Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
January 8, 2017
I tell you, I deal with a lot of winners in my line of work. Yesterday someone was getting angry at me because they went 16 gigabytes over their plan and got stuck with some $200 dollars in overage fees. They had the gall to blame me and the phone for this oversight, not having a clue about what they were doing. Frankly, they threatened to leave the company I worked for and I had no problem with saying goodbye and enjoy your new service (even if that is against company policy). I also had to fix the mistakes of many people that day as well, for the fact other individuals cannot fix simple problems when they are thrown into the mix is rather strange. There is a reason why my talk time on the phone is sky high, mainly because I seem to get all of the calls where patience and not giving a damn about bonuses and what not are imperative to fixing a problem. On the other hand, at least I personally know the problems that are coming across my headset are getting solved. Yup, I am that slow guy you call when you have a problem, and I pay dearly for that. On the plus side however, I am gaining some pretty solid knowledge about the world and how people think and act. Let me tell you this my friends….a lot of people need to exercise their brain, mainly from the standpoint of cognitive reasoning and common sense.
Now, I have talked about this before, for I seem to do some sort of brain health blog that is beneficial to most people going forward. I will admit, my head is in a bit of a fog right now, battling some demons and striving to make the body better. Being mentally sound and fit is one thing, actually having a healthy brain is completely different. Over the years, one of the biggest scourges on society has been the proliferation of dementia and Alzheimers, two afflictions that I have managed to witness first hand in my family. The worst part of the equation is we are still in the infancy of even fighting these particular problems for we live in a society that can create powerful computers that fit in our pockets but cannot figure out ways to stop the deterioration of the mind. On the other hand, we also spend all our time and money trying to stop dietary and lifestyle based diseases from happening. Now, I am not being cynical here, but without the brain, we might as well just be husks of walking water sacks. This was one reason why I opted to make a massive change in my diet, getting rid of meat and dairy in all its forms. The meat was especially important, for much of the newest research in regards to brain deterioration is the build-up of plaque in the brain. Much like fuel injectors in a car, if the receptors in the brain get clogged up with heavy metals (which are prevalent in meat), the synaptic pulses in the brain will not be firing so quickly. So not only will a high fat diet consisting of dairy and meat hasten the clogging of your brans, there is a high likelihood this lifestyle can contribute to brain problems. Of course, we are still in the infancy of this research as well, but prevention is something that needs to be exercised during this time since we really have no idea what can truly heal the mind. Stem cells? A strict vegan diet? Freezing your mind for future generations to figure out the potential cure?
While I like the idea of freezing my body for science, hoping to wake up in some weird post apocalypse that only the biggest science fiction nerds can dream of. This is not really in the cards for me since I do not have any money to get into a said project or even a crazy weird disease that no one has any real way of healing at the moment. If anything, living your life might be preferable as opposed to helping someone figure out a great medical mystery down the line by getting your head placed into a metallic jar. Anyway, protecting your mind is the same as protecting your health, for the two tend to go hand in hand quite easily. Exercise—whether it be cardio or weight lifting—has illicit a lot of positive effects on the brain and its health. The introduction of heavy oxygen stores has been known to aid in the quickness and the health of the mind. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110 People who regularly exercises tend to have better brain function in addition to the energy they gain from a healthier body. This is why there is such a push to get some form of exercise and physical education back into the schools, for not only will it aid against the growing problem of childhood obesity but also help in the thinking process of children. Of course, I also wrote about this problem as well, indicating that very few states even have some form of physical education. Of course this is just part of the destruction of the school system by reprobates who favor private education for their own children rather than a strong system for everyone…but that is another blog post someday. Of course, not only did we take away physical education but also took away other mind stimulating classes like art and music. There is no wonder why so many people have very short attention spans, and why so many people cannot figure out the fact you cannot trade a phone with cosmetic damage for a new phone, no matter how much you state the said device has no operational problems (seriously now that I am getting knee deep into the calling cue at my job, I will be telling you all sorts of crazy stories about people I encounter…so be ready!).
