6 Ways to Increase Your Push Up Count

If you are training for a fitness test that includes max push, make sure to note their protocol first to ensure you are performing them the way that is required prior to your test. Some fitness tests have you perform max push ups in a given time, or more likely, there won’t be a time limit but will be terminated if there is a pause in performance. Furthermore some protocols have you touch your chest to the floor or object on the ground. However what I have been seeing more commonly is that you have to achieve a 90 degree joint angle in your elbows in order for the rep to count, and a full lockout at the top.

Lets quickly talk about proper form. Starting in the prone position (on your stomach) with hands under the shoulders directly next to the chest, push up into a high plank position with the core engaged, glutes squeezed and feet together. While performing the push ups your arms will be like an airplane or an arrow, hips shouldn’t be sagging and the butt should not be sticking up in the air. If this is not possible you may have to first work on push ups from the knees or possibly on a wall and work your way to the floor.

Now, here are 6 suggestions towards helping you increase your repetitions while performing push ups:

  1. Perform max push ups 2-3 times over the course of your day

This will allow you to get uncomfortably comfortable with the challenge of going to failure. It will also improve your muscular strength and endurance, as well as mental stamina.

2. Choose a number of reps and complete them throughout your day

Choose a number, say 200, and break them up over the course of the day. This is a great way to achieve volume without the accumulation of fatigue. Take the opportunity to emphasize good form for every rep.

3. Utilize weighted push-ups

Wearing a weight vest or a loaded backpack is a great way to increase your push up count. Obviously if you can perform multiple push ups under additional load, your body weight will feel much lighter. In my opinion you should be efficient at performing unloaded push ups first before adding load, and when you do, introduce weight in small increments.

4. Incorporate different variations

While there are tons of variations of push ups, utilizing wide grip push ups to emphasize the otter fibers of the pecs, narrow grip to emphasize the inner fibers and the triceps, as well as incline and decline for the upper and lower pecs are some great options for you to use.

5. Incorporate rest/pause methods, as well as mechanical drop sets

Mechanical drop sets – You start with the hardest or most difficult variation of an exercise, and as you reach technical failure, meaning you cannot maintain good form, you move to an easier variation. Since we are talking about push ups, one could start with weighted push ups, move to unweighted from the toes, then drop to the knees, then move onto incline push ups, and then could take it even further by pressing against a wall.

Myo reps – This is a specific rest/ pause training technique that involves taking a working set to the point of failure to ensure maximum muscle fiber activation, then maintaining this muscle fiber activation over a sustained period of time by using short rest periods. To do this you will perform 1 set of push ups to failure, then rest for 20 seconds, complete 3 more reps, repeat this pattern until you cannot even do 2 push ups.

6. Strengthen core muscles

Its not just the pecs involved in push ups, your mid and low back muscles and even your glutes need to be able to withstand high repetition push ups. Incorporating exercises such as variations of planks, dead bugs, good mornings, and bridges are some excellent choices that will carry over nicely when performing max push ups.

My Favourite Single-leg Exercise: Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

Rear foot elevated split squats, Bulgarian split squats, call them what you may as long as you include them in your training.

Unilateral exercises are important but sometimes overlooked, which is unfortunate because they offer many benefits. They help correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

The Bulgarian split squat challenges all the muscles of the lower body and helps improve mobility while at the same time increases stability and balance. It is a great alternative to barbell back squats as it puts less strain on the low back, but can also be used as an accessory exercise to improve your back squat.

Personally, I utilize many different variations of the RFESS in addition to back and front squats. Over the course of the COVID-19 lockdown here in Ontario I did not have access to a squat rack. Instead, I decided to put my focus on unilateral training and slow eccentrics. The RFESS was at first extremely challenging, but quickly became my favourite unilateral lower body exercise.

There are many variations of the RFESS, but before you add external weight should master your own bodyweight first. In my opinion you should be able to perform at least 10 smooth, controlled reps with a pause at the bottom on each leg before grabbing dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.

Despite the variation, the set up and execution of this exercise is the same. Using a bench or chair or box no higher than knee height, elevate your rear leg by placing the top of your foot on the bench. I try to find the correct placement of my front leg before doing this, but sometimes I still need to adjust and wiggle around a little bit. I use a narrow stance to avoid pulling groin muscles and lean my torso forward for proper hip hinge mechanics. As I descend my knee travels on tops of my toes, but not excessively past them. You may have to play around a bit and find the ideal position for yourself.

