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Your Most Important Investment

When you were born, you were given the greatest gift in the world.

You were given a life of time. Most people, however, don’t value their time. Perhaps this is because this great gift was given to us for free.

Think you are smart enough to avoid “spending” your time? Maybe not. In fact, many people spend huge amounts of their time each day without any return on investment (i.e. wasting). When you spend your time in front of the TV, searching aimlessly on the internet, eating the wrong food or hanging out with the wrong people, you are spending time with no real hope of a positive return.

The short-term return of a cheap laugh, sugar rush, or extra pound of fat may feel good at the time, but is worthless in the long term. A successful life is not created when you simply spend time. Success happens when you invest it.

No matter who you are or where you are from, you have something in common with everyone else: you were given 24 hours today, and the clock is ticking.

In your “time budget,” you are given 24 hours in a day. Today you, like everyone else, will get 24 hours. What you do with each 24 hour day added up over your lifetime will determine your future. If you really understand that, then every hour, minute and second becomes valuable.

In fact, time is more valuable than money because you can always get more money, but once your time is gone, you cannot have it back.

When you invest money, you should expect a return (more money, improved health, etc). The same should be true for your time.

The great news?
Investing in yourself doesn’t need to be a huge lifestyle overhaul in just a few days or weeks. What counts is gradual progress with a clear goal in mind of appreciating self-optimization.

Here is my list of 5 things you can do to make sure you’re actively protecting your most important investment:

1. Eat Well

It sounds easy, but for many people, cleaning up one’s diet can be a challenge when confronted with habits, traditions, and peer pressures. Going back to our car example, think of it this way: if you want your car to last as long as possible and run smoothly and efficiently, the clear choice is regular maintenance, oil changes and quality gasoline. Similarly, if you want your body and health to be at the highest level of performance, only feed yourself premium “fuel” in natural, whole forms.

2. Sleep

Many people these days are concerned with working out more, multitasking, and trying too hard to do too much. While keeping busy is not inherently bad, not getting sufficient rest to recover is. You can’t maintain (or regain) health without proper rest and you can’t master new skills without time to digest it.

3. Read

Society lately has grown progressively inclined to read short blurbs about interesting topics because that’s what fits on your laptop and smartphone screens, but that scenario leaves some things to be desired. Yes, the internet has rich content (I hope this newsletter is one of them), but it’s also important to dive into good books. The longer and deeper the material, the more your mind will be stimulated by its content and the more you’ll learn and grow.

4. Exercise

This is probably a no-brainer for those of you reading, but it still must be mentioned. Exercise keeps your metabolism healthy, your hormones in balance, your muscles and physiology running efficiently, and energizes your brain so you can keep learning and working on yourself every day. Exercise is also really fun, and a great chance to spend time with friends and build relationships.

5. Get Regular Check-ups (Dentist/Doctor)

It would be a shame for all of your hard work to go to waste because you’re home sick from work. You don’t need to obsess, but knowing where you stand every so often is very empowering and useful for many situations. This is even more important when you decide to try some big diet or exercise changes and you want to know how your physiology is changing. The more informed of your own health, the better equipped you’ll be to control it.

Don’t just learn how to spend time, instead learn how to invest it.

There you have it. Straight and to the point.

Go out and make the most of your time today…

The CoQ10 Statin Secret

Here is something that will shock many of you. Back in 1990s, the pharmaceutical
giant, Merck, decided to add CoQ10 to a statin medication. They even went so
far as to get a patent. The patent number is 4,933,165.

This short article is a real eye-opener and an important warning.

So read on…

The medical literature clearly shows that statin medications like Lipitor,Crestor, Zocor shut down the production of one of the most important nutrients in the body. And I am referring to Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

What many people are unaware of is the fact that when CoQ10 is depleted it causes the LDL cholesterol to become oxidized. This in turn sets off a cascade of events making the LDL cholesterol drill holes in the arterial wall causing major inflammation. This inflammation sets you up for an increased risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.

