Fish Oil Switches Fat Storage Cells into Fat Burning Cells

Researchers from Kyoto University have discovered that fish oil can switch your fat storage cells into fat burning cells.

Specifically, they found that consuming fish oil:

  1. Activates receptors in your digestive tract which…
  2. Engages your sympathetic nervous system…
  3. Causing fat storage cells to metabolize your fat

Background Info

Fact #1. You have three types of fat cells 

  • White fat – which stores calories and contributes to obesity
  • Brown fat – initially thought to exist only in babies, brown fat arises from infant muscles and is designed to help keep their little baby-bodies warm. “More recent imaging data suggested that adults, too, maintain some brown fat’.
  • Beige fat – similar looking to brown fat, beige fat doesn’t come from muscle, but is created by the “browning” of white fat in adult humans. It is found in “scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adults”

Fact #2. Previous research has shown that fish oil has a number of powerful health benefits…including fat accumulation.

These two facts led the scientists at Kyoto U to investigate how fish oil and brown fat cells interacted.

The Study

Researchers fed a group of mice “fatty food” while feeding other mice “fatty food with fish oil additives.

The researchers found that mice who ate the fish oil supplement gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to the non-fish oil eating mice.

 Figure 1: Fish oil intake reduced body weight gain and fat accumulation


Fish oil intake decreased body weight (A) and abdominal WAT (B) gain in mice. Mice were fed a control diet (C), control diet containing low-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (LD), control diet containing high-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (HD), control diet containing low-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (LE), and control diet containing high-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (HE) for 10 weeks. 

The scientists also found that the fish oil supplements caused an activation of the sympathetic nervous system, forcing white fat cells to transform into beige fat cells.

Figure 2: Fish oil intake induced UCP1 expression in interscapular BAT (brown fat) and inguinal WAT (white fat)


Fish oil intake induced UCP1 protein expression in interscapular BAT (A) and inguinal WAT (B). Fish oil intake also induced UCP1 mRNA expression in interscapular BAT (C) and inguinal WAT (D). Fish oil intake induced beige adipocyte-specific gene expression in interscapular BAT (E) and inguinal WAT (F). 


The researchers concluded that it was this transformation of white fat storage cells into beige fat burning cells that protected the lab mice from their “fatty food” diet.

What does this mean to you?

If you’re concerned about gaining or losing body fat…start eating more fatty fish and/or supplementing with fatty fish oils.

Fish Oil Supplements

Which Fish Should You Eat?

The following infographic shows which fatty fish are healthiest (re their good oil) and which fat are the healthiest (re low levels of mercury)



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deep fried pizza is super high in omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 6 Fatty Acids ….and the Genetic Obesity Timebomb

deep fried pizza is super high in omega 6 fatty acids
Original Image:

Back in the day, your ancestors used to eat

  • Meat -i.e  beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, etc…
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Seed Oils
  • Water

Today, in addition to deep fried pizza,  we eat oodles of:

  • Processed meat
  • Processed vegetables…mostly deep fried potatoes of some variety
  • Processed fruit – mostly juice
  • Processed seed oil
  • Processed grains
  • Processed corn
  • Processed sugar
  • Next to no fiber
  • Next to no enzymes
  • and gallons and gallons of sugary soda

The result: An increasingly unhealthy & overweight population that would get it’s collective butt kicked by our ultra-fit Paleo ancestors.

And, according to the latest research, one of the worst aspects of our modern diet is our imbalance of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids ….and the Genetic Obesity Timebomb

According to this latest study, eating a diet that is high in linoleic acid (omega 6), and low in alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3) will result in the genetic inheritance of obesity & insulin resistance.

In other words…Continue eating those deep fried pizzas and your kids will be born fat & insulin resistant.

The Science

In this study, the researchers exposed several generations of male and female adult and young mice to a modern “Western” style diet high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 fatty acids, and then assessed the consequences of such a lipid environment in the human diet.

The test diet had an Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio of 28:1.

With no other restrictions, the mice were allowed to go about their business. And four generations later, with no additional interference from the researchers, the great-great grandmice were compared to their ancestors.

And the comparison didn’t go well.

  • the researchers saw a gradual increase in fat mass over the four generations
  • they also observed the onset of  insulin resistance….
  • the expression of inflammatory genes associated with obesity, and….
  • the development of type 2 diabetes.


In a genetically stable population, exposure to a “Western” diet (high in Omega 6 : low in Omega 3) results in the emergence of transgenerational obesity, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and a higher likelihood of becoming diabetes.

the human in the movie wall-e were victims of their own diet - they should have gone paleoSo, where do we go from here?

Option 1

  • Optimize your Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio by going Paleo

Option 2

Option 3




Drug Companies Rx Your Omega 3s

For years, I have been singing the praises of pharmaceutical grade Omega 3 Fish Oils.

  • They’re anti-inflammatory
  • They’re good for your heart
  • They’re good for your joints
  • They’re good for a whole bunch of stuff that ails you

And they’re also good enough to have peaked the interest of the bigwigs at GlaxoSmithKline.

For a couple of years now, GSK has been producing a Omega 3 fish oil product called lovaza.

Lovaza is a concentrated fish oil (high in EPA & DHA) designed to help lower triglycerides.

