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Major Announcement + Sneak Peek

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Broga@ Yoga and Yoga for Men merge. Form YFM (Yoga. Fitness. Mindfulness.)

Dear Friends and Partners,

We’re thrilled to share a major announcement with you today, and to offer you an exclusive sneak peek.

Broga® Yoga (Broga LLC) has merged with Yoga for Men (Yoga for Men LLC), and formed a new company called, YFM.

YFM = Yoga. Fitness. Mindfulness.

The hard work we’ve put into building Broga® for these past many years will proceed uninterrupted. We will continue to offer Broga®-branded events, workshops, instructor training courses, and retreats. We remain – and we hope you do too! – fully committed to the Broga mission: To make yoga more accessible, appealing, and rewarding to everyone — especially men.

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the team at Yoga for Men. They’re a great group of amazing people doing meaningful work.

Recently, while working together on cross-promotional activities, it became clear that there were strong synergies. Aside from the easy rapport, a shared vision, and natural collaboration, we also saw that each side brought complimentary skills.

  • The Yoga for Men team has fostered a significant online community and built a successful online apparel store. They also have outstanding video content, some of which has been used for a compelling study on Veterans with PTSD.
  • At Broga, as you know, we’ve long focused on instructor training/support and events, while building a library of videos in Broga Online Studios (‘the BOSS’).

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
After some discussions, the question became: If Broga and Yoga for Men merged, what would we do?

…And part of the answer to that question is what we want to share with you today.

The new company, YFM, is launching a brand new subscription-based video streaming platform at YFM.tv!

In addition to videos featuring top instructors across a range of modalities – a variety of yoga formats, pilates, functional training, cardio workouts, and guided mindfulness practices – members will also have access to exclusive discounts on apparel, training courses, and live events.

==> TAKE A PEEK: www.yfm.tv <==

  1. Please submit your own email address.
  2. Refer AT LEAST two friends — *refer as many as you’d like* — to stock up on FREE ACCESS in advance.
  3. Email adam@brogayoga.com with any thoughts.

We look forward to your feedback… Don’t forget to sign up!

Onward and upward!!

In gratitude,

Broga Team
Adam, Robert, Chuck, & Katie

 

PS – Check it out: www.yfm.tv. See you there…

FYI — In the coming weeks, Yoga for Men will transition to the new brand, YFM. Broga will remain a distinct brand under the YFM umbrella. Together, we have some exciting partnerships in the works — e.g. pro athletes, massive brands, and more. We’re also partners in some incredible new research that we’ll share more about soon.

Broga Instructor Profile: Jonathan Green

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Chuck Raffoni, caught up with Broga® Yoga Instructor, Jonathan Green, to get a sense of how Broga is going for him. Here’s their exchange.
Why did you decide to become a Broga® Instructor? 
I decided to become a Broga instructor because it takes everything I love about both fitness and Yoga and combines them. It maintains that breath is important in movement, but takes out a lot of the fluff associated with most Yoga classes and leaves you with a badass functional workout.
What Song gets your class pumped up during the H.I.I.T. Section?
I enjoy switching up the music from class to class but for my H.I.I.T. I like to throw anything with a higher beats per minute count from where we are just to subtly let the mind know that its time to move a little faster. 
Have you run into any misconceptions about Broga® and how have you responded?
When people see my Broga flyers, I am regularly asked if this is a “real workout.” Many people have the notion that yoga and a hard workout are two separate things. I practice Broga and Yoga in my free time and am able to show people by inviting them to my classes or to practice with me that this is indeed hard. I enjoy the big, strong people who think they are in great shape who are then absolutely humbled by a Broga class.
The other misconception is that its only for men. I tell anyone who is willing to come in and do their best that Broga is right for them.

Where do you teach and what is your class schedule?   Do you have any special events or promotions COMING UP?

