Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What is Umami and the Importance in Food Choices

Umami is a Japanese word meaning good flavor.  It is made from glutamate and ribonucleotide.  It is found in some things such as meat, dairy and seaweed.  Umami is subtle and blends with other tastes to expand on them and increase other flavors.  Most of us would not even know it is present, we would just say this is delicious.

The other flavors that are considered primary are:  sweet, bitter, sour and salty.  It wasn't until recently that umami has started to claim the fifth spot.  It was originally discovered as glutamate found in seaweed that the umami theory took hold.

From this finding the invention of Mono sodium Glutamate came to exist.  MSG.  MSG is umami.   It enhances the sweet, bitter, sour and salty.  Where do we get all these in the perfect combination?  When we combine  sugar, salt and fat.  The combination is literally addictive.  If the umami is added it becomes even more addictive.  The combination becomes like brain candy.  One of the foods most researched in terms of having all the qualities that humans enjoy.  Doritos.  You can't eat just one!

In terms of what can I do with this information, I would want you to take away this.  Look at the food labels.  Does it have sugar, salt, fat or MSG or anything that says glutamate?  Realize that you will probably love it.  Realize you will want more.  Go in knowing.  Just don't let it take you by surprise.  You will be surprised at how much less you eat of it.

Example:  Potato Chips.  (pretty much any kind)  Made with russet potatoes most likely.  The carbs in a potato are sugar molecules.  Fried in oil, which is fat.  Seasoned with salt and sometimes some flavored powder, glutamate.   Now you know.  

Free Single Leg Training Video by Mike Robertson

I had a chance to hear Mike Robertson speak a few times about training.  I try to make it a point to make it to every Indy Performance Seminar.  Mikes gym IFAST was named a top ten gym in the US by Mens health.  Mike just put up a chance to watch his single leg training presentation on his blog for free!  I drove down to Indy and payed money to watch.  So while it's up on his sight for free, I suggest you go over and give it a watch.  Mike is one of the top Strength Coaches in the US.  Not only have I talked with him, one of my best friends trained under him while he competed.  So I've got the inside and outside scoop so to speak.  He'g good.  Learn from him.  Here is Mikes blog and the link you can watch the free video.
Single Leg Training.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Intravenous Multiple Vitamin Usage in Grand Rapids

A few weeks ago I tried out a IV of a multi vitamin in a health clinic here in Grand Rapids.  They were selling it as a way to boost the immune system.  I've always wanted to try this since reading about how David Boston use to receive IV multi after workouts.  Supposedly it helped speed recovery.  We all know he was on the special sauce too, so can't go by that.  But still, it's an interesting concept.  For athletes its pretty interesting.  I definitely think it would be a better option then regular vitamins if you can afford it.  The cost prohibits it from being an everyday use though.  For Olympic athletes it is illegal to receive an IV unless you are in a life threatening situation.

My cocktail consisted of:

B5  750mg
B6  200mg
B12  1000mcg
Magnesium Sulfate  1.5g
Vit C 1500mg
B Complex 150mg
Calcium Gluconate  300mg

It was quite an interesting feeling, you can actually feel it enter your bloodstream.  You get a certain taste in your mouth.  I didn't come in with a cold or feel tired, so I can't say if it helped or not.  Dealing with stressful situation or knowing your coming down with something, this may be a helpful prevention strategy.  I think this is where the big benefit might lay.  If you are training months for a run or race and feel a cold coming down, besides doing some smart things like, hydrate, sleep, garlic, getting an IV of Multi Vitamins may indeed be a smart choice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Muscle and Ageing: Retire Strong

As you grow up and become an adult one of the things people talk a lot about is retirement, IRAs and 401k's, social security and things of that nature.  Money.  There is a commercial out there called "what's your number."  The meaning is if you have this number, you can retire comfortably.

My question is this, "How much muscle have you put away?"  You start to produce less growth hormone as you age.  Given.  After the age of 50 you start to lose muscle mass if you don't work at it.  Muscle mass is your insurance as you age.  Chance are if you've accumulated enough, your risk of osteoporosis is nill.  Muscle mass improves your chances that if you fall, nothing will break.  Chances are better that you won't fall.   If you've done the work to get the muscles, chances are you've maintained that strength.  

Your immunity will be stronger.  Your insulin sensitivity will be better.  Muscle mass calls for extra blood vessels.  Extra blood vessels means more circulation, more oxygen, less hypertension. Better body temperature regulation.  The list could go on.

