Friday, February 1, 2013

Testosterone---Feed Your Libido!

Would you eat oysters if they made you feel sexier? Or trade in your morning bagel for yogurt if you knew your sex drive would increase? With an increasing number of men showing up at their internists office complaining about their testosterone levels, it seems that the foods to boost your libido will be a hot topic and a relief for many men.  More and more studies on foods and how they affect testosterone are on the rise.  A recent MIT study found that mice fed a diet of yogurt presented with larger testicles than those fed a junk food diet.  While a clear understanding of how it works is not known, although signals point to the probiotics playing a role.


So men listen up, pack in these foods and get your groove back on.

Start the day with Oatmeal you will be on your way. Oats are full of an amino acid, L-arginine, that works with nitric oxide to reduce the stiffness or blood vessels.  It has often been used as an aide to relax muscles around the penis’ blood vessels.  The increase in blood flow while allow a man to keep an erection.

Eggs, seafood, dark chocolate and oysters will all do the trick.  In fact the commonality here is they are high in zinc, which plays a significant role in blood circulation and sperm production. 

A good cup of Joe.  In fact caffeine in coffee has been shown to have an effect of increasing testosterone in the body.  Caffeine works by stimulating the adrenal glands, which in turn stimulates the production of testosterone.

Sunshine can be sexy, especially where vitamin D is concerned.  In fact studies support men with the highest level of vitamin D also had the highest level of testosterone as well. Vitamin D is found in foods such as fish oils, fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. 

Snack on nuts, serve up some lentil soup or maybe some edamame will do.  All of these foods contain high levels of D-aspartic acid, which are linked to the production of testosterone.

Spice it up with garlic and onions.  It seems studies show that these two foods, high in antioxidants and flavanoids, help to stimulate testosterone production.  So cook with it, season your meats or any way you want, it will be an asset to your testosterone levels.

Men seeking a lift to their libido can now start right in their own kitchen.  Give some of these powerful testosterone lifting foods a try and see how much sexier you feel.

Kids and Vegetarianism-Do They Mix?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics chairman, Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, “Vegetarianism can be conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but you have to balance out what you omit.”   The American Dietetic Association shares that vegetarianism can benefit kids as research shows that vegetarian kids take in less cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat, and also consume more fruits, vegetables and fiber.  With the backing of these two professional associations many more people are opting to have their kids and teens follow this alternative diet.  In fact about 3% of today’s youth are in fact proclaimed vegetarians.
 vegetarianism children
For those who opt to have their kids follow a vegetarian lifestyle it is important to be sure to avoid the common pitfalls.  First, every child regardless of being a vegetarian or not should always have a yearly check up with their physician to track proper growth, health and lab values.  When any child has a limited diet, due to choice or allergies, this is especially pertinent.

A common pitfall for the vegetarian child is the absence of adequate meal planning.  Quite often parents wind up eliminating the protein from the meals and it is not properly replaced.  Many kids opt for pastas, plain salads, or side dishes and fail to take in enough protein, which is required for proper growth and development.  It is important that parents educate their children on vegetarian protein substitutes and work to include them in their diet. This might require kids being introduced to new or unfamiliar foods, such as beans, tofu, nuts, dairy foods or other sources.  It is important to at times prepare meals ahead, research restaurant menus, educate caregivers, and bring additional snacks for your vegetarian children. 

Despite trying to follow a balanced diet iron is often an issue.  The type of iron found in plants is significantly harder for the body to absorb than the iron found in animal products. It is essential that vegetarians be tested for iron deficiency because the symptoms tend to show up after damage has occurred.  Additionally, vitamin b-12 can be a problem as it is only found in animal products as well.  Vitamin D, calcium and riboflavin need to be considered as well.  Vegans are at greater risk than those vegetarians who take in eggs or fish as well.  It is often suggested that these kids take in fortified foods or additional vitamin supplementation to help provide further nutrients.