Kind of like Ascenta Nutra-Sea or Nordic Naturals.

In fact, it’s almost identical to the high potency versions already availablein the supplement market.

So, why should you choose to get your Omega 3s from GlaxoSmithKline instead of from Ascenta or Nordic Naturals or one of the other high-end supplement companies that have been spreading the fish-oil gospel for years and years?

Maybe because your doctor told you to.

And there’s the problem.

Unlike the supplement companies peddling fish oil in the free market, GSK has bypassed the free market and attempted to corner the Omega 3 market with the help of their best salesman – your doctor.

Not to mention their massive advertising budgets.

And the deep pockets required to sell product at a loss in order to drive competitors out of business.


But that would never happen.


If you like what you see here, click here for updates


Related Posts

Grilled Cod with Carrot Parsnip Puree

Grilled Cod with Carrot Parsnip Puree

Here’s a lovely simple recipe for the weekend. Today’s Good Friday and growing up we’d always have fish on Fridays but especially today. I figured I’d better keep the mother happy and post a fish recipe for you guys just so she knows I haven’t lost all my values. Just kidding Mary! What I love about Pacific cod aside from it being fished sustainably is how moist it is. It’s perfect for grilling as it has a high oil content which helps keep it moist and delicious.

Happy Easter guys.

Serves 2

2 x 6oz Pacific cod fillets
1/2 lemon – zested
drizzle olive oil

2 carrots – peeled, chopped
2 parsnips – peeled, chopped
1/4 cup homemade organic chicken stock or homemade veg stock
drizzle olive oil

Began by cooking the carrot and parsnip in salted water ’til fork tender. Drain and mash. Add splash of organic chicken or veg stock along with drizzle olive oil.Taste and season with S&P. I add the stock and olive oil in place of butter, you’ll be surprised how well it works. Leave in same pot to warm on low heat.

Preheat non-stick grill pan on medium high heat for 1 minute. Season cod fillet with S&P and lemon zest. Drizzle olive oil in pan and gently lay fish down away from you to prevent the oil splashing.
Let sear on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip over and reduce heat to medium. Cover pan with lid or foil to finish cooking, 2 minutes approx. This also helps retain the heat and steam the fish ’til cooked thus making the fish moist.

Serve with farmers market grilled asparagus with squeeze fresh lemon.

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2010 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

Grilled Salmon with Curried Cauliflower Puree

Wild Salmon with Curried Cauliflower PureeI always try to cook seasonal foods as much as possible which is why I shop at farmers markets. I know everything I get there will be in season and local. I actually got this cauliflower in my CSA box so I knew it would be perfect with some simple grilled salmon so as you can see that’s what you’ve got. This is definitely Paleo friendly and is loaded with the good Omega 3 fatty acids.
Simple, healthy and delicious. Brilliant.

Serves 2

2 x 4-5 oz wild Pacific salmon
1 head organic cauliflower – roughly chopped in florets
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp agave/honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Continue reading the Full Recipe Here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2010 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

Exercise Builds Better Brains

I knew it!!!

I knew there was a reason my Health Habits readers are so much smarter than the average person on the street. It turns out that all of that exercise you do improves brain health and actually promotes the growth of new brain cells.

The Research

In a new study (published here), researchers found that voluntary running caused lab mice to grow new brain cells in the region of the brain (hippocampus) associated with memory and spatial navigation.

  • The 105-day study included two groups of mice. One group was allowed unlimited access to an exercise wheel and ran an average of more than 20 km (12 miles) a day. The other group of mice weren’t allowed to exercise.
  • Tests showed that the mice in the exercise group were better able to distinguish between memories of similar things. This is likely due to the additional brain cells generated by exercise, the researchers said. “Keeping similar memories distinct is an important part of having a good memory,” said study senior author Timothy Bussey of Cambridge University. “It is this aspect of memory that is improved by exercise, our study shows.

The human equivalent might be remembering which car parking space you have used on two different days in the previous week. It becomes difficult to distinguish memories when events are similar.”

New brain cells…that has to be good. But wait,  it gets even better….

It’s not just the physical exercise that you do.

Another group of brain researchers believe that it’s a combination of increased blood flow (via exercise therapy) and increased neural activity (problem solving, learning new tasks, reading Health Habits, etc…) that results in both the creation and retention of new brain cells at any age.

So, when you go online to research how to get healthy & fit, you’re pushing your brain to grow & keep new brain cells.

But wait, it can get even better than that….

  • Supplementing your diet with Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to improve the cellular function of your brain cells.


  • Physical Exercise = New Brain Cells
  • Mental Exercise = Retention of those New Brain Cells (the use it or lose it theory)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids via fish oils = Better Functioning Brain Cells

So, the next time some non-exercising, non-thinking, non-fish oil slurping mouth breather tells you how smart you are, you can tell them that it’s all due to Health Habits.


pills supplements nutrition fitness health

Essential Nutritional Supplements – These are the best, so forget the rest

The health supplement industry is big business.

Millions of dollars are spent by manufacturers on advertising and marketing. Luckily for them, billions of dollars are spent by consumers.

And when you subtract millions from billions, you end up with a lot of profit. And, there’s nothing wrong with that…as long as the customer is getting the results they paid for.

