Health: Dr. Gundry’s “Yes” foods

YES Foods List

Flours: coconut, almond, hazelnut, sesame, chestnut, cassava (tapioca), green, banana, sweet potato, tiger nut, grape seed, arrowroot

“Foodles” (Gundry name for acceptable noodles), Cappelo’s fettuccine and other pastas, Slim Pasta, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, Miracle noodles and kanten pasta, Korean sweet potato noodles

Dairy Products: (1 oz. cheese or 4 oz. yogurt / day), Real parmesan (parmigiano-reggiano), French/Italian butter, buffalo butter (at Trader Joe’s), Ghee, goat yogurt (plain), goat milk as creamer, goat cheese, butter, goat and sheep kefir, sheep cheese and yogurt (plain), coconut yogurt, French/Italian cheese, Switzerland cheese, buffalo mozzarella (Italy), whey protein powder, Casein A-2 milk (as creamer only),
organic heavy cream, organic sour cream, organic cream cheese.

Ice Cream: coconut milk dairy-free frozen dessert (the So Delicious blue label which only contains 1 gram of sugar per oz.).

Wine: (6 oz. per day) red
Spirits (1 oz per day)

Fish: (any wild caught – 4oz. per day): whitefish, freshwater bass, Alaskan halibut, canned tuna, Alaskan salmon, Hawaiian fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, calamari/squid, clams, oysters, mussels, sardines,
anchovies

Fruits: (limit all but avocado) avocados, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, crispy pears (anjou, bosc, comicel),
pomegranates, kiwis, apples, citrus (no juices), nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, figs, dates

Vegetables: Calciferous Vegetables, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Watercress, Collards, Kohlrabi, Kale, Green and red cabbage, Radicchio, Raw Sauerkraut, Kimchi

Other Vegetables: Nopales Cactus, Celery, Onions, Leeks, chives, scallions, chicory, carrots (raw), carrot greens, artichokes, beets (raw), radishes, Daikon radish, Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, hearts of palm, cilantro, okra, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms

Nuts and Seeds (1/2 cup per day): Macadamia nuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, Pecans, Coconut (not coconut water), Coconut milk (unsweetened dairy substitute), Coconut milk/cream (unsweetened, full-fat), Hazelnuts, Chestnuts, Brazil nuts (in limited amounts), Pine nuts (in limited amounts), Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, Hemp protein powder, Psyllium

Olives: All

Dark Chocolate: 72% or greater ( 1 oz per day )

Vinegars: All (without added sugars)

Herbs and Seasonings: All except chili pepper flakes

Miso

Energy Bars: Quest Bars, B-Up Bars, Human Food bar, Adapt Bar

Sweeteners: Stevia (sweetleaf is favorite), Just Like Sugar (made from chicory root – inulin), Inulin, Yacon, Monk Fruit, Luo Han Guo (the Nutresse brand is good), erythritol (Swerve is great as it contains oligosaccharides), Xylitol

Resistant Starches: Tortillas (Siete brand- only those made with cassava and coconut flour or almond flour), Bread and Bagels made by Barely Bread, Julian Bakery Paleo Wraps (made with coconut flour) and Paleo coconut flakes cereal (in moderation), Green plantains, Green bananas, Baobab fruit, Cassava (tapioca), Green Bananas, Sweet Potatoes or Yams, Rutabaga, Parsnips, Yuca, celery root (celeriac), Glucomannan (konjac root), Persimmon, Jicama, Taro root, Turnips, Tiger nuts, Green Mango, Millet, Sorghum, Green papaya

Leafy Greens: Romaine, Red and Green leaf lettuce, Mesclun (baby greens), Spinach, endive, Dandelion Greens, Butter Lettuce, Fennel, Escarole, Mustard Greens, Mizuna, parsley, Basil, Mint, Purslane, parilla, Algae, Seaweed, Sea Vegetables

Pastured Poultry (Not free-range – 4 oz. per day): Chicken, Turkey, Ostrich, pastured or omega-3 eggs (up to 4 daily), Duck, Goose, pheasant, Grouse, dove, Quail

Meat: (grass fed and grass finished – 4oz per day): bison, wild game, venison, Boar, elk, Beef, Pork (humanely raised), Lamb, Prosciuto

