Friday, 27 August 2010

Why use BPA-free bottles?

If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t re-use plastic bottles, then you’ve heard right.

There’s been a lot of press about how many plastic bottles can leach plastics into your drink, maybe not so much recently, but over the years the articles have accumulated.

Well it’s true to say that if you can taste plastic in your drink – you’re drinking plastic. But what if you can’t taste it?

The numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles (usually in the little recycling triangle) like the ones below are there to inform you what type of plastic the bottle is made from.

I won’t go into great detail as to why bottles are required to have these numbers, I’ll just skip to the bit you need to know...

If your bottle has either the number 2, 4, or 5, then it’s fine (in theory – although I have read that any number under 5 is best avoided).

However, the type most commonly used is number 1 – Polyethylene terephthalate

If you check your water/fizzy drinks/juice bottles, this is the number you’re likely to see, and these are definitely only recommended for one time use. DO NOT re-use these bottles.

What about those nice colourful gym bottles given out as freebies by all sorts of companies? Well you tell me – number on the bottom aside, they always seem to taste like plastic to me.

You may also read that number 7 bottles (we’re really not being left with much here are we?!) can leach BPA (Bisphenol A) into your drink.

Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen which is a known endocrine disruptor – this means it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our body (not good), and has been linked to cancer, decreased testosterone in men, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. And is particularly harmful to babies and young children.

So since we can’t drink from pretty much any of these numbered bottles, what do we do?

1 – Use a glass bottle

Using a glass bottle will eliminate all of these problems (as well as save on the landfill!), but isn’t always practical – you don’t want to drop a glass bottle, obviously! Not to mention they’re not as easy to find as you might think.

2 – Get a BPA-free plastic bottle

This is probably the most practical option. Plastic bottles are more durable and won’t smash into a thousand pieces if you happen to drop them.

There are plenty of places to get these if you’re looking for them.

The one I use is the Kor One (which you can get here in the UK or Europe, or here in the US)
This isn’t the cheapest option – but it looks pretty cool! Plus, some of the money from each purchase is donated to an environmental organisation. So you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too.

3 – Use a stainless steel bottle

Again, this eliminates the above problems since they are free from BPA and other toxins.

I use the Klean Kanteen, which you can get here in UK/Europe, and here in the US

And one of the sentences they use on their website sums it up – “What you put into your Klean Kanteen is exactly what comes out of it.”

They also donate a proportion of the sale price to environmental organisations through their 1% for the planet scheme.

You can see some studies on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system here: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal

Now go get yourself a drinking bottle that isn’t going to poison you!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Is That All You Drink?

For the last 2 or 3 years I've been answering the question "What the hell is that you're drinking?!"

(and at every Bootcamp for about the last year too).

It seems drinking a green coloured drink gets peoples' attention (despite the fact most of you drink brown drinks all day long, or orange, or yellow, or purple...)

Well the answer they usually get is "Chlorophyll", although recently it can change - most of the time now it's "Chlorophyll with Alkalising Salts" or my "Green Drink - Mega Greens".

It may look like "pond water", or "dirty dish water" to people, but it's good for you, and helps me make sure I get not only the required amount of water each day, but also many of the essential vitamins and minerals that are missing from most diets.

A typical day for me would start with a pint (about 1/2 litre) of water with vitamin C - I use the tablets that dissolve in the water - makes it far easier to drink a pint of water first thing in the morning (before I even get out of bed), and covers my daily vitamin C requirement.

Then, after breakfast I'll have another pint with my Mega Greens in it. This contains a whole variety of vitamins and minerals (it even smells like the health food shop!).

This brings my tally up to around 1 litre of water already, and I've already covered most of my RDA for most vitamins and minerals.

Next, I ALWAYS carry a bottle of water around with me (one of the easiest ways to make sure you're drinking enough each day).

I have 2 bottles that I use, one glass, and one BPA-free plastic (I'll explain this in the next post). Both are 750ml so they cover the next 1.5 litres per day.

I'll fill one with filtered water and add Liquid Chlorophyll and Alkalising Salts. This helps to alkalise my body, neutralising any acids from bad food choices (yes, I do make them too), exercise, stress, pollution etc.

And the other with filtered water, and squeeze either half a lemon or lime into it. This has two purposes - 1. it adds some flavour to the water (3litres of water a day can get quite bland and boring!), and 2. although lemon and lime are acidic, they have an alkalisin effect on the body when consumed.

I'll sip on these two throughout the day (though usually the first one will go during my workout).

If by the evening I haven't finished both bottles, I finish them. But usually they're long gone, so any extra I just add some Chlorophyll to taste and fantastic - I'm getting some extra hydration.

I also quite like the odd cup of Peppermint Tea after dinner... And the occasional cup of Green Tea.

So that should answer both the questions "What is that you're drinking?" and "Is that all you drink?"

To read about the benefits of drinking Chlorophyll, read my previous post 12 Reasons to Try Chlorophyll

Alkalising Salts here (these are the ones I use)
Mega-Greens here

I hope this helps!


Friday, 13 August 2010

Are you working hard enough?

One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to people not getting the results they want is quite simply that they're not working hard enough.

Setting up a Direct Debit or Standing Order for a gym membership won't make you slim.

Sitting on the stationary bike, reading a book or watching TV - won't make you slim.

The majority of people, even the ones that DO use their gym memberships, don't get the results they want and end up saying something along the lines of "It just doesn't seem to work for me - I'm different".

Well the main problem is, you're probably not working hard enough. You might think that you are, but if you're not getting any results, you're probably not.

Here's a really simple way to increase your workout intensity - to start with, just do your normal workout, but complete it in 1/3 less time than it normally takes.

So if you're normally in the gym for 1 hour, aim to get the entire workout done in 40 minutes or less. Although you won't be doing any more, you'll be upping the intensity and working harder.

Obviously this won't work if your workout consists of "20 minutes on the bike, 15 minutes on the treadmill etc. etc." (which is NOT the best use of your time anyway and is likely the reason you're not getting any results!), but if it does, you should increase the speed or resistance/level you work at by 1/3, and cut 1/3 of the time off.

Just increasing the intensity like this will kick start your weight loss again. And once the workout becomes less challenging - up the weights or reps, increase the speeds and inclines, and decrease the rest.

As a bonus here, I'm going to suggest a great beginner level workout for fat loss, AND fitness.

Give this a try next time you're in the gym (ask an instructor if you're unsure of any of the exercises): -

Quick mobility warm-up (squats, lunges, rotations, side-bends, forward bend + overhead reaches...), maybe 5 mins on the X-Trainer at a low level to get you slightly out of breath.

Main Workout

A1) Squat + Press x10 (with a pair of light dumbbells, 3-5Kg's)
A2) Push-Ups x10 (either elevated, or off your knees if you can't do full push-ups)

Alternate between A1 and A2 with no more than 30seconds rest for 5 rounds

B1) 1-Arm Cable Row/Pull* x15 per arm Use a weight that's challenging for 15 reps
B2) 1-Arm Cable Press/Push* x 12 per arm Same weight should be fine

*(these video's were filmed using resistance bands, but are exactly the same for a cable machine)

Alternate between B1 and B2 with no rest for 3 rounds

Bench Step-Ups x15 per leg Repeat for 3 rounds with no rest

This should give your training... and your results, the boost they need.


And leave a comment below to let me know how you got on or if you have any questions :-)