Taking care of your immunity is often one of the primary health concerns for a lot of people as we move through the winter season. The dryer air, colder temperatures, and often lower daily activity conspire to add their own unique stress to our bodies – in a way that often results in catching the common cold.
However, we don’t have to accept common colds as a regular occurrence in the winter. In many countries, common colds are preventable, and even if symptoms start to develop, they can be rapidly addressed to reduce the duration and severity.
The battle here is won before it even starts. If you are prone to colds, preparing in the summer and fall season will make moving through the winter season symptom-free more of a possibility. In the eyes of Traditional East Asian Medicine, the immune system is directly nourished and influenced by the digestive system. If common colds occur more often than you would like, I would recommend that you take a look how your body processes food, along with what kind of food you are putting into your body.
If you are in need of a digestive boost, consider eating more soups, stews, and slow-cooked meals. Slow-cooked meats and vegetables in a sauce are very digestible for the body. This allows the spared digestive energy to be used by other systems, such as the immune system.
From an external perspective, keeping your outer mucosal membranes moist through dry and cold air days can help to reduce the susceptibility of catching a cold. For example, when the nasal membranes dry out, they can develop microscopic cracks that allow for pathogens to enter past our first line of defense, the skin. Applying a natural oil, like coconut or castor oil, to the inside of your nose can help keep those mucosal membranes soft and healthy.
Keeping warm and avoiding exposure to cold drafts and cold water is another great way to reduce the likelihood of catching a cold. Wrapping the neck, upper back, and lower back can help your body better regulate its defenses. In Traditional East Asian Medicine, pathogens often invade the body by gaining access to these sensitive areas.
I would be remiss to not mention how well herbs can help fill the gaps left behind by incomplete diets. Traditional East Asian herbal formulas can be tailored to the individual to build up their digestive power and strength of their immune system. This year, 2018, can be the year of your fewest colds if you harness the resources available to bring your health into a better state of balance.
If you have any questions regarding Traditional East Asian Medicine or Herbal Medicine, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Diego Garcia – Performance Coach, Chinese Herbal Medicine
MAcOM, BS, CSCS
Diego comes from a varied background of fitness and martial arts including resistance training, acrobatics, Capoeira, saber fencing, hand-balancing, and high-intensity interval conditioning. As a coach, Diego acknowledges the mental and spiritual transformation that goes hand-in-hand with athletic training and helps cement positive habits into real personality traits. Whatever your training goals may be, Diego can help you find the safest and most effective path to realizing your fitness dreams.
The supplement industry grows rapidly as new and advanced products repeatedly claim to boost your exercise performance. One product that is widely advertised by supplement shops is creatine monohydrate.
Creatine is a highly researched supplement, however, the science behind creatine is not widely advertised. Creatine itself is a naturally occurring amino acid that can be found in natural foods such as meat (especially beef) and fish (especially salmon and tuna) and is also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas; It is then converted into phosphocreatine which is then converted into ATP, a major source of where our body gets energy other than glucose (Ehrlich, 2014).
The Question: If creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in our body, why do we need to take it as a supplement?
The Process: The article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise states that when we perform high-intensity exercises, our phosphocreatine stores become depleted due to our body converting it into ATP, which is then used by our muscles. When a creatine supplement is taken, the liver, pancreas, and kidney have more creatine to break down into phosphocreatine; this results in an increase in a number of phosphocreatine molecules to convert into energy (Buford et al. 2007).
The Effects: Studies show that creatine monohydrate is the most effective nutritional supplement in terms of providing lean body mass and anaerobic capacity (more ATP/more energy). In one study, Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise, fourteen active men were divided into two groups: a creatine group and a placebo group. Both groups performed a heavy load to failure bench press; 5 sets to failure based on each subject’s predetermined 10 repetition maximum. Subjects also performed a jump squat exercise, which consisted of 5 sets of 10 repetitions using 30% of each subject’s 1-repetition maximum squat. The creatine group ingested 25g of creatine monohydrate per day & the placebo group ingested an equivalent amount of placebo (Buford et al. 2007).
