Interesting read on Sunscreen….

Summer is upon us (at least here in sunny Florida) and I am pretty sure we all love that beautiful sunshine!  Here is an interesting article we read today about sunscreen, written by Dr. Phil Maffetone. If you have not heard of him, check out his site if you care to – he has some interesting information about health and related stuff!  I have pasted his exact article below if you want to read it here, or you can click on the title to be directed to the actual website.  Sunscreen is a big topic lately – with continued growth. I have noticed that as the years go on, the SPF or UVA or whatever else gets higher, I saw “95”  in the store the other day or maybe higher, I feel like 45 used to be the high then it moved to 60, then 80…  Not only is the SPF/UVA protection increasing but so is the price – good golly! I don’t feel like I have strong opinions about sunscreen but honestly, I don’t really like it and I know I don’t really want to buy and it slather it all over myself.  I can never put it on even because I don’t want to take the time to do it when the beautiful beach is calling or that hike ahead, it is a pain to even put on… how am I supposed to cover all my body in that goo and no I don’t want to breathe it either out of a spray can….it is itchy, smelly, it washes off when you swim, gets in my eyes and they get red, watery, itchy and irritated… and that is just the start!  If I use it I like to use something like the “15” and then on top of that the non oily, hypoallergenic stuff – goodness, high maintenance sunscreen girl!  But back on track, he does make some interesting points that I feel are worth considering and looking into further. As a dietitian I know the importance of Vitamin D and getting it in the form of a pill is not ideal.  Many times people don’t eat a proper diet and then it is compounded with staying indoors most of the day and when sun exposure is upon them they slather or lather up with sunscreen…  I have seen and heard about this with moms who don’t let their kids outside or even let them look out the window without sunscreen… I know that is a very extreme statement, but honestly,  I heard of someone putting sunscreen on their kid when they played by the window inside at home….

Here is the article finally!

Sunscreen: Natural vs. Artificial

By Dr. Phil Maffetone

The use of sunscreen dates back at least to the ancient Greeks who used olive oil on their skin
(which is still used today by many people). Christopher Columbus observed
natives in the New World painting their skin to protect it from the sun. In the
1930s, after getting sunburned, chemist Franz Greiter was inspired to develop
one of the first commercial sunscreens. By 1962, Greiter created the “sun
protection factor”—SPF—a rating of a sunscreen’s ability to block the sun, which
would become a worldwide standard in skin care and sunscreen

Studies of the relationship between cancer and the sun, and the
importance of vitamin D, first occurred in 1941, in relation to death rates from
breast and colon cancer. But by the post-World War II era, the sunscreen
industry was about to explode, and talk about the good aspects of the sun and
the importance of vitamin D to prevent cancer, would be almost lost.

Many people have used sunscreen with the notion that it will prevent cancer. And
while many studies have attempted to show a relationship between reduced cancer
rates and the use of sunscreen, it’s not clear that’s always the case. On the
contrary, the use of sunscreen may increase your risk of cancer in three ways.
First, using sunscreen gives many people the false sense that it’s perfectly
okay to stay in the sun for longer periods of time. Sunscreen won’t block all
the sun’s rays, it’s often used incorrectly, and, despite what the label says,
washes off easily with water and sweat. As a result, increased exposure
increases your risk of sun damage raising cancer risks.

According to a 2011 published study of 292 national sunscreen brands and 1,700 products by the
nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), based in Washington, D.C., it found
that over fifty percent of the sunscreens on the market do not provide adequate
UVA protection. Many of them actually contained potentially harmful ingredients.

Second, there may be a relationship between the chemicals used in
sunscreen and cancer development. Early formulations of sunscreens contained
PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) to absorb sunlight, but these sunscreens quietly
disappeared from the market when it was learned that this substance causes DNA
damage (which can trigger cancer). Subsequent products were found to promote
free radicals, which also can contribute to cancer. The latest sunscreens
contain elements such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to scatter or reflect
sunlight, but unfortunately these chemicals can also form free radicals on the
skin; titanium dioxide has been linked to DNA damage as well.

