George Castanza School of Body Building

Man, I wished that I had learned from George Castanza about body building and fitness.

Seinfeld’s buddy, George, has it all down pat. His exercise consists of annoying people, dodging responsibility and righteous outbursts. George follows a rigorous diet of sandwiches and apple pie and employs a routine of constant anxiety.

However, George’s real life actor, Jason Alexander is a human dynamo. He writes, directs, acts and, believe it or not, sings! The guy is a genius. At around age 60, he dropped 30 pounds and became a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig company.

It seems ironic, that I guy who played a 30 to 40 year old who could not get his act together is a real-life hard-charger who is fitter after age 60 than his younger years.

“I just finished a fantastic workout. I’ve never looked better in my life, which is saying nothing,” Alexander says.  (Metro Times, Detroit Metro Times, Oct. 19, 2019).

Why not reinvent ourselves later in life? After age 50 we don’t have the luxury of fast-healing bodies and time for learning mistakes. That is why I wrote Flat Gut After 50 . It works for 20 year-olds, but is geared for people past that mid-point. It cuts straight to the chaste about overall body strength, pain-free back and re-programming the mind into getting into strong, fit body and mind.

End of story.

We might love George Castanza. But, we sure don’t want to live like him.

Flat Gut After 50

Low-Fat Depression:

How Common Myths are Depressing Us

“This only has 200 Calories,” said the eight year old, waving around a small container yogurt. “It is better because it is low fat.”

That makes about as much sense as buying more toilet paper during the COID-19 virus pandemic.

I shuddered at the thought of a child counting calories. Especially, when she is going to mistake eating less fat will make her slim. Instead, her low-fat, high sugar yogurt will turn her into a depressed little butterball. (Sorry to say.)

So more sugar. Less fat with fat-soluble vitamin A, D, E and K.

Low Vitamin D equals lower resistance to disease and depression. (Look it up if you do not believe me.) So, now misguided, heavy mom is training her daughter into another tubby, neurotic girl who will be plagued with health, weight and emotional problems later in life.

Mislead eating might get me more clients. But, they will be difficult clients. Clients who claim that doughnuts are calling their name or they will die without their daily pastry. This leads to such low self-esteem in one near client, that she refused to exercise in front of a mirror because she did not like the sight of herself. (She also wanted free lessons for her overweight son while she went to Maui, but that is a different story.)

This is so messed up. The low fat means low vitamin D. Coupled with the fear of sunlight, means even less vitamin D3. More depression, more illness, less energy. Cannot look good when you are feeling tired, worn out and overweight.

Any hope of turning this weighty problem around?

Sure is. Get off of the sugar habit…I mean addiction.
Switch the lame starvation diets of bagels and fruit to high protein like eggs, cheese and vegetarian sources.

Trade in the lame treadmill and pathetic low-output exercise into something fun, outdoor or intense. Learn about a couple of proven supplements that boost energy (hint: vitamin B6 is one of them.)

I wrote: Flat Gut After 50 to cut through much of this misinformation and misconception and self-torture.

Hormonal Re-balancing after 55

I was recently slammed for “missing the mark” on weight-loss in my book: Flat Gut After 50.

A 55+ lady amazon reader,”BCase,” stated that the book was written for athletic men, not women. And, that, I also had skipped explaining internal and external fat and hormonal re-balancing.

O.K. I really appreciate the feedback.

Here is the scoop on body fat. Internal fat is visceral fat. It is amongst your organs and is there to protect them. External fat is cutaneous fat, which is just under the skin. This kind of fat is more visible. Too much of either form puts undo stress on the body.

Excess types of fat often come from simple carbohydrates and water. One gram of carbohydrate will cause the body to hold four grams of water. Whereas, one gram of protein will cause the body to hold one gram of water. So, tip of the month: count carbohydrates and not so much Calories.

Next to explain is hormonal re-balancing. Here are four hormones that can make or break weight and strength goals: Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Cortisol, Ghrelin and Leptin.

HGH is high when you are younger (and more active) and you could seemingly eat anything and still stay lean. High amounts of HGH speeds healing, builds muscle and burns fat. This hormone is released during:

  • Fasting
  • Heavy exercise
  • Sleep

Cortisol is released during stress and causes a rise in blood sugar. Ideally, you can release this stress through fight or flight. But, too often, the stress is not used up and the excess sugar is stored as fat.

Which brings us to the ghrelin hormone. This is secreted when you get hungry. The more often that you eat, the more ghrelin produced. (However, I know a very fit, attractive lady who eats and exercises constantly.) Lack of sleep can increase ghrelin. Think hungry gremlins and you have it.