Plant-based “Meats”: Quorn, Hemp tofu, Hilary’s Root Veggie burger (hilaryseatwell.com), Tempeh (grain-free only)

Health: Dr. Gundry – “No” foods

Gundry’s “NO” FOODS

Refined, Starchy Foods: Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, Potato Chips, Milk, Bread, Tortillas, Pastry, Flour, Crackers, Cookies, Cereal, Sugar, Agave

Sweeteners: Sweet One or Sunett (Acesulfame K), Splenda (Sucralose), Nutrasweet (Aspartame), Diet Drinks, Maltodextrin

Vegetables: Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Chickpeas (including as hummus), Soy, Tofu, Edamame, Soy Protein, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Pea Protein

All beans, including sprouts, Legumes, all Lentils*
* Vegans and Vegetarians can have these legumes in Phase 2, but only if prepared in a pressure cooker

Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, Peanuts, Cashews – mycotoxins.

Fruits: Cucumbers, Zucchini, Pumpkins, Squashes (any kind), Melons (any kind)

Nightshades: Potatoes, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Chili Peppers
Goji Berries

Non-Southern European Cow’s Milk Products:
(These contain casein A-1) Yogurt including Greek yogurt, Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Cheese, Ricotta, Cottage Cheese

Grains, KefirGrains, Sprouted Grains, Pseudo-Grains, and Grasses:
Wheat (pressure cooking does not help with wheat), Einkorn wheat, Kamut, Oats & Oatmeal (cannot pressure cook), Quinoa, Rye (cannot pressure cook), Bulgur, White Rice, Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Barley (cannot pressure cook), Buckwheat, Kashi, Spelt, Corn, Corn products, Cornstarch, Corn syrup, popcorn, Wheatgrass, Barley grass

Oils: Soy, Grape Seed, Corn, Peanut, Cottonseed, Safflower, Sunflower,
“Partially Hydrogenated” Vegetable, Canola

Health: Novak Djokovic diet

What does it take to become the number one tennis player in the world?

A lot of practice. Nerves of steel. And, if you’re Novak Djokovic, a strict gluten-free, dairy-free diet that he says has played a major role in helping him attain the number one ranking.

Grand Slam Secret #1

Start Drinking in the Morning

Most of us have morning rituals, but mine is probably stricter than most.

The first thing I do out of bed is to drink a tall glass of room-temperature water. I’ve just gone eight hours without drinking anything, and my body needs hydration to start functioning at its peak. Water is a critical part of the body’s repair process. But I avoid ice water, for a reason. When you drink ice water, the body needs to send additional blood to the digestive system in order to heat the water to 98.6 degrees. There’s some benefit to this process—heating the cold water burns a few additional calories. But it also slows digestion and diverts blood away from where I want it—in my muscles.

Grand Slam Secret #2

Eat Some Honey

The second thing I do might really surprise you: I eat two spoonfuls of honey. Every day. I try to get manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand. It is a dark honey made by bees that feed on the manuka tree (or tea tree), and has been shown to have even greater antibacterial properties than regular honey.

I know what you’re thinking: Honey is sugar. Well, yes, it is. But your body needs sugar. In particular, it needs fructose, the sugar found in fruits, some vegetables, and especially honey. What it doesn’t need is processed sucrose, the stuff in chocolate, soda, or most energy drinks that gives you an instant sugar shot in the body, where you feel like “Wow!”

I don’t like “wow.” “Wow” is no good. If you have “wow” now, that means in thirty minutes you’re going to have “woe.”

Grand Slam Secret #3

Eat a “Power Bowl” for Breakfast

After a little stretching or some light calisthenics, I’m ready for breakfast. Most days I have what I call the Power Bowl, a normal-sized bowl I fill with a mixture of:

Gluten-free muesli or oatmeal

A handful of mixed nuts—almonds, walnuts, peanuts

Some sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Fruits on the side, or sliced up in the bowl, like banana and all kinds of berries

A small scoop of coconut oil (I like it for the electrolytes and minerals)

Rice milk, almond milk or coconut water

Grand Slam Secret #4

Have Breakfast #2 on Standby

One bowl of these ingredients is generally enough for me. If I think that I will need something more—I rarely do—then I wait about twenty minutes and have a little gluten-free toasted bread, tuna fish, and some avocado. I love avocado; it’s one of my favorites.