The most popular chemical used in the majority of sunscreens since the early 1980s is
oxybenzone (also called benzophenone-3). Absorption of this chemical occurs
quickly through the skin, and its accumulation in the liver, heart, muscle,
adrenal and intestine has caused significant health concerns that range from
allergy to hormone disturbances, and breast cancer risk.

The EWG also urged sun-loving consumers to avoid retinyl palmitate, a form of synthetic
vitamin A that is used in 30 percent of the sunscreens that were analyzed. In
studies, this ingredient has shown higher rates of skin tumors.

Third, the proper use of sunscreen can reduce vitamin D production in the skin, and as
discussed in my other articles, reduced levels of vitamin D can increase the
risk of most cancers.

In June 2011, the FDA released their long awaited
new rules about sunscreen products—it’s taken 33 years. Reynold Tan, a scientist
in FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Regulation Development, says the FDA has
been developing, testing and labeling requirements for sunscreen products for
decades. It will still be one to two years before new labeling rules are
implemented, so manufacturers can use their old inventories and create new

Under the new rules, sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” must
protect equally against UVA and UVB rays, and display the SPF on the front
label. Those with a SPF of 15 or higher can state that they help prevent sunburn
and reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. The FDA is still
considering whether to allow SPF numbers above 50 since they don’t offer
additional protection. Higher SPF ingredients are the most irritating to the
skin, and are more easily absorbed into the body.

Products with SPF values under 15 will now require a warning that reads, “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging
Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early
skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin
cancer or early skin aging.”

Manufacturers will no longer be able to claim that sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweatproof, and will require to state
on the label how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of
protection while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Two times will
be permitted based on the manufacturer’s tests: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.

In addition, manufacturers won’t be allowed to identify their products
as “sunblocks.” Also, sunscreens won’t be able to claim protection immediately
on application—so-called “instant protection”—or claim protection for more than
two hours without reapplication.

Some of these changes are healthy, and prevent companies from making false or exaggerated claims like they’ve been
doing for many years. But it won’t prevent people from midday summer sunbathing,
grabbing as much “holiday” sun, or feeling a false sense of protection just
because they slopped on some sunscreen.

The real sun protection for the skin comes from our diet—groups of natural compounds such as antioxidants,
carotenoids, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids, to
name some. It’s how human skin has been protected for millions of years.

My recommendation about sunscreen, like all other products used on your
body, is this: Don’t put anything on your skin you’re not willing to eat (since
it usually absorbs quickly into the body).

For most people with light and medium skin, reducing the risks of sunburn will significantly lower the risk of
sun-related cancers. This can easily be accomplished by slowly developing and
maintaining a good tan, avoiding midday sun, especially in the summer months,
and wearing protective clothing as needed, including a hat. In addition,
maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D is key.

Happy National Dairy Month!

June is National Dairy Month!

Happy dairy days ahead… if you are a dairy fan and hopefully you are!   I am a fan indeed!  I love milk,  yogurt and cheese… daily!

I am also a fan of cows – so I am excited! Mooooooooo!

My Pyramid recommends 3 cups/servings of dairy a day! You can check out their website for more information if you want!

As we know, dairy is an excellent source of calcium which is super important for overall health – especially bone health. In addition, milk provides  potassium, vitamin D, and protein – all of which are important! Consuming milk and milk products may reduce the risk of low bone mass throughout life and help prevent osteoporosis.  This is not just important in adulthood… think of it like an investment… what you do during your younger-years will only help invest in your future! Build stronger bones to keep stronger bones for life!  Milk helps add to an overall healthy diet!  It is not all about calcium thought because potassium can help maintain good blood pressure and vitamin D functions in the body to help maintain adequate calcium and phosphorous levels which in turn aid in building and maintaining bones.  MIlk is a good source of this as it is generally fortified with vitamin D.  