This a major reason why taking statins drugs is no guarantee you will not die of a heart attack.

I have to admit I am at a total loss why any doctor would prescribe a statin medication without adding the life-saving CoQ10. This may be hard to swallow (excuse the pun) but it should be illegal to prescribe a statin without also prescribing CoQ10.

The following list of health challenges should be a wake up call for people who believe they are safe taking statins without CoQ10. CoQ10 deficiency can cause fatal cardiomyopathy, heart attack, congestive heart failure (which usually carries a death sentence of 5 years), exhaustion, cancer, myopathy, depression resistant to anti-depressants, high blood pressure, gum disease and tooth loss, hair loss, liver disease, sudden complete memory loss or amnesia, cataracts, angina, cancer, folic acid deficiency, damaged cell membranes, and much more.

In fact, it not only increases your chances of getting a variety of diseases but low CoQ10 levels predict that you can die within 6 months.

So you can see that any doctor who prescribes a statin medication and then turns you loose without also prescribing CoQ10 shows lack of scientific knowledge of the very drug he or she is authorized to prescribe. Take a look at the wealth of scientific references listed below.

Now if you think I am being a bold about what I have just shared with you please understand that this is serious.

Here is something that will shock many of you. Back in 1990s, the pharmaceutical giant, Merck, decided to add CoQ10 to a statin medication. They even went so far as to get a patent. The patent number is 4,933,165.

So you may ask why in the world would they produce a statin with CoQ10 and the answer is quite obvious. They knew the seriousness of selling the world on statins without CoQ10.

Now you may be thinking whatever happened to this drug. Well it never came to the marketplace. Not sure why, but again they wouldn’t have created this combination statin-CoQ10 drug if they were not warned of the serious consequences of promoting a statin without CoQ10.

Hmmm.. makes me very suspicious…

If you are on a statin medication, I urge you to insist that your doctor checks your CoQ10 levels. You can easily have this done by getting an CardioION test which includes a direct test for CoQ10 and a more sensitive test called hydroxymethylglutarate. This is an organic acid assay which will show you if a particular dose is high enough for your body.

Just let us know if you have questions about this test or would like help having it run.

Information compliments of Functional Medicine University
www.FunctionalMedicineUniversity.com

References available upon request

How Your Diet and Lifestyle Choices are Killing You!…(Literally)

It’s a fact – most health problems can be markedly improved once a person attains a healthy diet and lifestyle.

I’ve seen my fair share of patients get healthy, off blood pressure pills, antidepressants, and other meds once they’re diet and lifestyle are under control.

It’s not a fad and it’s not sexy BUT the basics of a healthy diet, lifestyle, stress reduction, exercise, etc. WILL help you lead a healthy relatively disease free life. Estimates are that 80% of ALL cancers are lifestyle dependent….80%!!!!!!!!!

That means that 80% of all cancers are caused by —— ourselves!

Due to the choices we make.

So how do we overcome ourselves? I’ve got some strategies.

Keep reading…

How to Maintain a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle After You’ve Tried “Everything”

Make no mistake about it – human beings are pre-programmed to overeat.

There was no portion control for most of our existence. When you had access to food, you ate it, and stocked energy reserves to prepare for times when you didn’t have access to it.

Going crazy at an all-you-can-eat buffet is not weakness or a cheap way to bulk up. It’s simply a survival instinct.

In an environment where resources are limited, and food is real and scarce, this natural tendency to overeat leads to survival.

In an environment with unlimited access to highly refined, fake foods, it leads to chronic overeating, and the health struggles associated with living on the wrong side of excess.

I don’t care what the ADA says the arbitrary serving size of a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles is (3/4 cup), human instinct dictates it’s the whole damn box.

When you combine the natural evolutionary instinct to overeat with the following:

*Refined foods that have weak effects on the hormones that regulate appetite and energy intake.
*Unlimited access to those foods (the 5AM mocha-and-muffin run).

