Thursday, January 27, 2011

Forty Fabulous is Fabulous

I often joke that I'm a week behind on pretty much everything...and here is a perfect example...I missed the blog posting about me that was posted exactly one week ago at Forty Fabulous.  But see, I'm past making excuses for my persistent tardiness.  This has just become my normal.  Those of you that do things on time are the least that is what late people like me say about you.  

Anyway, Marjie Killeen and I met at a holiday party in December.  And I certainly think she is Forty Fabulous!  It was a great connection because I love what she's doing on her blog.  Not just because she said nice things about me (most of which are true), but because she's talking about the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly aspects of growing older as a woman.  

Her post today is about her experience with an abnormal mammogram, which fortunately turned out to be okay.  It is estimated that a woman who has yearly mammograms between ages 40 and 49 has about a 30 percent chance of having a false-positive mammogram and about a 7 percent to 8 percent chance of having a breast biopsy within the 10-year period.  So yeah, a lot of us will have the same experience as Marjie at some point in our lives. 

And she owns a zebra print bra!  How cool is that?  I clearly need to do some shopping.  Does anyone else have an animal print bra? 

Check out her blog!        

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Study Suggesting Fish, Not Fish Oil, Prevents Breast Cancer

I've blogged before about studies that have shown that fish and fish oil supplements reduce risk for breast cancer.  This is not new news.  But what's new is a recently published study in breast cancer survivors.  And chances are, you know and love a few of these women.  Please forward this information along to them.

The study followed a group of 3,000 women who had been diagnosed and treated for early stage breast cancer.  Over a period of 7 years, the Dr. Dorks periodically assessed what foods and supplements they were consuming and documented any future cases of breast cancer.  Results showed that women eating the most fatty fish had a 25% reduction in risk of recurring breast cancer versus women that didn't eat fatty fish.  Interestingly, women with high intakes of fish oil from supplements did not have a reduced risk of recurring breast cancer.

What does this mean?  

These types of studies do not prove cause and effect, meaning we cannot conclude that fish reduces breast cancer risk and fish oil supplements do not.  It is entirely possible that the women who ate fish were also doing something else that prevented the recurrence of their cancer whereas the women taking supplements were not.  And it is entirely possible that whole fish has some special cancer fighting properties that are not found in fish oil supplements.  We just don't know yet.

But here's the thing....just eat the damn fish!  There are so many benefits to eating fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna) "be he a man or woman"*.  And there is little risk (aside from the pollutants and heavy metals that might accumulate in farm-raised fish...might want to choose fresh more often than farmed).  The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week.  Do your breasts a favor and follow this recommendation.  

This goes out to Lori, Vera, Cathy and all of my other friends that have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with breast cancer... 

*From Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Does Weight Loss Increase Toxins in the Body?

The press just picked up on a study that was published in the fall by a group out of Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea.  It's not the first study on this topic, but adds to a small collection of studies showing that losing weight increases the level of toxic chemicals circulating in the blood.  These chemicals are toxins found in the environment (pesticides, pollution, etc.) and some foods (pesticides, by-products of food processing like chemicals in the linings of cans, etc.).  

The theory is that when these chemicals get in our bodies, they are stored in fat cells.  Unlike other cells in your body, fat cells are pretty anti-social for the most part.  They just hang out and keep to themselves, except for releasing some nasty hormones at their leisure (and it's these hormones that increase risk for diabetes, heart disease, etc.).  Otherwise, what goes to the fat cell, stays in the fat....this includes excess calories we eat stored as fat and toxic chemicals that get into our bodies.   However, when we lose weight, fat is released into the blood to be used as energy and the stored toxins go along for the ride. As such, weight loss increases toxins in the blood.

Unfortunately, no one knows what kind of trouble they can cause.  There's a good chance that once they're in the blood, the body can break them down and get rid of them.  It would be a good thing to not only lose weight but rid the body of stored toxins at the same time.  Or there's a chance that they can be harmful when they're being pumped around the body, making weight loss a potentially bad thing.  But here's the thing....none of the studies reported to date have been able to show that the circulating toxins are causing any trouble.  Sure, no one wants toxins in their body, but how bad are they when they are released into blood after being stored in fat cells? 
Really, we don't know at this point.  I could speculate that it probably depends on how much weight is lost, how quickly weight is lost (rapid weight loss may be potentially worse), how many toxins are there to begin with, the health of the individual, the diet of the individual, etc.  For people that are overweight/obese people, lots of studies have shown that losing weight greatly reduces their risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  And in the case of Type 2 diabetes, weight loss can sometime reverse or slow the progression of the disease.  So it would appear that losing weight is a greater benefit than the risk of increased toxins in the blood.  But for other's hard to draw any conclusions at this point. 