If you want “30 days of dairy”… you won’t get it from me, but you can however at this blog –  The Dairy Report , there will supposedly be a new tip or something about dairy!

Dr. Gangemi again, this time on barefoot running…

Another easy day for me, although it is never “hard” to post, but just more fun!  I found this article also written by Dr. Gangemi on barefoot running…. check it out and see what you think, here is the link to the article or see it below!

This Is Zero-Drop: Running Barefoot

Readers and patients know that I only wear socks on my feet while in the office treating patients, hence my alter-ego the Sock Doc. I have yet to ditch the socks in the office setting as I don’t feel they’ll look great with dress pants and a white lab coat. I advise every patient to go barefoot as much as possible since the feet are loaded with nerve endings that sense contact with the ground. Those nerve endings communicate with the brain and affect one’s entire nervous system. Your nervous system runs your entire body, therefore going barefoot can not only improve lower leg function and balance, but your entire health. I never wear shoes at home and I rarely wear them in the yard, (I typically wear sandals), unless it’s cold outside.

This past weekend and with warm weather here in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, I decided to shed my last line of defense and leave the running shoes at home. Typically I run in Nike Free 3.0, sometimes my Vibrams FiveFingers. I’ve run in minimalist-type shoes for many years now and I’ve run several times at the beach barefoot, but the most on the road was a one-time stint of just a few minutes. You can’t get any more minimalist than being barefoot; it is truly zero-drop, the heel and ball of the foot are on the same level.

So off I go and I’m feeling pretty good. The soles of my feet were tender, especially on parts of the pavement that weren’t entirely smooth. I had to “dance” around areas at the ends of some roads where gravel tends to accumulate; out here on country roads there tends to be lots of them. But I kept running. Originally I was planning on running maybe 10-15 minutes. But I felt good so I kept going. My heart rate was very aerobic, in the 130-140 range, but there was one thing that really struck me by surprise and excited me – my running cadence.

I think it’s important to check cadence. It’s something I’ve done in the past on the bike and more recently while running. It’s a valuable number to be aware of and easy to check – just count how many times one foot, (either your right or left), hits the ground in one minute. An efficient cyclist will have a cadence rpm above 90, some closer to 100. Inefficient cyclists tend to be in the low 80s or upper 70s, and instead of spinning, they are working too hard, and usually aneorobically.  Running cadence is very similar. Kenyans are running at a cadence of 94 to 98 even in the later stages of the marathon. Other elite runners are running in the 90-94 range. Slower, inefficient runners tend to be in the range of 76-86 and even less when they’re not racing. Elite runners tend to keep their cadence about the same even when running slowly.

Biomechanically, there are only two things you can do to run faster. You can run with a faster cadence or you can run with a longer stride. If you lengthen your stride, you lose efficiency because it produces more vertical oscillation. In other words, you bounce too much. But running with a higher cadence means the foot spends less time in contact with the ground and that means running faster.If you land on your heel it will take a few more milliseconds for the foot to be lowered to the pavement and then roll forward and finally push off the ground at the toes.  Ground time of his type of foot strike will add up over the miles than if you landed with a more flat or midsole strike. Plus, a heavy heel strike produces more impact and that stress adds up too and will cause fatigue sooner than if you stayed off the heel.

So back to my running cadence – even in my Nike Free 3.0 I ran at a 91-92 cadence. That means my right, or left, foot was striking the ground 91-92 times every minute. Not too bad. But going barefoot – for the first time on pavement – my cadence was at 98-99, and I checked it three separate times throughout the run. Wow. I wasn’t even running very hard, yet my feet were hitting the ground a total of 15 times more every minute. That’s amazing. Even adding a few steps per minute is tough to do and typically takes a lot of training. So I kept running barefoot.  I ran 10K in 50 minutes with an average HR at a nice aerobic 136. I was smooth, fast, and efficient.

