. Pick up a magazine that targets straight guys. On the cover, you’d probably see a deer in cross hairs, a football player or a woman in a swimsuit. Pick up a gay magazine and it’s probably a dude in his underwear. This isn’t to say that straight men aren’t body focused, but much of that attention is directed at women – and not themselves. If a straight guy sees a bikini-clad woman on a magazine cover, his first thought is probably not that he needs to lose 25 pounds to look like her.
  2. Gay men can be overachievers. If society – or your family – treats you like you’re a second class citizen, you may feel like you need to prove your worth by becoming an overachiever. Being an overachiever isn’t just about working 70 hours a week and getting promotions. It can also translate to other areas of life, including the gym. Working out can become an obsession in the pursuit of perfection.
  3. Your body is a currency in the gay community. Some things feel beyond our control. Like getting older or how smart you are. Or even your job or how much money you make. But you do have control over your body. And in the gay world, a good body can open many doors. It can help you do and get the things you want. And it will definitely help you get laid. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but it’s a true thing.
  4. You create in yourself what you are attracted to in others. If a straight guy is attracted to large boobs, he’s probably not going to try to create large boobs in himself. But in the gay world, you have the opportunity to create in yourself what you’re attracted to in other men. If you are attracted to large pecs, you’re probably going to want large pecs on yourself. It’s a uniquely gay experience, but certainly a possible motivating factor.

At the end of the day, we don’t really know what drives gay men to be skinnier. While we can discuss gay men’s motivation until we turn blue, what’s equally important is expressing those motivations in a healthy and productive way. In a culture ripe for eating disorders and body image issues, it means building a healthier relationship with your body.

In the comments below, please share why you think gay men are skinnier. What motivates gay men? What motivates you?

P.S. If you’re looking to lose weight through nutrition, exercise and an improved relationship with your body, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program; I co-wrote the program with a psychotherapist, a nutritionist and another personal trainer. It’s the last weight loss program you’ll ever need.

These REAL Superfoods Will Shock You.

main_dandelion_thWhen you think of superfoods, do you think of… watercress?

Probably not. But maybe you should.

We hear the term superfood a lot. We generally think of superfoods as those foods with a higher density of critical nutrients like vitamins and minerals. But as it turns out, no federal agency has defined the term superfood. In other words, marketers are free to use it on product packaging at their own discretion.

Marketers have successfully positioned chia, blueberries, kale, acia berries and the like as superfoods. But are they really the most deserving of that title?

A study by William Paterson University sought to shed some light on the situation. Using a 100-point scale, researchers evaluated fruits and vegetables based on their content of 17 nutrients including fiber, zinc, folate, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K.

Their findings are quite surprising. At the top of the list was watercress, followed by Chinese cabbage, chard, beet green and spinach. Blueberries didn’t even meet the study’s criteria to qualify as a powerhouse fruit or vegetable.

Below are some of the fruits and veggies and their respective ratings.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 4.52.26 PM

While you might not be tempted to snack on a bushel of parsley, the ratings provide an objective approach for scoring the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables. The finds can also serve as a reminder to favor science over clever marketing.

P.S. For a simple and science-based approach to healthy (but delicious!) eating, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter!

 

Is Dark Meat Unhealthy?

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 7.41.34 AMDark poultry meat gets a bad rap – but is this unhealthy reputation deserved?

First things first, dark meat cuts are the drumsticks and thighs. White meat, on the other hand, is breast meat.

There are some notable nutritional differences between the two. Dark meat certainly contains greater amounts of fat. In the case of chicken and turkey, dark meat contains 12.3 grams of fat and 10.1 grams of fat, compared to white meat with 5.7 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of fat respectively.

But this is total fat.

It’s worth noting that more than 2/3 of the fat in dark meat is heart-healthy, unsaturated fat. Moreover, fat slows down digestion and can help you feel full, longer.

hoisin-chicken-legsBut the story doesn’t end there.

Dark meat also tends to be richer in zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, vitamins A, K, B6 and B12, amino acids, iron, selenium phosphorus and zinc.

Though dark meat contains slightly more calories and higher levels of fat, it’s not as unhealthy as most people think. In fact, quite the opposite. With more flavor than white meat, dark meat can be a delicious and healthy part of any balanced nutrition plan.

Give dark meat a second chance.

P.S. For a simple and science-based approach to healthy (but delicious!) eating, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter!

 

Sore Muscle Treatment: More Movement.

muscle-sorenessWhen I injured my hamstring a few years back, I was prescribed a common treatment called RICE – standing for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

However, new research by the same man who coined the term RICE shows that the treatment merely delays healing by reducing inflammation. In fact, the body’s inflammation response is important to the healing process. By icing an injury, an important hormone is blocked. You’ll still heal, but it’ll just take about a half day longer.

A half day can make a huge difference for competitive athletes who need to be ready for game day. For the rest of us, a half day won’t really matter much. And though icing can delay healing, it still helps reduce discomfort. For some people, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff.

But for faster healing results, the researchers recommend movement without pressure. If you injured your legs running, for example, taking a leisurely walk could actually help; it’ll keep blood flowing to your damaged muscles and boost recovery.

Moreover, the researchers found that anti-inflammatory or pain reliever drugs also delay healing.

As it turns out, our wise bodies are better suited for healing on their own.

P.S. Interested in getting a strong, lean and defined six pack? Download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program to get started with five 12-minute ab workouts!