You have yourself one big, modern problem – an obese, sick country.

When analyzing the root causes of this problem, it becomes clear there are two different ways you can get healthy and get on the right side of the energy balance equation.

Healthy Eating Strategy #1 – The Food-Choices Route

Improving your food choices is the quickest and easiest way to maintain health. It’s also the most sustainable approach for the long-term.

If you hate counting calories, calculating macronutrient percentages, measuring and tracking foods, etc., your only choice is to start making better food choices. It’s way too instinctual and easy to overeat refined foods.

It’s much harder to overeat real foods. I’d argue it’s almost impossible. Without any tracking or measuring, I’ve had female patients struggle to eat 1,200 calories a day and male patients had a similar problem getting 2,000 calories a day when cutting out all refined foods, and only eating real, natural foods.

They couldn’t believe how so much food volume led to so few total calories and provided all the nutrition they’re body needed. That’s the beauty of real food.

A patient of mine was in a few months ago complaining about having to eat too much for dinner. What was on the menu?

It was 3/4 pound of top round steak and 2 pounds of potatoes. Remember, the best overall approach is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories at night – which allows us, at least once a day, to satisfy that natural urge to feast like a beast.

That’s a boatload of food to eat; yet it’s still less than 1500 calories. No late-night, starvation-induced binges here.

This patient couldn’t lose weight when he was on his ketogenic, unlimited fat diet, pouring oils on everything. Why?

Refined oils are much easier to overeat than real food, so he was always in a caloric surplus despite treating carbs like rat poison.

On his new plan, he’s lost 50 pounds.

Simple Eating Templates

*If you’re sedentary, eat like a caveman: animal proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats (nuts, shredded coconut, avocado), and muddy pond water.

*If you’re active, follow the patterns of a Japanese village-style diet, which simply means adding in some low sugar, gluten-free starches to the above caveman diet to support anaerobic training: sweet potatoes, potatoes, or rice.

Now I’m sure I’m going to get some nit-picker saying something like epidemiological research shows no culture has a universal diet and food intake varies across geographical locations, etc.

My response? Pay attention to the bigger message here…

“Themed” approaches to eating aren’t meant to be 100% historically accurate dogmatic scrolls. They’re simply educational tools to give people simple templates to remember.

The bottom line is that emphasizing lean proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats, (and a select few starch foods if you strength train) is good advice regardless of historical era or geographical location.

Healthy Eating Strategy #2 – The Portion-Control Route

Here’s the tough-love reality: 90% of the foods available to us these days aren’t that great for either body composition or biomarkers of health. That’s why people are always shocked, or even offended, when I give my honest opinion about certain food choices.

“Doc, what do you think about this high fiber cereal or low-glycemic bread or low-carb chips or pro-biotic yogurt?”

They stink.

If I didn’t list it, I don’t like it. And the list is relatively small. But remember, I’m not the be-all-end-all of nutrition. To paraphrase the Dude, well, that’s just my opinion, man. (Big Lebowski reference there.)

And for a lot of people, a full-blown real-foods diet may seem too restrictive or extreme.

There are some people out there who just don’t want to eat better, despite their knowledge of the health effects of food. It’s mind blowing to me. But I get it at some level – refined foods and sugar have drug-like effects. Like any addict, we scour the earth for justifications for including them into our plans.

Some people just aren’t going to give up their cereals, wheat-bread sandwiches, fruit juices, high Omega 6 cooking oils and salad dressings, pastas, etc., no matter what.

Fair enough.

Fake Foods and Real Instinct Don’t Mix

If you think you can take an instinctual approach to eating while making less-than-ideal food choices, you’re in for a rude, belly-fat awakening. (See beaches and poolsides everywhere.)

Because it’s so easy to overeat refined foods, you’ll have to do the ol’ measuring, calorie counting, macro-calculating, and tracking thing if you have any real shot at dropping a visually significant amount of weight and getting healthier.

My ears are already ringing from all the complaints.