One other thing I noticed was that other than some slight tenderness on the bottom of my feet, (which was gone by the next day), running barefoot was better for me than running in my FiveFingers. My current thinking on this is that in the Vibrams, my feet are fooled into thinking  they’re barefoot, but they’re really not, and that tricks my nervous system and makes my feet less responsive to the terrain. Small pebbles and rocks actually hurt more in the Vibrams. Going barefoot, my feet can self regulate as I run. I don’t feel that way nearly as much in the Vibrams. Plus, the Vibrams didn’t give me that Kenyan cadence.

One thing I do now know: I will spend more time running barefoot as part of training. Will I ditch my shoes for good?  Highly unlikely.

Dr. Gangemi and the topic of barefoot kids

I guess I am taking the easy way out with my blog today because I found an article to paste in here in lieu of my rambling on and on.  Greg and I had a conversation the other day about shoes and babies who are learning to walk as well as kids etc.  and it left me thinking a little bit.  I have heard that it is good for kids to have the “stability” of shoes and the “support” and all of that, but it still seems odd to me because I can see that it would only help them develop more strength and stability using their own feet…being barefoot/in socks or whatever. but I am no expert on any of this, just developed an interest in it because of how important our feet are.

This is an article by a man named Dr. Gangemi.  I have read some of his previous articles and he is kind of radical on some things, but I like quite a big of what he has to say on some topics… I have just read a little while Greg has read more. I like to read different opinions and find out what I like for myself.  He is a fan of barefoot running and “minimalist footwear” as you will probably pick up on in the article or read any of his others…

Here is his article and it can be found here if you want to look further at other stuff.  I also found one on adults I will save for tomorrow or the next time I post.

Healthy, Active, Barefoot Kids

Kids these days! I sound like my grandparents saying that, but the difference is while they were perhaps referring to some punk kid tailgating them on their way home from their weekly Bingo game, I’m referring to the kids walking around in pumped-up-kicks whose health and fitness levels fall very short of achieving any Presidential Fitness Award.

Raising healthy kids starts with the feet, and that means the bare feet. It’s what our parents and grandparents did as kids. It’s what Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer did too, and they had some pretty cool adventures. Now kids would rather stay indoors, texting and friending on Facebook instead of playing with friends outside. With little exercise to speak of, and processed junk food the norm in many households and school cafeterias, it’s no wonder that most countries have a runaway problem with childhood obesity – approximately one-third of American kids are either overweight or obese.Raising a healthy and fit kid isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s well worth your time, and I’m going to suggest you proceed from the ground up.

Kids, from their elementary school days up through high school, appear to be much less active and less healthy than their parents when they were at that age. Fast food often occupies school lunches, unless they’re eating something processed either from home or the vending machine. Physical education classes have slowly been eliminated, and those that remain are either focused on health and sexual education or the gym class has adopted less intense exercise routines, such as the parachute and childhood interaction – skills that do benefit all kids – but ultimately they are not running, jumping, climbing, and playing like they could be. They often get home from school exhausted as many have been gone for 8-12 hours, much like they’re already in a full-time job. They once again eat a nutritionally poor after-school snack and then veg-out in front of the TV or computer. More kids are becoming overweight and obese and they live much of their childhood lives indoors, many never experiencing daily, or even weekly, outdoor activities.

The health of the child starts long before they’re born, and even before conception as much of the health of that child is dependent on the mom’s health. Her diet, lifestyle, hormonal influence, and emotional well-being will all affect how healthy her baby is. Once the baby is born, his or her health is still dependant on the mom for some time, as hopefully breast milk is the only thing on the menu. Eventually, right around a year, give or take, that child is going to start walking, and essentially their developing fitness becomes a part of life.

