Monthly Archives: June 2014

High Fat Food Goes Straight To Your Bloodstream

We know that greasy burgers and fries are no health food. But in this 2 minute ABC news clip, you can actually see how all that saturated fat affects the bloodstream – in real time.

The fat globules clog the blood vessels, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. But the buildup also has cognitive side effects – look for the rats swimming through a maze towards the end of the video.

Reminder: not all fats are created equally. Fat is an essential part of our diet. You just need to choose the healthy type that is commonly founds in nuts and seeds, avocados and fish.

Amongst other things, a high fat meal causes a temporary deterioration of artery function. Juice Plus+ was shown to significantly reduce these negative effects in a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Hope for stopping heart disease from a Tomato?



Taking a tomato pill a day could help keep heart disease at bay, say UK scientists who have carried out a small but robust study.

The trial, which tested the tomato pill versus a dummy pill in 72 adults, found it improved the functioning of blood vessels.

The pill contains lycopene, a natural antioxidant that also gives tomatoes their color.

Experts have suspected for some time that lycopene might be good for avoiding illnesses, including certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.

There is some evidence that eating a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in tomatoes (as well as other fruit and vegetables and olive oil), is beneficial for health.

Following a healthy diet is still advisable but scientists have been researching whether there is a way to put at least some of this good stuff into an easy-to-take pill.

What is Lycopene?

  • A natural antioxidant – substances thought to protect the body’s cells from damage.
  • Found in tomatoes, but also in apricots, watermelon and papaya as well as pink grapefruit.
  • Lycopene content varies according to the variety of tomato and how it is prepared eg. puree, ketchup, cooked or raw.
  • It is unclear whether supplements would ever be able to replace the benefits of a varied diet.

Tomato pill

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research, a team at Cambridge University set out to see if a tomato pill would have the desired effect.

They recruited 36 volunteers known to have heart disease and 36 “healthy” controls, who were all given a daily tablet to take, which was either the tomato pill or a placebo. To ensure a fairer trial, neither the volunteers nor the researchers were told what the tablets actually contained until after the two-month study had ended and the results were in.

For comparison, the researchers measured something called forearm blood flow, which is predictive of future cardiovascular risk because narrowed blood vessels can lead to heart attack and stroke.

In the heart disease patients, the tomato pill improved forearm blood flow significantly, while the placebo did not.

The supplement had no effect on blood pressure, arterial stiffness or levels of fats in the blood, however.

Lead researcher Dr Joseph Cheriyan said the findings, published in PLoS One journal, were promising, but added: “A daily ‘tomato pill’ is not a substitute for other treatments, but may provide added benefits when taken alongside other medication.”

“However, we cannot answer if this may reduce heart disease – this would need much larger trials to investigate outcomes more carefully.”

Prof Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said big studies were needed to see if this could become a viable option for patients.

Six clinical studies have demonstrated significant improvement in markers of Heart Health for those taking Juice Plus+, including significant increases in levels of lycopene (over 2000% increase in one study).

Motivation for mere mortals

In my last post I covered an excellent article in the Costco Connection and promised Scott Jurek’s tips on health, nutrition and exercise. So here they are. I could really have used these back in the days of my serious running.


RECOGNIZING THAT NOT everyone is talking about running extreme distances, The Costco Connection asked ultramarathoner Scott Jurek for some exercise, nutrition and motivational advice that could apply to anybody looking to perhaps up his or her physical conditioning. Here’s what he had to say.

The Costco Connection: What motivates you?

Scott Jurek: Others. At the Hardrock 100 [Endurance Run], I didn’t have a place to stay; all the places were booked. So, I just camped out on track, cheering for the finishers as they came in. [Staying at the finish line] became a tradition. There is something magical about experiencing that energy; it’s motivating and inspiring to watch. You get a sense of what people have gone through to get there and you can relate to it. I recommend anybody who isn’t a runner to go to a finish line and get inspired. Everybody assumes you have to be a serious athlete or super-fast to race; it’s really neat to see a wide range of people competing.

CC: What motivational tips do you have for others?

SJ: Dedicate your goal, whatever it might be, to something, to someone. It will help you in moments when you feel like you can’t go on. When I set the American record at the 2010 [International Association of Ultrarunners] World 24-Hour Championships, my mother had passed away a couple of months earlier. I dedicated that race to her. There were times I wanted to quit, but then I reminded myself: “I’m running this for her.”

CC: Exercise tips?

SJ: Stretch throughout the day, even at your workstation. I sometimes do yoga poses after a run. I also integrate core workouts into my routine. Strength training will help injury prevention.

CC: Other tips for avoiding injury?