I teach at the JCC in Albany, NY. There are always other promotional discounts depending on the time. Please email me at jgfitness518@gmail.com to ask for specific promotional details.
In addition to Broga/Yoga what other fitness and hobbies do you enjoy?
I greatly enjoy weight lifting and regularly compete in endurance athletic events such as Spartan Races. I also am an avid volleyball player, but I enjoy playing all sports.
What is the ratio of men to women in your class?
My classes have been about 50-50 men to women. I have an enthusiastic regular group full of individuals who like to come and work hard. I tell both men and women there is no reason to be intimidated and that the classes push anyone to work towards their best.
I invite anyone to check out my pose of the day section at www.instagram.com/jgfitness518 for some starter work. Also for private personal training or yoga work check me out at http://www.albanyjcc.org/fitness/jon-green/
Broga Instructor Jonathan Green - reverse warrior

Personal Broga® Yoga Coaching now Online

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Father and Son Broga

Whether you’re a brand new beginner, or an experienced yoga practitioner looking for some new inspiration and a fresh approach, private yoga training can be one of the best ways to develop or refine your own practice.

Historically, a student’s choice of private yoga instructor has been limited to the teachers that lived in their town, but easy-to-use technologies now make it possible for students to work with any teacher, anywhere. 

Broga® Yoga instructors are some of the most competent, dedicated, effective yoga teachers in the world (in our humble opinion), so we’re very pleased to announce that starting now, you can work directly, personally, with them through our new Online Coaching System.

Broga’s top instructor, Creator and Co-Founder, Robert Sidoti, will be the first to offer his time to a very limited group of private clients each month.

According to Robert, “the opportunity to help more folks find a practice that is truly customized for their bodies through personal, direct online communication with an instructor is immense and very exciting. I’m looking forward to getting started!”

In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a hand-selected group of top Broga® Instructors to the line-up of online personal coaches.

For pricing and more information on the online coaching process, please have a look at the online coaching page.

Personal Online Broga® Yoga Coaching: More information and registration

Please direct any questions to team@brogayoga.com or feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Is Exercise Making You Fat?

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We all hear it. Losing weight is as simple as eating less and moving more. However, obesity rates continue to skyrocket and people are exercising themselves insane, thinking they are doing everything right with no results. More heath obsessed than ever, we are a nation paradoxically burdened with the highest levels of chronic disease. What gives?

We’ve created an abusive relationship with exercise, like a punishment used to torture the extra calories out of people who lacked the self-control or willpower to say no to that second cupcake. Not only is this a terrible way to connect to movement, but is far from the truth; forcing yourself on a 5 mile run to “burn off” those extra cookies is insane, and not at all intuitive. It doesn’t make sense to say that a piece of bread is the same as walking for 30 minutes, just because of the number of calories (defined as the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of water 1˚C ) are equivalent. Besides, we are meant to move, and move with pleasure. Just ask the children galloping around the playground, laughing and chasing each other, climbing trees and running up slides: our bodies were made to move.

 Although your 40 minute treadmill run inevitably burns some extra calories, it is such a small factor in overall weight loss. You could technically eat back those calories, and more, with one muffin. The stress that exercise creates within your system has been shown to tell your body to hold on to any excess weight. Intense, excessive exercise can negatively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, and lead to hypothyroidism, which is known to cause depression, weight gain, and digestive dysfunction.  If it thinks that you are running from a saber tooth tiger every morning, why would it wait to let go of your protective fat? Besides, calories are hardly the most important factor in weight balance. The “calories in, calories out” mantra is oversimplified and outdated. It is now clear that hormones are far more important in the storage and distribution of fat. All growth is primarily hormonal, even horizontal growth.