Finally, I will mention leptin that influences the thyroid production of hormones T3 and T4. When leptin is high, the body can lose weight fairly easily. But (and a very big but), when you eat less, your body produces less leptin and your metabolism slows down.

For my feisty 55+ friends, here is a drug-free approach for hormonal re-balancing.

1. Perform strength exercises, such as weights, body weight exercises, power yoga, sports or martial arts. This will increase HGH, lower cortisol and ghrelin hormones.

2. Get good, sound sleep. You can eat some protein, like turkey and complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal before bedtime. But no sugar within 1.5 hours of bedtime. None. Any sugar, like pastries and most fruits will inhibit your HGH while you sleep. Take 500 mg of L-tryptophan or 5HTP to help your sleep. It is non-addictive. Sleep is very important in hormonal re-balancing.

3. Eat high protein foods. If that cinnamon bun is calling your name, eat some protein first! Even a small piece of cheese, peanut butter on a cracker, hard boiled egg or beef will help slow down the sugar rush that plays havoc on your hormonal balance. Make sure that you eat at regular times, which will keep HGH (muscle build/fat burn) and leptin high (metabolism boosting).

4. Participate in good stress-releasing activities like exercising, hobbies and socialising. This will let your body recover and lower your cortisol (stress) and ghrelin (hunger activator).

Any other queries regarding: Flat Gut After 50 ?

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Self-Doubt Cure in Five Minutes

Self-doubt can cripple your life. Whether launching a new career, dumping a bad relationship, starting a meaningful charity or even carving out a six-pack of chiselled abs, there is always this dread, inertia, self-doubting, procrastination and soul-freezing fear that grips you.

Writer Steven Pressfield (Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire) calls this self-doubt as Resistance. Dorothea Brande, the kick-butt reporter from the 1930’s (when women reporters were unheard of) calls this self-doubt as the Will to Die.

Even worse, Pressfield insists that this self-doubting Resistance comes from your environment, friends and family and it wants to (get this) kill you! 

I slug it out with Pressfield’s Resistance almost on a daily basis. Sometimes it gives me free reign to write, train, study and clean my damn car. Other times it pours so much self-doubt on my head that I think I am back in a complete white-out blizzard. 

So, I take one step at a time. I fight for and gain that half inch of self-confidence ground. Here is the trick: I promise myself I can do something for FIVE minutes. Just five. 

Five minutes is enough to write a paragraph, do ten crunches, read one page or at least wipe off the dashboard of my damn car. 

And what happens after five minutes? One paragraph becomes two, three and then maybe four pages or maybe a bunch of garbage.t It does not matter. I just beat Resistance. I just overcame that shred of self-doubt.

In addition, after five minutes, the crunches turn to maybe 50, a stretching session and maybe a whole Pilates routine. One page of study did not kill me, so another couple were doable. And the car. OK, I can wipe out the back seat at least.

Some action. Any action will give momentum. I have seen it in the most unmotivated people around, including myself. Books get written, muscles built, courses passed and cars cleaned all in small increments. Rarely will creativity course through my veins like a jolt of electricity. Or some kind of primal energy takes over as I surge through Olympic workout routines, college exams and polishing my car into a glittering masterpiece. And all of my self-doubt vanishes forever.

Nope. It is the bit-by-bit, non-sexy work that gets great things done.

You cannot wait for the gym, latest-style workout wear or perfect time to workout or ponder which coffee shop is best for your writing and studying. Or wait for the perfect day to wash your auto.

Instead, take those five minutes to do a few crunches and dips, write a sentence or read that textbook page while supper cooks. And take five minutes to clean out that damn car. 

Five minute rule. It works.

Find other self-doubt removing techniques in Flat Gut After 50.

Survival Health and Medicine (or cheap home remedies that work)

(In no way does this article take the place of medical advice.)

As a kid, I figured out pretty quick how to handle minor cuts, burns, sprains, bumps on the head and accidents. Not to mention nose bleeds, swollen lips and black eyes (which came from fights that you did not want your mother to know about.) Usually, the adults just asked too many questions. Really dumb questions, like “why were you fighting with Billy so-and-so?” “Why were you cart racing on that busy street?” and “Whose dumb idea was it to play with matches?” The answers got you in trouble. So, have a good cover story or do not admit to anything. Instead, look after yourself.

So, I learned to clean cuts with alcohol, peroxide or iodine and tape it up. Or lance boils, blisters and minor infections. Nothing too serious.

Later on, as a young soldier, I figured out really quick how to put on a tension bandage, fix a cut, burn or blister and not complain over getting my head rocked from a fall or accident. Complaining just got you labelled a moron or a sissy. So, I learned to patch up the minor stuff. No one was calling an ambulance over a twisted ankle or case of poison ivy. It just did not happen.

