Fit Father’s Day Tips: A Focus on Men’s Health

Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., Kimatni Rawlins, and Stephen Neabore, M.D., at the Physicians Committee in D.C.

June is Men’s Health Month so this Father’s Day the Physicians Committee is teaming up with fit fathers Stephen Neabore, M.D., and Kimatni Rawlins to learn about simple dietary modifications that can result in major health gains. Their top tips? Build meals around plant-based foods, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; stay active by moving for at least 30 minutes most days of the week; and lead by example.

Here’s how they put the latest nutrition science into everyday practice:

Fit Father’s Day Tip No. 1: Schedule a physical. Routine check-ups and exams let you catch problems, like borderline high cholesterol, a few extra pounds, and elevated blood pressure, before they morph into larger issues—like the early stages of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

If you haven’t booked a physical, make an appointment today and talk to your children about hereditary risk factors for disease that run in the family. The good news is DNA isn’t destiny. For example, one-third of all cancers can be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Fit Father’s Day Tip No. 2: Eat your greens. Consume at least one leafy green vegetable each day, which helps stabilize blood sugar. For an extra boost, aim for a few cups of raw leafy greens to slash type 2 diabetes risk and to extend cognitive function as your body ages.

If you’re not sure where to start, pick up Swiss chard, arugula, and mesclun, which help to improve oxygen circulation throughout the body more efficiently than any other salad green. Other good picks include celery, collards, green beans, kale, and spinach. By loading up with greens, you’ll have more energy to do the things you love, whether it’s playing a game of pick-up basketball, taking your family on a hike, or helping your kids with their chemistry homework. Asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, and parsley are other green veggies that help the body break down atherosclerotic plaque and support healthy blood flow.

Fit Father’s Day Tip No. 3: Swap seasoning for potato chips. Those nicely packaged snack packs—whether it’s cookies, candy, or chips—look easy to pick up and throw into lunches, but these packaged items often contain surprisingly high amounts of sodium, sugar, and empty calories.

To satisfy cravings for a crunchy treat, you can pair plain popcorn with a few pinches of Himalayan sea salt and Vegit (no oil or butter). Your kids won’t know the difference, but you’ll slash their saturated fat intake in half. Kale chips are delicious, too.

In addition to planning healthful snacks in advance, one of the best things you can do for your family is to set up your kitchen so that the healthiest choice is the easiest choice. Start by preassembling to-go bags of healthful snacks, which can fit into lunches, sports bags, desk drawers, and car consoles. When all else fails, pick up extra apples and bananas—which Dr. Neal Barnard refers to as the ultimate fast food.

Fit Father’s Day Tip No. 4: Like lycopene. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in American men, falling behind lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is also the most common. In addition to maintaining a healthy body weight and staying active, you can further slash prostate cancer risk by filling up with fruits and veggies. A plant-based vegan diet reduces prostate cancer risk by 35 percent.

One way to increase intake of these disease-fighting foods is to start by adding lycopene, an antioxidant associated with reduced prostate cancer risk, to your diet. Lycopene is bundled in tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, and guava. To double lycopene’s bioavailability, heat it up. Stewed tomatoes and pasta sauce are great options.

Fit Father’s Day Tip 5: Befriend beans. Plant proteins—think lentils, beans, and peas—are packed with fiber, a nutrient exclusive to plant foods. Fiber escorts toxins and other unwanted compounds from your body. It also sends a signal to your brain that you’re full. Aim for at least 40 grams of fiber a day. The average American consumes just 15 to 16 grams of daily fiber. Especially good sources include bean chili, bean-based dips, salads with beans, and vegetable stir-fry dishes with black beans, bold spices, and BBQ tofu.

Want to learn more? Follow the conversation online at #FitFathersDay, #PlantBasedRx, and #MensHealthMonth.

Good Morning America’s Top Diets for 2017

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To begin I would like show my gratitude, love and respect to Good Morning America and U.S. News and World Report for featuring Fit Fathers in their 2017 Best Diets segment this morning. The timing couldn’t have been any better as millions of people are heading into the new year attempting to alter their lifestyle with changes that will lead to better health, daily exercise and mindful choices. Of course I was representing the vegan and plant-based world of nutrition and continue to advocate the life enhancing benefits of this natural path for those looking to positively alter their eating habits. So continue to eat clean, stay active and energize your life!

