Is a Juice Cleanse Really That Clean?

It’s that time of year when it seems like everyone we know is re-committing to a healthy lifestyle, right? From juice cleanses to raw food diets, all one has to do is log onto any one of the popular news sites and one will undoubtedly find blog posts written by “health coaches”, yoga instructors, massage therapists, and journalists, promoting juice cleanses, “detox” diets, or some other equally trendy diet as a way to get healthy for the new year. It drives me nuts. I’ve made it no secret that people who proclaim juice cleanses are healthy annoy the shit out of me. The idea that drinking juice for 3 days, or 5 days, or even 2 weeks, will undo a year of poor eating, lack of exercise, and an ignorance of other kinds of self-care is absurd.

Why?

Let’s look at a really popular cleanse, The Blueprint Cleanse.  Their marketing is amazing: super savvy website, great logo, attractive founders, high quality (so they claim) ingredients. Plus, it seems promising socas it was developed by someone who calls themself a “Certified Nutrition Consultant” (CNC). Seems promising, so curious about my competition, I wanted to learn more about what it takes to be a CNC. Digging deeper I learned that you have to pass a test by The American Association of Nutrition Consultants.  Additionally, to be a CNC one needs only a high school diploma or GED. They ask that you purchase a handful of books, as their exam is based on those books (none of the books are medically based, I might add).  To become certified, all one has to do is pass that one exam (which they send you after you register on their website). Then, this organization gives you ONE FULL YEAR to take the exam, but will grant up to a 3 year extension… I guess, if you are a slow reader?

Ok, so let me get this straight: I decide I want to be a nutrition consultant so I send away for the exam. I order the books, and then simply go through the exam, open book format, to fill in the answers, and if that was done within the every generous 3 year time frame, this organization would send me a certificate I could hang on my wall? Thus, fooling the lay public into thinking that I was a legitimate healthcare practitioner? Makes me wonder why I spent 2 years in graduate school (on top of a 4 year undergrad degree) and then a 10month long clinical internship that exposed me to more than just turning the pages in a book, followed by a timed, no-notes allowed, computer based test administered in a controlled testing center.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not. I know that I have the experience and the educational pedigree to not only help people to live healthier lives, but also to smell a rat before I see one. These alternative certification agencies are akin to putting an 8 year old in the driver’s seat.  That’s not to say that some people who are “certified nutrition consultants” aren’t qualified to dispense nutrition guidance, but using the creator of the BluePrint Cleanse as our example, some are most certainly not*.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I wouldn’t seek out a CNC (or a holistic health coach, but that’s a whole other blog post) for nutrition advice and neither should you. Clearly, the difference with someone who is a “certified nutrition consultant” and someone who is a Registered Dietitian, can be HUGE.

But I digress….Let’s get into why I am not a fan of  a typical juice cleanse, using the Blueprint Cleanse as an example.  They put the nutrition information on their website, with a full list of ingredients, so, personal lack of respect for the founder aside, it made it easy for me to objectively go through the good and bad of their program.

Knowing that many juice cleanses are akin to drinking flat coke 6 times a day due to the high sugar content (differences in vitamins and minerals aside), I wanted to pick their version of the cleanse that was the cleanest. My starting definition of “clean” when talking about a juice cleanse is defined as limited fruit juices, with an emphasis on green juices). I say “starting” because by the end of that, you will see that my definition of “clean” will have changed!

 “Again, this is not a diet, however we know what you’re going to ask next. So yes, this is the Cleanse level that contains the least amount of EVERYTHING. You get the picture.” –Blueprint Cleanse website

During one day of the most minimal level of BluePrint Cleanse, one will be consuming 4 green juices, 1 spicy lemonade, and one cashew milk. The stats for the green juice and cashew milk are below. (Please note: I have taken the liberty to highlight what I find to be the most concerning aspects of this cleanse (and every other juice cleanse I reviewed before posting this blog). The following images are screen shots from a lecture on Fasting that I give at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health).

blueprint cleanse content

blueprint cleanse content 2

BAD NEWS

  1. Very Low Fiber
  2. MASSIVE amounts of sugar
  3. Very low calorie

GOOD NEWS

  1. Awesome ingredients.  Love that they are using organic produce.
  2. Contains some healthy fat
  3. Contains some protein

Breaking It Down

Not enough fiber.  This level of the cleanse, while high in green juice content (yay disease fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals), contains less than half the minimum amount of fiber encouraged for optimum gastrointestinal function.  Fiber generally adds bulk to stool so fiber is crucial to one’s ability to clear toxins out of one’s body (Our GI tract is one of two main routes of detoxification out of our bodies. The urinary tract being the other. Yes our skin will help a bit, but it’s hardly comparable to the role the GI and urinary tract play.)