Here are a few of the variations I regularly utilize below. I encourage you to add this exercise to your repertoire.

Keep moving!

4 Training Techniques to Include in Your Workouts

1. Eccentric Isometrics

You may also know them as paused reps or time under tension. Eccentric isometrics is an old training technique where you perform the eccentric or negative phase of a lift in a controlled manner, then holding the stretched position for a given duration before completing the lift/concentric phase.

For example, take your basic air squat. Instead of performing 12+ reps, cut your reps in half and slow it down. Take your time as you lower into your squat, hold the stretched position for 2-4 seconds, and then stand back up quickly. Focus on good form and keeping tight, using optimal/natural range of motion. Do not collapse. 

Eccentric isometrics is an excellent technique to help clean up form through increased proprioception and sensory feedback. “Ultimately movement modification, body positioning, neural firing patterns, and overall motor control are maximized from this heightened state of kinesthetic awareness and sensory integrated movement.” – Dr. Joel Seedman

2. Offset Loading

Offset loading is exactly how it sounds, you load more weight or place more tension on one side of the body. This can be performed using various equipment and even body weight.

Offset loading exposes imbalances and helps eliminate them as it forces the weaker side to catch up to the stronger. It also results in extremely high core activation as you are resisting rotation and lateral flexion. In addition, it requires the lifter to move in a slow, controlled manner so both sides move in unison which improves mechanics, and is effective for hypertrophy training.

You can apply this technique to almost every lift. For example, the dumbbell chest press. The heavier dumbbell should be 2-3x as heavy as the lighter dumbbell. Perform 2-4 sets of 3-5 repetitions. Repeat on other side. 

You can also try barbell back squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses using this technique. Offset kettlebell or dumbbell carries are another option. If you find yourself without any equipment, 1-arm body rows using a door frame and single arm planks are other great options. 

3. Unilateral Work

Unilateral exercises are single-leg or single-arm movements. They often get overlooked in training, which is unfortunate because they highly improve their bilateral counterparts. 

Variations of lunges, 1-arm presses, and rows helps to isolate and correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation. 

In addition when you train one side of the body, the opposite side is also stimulated. This is referred to as cross-education of the muscles, and is thanks to the nervous system. The brain pathways that are used for the primary unilateral exercise stimulate the same muscles on the opposite side of the body. Cross-education is greatest on lower body muscles and when eccentric (lengthening) contractions are used. 

4. Eyes Closed Training

Most gyms have mirrors lining the walls, but individuals should rarely rely on them while training. Instead, try the eyes closed training technique as this teaches the lifter to rely more on kinesthetic awareness instead of sight. 

It’s not necessary to perform your entire workout with your eyes closed, instead choose 1 or 2 exercises and really hone in on the muscle(s) you are working. It may be necessary to reduce the reps and/or sets, but you should be able to handle 80-90% of your typical load. 

This method is an effective way to clean up technique and movement patterns as faulty alignment and poor posture is quickly corrected. It forces the lifter to look inwards allowing them to better tap into their mind muscle connection. If you have never tried this before, try it while performing basic bodyweight exercises before adding external load.

Bigger, Stronger Traps: My top 3 Moves

Lu Xiaojun
Lu Xiaojun – one of my favourite Olympic Lifters

 

#1. Snatch and Clean Pulls + Shrugs: If you really want to improve the size and strength of your traps, just take up Olympic Weightlifting. Oly lifters have some of the most impressive backs imaginable. The sport is extremely technical however, and I wouldn’t suggest trying it without a coach; but clean and snatch pulls are a great start and extremely effective in making the trapezius grow.

#2. Dumbbell Rows + Shrugs on an Incline Bench at Varying Angles: The trapezius does more than just shrug –  it elevates, depresses, retracts, and rotates the scapula, or shoulder blade. Performing the rows and shrugs at varying angles will ensure more of the traps are being hit – not just the upper fibers.

#3. Farmers Walks + Shrugs: Farmers walks are excellent at developing the core muscles, and so long as you are standing up straight with you your shoulder blades pulled back, your traps will take most of the beating.

 

There are plenty of other exercises that are effective at developing the traps, but these are 3 of my favourites – and from my experience the most effective. You must have noticed I add shrugs at the end of each move, and incorporate time under tension every now and again. I do this when I want to put extra focus on those suckers and I vary the reps from 3-8 depending on what I am pulling.