Q:  So, do consumers get what they pay for?

A:  In my experience, the short answer is NO.

Most supplements over-promise and under-deliver. But, not all….

These are the supplements and supplement companies that I think are worthy of your trust and your money.

Note – If you are interested in purchasing any of these supplements, click on the image of the supplement and you will be taken to my Amazon store. Any purchases made through the Amazon store earns Health Habits a 4% commission. Thanks in advance.

General Health


I can’t say enough good things about New Chapter.

  • Most multivitamins and nutritional supplements are synthetic, chemically isolated nutrients that lack the natural beneficial compounds of a whole-food complex.
  • New Chapter multi-vitamins are made with 100% organic ingredients. But, unlike most multis, New Chapter’s nutrients are food. In fact, they are a whole-food complex, rich with thousands of health-giving, whole-food phytonutrients found in nature. They do not believe that people were designed to eat mega-dosages of synthetic chemicals.
  • They believe that your nutrients should come in the form of cultured whole food so that you get the full benefit of Nature’s wisdom. New Chapter’s nutrients are cultured in probiotics — the healthy bacteria every human body needs. Probiotics are naturally prevalent in select foods such as yogurt, red wine and sauerkraut.
  • Daily consumption of probiotics boosts the immune system, increases nutrient absorption, improves vitamin synthesis, digestion, detoxification and protection from toxins.


Sticking with the whole-food v.s synthetic nutrients argument, we have Vege Greens.

Vege Greens is a combination of over 60 land, sea and cruciferous vegetables, as well as super green foods, EFAs, pre and probiotics, enzymes and herbal extracts. One little scoop is equivalent to six to eight servings of vegetables, and offers a full spectrum of nutrient rich and highly alkaline foods.

And unlike most Green Foods, Vege Greens doesn’t taste like a mouthful of grass.

And like New Chapter, the manufacturer of Vege Greens (Progressive Nutritional) has incredibly high professional standards. At this time, I would have no problem recommending any of their products.

Fish Oils

I have written often about the health benefits of fish oils/Omega 3s.

– Promotes cardiovascular health
– Reduces inflammation
– Supports mental focus & cognitive function
– Supports positive mood & emotional well-being
– Promotes brain, eye, & nervous system health
– Supports healthy immune system function
– Enhances appearance of skin and hair
– Promotes optimal fat metabolism

And while there are a lot of companies selling fish

oils / Omega 3 supplements, Ascenta is one of the best. They have a long track record of producing the purest fish oils on the market….that don’t taste like fish.

Recently, New Chapter came out with their own line of fish oil supplements. I am currently testing this product to see if I can notice any difference in anti-inflammatory benefits.


Vitamin D

For the past few years, a number of progressive nutrition geeks have been singing the praises of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D researchers believe that Vitamin D is a major player in the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, etc…

Unfortunately, even with this passionate support, Vitamin D suffers from a lack of mainstream acceptance.

And that’s too bad.

Vitamin D has powerful health benefits and costs next to nothing to purchase. It’s a no-brainer.


Researchers have found that aged garlic extract (AGE) has hepatoprotective (protects the liver),immune-enhancing, anticancer and chemopreventive (disease preventative) activities. Furthermore, AGE is a potent antioxident.

It also makes your breath stink.

But, not Kyolic AGE supplements.

All the health benefits with none of the stinkiness. WIN-WIN



Zyflamend was my introduction to New Chapter.

A few years ago, I was suffering from chronic pain in one of my shoulders.

The cause of my pain?

Too many years of lifting very heavy weights with very little warm-up. (nothing like being in your twenties – invincible & stupid)

My orthopedist gave me 3 options:

  1. arthroscopic surgery to clean things up a bit
  2. cortisone
  3. take drugs for the pain

Being the contrary type of guy that I am, I went for option #4 and researched natural ways to bring down inflammation. And that’s how I found Zyflamend
New Chapter’s patented Zyflamend formulation represents a scientific breakthrough in promoting a healthy inflammation response. After extensively researching the herbal pharmacopoeia and international medical databases, New Chapter discovered that a number of time-tested herbs, properly extracted and blended in the correct proportions, contain at least 8 phytonutrients that may safely and significantly promote a healthy inflammation response.

Recent research studies suggest reducing the inflammatory response may be an effective strategy to promote healthy joint function and normal cell growth.
My shoulder is all better now, but I continue to supplement with Zyflamend because of the overall health benefits associated with reducing systemic inflammation. You should too.



According to the CDC, up to 90% of doctor visits in the US are stress related.

National Institutes of Health adds that chronic stress may shorten life expectancy up to 20 years.

Chronically high cortisol from stress disrupts endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune and neurological systems.

Regardless of whether we feel stress or not, conscientiously managing our stress response, every day, positively impacts every organ and system in our bodies.

In short, how you handle stress has a major impact on your health.

And, if you’re trying to lose weight, get stronger, faster, etc, you are piling even more physiological & psychological stress onto your already overwhelmed immune system.

But, before you get all stressed out about your stress, there is a solution.

For thousands of years, people have relied upon adaptogens (plant derived agents that help to adapt the body or protect it from stress) to help them cope with life’s little stresses.