SJ: Train smart. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Listen to your body, and give it time to adapt when you are trying something new. It might help to work with a physical therapist, or someone who can help you safely reach your goals. Get the proper nutrition you need to support what you are doing athletically. Staying healthy is about the whole picture, not just one workout. It’s about eating well, and doing things throughout the day to improve your health.

CC: What food items should we all eat more of?

SJ: Dark, leafy greens, like kale, collards, arugula and romaine. Fruit—I am a fan of fruit in the morning or for snacks. Whole grains and whole beans are inexpensive, and you get a complete protein when they are combined together. Tempe and tofu: Tempe makes great sloppy Joes and chili. Tofu is great to cook with because it can take on so many different textures and tastes. Healthy oils, such as extravirgin olive oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil.

CC: What advice can you pass along for anybody who wants to eat healthier and get active?

SJ: Preparation is important. Go to the store with a list. Have a cook-off on Sunday, where you make meals you will eat during the week. Plan your meals and exercise a week ahead of time. Having groups to run with and have meals with can help you reach your goals. Have an exercise plan the day or night before. Setting out clothes the night before makes you more apt to wake up and do your workout.

CC: You are vegan—do you see health advantages to a non-vegan diet?

SJ: There’s nothing wrong with eating some meat; [our society] is just eating too much. The beauty of the human body is that we’re omnivores. We can eat anything. For me, a plant-based diet keeps me on track; it helps me keep focused. For other people, they might keep healthy by choosing to integrate good quality meat or wild game into their diets.

CC: Other tips for diet change?

SJ: Focus on integration instead of elimination of food. Think about what you can eat, instead of what you can’t. Experiment gradually. Pick one or two foods a week that you don’t normally eat. Try to incorporate them into a few meals a week. Be flexible. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off your diet regimen or goal. It took me a year and a half to transition fully into a vegan diet. If you are looking for consistency and sustainability long term, give yourself transition time. Involve others. Form a support system. Invite your family or your co-workers to get involved. Prepare and share meals together. It will make reaching your goal a lot easier.

For my perspective on nutrition for sports, you can watch my webinar: Fueling For Peak Performance.

“Running Past Empty”

This excellent article from Costco Connection (by Julie Hagy is worth repeating here. I’ve run many marathons, but never gone beyond 26.2 miles. So, Scott Jurek is a ‘giant’ to me, and the book “Born to Run” is one of my all-time favorites.


IF SOMEONE HAD told a young Scott Jurek that he would grow up to become one of the most accomplished ultradistance runners in the world, he would have laughed. Growing up in rural Minnesota, Jurek ate plenty of fast food, had high blood pressure and ran only enough to stay in the good graces of his cross-country ski coach. Running far was the farthest thing from his mind.

“As a kid, running was something you did for punishment,” he says, laughing. “You know, run an extra lap.”

Jurek, a Costco member, recalls, “My coach said to do something over the summer to train. I couldn’t afford a bike or roller skis, so I just started to run.” What started as a mile-and-ahalf jog steadily increased in mileage and speed for the high school sophomore. The exercise was gratifying: The farther he ran, the faster he became on his skis.

In college, Jurek continued to run only casually, until a buddy, Dusty Olson, suggested that his speed and endurance on the slopes could translate to pavement. Olson dared Jurek, who had run one marathon previously, to run a 50-mile race with him. Jurek took the dare.

At the age of 20, he entered the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon with Olson. It was Jurek’s first experience with ultras, races that cover any distance greater than a marathon. He came in second. “I started to realize not only how much fun [running] was, but that I was able to put myself out there and accomplish something that initially seemed impossible,” says Jurek.

Two years later, he won that very same race. From there, he has gone on to win and set records at most of the world’s prestigious ultradistance races, including the Spartathlon and seven straight wins of the Western States 100- Mile Endurance Run.

“Scott accomplished what no one else will,” says ultrarunning historian Buzz Burrell. “He wasn’t the most talented guy out there. But he studied really hard. He trained really hard. He has his brain, his heart and his gut in [the sport], and that’s why he’s respected.”

Jurek did not set out to obtain the notoriety running has brought him. Running, to him, has always been about testing his own limits and experiencing nature. “I spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid, hunting and fishing, connecting to wild places. Running has been this vehicle to get out into the wilderness. It gets me out exploring places I might not otherwise see. Preserving that connection has been important,” he says. He admits that very little money comes with winning races, yet he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

“I never thought I’d be running for sport or for fun. What I do is out of the norm nowadays. Ultrarunning, while it seems crazy, it’s an extension of those survival instincts people have,” he says, reflecting on how society has largely moved away from the sustained labor required by hunting-and-gathering and agrarian lifestyles. “Nowadays we live pretty comfortably. Ultrarunning gives me a taste of what it was like to survive years ago. We’re all a little crazy, do things that seem out of the norm. I think that’s a good thing.”

