Health and Fitness
This study guide takes a look at a Kempomans responsibility to properly care for and nourish your Kempo body. Instead of being another weight loss program, the intent of this study is to educate you and provide you with the necessary tools to create your own program for pursuing health prosperity. The program will help you customize specific needs creating healthier solutions for a lifetime. Think about some of the reasons why you eat. Is it to satisfy hunger and fuel the body? Is it to satisfy boredom or loneliness? Many times we eat something, even though we know it’s not good for our bodies. What about emotional eating? Do you sometimes eat to provide a high a quick fix that will make you feel good? Do you sometimes find yourself dreaming about food?
Think about how you are currently attempting to nourish your body. This requires you take a hard look at the foods and drinks you are currently consuming. One of the best tools to help is a food diary. A food diary provides a baseline and tells you were you are and how to get where your going. This is much like going from White to yellow to orange to purple to blue to green to brown then achieving black belt. The steps you know must be taken to reach your goal. Most individuals who keep a food diary for any length of time admit they had no idea the amount of certain types of food items or beverages that they are actually consuming. Most of our snacking and drinking is done mindlessly as we walk by a bowl of candy and think nothing of grabbing a couple pieces. The food diary can be a huge eye opener.
Let’s take a look at how our lack of knowledge is affecting our health. Are we regularly eating fatty, greasy foods that can clog our arteries and lead to heart disease? In my own life I have spent years abusing my body and yet continually demanding it to perform then question why as I get older it has begun refusing to meet my demands. What are some ways you can properly nourish your body? Did you know that your body is made up of trillions of cells 97% of which are replaced yearly by the nutrients you take in? It’s true you are what you eat. Think about the cells being generated in your body every day. What kind of nutrients are you supplying your body to generate those cells?
Think about some of the diseases that are inherent in your family. Now compare your daily diet to the diet of those in your family who have suffered from certain diseases.
In my family, sausage gravy and biscuits were standard breakfast on the weekends. Now, I love sausage gravy and biscuits, but once I learned the potential risks of regularly eating this type of food, I realized some changes needed to be made. I decided to limit sausage gravy and biscuits to once or twice a year for a family meal that has been passed down through the generations and that I love. But I my efforts to pursue optimal health, I have chosen to limit how often my family and I eat it.
In your family, maybe it’s “donuts every Sunday morning” or “fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy every Saturday night”. Maybe it’s Mexican every Thursday night with friends where you over indulge on chips and queso, or something similar that you know is not a healthy habit and requires change.
As you begin to make the connection between the foods and drinks you are consuming with the quality of your health, begin to take a look at diseases that you may be at risk for based on current diet and lifestyle.
My recommendation is to make small changes gradually over time. I advocate a one year plan where you make one or two small changes every week for a year. There is black belt in a year programs out there and yes it’s possible to achieve this rank in a year’s time. Many students quit at yellow belt then any other rank like most people with diets. Maybe calling this your year of health and fitness is not too much to ask of yourself. At the end of the year you will have come a long way towards achieving healthier lifestyle.
If you are able to make many changes in a short period of time and stick with those changes, I commend you but you are definitely the exception. Most of us are very adverse to major changes in our life. The only time I really recommend for individuals to make drastic changes immediately is when their health is in a diseased state which may require drastic measures to reverse damage that has already occurred. Making small changes are much easier to adjust to. The key is to consistently make changes on a regular basis. The small but regular progress will lead to impressive results over time. Remember you’re not on some quick diet-you’re on a lifelong journey.
An example might be if you currently drink an average of 5 sodas a day, to gradually reduce your intake. One week reduce daily intake from 5 sodas to 3. A month or so later, reduce intake from 3 sodas a day to 2. A month or so after that, reduce sodas from 2 a day to 1 every other day. Keep reducing until you either eliminate it altogether or are down to only one a week, allowing it as your weekly indulgence. This is much more realistic than immediately eliminating all soda and provides for a much better chance of successfully achieving your goal and sticking with it.
Eat Foods that Nourish Your Body
Now that we have acknowledged and accepted our responsibility to properly nourish our Kempo body, as well as made the connection between how we’re fueling our body and the quality of our health, we need to concentrate on the quality of the fuel. We need to focus on foods that nourish our body. Let’s take a closer look at the word “nourish”. The Webster’s dictionary defines nourish as follows: to feed or sustain with substances necessary to life and growth.
Do you think the majority of foods and drinks being consumed are substances necessary to life and growth? What type of foods do you think sustain life? Take a look at the following list and check all those that you think qualify as foods that sustain with substances necessary to life and growth.