These 3 adaptogen supplements from New Chapter have been unbelievably useful in helping some of my clients incorporate healthy living & eating into their lives. Those people who suffer from emotional eating receive a huge benefit from these supplements.

Stress Take Care is made up of 9 different adaptogens:

  • Curcuma Xanthorrhiza
  • Schizandra
  • American Ginseng
  • Eleuthero
  • Rhodiola
  • Galanga
  • Turmeric
  • Astragalus
  • Ginger

The next product, Rhodiola Force is made up of a single adaptogen – Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola is widely considered to be the most powerful of all adaptogens.

Thriving in high altitudes and in nature’s most challenging climates, this most resilient herbal is intensively studied for enhancing concentration and endurance, uplifting one’s mental state, and supporting optimal immune, adrenal, and cardiovascular function even under conditions of severe stress.

The third adaptogen supplement, Holy Basil, has been a staple of ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

When New Chapter was researching Holy Basil, they wanted to know why people find that Holy Basil promotes a positive stress response and elevates their spirit. Ayurvedic masters told them that “Holy Basil delivers nutrients to the mind necessary for the experience of enlightenment.”

Enlightenment. baby

Digestive Enzymes

Enzymes are one of the most underutilized nutritional supplements.

And that’s a big mistake.

Without enzymes, we could not exist. Our bodies’ reactions would be too slow for life to be possible. The human body makes and uses more than 3,000 kinds of enzymes that speed up chemical reactions and save energy. Digestive enzymes are like scissors that cut up the foods we eat into basic building blocks that our body then absorbs and reassembles to build cells, tissues, organs glands and entire body systems.

If our digestion is compromised then so is our health. Many enzymes on the market today are made from animal organs – hog stomach, bovine pancreas, lamb forestomach etc. These individual animal enzymes work only in a narrow pH range, and are usually only capable of digesting protein or fat.

Udo’s Choice Enzyme Blends, however, are broad spectrum plant and microbially derived enzyme supplements that have a wide pH range of activity, allowing it to function throughout the entire digestive tract.

I have been using Udo’s products for years after I was introduced to his flax seed oil and his book – Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill.


There are several reasons that people are interested in probiotics for health purposes.

First, the world is full of microorganisms (including bacteria), and so are people’s bodies—in and on the skin, in the gut, and in other orifices.

Friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protection against microorganisms that could cause disease, and to the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Each person’s mix of bacteria varies. Interactions between a person and the microorganisms in his body, and among the microorganisms themselves, can be crucial to the person’s health and well-being.

This bacterial “balancing act” can be thrown off in two major ways:

  1. By antibiotics, when they kill friendly bacteria in the gut along with unfriendly bacteria. Some people use probiotics to try to offset side effects from antibiotics like gas, cramping, or diarrhea. Similarly, some use them to ease symptoms of lactose intolerance—a condition in which the gut lacks the enzyme needed to digest significant amounts of the major sugar in milk, and which also causes gastrointestinal symptoms.
  2. “Unfriendly” microorganisms such as disease-causing bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and parasites can also upset the balance. Researchers are exploring whether probiotics could halt these unfriendly agents in the first place and/or suppress their growth and activity in conditions like:
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that causes most ulcers and many types of chronic stomach inflammation
  • Tooth decay and periodontal disease
  • Vaginal infections
  • Stomach and respiratory infections that children acquire in daycare
  • Skin infections

Another part of the interest in probiotics stems from the fact there are cells in the digestive tract connected with the immune system. One theory is that if you alter the microorganisms in a person’s intestinal tract (as by introducing probiotic bacteria), you can affect the immune system’s defenses.

Performance / Specialty Supplements

We have finished with the supplements that I think are important for your overall health.

Now we move onto the specialty supplements…the meal replacements, protein powders, fat burners, etc.

Meal Replacements

There is no substitute for real food.

However, sometimes “real food” just isn’t convenient.

So, when life gets a little too hectic, and you don’t have time to make a real meal, what do you do?

  • Starve?
  • McDonalds?
  • Bottle of Ensure?

No, no and no.

Monster MilkThis supplement is a true meal replacement.

Loaded with fast & slow absorbing (lactose free) milk proteins, digestive enzymes, creatine, healthy fats, fiber & prebiotics, Monster Milk is a great supplement for trainees attempting to gain muscle mass or attempting to cut calories without sacrificing nutrition.

Sadly, while Monster Milk is popular with bodybuilders, it is unknown amongst the general public. too bad

Muscle Milk – Light

But, maybe you don’t want the creatine in your meal replacement.

And maybe, you’re cutting back on the carbs, or don’t like artificial sweeteners.

If that’s the case, reach for Muscle Milk Light

It has the same proteins & fats as Monster Milk and it’s sweetened with stevia.

And it tastes way better than most other meal replacements / protein powders.

Protein Powders

Harmonized Protein

Harmonized protein is produced by Progressive Nutritionals. Unlike the other protein powders / meal replacements, HP doesn’t market to the bodybuilding demographic. They are all about health first.

Harmonized Protein is a synergistic blend of 5 unique proteins (whey isolate, whey concentrate, milk protein isolate, colostrum & lactoferring) designed to offer an array of health promoting properties beyond that of any individual protein source.