View the video at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/us-news-world-reports-best-diets-44537289

Kimatni D. Rawlins, Nationally Recognized Fitness Expert

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Alcohol: 16 Reasons to Rethink Your Drink

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A recent study suggested a trend toward reduced fertility with high alcohol consumption, more than 14 drinks a week, though results were not statistically significant[1]. Other studies support this finding but others disagree[1]. Apart from fertility, excessive alcohol use is associated with high-risk sexual behaviors and STD transmission[2], date rape and sexual assault[3]. Of course, alcohol consumption duringpregnancy is a bad idea, being a cause of miscarriage[4], fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) and alcohol-related birth defects[5]. [Read more…]

How Not To Break Your Fitness Schedule When Traveling

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Kimatni D. Rawlins

The majority of my health blogs and topics manifest from running usually while I’m on the road traveling. For instance, I recently went on a peaceful 3-mile run along San Antonio’s beautiful River Walk on a clear and sunny day and wondered how many fellow fitness companions were local in comparison to visitors on business or pleasure. I was in town for work but certainly wasn’t going to let that stop me from energizing my physique and strengthening my heart. With that in mind, here are a few ideas or pointers to keep you focused on the go whether it’s a pleasuring vacation or hectic work project.

If you already have an adoration for burning calories, staying trim and glorifying euphoria then exercising on the road is already a part of your daily regimen. For those who find it challenging commingling both, you will simply need to put a bit more thought and energy into the task at hand. Nevertheless, even the most dedicated fitness buff can let go too much and leave home without it. Yes, “it” represents your gear!

First things first, when you begin packing go for the running shoes, fitness shorts, socks and a shirt first. Some may also need their phone sleeve, headband, spandex shorts and gloves like myself. Pack two sets of apparel if you are away for two to three days. Include an additional set if your stay is longer than three days. Make sure to choose dry sweat clothes such as Nike’s Dry-Fit line so you can either wash and dry quickly in the bathroom sink or re-pack them dry opposed to damp. Who wants their dress shirts smelling like a sweaty 5-mile run? Afterwards, pick out your work outfits and dress shoes.

Vacation Fitness

If you are like me and never check in luggage, but simply flow with a rolling carry on, then there may be some concerns regarding room. Well, try the rolling technique for the sports gear which compacts your clothes so more can fit. Also, stuff the socks and briefs in your shoes. I also wear one of my fitness outfits on the plane. This not only offers the ability to travel with additional items, but also keeps me comfortable and psychologically ready to hit the ground running. Literally! I may land at 2pm and have a scheduled 5pm meet-n-greet to attend before a 7pm dinner. After settling down at the hotel I am left with a whopping two hours to run, swim, bike or hit the gym. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes your body and mind will thank you for the activity. Meanwhile, various ideas and strategies are being produced for your time with company executives and colleagues. Some of my most brilliant and sensational concepts and solutions have arisen while I was out running. Plus, your associates will be envious when they ask what you did that afternoon. “Oh, nothing much. I just went for an hour bike ride around the lake.” Trust me, I’ve been in this position hundreds of times!

The other advantages of wearing New Balance, Brooks, Saucony or Asics athletic kicks in the airport is so you can move quicker from terminal to terminal and choose the stairs over escalators. Both Washington Dulles and Las Vegas airports have an impeccable set of steps that are sure to speed up your heart rate, which equates to caloric burn. Sometimes I’m so energized that I sprint to the top with my suitcase in hand. It feels so good and you never know who you may influence. There were many times when I was about to skip the hard work until I saw another traveller taking my prescribed route. So of course that kept me inspired to follow my own guidelines. How about that!

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The next habit you want to strengthen is putting your workout sessions on the itinerary or calendar. This way your plan becomes fail proof. Let’s say breakfast is at 8am, meetings begin at 9:30am, lunch is at 12pm and the event concludes at 4pm. Then you have a 6pm happy hour and 7:30pm dinner. Well, you can either schedule the workout at 6am or at 4:30pm. Either way you are prepping your mind to be on time for physical engagement. At the end of the day it is just as important (more so in my book) than any work assignment. What’s the point in accumulating all that wealth if you do not have perfect health and longevity to enjoy it?

If the travel is for leisure then of course there are no excuses. This is the time to actually put in more fitness work because you have the spare hours. For example, I may be heading to Jamaica, Miami or London with friends, but best believe every day of that trip I’m going to rise with the sun and hit it hard. As I always say, vacation is to relax the mind, not the body.

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Lastly, organize a group of work buddies to assemble for a workout opposed to meeting at the bar. Each person will certainly hold themself accountable and surely will not want to be the reason for any team jokes. Remember, stay fit, eat clean and continue to energize your life.