Whole grain bread
Krispy Kreme donuts
Milky Way candy bar
Golden delicious apples
Pillsbury apple danishes
Fresh spring water
Baked sweet potatoes
Canned jellied cranberry
Canned Ragu ravioli
Hopefully, you checked every other item starting with the first. Are you surprised that canned cranberry is not s substance necessary to life and growth? The high sugar content and preservatives would nullify any nutritional benefit from the cranberries. What about the apple danishes? I must admit there was a time when, due to my lack of knowledge, I allowed myself to be deceived into believing that apple danishes were healthy and helped me meet my fruit quota for the day. It is unfortunate that the majority of foods and drinks being consumed by most of us are not producing life and growth, but instead producing disease and death.
Now before you give up and decide you just can’t live on only fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes; understand that is not what I am saying. I do believe, however, that these items should be the main staples in your daily diet. A minimum of five servings a day of fruit and vegetables is recommended and nine is preferred. A recent study determined that eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day reduces the risk of cancer by 50%. Try adding one fruit or vegetable to each meal of the day and you’ll easily be able to reach the minimum requirement. I enjoy eating meat, and lean meats are one of my primary sources of protein. Although most of the meat available in supermarkets contain growth hormones and “left-over” antibiotics which are harmful to our bodies so I look for brands that do not contain these types of chemicals.
Make a commitment to learn about the quality, or lack of quality, in the foods you are eating. Know what foods nourish your body and what foods do not. Start by learning to read labels, identified under Nutrition Facts on all packaged foods.
When reading label, note the following:
Serving size-Try to keep your consumption to a single serving whether you’re eating a nutritious meal or “indulging yourself”.
Calories-Be aware of the number of calories in the foods you consume. I’m not an advocate of calorie counting but I think it’s important to have a general idea of the calorie content of foods you’re consuming. Consuming more calories than you body needs equated to excess body fat.
Fat grams-Our body needs fat for optimal health but most of us get too much of it and the wrong type. Fat provides insulation for our body and provides for healthy skin and hair. The best type of fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated and trans fats are the fats associated with increased risk of disease, with trans fats being the most dangerous. Some examples of good fat are extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, fish, and raw nuts. Keep total fat consumption between 20% and 30% of your total daily calorie intake. A gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories. To calculate total fat allowance per day, take daily caloric intake and multiply by the percent of fat you should consume in a day. Then divide that number by 9.
Example for a 2000 calorie a day diet:
2000 x 20% = 400 total calories from fat per day
400 divided by 9 calories per gram of fat = 44 grams per day
Sodium-We need some sodium to maintain proper water balance and blood PH, however most of us get way too much sodium. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for sodium is 1500mg with an upper tolerable level of 2500mg. Excess sodium can result in fluid retention, high blood pressure, and potassium deficiency.
Carbohydrate Grams-Carbohydrates main function is to provide energy. We should consume mostly complex carbohydrates. Excellent sources are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The Recommended Daily Allowance is 45%-65% of daily caloric intake. The low end is for those who are sedentary and in a diseased state and high end for those who are physically active on a regular basis. One gram of carbohydrates is equivalent of 4 calories. To calculate total carbohydrate allowance per day, take daily caloric intake and multiply by the percent of carbohydrates you should consume in a day. Then divide by 4.
Example for a 2000 calorie a day diet:
2000 x 45% = 900 total calories from carbohydrates per day
900 divided by 4 calories per gram = 225 grams per day
Protein Grams-Protein is essential for tissue repair, growth and development. Some excellent sources of protein are chicken breast, turkey breast, extra lean beef, salmon, sole beans, brown rice, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The Recommended Daily Allowance is 10%-20% of daily caloric intake for most individuals or approximately .36grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Those who are training vigorously on a daily basis and desiring to put on a lot of lean muscle (for example body builders or similar type athletes) may increase intake as high as 35%. One gram of protein is equivalent to 4 calories. To calculate total protein allowance per day, take daily caloric intake and multiply by the percent of carbohydrates you should consume in a day. Then divide by 4.
Example for a 2000 calorie a day diet:
200 x 10% = 200 total calories from protein per day
200 divided by 4 calories per gram = 50 grams per day
Fiber Grams-This is one of the most important categories to look at. Try to choose foods that are high in fiber. The recommendation for daily intake of fiber is between 21 and 35 grams but few of us get even half that. The low end of the range is for females over the age of 50 and the high end is for young males. Fiber is one area where you can get much of a good thing to be sure not to exceed the recommended amount complex carbohydrates are the major source for fiber. Good source of fiber are foods that contain 2.5 grams or more per serving and include most raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products.
Sugar Grams-Keep sugar intake to a minimum. Let your sugar intake come mostly from those sugars naturally occurring in foods, for example fruit. Try to purchase snacks that contain only a few grams of sugar or less per serving. When purchasing dry cereal, I look for cereal that contains 0 to 3 grams of sugar per serving. For baking needs, try using turbinado sugar, honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia (an herbal sweetener).