If you don’t want to eat real foods, you’re going to have to measure your fake foods.

I like to make getting healthy as easy as possible for people, but you can’t be completely lazy and expect to achieve goals. If you refuse to fight one battle, you’re going to have to fight another one. You can’t win a war from the sidelines.

Besides, all it really takes is one extra step. If you’re on a carb-based diet, is it backbreaking to pour your cereal or pasta into a measuring cup first instead of directly into a bowl?

If you’re on a low-carb, fat-based diet, how hard is it to pour salad dressing into a tablespoon measurer instead of directly onto the salad, or count out twenty-four almonds?

For most foods, especially the energy nutrients (added fats or carbs) that are the most important to measure, it takes an extra 10 seconds to get an exact measurement, instead of just winging it.

Portion Precision Tactics

Here are some thoughts about how to implement this process in the real world. It’s not as hard or inconvenient as you think:

*Buy a couple sets of measuring cups (1/4 cup to 1 cup) and teaspoon/tablespoon measures.

*Use measuring cups as serving spoons instead of traditional serving utensils, particularly for starch foods and added fats like nuts.

*There’s no need to weigh your meats, poultry, and fish on a scale. Simply buy these foods one pound (16 oz.) at a time and cut them up according to your dietary needs.

If you’re supposed to be eating 3 oz. servings cut into 5 pieces, 4 oz. servings = 4 pieces, 5 oz. servings = 3 pieces, 8 oz. servings = 2 pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact; we just want the right range. Food scales seem a bit excessive to me.

When you don’t have access to measuring cups and spoons, like eating at a friend’s or at a restaurant, you’ll have to eyeball portion sizes. 4-6 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards. 1 cup of starch is about the size of a closed fist or a baseball. 2 tablespoons of dressing is about 2 spoonfuls, or about 1/2 of most of the cups they use for the “dressing on the side.”

*No need to measure non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, onions, etc.) unless they’re cooked in butter or oil. Plain vegetables are pretty much free foods that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

— HALFTIME REPORT —

The first half summary is really simple. To maintain a healthy diet you can either:

#1 Make better food choices.
#2 Start measuring your bad food choices.

For health, and overall ease of the program, I prefer route #1. You’re always going to be hungry trying to diet on refined foods, and your biomarkers of health probably aren’t going to be great either.

Simple Healthy Eating Tips

Debate could go on forever about what the best plan is to get healthy. Who cares? It all needs to be tested and refined in the real world, for you personally, anyway.

Here’s a decent starting point:

*12 calories/pound of lean body mass.
*1-1.5 grams of protein/pound of lean body mass.
*20% calories dietary fat mostly as byproduct of protein sources and maybe some Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
*Remaining calories to carbs.
*Have a cheat meal/re-feed meal once a week.
*Choose the meal frequency pattern that’s most functional and sustainable for you.
*Aside from your pre/post-workout nutrition, I think the easiest plan is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories and carbs at night.

*Try measuring your foods and making sure you’re consistently hitting the above recommendations before you think you need some crazy, triple-carb rotating, ketogenic cycling diet to lose weight and get healthy.

Chances are you just need to be better with the basics.

So there you have it. More nuggets of nutrition wisdom.

Why am I constantly sending you this healthy-eating stuff?

Because I want you to be successful.

Look, 9 times out of 10, smart folks reject my common sense healthy-living advice because somebody in their world is a naysayer. A negative Nancy sporting a cynical everybody’s-out-to-rip-me-off attitude.

If somebody is standing between you and your soon-to-be excellent life, simply fire them.

Remove (or limit exposure to) one negative person in your life. That person who always complains. The one who drags you down.

The one apathetic slacker who would say, “You looked better when you were heavier!”

Or…

“Oh my gosh! You’ve lost so much weight. Are you sick?”

(Meanwhile you have worked diligently to achieve a healthy and lifestyle. And you feel better, with more energy, than you EVER have in your life.)

Cut them loose.

