52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise

This week, I want to look at two overlooked aspects of “exercise”. I want to talk about Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

EPOC- Your body is not done after you get done exercising. In the same manner that your engine in your car is not cold immediately after switching it off, your body goes through a similar process of cooling down. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (called homeostasis). It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout. A couple of cool things to think about: 1. An exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more oxygen. This equals an increase in net calories burned. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great form to utilize to maximize this effect. It is important to note that intensity not duration is the factor here. A long workout is not the answer, a brief intense workout will do the trick. Think of a HIIT Spin Class, High Impact Aerobics and Tabbatta Sets.

NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT. This is why we focus so much on 10000 steps; it can lead to a caloric burn of 2000-3500 Kc/ week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Taking a 30-minute walk during lunch, parking farther from the entrance of the grocery store, taking the bus and then walking the rest of the way to work if feasible are all ways to add NEAT to your regular routine.

This week’s menu features some comfort food:

Ham and Potatoes Au gratin

Meatloaf and green beans

Also, this week, we will be feasting on Corned Beef and Cabbage as it is St. Patrick’s Day.

For funnsies – we made an animal cracker inspired cheesecake for Sunday’s dinner.

Breakfast is a bit different, eggs and ham steaks and oatmeal.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: No Such Thing as an Empty Calorie

It was a busy weekend. I had my first event for 2021, a 45 mile gravel race over in Ohio’s Amish country. It was a beautiful, sunny day across windswept farm land, buggys, horse drawn farm machinery and Amish children smiling and waving. Oh and it was cold, mid 20’s with a max wind gust of 15 mph making the real feel in the teens. I knocked out the ride in 3:45, and I am not sure how people did it in 2:16. I still have a lot to learn about bike riding and I have been riding for the better part of 30 years. My summer 40 miler got cancelled, so I signed up for a mountain 50k, this will make two mountain events this year, the other is a mountain 28 miler.

Lost Turkey Trail 50k: https://www.facebook.com/groups/685728304891561/

Boulder Beast: https://www.patraildogs.com/boulderbeast

This week, I want to look at the myth of zero calories. This is a very complicated subject, one that I found to have many white papers written on. It is true that some calories have more oomph than others, but every food calorie counts. As I have written in other posts, it is what you eat that fuels the machine. Just like in a car, if you put garbage gas in, you are going to get garbage performance. Eat more fat and more protein and when it comes to carbs, make sure they are not processed and are going to be used for the fuel. The wrong carbs can be high on the glycemic index and can convert quickly to sugar, think of a NOS system in a car, that quick boost of fuel are how the foods high on the glycemic index work. Empty calores are those calories that come from solid fats and added sugars. All of these have some nutrient value and indeed, many of the affordable foods people buy in the grocery stores have some sort of combination of these two types of calories. These two types of calories do provide the body with energy. The main problem with a lot of these foods is the processing and the added salts, sugars and preservatives and form of fat used, all of which can lead to long term health problems. A better way to approach this to come at your food by looking at caloric density and balance Eating foods liek fruits, vegetables, whole grans, nuts, seeds, lean protein, seeds and healthy fats is a more balanced approach and an approach that will add to satiety.

This week, I was busy, so my meals are pretty simple.

For meal 1, I have a sheet pan roasted veggie and smoked sausage, I made this a few weeks ago and was a good meal. For Meal 2, I have a Bolognese Sauce with Banza Pasta.

My breakfasts are going to be the same for a few more weeks, Oatmeal, Muesli, Eggs and Toast.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating – Words from the Heart

It is February and in honor of Valentines Day, I want to discuss the idea of eating organ meats. As with all the current diet rages these days, organ meats are starting to enjoy their time in the spotlight. Organ meats are full of nutrients and are often more nutrient dense than muscle meat. Organ meats are often rich in the B vitamins, iron and zinc. While I am not a fan of organ meats, I supplement every other day or so with a beef organ supplent that has desicated and freeze dried kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and spleen.

Heart is high in CoQ10 which is an antioxidantm which is 10 times more potent than vitamin E. Heart is also high in the heavy metal selenium, iron and zinc. Kidney also is high in selenium. Liver is the best source of vitamins and minerals. 4 ounces of liver can give you almost a weeks worth of vitamin A which is important for immune health and B12. There is more info out there about offal ingestion, but it all circles around to this central point, offal is high in metals, minerals and vitamins.

Some downsides are the presence of serious pathogens and over consumption of vitamins. Overall, offal is great for you. I still don’t like it though.

This week on the menu:

Breakfast will be the usual. Eggs and toast or oatmeal. Maybe Mueslli.

Meal 1:

Greek Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad.

This salad will have grilled chicken, chopped cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, chopped pepperoncini, chopped kalmata olives and tzatziki sauce.

Meal 2: Easy Mushroom and Ground Beef Skillet – with red quinoa


52 Weeks of Healthy Eating – A Clean Bill of Health

I had my yearly look over with my Doctor the other day. We would look at my bio markers recorded earlier in the year (Cholesterol, Sugar (A1C), blood pressure, liver and kidney functioning. My Doctor was pleased with my numbers and asked me the standard yearly check up questions. He reminded me that the big colonoscopy thing is looming in the future, in 2 years. Not sure how that got here so quickly, I am still 23 in my mind. He did ask me what I was doing to stay so healthy and this is what I shared and will now share with you this week. Also the why.