Keep Moving!

GABA

Gaba photo 2

What is it?

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid is an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

What does it do?

Gaba reduces the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system.

Why am I talking about this?

Because it has helped me immensely in regards to sleep, anxiety, and preserving lean muscle mass.

Gaba 3

Intro:

Gaba is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain. Its natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds. Furthermore, Gaba receptors are probably the most common kind in the mammalian nervous system. It is estimated that close to 40% of the synapses (connections) in the human brain work with Gaba and therefor have Gaba receptors (thebrain.mcgill.ca, 2018).

I’d like to have a look at some research, starting with Gaba’s ability to preserve lean muscle mass. If you’ve read my Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training article, you may have picked up that I have a thing for growth hormone. I came across a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study who’s purpose is to determine the growth hormone responses to Gaba ingestion at rest and after exercise (Powers et al., 2007).

11 healthy resistance trained males participated in this study. They were randomly assigned and either given 4 gaba (750mg), or a 4 placebo (sucrose). Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which one they were taking until the study was over. Subjects participated in 4 experimental trails, each separated by 1 week. This consisted of 2 resting and 2 exercise bouts completed in a counterbalanced fashion. They were told to continue their normal daily activities, keep their diet, refrain from any drugs or supplements proposed to have an ergogenic (performance enhancing) effect, as well as lay off exercise 24hrs prior to each experimental trail. Blood samples were taken before each trial as well as 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 minutes after supplementation.

Figure 1 gaba article

Results: There was no difference in the total number of reps completed when comparing the exercise with gaba and exercise with placebo. However, serum growth hormone concentrations increased approximately 18-fold above pre-ingestion value during both exercise with gaba and exercise with placebo. In addition, an approximate 15-fold increase above baseline was observed during the rest with gaba trail; but no difference throughout the rest with placebo.

More importantly, the GH response 30 minutes after the cessation of exercise was about 200% greater in the exercise with gaba responses than the exercise with placebo. Therefore, gaba supplementation results in the greatest increase in serum GH hormone levels while at rest, as well as immediately after and 30 minutes post-exercise.

There are many reasons why one should care about their levels of growth hormones as it serves important roles in adult life. This includes maintenance of lean body and bone mass, promoting lipolysis (breakdown of fat), thereby limiting visceral adiposity (fat stored around important organs), regulating carbohydrate metabolism, cardiovascular system function, aerobic exercise capacity, and cognitive function (Chertman et al., 2015).

GABA AND SLEEP

I take 750mg of gaba every night, 30 minutes prior to bed. It has a calming, sedative effect and helps me fall asleep quicker, and remain asleep for longer. A 2015 study found that subjects taking gaba did in fact fall asleep sooner by an average of 5 minutes. In addition, a 2008 study found that patients suffering from insomnia had 30% lower levels of gaba compared to the control group (Tatsuzaki et al., 2015).

GABA AND ANXIETY

I am all too familiar with the body jerking; heart pounding; unable to concentrate or think straight feeling brought on by anxiety. If you’ve experienced it you know how much it can negatively affect your health, especially if it’s ongoing. Gaba reduces the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system, which could be linked to anxiety and fear. When my anxiety starts to climb I reach for gaba and take about 300mg. Within 5 to 10 minutes I notice a difference – my heart slows and my concentration improves.

A 2002 study found that those with panic, mood and anxiety disorders, or a family history of these disorders had decreased brain concentrations of gaba (Kent et al., 2002). There is significant amount of data supporting gaba’s ability to reduce anxiety and well as help treat depression.

gaba photo

SUMMARY

Gaba is an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps reduce the excitability of nerve cells in our central nervous system. Research supports that supplementing with Gaba relieves anxiety, improves sleep and increases levels of growth hormone. In addition, it can reduce depressive symptoms, relieve PMS symptoms, decrease inflammation, and improve focus in ADHD.

I have been supplementing with Gaba for over 2 years and I have not experienced any adverse effects. You may experience a tingling sensation at a higher dose. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should steer clear because it’s affect on these individuals has not yet been studied. If you are currently taking medication for anxiety or depression, make sure to speak with your doctor before using Gaba; as it may affect these medications.

Finally, there is controversy on whether or not gaba crosses the blood-brain barrier. Some research says it does not, other research says it does. All I know for certain is this natural supplement has helped me immensely and I wanted to share this in hopes it helps others.

Keep Moving.