 However, this is not to say that you should not take up a sport, join a gym, or neglect your body, thinking that your hormones are completely out of your control. Exercise is important in many aspects, and can greatly improve all aspects of your health. However, instead of feeling like you need to guilt yourself into doing those 30 squats, find an activity that you love and find joy in. Lose the mindset that crossfit is better than weight lifting, that sprinting is better than jogging, that soccer is better than Frisbee, that one is better than the other. All types of movement will benefit your sanity, as long as you stay away from the highly toxic mindset that you MUST run every morning to keep off the excess fat. Take your recovery days, switch it up, and remember that it is not necessary to push your body to its absolute limits every single day. Less is more, and attitude is everything. Exercise smarter, not longer.

3398705933_49e7036406

The Hunt For Your Yoga

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Mention the word “Yoga” and your mind (unless you’re a Broga student) may conjure that classic Western misconception: rows of women stretching in colorful spandex while an instructor floats around the room, gently instructing the students to breathe, and open their hearts, and radiate positive energy. While this is accurate for some Yoga, there are many different types, varying from the cold (snowga), to the hot (Bikram), to the esoteric, to the spiritual, to the novel (laughter yoga), to the accessible (Broga), to the athletic. Seek information about “Yoga”, online or off, and you’ll be catapulted into this vast world of options with no map and no compass.

So, with new yoga teachers opening new yoga studios and offering new yoga styles all around the world, everyday, how do we, the students, find the yoga that will be best for us?  I mean, how do we efficiently sift through the websites and Yelp reviews and Facebook pages to find the right style, with the right teacher, at the right location, at the right time?

kidding-around-yoga-3-day-kids-yoga-teacher-training-ages-2-12

Kidding Around Yoga

 

Alex Klein, Alex Jaton, and Sven Ernst decided to answer these questions for all of us, by making the world of yoga more transparent and easier to navigate. They founded a site called YogaTrail, a site where yogis are able to “share their experiences and opinions, whether they’re looking for places to practice, people to practice with, teachers, resources to learn from, or just information.”

 

I took some time to check out the website for myself, and was not disappointed. The YogaTrail team has done a beautiful job of displaying information: looking up a yoga studio nearby in Toronto, I was given a small excerpt about the studio, along with a clear display of the prices of classes, amenities, class styles available, and the level of classes that are taught. I was able to glance at the checklist and see if I needed to bring my own mat, if they offered a Mysore class, and find out how much it would be for a drop-in class.

Teachers are rated on their articulation, friendliness, attentiveness, experience, personalization, and spirituality, so I was also able to make an informed decision about which teacher’s class to attend based on my preferences.

Body to Bliss Yoga

Body to Bliss Yoga

 

 

YogaTrail’s one minor shortcoming, if it has one, is simply its relative nascency. While they’ve done an impressive job aggregating tons and tons of information on Yoga Studios and classes around the world, the site’s major value for users will lie in the reviews and ratings provided by others. We all know that power of reviews as we make online shopping/purchasing/planning decisions, so in honor of the phenomenal work being done by the YogaTrail team and as an investment into the future usefulness of the site, review, review, review! If you have an experience, good or bad, share it (with honesty and equanimity of course), on YogaTrail.

 

Overall, YogaTrail is a brilliant idea (that I wish I’d thought of!), a tremendous tool that I’ll be sure to use in the years to come, and a great collection of information and ideas.

 

Oh, there is also a great subsection on yoga retreats, teacher trainings, and events, all of which are neatly presented and well organized you should be sure to check out.

ajalila-gardens

Ajalila Gardens

Make Your Own Medicine

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Staying healthy seems to get more expensive each day. We are constantly bombarded with a new Amazonian superfood, green tea metabolism booster, or immune system gold star power drink that promises to improve our lives twofold. And if marketing wasn’t enough, these dietary supplements, because not regulated by the FDA are able to make various weakly (or not at all!) supported claims, just to get them off the shelves.

 

 

Probiotics fall into this category. Amongst the cloud of consumerism and capitalism, the benefits of taking probiotics are through the roof, as the healthy bowel is home to 100 trillion microorganisms, all of which work together to keep your gut in check: controlling pathogens, aiding in nutrient absorption, and stabilizing immune function. So how can we fuel our bodies with these wonderful microflora, without having to sift through the shelves of expensive health food stores?