As soon as that infant starts to cruise and eventually walk the feet become perhaps the most important non-organ part of the body. What the parent does now can help or hinder their child’s development. Will they put their child in shoes like so many pediatricians recommend? Or will they keep their child barefoot or in sock-like shoes? Unfortunately parents are told shoes give the toddler support “because they need it.” Hopefully the parents have educated themselves and know that their child’s feet are already made perfectly and going barefoot as much as possible, (or in moccasin-like shoes if protection is needed outside), is the best way to not only help their child’s structural development, but also their neurological development.

Each foot is home to approximately 7,000 nerve endings and the information they receive and pass on to the rest of the body is anything less than extraordinary. When that child’s foot feels the ground, the thousands of touch receptors in the nerve endings feed back to the rest of the entire nervous system. As the nervous system runs the entire body, any foot impairment, dysfunction, imbalance, or improper footwear can not only hinder them directly, (such as lower leg function and balance), but their entire health.

As a child grows their foot gradually replaces the cartilage with bone. Improper footwear worn by kids during this stage means that the bones do not develop correctly and a lifetime of foot problems can result. As kids gain weight and eventually enter puberty their risk of foot ailments seems to drastically increase and improper shoes are perhaps part of the blame. Unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity most likely play a part too.

Many are beginning to realize that minimalist shoes are important for healthy and fit kids.However, the medical establishment tends to be conservative on the issue and raise doubts with parents who may question whether this minimalist thing is just a recent, perhaps even harmful, fad. David Davidson, D.P.M., president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM), stated, “Kids should not be running in ‘minimalist footwear’ at all and, as in other shoes, should be wearing brand name running shoes with good motion control, cushioning, etc.” However, there is no research to back up this position. Is it possible that overbuilt shoes contradict the medical mandate to “first, do no harm?”

Once your child is walking and standing correctly, (remember parents, you don’t have to work to get a toddler or young child to move – it comes natural), either because they are barefoot or in a very minimalist type shoe, it’s time to get them back into activity if they aren’t already involved. Outside activities are best, if that’s possible, so the child can interact with nature and develop with all the sensory and motor information received. If you want to encourage your child to be more active, make it fun. My kids like obstacle courses, running and climbing games, and turning yard work into a game. Check out my 2-year old Paxton carrying a rock across the yard in his Vivo Barefoot shoes. He’s barefoot most of the time, but these new shoes are just so cool he wants to wear them all the time.

Your barefoot-exercising kid now is ready for their final step towards health and fitness perfection with a change from their processed, sugary diet to one rich in whole foods, clean water, and items that don’t come in a box, can, or bag. Start weaning your child off juice and soda and onto just water and perhaps some organic whole milk. Hopefully your infant or toddler never became accustomed to juice or soda but if they did, it’s not too late to make healthier choices. Get your child eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and high protein foods (eggs & meats) throughout the day and limit or eliminate white flours and sugars.

The Three Keys To A Healthy, Active, Barefoot Child:

  1. Encourage kids to go barefoot whenever possible whether they are inside or outside – as long as the terrain is safe. If the terrain warrants shoes, have your child wear minimalist shoes during those times. No need for “running shoes.” Running shoes are often miniature versions of over-supported, built-up adult shoes that are terrible for developing feet. The shoes should have a low heel height, low to the ground, very little cushioning, flexible throughout the shoe, plenty of room in the toe box (where a child’s foot is widest), and very light.
  2. Your active child should participate in a wide variety of physical activities and games that build strength, endurance, and overall fitness.
  3. Educate your child on eating healthy foods as early in their life as possible. Lead by example – healthy food choices should be a family affair.

It is pretty interesting to me…  what did you think? I have to agree with him on a lot of what he said, but again I am no expert.  I do not have kids, but I know that when I do, I want the best!  I have seen a lot of shoes on kids that are super cute, I mean those tiny little shoes are so irresistible, but even more cute are their baby toes!  I am just not sure that infants need to wear shoes when they cannot even walk and that even when they are learning to, shoes would not be necessary!  I just realized that I said I was going to take the easy way out with this post and not add too much to what is already super long!  I will stop there, but have a fantastic day everyone!