Ingredients-The ingredients on the label tell you exactly what is in the product you are purchasing and are listed in order from most to least. Choose products with ingredients that you recognize and know to be nutritious. Avoid ingredients with long names that you not only do not recognize but cannot even pronounce.
NOTE: The examples given for daily grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein reflect the low range for an average, healthy individual with a normal metabolism, maintaining a healthy weight while consuming approximately 2000 calories a day. They are provided merely as a starting point. Your personal needs in each of these areas will vary based on your daily caloric intake, your stat of health, your current weight, and your metabolism. As each body is unique, each body’s needs are unique. You may wish to consult with a nutritional consultant or natural health practitioner to identify your specific needs.
I highly recommend investing in a nutrition counter book that will provide nutritional information for foods that don’t come with labels, including a lot of common fast food items. You can also request nutritional information from restaurants as they are required to provide this information upon request for the meals they serve. The internet is also an excellent source. These are numerous web sites that provide nutritional information.
Be aware that manufacturers will mislead you in their efforts to promote their product. Just because a product is labeled “Fat Free” does not mean it is healthy. Fat free products are often loaded with sugar and a host of other chemical with names you can’t even pronounce. The same is true for meats. For example, lean beef may be labeled as 93 / 07 leading you to believe it is on 7% fat when it actually contains 8 grams of fat which equates to 42% of total calories. The 93 / 07 actually refers to weight not calories.
Try to eliminate or at least minimize your visits to fast food restaurants. There are more fast food restaurants now than ever before and they all spend a great deal of money on advertising to market their products in a way that they know will appeal to you. Do not be deceived. These fast food restaurants are serving up foods and drinks that are more harmful to our bodies than nourishing. Too often we give in to the appeal of fast food in the name of convenience. I think sometimes convenience has just too high a price that we should not be willing to pay. Review Tips for Pursuing Health Prosperity in Appendix L to find other ways you can find convenience while avoiding the fast food trap.
When you do eat at a fast food restaurant, try to identify and consume foods that are nutrient dense, low in fat, low in calories, minimally processed, and chemical free as many fast food restaurants are now offering healthier choices. Also, don’t be afraid to make special requests. You are the customer and they are there to serve you.
No one makes perfect food choices all the time. And it’s okay to eat foods that are not the best choices but that you really enjoy, occasionally. I believe God wants us to enjoy eating just not to the expense of damaging our health. Consider the 90 / 10 rule. Over the course of a week, make the best choices at least 90% of the time. No more than 10% of the time, allow yourself to indulge in foods and snacks that may not be the best choices for your health but that you really enjoy. If a t least 90% of the time you’re nourishing your body properly, your body is stronger and better prepared to handle the small percentage of time that you are not nourishing it properly.
You must read food labels to know the true nutritional content of food and to avoid being deceived by fancy labels and marketing gimmicks. When reviewing a food label, determine what nutrients that food is a good source of as well as what nutrients it may be lacking that may be in other forms of this food. For example in reviewing bread, white bread lacks fiber that is found in whole grain breads.
I believe gluttony is a sin but one that most of us have probably been guilty of at some time or another. Especially around the holidays, it is very difficult not to overeat. How ever overeating regularly can cause us to become poor in health. It leaves us feeling fatigues and run down. In my personal experience, I have more energy, am more alert and able to concentrate, with less ups and downs, when I graze throughout the day by eating many small, healthy meals compare to eating fewer big, heavy meals.
Eating large meals wreaks havoc on our body. For starters, think about how awful you felt that last time you overate. In addition to the horribly uncomfortable, bloated feeling that follows, it overtaxes our digestive system and our heart. One way to look at how your digestive system responds to a large meal is to think about how you feel when you are doing some heavy duty multi-tasking and trying to handle 5-6 or more things at a time. Think about how inefficient you become at each of those things because you are doing so many things at once. Your digestive system is the same way. If you give it too many things to digest, it quickly becomes overworked and is not as efficient at its job as it otherwise could be because of the high demand being placed on it.
There have also been studies showing how heavy meals can increase the risk of a heart attack during the two hours following the meal. Heavy meals create a rise in our blood pressure which increases oxygen requirement, creating an extra burden on our heart. Also, eating too quickly and not chewing properly can interfere with the body’s ability to properly digest the food because digestion begins in the mouth. As you are chewing your food, your saliva is excreting digestive enzymes to digest the food as you break it down with your teeth.
A lot of us are also keenly aware of the excess weight that can result from overeating. Excess weight places an additional burden on our bodily systems and regularly consuming more calories than you are expending will result in excess body weight.
I agree with most health experts and recommend eating 5-6 meals should comprise of breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and possibly a mid-evening snack. Each of these should be healthy and portion controlled. Learn what a portion is. Read labels and invest in a small scale for your kitchen. I was amazed at the quantity of food I was actually consuming when I began weighing my food.