Grand Slam Secret #5

Pack Your Lunch with Carbs

For me, a typical lunch is gluten-free pasta with vegetables. The pasta is made from quinoa or buckwheat. As for the vegetables, the selection is vast. Arugula, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, sometimes cucumber, a lot of broccoli, a lot of cauliflower, green beans, carrots. I combine the vegetables with the pasta and some olive oil and a bit of salt. (I should say that on match days when I know I’ll have to practice around noon and play a match around three, I have a heavy protein with my lunch, as a foundation for the match. But in general, pasta is all I need.)

Eat This, Not That! tip: Like Djokovic, pair your carbs with high-protein foods.

Grand Slam Secret #6

Drink It In When You’re Working Out

During practice, I go through two bottles of an energy drink containing fructose extract. It’s not too heavy in the stomach, but allows me to replenish. The ingredients I look for in a drink are electrolytes, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin C. The magnesium and calcium help with heart and muscle function and prevent cramps. If it’s a humid day, I also have a hydration drink with electrolytes because I lose a lot of liquids.

After practice, I have an organic protein shake made from water mixed with rice or pea protein concentrate and some evaporated cane juice. I don’t drink whey or soy shakes. I find that, for me, this is the fastest way to replenish.

Grand Slam Secret #7

Snack Between Sets

Before a match, when I really want to fire up, I usually eat a power gel with twenty-five milligrams of caffeine. During the match, I eat dried fruits like dates. I have one or two teaspoons of honey. I always stick with sugars derived from fructose. Besides these examples, the vast majority of the sugar I consume comes from the training drinks I mentioned.

Grand Slam Secret #8

Have a Meaty Dinner

Later, when it’s time for dinner, I eat protein in the form of meat or fish. That usually means steak, chicken, or salmon, as long as it’s organic, grass-fed, free-range, wild, etc. I order meats roasted or grilled, and fish steamed or poached if possible. The closer a food is to nature, the more nutritious it is. I pair it with a steamed vegetable like zucchini or carrots. I may also have some chickpeas or lentils, or occasionally soup.

Health: Weight loss diet

And here’s the obesity diet published in the 1951 textbook The Practice of Endocrinology, coedited by seven prominent British physicians led by Raymond Greene, probably the most influential twentieth-century British endocrinologist:

Foods to be avoided:
1. Bread, and everything else made with flour …
2. Cereals, including breakfast cereals and milk puddings
3. Potatoes and all other white root vegetables
4. Foods containing much sugar
5. All sweets …

You can eat as much as you like of the following foods:
1. Meat, fish, birds
2. All green vegetables
3. Eggs
4. Cheese
5. Fruit, except bananas and grapes

From Why We Get Fat, 2011, by Gary Taubes

Portland Hiking Trails

What all of these hikes have in common is geography; each one can be found within Portland city limits (plus Sauvie Island). Let this be both a guide and a reminder: You don’t have to take a road trip to find good hiking around Portland.

Easy hikes

Hoyt Arboretum Loop (4.7 miles, Northwest Portland): A scenic loop hike through the northern portion of Washington Park, centered around the Hoyt Arboretum.

Kelley Point Park (1.7 miles, North Portland): Easy walk along beach and paved trails at the point where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers converge.

Mount Tabor Green Trail (1.7 miles, Southeast Portland): A walk around the perimeter of Mount Tabor Park, on both paved roads and dirt trails.

Oak Island (2.8 miles, Sauvie Island): Seasonal hike through the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, open from mid-April through September.

Oaks Bottom (2.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Loop hike around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge — a wetland, meadow and forest complex that is home to a great diversity of birds.

Smith and Bybee Lakes (2.1 miles, North Portland): A paved trail through the Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands Natural Area, home of painted turtles, eagles, herons and more.

Tryon Creek Inner Loop (1.9 miles, Southwest Portland): Easy walk along the inner trails of Tryon Creek State Park, an urban forest with several small bridges and muddy trails.

Wapato Greenway (2.2 miles, Sauvie Island): An easy stroll along the Wapato Greenway on Sauvie Island, where waterfowl and beaver sightings are common.

Washington Park Loop (3.9 miles, Southwest Portland): A hike through Washington Park, on dirt trails and sidewalks past some of Portland’s best attractions.