What to do with this new information?  Nothing, other then what we all should be doing to begin with.  Minimizing exposure to toxins (organics, avoid cigarettes and second-smoke, etc) makes good sense. Not becoming overweight or obese eliminates this whole concern.  And eating lots and lots of vegetables is smart for a multitude of reasons. 

At the end of the data, the media is going to have to try harder to convince this SHE that losing weight is a bad thing.       

Monday, January 17, 2011

The 5-Day Detox Experiment/Experience

Introduction:  There is a recent increase in the number of "cleanse" and "detox" programs available for purchase in the marketplace, some costing close to $100 per day.  Many programs promise weight loss of up to 10 pounds in one week; other programs tout increased energy, reduction in built-up toxins, and anti-aging; whereas other programs promise evacuation of contents in the colon.  Up until last week, I thought this was all a bunch of crap (pun intended).

Study Objective:  Unscientifically evaluate a detox program, specifically, the David Kirsch 5-Day Detox (one of the most economical, and in the opinion of this Dr. Dork, most reasonable detox programs available), by following the program myself and happily accepting the offers of friends and family to follow it at the same time as me.  

Methods:  There were a total of 6 SHEs in this made-up, unscientific study.  Three (me, Veronica Mexico, and Colon Queen) purchased the David Kirsch program and followed the kit instructions, which included a detox drink in the morning, followed by a protein shake for breakfast (most of us used Myoplex).  Lunch was a small piece of chicken or fish with lettuce and squeezed lemon.  Dinner was either another protein shake or the chicken/lettuce lunch.  Several other David Kirsch products were included on an 'as needed' basis, specifically Thermobubbles and Vitamin Super Juice Drink.  

Three other SHEs (Nena, my mom, my sister) followed the same diet instructions (protein shakes, chicken, lettuce), but without the inclusion of the David Kirsch products.  Therefore, these ladies acted as a control group. 

All participants e-mailed/texted each other daily for support/venting/bitching. 


Weight Loss:  The three SHEs following the David Kirsch program each lost a total of 7.5, 6, and 4 pounds after the 5-day program.  The "control group" lost a total of 6.5, 7.5, and 7.5 pounds. 

Hunger:  All of the ladies were starving on days 1-3.  By day 4, things got a little bit better and by day 5, most everyone felt pretty good.  There was no discernible difference between those on the official program versus the control.

Mood:  Similar to hunger, almost everyone was angry, miserable, and crabby the first 3 days.  Most e-mails/texts had at least one swear word, usually the really bad ones.  By day 4, most everyone was feeling better and the profanities waned.  For some, days 4 and 5 felt fantastic.  

Conclusion:  Overall, everyone was quite pleased with themselves.  The weight loss was inspiring (even though we all realize that much of our weight lost was water) and all of us continue to include some aspects of the program in our lives (e.g., the protein shakes).  The best part of the program was the support system we built in by all doing it together.  It is much easier to be hungry and miserable if you have friends that are also hungry and miserable.  The hard part of the program was the chicken overdosing.  Few of us were chicken fans to begin with and now we're even less so.  It would be nice to have alternative lean protein option beyond chicken and fish.  Same goes for the lettuce. 

We also had to add in a few other things to make the week manageable.  We all added another protein shake in the mid-afternoon and some of us drank coconut water.  Since we all exercise on a daily basis, some of us were feeling weak and crampy.  My guess is that we were not consuming enough sodium to replace that which is lost during sweating, hence the addition of the coconut water.  I was also salting my lettuce since I have low blood pressure and needed the salt to see straight.  A little modification was necessary to keep on track!

At the end of the week, we all agreed that we would do it again!  But not for a really long time.  :)

Personal note:  First off, thanks to my volunteers who so graciously took this journey with me!  I would NEVER have made it past lunch on day 1 without you.  You all are amazing, with or without your toxins.  

And finally, if anyone reading this decides to try this detox program or a similar one, do not, under any circumstances, have a laser peel the same day you start the is one thing to be hungry, but to be hungry and have your red face peeling off in sheets and floating in the air around's just unbearable.  I'd rather have a colonoscopy.            

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Women Take Vitamins Than Men...and on Detoxing...

A new study is about to be released on supplement use.  I'm a bit surprised.  According to the new study, only half of Americans take a supplement.  Not sure why I find this surprising, but I do.  I would think it was much higher.

If you look at men versus women, only 44% of men compared to 53% of women take supplements.  Regardless of sex, multivitamin/multimineral supplements are the most popular.  About 20% of adults use a supplement that contains at least one herbal/botanical ingredient.   

