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A Transformation of a Lifetime

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 11, 2017 17:04
This Transformation Coaching Package will be an opportunity of a lifetime for one person!  This Free Training Package isn't just for anybody. If you have a lifetime of struggling with your body weight, experienced fad diets that lead nowhere, and you don't know where to turn next; this opportunity is for you! 
 
Pictured Below is Russ Buhr.  Russ, as you may already know, is one of the Team Wawryk Pro Trainers that operate out of Fitness Focus. Russ hasn't always been a professional Personal Trainer; for years he had his own battles with weight gain combined with a lifestyle that didn't consist of enough physical activity or proper nutrition. After meeting Vince Wawryk, Head Trainer of Team Wawryk, he redirected his lifestyle, started to learn proper diet and training methods and shortly after began competing in Provincial Level Bodybuilding alongside his wife Lorraine.
 
 
 Fitness Focus Saskatoon Personal Training
 
Now, with ISSA Professional Training Certification under their belts, Lorraine and Russ wantto share their knowledge and experience with one deserving applicant for this Training Transformation Package. 
 
If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose and the drive to completely change your lifestyle, Russ & Lorraine of Team Wawryk Pro Trainers want to help you create a whole new healthier version of yourself by giving away this one year of free coaching package.
 
One Year Package Includes
Mentoring & Coaching
Weekly Check-ins
Gym Membership
Personal Training Sessions
Help with Meal Prep
Year End Photo Shoot
 
To nominate yourself or someone you know for this once in a lifetime opportunity please email russ.teamwawryk@gmail.com 

Common Misconceptions About Working Out

posted by Fitness Focus    |   July 16, 2014 19:06

Common Misconceptions about the weight room

So many people that are both new to the weight room or long time users become deterred from the gym because they haven’t achieved the results they had expected from their weight routine.  There are many common misconceptions about lifting weights that cause people to start on the wrong track and are then left feeling discouraged.

Lifting weights will make you big and bulky; false.  The primary benefit of lifting weights is increased lean muscles, but increased lean muscles doesn’t mean enormous muscles.  For men it is a lot easier to get big muscles, but still takes years of heavy training.  In the case of women, they just are not genetically programmed to build thick and bulky muscles.  Other benefits of weight lifting include increasing metabolism and lower body fat, a greater resistance to injury and improved overall health.  So don’t ignore the weight room, embrace weight training and use it to build the body you want.

Fitness Focus Saskatoon Fitness Saskatoon GymDoing Ab exercises everyday will result in a flat stomach and well-defined 6-pack Abs; false.  Abdominal (Ab) exercises are resistance training and like weight training, are used to develop the targeted muscles.  We need to remember that muscles and body fat are two completely different things, so once we develop our Abdominal muscles it does not change the fact that there still might be some fat lying on top of them.  Spending a majority of a workout everyday training Abs will become very repetitive and boring; dedicating some time twice a week Ab exercises is lots. 

 

It is possible to spot reduce fat from one area of the body; false.  Repeating an exercise over and over will do nothing more than condition that particular muscles to perform that exercise.  To reduce body fat, we need to adjust what we eat so that the calories we ingest are slightly lower than the calories we burn, signalling the body to start burning fat for energy.  On the extreme end of this, when we begin to starve ourselves our body goes into survival mode and will begin to store fat in the body for future requirements.  We have no control over what area the body fat will accumulate; it is all genetically predetermined.  For some people it is in the stomach, for others it’s the hips or butt.  Just as we have no control over where it will end up, we have no control over where it will come off.  

 

The key to success in health and fitness is the understanding that it takes patience in the process and the willingness to always learn, to change old habits and adapt.

15 Minture Free With a Personal Trainer

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 17, 2014 14:02

Now is your chance to jumpstart your training. It's the New Year and a great time to take your training in a different direction; 15 minutes free with a Personal Trainer is an excellent opportunity to get answers to those questions you have about your training.  Maybe there are areas of your workout that are missing something or maybe there's a part of your routine you could work on.  Have questions about diet and nutrition?  Ask a Trainer about ways to improve your diet and weight management.  If you have been planning on meeting with a Personal Trainer, why not setup a 15 minutes meeting to get the ball rolling?