Jurek’s incredible determination and endurance are chronicled in Christopher McDougall’s best-seller, Born to Run (Vintage; 2011, not available at Costco), which brought international attention to both Jurek and ultrarunning. In his own memoir, Eat & Run (scott, co-authored by Steve Friedman, Jurek writes about how his lifestyle, specifically exercise and diet, has influenced his career.

Twenty years after that first ultramarathon entry, Jurek, 40, sits across from me in a bakery at the base of the mountain trails he trains on in Boulder, Colorado. He’s wearing running gear, and dipping a spoon into a bowl of cooling oatmeal. Jurek has broad shoulders and a broad smile. The long hair of his early running years, a good-luck charm, is now a mass of short curls. Standing tall at 6 feet 2 inches, Jurek doesn’t look like a typical runner. Then again, typical is not really a word associated with this man.

“I grew up with a mother who was a home ec teacher. For me, cooking was just part of the daily routine. It instilled in me an early drive to make that a priority,” says Jurek, who learned, through cooking, to reduce his fast- food consumption. He still enjoys cooking, often creating his own recipes.

His mother also influenced his career path. “Being interested in whole health was influenced by having a mother who had multiple sclerosis,” he says. As a boy, he watched a physical therapist work with his mother in their home. Inspired, he would go on to earn a master’s degree in the field and open his own practice.

As a physical therapist, Jurek became concerned that some of his patients’ poor diets were affecting their ability to heal. He started to convert his own diet. “I found my body would recover [from runs] faster on a plant-based diet,” says Jurek, who has been vegan since 1999.

As he continues to talk about the importance of eating whole foods and integrating movement into daily routines, I start to wiggle in my seat. “Want to go for a run?” I ask.

On a day that is sunny in most of the country, it is snowing in the mountains of Boulder. The snow slushes under our running shoes.

I almost expect his feet to fly above the ground. Graciously, though, he lets me set the pace. I am training for a half marathon at the end of the month. Jurek is preparing for 24 The Hard Way, an ultramarathon in Oklahoma City in October at which he will attempt to break the American record by running more than 172.5 miles within 24 hours.

“He previously held this record. [Jurek’s record was broken in 2012 by Mike Morton.] I do think he can do it again. If anybody has the ability to dig deep and go beyond, it’s Scott,” says ultramarathon runner Krissy Moehl, who calls Jurek a mentor and friend. “I’ve seen him do it many times.”

Jurek hopes that his goal setting will provide inspiration for others to make lifestyle changes. “I used to hate running and I used to hate vegetables. Life is about learning. Life is about being open to possibilities,” he says. “One of my biggest goals is to pass on my experience and knowledge, to motivate and inspire others, not necessarily to go win an ultramarathon, but to go out for that first workout, to get interested in moving their bodies, in eating well.” C

For my perspective on nutrition for sports, you can watch my webinar: Fueling For Peak Performance.

My next post will include Scott Jurek’s tips on health, nutrition and exercise.

Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More

Our society puts a high value on achievement but not much on rest. I hear people brag about how much they work and play but never how much they sleep—usually the opposite. But what if sleep could help you achieve more?

Thanks to Michael Hyatt for his inspiration for this article.

Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More

There have been times when pressures and deadlines ramp up and I’ve paid the price. Sometimes I didn’t sleep well for a few weeks. Perhaps you can identify.

The Sleep Deficit

In our high-risk, high-reward economy, there’s a healthy pressure to do more with less. It makes sense with time and money. But it’s a productivity killer when it comes to sleep.

Experts say we need about eight hours a night. But the national average is about 6.8. The truth is the real average might even be lower. We usually report how much time we spend in bed, not how much time we actually sleep. It turns out we only get about 80 percent as much sleep as we think.

Why aren’t we getting enough sleep?

The Myth of Sleepless Productivity

Maybe it came too easy for us in college or we’ve watched too many movies, but it’s easy to think that one hour of lost sleep is equal to one hour of bonus productivity. I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.

I’ve discovered by first-hand experience that sixty minutes of one does not equal sixty minute of the other.

I’m not saying that we don’t face emergencies and need to give up sleep every now and then. But our lack of sleep isn’t usually about emergencies.

We act as though sleep was a luxury or an indulgence; as a result, sacrificing sleep in the name of productivity has become routine.

But the opposite’s true. Cheating our sleep is like maxing our credit cards. There’s a benefit now—at least, it feels like it—but the bill always comes due in the form of decreased health and mental ability.

No one would choose to be sick and stupid, but depriving our bodies of sleep is the same thing. Robbing our sleep is robbing our productivity.