Woods Park Loop (2.1 miles, Southwest Portland): Trails through a 36-acre pocket of native forest in the heavily wooded Woods Memorial Natural Area.

Moderate hikes

Council Crest (3.3 miles, Southwest Portland): Most people drive up to the scenic point with spectacular mountain views, but a hike from Marquam Nature Park is worth the effort.

Maple Trail (8.2 miles, Northwest Portland): One of the best hikes in Forest Park, the Maple Trail is a lovely showcase of the park’s many bigleaf maple trees.

Marquam Nature Park Loop (3.8 miles, Northwest Portland): A loop around Marquam Nature Park, a tranquil pocket of nature saved by neighbors in the 1960s.

Mount Tabor Blue Trail (3.3 miles, Southeast Portland): A perfect tour of Mount Tabor, on dirt and paved trails that lead past all three reservoirs and to the summit of the extinct volcano.

Newton Road to Newberry Road (9.4 miles, Northwest Portland): Lengthy hike through the northernmost portion of Forest Park, along the Wildwood Trail and past the Hole in the Park.

Pittock Mansion Hike (5 miles, Northwest Portland): Storybook stroll through Macleay Park and a hike up the Wildwood Trail to the historic Pittock Mansion with scenic views of Portland.

Powell Butte Loop (4.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Hike around the perimeter of Powell Butte Nature Park, through forest and along the high grasslands of the extinct volcano.

Tryon Creek Outer Loop (5.7 miles, Southwest Portland): Loop around Tryon Creek State Park, a sprawling urban forest with trails for hikers, equestrians and cyclists.

Tolinda-Ridge Trail (5.9 miles, Northwest Portland): A hike from the Tolinda Trailhead to the Ridge Trailhead in Forest Park, with a nice view of the St. Johns Bridge.

Warrior Point (7 miles, Sauvie Island): A long, flat hike to the Warrior Rock Lighthouse up to the northernmost Warrior Point of Sauvie Island.

Park-by-park

Forest Park: At nearly 5,200 acres, Forest Park is easily Portland’s largest, containing the famed 30-mile Wildwood Trail among others. No one hike does the park justice, so get to a trail-head and explore.

Marquam Nature Park: The tranquil pocket of forest that is Marquam Nature Park offers no spectacular views (though it does connect to the Council Crest Hike), offering a peaceful wooded walk instead.

Mount Tabor: Portland’s most popular extinct volcano, Mount Tabor Park is 190 acres of paved and dirt trails, popular among locals and tourists alike for its spectacular views, grassy meadows, playgrounds and annual PDX Adult Soap Box Derby.

Powell Butte: Another of Portland’s extinct volcanoes, Powell Butte Nature Park contains some 612 acres of forested trails and high grasslands, with stunning views of all five visible mountains of the Cascade Range.

Sauvie Island: Known best for its pumpkin patches and beaches, Sauvi e Island is also home to several good hiking spots through wildlife areas along inner-island lakes and the rolling Columbia River.

Tryon Creek: The 658-acre Tryon Creek S tate Park is a sprawling urban forest in Portland, offering 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles o f horse trails and a 3-mile paved c ycling trail — all perfect for families and local hikers.

Washington Park: The impressive Washington Park complex boasts more to do than any other park in Portland, containing the International Rose Test Garden, Ja panese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, World Forestry Center and Portland Children’s Museum — not to mention paved and dirt trails throughout.

Learn more

Find longer stories and more information about these hikes by visiting the story online (bit.ly/24TXW0o) and clicking on the hike links.

• jhale@oregonian.com

Portland area Hiking trails — without cars

You don’t need a car to go hiking around Portland.