And replace that person with someone who will lift you up.

Someone you look forward to seeing. Someone who inspires you.

When you start doing this, you’ll be amazed at the results.

How to WIN BIG…

It won’t take too long.

Maybe…

This is something I talk about a lot actually, as many of my patients can certify.

What I’ve learned is people who “WIN” and find consistent success tend to have a strong sense of mental toughness.

They also have a solid sense self-confidence in whatever they do as well.

They just BELIEVE.

But I’m pretty certain that most the people with a “strong mind” and hefty amount of confidence didn’t start out that way.

I’m sure, just like you and me, they had their doubts…

They had their fair share of failures…

And they had the common fears…

Whenever I come across someone who has a weak mind it’s typically the same…

Their self-confidence levels are low.

Whether they’ve tried to do something and failed or were TOLD they couldn’t do something, it transfers into how they pursue things in life.

I’ve LEARNED much from my challenges with mental toughness and strength.

Here’s one small example which illustrates how to “turn off” a weak mind. This is from MY coach, Joe. He is my strength and conditioning coach at WorkoutEngine Allentown where I work out. As an aside, if you want to get in the best shape of your life, look him up.

Now, I lesson from ‘Coach Joe’

I’m training myself and it’s time to do 16 minutes of conditioning.

The conditioning is broken down into multiple 2-minute conditioning drills on the AirDyne bike. In between the bike sprints are 2-minute plank holds. Back-and-forth between exercises, for two minutes each, until the 16 minutes are complete. It’s challenging but doable. I’m capable of metabolizing 50 calories (a calorie is a unit of energy) in each 2-minute bike sprint. For the plank, I’m tensing my body as I hold the plank without taking a break.

Before I start, I have an unnatural fear because I know I will have to give 100% focused effort and it will be physically and mentally taxing.

But the post-workout feeling of accomplishment is awesome, plus the training intensity will boost my metabolism for several hours after I am finished. This means I’ll be more efficient at burning calories, which is how you need to be if you want to achieve and maintain an athletic bodyfat for decades.

So I address my fear, and even embrace it.

My internal dialogue goes something like this:

“I don’t like this and I am afraid. What EXACTLY are you afraid of? The breathlessness from the bike sprint? The feeling of lactic acid in your legs? That’s nothing to be afraid of. You are strong and conditioned. Stop thinking so much. Hurry up and get started. Attack it.”

Believe me, there is a way to FORGE a stronger mind. But it takes consistent practice.

This is incredibly important.

I want you to THINK about it for a second.

What if you could have a stronger mind, that would transfer over to having more confidence, that would, in turn, allow you to CRUSH life instead of “just get by”?

What if there was no way to fall short of your goals or ultimately FAIL?

Imagine the possibilities.

When you believe failure is impossible, the sky becomes the limit for you.

So, you want to know how to forge a stronger mind?

Here’s the first concept:

Small Victory = BIG Victory

You’ll never SUCCEED big, unless you succeed little-by-little at first.

In other words, it takes time.

Training, for example…

Let’s say you want to hit 10 strict pull ups, but right now you’re stuck at only 5 or, worse yet, you can’t even do a single one.

Instead of beating yourself up and quitting, you stay at it.

You do what needs to be done every day.

You COMMIT to the process and get just a bit better over time.

Sooner or later you complete your first rep!

Then you’re at 5 reps, after a while, you’re hitting 6, 7, 8… 10 perfect pullups in a row.

I know it’s always hard to imagine what you might feel is impossible, but just stop and think…

If you’re not able to do just one rep yet, visualize just how awesome it’s going to feel once you hit that first rep?

Small Victory on your way to that BIG VICTORY.

Make sense?

Training, health, nutrition, work, LIFE…

It all works the same.

Both you and I win small day-by-day to WIN BIG overall.

But if you quit, you LOSE.

So take some of these with you…

* Ramp up your intensity by a small bit over time – Remember you’re not going to hit 5 pull ups today then 10 tomorrow – go up a little at a time for a SMALL victory.