The Results: The subjects were assessed by diet, body mass, skinfold thickness, pre-exercise and 5-minute post-exercise lactate concentrations, and peak power output for the bench press and jump squat. Creatine supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in peak power output during all 5 sets of jump squats and a significant improvement in repetitions during all bench presses and jump squats. Furthermore, a significant increase in body mass of 1.4kg was observed after creatine ingestion. In this study, one week of creatine supplementation (25g/day) enhanced muscular performance during repeated sets to a heavy load to failure bench press and jump squat exercise (Volek et al. 1997).
While this is just one study’s conclusion, the article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation states that “nearly 70% of these studies (creatine’s effect on performance) have reported a significant improvement in exercise capacity, while the others have generally reported non-significant gains in performance” (Buford et al. 2007).
Stay tuned for my next post where I will dive into further studies of creatine monohydrate.
Buford, Thomas W et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 4 (2007): 6. PMC. Web. 19 June 2017.
“Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Ed. Steven D. Ehrlich. A.D.A.M, 26 June 2014. Web
B.S. Candidate (Kinesiology) – Westmont College
Justin was born in Huntington Beach, California and moved to Long Valley, New Jersey when he was eight years old. Justin will graduate with a B.S in Kinesiology in May 2018. Justin currently plays baseball Westmont College under head Coach Robert Ruiz.
Justin became interested in Kinesiology because of his involvement in baseball. He loves the idea of working with athletes and helping them to become faster and stronger and reach their full potential.
Justin plans to get his CSCS and attend graduate school after Westmont.
“Unveiling the Science Behind Creatine – Part 1” —> Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Mark Boetes, Thomas Incledon, Kristine L. Clark, and James M. Lynch. “Creatine Supplementation Enhances Muscular Performance During High-Intensity Resistance Exercise.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97.7 (1997): 765-70. Web.
Jill Latham, RD, MS
This is the first in a series of nutrition tips from our registered dietician Jill Latham. Each video is packed with practical tips and information to keep you eating healthy during every season of life. Check it out and tell us what you think!
If you struggle to drink the cleanse, here is a great muffin recipe that will get you the same results:
6 packages Fiber (from box)
1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together.
1/3 cup honey
1 cup applesauce- the kind without sugar added
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup soy milk- can substitute milk
Stir this into the dry ingredients and blend together.
FOLD IN 1 large chopped apple. Spoon into muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray. This makes 12 muffins, and you may pile the batter up as they do not raise much.
Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
Place 6 muffins in bag and freeze for the last 3 days of your Herbal Cleanse.
Eat 2 muffins a day for the first three days and 2 muffins a day for the last 3 days.
2 Cups Quaker Oats Oatmeal
2 Cups Advocare Chocolate Muscle Gain
2 Jars Almond Butter (1 Regular, 1 Chocolate)
Using a mixer, pour in Advocare & Oats
Slowly Add in Almond butter
Spread into pan
Cut & freeze.
This smoothie delivers an AMAZING flavor along with a serving of vegetables. You will be shocked at how great it tastes!!!
1 1/4 cup Carrot Juice
1 cup of Ice
1 Pouch AdvoCare Peaches’N Cream Fiber Drink
1 serving of AdvoCare Muscle Gain (1 pouch or 2 scoops)
1/2 Tbsp Flaxseed Oil
Blend until smooth (blender, magic bullet, hand mixer, etc)
Nutritional info: 350 calories, 10g fiber, 30g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 7g fat
(makes 15, 4 inch pancakes)
4 Cups Dry Oatmeal
8 Scoops AdvoCare Muscle Gain Powder (in Vanilla, Canister)
*To Order Muscle Gain click here *
½ Cup Splenda (or 4 packets of Stevia)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups of light, sugar free Vanilla Yogurt
1 Tbsp Liquid Butter Extract
1. Grind the oatmeal in a food processor, blender or Magic Bullet ~into a fine powder
2. Mix the oatmeal, Muscle Gain, and Splenda (or Stevia) together in a large bowl
3. Pour warm water into the dry mixture~ stir while pouring
4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and use a wire whisk to get a smooth batter
5. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter into a pan on a low burner or onto a griddle
6. Cook pancakes until lightly brown