Thanks to the region’s robust public transit system, it’s totally possible to spend every weekend in the woods without even getting a driver’s license. For $4 a day, a Skamania County bus takes you by nine trailheads throughout the Columbia Gorge. Or, for just $2.50, MAX will drop you in Forest Park, dubbed the “nation’s largest urban woodland,” by Backpacker magazine.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

1. Gillette Lake 5.8 miles

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. From Fisher’s Landing, take the West End Transit bus east to the Gorge. Get off at Bonneville Dam. WET also is cash only, and also requires exact change. It costs $4 for the day. For more information about the WET bus, go to gorgefriends.org.
Rural Skamania County, which lies along the Columbia River north of I-84, has a bus that runs from Vancouver along Highway 14 to the town of Carson. The weekday bus mostly takes seniors to the doctor. On weekends from May to October, however, it offers more frequent stops at trailheads and travels as far east as Dog Mountain. The more outdoorsy weekend bus is still mostly people going grocery shopping or getting their hair cut, so don’t expect the driver to point out the local fauna and extol the virtues of each hike. Also, be sure to alert him where you want to get off and where you want to be retrieved later in the day. Feel free to request a roadside pickup even if it’s not an official stop.

This rural bus opens up several Gorge trails to the car-less—Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, Dog Mountain. For views, a lake and the option to decide en route when you want to turn around, try the Bonneville Dam trailhead to the Pacific Crest Trail. From the parking lot, start out on the gravel road that soon turns upward onto the Tamanous Trail. About a half mile into your wooded climb, you reach a junction with the PCT. Turn left. A little more than 2 miles down the trail is Gillette Lake. It’s stocked with golden trout and perfect for a lunch break. If you want more time in the woods, push onward another mile and a half to Greenleaf Overlook for a panoramic view of the Gorge. Feeling super-gonzo? Veer upward onto West Table Mountain Trail for a 15.8-mile round trip adventure.

When you’re on the bus, the day doesn’t end when you limp into the parking lot. On the ride back, there’s an hour-and-a-half layover in Stevenson. For decent pizza, check out Andrew’s, just across the street from where the bus drops you. Also, about two blocks behind Andrew’s is Skamania County’s finest brewery, Walking Man Brewing, which has sausages on the grill out back.

2. Council Crest 3.3 miles

Get there: This is a walk from downtown Portland. Head south on Broadway and turn right at Southwest 6th Avenue. This will turn into Terwilliger Boulevard and then Sam Jackson Park Road. From here you can see the Marquam Nature Park Shelter at the trailhead.

There’s a wild gem hidden a mere mile from the Southwest 5th Avenue bus mall. Follow signs to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland, up the rocky, densely wooded Marquam Trail. At times, you are so deep in the forest that it’s easy to forget about the city. At other times, you cross busy streets or travel past rows of large houses. It’s impossible to get lost: Just keep going up. When you emerge at Council Crest, there’s a view of five Cascade Range mountains.

3. Pittock Mansion Loop 4.8 miles

Get there: Take the MAX Blue or Red Line to the Oregon Zoo. Walk up the hill to the uppermost parking lot and take a left onto Wildwood Trail. To get back from Pittock Mansion, head downhill on Northwest Pittock Drive. In a half-mile, take a left onto Northwest Barnes Road. In a couple hundred feet, you’ll see West Burnside Street. The No. 20 bus picks you up here.

If somebody made a theme-park ride of Portland, it would probably look a lot like this hike. You see everything: zoo kids, bubbling creeks, Portland’s famous mansion, posh houses nestled among the trees, the cocktail-slurping yuppies of Northwest 23rd Avenue. Start on Wildwood Trail at the zoo and stay on it for the rest of the hike. You pass an archery range, cross rough-hewn bridges and sprint across Burnside when the traffic ebbs for a moment. The last mile or so is brutally steep, but when you crest the hill, you’re at Pittock Mansion, where you have awesome views of the whole city. On Burnside at the bottom of the hill, board the No. 20 bus and get off at 23rd for some people-watching and sushi.

4. Linnton Loop 5.2 miles

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 16 toward St. Helens and get off at stop 5355 in Linnton, where the bench has a flat, silver bus art piece for a back rest. For directions on the hike (it’s a complex loop), check out the Linnton Loop Hike on oregonhikers.org.

Hardly anyone ventures into these northern reaches of Forest Park, but you’ll be glad you did. Climb Firelane 10 with the whistles of freight trains echoing in the background. Take a left onto Wildwood Trail and listen for bird calls as you gently rise and fall, crossing streams in many of the gullies. Finally, descend through the dappled light of Waterline Road and Firelane 9. Note: The turn from Wildwood to Waterline is unmarked—the sign seems to have fallen down. End up on residential Northwest Wilark Avenue and follow it downhill to its dead end, where you find a stairway that leads back to the trailhead. Come August, this stairway may be the best place around for blackberry picking.