Four Crucial Ways Sleep Helps Us Achieve More

There are several ways sleeping more at night can help us accomplish more during the day:

  1. Sleep keeps us sharp. How many times have you gone blank in a meeting, nodded at your desk, or forgot where you were going? Skimping on sleep—even a little—can dramatically impair our mental performance, creating fatigue, inability to focus, slow reaction times, and more. In one study test subjects going on six hours of sleep a night for two weeks functioned at the same level of impairment as someone legally drunk! But those who got eight hours demonstrated no impairment at all.
  2. Sleep improves our ability to remember, learn, and grow. I’m sure brain teasers are fine, but adequate sleep is the best learning tool there is. Our minds are particularly active when we sleep, integrating new information learned during the day, processing memories, and sorting the significant from all the meaningless stuff we pick up. Even dreaming is critical to this process. If our work depends on our creativity and insight—and whose doesn’t?—then sleep is essential.
  3. Sleep refreshes our emotional state. Nothing can make us feel depressed, moody, and irritable like missing sleep. Here’s the good news: Getting enough sleep is like hitting the reset button. In his book Eat Move Sleep, Tom Rath explains that sleep reduces stress chemicals in the brain and dials back the part of the brain that processes emotions. The result is that we can start fresh if we invest in our sleep.
  4. Sleep revitalizes our bodies. We all have a body clock. When we ignore its signals to play longer or work more, we create unnecessary stress, and that stress contributes to depression, fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure, and a lot worse.But sleep lowers the stress chemicals in our bodies, boosts our immune system, and improves our bodies’ metabolism. Instead of waking un-rested after putting in extra hours on a project, why not wake approach it recharged the next day? You’ll do better work and feel better about it.

Bottom line: Instead of thinking of sleep as self-indulgence, we need to think of it as self-improvement.

The quality of our sleep is even more important than the quality, but that’s a topic for another day; except to say that one of the most reported benefits of Juice Plus+ is better quality of sleep.

There’s nothing wrong with doing more with less, but if we’re not smart about it, we can really hurt our productivity and even our health. It hardly matters what the short term gains are if we try making that our norm.

If we want to get ahead, we need to go to bed.

Since leaving the corporate rat race 23 years ago for the Juice Plus+ Business, I’ve averaged consistently 8-8.5 and it’s made a big difference.

Fruits and Vegetables Associated with Lower Risk of Stroke

Would you be surprised to find out that adding just one extra apple to your daily diet could cut your risk of stroke by one third? That was the amazing finding of a new study published in the journal Stroke, which sought to find out if eating fruits and vegetables is associated with stroke prevention.

What is a stroke, exactly? The best way to describe it is a “brain attack,” because a stroke is caused by the same thing as a heart attack: insufficient blood flow leading to oxygen deprivation. The main difference is that during a heart attack, cardiovascular blood flow becomes obstructed and causes damage to the heart, while during a stroke, cerebral blood flow is blocked and causes damage to the brain. There are two types of stroke: ischemic (caused by blood clots) and hemorrhagic (caused by ruptured blood vessels.) Stroke is serious: It is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and a common cause of disability.

The new study analyzed the results of 20 previous studies, published over 19 years in the U.S., Europe, and Asia and involving over 760,000 subjects, who had a total of 16,891 strokes. After controlling for other factors that contribute to stroke risk — such as smoking, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and level of physical activity — the researchers found that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. This finding held true for men and women, across ages, and for both types of stroke.

How significant were the reductions in risk? For every 200 grams of fruit consumed, stroke risk dropped by 32 percent.  For every 200 grams of vegetables, it dropped by 11 percent. In case you’re not in the habit of measuring your food in grams — and I know I’m not — 200 grams is about one large apple or one and a third cups of broccoli. That’s a huge reduction in stroke risk from a relatively small portion of fruits and/or vegetables! Researchers specifically mentioned citrus fruits, apples, pears, and leafy vegetables as potentially protective.

Lead researcher Dr. Yan Qu put it this way: “Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population… In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements.”

(I was curious as to why fruits were three times more protective than vegetables so I did a little research. It turns out that white-fleshed fruits like apples and pears, as well as berries, contain a phyto-nutrient called quercetin, which reduces blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for stroke.)

USDA guidelines recommend adults consume 7 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. But if you’re like most people, you don’t meet those targets. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Americans only eat fruit 1.1 times a day and vegetables 1.6 times a day. (The report doesn’t say how much they are eating per sitting, but I’m guessing it’s not a lot!)

After reading this new research, I know I’ll be making an extra effort to eat my fruits and veggies to help prevent stroke, whether I’m adding berries to my breakfast smoothie, slicing an apple on my salad, or throwing a handful of spinach into my scrambled eggs. Do you have any special tricks for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet?

Here are two great ways we add fruits and vegetables to our daily diet: Juice Plus+ and the Tower Garden!