Category Archive: Health

The Facts About Weight Loss Pills

I wish I wrote this article.  In a nutshell, it lists many of the currently available “miracle diet pills and potions”, why they don’t work and, in many cases, why they’re harmful to your body.  This is a must read.

Click here for full article.

The Miracle Cure-all is Strength Training

Another good article by Alan Freishtat, an A.C.E.-certified Personal Trainer, about the importance of resistance training, and how cardio alone just doesn’t cut it.

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Getting Younger As You Age

Excellent article by Alan Freishtat, an A.C.E.-certified Personal Trainer, about the importance of exercising and maintaining your health as you age.  For some reason, so many older people believe aging includes atrophy and poor health; it’s endemic in our society.  This is just not so.  One can do so much to delay and soften the aging process.

Click here for full article.

Eat Fat To Get Fit

The Myth Busted

 

It always amazes me how many people think they’ll get fat if they eat fat. I don’t know why this amazes me so much, though; after all, doesn’t it make sense? If you don’t want to get fat, don’t eat fat, right? Wrong, and here’s why:

 

You see, it’s the terminology that confuses people. The fat you eat is not necessarily the fat that ends up around your waist or hips, but people throw these different ‘fats’ into the same catchall “fat” category – hence, the misunderstanding.

 

What is dietary fat?

 

First, a little chemistry. Fat molecules are constructed of a carboxylic acid with 1 to 3 glyceride “tails”. The most common fats are triglycerides with, you’ve guess it, three tails. These tails have varying numbers of hydrogen atoms attached to them – they can either be totally crammed packed with hydrogen atoms (i.e., saturated fat) or only partially full of hydrogen atoms (i.e., polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats). 

 

Fats, as opposed to oils, are solid at room temperature and usually contain a high proportion of saturated tails; oils are liquid at room temperature and typically (there are notable exceptions) contain a high proportion of unsaturated tails.

 

What are fats used for in the body?

 

Now, a little biology. As discussed in previous articles, fats are one of the six nutrients that we all need to consume as part of a healthy balanced diet (the other necessary nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water).

 

Fat is a source of energy, and, at 9 calories per gram, provides more than twice the energy of a comparable amount of carbohydrate or protein. This can be good if you’re starving, but if you’re not, it means it doesn’t take a lot of fat to tip you over your daily caloric requirement. Fat also carries essential nutrients (such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K) into and around the body; gives food flavor; and, because it takes longer to digest, stays in the stomach longer than other energy-providing nutrients, making us feel fuller for longer. Fat in and on your body also provides insulation from extreme temperatures, and cushions against concussive forces such as a fall.

 

Polyunsaturated fats have a tendency to lower blood cholesterol levels, and monounsaturated fats, in addition to also having a tendency to lower blood cholesterol levels, maintain high-density lipoprotein (”good”) cholesterol. So try and get your dietary fat from these healthier monounsaturated sources.

 

Saturated fats are, supposedly, the “bad” fats that tend to increase serum cholesterol; I write “supposedly” because new research is casting doubt on that claim. For the time being, though, until a strong scientific consensus has been reached, try to not overdo your consumption of saturated fats.

 

What foods should I eat that contain “healthy” fat?

 

The healthiest sources of fat include nuts, avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. Other healthy sources include fatty fish such as salmon. Meat and dairy products (unless reduced in fat) tend to contain a higher percentage of saturated fats and should therefore be eaten in moderation.

 

How much fat should I eat?

 

Fats should provide between 20% and 35% of your total daily caloric intake. Having said that, however, it doesn’t take a lot to consume more fat than you need. For example, an ounce of almonds (a small handful, or around 24 nuts) packs a punch of 164 calories; a mere 12 nuts more (or a slightly larger handful, around 1.5 ounces) will add another 82 calories – that could equate to as much as 4-5% of your daily caloric requirement for most women (less for most men). So be warned; go easy on the peanut butter and salad dressing.

 

So if eating fat is so good for me, what’s all this excess baggage hanging around my stomach/hips?

 

Put simply, when you consume more calories than you burn, the body has to do something with that extra energy, and so it converts it to an easily stored form of power – fat. Think of the excess fat around your body as a battery, there to be used in the future should you ever run out of food. The problem, of course, is that in our affluent society, running out of food is seldom a problem, and so the fat doesn’t go anywhere.

 

How do I get rid of this excess fat?

 

If you’re hoping I can tell you the secrets of fat loss in a sentence or two, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Using more energy than you consume sounds easy enough… so why is it so difficult to shed the pounds? That…will have to wait for a future article.

 

Is it all bad?

 

Before you panic that you’re slowly turning into a giant Duracell battery, please know that having some fat on your body is a good thing; it’s how Hashem created you, and it needs to be there for you to be healthy. The problems arise when having too much fat becomes detrimental to your health; when your quality of life deteriorates. At that point, it’s time to take charge and make some healthier decisions. 

 

In summary

 

To sum this all up, if you eat a balanced diet, perform regular exercise, and don’t eat more than your body needs, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about putting on excessive weight. While it’s true that I’ve simplified a lot of very complicated processes in this article, and that sometimes it’s not always that straightforward, as is true for most things in life, it all comes down to control and discipline; being able to say ‘no’ to that extra portion of dessert, and making wise choices that care for your body. If you respect your body, your body will respect you, allowing you to serve Hashem with all the potential with which you’ve been blessed.

Shatter Your Limitations – Leaving Your Mitzrayim

What Will You Do With Your Freedom?

 

What would you like to be?  What would you like to do? So nu, what are you waiting for?