5. Tryon Creek State Park

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 39 to Lewis & Clark Law School. Behind the school, pick up the Lewis and Clark Trail, which leads you into the park.

When the temperature spikes into triple digits, this is where you want to be. Well-marked trails lead you through the shade, and little wooden bridges crisscross the cool creek.

6. Lacamas Park    https://Lackamas Lake Park

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. Take C-Tran No. 92 from Fisher’s Landing to stop 2314 at Northeast 3rd and East 1st avenues in Camas. In front of you is a parking lot and an information board where you can plan your hike.

It’s like Clark County’s version of Forest Park. And good job, Camas, it’s almost as cool. Recent signs from two Eagle Scout service projects make the park’s 6-plus miles of wooded trails easily navigable. Round Lake and the Camas Potholes make overheating impossible. This is the best outdoor swimming hole you can get to by public transit. If you want a longer hike, connect to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which runs along Lacamas Lake for 3.5 miles.

Looking for even more? Try the 4T, is a pre-packaged urban adventure that brings you all over the city. Walk the trail from Oregon Zoo to OHSU, ride the tram down the hill, take the streetcar downtown, and then ride the Max back to the zoo to complete the loop. Interpretive signs mark the 4T’s at every moment of decision, so you can’t get lost.

Health: Matcha Tea Can be Super Healthy

Date: August 17, 2015      Publication: Daily Health News

SONY DSC

You know green tea is really good for you. Its antioxidant compounds show up in studies as protective against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, obesity and more. But you’re probably not going to start drinking four or more cups every day—even 10 cups a day in some studies—like many Chinese and Japanese people do.

The models at Fashion Week in New York City had a solution. Backstage, for energy and Zen balance, they sipped little shots of matcha green tea, a specific kind that contains unusually high levels of antioxidants. There’s also matcha tea powder that has become today’s “it” ingredient in everything from smoothies to latte to fruit pops to very, very green muffins. Matcha, it seems, is suddenly and literally on everyone’s lips.

Does it deserve the hype? There’s no question that it can be a very healthy beverage or even recipe ingredient. But now that it’s a fad, and everyone’s getting into the act, be careful about matcha products that are unhealthy—or even unsafe…because they are contaminated with heavy metals. So it pays to be matcha savvy. Here’s what you need to know to safely benefit from this unique form of green tea.

GOOD STUFF IN A SMALL PACKAGE

For matcha, concentration is the name of the game. It’s made from green tea, so it contains the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), responsible for many of green tea’s health benefits, as well as the amino acid L-theanine, which has antianxiety properties (more about that in a moment).

It has about three times as much EGCG as standard brewed green tea, according to some estimates. It also has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

How does matcha deliver this bioactive bounty? It’s a combination of how it’s grown and how it’s prepared. Unlike with other varieties, a few weeks before harvest, the plant is covered from the sun, which causes it to produce more EGCG and L-theanine. Another unusual step: After harvest, the leaves are ground into a fine powder. And matcha is also prepared differently. When you drink matcha, you’re actually drinking a “suspension” of ground leaves infused in water, rather than a typical brew where leaves are steeped and then removed from the cup or pot. Hence, you are actually consuming the leaves and, along with them, more green tea compounds.

The L-theanine may be responsible for one of matcha’s coveted benefits—a pleasant sense that users say it brings that may be described as “alert calmness.” Credit caffeine for the alertness, of course. L-theanine, on the other hand, has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety.

MATCHA DOs—AND ONE BIG DON’T

Matcha has long been appreciated in the East. In Japan it forms part of the traditional tea ceremony and is the most revered form of tea. Because matcha involves consuming the entire tea leaf, however, the origin of any matcha powder you consume is extremely important for your safety. Here’s what you need to know…

• Tea plants grown in soil that is contaminated with lead will absorb it into the leaves, and, because you are consuming the entire leaf, more lead may wind up in your cup. In one study from the research organization ConsumerLab, tea grown in China had high lead concentrations.

• Your best bet: Stick to matcha teas grown in Japan, and look for brands that report consistent testing for the presence of heavy metals. In the ConsumerLab’s study, for example, the one tea tested that came from Japan, Teavana, had no detectable lead.