The cattle that produce the milk used to create these unique proteins graze in open pastures and are raised without the use of hormones, including rBGH.

New Zealand proteins are considered to be the cleanest and purest in the world.

They do not contain antibiotics and are routinely screened for over 250 agricultural and chemical contaminants including pesticides, fertilizers and PCB’s.

HP also contains:

  • alpha lipoic acid for improved insulin response
  • flax seed oil powder
  • digestive enzymes
  • organic sea vegetables (you can’t taste them)
  • downey birch and corn silk for improved protein utilization

It is also sweetened with stevia


If you’re not taking creatine, you are making a big mistake.
Creatine is bodybuilding’s ultimate supplement, and for good reason. For one thing, creatine can significantly increases lean muscle mass

It is also responsible for:

  • improving performance in high-intensity exercise,
  • increasing energy levels,
  • helps with fat loss and
  • speeds up post-workout recovery rates.

Creatine’s ability to enhance energy reserves in muscles comes from its ability to increase muscle protein synthesis, while simultaneously minimizing protein breakdown.

This occurs because creatine has the awesome effect of super-hydrating muscle cells with water. It also enhances muscle growth – making muscle fibers bigger and stronger.
Warning – Cheap creatine can cause significant intestinal distress and cause some serious bloating.

Allmax creatine has never let me down.


Way back in October of 2008, I wrote about leucine and it’s ability to turn back age related muscle loss (buy a tub for grandpa).

According to the research:

  • Leucine stimulates new muscle growth
  • Leucine is the major amino acid responsible for the muscle producing capability of food
  • Adding leucine to a meal increases muscle growth by 50 to 70 percent
  • Leucine works best when taken with a mixed carb / protein meal. This is due to the insulin surge that comes from the carbohydrates in the meal, and the other essential amino acids that are present.
  • Leucine does not work as well with carb-only or protein-only meals
  • The change in leucine levels in the blood seems to be more important than the overall amount. Therefore, it is better to take a small serving of leucine with a meal (level of leucine increases), wait a few hours (let the leucine levels drop), and then take another serving with some food (levels increase again).
  • Leucine supplementation has also shown to be effective as a supplement for athletes interested in adding functional muscle mass.

So, the plan is to take a small scoop (5g) of leucine with each meal of the day. (up to a max of 20g)

This supplement has worked wonders for my hard-gainers.

Branch Chain Amino Acids

You can’t go wrong with BCAAs.

  • Add them to protein shakes when you’re trying to gain muscle
  • Drink them at night when you’re dieting to preserve muscle mass

Simple. Powerful. You can’t go wrong

Okay…that’s the list. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you have any comments, questions or complaints.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

You’ve just finished another gruelling workout.

Now what?

If you’re like Tiger, you’re going to stagger into the change-room, grab a quick shower and head off to the nearest Hooters.

And like Tiger, you would be WRONG

When it comes to getting fit/healthy/buff/ripped/sexy/etc, your workouts are only half the equation. The other half of the equation is Workout Recovery.

And because I love you guys so darn much,  I have put together my favorite Post-Workout Recovery Techniques.

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake

I have talked about this technique before. Simply put, it’s a no-brainer.

Post workout – your muscles are screaming for nutrients. Ignore that message and your workout recovery goes into slo-mo. Heed the message and the repair goes into overdrive.

More info here.

Hot/Cold Contrast Showers

Alternate between 30 seconds of cold water and two minutes of hot water. Perform this shrinkage inducing protocol three or four times.

While most of the claims about this recovery technique are anecdotal, there is some research showing that alternating hot/cold showers post-exercise is effective in lowering both heart rate and the levels of lactate in your blood. Anecdotally, contrast showers have been said to improve athletic recovery via increased blood flow and possible nutrient and waste product elimination (lactate). There may also be a psychological benefit and an increased feeling of alertness and fatigue reduction.

In my personal experience, contrast showers help reduce my post-workout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as well as perk me up for the rest of my day.

Fish Oils

Your workouts cause inflammation.

Localized inflammation in joints and muscles. Systemic inflammation throughout your body. Fish oils are a great, natural, anti-inflammatory. Add some to your post-workout shake. If you already have issues with chronic inflammation, you may want to consider adding some Turmeric/Curcumin or Zyflamend into the mix.

Meditation / Sleep

High intensity workouts can be tough on the CNS (central nervous system)

And while there are lots of supplements (natural adaptogens & pharmaceutical agents) out there that claim to help repair & restore the CNS, I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them. However, I am willing to push meditation & sleep as the two best CNS treatments ever invented.

Sleep – You probably don’t sleep enough already. Add in a tough workout routine and you’re looking for trouble. Get your 7-8 hrs.

Meditation – There are lots of ways to meditate. There are crunchy-granola yoga meditative techniques. There are medical based mindfulness meditation programs. Praying is a form of meditation. There are even mp3s you can buy that claim to help sync your brainwaves into the pattern best suited for meditation. But the simplest method may be to just sit or lie down, put your hands on your belly and focus as your breath flows in and out.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) are another anti-inflammatory agent.

When added to a nice hot bath, they are absorbed through the skin and helps reduce muscular pain and general “achiness”. It also helps increase your levels of magnesium and may help reduce water retention.