 

Photo Courtesy of HealthGaugeEven cats can get weighed down by the supplement market.

Photo Courtesy of HealthGauge
Even cats can get weighed down by the supplement market.

 

Grow your own!

 

Lactobacillus is easier grown than said. With a head of cabbage, a spoonful of salt, and some patience, you can easily make your own probiotics. Fresh cabbage is already full of the bacteria needed for lactofermentation to occur. Fermentation allows the cabbage to be preserved for months (the staple scurvy preventer for sailors and explorers!), making it easier to eat seasonally. In addition, the cabbage becomes more digestible than it was previously, eliminating the naturally occurring goitrogens, which tend to block the production of thyroid hormone and ultimately slow metabolism. Fermented cabbage is also higher in B12, making it ideal for those of us who stay away from animal products. Save money, increase nutrition, and give your taste buds a treat, in four easy steps.

1. Wash your cabbage and grab a knife. Slice the cabbage into small pieces, trimming out the core. Smaller pieces are ideal, as an increase in surface area will help make the process more efficient. Throw this all in a big mixing bowl.

2. For every liter of cabbage, add a teaspoon of salt. My cabbage worked out to be about two liters, but vegetables come in many different sizes! Mix in any variety of onions, carrots, greens, spices (fennel, dill, coriander, dill). Just try to keep it under 20 percent of the total.

3. Start massaging the vegetables. Really get into it, and knead it like dough. It should start getting soft, as the salt draws out the water through osmosis.

4. Wait about 30 minutes, and massage again. The juices should really be flowing now. Pack it into a mason jar, about ¾ of the way full. Make sure the shreds are completely submerged in the liquid, but don’t pack it to the brim, or the expanding gases will crack the jar.

5. Cover the jar tightly and let it sit, room temperature, for 3 days. You may have to push the cabbage back under the liquid to aid in preservation and prevent the growth of mold. After that, move it to the refrigerator or a cellar. In four more days, it should be ready to eat.

 

Keep in mind that due to variables in temperature, altitude, humidity, and ingredients, none of these instructions are set in stone. The best way to figure out times is to simply taste your fermenting cabbage. No worries, not much can go wrong. Bubbling, foam, and white scum are all part of the process, and it is still safe to eat, as the sauerkraut is preserved by lactic acid. Any mold can simply be scooped off. However, use your best judgment.

photo

Don’t skimp on quality! Fresh, organic cabbage is worth the extra few dollars. Head out to the farmer’s market, and get your cabbage seasonally, all the while supporting your local farmer and making connection with your food. Enjoy the process, and feel free to ask questions, and let me know how your sauerkraut turns out!

Your Four-Minute Mile

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In April 1954, it was said that it was impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. Scientists and doctors said that the human body could not physically achieve such a feat; it would be too much stress on the body, and one would die trying. And so formed a public consensus that it could not be done.

 

To this day, there have been 20,000 athletes who have done just that, running 5280 feet in less than four minutes. What changed?

 

May 6th, 1954. Meet Roger Bannister, Englishman. He sharpens his racing spikes and rubs them with graphite, waiting for the wind to calm, waiting to run his race. At 6pm, the race begins. 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds later, it is over. Rodger Bannister has crossed the finish line, becoming the first athlete to break the four minute barrier.

It was hardly a matter of physical training that set him apart. His biggest difference was in his mindset, not scared of the professionals that said he couldn’t. He knew that possibilities are limitless, and that thoughts become beliefs. He believed in himself, put his mind to it, and achieved.

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Photo Credit: addedentry

 

Just to prove how powerful the mind is, let’s look at Bannister’s second record: the record for holding a record for the shortest amount of time. In just 42 days, John Landly completed a 3:57.9 mile. Roger got the ball rolling, and pushed the world to believe that the sub-4 minute mile is completely possible.