When I was short on time and cash, I studied old folk medicine for aches and pains. The old-timers never had medical plans and the nearest doctor was usually days away. (I once met a guy who had such a long delay in getting his broken arm fixed, that he now has a crooked arm.) Therefore, it is important to look after oneself, at least in the short term.

Here are a items/techniques that almost anyone can use:

  1. Iodine. Good for cleaning cuts or purifying water. Small amounts (150 micrograms) are needed to maintain thyroid health.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide. Another good antiseptic. External use only.
  3. Rubbing alcohol. -same as hydrogen peroxide.-
  4. Apple cider vinegar. This has saved me many times from food poisoning. I take it prior to going to a barbeque, hot dog roast or when in doubt. I have taken it after eating something not properly cooked or if I have suspected food poisoning. Taking a tablespoon in a glass of water first thing in the morning assists digestion. Gargle some for a sore throat. You can also mix a TBS of apple cider vinegar with a TBS of hydrogen peroxide to soak fruits and vegetables in it to remove impurities.
  5. Baking soda. Good toothpaste substitute, bee sting and poison ivy treatment, deodoriser and antacid (for heartburn).
  6. Ginger. Make a tea for stomach flu and sore joints.
  7. Magnesium oxide. 600 mg. of this can help clean out your large colon and speed the healing of fevers, sore throats and common colds. (Alternative is an enema.)
  8. Sweat therapy. A sauna, steam room, hot tub or hard earned sweat can raise the body’s T-cells (protects the body from pathogens and cancer cells) and help cleanse the skin of impurities. I find that sweating speeds the healing of sore throats, the flu or colds and generally helps me sleep better.

Learn more about healthy, do-it-yourself tips in Flat Gut After 50.

Survival Eating For Disasters (like COID-19)

Eating for survival is nothing new. It has been part of our North American culture as long as I can remember. In the 50’s it was prepare for nuclear war with food and underground shelters. As a kid, growing up in the 60’s it was about Boy Scout being prepared. As a teen/young adult in the 70’s, it was about do-it-yourself, folk medicines, food storage, wine making, self-defence and improvised weaponry. (I liked the wine making and food part.)

This survival information became very handy when I was laid off of work in the early 80’s. Here is what I ate to stay fit, healthy and extremely active (kick-boxing, working and making ends meet).

  1. Bean sprouts. They are, by far, the cheapest, most vitamin-packed food around. For example, a cup of mung bean sprouts (found in many Chinese dishes) has 23 mg. of vitamin C, which is about half of the Recommended Daily Allowance. A 2004 University of Saskatchewan demonstrated that broccoli seed sprouts reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. I like sprouts as they are cheap and easy to make, which I will demonstrate later in the article. Asians have used this survival food for centuries.
  2. Organ meats. I know, I know. It was so gross having to eat liver and heart and whatever when I was a kid. The trick is to learn how to cook beef or chicken livers and hearts. I stir fry beef and chicken livers and chicken hearts with some kind of sweet and sour sauce. As for beef heart, I first sear it in a frying pan, then put it in a deep oven pan with a couple of inches of water. Chop onions and garlic and insert it into the meat or by it. Cook for 45 – 60 minutes at 325 degrees F. Delicious and totally paleo.
  3. Brown rice. Cheap and easy to store.
  4. Oats. Steel cut or flakes are good. (Some argue that steel cut are superior, but they take a long time to cook.) I soak them over night and then bring to a boil in the morning. Mix with currents, dried cranberries, apple slices, etc. and cinnamon. Being allergic to milk, I use butter.
  5. Eggs. Very cheap protein source. Highly underrated.
  6. Vegetables from the ethnic side of town, such as Chinese, Korean or Fillipino.

How to Make Sprouts

  1. Put a couple tablespoons of your favourite sprouting seeds: alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, etc. in a jar or container, fill with water and let soak for 24 hours.
  2. Empty the container and then rinse twice a day afterwards. Keep in a dark place.
  3. After 4-6 days, place in the sun (window sill) for a day or two.
  4. Then refrigerate or add to soups, salads and stir fries. Rinse thoroughly with water first. WARNING: the alfalfa sprouts will rot very quickly. In a university experiment, I tested a batch of alfalfa sprouts that produced a million times more e coli 0157 than raw hamburger! I once broke a two day fast with meal of just alfalfa sprouts and it was very unpleasant. So, keep the alfalfa sprouts to a minimal.