“Where are your shoes?”

Our feet after a walk around the neighborhood!

Yes, we are those weird people who walk around the neighborhood barefoot…

…say what you want or think what you will, but we have fun! We get all kinds of comments and looks but on we go!  I am not doing it to be “one with the earth” or whatever, but because it feels so cool!  It is neat to feel the temperature changes of the pavement when you move between the sun and shade, or feel fresh green grass, sand, dirt or whatever (not pokey things of course)!

It is FEET month (according to me) so I thought this would be a very fitting post for today!

Greg had the idea quite a while ago as he had been doing lots of reading about shoes and the effects of “improper fitting footwear”.  Our feet were not made to be crammed into shoes that are too small and sometimes (more often than not) shoes (improper fitting shoes) force our bodies to move in a way that is not natural… like force our feet in or out which strains the knees/hips etc. 

Anyways, there is lots of research on this stuff, but I can tell you a little bit (for now) what I think and what we have found…

Greg has always had a hard time finding shoes that fit. He has an exceptionally wide food and many times he cannot find shoes that support this extra width… extra extra extra extra wide! But before I go any further, he has very nice feet!  For him, being barefoot feels much better than shoes that are too tight and cram his toes.  He has noticed his feet feel better and even look better (his toes).  He has even done some running barefoot.

For me, I started just going along with him barefoot because it would be a fun activity for us… I wanted to try it out, and why would I not want to go on a walk with him? 🙂

…but was not sure if it would “work” if you know what I mean. I mean, what woman out there wants rough, tough, hard, dry, all the time dirty feet? But I still tried it and I have to admit my feet are none of the above, and we even walk on asphalt quite a bit.  My feet are the same if not softer… they’re  thicker skinned I would say, but not in a rough, tough way! It is like they have a softer but thicker layer.

Well, that is all for today – just an introduction to barefoot walking/running – if that is your cup-of tea or style! I am not saying “hey go do this it is the best EVER” – just throwing it out there as just something… go try it at least for the fun of it! Your feet will take a few times to get used to it… just relax and don’t anticipate every step killing you!

Color your Diet!

Today I am supposed to be productive – at least that is what I told myself!  It is a really rainy day, which is fine with me, but it makes me want to do things like oh… drink coffee, relax,  then repeat.

So, I figure I will do that for part of the day at least, then get on to some of the projects I want to get done.  I am counting this blogging stuff in with my drinking coffee and relaxing section today so I will make it kind of short (you are welcome) and then I have a magazine that came in the mail I want to look through (Thanks mom for my food network subscription!)

The topic of the day:


(not necessarily M&M’s, but nice try!)

Call me weird, but food is so pretty!  I mean think about all the colors food comes in…. I am talking about NATURAL food here… fruits and vegetables! It is one thing to walk into a department store and see all the pretty spring colors, all the new clothes… but walk into a field of wildflowers or a garden… or the produce section of a nice grocery store and tell me that is not pretty! I love it!  But of course, I am a foodie and it makes me so excited!

Did you know that vitamins and all that healthy stuff are what gives food its natural color? Eating a variety of colors… a  rainbow of colorful foods is what helps provide nutrient rich foods in your diet… which will in turn help you feel better, have a healthier life and even have more energy.  There is not a pill out there to match the health benefits of real, natural food! 

If you think of your dinner plate as a picture, how much color is there? Try and at least have each “item” a different color.  Brown is a color, but for the sake of my example it does not count…. and neither does potatoes or pasta.  So, think of adding color to those basic “staple”/”common” items.  Here are some examples…

  • meat and potatoes can be spruced up by swapping the potato for sweet potatoes or yams… or even better, broccoli, squash, beans etc… think vibrant color, not bland.  The brighter the color, the more nutrients. 
  • Salad is a way to add nutrients to any meal…
  • Adding fresh fruit as a side/condiment or topping is a great idea too!
  • Here are some pictures from “my kitchen” showing some color and ways to add fruits and veggies….