Contact Fitness Focus at (306) 244-6413 or by email to info@fitnessfocus.ca to reserve your spot today.  Free training sessions will take place Friday, January 24th at Fitness Focus. If you Prefer Specifically a Male or Female Trainers Please Let us Know.

10 Tips and Tricks for Weight Loss

posted by Fitness Focus    |   June 16, 2013 16:01

Here are 10 tips and tricks for weight loss that you may never have heard.

1.       The weight loss equation

The easiest way to explain the process of losing weight is that weight loss occurs when the body consumes less calories than it burns.  So the simple equation goes like this: Calories In – Calories Out = Weight Loss.  There are obviously many other important factors involved here, but keeping this simple formula in mind can be helpful in many situations.

2.       Monitor your daily calorie intake

Do Not obsess over counting calories. Being aware and maintaining a clear idea about the number of calories you're consuming daily is important to keep on track with weight management.  Get to know how to use food labels; know what you are eating in terms of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and remember: 1 gram of Carbs=4 calories, 1 gram of Protein=4 calories and 1 gram of Fat=9 calories. 

3.       Eat at predefined hours

Plan to eat your meals at the same time of day, everyday.  This helps digestion since our biological clock is synchronized with our brain and stomach.  Also, eating with consistency will help your know when it actually needs food, versus when your brain wants food.  Eating with consistency makes it easier to monitor and maintain weight management. 

4.       The importance of Water

Dehydration, lack of energy, tiredness and headaches are just a few of the effects from not drinking enough water.  Many of us make this critical mistake. All the maladies aside, when it comes to weight loss, water can assist detoxification and the removal of unnecessary toxins from the body and skin but also helps with digestion and keeps the stomach full, which reduces hunger and the unnecessary consumption of calories. Like vitamins and minerals, water also has a daily recommended intake.  For women, its just under 3 liters of water per day and for men its about 4 liters.  So, begin your day with a cold glass of water to restart all your body's natural functions for the day and don't forget to carry a bottle with you at work, during your daily errands and of course in the gym.

5.       Do not rush into getting super-fast results

Follow a slow and steady regimen to manage your weight loss and keep it off.  Taking on a crash diet from the Internet will end right where you started before diet.  Proper, healthy weight loss takes a bit longer.  Take time to do it right, and learn the proper changes to your lifestyle to make your weight management something you can do for life.

6.       Learn how to lose weight the safe way

Even people that have made healthy living part of their lifestyle for year make mistakes and often just aren't doing things correctly.  So as a beginner, its important not to get discouraged; there are many paths along the way to your goals and a lot of them will be dead-ends. If you are new to dieting and weight loss then most probably you are confused from where to start and what should be your first step etc. This is very common and one of the most popular questions we get from our readers the last 6 years. In my opinion before even starting a diet or weight loss program you should do some reading and familiarize yourself with the basic weight loss concepts. I am not suggesting spending days learning the theory, after all losing weight is a practical matter, but learning a few important concepts in advance can prove very helpful in the long run. The guide you are reading now is a good starting point as it covers all aspects of weight loss, fitness and dieting; you can continue reading our other articles as well since we have planned to gather all the information you need in one place.

7.       Keep a food and emotions journal

For many people emotions and feelings are associated with the quantities of food consumed.  When you are stressed or depressed you turn to food (and especially fatty food) for comfort. This is may be happening to you as well and you know that this is bad and can destroy all your hopes for losing weight. You cannot easily control this but one handy tip to try is keeping a food and emotions journal. This is basically a piece of paper (or an online food journal) where you record what you eat per day and your emotional state. If you do this for a couple of weeks and go back and have a look at the results you may identify some patterns and take some precaution measures. For example you can remove sweets and snacks from your cupboards and replace them with healthy alternatives. By doing so when you are feeling stress and turn to food for relief you will not end up eating a tone of calories but food items that are at least healthier.

