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Beverage Recipe of the week

I know that it has been a while since I have posted a shake of the week recipe so I thought that I would share something along similar lines that I have been enjoying for the last few weeks. Don’t fret though, I will get back to shake recipes once I’ve finished the protein I bought…it isn’t very good and I do anything that I can to cover the terrible terrible taste.

This drink is my attempt at stealing recreating a drink sold by Bragg Foods. It is an apple/ginger spice drink and I love how it tastes and the caffeine free energy that it gives me. It involves apple cider vinegar which I have written about before, if you didn’t get a chance to read that, check it out here. If the benefits of ACV alone aren’t enough to sway you, here’s a link to an article about apple (peels) preventing muscle atrophy. I can’t help but think that you can get a similar benefit for the vinegar.

In addition to the nutritional powerhouse that is ACV, you’ve got some ginger which is great for your stomach. I base that, of course, on nothing other than grandma wisdom which I tend to think is pretty good. Cinnamon is optional but if you throw that in there you get a little boost of blood sugar/glucose metabolism control.

RECIPE:

  • Clean water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tablespoon per 12 ounces of water (more or less depending on how strong you like it but I find this to be just about right)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder per 12 ounces (I love ginger so feel free to use a bit less but, again, I think this is just right)
  • Stevia to taste…3 scoops (I use the Trader Joe’s 100% pure organic Stevia extract and it’s pretty sweet. Every Stevia brand seems to be different so you may need to play around with this a bit)
  • OPTIONAL: Cinnamon…about 1/4 tsp goes well.

Boom. Simple, tasty, nutritious and a perfect pick me up for any time of the day.

Folk science

This will hopefully be the first of a series of posts on folk medicine vs. science. It will not be a debate on which is better. Rather, it will be an examination of all available science on the efficacy of folk remedies. Hopefully everyone will find this as interesting as I do.

To start things off we are going to examine the basis for use of the Gaea of the alternative medicine movement:

Apple Cider Vinegar

First her, then ACV, then all that other stuff about titans and eating children

What we have in apple cider vinegar is perhaps, at least according to all of the folklore out there, the greatest medicine known throughout the world. It’s purported to affect everything from arthritis and acne to sore throats and strength endurance. It can even get rid of your dogs flees. I have compiled a fairly extensive list from many different sources on some of the most common benefits to ACV consumption:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • diabetes
  • flu
  • heartburn
  • Reduce sinus infections and sore throats
  • Balance high cholesterol
  • Cure skin conditions such as acne
  • Protect against food poisoning
  • Fight allergies in both humans and animals
  • Prevent muscle fatigue after exercise
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase stamina
  • Increase metabolism which promotes weight loss
  • Improve digestion and cure constipation
  • Alleviate symptoms of arthritis and gout
  • Prevents bladder stones and urinary tract infections

These are the more commonly held conditions that benefit and there are literally thousands of anecdotal accounts of to read online that agree.

The available science doesn’t prove most of these benefits, nor, however, does it disprove them. In fact, there is a woeful lack of any experimental data on this centuries old folk remedy that, I believe, is tantamount to negligence on the scientific community.  Anything that has a following as strong, and old, as ACV should be studied but the point of this blog isn’t to debate the politics of science research so I won’t digress further.

Despite this, I have found a few studies that researched ACV.

  1. According to this study, where you can only read the abstract, taking ACV slowed gastric emptying and lowered glucose and insulin levels after eating vs. not taking it. This study inadvertently lent credit to the weight loss benefits of ACV. By keeping insulin levels in check, fat accumulation is kept in check to a small degree. Combine this with slower rates of gastric emptying, which means you feel full for longer and eat less, and you have a potent combination for fat loss or, at the very least, fat prevention. One could also argue that keeping insulin levels low would help prevent diabetes but that wasn’t the point in this instance.
  2. A study done by the Central Research Institute in Japan found that vinegar(they didn’t specify which kind but they all have acetic acid which is the beneficial component of vinegar in the study) reduced body weight, fat mass and serum triglyceride levels (fat in the blood) in obese patients. Again I could only find the abstract but this is a very positive confirmation for the weight loss and cholesterol benefits to ACV as well as a thin connection to diabetes prevention as keeping body fat down is a great way to prevent it.
  3. Another study conducted by the came Japanese group was done on rats using acetic acid. They concluded that acetic acid consumption increased fat burning proteins that inhibited the accumulation of body and liver fats without changing food consumption or skeletal muscle weight. While this was done with acetic acid and not ACV, as stated acetic acid is the main acid in all vinegar. Another check for fat burning/weight loss and, possibly diabetes prevention.

These were the only relevant studies that I could find. Even though there isn’t much, the science that is there certainly lends credence to the weight loss/fat burning properties of ACV.