• The highest-quality matcha comes from the southern regions of Japan—Kyushu, Nishio, Shizuoka and Uji.

• Good-quality matcha is bright, vivid green and will have a find powdery consistency—anything yellowish or coarse is not likely to taste very good.

• Expect to pay about $26 to $32 for a standard 30-gram tin (about an ounce). Anything cheaper is not likely to have good flavor.

• One cup of matcha calls for about one gram of dry powder, so a 30-gram tin should give you a cup of matcha tea every day for a month. (You can get a special measuring spoon from a matcha supplier, along with a whisk to prepare the tea in a bowl.)

• Now that matcha has become popular in the US, some prepared versions may have plenty of added sugar. Skip them, and make the real thing yourself.

• Ready to try it? Here’s a quick video tutorial from Kenko Tea, an Australian brand that gets its matcha from the Nishio region of Japan and ships worldwide. Other reputable brands include DoMatcha, and MidoriSpring.

So go ahead, enjoy your own tea ceremony. Matcha has a grassy, slightly bitter flavor…some people compare it to that of kale or spinach. You can try it the traditional way or experiment with adding the powder to recipes. Just remember that tossing matcha into your 1,000-calorie ice cream milkshake doesn’t suddenly turn it into a health drink!

Health: You better sit down

I have a very simple test I’d like you to try…
Sit down on the ground and then stand back up.

Sounds pretty easy, right?

There’s just one catch: You’ve got to do this without using your hands, arms, or knees for support.

Take as much time as you need. I suggest crossing your legs to lower slowly onto the ground, and to rise back to standing — you’ll have more control that way.

And every time you do need to use your hands, arms, or knees — make a note of it.

[ Note: If you’ve got balance issues or are prone to falls, this isn’t for you… definitely skip this test!]

Here’s what it looks like…

Standsquatsitbw

I’m sure you’re wondering what, if anything, we can learn from such an unusual “test.”

Well, a 2012 study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 1 found that these basic physical skills — sitting down and standing up — were huge predictors of longevity.

The study followed over 2,000 men and women ages 50 through 80… and the first thing scientists did was perform a Sitting Rising Test (SRT) — the same test you just tried.

Here’s how they scored the SRT:

  • Every participant started with a total of 10 points — 5 for sitting, 5 for rising.
  • Every time a participant needed to use their hands, arms, or knees for support, they lost a point.
  • A “10” is the best possible score — and a “0” is the WORST. (Scientists considered anything below a 7 to be cause for concern.)

Go ahead, try the test and keep score. You’ll want to know your SRT number…

Because scientists found that of the 159 people who died during the 6-year study, ALL BUT 2 OF THEM struggled on the SRT test — meaning they scored 7 or below.

But they also found that every single point increase in SRT scores led to a 21% improvement in survival. 1

What does that mean for you?

Well, if you scored high on that SRT test, congratulations! You’re most likely in great shape.

And if your score was on the low side, don’t worry — it’s possible to improve your results with just a few exercises:

1) Sitting & Standing:
Just repeating the test over and over again will help strengthen the muscles you need to sit and stand without assistance.

Try to use less support every time until you’re able to do it completely unsupported. (Again, if you’re at risk of falling or getting stuck on the ground, make sure someone is around to help out.)

2) Simple Squats:
Doing just a few squats a day can really help strengthen your leg muscles… and you don’t have to hit the gym to do it.

Simply take a seat in an imaginary “chair” from a standing position, then ease your way back up, in 3 sets of 10, every day. (I actually do this when I’m watching TV.)

3) Practice Planking:
A plank is like the top of a pushup — and when done right, it’s an INCREDIBLE core workout.

Focus on keeping your arms and back straight and your abs pulled in for maximum results… and try to hold it for as long as possible. If you can only hold it for a few seconds, that’s okay – you’ll find yourself getting stronger every time!

Those 3 simple exercises may not seem like much…but if you do them regularly, you’ll see a difference in your SRT score fast.

And you don’t have to spend hours working out, either, just five minutes a day: 2 minutes of squats, 1 minute of planks, 2 minutes sitting and standing.

And remember, every single point you can increase your SRT score could mean a huge boost to your longevity…

And that’s too important to ignore.

To great days ahead,

Dr. Bereliani

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