I would like to challenge you to utilize a kitchen scale for a least one week. Begin weighing your food and get familiar with what a real portion looks like. Once you have a general ideal of how much of a food item constitutes a single serving you can put the scale away. You don’t need to obsess over weighing your food but rather educate yourself so you can make better choices. For a lot of people, this is a large huge eye opener as they begin to realize how much food they have actually been consuming.
When I began weighing my food I found that often what I thought was a single portion turned out to be 2-3 portions. Also note that for an average sized person, a single portion of meat is between 3 and 5 ounces. Most restaurants serve two to three times that amount, or more, in a single dish. When eating out, I recommend sharing a meal with someone or taking half of it home.
An easy rule I have learned regarding portion size is that a healthy portion is equivalent to the size of the palm of your hand, or the size of your fist clenched. For example, a portion for me of brown rice or a chicken breast would equate to the size of my palm. A portion of filet mignon, because of it’s thickness, would be easier to compare to the size of my fist clenched. My husband’s hand is bigger than mine and therefore his portions are bigger than mine. Although it doesn’t seem fair, his bigger body does require bigger portions to sustain him.
My idea of a healthy meal is a single portion of lean meat with a vegetable, and maybe a starch, such as potatoes or a roll. For me, these meals usually range between 350-500 calories. I do not believe you need to have two, three or more side dishes with a meat to comprise a meal. Sometimes my entire meat is a simple spinach salad. Snacks are usually a piece of fruit, raw vegetables, raw nuts, or a homemade fruit smoothie. Sometimes for a snack I will toast a piece of whole grain bread and spread with a little strawberry preserves or mix some berries with a serving of plain, low-fat yogurt. My snacks are usually quick and easy and around 100 – 200 calories.
When you lay out single portions on a large plate, it can appear very sparse and mentally you can be deceived this can not be enough to fill your appetite. When you use a smaller plate such as a salad plate your food will be crowded on the plate. This is one of those rare occasions when deception can actually be beneficial. Another excellent tip that can help with sticking to portion sizes is to make a rule never to eat straight out of a container. By removing the food from the container you are forced to look at the amount of food sitting on your plate.
MINIMIZE INTAKE OF REFINED WHITE SUGAR, CAFFEINE, and other substances that can be harmful to the body. Refined white sugar and caffeine are what I consider to be drugs. They are highly addictive stimulants that cause us to crave more never satisfying are nutritional needs. They bring about extreme highs that provide a quick burst of energy followed by extreme lows that leave us feeling drained and fatigued. They overload our adrenal glands, interfering with their ability to effectively do their job. I recommend avoiding or at least significantly minimizing your intake of both refined white sugar and caffeine. I also urge caution here as going cold turkey is not for everyone. Some of the adverse effects of refined white sugar and or caffeine can include: suppressed immune system, anxiety, drowsiness, and migraine headaches. Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been linked to memory loss and joint pain and memory loss. Instead of adding sugar to foods you prepare get creative with spices.
One of the best ways to ensure you eat nutritious meals and avoid harmful substances is to plan your meals. If you don’t decide what to do about dinner Monday night until Monday night the temptation is too great to just pick up fast food, snack on junk or something else that is quick and easy but not necessarily healthy.
Drink sufficient amounts of water. Now let’s consider the typical American drink soda. Do you think soda nourishes your body? Soda provides ZERO nutrients, and it does a great deal of harm. Sodas contain high amounts of sugar and most have caffeine and phosphoric acid which dissolves calcium in bones. I believe the best drink for nourishing our body is water (Pure Water) Our bodies are made up of approximately two-thirds water. Most public drinking water contains toxic poisons such as chlorine, fluoride, and residues from pesticides and industrial waste.
Get plenty of Fiber Do you know the importance of Fiber in your diet? How many grams of fiber do you think you need in your daily diet? What food sources do you think provide Fiber? Review the list below and select those items that you believe to be good sources of fiber.
You should have checked every other one starting with the second item. When I first started learning about fiber I was surprised to find out that although most fruits contain fiber, their juices do not. The juicing process removes the fiber from the fruit. Why is fiber so important? Fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels. It can help to regulate metabolism and digestion and stabilize blood glucose levels Fiber helps to move food waste and toxins out through the colon. If this is not happening regularly-as in every day-these toxins can clog up the colon. Fiber can help make you feel full to prevent over eating.
Finally remember to get regular exercise as a Kempoman that would be strength and flexibility routines practicing your forms combinations sparring and much more martial arts maneuvers. I realize there is a lot of health and nutrition information that you probably won’t find in any other martial arts book. Remember this is a study guide on kempo and to perform the art to the best of your ability you need to look at your health and fitness level in the arts.
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