I ate mostly like this for weeks at a time and maintained my weight at 150 pounds and still remained active. (And saved beer money.) With a bit of initiative and creativity, you can do the same. Survival is not about suffering and denial. You still have to have some fun.

Learn more about good eating in Amazon Bestseller book:

Flat Gut After 50

Boosting Your Immune System

Surviving pneumonia three times by the time that I was six, got me interested in health. Especially immunity.

I will cut to the chaste and share what has boosted my own immune system over the last five decades. Feel free to disagree. 

  1. Sound sleep. Good quality sleep builds the immune system, promotes muscle growth and reduces cortisol (which can cause excessive weight gain). While in the army, my ability to sleep almost any where allowed me to stay functional. NOTE: Eating sugar within 1.5 hours of sleep will impede the body’s ability to recover. Try turkey, oatmeal or a low glycemic food. Avoid sweet fruit, pastries, ice cream, etc.
  2. Specific herbs. Most culture have their healing herbs. The most potent I have found are: Chaga, reishi, Korean ginseng, garlic and ginger. The chaga and reishi can be expensive. But, at age 61, I can really feel the difference when I am taking them regularly. 
  3. Specific nutrients. Vitamins A, multiple B’s, C and D are the great standbys. I take three to ten times the recommended dosages. Recommended dosages are the bare minimal, not optimal. Also worth mention are the amino acids: argenine, lysine, tryptophan and ornithine. (500mg.)Most amino acids build the body, burn fat and fight infection.
  4. Avoiding the popular poisons: Sugar, wheat flour (plugs the colon), pasteurized milk and nicotine. Caffeine and alcohol are OK in moderate amounts. I like my green tea, red wine and dark, dark chocolate. Long-living smokers and drinkers are the exception. 
  5. Fresh air and activity. I cannot figure out why so many people spend hours on treadmills and stationary bikes, when their gyms are a few blocks from a park or beach. Exercising outside is far more fun and healthy. 
  6. Exercise. Or just plain movement. People who walk, move and exercise almost always live better lives than the sedentary. End of story. 
  7. Sweat. When I train hard or sit in a sauna, there is nothing like a good sweat to make you feel clean and improve your sleep. 
  8. Sunshine and vitamin D. With the skin cancer scare and low-fat diets, western cultures are generally starved for vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat soluble and found in many animal fats such as butter and eggs. As a kid, my mother made sure that I had cod liver oil in the winter time. Actor Michael Caine (in his autobiography, What’s It All About),mentions how, as a child, his health improved after moving out of the city (during the bombing of London) and receiving cod liver oil. 
  9. Having a purpose or reason to get out of bed far outranks the people who just get up to pay the bills. When I was training for the military, a race or kick-boxing match or studying hard for a test, I was at my peak and seemingly bullet-proof.
  10. Get a handle on the worry habit. This COID-19 is going to pass. Worrying about it just weakens the immune system. 

Corona Virus and Survival Trends

Here we go with the virus thing… again.

Every 10 years there seems to be a new disease. If it is not a real threat, like Anthrax, it is a new mental condition ending with”itis.” For now, it is Corona Virus or COVID19. Another flu bug.

This world-wide panic is nothing short of ridiculous.

I recall training an infantry course and this one trainee had all sorts of problems ranging from depression to some kind of fatigue syndrome. One day he claimed to have IBS and the course warrant officer told the recruit that he did not. He just had to take a sh**. And that was the end of that.

To date, here his my history of disease exposure:

  1. Pneumonia three times before age of six. Vaccinated for Polio, Whooping Cough and Lock Jaw. Had Mumps and whatever childhood disease.
  2. Military Boot Camp. Got pumped full of vaccinations. Some guys broke out in big scabs and got sick. I was tired and sore for a few days. But, then, who was not?
  3. 1976 when the “Legionnaires’ Disease” killed a single group of people. So, the Feds panicked. Me and some other guys with security clearances were vaccinated (tested?) with Swine Flu. Got sick for a few days. Thanks for nothing Canadian Forces and president Gerald Ford.
  4. Peacekeeping mission in former Yugoslavia. Overseas mission. Got pumped full of whatever vaccinations. Felt tired. Got over it.
  5. Then there was the far deadlier AIDS, SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Aviain Flu, West Nile and the Anthrax threat. Most of us survived. Improvements were made in farming, manufacturing, travel and security. We, as humans, carried on.

While I was peacekeeping in Croatia, I recall seeing mortar bombs getting dropped on Serbian civilian homes. When the smoke cleared, the people went to work and school. Despite the fact that mortar bombs could hit them outside of their homes, they carried on with their lives. In my mind, they were far superior to the west where we are panicking (and fighting) about toilet paper.