Barnard Medical Center: A New Model for Medical Care

Dr.Neal.Barnard_PCRM_Barnard_Medical_CenterWords by Dr. Neal Barnard / Photo by  Steve Shapiro

For all the patients who have complained that their doctors know nothing about nutrition, all the medical students who have had nowhere to see plant-based diets in action, all the people following vegan diets who could not find a doctor who understands their choices, all the enlightened but overly busy doctors who have had no time to counsel patients on food choices, and, most of all, all the people suffering with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and weight problems who are taking one prescription after another and have never been able to tackle the cause of their problems, we have opened the Barnard Medical Center. You can download the special Barnard Medical Center excerpt from the winter 2016 issue of Good Medicine to find out more.

It is a place where patients get the care they need, where they and their families are supported for diet and lifestyle changes, where doctors, nurses, and dietitians can thrive, and where medical students can learn.

Barnard Medical had its genesis back in 2003, when the National Institutes of Health funded the Physicians Committee’s research on plant-based diets for type 2 diabetes. As our approach became well-known, people from far and wide asked how they could visit our doctors, and doctors asked how they could learn about the methods we had developed. Although we have produced books, videos, television programs, and Web materials, and have held many conferences to bring our approach to a wide audience, it became clear that a medical center was very much needed.

When nutrition is a core issue—in diabetes, for example—we give special emphasis to the power of nutrition through individual and group sessions and ongoing support, and we prescribe medications only to the extent you really need them.

When nutrition is not the issue—for coughs, urinary infections, twisted ankles, and other problems that come into a busy primary care clinic—we provide the medicines, bandages, or whatever else patients may need. But every patient is also invited to schedule a diet makeover and get help with quitting smoking or breaking other habits. After all, a twisted ankle is not likely to be fatal, but bad eating habits that go overlooked year after year may well be. We’ll help change them.

Barnard Medical is also a teaching facility for medical students from the George Washington University, and a place where research studies can test new nutrition interventions. Barnard Medical is not-for-profit. We accept the major insurance plans and have a sliding scale for low-income patients. We gladly accept donations and memorial gifts of support.

I hope you have a chance to meet our team, and we look forward to the day when every doctor and every patient embraces the power of foods for health and has the knowledge and tools to put it to work.

Barnard Medical Center Is Now Open

Barnard_Medical_CenterFor all the patients who have complained that their doctors know nothing about nutrition, all the medical students who have had nowhere to see plant-based diets in action, all the people following vegan diets who could not find a doctor who understands their choices, all the enlightened but overly busy doctors who have had no time to counsel patients on food choices, and, most of all, all the people suffering with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and weight problems who are taking one prescription after another and have never been able to tackle the cause of their problems, we have opened the Barnard Medical Center. You can download the special Barnard Medical Center excerpt from the winter 2016 issue of Good Medicine to find out more.

It is a place where patients get the care they need, where they and their families are supported for diet and lifestyle changes, where doctors, nurses, and dietitians can thrive, and where medical students can learn.

Barnard Medical had its genesis back in 2003, when the National Institutes of Health funded the Physicians Committee’s research on plant-based diets for type 2 diabetes. As our approach became well-known, people from far and wide asked how they could visit our doctors, and doctors asked how they could learn about the methods we had developed. Although we have produced books, videos, television programs, and Web materials, and have held many conferences to bring our approach to a wide audience, it became clear that a medical center was very much needed.

When nutrition is a core issue—in diabetes, for example—we give special emphasis to the power of nutrition through individual and group sessions and ongoing support, and we prescribe medications only to the extent you really need them.

When nutrition is not the issue—for coughs, urinary infections, twisted ankles, and other problems that come into a busy primary care clinic—we provide the medicines, bandages, or whatever else patients may need. But every patient is also invited to schedule a diet makeover and get help with quitting smoking or breaking other habits. After all, a twisted ankle is not likely to be fatal, but bad eating habits that go overlooked year after year may well be. We’ll help change them.

Barnard Medical is also a teaching facility for medical students from the George Washington University, and a place where research studies can test new nutrition interventions. Barnard Medical is not-for-profit. We accept the major insurance plans and have a sliding scale for low-income patients. We gladly accept donations and memorial gifts of support.

I hope you have a chance to meet our team, and we look forward to the day when every doctor and every patient embraces the power of foods for health and has the knowledge and tools to put it to work.