There have been countless studies done showing that strength training in an elderly population is invaluable.  But I'm saying is don't stop if you train now.  Build up your muscular retirement plan.  If you train senior citizens I hope you have read this amazing study.  I've blogged on it before, but here is an article discussing it.  SENIOR CITIZENS.  

They were able to change genetic expression.  Mitochondrial dysfunction, thought to cause muscle loss, was reversed and brought back to normal baselines.  This was through 6 months of 2x a week lifting.  

This should be everywhere!  Lift, get strong, gain muscle.  But unlike money retirement, it's never to late to start.  So tell Grandma and Grandpa to pick up some iron.  If you already picked it up, don't put it down.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barefoot running, Vibrams, Born to Run and being a Caveman

First, for the record, I like barefoot running, I own a pair of Vibrams (for three years), my favorite book of two years ago was Born to Run and I buy some of the caveman ideas (like doing my best to eat paleo).

When I was dealing with achillies problems heading into our Olympic training year as a push athlete I had severe achillies tendonosis on my left side.  We did everything to try to get it better, soft tissue, ultrasound, taping, foot strengthening drills.  Finally I just decided to do a few barefoot runs.  Not sure why.  I guess it's an example of listening to that inner voice.  It hurt at first and then just got better.  I did 8x60 meters.  Each one a bit faster then the previous.  It worked......for me.  Sample size of N=1.

OK. Now lets dive into the negatives.  First the caveman idea.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say, no cavemen or cavewomen were overweight.  I think they were lean and mean and always moving.  No one had a spare tire or as my friend calls it "middle heavy."

I doubt if any of them did things repeatedly for aesthetics.  Hitting bench press every Monday.  So what I'm saying is, I'm betting there were not a lot of muscle imbalances.  Also, food for thought, no one ran on concrete or asphalt.

I see to many people with weak hips, if your hips are weak, you will lose your arch in the foot.  Loss of arch means more pronation.  Pushing off a pronated foot is a calf problem waiting to happen.  Can you stand barefoot on one foot for 30 seconds without falling?  Can you do a clean lunge?  First strengthen your hips.

I've heard the arguments.  So and so does it.  One of the most powerful, dangerous and easy things, is the comparison with someone that is doing it.  Recently in Runners magazine a guy ran a marathon in like 2:27 barefoot.  Or the Kenyans run barefoot growing up.  (ever notice they don't run barefoot anymore).  Look if they are running that fast, they are a gifted runner.   They were put together biomechanically efficient.  Compare yourself to you.

The first big barefoot boom was the Nike Free's that Nike put out after talking to the Stanford Cross Country coach.  They noticed he had his athletes run 100 meter repeats barefoot in the pristine grass after some workouts to strengthen there feet.  Nike saw dollar signs.  Pay attention.  These were elite college cross country runners.  They had a gift and were only running 100 meter repeats a few times a week.  Not there running workouts.

Does everyone need an orthotic, absolutely not.  But if a factory guy has sore feet every day and works 10-12 hours per day.  They may be a lifesaver for him.

Like all things fitness, the pendulum usually swings in one direction to hard such as the 150 dollar running shoe with posts/arch support/extra cushioning and then swings equally far in the other direction. Running in nothing.  The answer usually lies in the middle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uloric: New Drug for Gout

I was watching TV this morning and was struck by a new prescription drug ad I had never seen.  Uloric, for gout.  Gout is a build up of uric acid crystals in the big toe joint.  As you can imagine, pain in the big toe is a big pain.  Some common things to do with gout is to avoid purine rich foods as this can be a catalyst.  What struck me about Uloric though were the symptoms.  Increased risk of heart disease.  Well, if you have Gout you're already at an increase for heart disease, so no brainer.  But death also was.  This was the reason the FDA didn't approve the drug in the first place in the first two trials.  Then in the 3rd trial they were able to show that this drug didn't increase your odds of dying anymore then another Gout drug on the market.  Read again.  Not anymore then the other drug.  It doesn't say no risk, just not anymore then the other drug.  But you know what, the side effect that got me the most was joint pain.  Joint pain was why your taking the drug to begin with!  It just seems crazy to me.  Ok, I'm off my soap box.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Asymmetries in Athletes Predicts Injuries