Too much sugar, not enough other stuff.  As you can see, it doesn’t matter if they are green juices, the juice still has sugar…and it lacks enough fiber (not to mention protein, and fat, too)  to dull the insulin response in our bodies.  When our brain gets the message that we are eating something sweet, it sends a message to the pancreas (provided we have a working pancreas) to release insulin. Insulin’s main role in our body is essentially to roam around and take the sugar in the blood and put it into cells for storage. As insulin is scavenging, our blood sugar levels will drop, and drop quickly, since there is inadequate fiber, protein, and fat to blunt the insulin response. This ends up causing many to feel light headed, shaky, hungry, and yes, bitchy, so many will reach for a snack. In a healthy individual, it takes ~4 hours for insulin to reset itself completely, so people are reaching for food before the insulin has reset itself. This is an issue because SO LONG AS INSULIN IS IN OUR BLOODSTREAM OUR BODIES CANNOT UTILIZE OUR COPIOUS ENERGY RESERVES FOR FUELIf we eat within the 4 hour window, any calories we take in WILL BE STORED AS FAT.  Not to mention, the more our pancreas has to work, and the more often it has to work, the more tired it may become (think about this cycle over decades of use).  No wonder so many people are walking around with insulin resistance, blood sugar issues, and broken metabolisms due to dysfunctional pancreases!   In a juice cleanse, they suggest people drink 6 juices over the course of a day- Let’s say, conservatively, that people have 15 hour days, they are averaging a juice every 2-3 hours. Welcome to the blood sugar roller coaster!

 Low calorie diets will slow down your metabolism.  The low calorie plan will cause temporary weight loss…but it may also cause stubborn, hard to lose weight (at worst) and metabolic dysfunction (at best) down the line. We all need calories to not only maintain our weight, but to carry out a variety of body functions (everything from blinking our eyes to breathing.

“The preponderance of evidence would suggest that the biological response to weight loss involves comprehensive, persistent, and redundant adaptations in energy homeostasis and that these adaptations underlie the high recidivism rate in obesity therapeutics. To be successful in the long term, our strategies for preventing weight regain may need to be just as comprehensive, persistent, and redundant, as the biological adaptations they are attempting to counter.”**

In other words, FAD DIETS (inc. cleanses) DON’T WORK FOR LONG TERM WEIGHT LOSS.

Additionally, a cleanse that is too restrictive means that you may be compromising one or both of your liver’s detoxification pathways due to the lack of specific nutrients required to drive the detoxification process (sulfur, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), glutathione, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and minerals like selenium and zinc, just to name a few) . Yes the juice contains some of these things, but not enough.   Ironic that one is juice cleansing hoping to detox when in reality it may be handicapping one’s body long term to be able to detoxify once one ultimately returns to their prior habits. Let’s just call juice cleanses a “detox before the retox”, shall we?

The Better Solution

Some people want to do a cleanse to hit a “restart” button… and I think it’s an OK thing to do, but as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows, I believe there is a better way.   Why does one need to do something so radical?  And do something that contains SO MUCH SUGAR? Why not focus on eating real, whole foods?  Instead of undertaking a high sugar juice cleanse, let’s all make a commitment to eating a plant-centered (note that I did not say plant-only) diet 85% of the time, leaving room for your favorite sweet treat, an exquisite plate of barbeque or a vintage glass of wine every so often?

What I mean when I say “plant-centered”

½  your plate vegetables

¼ plate high quality protein

(vegetable protein sources include legumes, nuts and seeds, and organic tofu; animal sources would include organic, free-roaming chicken and turkey, 100% grass-fed and pastured beef and lamb, and high quality wild and sustainably caught fish; and if you like pork, pastured pork is best.)