8.       No need to measure your weight on a daily basis

As mentioned before, weight loss takes time and getting on the scale everyday won't make the process any faster but most probably will add more stress and frustration. Instead try to weigh yourself once per week with consistency; that means the same time of the same day every week because the later in the day will always be high than your weight in the morning.

9.       Never try to follow more than one weight loss program at a time

If you choose to follow a commercial diet or weight loss program then concentrate on one program at a time. Good weight loss programs have different phases, each phase having a clear start and finish goal. Follow the program guidelines correctly for the time required and evaluate your results at the end. Mixing different programs together or not following their instructions will not generate any good results.

10.   Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you are not getting any results. The Internet is a great way to learn how to lose weight but sometimes other factors such as diseases, functional disorders may hold you back. A professional (a doctor or nutritionist) will be able to identify these and suggest ways to overcome them.

 

Are Weight Loss Goals Part of Your New Year’s Resolution List?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 3, 2013 17:20

This next year will be different, and you're going to make a fresh start this New Year. Around this time of the year, a lot of us find ourselves reflecting on what we accomplished in the past year and decide what changes we want to make to make a positive difference in our lives for next year. After all the prioritizing, you make your big decisions, and then within a month or so, the ‘New Year’s resolutions’ are all but forgotten.

Weight loss goals don’t have to be another promise to yourself which got lost along the way. Setting a goals is only part of the work; plan smart and get ready for the task and make it a success and avoid being in the same spot next year.  Weight loss doesn't have to be hard; it's all in your approach. Try asking yourself and this is very important; is it that you want to lose the weight or is it that you don’t want to eat or live the way you have been any more? The later is a lot harder if your heart’s not in it.  Long-term planning is important; you have to define your path, not just where you want to be.

1. Be realistic

It's been said a million times over, be realistic in when trying to make changes in your life.  Be honest with yourself about what is possible and what suits your lifestyle.  Planning to lose too much weight in a short period of time will only lead to failure and discouragement.  Make your decision with reality in mind. What is it that you can do, and how much time do you have to spend in exercising or follow a meal plan and so on. Start with what you can’t do and then build around it.

2. Enjoying the holidays

This doesn't mean you should give in to all urges and have massive eating spree, but just eat sensibly.  The smart thing to do at times like these is, for a few days, try not to diet on the holidays. Eating sensibly isn't the same as constantly sticking to some lettuce and cabbage diet while everyone around you is allowed to enjoy all the goodies that come with the season.

Try looking at it this way, everyone loves the holidays and they only come around once a year. If you don't take advantage of some of the holiday treats you'll be depriving yourself of all the Christmas excitement.  Why spend your holidays hating every minute of it.  By the end of all the festivities, you will be so sick of the dieting you have been sticking to and will find it harder to stay with that good eating plan as long as you had planed.  Don’t stress yourself about your food intake for a few days over the holidays, relax and eat sensibly.

3. Small is bigger

There is no need to go to completely radical lengths to lose weight. Usually it's the small changes we can comfortably make are the ones that last the longest and make the biggest difference.  Lifestyle changes, even the smallest of changes, like replacing certain snack foods with for veggies and greens; you can also cut down or space out your portions into more-smaller meals rather than attempting a very low restrictive diet.

Simply losing weight doesn't mean much if you don't change your eating and lifestyle habits as well.  Set a goal that you'll start walking to work every day instead of saying you want to lose 8 pounds in a month. Small commitments like that will add up expending extra calories.  These types of lifestyle changes are easily made permanent by incorporating it into your day to day lifestyle.

4. Measure the results

It's the reason you want to make changes in the first place, you want to see change and results. You don't want all your effort and time invested to be all in vein.  Measure your results to reassure yourself that you're on the right track. Measure your results consistently at the same time every week. And don’t just look for a change in your weight, results can come in many different ways.