 

 

References:

Chertman, L.S; Merrium, G.R; Kargi, A.Y. Growth Hormone and Aging. NCBI Bookshelf. A service of Natural Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. 2015.

Lydiard, R.B. The Role of Gaba in Anxiety Disorders. J of Clin Psychiatry. 2005; 64 Suppl 3: 21-7.

Kent, J.M; Matthew, S.J; Gorman, J.M. Molecular targets in the treatment of anxiety. Biol Psychiatry. 2002, 1008-30.

Powers, M.E; Yarrow, J.F; McCoy, S.C; Stephan, E.B. Growth Hormone Isoform Response to Gaba at Rest and After Exercise. Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Centre for Exercise Science. 2007, 104-108.

The Brain From Top to Bottom. Anxiety Neurotransmitters. McGill, 2018. (thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_04/d_04_m/d_04_m_peu/d_04_m.peu.html) (Accessed April 1, 2018).

Yamatsu, A; Yamashita, Y; Maru, I; Yang, J; Tatsuzaki, J; Kim, M. The Improvement of Sleep by Oral Intake of Gaba and Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract. J Nutri Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015; 61(2): 182-7.

 

 

Caribbean Style Rice & Beans

IMG_0621

 

Ingredients:

  • Long Grain Rice – 2 cups; thoroughly rinsed until water runs clear
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbs
  • Red Onion – 1/2 medium; diced
  • Garlic Cloves – 4-5; minced
  • Mushroom Caps – 4 small; sliced
  • Bell Pepper – 1/2; diced
  • Fresh Bay Leaves x 2
  • Fresh Thyme – 1 tbs
  • Vegetable broth bouillon cube x1
  • Coconut Milk – 19oz can
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Red Kidney Beans – 190z can; drained & thoroughly rinsed
  • Creole Seasoning – 4+ tbs
  • Salt & Pepper – a few dashes

IMG_0614

Instructions:

Heat a large sauté pan or skillet on medium/ low heat. Wait a couple of minutes for the pan to heat up, then add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. After the oil has time to heat, toss in the red onion and minced garlic. Shortly after include the bell pepper, mushrooms, and fresh thyme. Stir it all around and add a dash of salt and black pepper.

IMG_0615

Now its time to add the long grain rice that you have washed extremely thoroughly. Even it all out then pour 3 cups of water into the pan. The coconut milk is then added along with the vegetable broth bouillon cube, 4+ tablespoons of creole seasoning (I love this seasoning so I don’t hold back), and the rinsed red kidney beans. Finally, add the 2 fresh bay leaves and bring it to a simmer.

IMG_0616

Cover and reduce heat, stiring freuquently to prevent burning, adding water if necessary. It takes about 20-25 minutes for the rice to cook and water to evaporate, at which point you’ll be left with a creamy rice thats not only delicious and nutritious, but also free of animal products. Do not forget to remove the bay leaves prior to serving.

IMG_0620

Creole Seasoning Blend: 

  • 2 tbs Onion Powder
  • 2 tbs Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbs Dried Basil
  • 2 tbs Dried Oregano
  • 1 tbs Dried Thyme
  • 1 tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 tbs White Pepper
  • 1 tbs Cayenne Pepper
  • 5 tbs Paprika
  • 3 tbs Salt

creole seasoning

In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Store in an air tight container.

You may be able to find this seasoning already made up at your grocery store, likely in the international isle. I did not have such luck, but easily picked up all the herbs and spices at bulk barn.

 

 

 

Is it necessary?

Having little money/ being broke ever since I left home has forced me to put things into perspective in terms of what is necessary when it comes to my personal fitness.

Things were simple when I first started exercising about 12 years ago. I worked out at home and scaled back my calorie consumption. I wasn’t paying for a gym membership and I was consuming little calories that came from food my mom bought. I dropped -too much- weight and found myself having to re-evaluate the angle I was taking.

I later joined a gym located around the corner from my house. It was one of the half dozen weight rooms ran by the city of Brampton in their recreational department. In addition, I eventually smartened up when it came to nutrition — or so I thought.

Fast forward a little futher and I am paying for a gym membership and have begun picking up my own groceries; because eating copious amounts of lean chicken and turkey with rice and broccoli is the only way to get fit (rolls eyes so hard they almost fall out). A couple of decent chicken breasts are easily 10 bucks; which adds up mighty quick when that is the bulk of your diet.