¼ plate starchy vegetables and, if tolerated, minimal grains***

(regular and sweet potatoes, winter squashes, turnips, rutabagas, beets, parsnips)

also, think of a bulls-eye in the middle of the plate that is reserved for a healthy fat allotment (olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil (which should NEVER be heated, by the way), walnut oil, grape seed oil, avocadoes).

I damn well guarantee you that if you eat like this the majority of the time, you won’t have a need to “cleanse”.  You will be feeding your body optimally every day, giving it whole foods that support your body’s ability to detox naturally. It will not set you off to ride the blood sugar roller coaster.  These whole foods are not only rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, but also are foods that haven’t been modified and repackaged to be sold in a shelf stable box.

Of course, the good things about the Blue Print Cleanse (organic, some protein and some fat) are also components of the above way of eating.

If this is pretty close to how you eat most of the time and you are looking for the next step, how about trying to go grain-free and mostly vegan for 3-5 days? Focus on eating lots of vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy), legumes and nuts and seeds (if you can tolerate them), fruit, and mineral rich bone-broth? Some people, especially people who do not tolerate nuts and/or legumes,  find that they function better with a small amount of high quality animal protein, like a white fish or piece of organic, free-roaming chicken, so if that is you, I won’t judge.  In fact, this is how I eat most of the time, leaving some room for coconut milk ice cream, dark chocolate, and a glass or two of wine every now and then!

One should ultimately have at least 4 hours between meals…and omit snacking. Our “snack” should come from our liver, the source of a sugar storage molecule called “glycogen.” This allows our insulin and other hunger/satiety signals to be reset, lessening the stress on our pancreas and allowing our body to utilize some of the stored fuel it contains.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that radically changing one’s diet over night is not recommended. Before transitioning to the above way of eating, I would encourage one to do it in a step-wise manner, perhaps following the outline below.

1. omit alcohol and caffeine; replace morning coffee with a mug of hot water, the juice of one lemon and 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger root

2. omit packaged and processed grain based products; replace with starchy veg and whole grains if not omitting grains

3. omit foods with added sugar (breads, sweets, yogurt, etc)

4. increase the servings of vegetables consumed to fill half your plate

6. reduce the amount of animal protein to 4-5 oz per meal

*I looked up her educational training at the Ann Wigmore Institute. It is a 1 or 2 week program. Need I say more?

**PS Mclean, A Bergouignan, MA Cornier, Jackman MR. Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 September; 301(3): R581–R600.

***if you want more information about why I am an advocate for a minimal grain diet or if you want a more personalized solution, please feel free to contact me here!

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NeverSeconds

NeverSeconds.

A blog by a child in the UK who posts her school lunch every day and also one of a reader from across the globe. Absolutely fascinating to see what people around the world are feeding children. After taking a few minutes to peruse the back posts, I’d have to say that the Japanese are both the most creative and least processed.  Go figure their average lifespan is 82.9 years while ours is 78.1 (and no doubt getting shorter)!

 

 

 

Hydration=More Than Water

Last week, I asked my Facebook followers for some suggestions regarding blog post topics. I received some interesting ones and over the next few weeks, I plan to address the “reader’s choice” topics.  Please feel free to leave comments below listing other topics you’re curious about…It’s much less anxiety inducing (for me, anyway) to write about topics I know people want to read about!

Ok, so this week thanks to popular demand (well, really, thanks to my dear friend Laura and my boyfriend’s penchant for calf cramps) we’re talking about hydration… not just what “being (de)hydrated” means but the importance of staying hydrated, especially during summer and especially, especially, if one is pursing any sort of athletic endeavor.

I’ll start with the basics of what hydration and being hydrated means, then I’ll get into a little “nitty-gritty” information about electrolytes, their function in the body and why they are important. Next, I’ll address factors affecting hydration and the choice of hydration beverage.  Lastly, I’ll compare some popular hydration options including NUUN, endurolyte tablets, and coconut water.

Let’s get started, shall we?

What does it mean to be hydrated? 

Did you know that the person you love is ~60-70% water? The EXACT percentage will vary amongst people of different ages and body compositions (babies have more water than adults, and men more than women, thanks in part to their greater lean muscle mass (muscle holds more water than fat)) but one thing is common amongst all: Water is a critical component of human existence. Among other things, water helps digest food, transport waste, and control body temperature. The ability of water to dissolve substances allows our cells to use the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and chemicals vital for biological processes to occur; water’s surface tension plays a part in our ability to transport materials, such as nutrients derived from food and waste products of our metabolism through the body.

Due to respiration, sweat, and voiding of metabolic wastes (how’s that for a euphemism for defecation and urination?! ), each day we lose ~ 2.4 L of water (and maybe more if we live in warm, dry climates or sweat excessively) which must be replaced by the fluids we drink or the foods we eat (more about this in a bit).

Are you hydrated?

Look at your pee.

No, really.

Look at your pee.

Does it look like clear-light yellow lemonade? Yes? Great! You’re hydrated. If it’s darker than that, you’re probably not*.  What can you do about it? Drink water! And drink it slowly and consistently. And check your pee.  Again.  A rule of thumb for BASELINE hydration (ie. before exercise or exposure to a warm climate) is .5 – 1 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight per day.  Go here for more info on the pee test and how it can be used as a tool to track hydration during training and competition.

If you find your pee (wow, I am saying that word a lot, sorry, but “urinate” isn’t much better now, is it?) dark, it’s time to find water. Stat. But be careful. Too much water too soon, and if also deficient in electrolytes (What are they? I’ll get there), can be deadly.  Yes, deadly. Remember that story about the marathoner dying during the Boston Marathon in 2008? The condition is called hyponatremia, which is what results from the dilution of blood sodium that is often the result of excessive water intake. It can also be caused by a rapid rehydration without adequate electrolyte replacement after electrolyte loss from excessive sweating. Symptoms are similar to dehydration (cramping, dizziness), which makes it even more deadly because one may try to consume more water thinking that it’s needed, when in fact, it might be further contributing to their demise.

Wait, did I mention a baseline hydration need of  .5 – 1 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight per day?

If you want to be more precise, drink to match your sweat rate. Don’t know your sweat rate (Um, I don’t, but I should),  Runner’s World wrote a short column about it a few years ago and included how to calculate your sweat rate. I could retype it all here, but…I won’t.

What are electrolytes and why do you need them?

Electrolytes, in global terms, are substances containing free ions that make it electrically conductive.  In the body, electrolytes are  minerals that help nerves and muscles to function. Muscle and nerve tissue are both considered electric body tissues and are activated by electrolyte activity between the extracellular fluid or interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid. Muscle contractions are dependent upon the presence of calcium, sodium, and potassium. In the absence of these electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions (i.e. cramps) can occur. Clearly, for someone competing in an athletic event, this could be the difference between a DNF and a win. For someone just out for a long run, it’s probably not as “costly”, but can be just as concerning! And for someone with an eating disorder like Bulimia or Anorexia, the imbalance of electrolytes (stemming from binging or purging, or fluid and food restriction) can lead to heart failure, since the heart is a muscle and relies on the presence of these electrolytes to keep beating.

As I mentioned earlier, electrolytes can become depleted in hot weather and during intense or long duration exercise (or both). They are also depleted  with  diarrhea, vomiting, intoxication (yep, alcohol, despite being a “liquid” will dehydrate you) or starvation. No matter the cause, electrolytes must be replenished for optimal performance…and health.

How?

The easy way to replenish electrolytes is to have a sports drink and/ or electrolyte mix on hand. Which one you need and IF you need one will be dependent on a multitude of factors including how the electrolytes became depleted in the first place. For ease of this post, let’s say it’s athletic endeavors. So time spent exercising, what intensity, your sweat rate, body weight, fitness, weather, acclimatization level and biological predisposition all play into what and how much of a replacement you will need.  

Who needs sports drinks?

Sports drinks should be used to replace fluid, carbohydrate, and yes, electrolytes lost in sweat.  Generally speaking, if one is exercising for less than 75 minutes at an easy or 60 minutes at a moderate pace, water is sufficient. Yes, you are burning fuel, but your body’s stores of electrolytes and carbohydrates (provided your nutrition is adequate) can handle it.

How much water? According to the American College Of Sports Medicine, they recommend the following “schedule”

Hydration Before Exercise

  • Drink about 15-20 fl oz, 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink 8-10 fl oz 10-15 min before exercise

Hydration During Exercise

  • Drink 6-8 fl oz every 10-15 min during exercise

Hydration After Exercise

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses.
  • Drink 20-24 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
  • Consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to to protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout to replenish glycogen stores

There are some exceptions to this water only 60-75 minute rule: 1) warm weather, 2) heavy sweating, 3) intense exercise.  All of these exceptions would warrant taking in a sports drink in place of water or water+electrolyte mix to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance during shorter workouts.

Sports drinks are most valuable to endurance athletes training and competing in prolonged, intense activity.  For them, I recommend 30-60 grams of carbohydrate/ hour. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes get 500-700 milligrams of sodium per liter of water consumed. Compared to the leading sports drinks, this is up to 3x what they contain. Often times an additional electrolyte support is needed, especially for exercise lasting longer than 2 hours or in temperatures above 80F and 70% humidity.  Since sports drinks vary in carbohydrate and electrolyte content, I’ll let you do the math for your preferred drink. However, if you’d like my help, send me a note  and let’s schedule a consultation 🙂

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the obvious: Sports drinks are loaded with high glycemic sweeteners and can, if not needed, contribute to unwanted body fat which, depending on your goals, isn’t awesome. Duh. But like I said, sometimes I can’t help but to mention the obvious.  There are lower calorie sports drinks (G2, Propel, or Vitamin Water Zero), or electrolyte tablets (see below) that can replace critical electrolytes without the unnecessary carbohydrates.  Again, I need to do my duty and mention that some of the lower calorie sports drinks contain artificial colors and sweeteners. I generally recommend my clients avoid both of these chemical substances. Vitamin Water Zero uses stevia,which isn’t quite as nasty.

Electrolyte Replacement Options**

Water: Pure Hydrogen + Oxygen…nothing else. Ok, that’s a stretch. Some municipal water supplies do contain pharmaceutical derivatives that pollute our water…but this is a loaded issue and most definitely a topic for a different blog post!  BOTTOM LINE: NOT a replacement! 

Nuun: based on one tablet dissolved in 16 ounces of water <8calories

Active Ingredients level (mg)
Sodium (carbonates) 360.0
Potassium (bicarbonate) 100.0
Calcium (carbonate) 12.5
Magnesium (sulfate) 25.0
Vitamin C 37.5
Vitamin B2 500 mcg

Other Ingredients: citric acid, sorbitol, sodium carbonate, natural colors flavors, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, polyethylene glycol, magnesium sulfate, sodium benzoate, calcium carbonate, acesulfame potassium, riboflavin-5-phosphate.

(side note: I googled polyethylene glycol. See the “other uses” on its Wikipedia page. Then tell me in the comments below if you will continue using Nuun products based on what you read.)

U-Natural Hydrationbased on one tablet dissolved in 16 ounces of water for <8calories

Active Ingredients level
Vitamin A 1375 IU
Vitamin C 10.0 mg
Thiamine 330 mcg
Riboflavin 460 mcg
Niacin 5.5 mg
Vitamin B-6 550 mcg
Folate 110 mcg
Vitamin B-12 1 mcg
Biotin 66 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 2.0 mg
Magnesium 20.0 mg
Zinc 2.0 mg
Sodium (carbonates) 180 mg
Potassium (bicarbonate) 77 mg
Choline (bitartrate) 110 mg
Stevia Leaf Extract 41 mg

Other Ingredients: dextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, vegetable juice color, sesame oil.

(Side note: Nuun claims their products have no corn in them but some of the ingredients are processed from corn as starting material (i.e. I am guessing citric acid, dextrose, and maybe natural flavors) and thus cannot guarantee it’s products are “corn-free”. Their products are also gluten free and contain no animal derived raw materials.)

Nuun produces a hypotonic solution which means that our bodies should absorb Nuun quicker than other sports drinks or water. They also don’t put carbohydrates in their tablets. This can be helpful for those strictly needing electrolytes.  Carbohydrates can slow the rate at which one’s stomach empties, thereby delaying the absorbability of water and electrolytes. Carbohydrates can also increase the osmolality of what you are drinking, which will also slow absorption beyond the stomach. BOTTOM LINE: Try using the Nuun U-Natural product when seeking replenishment of electrolytes after sweating due to running in the hot Austin summers or after a hot yoga class. You’ll need more than 1 tablet if this is your only source of electrolytes, however.  And if running or hot yoga’ing for longer than 75 minutes, you’ll need some sort of carbohydrate beverage or gel in addition to the Nuun product.

Emergen-C Electrolyte formula: one packet makes 1 liter of sports drink with no calories

Active Ingredients level
Manganese 2 mg
Magnesium 120 mg
calcium (carbonate) 100 mg
Potassium (bicarbonate and carbonate) 408 mg
Chromium (aspartate) 20 mcg
Stevia Leaf Extract 10 mg

BOTTOM LINE: Emergen-C contains no sodium so it is not adequate to be used as the sole electrolyte replenishment. If you’ve been sick for a few days this might be a good option to get you started, but it would need to be supplemented with something salty, say, chicken broth?

Endurolytes Fizz, Grapefruit flavor

Calories 10
Total Carbohydrate <1g
Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) 13mg
Calcium (as Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride) 100mg
Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide) 50mg
Manganese (as Manganese Gluconate) 3mg
Chloride (as Calcium Chloride) 60mg
Sodium (as Sodium Bicarbonate) 200mg
Potassium (as Potassium Bicarbonate) 100mg

Endurolytes are a full spectrum electrolyte support without any manufacturing lubricants (so no polyethylene glycol). In addition, they contain no animal derivatives.  Based on the spectrum of their product, they may be used as needed. Their website recommends that they be used when exercise is longer than 2 hours regardless of temperature or humidity or when exercise is less than 2 hours and temperature is above 80F and/or 70% humidity or temperature and humidity is 10F + above what you are accustomed to. As with any electrolyte supplement, body weight, fitness, weather, acclimatization level and biological predisposition are all factors, so these suggestions may not be adequate for you. BOTTOM LINE: I personally would use these over Nuun. Polyethylene glycol? No thanks.

(Side note: some flavors contain wheat germ oil, so if you have a gluten sensitivity, I would avoid any product containing ingredients derived from wheat)

Coconut water: gained popularity a few years ago as an electrolyte replacement and hydration option. Since they contain sugar, they can theoretically be used for a carbohydrate source as well.

Consumer reports did an independent analysis of three popular brands ZICO, Vita Coco and O.N.E and found that only Zico matched its stated content for sodium, potassium, magnesium and sugar. Additionally, it was the only one that had enough sodium to rival a sports drink.  O.N.E. and Vita Coco fell short when it came to sodium and magnesium content, though they contained the stated amounts for both potassium and sugar. One of these brands only contained 18% of its claimed amount of sodium!! O.N.E. is produced by PepsiCo in Brazil; and VitaCoco is mired in a class action lawsuit. enough said. BOTTOM LINE: If you are drinking coconut water, choose Zico. You will need to supplement with additional carbohydrates and electrolyte tablets if using Zico for your main source of hydration.

Zico: 14 ounces, 60 calories (12 grams of sugar/ carbohydrate)

Sodium   160mg
Magnesium  35mg
Phosphorus  30mg
Calcium  27mg

Ingredients:
100% natural coconut water from concentrate, natural flavors

I work with a variety of clients and  every one of them has a different hydration situation. For those with eating disorders, we need to make sure that electrolytes are replenished after multiple binge-purge cycles or days without adequate nutrition, to ensure cardiac stability.  For athletes, whether it’s the weekend warrior or the elite professional, sudden cardiac death from electrolyte imbalance is less likely but it IS possible. Still, hydration status is critical for performance.  I know I have covered  quite a bit of information here. I tried to parse it down but if after reading this you are even more confused, send me a note or leave a comment below. It’s my job (and joy!) to help you navigate the waters.

*some supplements, especially those containing high levels of B vitamins, can turn one’s urine a fluorescent yellow color.  This will clearly skew your results.

**For the electrolyte tablets and sports drinks, I pulled the data straight from the company’s website

Hello world!

This blog has been a long time coming and I am so excited to have a home on the internet. After following my blog from this point forward, I hope you are excited too!

Who am I? And what is The Elegant Machine?

In short, my name is Mel and I am a former architectural designer and current registered dietitian in the great (but very hot) city of Austin, Texas. For lots more about me, visit my about.me page and my website.  You can also follow me on Facebook.