 

Looking at this athletic feat in a broader sense, we find that the common denominator of success is mindset.

 

My coach always put it like this. Calling us into a huddle, he would instruct one of us to try to pick up the volleyball. When the ball was easily lifted into the air, he would pick it up and set it back on the floor, instructing again that we must try to pick up the ball; that there is a huge difference between attempt and success. You cannot aim for mediocrity, your eye must always be on the prize.

 

That prize is worth it, and its journey is unique to everyone. Your four minute mile is far from impossible, if you just start with your mind.

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

 

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win” – Roger Bannister

 

Ca-Ching! Food Production vs. Consumption and Your Money

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A finance book I read, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco, had a very simple but true concept: If you want to get in ‘the fastlane’, you need to be a producer, not a consumer.  When you produce things you make money, and when you consume things, you lose money.  The author’s point is that if you create a business where you sell goods/services you will create more wealth for yourself, whereas people who just shop and spend their money will get poorer.  When it comes to food, this is a double whammy for the vast majority. Not only do people pay for someone else to grow their food, many pay for their food to be prepared either in the form of restaurants, pre-packaged meals, or other processed foods. If you have a diet-related illness, you are a consumer of medical treatments and that would be a triple whammy, but that’s another story…

How often do you make your own food?  If you eat at home rather than a restaurant, how much did you really make?  Do you make your own spaghetti sauce, or do you buy that in a jar? Do peeledtomatoesyou bake your own cookies?  Make your own mustard?  I know what you’re thinking, who makes their own mustard?  (Here’s a homemade mustard recipe). It’s just a given that people will buy certain things because their lives are busy (because you’re creating wealth for your employer most likely).  But as the theory goes, the more you consume vs. produce, the more you will lose.  So going to a restaurant is the biggest expense. So big, that it’s already been written about, like those articles about how buying coffee every morning wastes hundreds of dollars.  Next, is buying pre-made foods.  Are frozen dinners what came to mind?  What about ketchup and BBQ sauce? Deli meat? Pasta sauce? Is there any prepared food that is so taken for granted that it doesn’t even seem like you could produce it yourself?  In some cases it might not seem worth it (maybe aging wine into vinegar is more a of a science project).  But in most cases, I can attest it IS worth it.  Not just with cash, but with taste.  But the focus on this article is the aspect of finance.

We hear how divorced we are about where our food is from. We eat it without knowing how it was made or how far it traveled.  With food, the balance of producing for ourselves to being a giant consumer doesn’t seem like it can go farther.  Now we don’t grow our own food, so we buy it.  And we sink deeper in the consumer role by not preparing our own food because we go to restaurants or buy processed food.  If you want, you can buy certain candy and cookies in bite sized pieces, so companies even do some of the work of eating it for you!  How much more on the production side can we give up? I think it is not only critical to our health, but finances that the balance shifts back to being a producer.

My town’s big box health food store sells one organic seedless cucumber for $3.99.  Not per pound, one cucumber is seriously four bucks.  A packet of organic seedless cucumber seeds costs cucumberless than one cucumber.  If you failed miserably at growing your own cucumbers so a vast majority of the seeds didn’t work, but you managed to grow one vine that produced one cucumber – you have recouped your costs and then some!  But you will probably fair much better than that.  Some of the other absurdly expensive food at that store include: $5.99/lb organic bell peppers, $4.99/lb organic heirloom tomatoes, and $3.99 for one small, gluten – free, vegan cupcake. You know how rip-off hamburgers have patties that are way smaller than the bun so they don’t go all the way to the edge?  Gluten- free, vegan cupcake artisans learned that trick so the inadequate frosting doesn’t go all the way to the edge.  We are just getting sucked dry as consumers and this can’t go on.