This video link below is a tremendous explanation of some of things I try to do at Train Out Pain Chiropractic here in Grand Rapids.  I've become a big believer in locating the asymmetry to improve performance and prevent injury.  The asymmetry creates compensation and over and under worked muscles.  It is the old wear on the tread metaphor. You can't be a high performance machine with unbalanced tires.  Find your asymmetries and fix them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Motivation through Education: Chiropractic Care for Maurice Jones Drew

Chiropractic care is in every major sports team in America. Every pro golfer uses one. They travel with every Olympic team. Lance travelled with one on every Tour. What do people that count on their bodies count on? If you want to be successful, follow what successful people do. There's a reason they seek out Chiropractic care. From Prevention, so you don't get hurt, to faster recovery if you are, chiropractic care can and will make you feel better.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Milk Study for Women: Gain Muscle and Lose Fat

Recently read a research article where the women took part in heavy resistance training for 12 weeks.  No food or drink for two hours prior to the workout.  1/2 were given 500ml of non fat milk after training and half were given an carbohydrate  drink (sports drink).  One hour later another glass of each was drunk.  The women who drank milk gained muscle and lost fat.  The carbohydrate group gained muscle only with no net fat loss.  I couldn't find out if this study was sponsored by the American Dairy Association.  Here is the link to the abstract.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Modified Bridge for Glute and Hip Strength, exercise for runners

I'm always on the lookout for new glute exercises that can help keep that pelvis in alignment. I had a chance to talk to Evan about a month ago down at the Indianapolis Performance seminar. Really bright guy. Fellow Palmer College grad. I actually bought one of his manuals and have been reading through it. Very good stuff. He has a clinic in Chicago and practices somewhat similar to how I do, which I don't find very often. So it's nice to be able to bounce ideas off someone or ask how they approach some situations that I find unique. Give this exercise a shot. I liked it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Test for Runners: Assessment for the Body and Mind

I treat a lot of runners.  Most come in with some sort of repetitive overuse injury.  They have "pushed though" something and usually "pushed through" something after that.  To say that most have big compensations would be an understatement.  They have built up movement dysfunction over the months/years.

Question, do you think it's normal that you start out in pain, but "after I warm up and get a few miles in, the pain goes away."

Question, do you think it's smart that you know it hurts, but "I have to get the miles in?"

Question, do you think it's OK that it only hurts when I'm done, but by my next run it usually feels pretty good?

If you answered Yes to any of these hypothetical questions, my simple statement is this.  You are destroying your body.  No punches pulled.  Maybe it's cartilage (that medical science can't replace), a stress fracture, tendonosis (degenerative tendon changes),  osteoarthritis (something is moving to much, because something else isn't moving), something.

Train Smart, don't "gut it out."  Get help, get a therapist, a coach, someone to help you get back on track.

Test yourself for asymmetrical flexibilities.  Is one hamstring tighter then the other?  Quadriceps?  Hips?  Inflexibility is one thing.  Asymmetrical flexibility is a surefire way to injury.

Touching your toes isn't a hamstring stretch.  Quit doing it.  It's an assessment.  A real flexibility test I use for runners is this.  Lie on your back.  Have someone bend your leg and press your thigh to your chest.  Does your other leg stay still?  If it does you pass.  If it doesn't you have work to do or your going to be overworking.  Overworking = Injury.

If you really love running.  Do the work it takes to run healthy.  The body is beautifully and wonderfully made.  It's made to last, not wear out.  Most importantly, you will never get a new one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Statin Drugs: Are Your Joints Sore?

Statin drug prescription is being used by over 20 million Americans according to some research I was reading. One of the most common side effects of the statin drug is muscle and joint pain. This is one of the reasons you really want to know what meds your patients or clients are taking. If they start a new drug or up the dosage and start having muscle and joint pain, you may start to chase the pain and get pretty frustrated.

Statins have also been known to cause neuropathy. Neuropathy is any kind of numbness, tingling or burning sensation that is usually felt in the extremities. Usually when someone comes in with neuropathy, my first thought is what nerve is being compressed or compromised. Now, after some frustrating experience, my first question is, "Any additional medication changes in the past month?" No use in chasing symptoms.

Tendons also seem to have a predisposition to statin caused pain. Here is an article from Pubmed.  While I never advocate giving drug advice.  It's smart to know the side effects to let your patient or athlete know that what their feeling could have a good chance of being caused by a statin drug.  Don't forget that if they are on statins, Coenzyme Q-10 is probably in short supply. This is super important for optimal function of the Krebs Cycle.

Don't chase pain.  Ask good questions.  Eliminate the unknown.