Take Measurements at your waist or other parts of your body right before you start down this new path.  Your weight can be influenced by a few factors, one being water retention, but your waist may have shrunk or that your clothes feel baggy, it all counts because desired result are the biggest motivator. Record your results so you can actually see your progress and all the results.

5. Keep it interesting and keep it moving

The most frustrating part of weight loss and weight management are plateaus.  It happens to everybody at some point in time. This is what happens when your body adapts to the changes you previously made. If you are following a specific diet or workout regime maybe swap regimes every month or every 3 weeks. This may also help in keeping things interesting and battle boredom. Allow at least 2 weeks for any adaptations before changing your diet.

6. Keep a food diary

Try it, by the end of the day chances are you don't remember everything you consumed over the past 12 hours.  Maybe you're eating more than you think you are or more than you subconsciously want to admit.  Keep a diary of everthing you consume including drinks; it is surprising how much extra sugar and calories you probably consume through drinks.

Keep the diary before you start your diet and then see how many things you can change to lose the weight. To be honest the Christmas week may not be an ideal representation of your average week but it can provide you with an idea of what your actual eating habits are like.

Understanding Gluten Foods and Gluten Free Diets

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 21, 2012 10:11

A very common term that you might have heard recently is "gluten-free diet".  It is a relatively new term, meaning a diet that is structured around excluding foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), rye, malts and barley. It is commonly added to foods in the processing phase in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing, and thickening agent. Gluten free diets are the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy.

Gluten free eating might also exclude oats. Medical Advisors are divided on whether to exclude oats or not; it is questionable as to whether they are an actual allergen to celiac disease sufferers or whether it is a matte rof the oats becoming cross-contaminated in milling facilities or in transport by other allergens. Contamination is even possible when oats are grown in rotation with wheat when wheat seeds from the previous harvest sprout up the next season in the oat field and are harvested along with the oats.  A growing body of evidence suggests that a majority of people with celiac disease that follow a gluten-free diet can safely consume oats in small, conservative amounts.

The term gluten free is typically used to indicate a seemingly harmless level of the gluten protein rather than a complete absence of it. The precise level that gluten is harmless for anyone with celiac disease is unknown as well as controversial.  In 2008, a systematic review tentatively conducted and concluded that consuming less than 10mg of gluten for celiac in one day is not likely to cause any physiological abnormalities, as it is still a relatively newly discovered disease few reliable studies had been conducted.

There are however, certain starches and grains that are considered to be acceptable that can be included in a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are rice, corn and corn starch, potatoes, quinoa, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupin, sorghum (jowar), taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Sometimes various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber.

An unrecognized substitution is Almond flour.  Almond Flour is a conciderably low-carbohydrate alternative to flour, it also has a low glycemic index. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat isn't related to regular wheat. Buckwheat, for the most part, is generally acceptable for gluten-free diets.  Commercial buckwheat products on the other hand are mixtures of wheat flour and buckwheat flours, and therefore can't be included in a gluten-free diet. Gram flour, not to be confused with Graham flour, is derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free.  Graham flour is not gluten-free as it is made from wheat.  With such similar names, this is why it is important to thoroughly read your food labels. Gluten is used in foods in some very unexpected ways; sometimes added as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products that need to maintain consistency like ice-cream and ketchup.

People that must maintain a completely gluten-free diet must also be aware of the ingredients of certain over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins.  Again, check for a gluten free symbol or the words "gluten free" near the product information on the back of bottle. Women should be aware that cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip gloss may contain gluten.  Even these trace amounts can cause gluten related reactions, so these products should be investigated before use.

Cross-contamination issues

Restaurants have started recognizing the growing trend among patrons and now offer specific gluten-free menus. People who are gluten-sensitive must always be aware that there are a variety of cooking procedures used in kitchens and grills that increase the likelihood of cross contamination between foods. This especially is the case in buffets where utensils typically are used in different food bowls by customers.