People complain diets are too expensive.  You aren’t buying subsidized wheat, soy, corn and other commodity crops anymore.  You’re buying produce, meat, or dairy that was not from animals fed commodity crops.  Since tax payers subsidize the commodity crops, you are partially a producer which is why it’s ‘cheaper’ at the grocery store (and I use the term loosely because there are other costs involved with the environment and health but that’s another story). So here you are as a consumer of food that you did not produce, and it’s apparent that your role as a consumer is leveraged against you.  Isn’t time to slow down with consuming and start producing?

One of the best things you can do is grow your own food.  Yes, there are a myriad of excuses from weather, to your living quarters.  You can grow something. Seriously, if you can dedicate 2 square feet inside with shelves, you can grow a decent amount.  According to the seed company Burpee, you can get a 25 to 1 ROI on starting a garden.  The National Garden Association disagrees; they state a 70 dollar investment results in 600 dollars of food.  The information I have seen when researching for this article does not go into better detail.  What you grow will impact your ROI.  You must account for many factors of growing produce.  Besides growing what you like, consider what is available.  If you can always get organic carrots for .99 per pound and you have limited space, skip growing carrots.  You should also consider the time for a yield.  Some plants take one month, like radishes.  Others plants take 3 months.  The longer you tie up your soil, the less you grow and the less money you will save.  None of those things were mentioned in the statistics I saw, so you may fair better if you grow smart.windowsillgarden

Another thing to do is prepare your own food.  Less restaurants, less 4 dollar cupcakes, and less frozen dinners.  I know, no time and no skill, right?  There are easy recipes out there, and plenty have little hands-on time. Roasted meat, pretty much anything braised, and most sauces are so easy!  Once you develop good knife skills, it takes longer for the pot to heat up than to chop an onion.  And if you don’t have good knife skills, you can buy pre-diced onions but that’ll cost you.  And that’s the point…

I’m not dogmatic about this – not everything is worth your time.  You might be extra busy from time to time and can’t do it all yourself.  But take a look at what you buy on a regular basis. Is everything produced for you? Is this a crutch because you aren’t developing the right kitchen skills or managing your time? Opening cans and pushing buttons on a microwave are not the best skills for a producer.  Be aware that despite the normalcy of buying processed food and not growing your own, you are still taking on a role: The role of a consumer.  And if you shift to more production, you will have more money.

What do you think? Have you tried growing your own food? How did it go?

The Health Benefits of Bacon and Butter

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It’s most highly concentrated in coconut oil, and its health benefits are through the roof. However, its reputation is terribly negative, second only to that of trans fats. Can you guess what it is?

 

The answer: Saturated fat

 

Moving past the dogma of low fat, high carbohydrate fad, many of us now realize that low-fat just means high sugar, and high sugar equals more insulin, and more insulin leads to stored fat. You are likely familiar with the health benefits and necessity of unsaturated fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, but saturated fat also proves just as essential. But in what ways can butter, coconut oil, lard, and rib-eye steaks improve your health?

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1. Lower cardiovascular risk

Saturated fat reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance found to be strongly correlated with the risk of heart disease. It also increases your level of HDL (good cholesterol).

 

2. Bone strength

The fat within these foods also contribute to bone strength, as your body cannot effectively incorporate calcium into your bones without it. For this reason, Mary Enig, Ph.D, recommends that 50 percent of your fats should be saturated.

 

3. Liver cleanliness

A fatty liver is damaging to your health and can eventually lead to cirrhosis.  However, the saturated fat that you eat does not directly convert to fat in your liver. On the contrary, adding saturated fat into your diet encourages the liver cells to dump their fat content, additionally protecting the liver from the toxicity of alcohol. The liver’s key role in a healthy metabolism connects the consumption of saturated fat to fat loss.

 

4. Strong lungs

Saturated fatty acids make up 100 percent of your lung’s airspace coating, essential for the function of the lungs. The absence of these fats will lead to the collapse of these airspaces and breathing will become difficult. In fact, some researchers theorize that the rise in asthma is linked to the fact that children have replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated fats, which do not correctly support the structure of the lungs.