If anything positive comes out of this survival situation it could be:

  1. Cleaner public facilities and airplanes.
  2. Cleaner habits.
  3. More socialising with friends at home and neighbourhoods.
  4. Increased work and schooling at home (less traffic on roads).
  5. Improved delivery services.
  6. Better focus on health, enjoyment and home improvement.

So, instead of fretting over it, use your time to improve yourself. Read Flat Gut After 50

That is my spin on it.

In Health,

Doug 

The Bloating Trap

It took less than two hours for the lady to bloat.

How could that happen so fast?

The same reason that certain foods will give me sore eyes, itchy skin, nasal drip, gas and fatigue. The same reason that I made my greatest gains in strength and stamina when I cut out allergic foods. I drastically reduced dairy, wheat, sugar and beer. These foods were irritating my intestines and taking up space where better quality food could be nourishing me.

Yet, it was not easy erasing the years of being programmed to eat the very foods that were mildly poisoning me. School, media and even the federal government promoted the very substances that were holding me back. Milk for muscles and bones was a lie to me. Maybe some people can handle that white stuff. But, I am not one of them. The same with this ridiculous claim from “experts” that wheat products give energy. This was another lie started by the wheat marketing board trying to manipulate a low-value food. I would even argue that oranges are not all that great either. Especially, when people survived on berries and local foods thousands of years before the introduction of oranges or citrus fruits.

Back to the bloating.

When my friends and clients cut out or minimized eggs, milk, sugar and wheat, they quickly lost their roll around their midriff.

Try it and see how fast your body changes. Note that allergic foods tend to be addictive until you reach a point where your body will finally clean out and reject it.

Until then, keep at it. The work is worth the effort.

Learn more: Flat Gut After 50

and Reduce Your Alcohol Craving

Body in the Snow

It was on a one cold Saturday morning in Winnipeg, Canada when I saw that strange sight. About a block away, I spotted a police officer using a snow blower.

You see, Winnipeg is one of the coldest cities in North and you could get frost bite just walking out of your home. So, you did not dawdle much. If you did stop to talk with people, it was usually some joke about the weather or to offer help in pushing their car out of the snow. It is a cold, but friendly place.

So, I felt kind of sorry for the officer having to use a snow blower on this freeze-you-face kind of day. I thought that I I could stop by and make a joke about the city trying to save money by giving him extra duties.

It seemed like a good idea. At least, up until I saw the body on the ground wrapped in a large white cloth.

Ahhhh, maybe I would keep walking and let the guy do his job. (My thanks to the hard-working members of Winnipeg Police Department. Brian, Matt, Brad and Jen. You are all amazing.)

That was Winnipeg for you. Canada’s murder and arson capital. 

Yet, I liked the resilience of the people who lived there. They were generally friendly, loved their sports and arts (Royal Winnipeg Ballet) and were usually willing to stop and help out a stranded motorist. I was there during outbreak of the Avian Flu, SARS and West Nile Virus, as well as the Anthrax threat. But, I never saw a single medical mask, over concerns with hand washing or any quarantine. People continued to go to work, school, sports events and parties. There was no way that any fan in this city was going to miss their hockey or football games.

I might say something similar when I was peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia. Mortar bombs and gunshots were part of normal life for the Serbian town of Benkovac. After the smoke from a mortar attack cleared, the locals would go to town, work or school. 10 year old kids were driving horse-drawn or motorized carts with their family in the back.

Here was a place where there was a greater chance of getting shot or blown up than dying of something like Corona virus.  Yet, the people did not panic. They dealt with the hardships.

Now here I am in Vancouver, Canada on the beautiful west coast where COVID19 is a big concern. At the time of this writing, schools in Japan are closing for a week or two, public events are being shut down, cruise vacations are being cancelled and Italy has quarantined over 16 million people.

Wow. The world is in panic mode. I am not saying that COVID19 is not dangerous. But, I am saying that more people in Vancouver have been dying from heart disease, accidents, stroke, influenza, pneumonia (survived that three times as a kid), diabetes and drug overdoses than from this current threat.

I am not sure which is worse: the threat of this latest virus or the ensuing stress and fear of it. Until the government orders me to stay at home for two weeks, I am going to continue to engage with my community and continue to live and work as usual.

I think rather than panicking, I will use my time researching immune-building practices and or how prevalent this problem really is. Maybe I can score a super cheap travel package. And if I do get quarantined in my home, on a ship or in some exotic country? It might be a good time to test some new workouts, catch up on some reading and writing or learn a new language.

I would still be better off than the guy in that sheet-wrapped body in the snow.