Trusted Saskatoon Presents Talk to the Experts on Newstalk 650 Saskatoon

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 18, 2012 12:26

This latest show we are featuring is the TRUSTED SASKATOON  HEALTH & BEAUTY SHOW

On December 15, 2012, Newstalk 650 Radio and Trustedsaskatoon.com presented to you, Talk to the Experts with 3 local Trustedsaskatoon.com businesses, Spa Ahava, Hairstyle Inn and Fitness Focus. The 3 experts on the panel were answering questions asked by the trustedsaskatoon.com fans on the topics of beauty, health and fitness.  All of the Trusted Facebook Fans who entered a question had a chance to win a prize package from the 3 Trusted Businesses worth over $500 as host, Brent Louks chooses the best question!

This episode's' Trusted Saskatoon Experton the topic of fitness is Garret from Fitness Focus a Trusted Saskatoon Gym There were over 100 questions submited and the 3 partners will answer all the questions in later trustedsaskatoon.com blogs..so If your didn't hear you answer on the show they will still be answered by the experts...enjoy!

Click here to check out the full show

 

1. Becky Laliberté - In terms if fitness and health, what are some ways for an almost 40 year old woman to help improve flexibility and strength without having to spend hours at a gym. Are there instructor led classes that might be better for this? Or is weight lifting and stretching enough?

Stretching is always a good thing to practice for your overall health and to prevent injuries in day to day activities. Stretching is incorporated into every group fitness class but is also something you should learn to do on your own.  For such a vital part of ones wellness, the benefits are well worth the time spent; and it really only takes 10 to 20 minutes to get a good thorough stretch. Remember, it’s something you can do at home too; either in the morning before you start your day or in the evening to help unwind and relax.

It is recommended to stretch after a light warm up, before you begin your workout; but stretching throughout your workout between exercises can be very beneficial and time saving.  As blood gets pumped into your muscles as you use them, a good stretch will help push the blood out and make way for fresh oxygenated blood. You can also improve your flexibility by weight training with proper (full) range of motion through the exercise.

 

2. Laura Ellis- Fitness Focus: As a female who is not an avid "gym rat", I find the gym can be an intimidating place. Insecurities about not being in as good of shape as I would like to be to start tend to keep me away, along with all of the new types of equipment and my lack of knowledge in using them. I tend to feel lost in the midst of everything. Short of personal training, what do you recommend for someone who wants to get in better shape, but is reluctant to take on a gym membership?

It’s important to remember that everyone is at the gym for the same reason, because they want to improve themselves in one way or another.  One way to overcome the intimidation factor is to have a workout partner, everyone feels better when they have a friend with them. Having a workout partner is also a good way to stay on track and accountable, to make sure you show up on time for your workout everyday.  You may also feel a little less intimidated if you choose a workout time when the gym is a little less busy.  The majority of people try to get their workout done immediately after work around 4:30 – 6:30.  If you prefer the gym to be on the quiet side try to avoid these busier times, at least until you’ve become more acquainted with the equipment.

 

Your health does take a certain degree of dedication, but before committing yourself and your money to a gym, take the gym for a test drive.  Look for a facility that won’t pressure you and that offers a free-trial period that’s yours to test the waters, find your comfort zone and see if it has all the amenities that meet your needs.  A trial period is the perfect time to ask questions about equipment and get familiarized with the gym; staff should always be willing to give you some direction to get started out in the weight room.

 

3. Neils Thor- Fitness Focus-I use interval training to keep in shape. What other methods maximize my time to keep fit?

The idea behind interval training is to keep it is fast paced.  This same principle can be applied to a traditional style of weight training by increasing the intensity.  Lower the rest time between exercises will keep the heart rate up, thus working your cardiovascular system.

 

4. Holly Stasiuk Fitness Focus- Please explain what is a spin class? Costs? Also, how much does a personal trainer cost?

Spin Class is an instructor-led group class on stationary bikes.  The instructor takes the group through a 45 minute to one hour workout at varying paces and difficulties.  It’s a very thorough workout and great class for anyone from beginners to experienced class-goers because the user chooses their own difficulty on their bike.

