Monday, February 9, 2015

What's In That Bottle?

What's In That Bottle??
In the news recently, there have been reports that the New York State attorney general’s office has sent cease-and desist orders against GNC, Target, Walgreens, & Walmart.  Testing revealed that four out of five supplements purchased , did not contain the labeled product.  The impetus was a 2013 investigation by Canadian investigators reported by the  New York Times.

DSHEA 1994   How can this happen in 2015?  The reason is that herbal products are classified as dietary supplements, and are exempt from the FDA oversight that applies to prescription medications.  The Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA) 1994 was gutted by the heavy lobbying by the supplements industry.

The result is that these products - food supplements -  can be pulled only after numerous complaints that show “significant or unreasonable risk”,  according to David Kessler, then commissioner of the FDA.  Companies are only required to adhere to a set of good manufacturing  practices, which insure that there is no adulteration.  No proof of efficacy or safety is needed, since these products are classified as foods instead of drugs.  FDA approval is NOT needed before manufacturing or marketing.

Bottom lineBuyer Beware!  When the herbal equivalent of a prescription drug (red rice yeast for a cholesterol lowering statin) can be marketed freely, there’s a problem with the regulation.  Hopefully, the NY State Attorney General’s actions will lead to changes in the legislation that will spread to other states.

Verify As Much As You Can  Granted there are some herbal products that might be helpful for certain conditions.  What to do?  Look for third party verification from or another party.  This is a subscription site, but worth the money if you take supplements regularly.  ConsumerLab tests products and reviews whatever scientific studies there are. Their supplement reports will tell you what, if any, supporting evidence there is for the usage and how strong that evidence is.  They accept no advertising, but will accept fees for use of their CL Tested logo, if a product is deemed acceptable.

References:  NYTimes 2013 Article
©Feb, 2015, Fitness Spark Personal Training

Healthy Diet Swaps

 Healthy Nutrition Swaps
Each post, I will try to include a healthy recipe or healthy diet suggestions.  Here are some to try:

*Instead of cereal, or granola, make your own oatmeal – this cuts the sugar, and sodium from prepackaged mixes.  Many rice cookers have a setting for this, so you can use the fiber rich steel cut oatmeals, and have breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

* Try scrambled eggs with veggies, instead of an egg sandwich.  You get fiber, a serving of vegetables, and healthy nutritients.  And if, you use egg whites, you’re cutting the cholesterol & saturated fat in the egg yolk.

*Instead of ice cream, try some frozen blueberries with some nonfat yogurt as a topping instead.  Or, blend a frozen banana at high speed until it reaches that creamy texture.  Both methods cut the calories, fat & sugar and have healthy micronutrients.

*Turkey sausage instead of pork or beef, has less saturated fat.  Watch the sodium and saturated fat, however, in what you purchase.

*Salad for lunch?  Make it spinach instead of almost nutritionless iceburg lettuce.  Spinach has more nutrients including vitamins A & C, as well as iron, magnesium & folate.

©Feb, 2014, Fitness Spark Personal Training

Standing Stretches

Standing Stretches   Since we are having website issues again, I'm posting these here, so you folks don't have to wait any longer.

As you recall these were promised for those folks who those who stand all day.    Alternatively, they can be used when  stretching on the ground is not convenient.  This is a selection of stretches you might be able to sneak into your day, whenever you have a free minute.

As always, watch your body posture & be mindful of your body’s limitations. Hold all stretches 30-45 seconds, or for shorter intervals that are repeated 2-3 times.

Hamstring Stretch – bowing at the hips, extend one leg straight in front of you, heel on the ground. Lean into the leg you are stretching. Hold 20-30 seconds.
Quadraceps Stretch – bend your leg at the knee behind you, so that you can reach behind you to grasp the foot. Keep your body straight, and try to bring your foot towards your bottom. Keep knees close together.

3-D Stretch – This is my name for this multiplanar stretch. First, stand next to a wall, and drop into a lunge with the outside leg in back. Keep the torso upright & the pelvis neutral. You should feel this stretch in the front of the back thigh, and hamstrings. Reach the outside arm up towards the ceiling. This should be felt in your side. Then do a side bend towards the wall.  To further intensify the stretch, look over your inside shoulder Hold. Repeat on other side (you should turn around).

Calf Stretch Combo – Place foot on a solid object or wall. Bend the front leg at the knee towards the wall with your weight forward. (left)  You should feel the stretch strongly on the calf & Achilles tendon. When you are ready, straighten the front leg & adjust the rear leg further back, if necessary to feel the stretch along the back of both legs (right). Bend at the hips towards the wall. You will feel this in the back of both legs.

Chest Stretch In A Doorway – hold the doorframe with both arms at chest level. Step into the doorway until you feel a stretch in the chest & shoulders.

Lat (Side) Stretch In A Doorway – Drop one arm & extend the other up along the frame. Step into the doorway and turn the near shoulder into the room to feel the stretch along the side of the torso. Repeat on the other side.

Inner thigh stretch. (right figure) Take a wide stance, and shift the weight towards one side. Keep knee in alignment with the toes on that foot. Repeat on the other side.

Back Stretch - (Standing Cat & Camel).  Hold onto a doorknob, table or counter. Bow towards the doorknob, keeping back straight. From this position, slowly round your back & pull your hips back away from the door. Reverse the process & let your belly button fall towards 
the ground, extending your back 
& lifting your head. Repeat the process 3-5 times. 

Due to the length of this post, I will include some healthy diet swaps in the post immediately following this one.

©Feb, 2014 Fitness Spark Personal Training