Biomarkers of health:

Body Mass Index (BMI) (at the time of testing was at the middle of my 2020 racing season) – 22.5 – this is not the greatest indicator of health, I do know at this time, I was carrying around 14% body fat. As of right now (February 2021), the estimate of body fat is around 17% with 117lbs of my weight being in muscle. Current BMI is around 22.9. Muscle mass is around 79.4%. There are many methods to take body measurements. Bioelectrical Impedience Analysis or BIA is the method that I use to track body metrics. I have used a bathroom scale that has the ability to conduct BIA, currently, I am using the Withings Body + Scale( https://www.withings.com/us/en/scales).

What is BIA? BIA is a method of assessing your body composition: the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment. Research has shown that body composition is directly related to health. Comparing BIA to BMI, BIA more accurately predicts risk for cardiometabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension. It is to be noted, to get truly accurate BIA readings, one would have to present themselves to a lab and not rely soley on a device bought at a department store. These devices have been shown to be 21 -34% inaccurate.

Other biomarkers of health –

Cholesterol (June 2020)-

Overall 237

LDL – 127

HDL 101 – I was told that my overall was elevated because of my high or good HDL. I was told that these were good numbers.

My ratio was 2.3

Cholesterol ranges are as follows:

Ideal HDL – the good cholesterol is 60 or higher. The bad or LDL is less than 100, borderline is 130- 159. I have taken steps to lower my LDL through diet modifications. I will order another blood test in a year when I get my next physical. Overall, less than 200 is ideal, I was told that my overall was high because of my very high HDL. There is also some research out that shows that athletes have an altered overall cholesterol.

A1c pancreas was 5.0 (June 2020) – a normal A1c is below 5.7%. A level 5.7% to 6.4% indicates pre diabetes and level of 6.5% indicates diabetes.

So why is all of this important?

When I hear people talk about getting healthy, most times folks will talk about needing to shed a few pounds and on occasion, people will say someting about their A1C, blood pressure or their cholesterol. Every time I hear someone talk about these biomarkers, it often is with a detatched ambivalence that has the air of a problem that is out of their control. Granted, being mobidly obese or even 50-60lbs overweight can be a very daunting road towards recovery, it is all very doable.

In a post I offered two weeks ago, I talked specifically about dietary protocols and their use for managing troubling bio markers. Another huge component of managing troubling bio markers is physical exercise. You have to do something every day. I don’t terribly like training outside when there is a Polar Vortex going on as this week has displayed, and my training reflects this, I trained inside on 2/8 and again on 2/10, but markers of health are somewhat controllable.

Forty five minutes of moderate intensity exercise is the recommended dosage per day. Moderate intensity can be rated in this way. Think of a scale ranging from 0- 10 where 0 is sitting on the couch Netflixing and chilling. 10 would probably be the tail end of my 2nd workout on Tuesday or Thursday. You want to be exercising around 5 or 6, even 7 if you can sustain it. It is important to note here that if you are carrying extra weight or you are in very bad shape, your 5 or 6 is not going to look the same as others. You may even find that 45 minutes is too much and you may need to start with 15 minutes or less.

This week on the menu:

Breakfast – the usual, Muesli, Oatmeal or Eggs and Toast

Meal 1 will be a Chicken Tikka Masala

Meal 2 will be a Banh Mi Bowl


Egg white bites

Nuts and chocolate

Protein shakes

Rice cakes and yogurt/ peanut butter.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: A Collective Approach to Awakening our Health

March! – I heard red wing black birds the other day on my bike ride. In the North East, the earliest signs of spring are the red wing black birds. Other signs are daffodil and crocus shoots. In April or May, we will begin to hear the spring peepers, a tree frog variety found here in the Eastern US and Canada.

  • Spring is a time of renewal, re – growth, it is a time to re claim our health after a long cold winter indoors.
  • Begin to think of physical movment as a spiritual practice – I am inspired by Jesus’s walkabout, and the Tendai Monks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaih%C5%8Dgy%C5%8D. The last few weeks, I have have noticed changes in the birds, they are singing different, the sun is sitting differently in the sky and the air is beginning to feel differnt. Walking mindfully allows you to notice all these changes.
  • Healthy eating as a spiritual practice – gone are the casseroles and the soups “Let food be thy medicine”. We have a few more months of cold and it will be a while till we get fresh greens. If you have fallen off your dietary goals, now is a time to recommit. Are the foods that you are turning to giving you life?
  • Begin moving with the vibrations of the renewing season – making new or recommitting to old healthy habits (This in line with the planting of new flowers/ food stuffs/ herbs and the re emergence of perrenial or bi annual plants

This week’s meals are fairly simple:

Pulled Pork and steamed green beans

Honey Teriyaki Chicken and steamed brocolli – https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/instant-pot-honey-teriyaki-chicken/

Breakfast will be the usual, oatmeal with protein powder and eggs and toast. I will be trying maca bowls this week.

This will be a taper week for me. Coming up this Saturday is my first event of the year, a 45 mile gravel(dirt country road) bike ride- https://roadappleroubaix.wordpress.com/