This is bold, but hey I am going to say it!  Fruits and veggies are expensive but so is going to the doctor and so is medication.  I’m not saying that people who eat healthy never go to the doctor, or people who don’t always go… but I am quite sure they go less if not a lot less.  

If you can buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season, it is very  helpful.  For example, strawberries in Florida are pretty cheap right now, but tomatoes are not…   Think of ways to incorporate more strawberries is a great idea (at least right now) and saving your recipes that use a lot of tomatoes may be good if you are on a budget…. don’t make salsa right now! 🙂  OR grow your own, which I want to try this year by the way! But my point is look at what is on sale where you live, shop around and don’t let the price alone determine whether you buy or not, think about the benefits and the fun of colorful food too!   Often we over-look the frozen foods section, often there are good deals there for berries, peas etc.  They are also easy to prepare in many cases because they are already washed and ready to go!

Color your plate, your diet and your world! 🙂


Sweet Tea…a surprising weight gaining tool!

I thought that my little nutrition tip for today would be focused on…

Sweetened Beverages but mainly,


…which is fitting  since I am currently living in the South! To think of it, I am surprised that the City does not just pump sweet tea through the facet!

I will use a friend of ours as an example and try to keep it short …

When Greg and I got back to Florida we were visiting with his good friend and it came up in conversation that this friend wanted to lose a few pounds. So we began talking with him about his diet/eating habits/etc… I was thinking we could pick one thing to focus on to begin with since he had never really “dieted” or actively tried to lose weight.  So I was listening, trying to pick something out and not too far into the conversation, he mentioned that he drinks a lot of sweet tea… right there I stopped him and asked — exactly how much sweet tea?

After some quick calculations, we concluded that he was probably drinking at LEAST a gallon every 2 days if not MORE… much closer to one gallon per day… he was drinking it all day beginning at breakfast.

I knew that the best thing to focus on (if he was willing of course) would be his sweetened beverage intake… SWEET TEA –> this is why… 

A common ratio of making tea in these parts is

2 cups sugar: 1 gallon water. 

This is significant for those that drink a lot of it because:

2 cups of sugar has about 1,550 calories. So if you are drinking one gallon of tea everyday, that is 1,500 calories most likely beyond what you need since people drink it on top of meals or in between…. OR

7 gallons per week totaling 10,850 extra calories.

for every 3,500 calories consumed over what your body does not need it will equal one pound of body fat gained.

So… 1 gallon a day or 10,850 calories a week from the sugar in sweet tea equates to a potential gain of 3.1 pounds a week!

Your body does not need this sugar for many reasons, but if one wants to lose weight, cutting back on sweetened beverages can really make a big difference.  Some people don’t consume soda, juice or this “sweet tea” or this sweet of tea, but for those that do in large quantities – there is a big health benefit in cutting back or cutting it out completely.  He was drinking what I would consider a lot, but I know there are people who drink that amount or more…

For those that drink less, even an average glass (16 oz) of sweet tea has almost 200 calories. If this was extra calories (beyond your daily need) and someone was only drinking one glass per day… there would be a gradual gain of ~2 pounds a month. Or, on the other hand, cutting out one glass a day could potentially cause a loss of 2 pounds a month!

So, anyways, back to the story!

I suggested he cut back on his intake of sweet tea and do nothing else for a while… and then we would see how it was going… I just suggested he cut back to start with because going from a gallon a day to none a day is drastic!   He thought that it would be better for him to quit it “cold turkey”…

This friend of ours has lost 30 pounds since November of 2010…. that is significant seeming that the only change he made was cutting out sweet tea altogether.  WAY TO GO!!!

That is all I had for today on the topic, but it is something to think about.  There are many other drinks out there that are loaded with calories and often people don’t think to look at those as a cause or aid in weight gain.

