Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dissection: The RESET Program

Don’t you wish your body had a RESET button?  Well, the good folks at USANA Health Sciences have created one for those who can’t seem to break away from those gluttonous cravings.  I pressed my own RESET button two weeks ago and posted my results daily on Facebook.  Several people asked exactly how it works, and here’s the long awaited response!

There are two ways you can purchase RESET; purchase a RESET kit and it has everything you need in it, plus a light workout DVD, a daily chart and some extras.  It also has a variety of different flavors of the Nutrimeal shakes (5 Dutch Chocolate, 5 Strawberry and 5 Vanilla).  I personally am not a fan of strawberry or vanilla shakes, so I purchased each item separately.

RESET Kit contains:
  • 15 servings of Nutrimeal™ (available in a variety pack of Dutch Chocolate, Wild Strawberry, and French Vanilla)
  • 5 Peanut Butter Crunch Nutrition Bars
  • 5 Oatmeal Raisin Bars
  • 5 HealthPak 100™ AM/PM packets
  • 1 RESET program guide
  • 1 RESET magnet

I’m a self-proclaimed chocoholic and I’m pretty proud of it!  Since I mentioned that I’m not a fan of strawberry or vanilla shakes (even the real milkshakes, too), I purchased a couple pouches of USANA’s Chocolate Whey Nutrimeal.  It costs a couple dollars more per bag than the other flavors (which include a blend of soy and whey protein), but I’m crazy about the rich chocolatey taste!  All of the Nutrimeal shakes contain 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein.  I’ve also gotten big on natural foods and there’s no artificial ingredients in Nutrimeal which is a huge plus for me.

What I began the RESET program with:
2 Bags of Chocolate Whey Nutrimeal
1 Box Oatmeal Raisin Bars
1 Box Chocolate Fusion Bars (yeah, I love my chocolate...)
1 Box HealthPak 100 AM/PM packets (I get this every month anyway)

In addition to the kit or purchasing separately, whichever method you choose, the directions also state that you eat one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables each day you’re on the program.  However, you have some leeway here - if you’re hungry, grab some fruit or veggies.  Make sure they’re low-glycemic, though.  No potatoes!

Each day, your meal plan (according to the directions) is as follows:

Breakfast Shake with AM HealthPak
Snack (Nutrition bar)
Lunch Shake
Snack (Nutrition bar)
Dinner Shake with PM HealthPak
Bonus Snack

I ate everything to the letter each day, adding fresh fruit to my shakes (a handful of strawberries or raspberries and blend with shake).  Lunch, I supplemented my shake with an organic salad mix with cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach and a light splash of Italian dressing.  Dinner time, I had a shake and depending on how I felt, I either had another salad or a chicken breast.  In between meals, I had one nutrition bar.  I also drank 3-4 litres of water each day (something I do every day regardless) with no other drinks, not even juice, soda, or tea/coffee. did I feel?  First day, I’m not gonna lie - I was hungry as hell.  But that’s to be expected since I’m so used to eating whatever is available without any thought to the consequences on whether if it is nourishing me or just filling me up with empty calories.  Thank god for eating as much fruit and vegetables - that helped me.  Whether it was physically helping or psychologically helping, I’m not sure - that’s up to science.  As each day went on, my body adjusted and I noticed that I wasn’t feeling tired or sluggish.  Not even in the least bit.  And something interesting happened, not something I had planned for.  Mentally, I was scrutinizing each food that entered my mouth - is this good for me?  Where did this come from?  Is it as natural as possible (minimally processed)?  Will this make me feel good or like a fat slob?

Now, before you freak out at this whole mental aspect of interrogating each piece of food that enters your mouth, think about this: food is fuel for your body.  Nothing more, nothing less.  So many people put an emotional attachment to food, cultures revolve around food, food is an integral part of people’s lives.  Once the emotional attachment can be separated (and granted, this may be harder for most), you will be able to see food for what it truly is: fuel for the body.  After all, you’d put the best possible fuel in your car, right?  You wouldn’t put sludge in your car because it’ll wreck your car.  And yet people constantly put sludge in their bodies!  See my previous post on Fast Food Nation and Dr. Dixon’s experiment with fast food and its affect on his blood.

“Okay, just get down to it - what were the results??”

I weighed myself first thing each morning after doing my business because I wanted to be consistent.  Weight fluctuations can simply be water weight and not your actual body weight, so I wanted to expel as much as I could before weighing myself.  Probably TMI for you, but if you’re looking for accurate results, you’ve got to be consistent and this is how I attempted to be consistent each time I stepped on the scale.