 

5. DeAnne Robblee-  Fitness Focus: I have arthritis in one knee which makes squats, running and even walking very difficult sometimes. What kind of equipment do you have that I could still get a good cardio workout without killing my knee?

When it comes to arthritis and some of the major movements such as squats, progression is the best way to go.  Start doing the exercises with virtually no resistance/weight. For cardio, keep things very low impact.  Stationary bikes are one of your best options, we have upright style and the recumbent (laid back) style, as well as spin bikes. We have elliptical cross-trainers are a close simulation to running combined with skiing and have very low impact.  There are also steppers that don’t involve much impact; a person would have to try to see if that would work for them.

 

6. Fanterra Fisher- What kind of training is required by your staff to have to work at the spa? Please comment on standards of cleanliness as well. Thanks

There are several different areas of expertise at Fitness Focus that all have their own required skills. Most importantly, all staff is CPR and First Aid Certified.  Main Gym Staff are knowledgeable about the layout and mechanics of the gym to make your time here as convenient as possible.  Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors have years of experience with proper certifications and insurance in their respective fields.

 

Cleanliness is a very important part of the gym; a dirty environment can dramatically affect a member’s experience. All staff takes part in our daily cleaning routines of the exercise areas, front end and washrooms.  There are several hand sanitizing stations for members to use. We also have after hour cleaners working to sanitize the washrooms and commons areas from top to bottom.

 

7. Kimbrolina Linke -Fitness focus: what are your memberships?

Details about different membership types and prices are all available on the website (www.fitnessfocus.ca).  Membership types are very flexible and you can set a membership up either on a biweekly payment plan with No Contract, or purchase a term membership.

 

8. Jessalyn Monette - As a Saskatonian I am always looking for the best places that will give me the best results. For the three trusted Health and Beauty Partners what makes your establishment unique to Saskatoon?  I am someone who not only looks for good quality, but I want to ensure my money is spent on a good experience, atmosphere and creativity. Does your establishment offer these qualities?

In an industry that is becoming dominated by corporate gyms, we feel that as a locally owned fitness facility we hold many of the same values and standards as our members. We understand the importance of a comfortable and friendly gym setting, and that keeping a mature and positive atmosphere is vital to creating that. Our success is only possible through the success of our members which is a direct result of their positive experience.

Our approach is a little different than the traditional fitness centre in that we operate without contracts.  This sets us apart because our members can rest assured that we are working our hardest everyday to meet all their wants and needs.

 

 

9. Ann Lyte-Maille- fitness focus, is there a time of day that is best to exercise? Or is just good to try when you can?

Everybody is different; some people function well early in the morning whereas others are on their game later in the day.  There are certain benefits to planning a workout at a specific time of day.  For morning workouts you might find you have better longevity throughout the rest of your day.  A morning workout will also boost your metabolism, this will help regulate (steady) your appetite for the day which aids weight management.  On the other hand, a workout later in the day is a good chance to burn off some excess calories before bed or relieve stress from a long day.  Many of us tend to binge eat later in the day; occupying your time in the evening with a workout is a good way to eliminate those habits.  Ultimately the best time of day to workout is when you personally will have the most drive, energy and focus.

 

Being Aware of Gluten Free Labels

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 12, 2012 02:15

The Accuracy of Gluten Free Labels

The legal term of the phrase "gluten free" does vary from country to country, however current research is suggesting for people with celiac disease the maximum safe level of gluten in a finished product is probably less than 200 parts per million and possibly as little as 20 parts per million.

Certain standards only allow the "gluten-free" label to be used on foods with less than 5 parts per million of gluten, 5 parts per million being the smallest percentage that we are currently able to detect. The following ingredients are typical ingredients found in food that does contain gluten:
  • Wheat Flour contains 80,000ppm
  • Wheat Starch contains 200ppm
  • Maltodextrin, Dextrin, Glucose Syrup all contain 5ppm
  • Caramel Color has varying amounts of gluten depending on the processing method.  It can still affect those with celiac and gluten intolerance.