My time spent on fitness websites were at an all time high, gawking over all the amazing physiques telling myself I will look like that one day. Heck! I may even compete. Before I could even think about that however, I needed supplements, lots of glorious supplements!!!

Of course whey protein was the first to be added, then branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), followed by L-Arginine, Beta Alanine, creatine, and caffiene. I even wrote a post about it all. My once zero dollars spent on supplements easily became 100-130$ every 4-5 weeks.

Wake up call

At the end of fast tracking a second diploma in early 2016 I found myself with a lot of debt, and jobs that paid me little or offered few hours. I couldn’t spend money unnecessarily without it coming back to bite me in the ass. There were days where I had to decide to put gas in my car or groceries in my fridge. I remember pulling to the side of the road one afternoon and cried as I fought anxiety and tried to figure out how the hell I am going to keep it together.

At this point my purchasing of supplements days were long gone. After 3-4 years of taking supplements I had no choice but to put it to rest until I was in a more stable financial situation. My days of eating chicken and turkey breasts were also behind me. Meat had always grossed me out, I just got it in my head that it was the best way to be lean and fit. Now, without a bunch of money to waste on dead carcasses; I began eating more beans, lentils, rice, pastas, and even bread.

Funny thing is, my strength did not deteriorate; if anything it increased. Is it possible the supplements weren’t doing much and I simply wasn’t giving my body what it needed from food? Yes, yes it is. Is it also possible that eating a plethora amount of animal products isn’t the optimal diet for a weightlifter? Yes ma’am, thats what I have come to believe.

Now I know this post comes with no hard core facts, just personal opinion. Take from it what you may. Im simpy suggesting you don’t waste your money on a bunch of supplements. If anything supplement your deficiencies, while considering the time of year. For example, I take Vitamin D3 drops in the fall/ winter because of the lack of sunlight.

As for the meat — I honestly believe it’s not good for us humans. Maybe 1-2 times a week; but not every meal, every day. Without getting into the science and health facts, to me eating more plant based foods just makes sense. From my experience I feel better, my skin looks better, and I carry the most muscle mass I ever have, all while spending less on groceries.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

If the food doesn’t kill you; the packaging might

greasy fast food

The other day I caved and bought myself fast food. The usual guilt I feel when putting hydrogenated deep fried shit into my body started to occur about a quarter the way into eating. Only recently however has this guilt found a partner; one that equally concerns me – the packaging thats used to contain the food.

PFCs/ PFASs

“PFCs” can be an abbreviation for perfluorinated chemicals; or a subset of perfluorinated chemicals called perfluorcarbons; or it can also stand for perfluorinated compounds.
The abbreviation PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is used alternatively to collectively describe PFOAs and PFOSs and other chemicals in this group (www.epa.gov, 2016).

Fluorine

If you’re familiar with the periodic table, you may recall the chemical element fluorine.
Fluorine is a dangerously reactive univalent poisonous gaseous halogen, it is pale yellow-green and is the most chemically reactive and electronegative of all the elements (lenntech.com, 1998-2017).

PFC’s are an organofluorine compound, which means it contains only carbon-fluorine bonds. They are used because of their hydrophobic (water-repellant) and lipophobic (oil/ fat resistant) properties. Their carbon-fluorine bonds makes them highly resistant to degradation (Schaider et al., 2017).

Pizza box

PFASs have been extensively used in water-, stain-, and oil-resistant consumer products, cookware, paints, waxes, fire-fighting foams, and polishes (Wu et al., 2015; Renner, 2001; Seacat et al., 2002). They have also been discovered in carpeting, carpet cleaners, upholstery, outdoor apparel, and food contact materials (FCMs) (Schaider et al., 2017; Kotthoff et al., 2015; Liu et al., 2015; Guo et al., 2009).

Certain PFASs and PFOSs and other chemicals were phased out voluntarily by major US manufacturers due to concerns of adverse health effects. However, these chemicals are still produced globally and continue to be imported to the U.S. (Schaider et al., 2017; U.S. Environmental Procession Agency., 2010/2015).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, scientists detected PFASs in over 98% of the thousands of blood samples collected. Unfortunately for us, these chemicals are bioaccumulative and remain in our bodies for a long period of time.

crazy kid eating fast food

PFCs bind to proteins and are distributed mainly to the blood serum, kidney, and liver (Lau et al., 2007). Numerous studies have found correlations between exposures to PFASs and kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight, decreased sperm count, immunotoxicity in children, and pregnancy induced hypertension (Schaider et al., 2017; Barry et al., 2013; Fei et al., 2007; Stein et al., 2009; Joensen et al., 2009; Lopez-Espinosa et al., 2012; Grandjean et al., 2012; Vested et al., 2013). These chemicals have also been associated with high cholesterol and uric acid, as well as neurological effects, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children (Wu et al., 2015; Hoffman et al., 2010).