Island Vacation Fitness

Vacation_Fitness_Fit_Fathers_Kimatni_Rawlins...13“Oh no, you don’t supposed to be exercising in the gym during island vacations,”said the beach bum heckler. “Ha, you must not know the Fit Fathers sacred life enhancement code,” we replied. Eat clean, keep active and continuously energize your life. So scat while we build muscle from fat!

Kimatni D. Rawlins, Fit Fathers

Doctors Seek to Ban Carcinogenic Hot Dogs from School Lunches

Hand Holding Hot Dog in Napkin --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should stop distributing carcinogenic hot dogs and other processed meats to children through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, says a Physicians Committee petition filed with USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack. The petition is based on a recent World Health Organization report that finds processed meats are “carcinogenic to humans.”

The Physicians Committee’s petition calls on USDA to stop offering processed meats for purchase, subsidy, and reimbursement under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The petition asks USDA to encourage schools that offer processed meats to include alternatives to these products in menus.

The WHO report, published in Lancet Oncology, is based on research from more than 800 studies looking at the cancer-causing properties of processed meats. The authors highlighted a meta-analysis that found each 50 gram portion of processed meat—approximately the size of a typical hot dog—eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

The Physicians Committee’s USDA petition is also based on findings from the American Institute for Cancer Research, the World Cancer Research Fund, and the National Institutes of Health.

In 2009, the Physicians Committee, through its subsidiary the Cancer Project, petitioned USDA to prohibit the distribution of processed meat through the National School Lunch Program due to the increased risk of cancer that results from consuming processed meat. USDA denied the petition due to a purported lack of “consensus documents of the U.S. Government or of the leading world bodies with cancer expertise” but said that it would reconsider the request “[s]hould expert consensus develop.”

Despite the scientific consensus about the cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risks associated with processed meats, they are still widely consumed in the United States, especially by children. A survey conducted this year by the Physicians Committee found that the magazine of the School Nutrition Association, which represents school food service workers, continues to promote pepperoni pizza, corn dogs, and other processed meats.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women.

Visit DropTheDog.org to learn more about the dangers of processed meats and ask USDA to ban them from school lunches.

Be the Change!

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This is what we gave them at Fit Fathers​ Day. If it is nutritional change your are seeking then of course you have to spearhead the change. Don’t give in to temptation over what others might perceive because it’s open to public opinion. How can you say a health event was hosted when soda, chips and candy bars were served? And guess what, the fruit was gone by the end of the celebration. #EatClean #FitFathers

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My Killer Dad Bod

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A funny thing happened on the way to getting in the best shape of my life. I accidentally got fat and sexy. No, I didn’t just become lazy. No, I didn’t have a baby since I already have three. No, I didn’t get married, that was a year away. I ruptured my calf cleaning out the car of all things. So here I am fit looking, but by medical standards obese. Now, bodies like mine have been labeled “dad bods” and the Internet is going crazy applauding the image. This has me uncomfortable, because my “dad bod” could kill me.

Most dads are well over 20 years old and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are in the age bracket where health problems start becoming as common as happy hours. Also dad bods are 10 pounds heavier than non-dad bods, according to the CDC.

Ok, so we know “Average Dad-Bod Joe” is already in more health dangers than women and more likely to have heart problems. “Average Dad-Bod Joe” is likely to go to the doctor less than women, drinks more alcohol than most women and naturally doesn’t do as much around the house as women. He moves less, in many cases eats more and is now being championed as lazy, but is fine with his heart-hardening, artery-clogging flab.

Encouraging dads to let themselves go is suicide and the Internet perpetuating the dad-bod image is genocide. This is a deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially of a particular group aka dads! Maybe a tad extreme, but I want to be around for my kids and become an example in mind, body and spirit. Don’t kill the image of a healthy dad since your kids need to see that. Dads influence the well-being, the decision making and eating habits of their children. If you are bringing junk foods into the house guess who else will be eating it? If you are not exercising and showcasing the importance of outdoor activities then guess who will be become lazy and zoned out with the electronics? Your kids.

Children are sponges. Do we really want them to soak up the trails of fat and slime as we slowly Jabba the Hut our way to an unhealthy model? You can “dad bod” until you fall off the face of the earth but for my fit fathers, now is not a time to be joking around with the lives of our future generations.

June is National Men’s Health Month and what better time to control your dad-bod. Take the Fit Fathers Day pledge today and can commit to the few simple steps to put you on path towards a fit “dad bod,” one that isn’t a fad.