Wheat flour contains almost 12% gluten; such a small number is still a very significant amount.  Even the tiniest trace of wheat flour can cross-contaminate a product that is gluten-free.  A certain degree of care must always be taken to avoid cross-contamination of foods. 

Gluten Free Bread- Fitness FocusGluten-free diets rule out many of the normal foods that we are all used to eating on a regular basis.  The foods in question span from ordinary breads and pastas to many convenience foods in our diets such as crackers, chips and cookies.  Gluten rich foods are food that also use certain thickeners such as gravies, soups, and sauces thickened with rye, barley, wheat or other flour. Gluten hides in many of our favorite day to day food choices. More and more these days various gluten-free bakery and pasta products can be found in specialty retailers.  Large chain grocers are now dedicating sections of their shelf space to gluten-free pruoucts.  Gluten-free foods tend to cost more than non-gluten-free foods, due to the higher cost of production and contamination prevention.

Other unexpected sources of gluten are non-foodstuffs such as certain medications as well as vitamin supplements, mainly the ones available in tablet form, may contain gluten as a binding agent. People with gluten intolerances might require specialist compounding of their medication.  There are also vitamins available without gluten, the package or label will have symbols indicating so, you may also see after any exclaimers the words "gluten free".

Do You Know What Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Are?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 3, 2012 16:30

Studies now shows that celiac disease and gluten intolerance, affect around 15% of the North American population.  It is possible that you are one of these people. It is important that you are able to identify gluten intolerance symptoms?

We first need to identify the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an immune reaction. It is a sudden and severe onset allergic reaction to the wheat protein called gluten. Gluten can be found in several different but very common grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. Celiac disease is initially a disorder of the auto-immune system, it is also a disease of malabsorption because essential nutrients are not able to absorb into the body. One of the most devastating symptoms of celiac disease going undiagnosed is malnutrition.

Typically, gluten intolerance often has a much slower onset than celiac disease, and tends to be harder to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms and the many sources in which it is hidden.

Imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms; celiac disease would be found at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions. There are people with celiac disease that may not immediate symptoms, but internally the malabsorption of all these essential nutrients can erode one's health over many years. It is important to note that both celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be exacerbated by infection, surgery, emotional stress pregnancy and childbirth. Not everyone with a gluten intolerance or allergy will experience the exact same symptoms or to the same degree.  This creates a great challenge for medical practitioners trying to do a diagnosis.

    Here are some of the symptoms but not necessarilly limited to gluten intolerance and celiac disease.

  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Nutritional deficiencies, example: low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Body Pains
  • Stiff and Aching joints
  • Eczema and Skin Irritations
  • Depression
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health

If Gluten intolerance remains undiagnosed for a long enough period of time, conditions have been found to contribute to diabetes, cancer of the bowel, anemia and osteoporosis.

So, why are the symptoms of gluten intolerance so varied?

Much about gluten intolerance and celiac disease is still unknown.  Gluten intolerance can affect anyone from children to adults in a variety of ways, but one thing that has been found is the less stress the better for the affected person.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that emotional trauma and stress play a large role in amplifying the symptoms. Several studies have findings that show that the longer a baby is breastfed and the further it's delayed that they start eating gluten rich foods, it will creates a lower chance of developing celiac disease.  Completely avoiding gluten through a pregnancy and in a child’s younger years of development may also raise the possibilities of an allergic reaction, as the child's developing digestive system cannot recognize the substance at all.  Researchers remain unsure but perhaps a more moderate approach is best when attempting to preventing celiac disease, especially if the parents know that there is a genetic predisposition to the disease. Mothers might reduce but not eliminate gluten foods when pregnant, breastfeed for a longer than average period, and start introducing low gluten grains as first foods for baby.

How to diagnose celiac disease and gluten intolerance?