PFASs and FCMs

In 2014 and 2015, 407 samples of food packaging at U.S. fast food restaurants were collected and tested for detectable fluorine (F) concentrations by Schaider et al., 2017. The samples were divided into 6 categories: food contact paper (e.g. sandwich wrappers an pastry bags), non-contact paper (e.g. outer bags), food contact paperboard (e.g. boxes for fries and pizza), paper cups (e.g. for hot or cold drinks), other beverages (e.g. milk and juice containers), and miscellaneous (e.g. lids and applesauce containers).

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 3.29.09 PM

Of the 407 samples, 33% had detectable total F concentrations, ranging from 16 to 800nmol of F/cm2. However, consider this – 16nmol of F/cm2 is equal to 30µg of F/dm2. This is the acceptable level of detection (LOD) according to the US guidelines. This acceptable LOD is buzz lightyears above the Danish Ministry of Environment and Foods guideline of 0.35µg of F/dm2 for total organic fluorine (Schaider et al., 2017; Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark., 2015). With that said – they detected PFASs in 100% of the samples collected with total F concentrations below the LOD.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 3.29.58 PM

The amount of PFASs that migrates from FCMs into our food is dependant on the amount, type, and chain length of PFASs used, the type of food (water -vs fat-based), the temperature, and the contact time. (Schaider et al., 2017; Begley et al., 2008; Yuan et al., 2016).

Presently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves more than 90 unique monomer and polymer PFAS’s for use in FCMs, including 20 PFASs to impart oil, grease, and/or water resistance.

Conclusion/ Summary

To conclude, food contact materials (FCMs) consist of perfluoronated chemicals (PFCs) -alternativey called PFASs. They’re used because they are highly resistant to degradation, as well as their water-, stain- and oil-resistant properties.

These chemicals make their way into food and there are numerous concerns of adverse health effects, including kidney cancer, and ADHD. Exposure to PFASs is especially relevent for kids since 1/3 of U.S. children consume fast food daily (Vilkraman et al., 2015).

Schaider et al., 2017 collected over 400 FCM samples from various fast food restaurants in the United States. 33% had dectedable fluorine levels above the U.S. standards of 30µg of F/dm2. However, this standard is undeniably greater than the Danish standard of .35µg of F/dm2. With that said, all of the samples tested had detectable levels of fluorine.

 

References

Barry, V.; Winquist, A.; Steenland, K. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposures and incident cancers among adults living near a chemical plant. Environ. Health Perspect. 2013, 121 (11-12), 1313-1318.

Fact Sheet: 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Washington, DC (http://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-manging-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-20102015-pfoa-stewardship-program) (accessed July 9, 2016).

Fei, C.; McLaughlin, J.K.; Tarone, R. E.; Olsen, J. Perfluorinated chemicals and fetal growth: A study with the Danish National Birth Cohort. Environ. Health Perspect. 2007, 115 (11), 1677-1682.

Fluorine-F.; Lenntech, B.V, 1998-2017 (www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/f/htm) (accessed July 4, 2017).

Guo, Z.; Liu, X.; Krebs, K. Perfluorocarboxylic acid content in 116 articles of commerce. EPA/600/R-09/033; Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Research Triangle Park, NC, 2009.

Grandjean, P.; Andersen, E. W.; Budtz-Jorgensen, E.; Nielsen, F.; Molbak, K.; Weihe, P.; Heilmann, C. Serum vaccine antibody concentrations in children exposed to perfluorinated compounds. JAMA, J. Am. Med. Assoc. 2012, 307 (4), 391-397.

Hoffman, K.; Webster, T. F.; Weinberg, J.; Vieira, V. M.; Weisskopf, M. G. Exposure to polyfluoroalkyl chemicals and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in US children 12-15 years of age. Environ. Health Perspect. 2010, 118, 1762-1767.

Joensen, U. N.; Bossi, R.; Leffers, H.; Jensen, A. A.; Skakkebaek, N. E; Jorgensen, N. Do perfluoroalkyl compounds impair human semen quality? Environ. Health Perspect. 2009, 117 (6), 923-927.