I Hate Vegetables But I Need To Lose Weight: 5 Tips!

Hey Davey,

Just wondering if you could give me some advice and maybe others who have the same dilemma. How do I lose weight when I do not like fruits and vegetables? Everyone tells me to learn to love them, but I’m 22 and it won’t get any better. For example, I HATE SALAD. What should I do?

Thanks,
Chris

photo-31Hey Chris,

First off, I don’t believe that you hate fruits and vegetables.

I do believe that you think you hate fruits and vegetables, but it’s time to start telling yourself a different story. With so many flavors and with so many different preparation methods, there’s no way that you can truly hate every single combination.

Second, eating veggies isn’t just about losing weight. Regardless of your goals, fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Of course, depending on how you prepare them, vegetables are much less calorie dense than unhealthy foods like pastries, ice cream, chips and fried foods – which can be beneficial if you’re looking to fill up with fewer calories.

Having said that, there a number of ways to improve your veggie habits. Here are some tips:

  1. Add veggies to dishes you already like. If you like pasta, for example, slice up some veggies and add them to the pasta sauce. Find the veggies that you least hate, and start there. It’s also easy to sneak some veggies onto your sandwich. A tomato slice and some sprouts can be a great addition.
  2. Blend them. Though kale might not sound like a tempting option, you may surprised how tasty it is in a smoothie. A quick Google search will yield plenty of healthy smoothie ideas. Add some unsweetened peanut butter and unsweetened almond milk for a base and you’re good to go!
  3. Dress up your salads. Sure, you hate the salads you’ve tried. But try something different. There are thousands of different salad dressing recipes and a million ways to top your salad. Add on a few slices of prosciutto and avocado. I love topping my salad with homemade croutons; it makes such a difference. Cube up some wheat bread and toss it with garlic powder, olive oil, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until crispy and add to your salad. It’s a huge upgrade.
  4. Tune in to texture. Some of your vegetable dislike may be due to the texture. Recognize that your can control the texture through preparation. Stir fried veggies have a different texture versus baked veggies versus grilled veggies versus raw veggies. It might be texture – and not taste – that has turned you off.
  5. Take the vegetable challenge. Open your mind by making the following commitment: Try at least one new fruit or vegetable each week. You may hate most of them, but you may also end up finding one or two that you actually like.

In my opinion, a blanket statement of hating fruits and vegetables is cheating yourself from some awesome culinary experiences. I suspect that your dislike of vegetables is less about taste buds and more about perspective. And, of course, you have control over your perspectives. Stop feeding yourself this tired old story and stop defining yourself in opposition to foods that support not just your goals, but also a healthy and balanced life.

Love,
Davey

P.S. To transform the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter – and get started today!

The Downside Of Energy Drinks…

rugbycroppedEnergy drinks are more popular than ever, especially among athletes. In fact, more than 50% of athletes report consuming energy drinks before training or competitions. The belief is that these energy drinks can give athletes a competitive edge.

But is it true? And what are the side effects?

To answer those questions, researchers from Camilo José Cela University published a four-year study that evaluated the pros and cons of energy drinks on athletes. Top athletes from various sports consumed either three energy drinks or three energy drink placebos before competitions. Using GPS, dynamometers and potentiometers, researchers evaluated performance.

According to the data, energy drinks do have a significant positive impact on performance. Overall, athletes were typically able to boost performance by 3% – 7%. They ran further, jumped higher and had more endurance. In competitions where fractions of a second make the difference between winning and losing, the findings are notable.

But it wasn’t all good news. Post competition, athletes who consumed the energy drinks reported higher levels of insomnia, nervousness and stimulation. These side effects are typical for any caffeinated beverage.

It’s also worth noting that energy drinks don’t provide energy. Energy is often measured in calories. One calorie can raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at sea level. In that sense, energy drinks don’t have any more “energy” than other soft drinks. However, due to the concentration of caffeine, energy drinks have an energizing effect.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle size and strength, I recommend downloading Size Matter’s: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Bad Idea: NO CAKE EVER!

FullSizeRenderYou want to eat healthier. You’ve created a nutrition plan. Cake is not a part of it.

The problem is, you really like cake. Or maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies. Or peanut butter ice cream topped with hot fudge and whipped cream. Whatever your trigger food may be, excluding it from your diet can be a big mistake.

And here’s why.

If you tell yourself that you can’t eat cake, you’re probably going to find yourself thinking about cake a lot. When you’re sitting on the couch contemplating a late night snack, you’ll probably think about cake. When you’re hungry at work, you’ll probably think about how a cake break sounds perfect. And each time you walk by a bakery, rows of freshly iced cakes will taunt you with their empty promises.

In other words, the more you deprive yourself of something, the more time you spend obsessing over that thing.

Resistance, as they say, is futile. Willpower inevitably breaks and a cake binge is almost unavoidable. And if you somehow do manage to avoid cake, you’ll do so at the expense of your sanity and the well-being of the people around you.

There’s an alternative, more sensible approach. It’s called moderation.

When a craving hits, walk to a local bakery. Instead of binging on an entire cake, give yourself permission to have a reasonable portion. Though it’s not something you’d do every day, allowing yourself to strike a balance breaks the “forbidden fruit” syndrome in which you might otherwise get stuck. Besides, life would suck in a world without cake.

To avoid sabotaging your diet, replace deprivation with moderation.

P.S. To radically improve the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. Until midnight tonight, you can also use discount code “fall” to save 25% during checkout.