Ice Massage

The benefits of ice massage are questionable at best. But, I know a lot of athletes who swear by it, so I figured it best to include it in this review.

Most of the pro-Ice Massage evidence isanecdotal. The main claim is that ice massage is an effective method for reducing localized inflammation and reducing the symptoms of DOMS. However, the clinical research doesn’t agree. In fact, some researchers feel that ice massage should be contraindicated when it comes to preventing post-exercise DOMS.

So, I leave the decision up to you.

Personally, I will skip the post-workout ice massage. If you need more info, click here.

Therapeutic Massage

There are many different types of massage.

Medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced levels of anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety.

Plus, it just feels gooooood.

Get a massage every month or so. Your body will thank you.


TENS is a non-invasive, medically tested, safe nerve stimulation intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic.

It’s also the subject of cheesy late night infomercials.

And that’s too bad. Because, in my experience, TENS is a great little tool for reducing muscular pain. I bought a unit two years ago after a car accident screwed up my neck, back, shoulder & knee. It wasn’t my only treatment modality, but it was convenient, effective and relatively cheap.

For post-workout pain, a TENS unit is probably overkill. But, for those older trainees who have a few chronic aches and pains, a TENS unit might be worth it’s weight in gold.

Chiropractic / Acupuncture

I group these two treatment modalities together because my chiropractor is also an acupuncturist and soft-tissue therapist. I don’t get one without the other.

I go every two months and Sheldon works out the kinks that I have managed to create. When I over-do the chin-ups and my bad shoulder acts up a little, Sheldon breaks out the acupuncture needles, re-adjusts the bones and does a little (excruciating) muscle stripping.

45 minutes later and I am a new man.


Traumeel is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory.

And, according to researchers, it works better than NSAIDS at reducing chronic inflammatory conditions as well as systemic inflammation caused by exercise. Plus, you get none of the unpleasant side-effects associated with NSAIDS.


Well, there you go. There’s my list of Post Workout Recovery Techniques.

Feel free to comment if you think I have missed something or if you disagree with one of my choices.

Bleeding Edge Nutrition Research


This post is strictly for the fitness/nutrition geeks.

All sorts of neat-o research studies.


  • The Nutrient-Rich Foods (NRF) Index is a new, objective, science-based way to measure the total nutritional quality of foods and beverages…link to the research, Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
  • Urban Farming? Will Allen – creator of Growing Power, FoodCycles – Toronto’s Urban Garden
  • Millions Of U.S. Children Low In Vitamin D – Increased risk of bone and heart disease – all due to sunscreens and a fear of the sun? – link to the research
  • More Evidence Of Fish Oil’s Heart Health Benefits – There is mounting evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements not only help prevent cardiovascular diseases in healthy individuals, but also reduce the incidence of cardiac events and mortality in patients with existing heart disease. link to the research
  • Caloric Restriction reduces the risk of Breast Cancer link to the research
  • If you have an overweight child who has overweight friends, you need to read this
  • Social Stress leads to visceral/belly fat which leads to heart disease link to the research
  • Gut hormone CCK has an insulin like effect on blood sugar link to the research
  • Traditional Gender Roles aren’t dead yet – Women Eat Less when they Eat with a Man – link to the research
  • High-fat, High-sugar Foods Alter Brain Receptors – Researchers report that either continuous eating or binge eating a high fat, high sugar diet alters opioid receptor levels in an area of the brain that controls food intake – link to the research


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Omega 3s protect men from heart failure


Attention MEN!!!


Eat one serving of fatty fish per week and reduce your risk of heart failure


The Science

According to this new study:

  • Men who eat one serving of fatty fish a week reduced their odds of heart failure by 12%.
  • Men who consume 330 mg of omega 3 fish oils per day reduced their odds of heart failure by 33%

What this means to YOU

If you eat:

You will get your 330 mg of Omega 3s and lower your odds of dying from heart failure by 33%


Pretty cheap insurance policy if you ask me.


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Fat AND Healthy?

Image: Threadless: The Last Piece
Image: Threadless: The Last Piece

Fat and Healthy? Well, sort of.

According to a new study, these sumo wrestlers have got a great reason to fight for that last piece of sushi.

Researchers have found that diets rich in Omega 3 fatty acids helped to protect their obese test subjects from the liver damage and insulin resistance that goes hand in hand with their bulging waistlines.

More specifically, it was two specific Omega 3s – protectins and resolvins—that provided the protective effects.

In the study, the researchers studied four groups of mice with an altered gene making them obese and diabetic.

  • Group One was given an Omega-3-enriched diet
  • Group Two was given a control diet.
  • Group Three was given docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Group Four received only the lipid resolvin.

After five weeks, blood serum and liver samples from the test mice were examined.

The mice given the omega-3-rich diet exhibited:

And all of improvements were due to the formation of protectins and resolvins from omega-3 fatty acids.


If you are fat, you need to increase your consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Man Eats Wild - Bear Grylls gets his Omega 3s
Man Eats Wild – Bear Grylls gets his Omega 3s


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Why are Omega 3s Better than Statins?