 

5. Brain building

Did you know that your brain is made largely of fat and cholesterol? EPA and DHA are still important, but the fat found in butter, coconut oil, lard, and meat is more so, as a majority of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. Without the proper materials, it is impossible for your body to put together the best functioning brain.

 

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Fat loss

To get your metabolism cranking, eat more saturated fat! This type of fat directly signals the nerve signals that influence metabolism, leveling out the release of insulin and keeping fat storage to a minimum.

 

7. Strong immune system

The myristic and lauric acid in butter and coconut oil keep the immune system healthy, helping your white blood cells identify and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To prove the wholesomeness of saturated fat, it may be important to note that human breast milk is rich in both myristic and lauric acid, killing germs and protecting the immune system of an infant, and is needed throughout the lifetime in order to keep an immune system alert and attentive against cancer development and infections.

 

Give saturated fat a chance. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.

 

 

Claims About Supplements Starting to Sound Fishy

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If you’re currently taking Broga classes, or even contemplating signing up for your first one, you are already making progress toward improving your overall health.  The next step may be to give some thought to your diet if total body wellness is a goal of yours.  As you begin to contemplate your personal nutrition goals, you may at some point also begin to contemplate taking supplements.  Buyer beware, be sure to stay current on your research.  Shelling out big bucks on pills may be a waste of resources better spent on real food.Fish Pills

In spite of previous studies linking the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil pills to heart health, new research featured in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that taking fish oil supplements may in fact provide no significant cardio vascular benefits. 

So are fish oil supplements still worth buying? Doesn’t it always seem like the news about nutrition is changing?  One day something is good for you, and the next, not so much right? 

Nutritional research is still fairly young, as medical research goes.  We are still learning so much about how the body processes nutrients and which ones (and how much of them) it needs most. 

Any medical research is complicated to decipher, but I think I got this one. It’s generally accepted in medical communities that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in heart health.  We know that certain fish are known sources of omega-3s.  If you connect the dots then, fish=heart health.  Pretty simple stuff so far. 

Fish oil supplementation has risen in popularity in the past few years because it was thought that we could isolate the good omega-3s from real fish, and put them in a pill.  If people took these pills, it seemed logical that the increase in their diet in omega-3s would lead to healthier hearts.  This logic wasn’t exactly wrong, but there is likely more to the story than we thought. 

What this new information really means is that there may be more to fish that is good for your heart than just its omega-3s.  The same fish that are rich in omega-3s are also rich in selenium and Vitamin D (among other things.)  It is possible that omega-3s are most helpful to our cardiovascular health when consumed with other nutrients.  Just like we know that calcium needs Vitamin D to be fully functional in our bodies, omega-3 fatty acids may be most beneficial when accompanied by other nutrients.  Further research will need to be done to see if this is in fact the case.

SalmonSo what’s your action item?  If your doctor has suggested taking a fish oil supplement, I wouldn’t toss them in the trash because of one study’s findings.  If you are concerned about heart health (and aren’t we all) try to increase your intake of omega-3 rich fish to at least 2-3 meals per week.  Approachable fish rich in omega-3s are salmon, anchovies, and bluefish. 

Your fish oil pills are not likely doing you any harm, and may still be doing some good, but it’s almost always best to get your nutrients from real foods when you can instead of supplements.  

Consider your likes and dislikes and your current dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and try to add more.  Don’t write off supplements in general, some do great things, but my advice is to look at them with healthy skepticism and always ask yourself if you can get what you are looking for from real food first.

 

 

What do you think? Do you have a post-workout favorite food? Maybe a smoothie recipe you’d be willing to share? Share your input in the comment section below!

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Jen JasminJennifer Jasmin is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts.  She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College.  In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals.   Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well.  She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com.  In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings.  To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious.