Learn about Rhabdomyolysis

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Rhabdomyolysis, or “Rhabdo” for short, is the death of muscle cells (rhabdo from Greek meaning “rod”, myo – “of muscles, relating to muscles” and lysis meaning “to break”). When muscle is damaged or strained from work, it releases a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. If the levels of the protein get too high, they can cause damage to the kidneys and even cause renal failure.

Though it’s not a new condition, rhabdomyolysis has been recently associated with popular high-intensity workout regimens which typically have participants pushing beyond their limits with extreme power-lifting along with challenging cardiovascular activities. However, there are other different causes including dehydration resulting from drug or alcohol, trauma, heat stroke, medications, and infection.

One of the signs of rhabdomyolysis is dark, red, or brown-colored urine and can be accompanied by fatigue, muscle weakness, fever, and difficulty moving limbs as well as nausea and vomiting.

To help avoid injury during high-intensity exercise, it’s important to have proper training and diet. Whether you’re just beginning an intense workout regimen or have been training for years, every athlete needs to know the risk for rhabdomyolysis.

Remember to never push your body for too long or too hard in exercise as well as to have proper nutrition and fluid intake so you can effectively flush out myoglobins through your urine.

#2 Problems Solved! Have the Perfect Poo

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If your bathroom visit has you feeling less-than-stellar, whether from incomplete bowel evacuation or runny rapid transit, you may wonder what’s going on with your gut. We will solve the mysteries of these #2 issues so that you can sit down and take action!

What’s your number?
If you’re looking at the stool chart feeling as through you run the gamut of each type, start to observe toilet clues and investigate reasons that may underlie issues of diarrhea and constipation. Like most changes, this starts with awareness. Track the number associated with the Bristol stool chart type that best matches your bowel movement.

Water makes all the difference. Diarrhea results when the intestine doesn’t have time to reabsorb all the water from the food waste before it exits. On the other hand, if too much water being reabsorbed, constipation occurs and results in hard, dry rabbit-poo-like stools.

When you can’t wait another second….diarrhea. Common causes of diarrhea include:
Food allergies or sensitivities
Lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance/Celiac disease, or malabsorption of fructose
Hyperthyroidism
Emotional stress
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastrointestinal infection

Sh*t happens….hopefully. Constipation involves the passing of hard, dry stools that resemble rabbit or deer excrement. Are you eating sugar, processed carbs, packaged foods? If so, you’re at higher risk for constipation. Or perhaps it’s one of these common issues:
Low fiber intake (or too much fiber and not enough water)
Food allergies (dairy and wheat can also lead to constipation issues for some)
Hypothyroidism & hormonal imbalance
Lack of physical activity
Dehydration
Issues with the nerves or muscles in the intestinal tract

Whoa! That stinks!
If you find that your flatulence clears a room or your BMs are so stinky they cause a plane to turn back, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. For the deadly gas (silence optional), the problem has its roots in sulfur compounds. One reason why flatulence can flatten the mood: bacteria adds sulfates to trapped air bubbles in the gut, creating smelly farts. Food can lead to foul smells particularly when one is consuming foods high in sulfur (think Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, and onion).

Smelly poo can have its origins from food as well. Those who eat a lot of animal protein tend to have stinkier BMs. A weak digestive system will contribute to foods not breaking down well and putrefying in the gut. Poor diet and stress often have key roles to play as can food sensitivities and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Have the Perfect Poo
Though seemingly as mythical as unicorns, some people claim to have the perfect poos. You can too! First, you have to know what you’re aiming for. On the Bristol stool chart, a perfect poo would ideally be a 4, with 3 and 5 being strong contenders. Let your competitive side show as you try some of these tips to improve your digestive wellness.

  • Get more fiber (think fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains)
  • Drink enough water! Some people like to jazz it up with some lemon water and mint.
  • Address any underlying thyroid issues
  • Consider eliminating gluten and/or dairy  from the diet (both are a common cause of diarrhea and constipation) or other foods on your sensitivity results
  • Fermented foods (i.e. kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut) may be beneficial as they can support the colonization of healthy bacteria in the gut. Consider a probiotic supplement.
  • Exercise!
  • Incorporate stress management techniques
  • Get enough sleep

It is important to give your body the tools it needs to be healthy. Every piece of food eaten is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. If it passes too quickly in the digestive tract, important nutrients are missed. If it takes too long, damage may occur in the colon (think diverticulitis as an example). Remember that there are plenty of neurotransmitters in your gut and the brain-gut connection is real. Your thoughts, anxiety, depression, stress, and mood impact your gut.  All of the information and ideas presented, what step will you take to  achieve gastrointestinal balance? 

Recipe: The One Bite Wellness “Juicy Sunrise” Drink

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Even we don’t necessarily *boing* out of bed every morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It takes a bit of finesse to adjust from the world of dreams to one of reality, with all its challenges and enjoyment. Guess what helps? A bright, delicious Juicy Sunrise drink. What this juice has is pizzazz, grace, and energizing qualities. What it doesn’t have (yet) is a Nike contract. We’re working on it.

Meanwhile, whether you’re in college, a stay-at-home-mom, or busy executive, you’ll want to get busy in your kitchen making this gorgeous, nutrient-blasting drink. It can be juiced or blended (for those who want the extra fiber).

2 oranges
1 inch ginger root
6 carrots
2 lemons

Peel the oranges, lemon, and ginger (carrots optional, if organic,
otherwise peel them). Run through the juicer (or throw in the blender) and enjoy the boost of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and more nutrients!

The Straight Poop on Stool

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Everybody poos. Are we getting awkward yet? Fantastic. Yes, we each have our own bathroom habits and the information your unique #2 supplies can help you, and your healthcare practitioner, explore gut issues and even food sensitivities.

What is poo made of? Though some females claim it’s all glitter and unicorn smiles, nope; it’s the pretty much the same as our male counterparts. Stool is about 75% water with the remainder being a combination of fiber, live and dead bacteria, body cells, and mucus. Yay! (Bowel) Moving on…

Often times, our BMs (bowel movements) have established themselves in a certain way for most of our lives and we’ve never stopped to examine them. Have you ever wondered what is “normal” in terms of consistency and frequency? 

Next time, before you ‘flush and dash’, take a look….what is the shape, texture, and color? Does it float or sink?  Each of these factors can give insight into hydration, food sensitivities, digestive issues and more.

Oprah has her microphone, plumbers have plungers, fortune tellers have crystal balls, and dietitians..well we have the Bristol Stool Chart! Behold this amazing tool that can help you categorize your BMs and problem-solve to make them into everything you’ve ever dreamed your digestion could produce.

Disclaimer:  these poos are not real. No poo was harmed in the creation of this blog.

bristol stool chart numbers

Poo Types
1: hard, rabbit-like pellets that are hard to expel
2: a contiguous piece but lumpy and still a bit hard
3: a smoother sausage-like poop with cracks
4: sausage or snake-like, smooth and soft
5: soft pieces, clearly separated
6: mushy stool, ragged edges, not well-defined
7: entirely liquid stool

I think mine was a ‘4’ – is that okay? Gold star for you, perfect pooper! In general, the goal is to stay within types 3-5.

Why is poo brown? When red blood cells break down, there’s a pigment called bilirubin which is made. The bacteria in the intestines transforms the combination of bilirubin, iron (from the red blood cells), and waste into a brown poo.

But what if my poo is red/yellow/green/tarry/mucus-y? Oh gosh, pull up a stool…er, chair…okay, bright red can be from a bleeding ulcer, hemorrhoids, or even eating beets. The first two are worth seeing a doctor about, the third is just a reminder of something you ate within the past few days and isn’t serious. Yellowish-green color can be caused by the green bile that combines with the waste products in the gut but move too quickly through the intestines to turn brown before making the exit. This color, which is typically involved in a malabsorption disorder (i.e. celiac disease), is associated with excess fat in the stool. The green color can also be caused by eating lots of leafy greens, food coloring, or iron supplements. Black tarry stools can indicate that there has been blood which, along its route in your intestines, dried up. This can signal internal bleeding and is worth a trip to the doctor.

Mucus can be clear or vary from white to yellow and looks a bit like jelly. Gawd, can this get any more gross? Yes, because even though mucus is normal to have in your gut to help move things along without much friction, sometimes this can get out-of-hand when there are ulcers or inflammation in the intestines. You may want to let your healthcare provider know if this is an issue for you.

How often should I go? Disturbingly enough, a pediatrician once asked a young dietitian-to-be how often she had a BM; the answer of “once every 3-4 days” was met with a response of “that’s normal, everyone is different.” Only later in her studies did the young one find that having 3-4 days worth of toxins in one’s gut is not normal nor healthy. This is why a dietitian worth her sea salt is going to ask you about not only what goes into your mouth, but what comes out the other end. Because we <3 you and want you to feel amazing. To answer your question though – ‘normal’ will vary from 3x a week to 3x per day. Generally transit time from eating to expelling runs about 18-72 hours. 

Get a handle on what’s going on inside your guts by paying attention and talking with a healthcare professional about your digestive concerns.

Stay tuned! Our next topic will be problem-solving diarrhea and constipation as well as tips on how to have the perfect poo!

Nori Veggie Wraps

nori veggie wrap obw credit

We are about to blow your minds: nori isn’t just for making sushi. In fact this seaweed can be used to make what is arguably one of the best wraps. Ever. In fact, someone here loves this so much she ate it for lunch every single day last week and then again today. There is something about the blending of all these flavors and yet still being able to taste them separately that drives our taste buds wild. Hopefully it does the same for you.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4  (or two hungry people)

Ingredients
4 sheets of dried nori (typically found in the ethnic section of the grocery, or pick some up at your local Asian market)
4 big romaine or red leaf lettuce leaves
1.5 cups mung bean sprouts (we advise against canned; go for the fresh ones- we found some at Raisin Rack)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 radishes, sliced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 cucumber sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup peanuts (optional)
Dressing:
2 Tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce, or use regular if you’re not gluten-sensitive)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

Instructions

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Chop all your veggies. Put each leaf of lettuce on a place and place nori sheet on top before filling with all the vegetables listed. For your dressing, mix the tamari, apple cider vineger, and toasted sesame seed oil all together in a small container and then pour over each open-faced veggie pile. Keep as-is to eat or roll up into a wrap. Caution: it’s a bit messy (mainly because we were devouring it) so keep a napkin or paper towel handy.

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This is before we put even more veggies in!

Bad to the Bone- 6 Tips to Prevent Osteoporosis.

photo source & permission from:  American Recall Center

photo source & permission from: American Recall Center

Osteoporosis is a ‘silent’ disease in which the bones become weak and brittle; unfortunately, it usually only becomes evident when one fractures a bone. One reason why it is paramount to avoid such fractures is because it can involve surgical replacements that can be defective and cause needless pain. It’s better to protect yourself by learning about risk factors and making diet and lifestyle changes.

The disease has quite a few risk factors:

  • being female
  • age, older age increases risk of osteoporosis
  • family history of osteoporosis and/or fractures
  • having a small, thin body frame
  • being caucasian or asian puts one at higher risk
  • low estrogen for women, low testosterone for men
  • having an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa
  • poor diet & lifestyle habits
  • certain medications can increase risk of osteoporosis
  • lack of exercise

Here are 6 tips you can follow to help protect yourself against the disease and healthily age:

1. Eat your greens! Leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and swisschard are packed with bone-building calcium and vitamin K. Try some spinach in your morning smoothie or mustard greens chopped up in your favorite chili.

2. Avoid smoking & drinking alcohol – both are detrimental to general health and to your bones.

3. Get your vitamin D. This nutrient helps calcium’s absorption in the body, preventing your bones from being fragile or misshapen (think rickets). Even a small amount of sun exposure a few times a week can help your body produce vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health. During the winter months, consider a high-quality vitamin D supplement.

4. Kick soda to the (trash) can! You know that cola is detrimental to your teeth, but it can also harm your bones. Studies have suggested a link between soda and lower bone density. Some experts accuse the phosphoric acid in cola being responsible for leeching calcium from bones. Others say caffeine can lower the absorptive capacity of calcium. In any case, it’s best to focus on hydrating yourself with water.

5. Eat more nuts! Not only do nuts contain healthy fat, they also contain the calcium and protein essential for strong bones. Protein deficiency, particularly in older adults, can also cause a loss of bone mass. Consider adding in almonds, walnuts, pistachios and some brazil nuts.

6. Body movement builds bones! Strength-training can assist you in building muscle, losing weight, and creating stronger bones. A gym membership isn’t required for walking, jogging, push-ups, squats, or climbing stairs – so feel free to incorporate this into your daily life and in your home. With these weight-bearing exercises you can strengthen your bone tissue and maintain bone density. Additionally, exercising can help with balance and coordination both of which can prevent falls and fractures.

Remember, we start losing bone mass in our early 30s so do your best to create a strong, osteoporosis-free future!

Call to the Nation: Take your Vacation!

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Of all industrialized nations, America has the least number of vacation days. A far cry from the 30+ days offered as annual leave and paid holidays by other countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, and Italy, some Americans are lucky to get (and use) the roughly two weeks given as a ‘benefit’. However, quite a few of us are not even taking this small amount of time off, in the true sense of the word. To ask for a week or *gasp* two off requires advance notice of a few months, large efforts to secure work while away (though about a third of us do work during vacations), and tends to bring a decent amount of anxiety as we worry about being perceived as disloyal or lazy.

Often vacation time is now mostly utilized as personal days, taken here or there, to run errands and ‘catch up’ with life’s demands or to take a mental break from the severe stress of over-work. Do you know anyone who works 40 hours a week? Rarely do we at One Bite Wellness encounter a person who works 40 hours or less at a job; most people answer their work ranges from 45- 60 hours per week. Because of this over-working, we have higher levels of stress and depression and less recreational time with friends and family, much less time to cook and exercise.

Americans may be economically more advantaged than other countries in the world, but we seem to have lost our health and longevity. We have some of the poorest health rankings and spend more money per capita on healthcare than almost any other country. In 1980, we ranked 11th in the world for longevity; now we’ve fallen to 42nd, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

How did we get here? Well the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 regulates the maximum number of working hours, over-time, child labor, and minimum wage but never mentioned paid time off. There was never a baseline set for vacation or sick time and now it’s up to the employee and employer to negotiate. Many companies will give workers about 1-2 weeks off per year, but they can also stipulate that you cannot use more than a certain amount of days in a row. About a quarter of Americans don’t get any vacation time at all.

Benefits of a Break

  • Studies suggest that those who take vacations are less likely to suffer from heart disease and other illnesses.
  • Taking a vacation from work is associated with better health, relationships and social life, productivity and creativity, and general well-being.
  • Replenishment and life-enriching experiences, preventing ‘burn-out’
  • Stronger social and familial bonds
  • Improved patience and tolerance, less anxiety and depression

These benefits really take place over a block of vacation time, not a day taken here or there.

Focusing on this issue of vacation time forces us to examine our values, as individuals and as a country. What do we value? Economic progress over all else? What about our health and our families? Our mental well-being? We work hard and long for progress and production, but if we want to improve our quality of life and well-being, we have to fully realize that vacations matter greatly.

Do it for your sanity and your health. Be ‘time rich’. Take a vacation– holistic nutritionist’s orders. :)