* Find support via a Coach (Or Dr. they are ‘coaches’ too) or group of like-minded folks to keep you on track and accountable

* TRACK your victories so you can experience satisfaction and gratitude looking back at where you came from, instead of always looking ahead and never enjoying that satisfaction

* Stop having 55 goals to accomplish. Choose only one PRIORITY-ONE goal (only one thing can be priority #1) otherwise you’ll be spread out too thin to make any progress

Success will come in bursts.

There will be some failure in there, but again, that’s where you LEARN and your FORGE yourself into a stronger person all around.

So keep winning SMALL to WIN BIG.

And do this quick little exercise…

Look back on the past 3-4 weeks and list out ALL of the “tiny successes” you enjoyed.

That will give you a nice boost in confidence and the motivation required to push ahead.

Important News if You Drink DIET Soda

It may be cool. It may be refreshing. But no one is telling you just how DEADLY it can be.

It is the ZERO-calorie refreshment that is taking America – and the world – by storm.

Now, at this stage in your life, I am sure you have had just one…

Or maybe two… Or three…

Heck, some of you may have had one a day for the last 20 years!

But the truth is, the diet soda you’re currently drinking is probably going to KILL you…

Diet Soda and Heart Issues

In the soda world, diet soda has grabbed a major foothold over sugar-sweetened beverages.

The fact is: 29 percent of soda drinkers PREFER diet soda over regular brands. And, as the demographic shows, most of these drinkers are women.

Why?

Well for starters, it’s ZERO calories, contains ZERO grams of sugar, and is FAT FREE.

All great words for those looking to lose weight.

But, for every good side of things, there is also a bad side…

You see, diet soda uses artificial sweeteners, which sweeten the beverage without adding calories or sugar to the product.

But, these artificial sweeteners have adverse reactions associated with them.

For starters, diet soda consumption has been linked to weight gain, sugary food cravings (artificial sweeteners are 10 x as sweet as sugar) and increases your risk for diabetes.

Now you can add heart troubles to it.

So here is where the research meets reality…

A study recently presented at the American School of Cardiology, shows some pretty awful things about diet soda.

The study followed over 60,000 women for 9 years. They assessed dietary intake of diet soda consumption through a food recall list.

They separated women into categories: high diet soda intake (2 or more per day), a frequent diet soda group (five to seven per week), a group of one to four per week, and a rarely consumed diet soda group (0 to three per month).

Over the course of nine years, they followed these women and took notes when anyone had any of the following: heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, surgery to reopen clogged arteries, or death from cardiovascular disease.

Here is where it gets scary…

Those women in the HIGHEST intake of diet soda category (remember 2 or more per day), were 30 percent more likely to have a heart-related event occur in the 9 years.

30 percent! That’s a huge number.

For those who frequently drank diet soda, they only showed a 9 percent risk for developing heart-related problems.

And for those who rarely drank soda – the numbers dropped to 7 percent.

Now what do you think about your favorite refreshment?

Take-Home Message

Diet soda is on a rapid pace to overcome the sugar-sweetened beverage portion of the soda industry.

And the biggest demographic tagged with this growing trend happen to be women.

Although diet soda has been linked to a number of different health ailments, it has yet to deter the diet soda advocates from changing their tune.

[VIDEO] ==>> truth about DIET soda

Maybe this video will help convince the naysayers!

So for your health, and the health of your closest family and friends, avoid drinking diet soda (or using any artificial sweeteners for that matter), keeping diet soda in your house, or recommending diet soda to those around you.

Simply replace with, wait for it… filtered tap water! Drink it cold with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

And please don’t feel sorry for yourself because “water is boring” and “you don’t have anything ‘fun’ left to drink anymore.”

Celebrate water as your main beverage. Be thankful we have clean water to drink in most parts of this this country.

The implications this may have on your health – and your fat loss results – may simply astound you.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Benedetto