In my bathroom, I have a digital scale which is kinda cool.  Here’s a breakdown of my weight each day:

Beginning: 192.8
Day 1: 189.2 Loss: -3.6
Day 2: 188.4 Loss: -0.8
Day 3: 187.6 Loss: -0.8
Day 4: 187.8 Loss: +0.2
Day 5: 187.0 Loss: -0.8
Total Weight Released: 5.8 lbs in 5 days

Despite actually GAINING on Day 4, I released a total of 5.8 lbs in 5 days - not a bad start!  This release, coupled with a newfound mentality of scrutinizing the food that I put in my mouth, has helped me continue to release weight.  Two weeks later, I’m down to 185.2 lbs and I have been preparing my own meals every day.  Only twice I ate crap - one was because I was at a bachelor party and my choices were pretty limited so I figured I’d enjoy one of the best burgers I’ve had in months, and another was what I consider my free day.  I actually gotta say - its been pretty awesome!

So how the heck does this work??  Calorie deprivation?  Nah - not in that sense.  For the scientific stuff, I’ll let USANA explain:

How RESET Works

It’s no secret that the key to effective weight loss is making positive changes in diet and exercise. That’s why USANA scientists developed the RESET™ weight-management program—to help people jumpstart healthy eating habits and begin to make a clean break from unhealthy, high-glycemic foods.*

Low-glycemic foods often provide greater satiety and sustained energy. By virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, low-glycemic foods can help control appetite and delay hunger.* All of USANA’s foods are clinically proven to be low glycemic. The glycemic index is the key to controlling your cravings.  It isn't necessary to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, consistently eating less than 1,000 calories a day may actually slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight. You do, however, need to make smarter choices about what you eat.

When you eat high-glycemic foods it can cause your body's blood glucose levels to quickly spike and then crash, leading to feelings of hunger sooner and seemingly uncontrollable cravings.
A better choice is to eat low-glycemic foods which keep blood glucose levels more stable, helping to reduce carbohydrate cravings, leave you feeling satisfied longer, and control your appetite more easily. All of USANA's Macro-Optimizers are clinically tested and guaranteed to be low glycemic, and nearly 95 percent of RESET participants report significantly reduced carbohydrate cravings after completing the five days.

More information can be found here. In addition, for those of you who are really into clinical studies and scientific charts, bars and graphs, Dr. Ray Strand, author of Releasing Fat: Developing Healthy Lifestyles That Have a Side Effect of Permanent Weight Loss has a 12-week clinical study with participants beginning with the 5-Day RESET program and moving into the transition phase. The results are here and his website is

The first couple days were hard for me, but any time you make a big change, it will be hard at first.  Soon, you gain momentum and it gets easier.  

Til next time,

Regular Joe Cool can be reached at Shoot him an email - he'll think you're cool.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fast Food Nation

We created fast food, dang it.  And we're damn proud of it!  Don't believe me?  Is there a town where there isn't a McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Wendy's, Arby's, Carl's Jr, Hardee's, Chik-Fil-A, KFC, Taco Bell (I feel like I'm thanking my NASCAR sponsors here), and it is pretty evident of the influence the fast-food industry has here in America, and they're exerting their reach overseas as well.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Brian Dixon, Senior Scientist at USANA Health Sciences give a presentation.  He is not your typical scientist, geeky, labcoat-donning, thick rimmed glasses nerd.  This guy loves life, and lives it to its fullest.  When he's not in the laboratory, he's in the mountains or at the gym.  He's one fit guy, and his educational focus was on oxidative stress so he knows his stuff when it comes to antioxidants.  In fact, you can read some of his official biography on USANA's website,

You hear about oxidative stress and antioxidants through the media on a daily basis.  We're constantly bombarded with oxidative stress that create free radicals which alter cellular structures.  And you're probably wondering how you can escape the effects of oxidative stress.  Bluntly, you cannot.  You can run, but you can't hide.  Antioxidants can help you hide better, but eventually, oxidative stress will find you!  I'll explain more about free radicals and antioxidants in a later blog.  For now, we'll touch up on two points that Dr. Dixon brought up in his presentation that are pretty interesting and important to know.

First off, you've heard of the RDA, right?  The Recommended Daily Allowance in our nutritional intake that the government has set for us.  It is on the nutritional label on nearly every food product on the grocery store shelves that people quickly glance over to see the caloric content, fat, sugar, carbs, or whatever the one thing they're focusing on.  Lots of numbers and percentages, oy.  What you probably don't know is that the RDA was set back during WWII since resources were used for the war effort and thus became scarce for civilians and military alike.  The RDA set the minimum nutritional requirements just to sustain life and was used in the development of MREs for the military.  A lot has changed since the 1940's and today in terms of improved nutrition research, advanced technology, soil that's virtually devoid of nutrients, the development of highly processed foods and a mindset of convenience, not what's best for the body.  So what does this mean for the RDA?  Well, you know the Poverty Line, right?  Created by (drumroll, please...) the government.  It loosely defines the minimum standard of living based on income and the ability to purchase necessities such as food.  According to Dr. Dixon, "The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) set by the government is like the government setting the poverty line for dietary intake."  Yikes!  Even if you get 100% of everything in the RDA, you're STILL not getting the optimal nutrition intake needed to be healthy!  In other words, would you be able to have the lifestyle you want with an income at the poverty level?  Thought so.  Neither can you with poor nutrition intake.