Several years ago, the National Institute of Health established the Office of Dietary Supplements.  If you're ever looking for information on supplements, it's a great place to visit.  Some supplements can be harmful at high doses, some can interact with medications, and some may be contraindicated in people with certain always do some homework before you put anything in your mouth.  

And I wish it weren't so, but alas, no supplement is going to make up for a bad diet.  It doesn't matter what 20/20 or Dateline or any of those shows report, you cannot eat crap all day and take a resveratrol and think that you're going to live longer. 

On detoxing...

It's been just over one day of the big detoxing experiment.  All of my subjects successfully made it through the first day.  Some were a little hungry and weak at times, but everyone is still committed to the process.  Several people lost a few pounds in one day (water weight or just less contents in the colon).  Only 4 more days to go!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Control Subject....and Preparation for 5-Day Detox

Monday morning is Day 1 of the Detox for me, two eager volunteers (subjects #1 and 2), and now, a control subject.  She read my post and was interested in trying the Detox, sans the David Kirsch products.  She will follow the other instructions, avoiding a number of foods (coffee, dairy, bread, starchy carbs, alcohol), drinking protein shakes, and having salad and a protein (chicken or fish) for lunch and/or dinner.  Hopefully, my sister and mom will try the same thing for the sake of (faux) science.    

For those of us with the David Kirsch products, it will be a detox shot first thing in the morning, followed by a protein shake.  Instead of using David's shakes, I'm using Myoplex.  I like it and it's easily accessible at amazon (with free shipping).  I've compared the nutrition and it's very similar.  At lunch, it's a salad and chicken or fish, followed by something called David Kirsch's Thermobubbles. Dinner is either a protein shake or another salad.  After 5-days of this regimen, there is a bottle of supplements to use while slowly transitioning back to a regular diet.  More on that when the time comes...

Here is the scoop on my control subject, alias Nena (BTW...all of my subjects chose their own names):

Age: 40-ish
Body Mass Index: 20.0 (18.5-25 is normal body weight)
Favorite TV shows:  Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers and Sisters, Glee, American Idol 
When she's not singing 99 Luft Balloons at a neighborhood party, she is an effervescent 40-something year old that balances her 3 kids with working part time.  She is amazingly flexible, like circus cirque du soleil flexible...and therefore makes everyone look bad at pilates.  She also weight trains and is a "basement exerciser."  Unlike many of her friends, she only imbibes in the cocktail at the occasional party, preferring to consume most of her calories from meat.  She likes salad and sushi, but secretly wishes that they were meat.  She's also quite the dancer! 
Nena is no stranger to detoxing.  She has done the BluePrint Cleanse several times before and usually loses 2-4 pounds in the process.  She is hoping for the same result from being the "control" subject in this little experiment, but also hopes to just feel lighter.  
Stay tuned for updates of everyone's progress!  I'm nervous, excited, and intrigued, at the same time!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Subject #2 in Mrs/Dr. T's Detox Experiment

We are counting down the days until we start our big detox experiment.  I just carefully read the kit's instructions....there are two protein shakes a day, one David's Detox Shot, and then a plain green salad with skinless grilled chicken or fish.  I assume those protein shakes are about 64 ounces (I wish).  I just noticed that the following are off-limits for 5-days: bread, starchy carbs, dairy, alcohol, coffee, extra sweets, and fruits.  I get most of this stuff, but coffee?  Really?  

Here is a bit of info about Subject #2, Veronica Mexico:

Age: 39 + 3 birthdays
Body Mass Index: 23.0 (18.5-25 is normal body weight)
Favorite TV shows:  Southland, Nurse Jackie, Californication, Dexter, Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Desperate Housewives, Glee, Minute to Win it, Americas Funniest Home Videos, Damages 

Veronica Mexico is potty-mouthed, drug-pushing mother of two who recently retired from exotic dancing (just kidding).  When she is not working as a pharmaceutical sales manager, this Capricorn is squeezing in 6-7 days a week of exercise of all flavors: tennis, pilates, spinning, running, elliptical, and weight training.  Her hobbies include ping pong, TV watching, Wii dancing, and being's top customer, ordering everything you can imagine off the internet.  The more I write about her, the more I don't like her...she's smart, beautiful, and manages to do all of this stuff with flawless grace, humor and a cheery disposition (although I can't wait to see her after a few days without coffee). 