Until recently it was somewhat of a challenge to diagnose celiac disease because it does have such a wide variety of symptoms and are quite similar to a few other common diseases. Some examples of these are Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, iron deficiency as well as intestinal infections can all have similar symptoms. There may be in fact a relationship between gluten intolerance and some of these conditions.  An person may have a combination of issues that become worse by food choices that do not agree with their body.  Doctors now know to test for raised levels of certain auto-antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are produced when the body senses a dangerous allergen, such as gluten. If the results indicate an allergy to gluten the doctor may perform a small intestine biopsy. This will reveal the damage to the villi in the small intestine. It is important to eat an ordinary diet including gluten, before being tested.

Look For The Gluten Free Symbol

Another method is to self test for gluten intolerance.  This requires a complete modification of a person's diet. It's a relatively simple thing to do, but does take a little bit of commitment.  For it to work properly a person needs to remove many normal things from their diet and resort whole/natural foods without wheat gluten such as rice, fruits and vegetables, and any fresh meat.  You can trust packaging that has a "Gluten Free" symbol on it.  Foods that contain gluten will have ingredients on the packaging that include Maltodextrin, caramel color, and wheat flour.  At this point it becomes important to understand how to read a food ingredients label.  If a person is feeling any of the possible gluten intolerance symptoms at the start of this process, they should begin to recede within a week or two.  At the time when the symptoms have all subsided, other foods can start to be introduced back into the diet a little bit at a time. It then takes a conscious effort to be aware if and when the symptoms begin to return.

New Research Suggests Brown Rice Can Offer Cardiovascular Protection

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 20, 2012 06:09

Nutrition questions from around the gym; here are your answers!

Typically, rice is thought to be a healthy addition to the diet because it is a source of fiber. However, not all rice is equally nutritious, and brown rice might have an unique advantage over white rice by offering protection from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”), say researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center and Department of Physiology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

New research by Satoru Eguchi, Associate Professor of Physiology, suggests that a component in a layer of tissue surrounding grains of brown rice may work against angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is an endocrine protein which causes blood vessels to constrict and known culprit in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Brown Rice and Angiotensin II

The subaleurone layer of Japanese rice, which is located between the white center of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, is rich in oligosaccharides and dietary fibers, making it particularly nutritious. However, when brown rice is polished to make white rice, the subaleurone layer is stripped away and the rice loses some of its nutrients. The subaleurone layer can be preserved in half-milled (Haigamai) rice or incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) brown rice. These types of rice are popular in Japan because many people there believe half-milled (Haigamai) rice and incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) are healthier than white rice.

The Temple team and their colleagues at the Wakayama Medical University Department of Pathology and the Nagaoka National College of Technology Department of Materials Engineering in Japan sought to delve into the mysteries of the subaleurone layer and perhaps make a case for leaving it intact when rice is processed. Because angiotensin II is a perpetrator in such lethal cardiovascular diseases, the team chose to focus on learning whether the subaleurone layer could somehow inhibit the wayward protein, angiotensin II, before it wreaks havoc.

First, the researchers removed the subaleurone tissue from Kinmemai rice (incompletely-milled rice). Then the researchers separated the subaleurone tissue's components by exposing the subaleurone tissue to extractions of various chemicals such as ethanol, ethyl acetate and methanol. They then observed how the subaleurone tissue affected cultures of vascular smooth muscle cells. Vascular smooth muscle cells are an integral part of blood vessel walls and are direct victims of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

During their analysis, the team found that subaleurone components that were selected by an ethyl acetate extraction inhibited angiotensin II activity in the cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. This suggests that the subaleurone layer of rice offers protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. It could also help explain why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where most people eat at least one rice-based dish per day, than in the U.S., where rice is not a primary component of daily nutrition.

“Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice [subaleurone] that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Eguchi. “We hope to present an additional health benefit of consuming half-milled or brown rice [as opposed to white rice] as part of a regular diet.”

New Research Suggests Brown Rice Can Offer Cardiovascular Protection  -  Written by Jeff behar

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