The next thing Dr. Dixon talked about is the dangers of fast food.  We've all heard it, right?

     "It's bad for you."
     "It'll clog your arteries."
     "It's a heart attack waiting to happen."

And a whole litany of warnings pertaining to the dangers of fast food.  However, in the sake of convenience, we turn a deaf ear to those warnings.  I'm more of a visual person myself and THIS experiment is more than enough to convince me not to eat fast food ever again.  I haven't eaten fast food, other than Subway, in years, and there's a reason for that - it is nasty!  Dr. Dixon's experiment proved this.  Just to show you what a cool scientist Dr. Dixon is, he used himself as a guinea pig for this experiment.  


Dr. Dixon had a blood sample taken from his arm and this was used as the control.  

Next, he ate a supersized meal at a fast food restaurant, complete with a big burger, extra large fries, a large soda, the whole nine yards.  While some people are probably salivating while reading this, I was trying to squelch my gag reflex as Dr. Dixon showed us the video clip of him eating this...crap.  By the looks on Dr. Dixon's face, it didn't look like he enjoyed it much either.  After this "meal" was digested, he had a blood sample taken again.  

A few days after the fast food "meal", he ate a healthy meal, complete with chicken breast, salad, fruits and vegetables.  This looked quite good, to be honest with you.  Again, another blood sample was taken after this meal.

All three blood samples were spun in a centrifuge to separate the components (blood cells and plasma).  In the first and third samples (control and after healthy meal), the plasma was clear.  However, the second sample (after the fast food meal), the plasma was so cloudy, you could not see through it.  Oy vey!  All that processed stuff, chemicals and who-knows-what is in fast food winds up in the blood!  

As you can see in the diagram, the plasma contains "a dilute solution of salts, glucose, amino acids, vitamins, urea, proteins and fats".  The bold text is what fast foods primarily consists of and is virtually devoid of any positive nutritional value.  I don't know about you, but when I used to eat fast food, I have NEVER gotten a burger that looks as good as they have in the pictures.  Have you?

Bottom line: you are what you eat, and this experiment shows this!  Whatever you eat will wind up in your blood and your body will do whatever it takes to get rid of it.  However, if you keep loading your body with fast food junk, highly processed stuff and unnatural foods, it will have a hard time processing all of it, and not only will it show up on the scale, it will show up in your blood.  I highly suggest avoiding fast food places, but if you have the insatiable craving for that greasy burger and fries, sugary soda, then by all means go for it.  Just do it once in a while, not on a regular basis.  Your wallet will thank you, and so will your health.

Til next time.

Regular Joe Cool can be reached at Shoot him an email - he'll think you're cool.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gotta Love Technology, eh?

I realize that its been a few months...yes, months, since my last post. My apologies, if this is not enough to satisfy your carnal craving for undying attention, get a puppy. I have my reasons; yes, reasons, plural. First and foremost, I'm unemployed and am loving it! This means that my restaurant sold and I am free! Unemployment can be scary for a lot of people, which is understandable.  Loss of income, lots of uncertainty, etc.  I was fortunate enough to know this was coming and was able to plan ahead.

The second thing, and perhaps the more important: my favorite sister married an incredible man. I am proud of my sister and it was hands down the best wedding I've been to. (If I was at your wedding, I'm a little biased and don't take any offense - I'm sure your wedding was incredible, as they all should be!) One of the best parts is my new brother in law has a huge family and they all live in Michigan.  No one in my family had met any of them, except my sister - obviously. When we first met, it instantly turned into a huge family reunion atmosphere and we all had known each other for a long time. Can't put a price on that!

Another reason, my brother and I expanded our household. We adopted the sweetest 5 year old boxer, Lady.  She is quite the handful and keeps our other boxer, Louie, on his toes. Dogs really are amazing - especially with Lady and Louie. No matter what kind of day you're having, as soon as you walk in they door, these two are always there to greet you with wagging tails and begging you to play with them. You can't help but have a smile on your face! They're one of the greatest mood enhancers!

I will be updating this blog a lot more frequently than I have done in the past.  It should be noted that I'm writing this post entirely on my EVO phone and am just merely trying out the Blogger app.  So far so good. Now I don't have any excuses since I always have my phone on me.

Til next time,
Regular Joe Cool