Picture this:

  • You have just left the hospital.
  • You have just left the hospital where a loved one lies in a hospital bed after suffering his third heart attack. The first two were minor, but this one, this one almost took him away from you.
  • But, you have left the hospital knowing that he is safe for the moment.

The doctors were able to stabilize him, and now they have started him on a drug therapy that they swear is the best treatment for chronic heart failure. Medical science at it’s very best.

You leave the hospital knowing that the statin drugs coursing through his system give him the very best chance of survival. Right?

Not according to these two nested studies, presented at the 2008 European Society of Cardiology Congress and published in the Lancet.

According to these studies, “Omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation improves morbidity and mortality in symptomatic heart-failure patients, while statins failed to have any beneficial effect in the same group of patients.”

  • Statins failed to have any beneficial effect on the heart-failure patients, while…

So What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a group of fats found in cold water oily fish (sardines, salmon, herring), flax seed, krill, some algae and most recently being added in supplement form to numerous consumer products such as eggs, orange juice and bread.

What Can Omega-3s Do For Me?

When we discuss Omega-3s, we are usually discussing two specific Omega-3s:

  • EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, and
  • DHA or docosahexaenoic acid

On September 8, 2004, the FDA gave “qualified health claim” status to EPA and DHA, stating that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease“.

So, according to the FDA, Omega-3s may help you avoid a heart attack.

Let’s see what some others have to say about Omega-3s:

Are Omega-3s Better than Statins?

I am not sure that we should be looking at this question as an either / or proposition, but the results of this latest study show that:

  • After 3.9 years of follow-up, treatment with the omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of mortality by 9% and mortality and admission to the hospital for cardiovascular causes by 8%
  • After 3.9 years, the patients being treated with statins (rosuvastatin 10 mg) saw no reduction in the risk of morbidity or admission to hospital. On the good side, there was a 27% decrease in LDL cholesterol after 3 years. This decrease, however, didn’t keep people out of the hospital.

At the end of the day, the Omega-3s did a better job than the statins. Period.

So what does medical science have to say about these test results?

The Chair of the study, Dr. Luigi Tavazzi said ‘the advantage of Omega-3s is that they appear to have a beneficial effect on the mechanisms leading to the progression of heart failure.

Translation: They keep you from suffering heart failure.

Although the exact reasons are unknown, omega-3 fatty acids could possibly exert favorable effects on inflammatory processes, such as reductions in endothelial activation and cytokine production, as well as influence platelet aggregation, blood pressure, heart rate, ventricular function, and autonomic tone.

Translation: They are anti-inflammatory.

Another researcher, Dr. Gregg Fonarow said that while “questions remain about the mechanism of action, optimum dosing, and formulation, supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids should join the short list of evidence-based life-prolonging therapies for heart failure.

In regards to the performance of the statin drug rosuvastatin, researcher Dr. Poole-Wilson said that “this study is likely to generate disappointment among clinicians, as the results of the study, in light of observational and meta-analyses data, were expected to be positive.

When the trial was designed, some even expressed concern that it was unethical to randomize heart-failure patients to placebo because they were so confident of the benefit of statin therapy in this patient population.

The results, he said, ultimately should humble researchers, especially as they serve as reminder that medical decisions should be guided “science, and not strongly held opinion.”

In terms of why the study failed to show a beneficial effect on clinical outcomes, the researchers note that treatment with rosuvastatin reduced LDL cholesterol as well as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

“These effects might no longer affect the progression of coronary artery disease in patients with ischemic heart failure, perhaps because their effect is attenuated by a biological milieu not favoring the progression of coronary artery disease”.

Translating this into something resembling English, Dr. Fonarow said “that once heart failure is established, statins may not allow patients to escape the underlying heart-disease process”.


According to this pair of studies, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are better than Statins at keeping your heart beating.

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omega 3

Omega 6 Bad!…Omega 3 Good!!!

Anthropological research suggests that our ancestors thrived on a diet with an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of approximately 1:1.

Today, our Western diet, has skewed that ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) to between 15:1 and 16.7:1.

So what does that mean?

The Science

Current research tells us that Omega-6 fatty acids are the cause of many of our Western diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The researchers believe this for a few reasons.

1.    Because of how Omega-6 fatty acids are broken down by your body, they are more likely than the Omega-3s to produce pro-inflammatory ‘eicosanoids‘. In fact, many of the drugs used to treat and manage these conditions work by blocking the effects of the potent Omega−6 fat, Arachidonic Acid,

That’s Bad.

2.    The eicosanoids made from Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly anti-inflammatory.

That’s Good

3.    Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids have to compete with each other in order for them to be transformed from fatty acids into eicosanoids. So, when the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 was 1:1, it was a fair fight. Now that it is 15 or 16:1, the Omega-6s win the fight and the result is increased inflammation and disease.

That’s Very Bad.

So What Do I Do?

Increase your consumption of Omega-3 foods and supplements and reduce your consumption of Omega-6 foods and supplements.

It would also not be a bad idea to discuss this plan with your doctor. Especially if you are taking drugs for any condition that may be affected by Omega-3s and Omega-6s.

Omega-3 Foods & Supplements

Additional foods high in Omega-6 from

Omega-6 Foods & Supplements

It’s not hard to find foods high in Omega-6 in our Western diet. Here are some of the worst offenders.