Anyway, let’s get back to the gist of what I was originally talking about, for I tend to go off on this tangents from time to time. But let’s face it, the best way for me to cope with the day to day difficulties of my job is to openly berate the stupidity of some people (who probably think they are smart as hell…but I digress). So yes, the very thought of my job has compelled me to write about the subject of preserving your brain…the only one you will ever get. You can certainly hope for some miracle cure like in the movie “The Fountain,” but don’t hold your breath (by the way, I have been dying to give a reference to that movie for such a long time…..what an awesome film!) So until the day we come across a miracle cure that will save the hearts and minds of our general populace, we have to take all of the preventative measures we can. I’ve already mentioned the fact we need to stimulate our mind with exercise and good food that will not clog up our bodies. But what else can we do? And what other methods are necessary?
Well, the type of diet we engage in is extremely important. One thing that has been a godsend for me ever since I became a vegan is the fact my mind is much clearer and much more active. Engaging in a different type of eating has allowed me to be more cognitive with my arguments and think quicker when it comes to my reasoning skills. In my line of work, you need those kind of skills, especially when you have to figure out details and assess the situation like a detective would in an open investigation (of course, never ask me about bluetooth headsets because all of those things are trash in my opinion…I want my headphone jack back Apple!!!). Of course, the other problem we face in society is the fact people refuse to believe you in regards to your assessment, even if you keep telling them otherwise that disputes their way of thinking. Trust me, I run into a lot of that every day. It’s a wonder why I don’t start drinking again. Anyway, we were talking about diet and stuff. My mind is sure wandering a lot on this blog. Probably didn’t help that I am making dinner right now rather than eating first and then writing. Oh well. There was some good research to start the year that was released by the American Academy of Neurology, stating some health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315025.php
Now of course, being your typical vegan I will always tout the awesome health benefits of plant based eating, I will typically tout this diet as a compromise. I do this mainly due to the lack of dairy in the associated diet and the lack of heavy meats as well. For years, this diet low on saturated fats, breads and processed foods has been the diet du jour for the better part of a decade, primarily when the bottom fell out under the supposed super diets that were Atkins and South Beach (anyone remember those debacles?). Now the Mediterranean may aid in some additional brain growth in your later years. This particular study measured the brain volume in 967 people over the span of three years, and the people that stuck to the diet witnessed some growth in their brain matter. Now the growth was considered small—0.5 percent in total growth—it’s clear the findings are helpful due to the fact the diet slowed down the natural volume decrease from the participants. Now like with a lot of other studies that I tend to look at and follow, the biggest question I had was whether the people involved engaged in a healthy lifestyle or not. Since the study was based in Scotland, one really has no idea since I have no clue what the average 70-year-old in places like Glasgow or Aberdeen does on a normal day (the Simpsons and Family Guy have misinformed me greatly on this subject). Oddly enough, right on the heels of this story was another study that was published in Science magazine that indicated our brains grow throughout much of our adult life, so it is pretty clear that engaging in activities that don’t diminish our brain power throughout the duration of our lives is rather important.
Now there is always going to be various issues we can run into with our brain health, such as a natural disposition for mind ailments like dementia and alzheimer’s as well as obvious links to environment. While people are arguing over petty and ridiculous things in this society, we still have several cities in this country that have water laced with heavy metals either from bad plumbing (like in states like Michigan and Louisiana) or from potential chemical exposure due to fracking waste (such as Oklahoma and Ohio). And let us not forget various countries are having water purity problems as well. Right now, the questions of whether these events will have long term effects on the brain will remain to be seen, but we already witnessed the mind degradation caused by the likes of lead and the current research that is indicating the dangers of aluminum exposure. Heck, there is some research that indicates these days that living next to a major road can cause some dementia due to the exposure of exhaust (which does not bode well for me since I live next to a highway and a massive road that is a constant traffic jam).
I don’t like to be all scare tactics on this subject, but the best you can do with your life is to live as healthy as you possibly can. Like always, good health isn’t about the amount of weight you can bench or the distance you can run. I know people that base their health on their skinniness as well as people that claim healthy obesity is a real thing (when it really isn’t). There are several roads to take when it comes to getting the final destination, but one has to remember there will always be potholes. Either way, keep on the good journey my friends.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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