People ask me about artificial sweetened beverages too and that is a whole different story to me, I don’t encourage a lot of sweetened beverages or artificially sweetened beverages – but we can save that for a future bloggy.


P.S. He did have some pretty rough headaches for a week or so at the beginning of this (one reason why gradual may be good) but they completely subsided and he feels a lot better overall now. 

A few grocery store tips… happy shopping!

I absolutely enjoy going to the grocery store – really!  But, not just any grocery store, but a nice, clean, friendly store… with good prices (but I admit, I WILL pay more for quality and cleanliness)!  I am known to spend more than a few hours at the store…in ONE trip! So, why on earth does it take me soooo long!?  I make it fun, try to be an informed and aware shopper, take my blood pressure at the pharmacy, look for new items, and find plenty of distractions.  At the store, I try to make decisions that are healthy but don’t break the bank!
Since it is still Nutrition Month… here are some shopping tips from me! I have many many  more years to shop and many more tips to learn – but hey, I have acquired a few good ones that you may or may not already know. Maybe it will at least make your trip more interesting… if not more fun!

1. Shop the perimeter of the store –> Have you ever noticed that most of the healthier foods are around the perimeter of the store? The produce, meat and dairy sections are almost always located around the border of the store…(of course there are things on the outside that are not healthy…like donuts from the bakery, but you get the idea 🙂 ). 

2. Always check the labels… “nutrition facts” –> Some people don’t care how many calories, fat, protein or carbs are in what they eat…but it is a good idea to know and of course I think everyone should care.  I will not go into detail about what you “should” look for but a very basic thing is to look at the serving size! Companies have to specify a serving size (like 1/2 Cup) so you know what the facts are referring to.  They will try to make their product look good on the label but if you look at the amount of food they are talking about you may be surprised!

3. Check the ingredients –> Are you getting what you think you are? One thing I like to use for an example is juice… how about “Pomegranate juice” … if you look at the ingredient list, what does it say? many times you will see apple, pear, and other flavors before you get to see pomegranate!  Many foods are filled with cheap fillers but companies can get away with a lot in this area.  Another example is “guacamole”…many times you will see this word but look closer because you may get “guacamole flavored dip”… which will have maybe 2% or less actual avocado!  I could go on forever in this category, but read and see what you are actually buying and compare it to what you actually want!

4. Plan a menu and make a list –>  Going in with a list will help you spend money on what you need, rather than many other exciting things that catch your eye! I try and at least have our dinner meals planned out. If I have time, I look at the food that we have on hand and then find recipes or create something in my head they could go towards…then create my list based on what I need to complete those meals.

My favorite carts to use! You can buzz around and they are just so fun!

5. Creat a grocery list with categories –> to help you organize your trip!  Consider: The store you shop at and the direction you shop it! For example, I like to go to “Publix” grocery stores where we live now, and I go in and shop beginning on the right side of the store (but on a real hot day or when I need a lot I will start with the non-perishables).  So I would create a template for myself that has categories (with space to write my items) in the order I will go through them at the store) For example:  deli…produce…meat…dairy…grocery…

6. Check the dates –> make sure you can use it in the life it has left! Sometimes things are on sale for a reason… they will expire soon! This is what I have found with meats and daily items…. not just brown bananas!

7. Is it really a deal? –> No, if you don’t need it and extra YES, if you do! I have learned that you can acquire too many boxes of cereal and pasta source because they are always on sale! If bread is on sale and I buy 2, the extra one may go bad… so it is only a deal if you are going to be using it before it expires!  It is easy to buy more non-perishables than I need, but have found that it is worth something to me to be able to put away the things I need because I don’t have much cabinet or storage space! The store can store it for me and I will pick it up when I need it!

8.  Don’t shop hungry! –> This is a pretty big one because it is hard to stay on task or budget when you shop hungry…everything looks so good!

Well, those are some that popped into my head today and hopefully there was something helpful in there for you!

Happy shopping and I will be back another day!