  • Cooking Oils – sunflower, safflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean
  • Egg yolks
  • Grain fed meats, particularly organ meats
  • Farm raised fish
  • All manner of processed foods

Additional foods high in Omega-6 from

Keep in mind, Omega-6 is not all bad. The problem is that due to the type of foods we eat, we have thrown the balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 completely out of whack.

What Happens If I Take My Fish Oils?

  • You may reduce your risk of the eye disease – age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • You may reduce your risk of asthma and allergies.
  • You may reduce your risk of clogged arteries, even if you have other risk factors for heart disease.
  • You may prevent diabetic complications such as: myocardial infarction and stroke due to atherosclerosis, retinopathy, end-stage renal disease, debilitating neuropathies, poor wound healing, enhanced risk of infection, and periodontal disease.
  • You may reduce your risk of memory loss and stroke in your old age.
  • You may improve your cognition and memory while helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia.

What Happens If I Don’t?

The opposite of above.

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5 Steps to a Healthy – Fat Melting Meal Plan

In my 19+ years as a personal trainer, most of my clients came to me to help them lose weight.

More specifically, my job was to help them melt the body-fat that encased their soon-to-be fit bodies.

While I can’t be there with you to design and monitor your workouts, I can give you my 5 step meal plan that EVERY successful client of mine followed to melt away their body-fat.

STEP 1 – Fruit for breakfast. Every day.

  • Fresh fruit in season.
  • Frozen fruit left to thaw in the fridge overnight during the rest of the year.


In addition to the great taste, fruit is loaded with cancer fighting fiber, vitamins and minerals and high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals.

USDA data on foods with high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals
Food Serving size Antioxidant capacity per serving size[6]
Cinnamon, ground 100 grams 267,536
Aronia black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) 100 grams 16062
Small Red Bean ½ cup dried beans 13727
Wild blueberry 1 cup 13427
Red kidney bean ½ cup dried beans 13259
Pinto bean ½ cup 11864
Blueberry 1 cup (cultivated berries) 9019
Cranberry 1 cup (whole berries) 8983
Artichoke hearts 1 cup, cooked 7904
Blackberry 1 cup (cultivated berries) 7701
Prune ½ cup 7291
Raspberry 1 cup 6058
Strawberry 1 cup 5938
Red Delicious apple 1 apple 5900
Granny Smith apple 1 apple 5381
Pecan 1 oz 5095
Sweet cherry 1 cup 4873
Black plum 1 plum 4844
Russet potato 1, cooked 4649
Black bean ½ cup dried beans 4181
Plum 1 plum 4118
Gala apple 1 apple 3903

STEP 2 – Replace Lunch-time Sandwiches with Lettuce Wraps

This might seem strange at first, but when you realize how much body-fat you will lose just by replacing 2 plain slices of bread with a single lettuce leaf ( 16 3/4 lbs. each and every year ), most people are willing to give it a try.

You can also replace your normal lunch with healthy soups, stews or salads.

lettuce wraps

STEP 3 – Replace your vending machine afternoon snack with spicy seeds and nuts

spicy nuts

Here is a quick recipe that I borrowed from Julie B’s Hive

Nueces Y Pepitas Picantes (Spicy Nuts and Seeds)


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 10 small garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 1/2 cups raw hulled green pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 275°.
  2. In a frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic cloves and sauté until they begin to turn tan, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the nuts and seeds, coating them well with the oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the ground chile, just a pinch at a time, until the taste just tingles the tongue.
  3. Spread the nuts and seeds evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with more salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

STEP 4 – Meat & Vegetables

Replace the typical North American dinner of fatty protein served over complex carbs covered in a sauce of saturated fat and washed down with a big glass of high fructose corn syrup based liquid with something straight out of Leave it to Beaver. Meat and vegetables.

meat-and-salad health nutrition food diet fitness healthhabits

The meat can be beef,pork,poultry,fish,tofu,etc… Make it healthy.

You are free to choose your own vegetables, but try not to load up on the potatoes. And no french fries or potato chips.

STEP 5 – Eat fish or supplement with fish oils.

Fish, especially fish loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids are too good for you to ignore. There is a lot of research showing that the Omega 3s help your body to burn body-fat more efficiently.

For all those moms to be out there, I recently posted an article about Omega 3 fatty acids and their positive effects on your child’s brain.

Note: Keep in mind that I am not a doctor or heart specialist or scientist devoted to promoting the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, I have read a lot of the research into Omega 3 fish oils. I have also seen them work all sorts of magic on my clients body-fat, allergies and creaky joints. In my personal opinion, I think they are a fantastic product to supplement your diet.

Here are a few tips:

  • Supplement with fish oils that have been labeled Pharmaceutical Grade or Molecularly Distilled. Keep in mind that it is a little like the wild west out there with fish oil supplements. You may need to do a little research and even ask a few questions.
  • The University of Guelph run International Fish Oil Standards tests fish oil supplements for their purity. Their website is here.
  • I personally use the Ascenta brand Nutra-Sea fish oil. They were one of the first and have been tested by the U of G (passed). Here is a sample test report from their website.

Okay, there you go – 5 Steps to a Healthy – Fat Melting Meal Plan

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