She is generally healthy, outside of going through early menopause, and hopes that the 5-day detox will help kick start her goal of a 5-7 pound weight loss.  It would also be great if the detox could disrupt the time-space continuum granting her a few more hours in her day...apparently to watch TV.  :o)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Subject #1 for Mrs/Dr T's Detox Experiment

Yesterday I blogged about how I was awaiting the arrival of my David Kirsch 5-Day Detox kit.  It arrived about 4 hours after my post...or exactly 5 days after I ordered it (note that Jan 1 was part of those 5 days).  A representative from the company e-mailed me and contacted me via the comments section of the blog post to confirm it's arrival.  Let's just say that I'm impressed.  In a day and age when good customer service usually means a person versus computer fields a phone call, it is certainly refreshing to see a company proactively reach out to customers.  Thank you to the David Kirsch company!  

Besides myself, I have two SHE friends that have volunteered to take the 5-Day Detox journey with me.  Their kits arrived today...exactly 5 days after they ordered them.  We are going to officially start the program next week...because Thursday just doesn't feel like the right day to start a detox.  And because one of them is hosting a sleepover for her 9 yr old's birthday on Friday night, and if that doesn't call for a glass of wine and chocolate cake, I don't know what does.  

In my day job, I consistently watch people respond differently to diet and exercise changes.  So, I thought it might be fun to chronicle the experiences of 3 different individuals following this 5-day detox program.  

Here is a brief description of Subject #1, aka Colon Queen:

Age: 43 yr
Body Mass Index: 20.6 (18.5-25 is considered normal body weight) 
Favorite TV show: Modern Family

Ms. Queen is a 43 year old, ovary-free*, very stylish Forever XXI-shopping female under the sign of Taurus.  Because of the age of her 3 children, her home is a 2-story, center-entry petri dish, always harboring the virus-du-jour.  She exercises regularly (3x/week) and is healthy outside of the familial colds and respiratory illnesses.  Her hobbies are housework and child/husband maintenance (I will try to change this) and she is hoping the cleanse will make her generally feel better and perhaps, help her drop those 5 pounds that have lingered since her last pregnancy.  

What's going to be interesting with Ms. Queen is that she may have an allergy to grapes and one of the ingredients in the David Kirsch 5-Day Detox is grape extract.   

She will take good notes during her detox and keep us posted of her progress.

Stay tuned for Subjects #2 and 3...

*I was present during the ovary removal and think I'm pretty good at being "that" friend.  I've since started a side business, in case anyone else needs a SHE friend to be present during similar procedures.  Here's my slogan:  Ovaries on out, day or night, give a shout.  Want to hire me?   :) 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Most Effective Diets...Perhaps

I don't know what David Kirsch is smoking (probably oxygen or something else healthy).  I ordered my David Kirsch 5-Day Detox last Thursday to be sent by Fed Ex (another $11) and it's now Tuesday with no package in sight.  He, of all people, should know that when someone is ready to make a commitment to detoxing (as evidenced by the fact that the kit costs over $100), there's a small window of opportunity.  Pretty soon, I'm going to forget about all the cookies and champagne and hot chocolates over the holidays.  It's going to be Valentine's Day and I won't want to cleanse.  Seriously David....where's the damn kit? 

[**Note: I received the kit by Fed Ex about 4 hours after this blog post.  The David Kirsch company contacted by e-mail and via the comments below to ensure that I received the kit....thank you!  Great customer service for sure!]

In the mean time, thought I'd share an article written by The Daily Beast on the most effective diets.  

Basically, they tried to find scientific articles on a number of popular diets and lay out average weight loss, attrition rate, and a nutrition score in an easy-to-read format.  Unfortunately, they did not compare apples to apples.  In some instances, they only evaluated one scientific paper on a diet, but multiple papers are in existence (e.g., SlimFast).  For other diets, they reported the weight loss only for those subjects who completed the entire study (e.g., Volumetrics), whereas for others, they reported the weight loss of the entire subject population including those who stayed in the study and those who dropped out (and I'm sure you can figure out that the weight loss will be lower in these studies when presented this way).  Then they didn't evaluate The South Beach Diet because of lack of published scientific evidence, but in fact, there are at least two clinical trials showing it's effectiveness (in one study, ~10 lb weight loss after 9 months).   

And so, as usual, the media is presenting, what I like to call, "almost correct information".  

What I hope happens is that folks read the article and get inspired by a diet.  All of the diets presented have been scientifically tested to ensure they work.  But not all of these diets will work for every person.  I was involved in one weight loss trial where the majority of subjects following a high-protein diet lost weight...more weight on average than the subjects on a low-fat diet.  But the person that lost the most weight in the entire study was following the low-fat diet.  So what might work, on average, for a group of people, is not necessarily what will work for an individual.  

I've said it before and I will say it again...weight loss diets are like need to find your "diet soul mate" to make it work long term. 

I'm certain that my soul mate is NOT David Kirsch...being stood up before our first date does not make for a long-lasting relationship!