Balancing foods is another aspect that parents need to be sure to consider.  The only complete protein found in a vegetarian diet is that which comes from soybeans.  Thus it is important that when taking in other sources of proteins, to pair these with other starches or vegetables that make it a complete protein. A meal of rice and beans is an example of a complete balanced meal.

Be careful to avoid having your kids be “french-fry-aterians”, or another words, kids who skip the meat and only eat carbohydrate foods.  In order for your child to have the benefits of a vegetarian diet, it is essential that they understand the importance of incorporating an array of vegetables, fruits, unsaturated fats, whole grains and proteins to their daily plate.  Getting an early start on understanding how to feed your kids can indeed lead to a healthier lifestyle.

There’s No Magic Bullet

 I wish I could tell you magic bullets exist. We want one for weight loss, getting off medications, and just feeling energetic. As a personal trainer, and from being a gym rat most of my life, the real magic bullet (drum roll please) is…ta-dah…diet and exercise. OK, what did you think I was going to say? Wink, wink.

bullets, healthMy best girl friend has been fighting lifelong obesity. Debbie, we’ll call her, and I have been close since high school. 
Debbie often asks me about food and exercise. Like me, she’s tried every diet. Her latest fad is the expensive HCG diet. She says she lost 20 pounds in a few weeks. Debbie told me she took hormones every day. 
“What kind of hormones,” I asked. “I don’t know.” “Are they human, horse or what? Premarin is a hormone replacement therapy often given to menopausal women…do you know?” I persisted. How could she not ask, I wondered. Premarin is made from horses…hence the root word, “mare.”  The HCG site says they use human pregnancy hormones and restrict you to 500 calories per day. That was tough, Debbie said.

Before I jump on the soapbox, I’ll admit I did some unknown hormone-shot weight-loss insanity in college decades ago. Like so many of us who have yo-yoed, that same 25 pounds is so darn stubborn. My last (and I hope it’s my last) “diet,” eating vegan or “plant-based” has been my magic bullet, combined with an almost daily regimen of running and weight training.

Obesity is linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to avoiding these often very preventable diseases. Many of you may remember the “Sun” story about one of my cooking class students who lost 120 pounds in 8 months, never counting calories, never being hungry, and loving the food. 8 years later, she is still eating healthy vegan.

I asked Debbie, “How are you going to keep the weight off now that you’re off of the hormones?” “They have a maintenance program,” she answered. Most diets do. And most people, not saying Debbie will be one of them, gain the weight back…sometimes triple fold. Our bodies go into starvation mode and think they must hoard food in our fat cells for the next famine. I keep quiet.

The next day is a fundraiser race a state park. I never register for races in advance now, since my book tour dictates my schedule and I don’t know how I’ll feel until race day.

At registration in this gorgeous park I ask volunteers, “Which race has the most senior ladies registered?” “The 5K,” they said. “I’ll do the 10K, then.” I figured my odds would be better. Wrong. I “only” got 7th in my age group. Can’t wait till that 60th birthday this year when I’ll morph to the youngster in the new age group. The spectacular trail was a lot of tough, dry sand. The organizing runners’ club did a nice job organizing two back-to-back races.

I was struck by how few kids did the 10K. It was a dark, foggy, humid morning. I’m sure if I were 15 or 20, I would roll over and go back to sleep too.

I felt surprisingly good after the long run. The more I race, the more the belly fat creep stays away. Muscle definition comes back. No magic bullet.

On my way to my car over a bridge, I saw 6 kayaks bumping into each other on a narrow stream. These folks didn’t seem to be enjoying the day as much as the 600 runners had. Whatever floats your boat and gets you out the door.

Ellen Jaffe Jones is a former Emmy-winning TV investigative reporter turned popular national speaker/author of the best seller, “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day,” a certified personal trainer (AFAA) and certified running coach (RRCA). For consultations or availability, she can be reached at