Another plus to taking apple cider vinegar is that can help prevent acid reflux. It’s well established that taking any acid will down regulate the bodies natural production, thus preventing the accumulation of stomach acids that lead to reflux.

I think, even in the face of limited research, it’s safe to say that ACV has some definite positives that agree with the alternative/folk medicine crowd. I would like to reiterate that, although there is no proof for the other uses for ACV, there is no research disproving it. Being that is it so incredibly cheap and will help you stay lean and sexy, I see no reason NOT to take it and maybe get a little extra something out of it.

 

 

My Supplements

***This post is not intended to be an endorsement for or against any type or brand of supplement, it is simply what I currently take. I will make a post about supplements and brands that I like in the future***

I have recently been getting an increasing number of emails from my adoring fans about what supplements I take. I can only imagine that this upsurge in emails is related to my current training experiment. This is understandable since looking at my volume, intensity and frequency would make most readers of mainstream fitness magazines soil their Under Armor briefs.

The supplement industry has done a wonderful job making people think  that, without supplements, they will shrivel up, waste their time in the gym and, probably, die. I would like to point out that this is a load of horse shit. All it takes is looking at any lifter from the early to mid part of the last century to see just how far you can go with nothing but food. That being said, however, I believe certain supplements do have their place.

Although I could easily be a complete supplement whore I am also extremely cheap. The two things do not go very well together. Because of this, my list of supplements is limited to those that I find to give me the most benefit.

1. Multivitamin/Multimineral – This bad boy comes in a pack of 30 and costs a whopping $10 from Trader Joes. Is Animal Pak better? Probably but it also costs 5 times more.

2. Protein Powder – Simple whey protein. I use various brands but will generally get most of my protein powders from trueprotein.com I like that you can get it unflavored and unsweetened. At the moment, as you can see in the picture, I am using a Muscle Milk whey that Costco sells 6 pounds for $35. Probably not the best quality but I ran out of my other stuff and this was a fast solution.

3. Psyllium Husk – Not much to say here. I buy it at Trader Joes for 10 bucks and it helps keep the ol’ pipes clear.

4. Desicated Liver Tablets – I don’t really know that these do too much for me but they used to be a staple in the supplement arsenal of old time lifters. I also do notice that my energy is a little bit better when I take these (probably because of the high b-12 content) and since I have started taking them it takes WAY more to get me drunk…not really sure that they have that effect…I find that these are also important to counter my complete lack of dietary liver consumption, something that I believe is necessary for being awesome.

5. Creatine – I actually feel nothing from this. Zero. Nada. However, it has many other health benefits that make it worth it considering it is very cheap.

6. Glucose Tabs – Yep, just like diabetics take. I find that they are very useful for getting some post workout insulin spike without taking in too many carbs.

NOT PICTURED

7. Fish oil – I almost don’t consider this a supplement. It is merely a fat source in my diet.

8. Pedialtye (sometimes) – This is a 90’s powerlifter thing. On days that I know lifting is going to be strenuous (Smolov days for example) I may mix some protein in with this stuff. 1 litre provides 25 grams of dextrose and a bunch of electrolytes. There are better peri-workout mixes available but not for the price and not sold at the Walgreens down the street from my house.

To those that were expecting me to say I take Super Aminodrol Mandingo Complex 45 or five grams of test a week…sorry. Pretty conservative supplement usage.  If you’re still wondering how I manage to lift the way I do on these limited supplements I say stop being a total wuss. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

Last Night Fish Oil Saved My Life

Fish oil. By now just about everyone and their dog has heard of fish oil. They all know that they should be taking it and it has something to do with omega 3 fatty acids. Ask just about anyone on the street WHY they should be taking fish oil and you will get a mixed bag of uninformed answers.

“It’s good for your heart…or something.”

“It helps your joints.”

“Dr. Oz says that it helps lower cholesterol.”

Pretty typical. Most people are pretty limited in their views to these few basic reasons. Fish oil, however, goes far beyond that.

Benefits (just some of them) include:

  • – Anti-inflammatory
  • – Reduces Cardiovascular Disease
  • – Lowers Blood Pressure
  • – Helps with Post-Partum Depression
  • – Relieves symptoms of Crohn’s disease
  • – Helps those suffering from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or prostate cancer.
  • – Burns Fat
  • – It’s Anabolic!

All of this adds up to one indisputable fact.

YOU NEED TO TAKE MORE FISH OIL.

I would set a minimum daily dosage at 5 grams per day. I currently take between 15 and 25 grams. Even at my current lowered caloric intake I feel unstoppable. Like I walk through walls unstoppable.

I can get into the science of how and why all of this works if people are interested but I want to see some comments first.

Let’s say 5 comments from people saying they want to me to do a post that is more sciency and delves deeper into the subject. In the mean time, take some more fish oil!