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Mood and Food

Food and mood influence each other more than many people realize. All of us have emotional food issues to some extent. Understanding this and helping ourselves control the issues is a deal breaker for anyone wishing to change their body composition. John Berardi discusses the issues in a recent interview at Precision Nutrition.


Enjoy the gluten-free lifestyle


No longer are those persons with celiac disease haunting the sparse selection in their local health food store to find basic ingredients, as was the norm for years. Today the “health food” aisle of grocery stores contains a decent selection of flours, grains, pasta, sauces and other foods with no gluten in them. 

News reports today often tout the gluten-free diet as healthy for everyone. Research is sparse, this is a fairly new line of thought, but there is a good deal of science and nutritional logic involved. For all of us, moving towards a gluten-free diet does not mean leaving behind taste, flavor or selection. Three recently published cookbooks reinforce this notion.


In time for holiday baking, The Ultimate Gluten-Free Cookie Book: 100 Favorite Recipes is just what you think it is. All manner of cookies, featuring a variety of flavors and wacky names. Many of you may wonder why I’m talking about a cookie-themed cookbook, but hey, a cookie here or there, especially after a good workout, isn’t all bad. And if that Chocolate Graham Cracker cookie is gluten-free, so much the better! Author Roben Ryberg sets the beginning gluten-free baker up with common-sense help, explaining what gluten-free truly means, how to choose the proper flour, and how to set up your kitchen.  (Da Capo Press)

 Here’s a cookbook that gets it: Free For All Cooking by Jules E. Dowler Shepard packages 150 gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes. All her dishes can be manipulated to be egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, or even all three. I like this concept; if I’m going to fork over $18.95 for a paperback cookbook, I’d like it to present the healthiest alternatives possible.  Whether you are figuring out the tricky aspects of baking with gluten-free flours, or wondering what to replace eggs and dairy products with, you’ll find essential help in this comprehensive volume. (Da Capo Press)

The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian and Mexican Recipes attempts to make everyone with celiac disease happy at mealtime. Get past the cheesy title and readers will find 125 recipes, presented clearly with easy-to-follow directions. No photographs of the dishes will make you feel inadequate after you finish your version, either. Author Vanessa Maltin is an expert in the field of cooking gluten-free, but why are so many basically unhealthy recipes included? Fried rice, breadsticks, calzones, baked ziti with sausage, on and on. However, for only $19.95 you’ll still come away with many good recipes you can enjoy, and I do appreciate her reaching into other cuisines for ideas. (Wiley)




Therapeutic Massage Is Saving Me

As an older (or at least middle-aged) athlete, my body has absorbed a couple of lifetimes of exercise and injury. Working full-time as a personal trainer means I’m on my feet many hours, slowly lifting weights for others as I rack and un-rack machines and bars. Couple that with my own workout sessions and bike rides, and I find myself walking around in a body that hurts somewhere each day.

Over the years I’ve utilized Active Release Therapy to assist me in healing a ruptured rotator cuff without surgery. That was terrific (Mary at Iola Family Chiropractic). Several chiropractors have worked on my body over the years, and here and there I’ve enjoyed massages. A few years ago I bought a “deep tissue” massage, but that turned out to hurt like hell and seemed to damage me, not heal my sore muscles.

Imagine how happy I was to meet Inna Mazur, owner of The Massage Factory, at Gold’s Gym. She convinced me I would benefit from her knowledge and experience, especially someone who works out as often and as intensely as I do (and is as old as I am!). 

I cannot over-emphasize how happy and amazed I am with her work. Inna has treated my recurring rotator cuff pain, my bulging disc and IT band issues, and general tightness and small, accumulated damages to my structure. Having enjoyed four injections into my spine early this year thanks to my bulging disc, I’m learning how to utilize therapy, stretching and foam roller work to keep me from the surgeon. 

Inna is instrumental in the process. She is certified in more therapies than fits on her office wall, and has become integral to my ongoing health and fitness education. I cannot recommend Inna Mazur highly enough for massage therapy, whether you have pain, need stress reduction, desire deep tissue work, or suffer from migraines or pain elsewhere.

(920) 450-2142


Muscle Gauge Protein Powder

Having dumped every protein powder in the world into a blender at one time or another, I’m always happy when a new product mixes well, tastes great and happens to be high-quality. Muscle Gauge Premium Blend fits this description nicely.

Recently I sampled their Ice Cream Sandwich, Vanilla, Chocolate Mint and Cinnamon Bun flavors. It was no surprise to me that I enjoyed Chocolate Mint, ‘cause I always like that combo, whether protein powder or ice cream! Oddly enough in my experience, the Cinnamon Bun was good, too. Initially I considered that a weird flavor, a novelty, but I liked it ok.  

But, how did they mix and blend? Absolutely fine. I tried the powder with water, mixed with a spoon, and also in combo with oatmeal and fruit in a blender. No lumping, no sticking to the side of the blender. I experienced no “why did I just drink that and what’s that aftertaste” with this protein. Flavor is fine.

Muscle Gauge Premium Blend is produced utilizing cold processing, so there’s little degradation during manufacturing. I like the ratio of 22 grams of protein to 1 little gram of carbs, too. In fact, I like that a great deal. This would be wonderful on a ketogenic or Atkins diet.


I no longer buy CDs!

Today I was visiting an old friend of mine, Rick Laev. We met about 25 years ago at a record show, and have spent countless hours together looking at and buying records and CDs and music DVDs. I've collected recorded music since the early '60s. Rick still avidly buys CDs, and was a bit surprised to hear that I don't. My last CD purchase was two or three Bob Dylan releases ago. In fact, I own only a handful of the shiny discs any longer. Needless to say, the few vinyl albums i own were issued by old friends like Cub Koda. They mean a great deal to me. But there are more than 32,000 songs in my iTunes library, living on external drives and in the cloud (thanks to Carbonite backup). I have songs, albums and playlists in iPods and my iPhone. A Bose iPod player is my primary sound system at home. Years ago I got tired of the clutter, the stuff. In the early '80s I owned tens of thousands of records. At one time I had many thousand CDs. Now I believe if Steve Jobs hadn't developed the products and culture he did with Apple Computers, I'm afraid by now an episode of "Hoarders" would have included myself! Am I untrue to my record collecting roots, or living in today's world and enjoying technological advantages? I sure don't miss all the crates and boxes; I certainly lament the loss of cover art and liner notes I can read. But I love my iPod and MacBook. And most of all, I will always love and appreciate passionate music! Several generations don't collect the stuff of music; they collect music. I believe they feel as strongly about their musical favorites as I ever did. How do you feel about this? Still a collector? Still a music fan? Bob Dylan said the times are 'changing. Indeed they are.