 

Yeh, if only life were that simple…

 

           “I can’t because I have no time”;

           “I can’t because I have no money”;

           “I can’t because I have no control” (of my food, of my job, of my family);

           “I can’t because I have no support” (of friends, of family, of coworkers, of supervisors);

           “I can’t because I have no will or ability” (to do what is necessary).

 

Does any of this sound familiar? How do these excuses appear to you? Unbreakable shackles? Overwhelming obstacles?

 

Mitzrayim, the land from which we were redeemed, literally means “borders” or “boundaries”. In fact, ancient Egypt prided itself on its exclusivity and superiority; they had everything they needed, and there was no need or desire to leave its borders. Its workers were both physically and emotionally trapped, with no will or thought of escape. This was the land in which our nation developed. After two centuries of gradual constriction, we became slaves with a slave mentality, inured to our state of being, unable to make a difference in our own destiny. We blamed others for our downfall, we blamed others for our failures, we blamed others for our inability to pull ourselves back up.

 

Some of us, unfortunately, have not changed much in nearly three and a half thousand years. “I can’t because I have no…”? You need something from someone else before you can move forward? Why? What have YOU done to alleviate your misfortune? What have YOU done to attain your goals? We blame our parents, our coworkers, our boss, our spouse, and the list goes on… Enough! Change starts with YOU, not anyone else. If you don’t surround yourself with inspiring motivating supportive people, time to move on and find a new place to call “home”. In the end, your power can only come from within and from Above, nowhere else; you must use your abilities and your intellect to make it happen, and to find people who can help you make it happen yourself – the strength must come from you. Be intrinsically motivated and driven, not extrinsically pulled and cajoled.

 

When Hashem gave us the freedom to escape Mitzrayim, he gave us the ability to break through our own boundaries and limitations. But most people don’t push themselves hard enough. Most people don’t do what it takes to realize their God-given potential. Laziness is not an excuse; “I have no…” is not an excuse. What have you sacrificed to achieve your goals? Where are your priorities?

 

“If only life were that simple…”? The truth is, at the end of the day, life is that simple, and only our excuses complicate it. It’s time to shed the slave mentality.

 

When your body is tired, push a little more; when your mind is weak, push a little longer; when your will is drained, push a little further. Always press your limits. If you don’t, you’ll never know how much you can attain and of how much you’re truly capable. Always push against your own “Mitzrayim”.

 

Every day, be a better person than you were the day before, spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, and intellectually. Progressive development, as I’ve written before, allows you to take small steps each day to achieve your goals. Your only deadline is your “deadline”, so don’t procrastinate – as long as you move forward every day, striving to do better today than you did yesterday, with the ultimate goal of being better tomorrow than you are today, one day, with Hashem’s grace, you will realize your potential.

 

We weren’t put here to just be, we were put here to become. This isn’t a fanciful philosophical notion, this is our chiyuv. A day without trying to improve oneself and/or one’s environment is a day wasted.

 

We ALL have this ability, each with our own strengths. Inspire yourself, inspire others. After all, look who led us out of Egypt: an 80-year old stuttering little brother; a humble fugitive who, ultimately, found his calling and realized his own abilities.

 

Freedom means the ability to choose – so choose wisely… what are you going to do with your freedom?

 

 

Weighing In on Obesity in the Frum Community

Excellent article regarding obesity in the frum community. “One of the main hindrances to following a healthy lifestyle, however, may be the fact that it’s simply not stressed, suggests Dr. Singer. “It’s hard to go a week without hearing that we need to be learning more Torah, but you can go years without hearing a rabbi say we need to exercise.” – so true!

Click here for full article.

15-Point Plan To Reduce Your Calories Though Portion Control

Here’s a 15-point plan developed by Mathew Caddy, MS, RD, for cutting our calories though portion-size reduction.  Some very useful tips and ideas, particularly for Shabbat, Yom Tov, smachot, and other occasions when we’re faced with the “challenge” of eating large meals, often in social occasions.

Click here for full article.

Part I of the article can be found here.

Do G-d & Good Nutrition Improve Mental Health

A psychotherapist offers his opinion that belief in a higher power, and maintaining good nutrition are both necessary to imrove one’s mental health.  Asking questions about and forming a relationship with Hashem, combined with an intelligent approach to diet and nutrition, seems to exponentially improve healing time, heal anger and fear, and relieve adverse mental symptoms far quicker than traditional talk therapy and medication alone.

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Where’s The Beef?

One man’s journey to being an Orthodox vegan.

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My Child is Fat, Part I

Some very helpful tips and advice for raising healthy children.

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Frum and Fit: Are We Fulfilling Our Torah Obligation to Take Care of Our Body?

“If a person cared for himself the way he cares for his horse, he would avoid many serious illnesses.  You won’t find a person who gives his horse too much fodder; but he himself eats to excess.  He makes sure his animal gets proper exercise to keep it healthy; but when it comes to himself, he neglects exercise even though this is a fundamental principle in health maintenance and in the prevention of most illnesses.” Maimonides, Hanhagot Habriyot (The Regimen of Healthcare)

As a frum Jew, what are your priorities?  Read this article to get a fresh perspective.

Click here for full article.

Weighing In on Obesity in the Frum Community

Excellent article regarding obesity in the frum community.  “One of the main hindrances to following a healthy lifestyle, however, may be the fact that it’s simply not stressed, suggests Dr. Singer. “It’s hard to go a week without hearing that we need to be learning more Torah, but you can go years without hearing a rabbi say we need to exercise.” – so true!

Click here for full article.

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