Kotthoff, M.; Muller, J.; Jurling, H.; Schlummer, M.; Fiedler, D. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in consumer products. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 2015, 22 (9), 14546-14559.

Lau, C.; Anitole, K.; Hodes, C.; Lai, D.; Pfahles-Hutchens, A.; Seed, J. Perfluoroalkyl acids: a review monitoring and toxicological findings. Toxicol. Sci. 2007, 99, 336-394.

Liu, X.; Guo, Z.; Folk, E. E.; Roache, N.F. Determination of fluorotelomer alcohols in selected consumer products and preliminary investigation of their fate in the indoor environment. Chemosphere 2015, 129, 81-86.

Lopez-Espinosa, M.-J.; Mondal, D.; Armstrong, B.; Bloom, M. S.; Fletcher, T. Thyroid function and perfluoroalkyl acids in children living near a chemical plant. Environ. Health Perspect. 2012. 120 (7). 1036-1041.

Renner, R., 2001. Growing concern over perfluorinated chemicals. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2001. 35, 154-160.

Schaider, L.A.; Balan, S.A.; Blum, A.; Andrews, D.Q.; Strynar, M.J.; Dickinson, M.E.; Lunderberg, D.M.; Lang, J.R.; Peaslee, G.F. Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2017, 105-111.

Seacat, A.M.; Thomford, P.J.; Hansen, K.J.; Olsen, G.W.; Case, M.T.; Butenhoff, J.L. Subchronic toxicity studies on perfluorooctanesulfonate potassium salt in cynomolgus monkeys. Toxicol. Sci. 2002, 68, 249-264.

Stein, C. R.; Savitz, D. A.; Dougan, M. Serum levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate and pregnancy outcome. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2009, 170 (7), 837-846.

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Recipe: Curry Chickpea

Basmati Rice – 1 cup+
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Red Onion – 1 Small or Half a Medium; diced
Small Garlic Cloves – 3 Large or 5 to 6 Small Cloves; minced
Bell Pepper (red, yellow or green) – Half; sliced
Salt and Pepper – a few shakes
Curry Paste (red, yellow or green) – 2 tbsp
Coconut Milk – 1 can
Tomato – 1 small; diced
Cumin – 1 tbsp
Crushed Cayenne – 1 level tbsp *optional
Soya Sauce – 2 tbsp
Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
Lime – 1; juiced
Chick Peas – half a can; drained and thoroughly rinsed
Basil Leaves – 3 Leaves; dried or fresh

Curry Dish
Not the best photo, but I promise it tastes awesome.

I rarely eat meat, and I do my best to limit my intake of dairy products. With that said, while I wouldn’t consider myself vegan, I do try to avoid animal products as much as possible. This leaves me searching for nutritious and satisfying meals that are easy to make and won’t empty my wallet. Thankfully this hasn’t been hard to do and I have managed to master (I think so anyways) a few solid recipes.

The recipe I want to share today is a Chickpea Curry Dish. I have listed the ingredients in the order in which they should be added to a large skillet; except for the rice, which should be cooked separately – ideally in a rice cooker.

I find it easiest to dice, mince, and slice all of the veggies, and have all the ingredients ready to go before starting the cooking process. You can heat up the skillet on medium / low high heat while cutting your vegetables, adding the oil after it has been heated.

After adding the extra virgin olive oil, toss in the diced red onions and minced garlic cloves. Let this fry for a couple minutes, then add the sliced bell pepper. I prefer to use green bell peppers but its completely up to you. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper on top of the veggies and make sure to stir/ flip it around.

Next step is to add the curry paste. Please note the word paste – not sauce! I like to use red – but again it is up to you what colour you want to incorporate. Toss in 2 tbsp and stir it around the pan and the vegetables. Shortly after, add the can of coconut milk and continue to stir until the colour become homogenous.

Toss in the diced tomato and add a tbsp of cumin. I love cumin and it certainly couples well with the curry paste to add even more flavour. On that note, I also recommend adding some crushed cayenne or chilli flakes to add some heat; but how much, if any, is your choice. Afterwards, add the soya sauce, brown sugar, and the juice from 1 lime into the mix. Give it a good stir then finally add the half can of chickpeas (I find a full can to be way too much) and 3 basil leaves. Let this sit, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with a side of rice and enjoy!