Sunday, May 4, 2014

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Three - Norman Zale (1977)

Smoking and Food

Miguel Torres, associate of Christopher Columbus, was amazed to observe New World aborigines around a fire, each holding a long reed, one end of which was in his nose and the other in smoke rising from burning leaves. In response to a query, a native pointing to the tube said something that sounded like "Tobaccum." Thus tobacco was introduced to the Old World.

Some years ago scientists, who had exposed rats to cigarette smoke for many months, reported that lung cancer had not developed. The tobacco companies went wild and their stock shot up. They hailed this as proof that tobacco smoke does not cause lung cancer. Rats are used in experiments of this type as they have much in common with human beings, but these rats, seemingly with more common sense than man, kept their mouths shut and inhaled the smoke through their nostrils. They seem to be aware of the ability of the nostrils to filter and screen particles that would otherwise enter the lungs.

In view of this, it is advisable that if you are a smoker. in spite of the knowledge of the serious effects smoking has on your health and weight training, you should shove the cigarette up your nose and smoke as did the original nicotine addicts. This is not as funny as it may sound. A few years ago Readers Digest ran an article about a cancer ward in a hospital, a ward where the patients had undergone surgery to remove parts of their lips , tongue, soft palette, larynx, trachea, and adjacent 'unimportant' parts of their anatomies as a result of cancer, generally brought on as a result of smoking. The patients, generally post operative, could not hold a cigarette in their mouths because of bandages, stitches and other paraphernalia. Do you know how they managed to sneak smoked? You guessed it, just as the early Indians did, by inserting a cigarette up their nostrils and inhaling. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? A person mutilated for life, still continuing the habit that caused his problem. Is this what you want?

If you are a weight trainer and smoke, you have probably tried to kick the tobacco habit again and again, but without success. The answer to licking the cigarette habit may be in the food you eat or do not eat.

You say, "I eat three good meals a day, plenty of protein, some vegetables and a few other foods that give  me a well-rounded, balanced diet." You may be thinking of food only as chunks of this and glasses of that but it is the quality of food rather than the quantity that counts if you want to break the smoking habit.

Many of you smoke because you feel tired and are a bag of nerves. So you reach for a cigarette, which for he moment relaxes you and makes you feel good again until the sedative wears off. But why are you nervous? Have you ever stopped to analyze it nutritionally? You are told by advertisers that smoking settles your nerves. You accept this because you know that it is true, but it doesn't help you break your addiction.

Nonsmokers can have this same problem if they go along with the average American diet, and most weightmen follow the crowd, the path of least resistance, eating what is convenient and filling rather than what is best for them. But you, as a smoker, have a double problem in that smoking itself robs you of one of the B vitamins, thiamine. Thus, the cigarette you smoke in the hopes of giving you a lift soon lets you down when the sedative effect passes on.

Thiamine is important in helping the body utilize carbohydrates. If there is a thiamine deficiency, then your nerves are 'shot' and you suffer from lack of concentration, fatigue and depression. When you smoke, you are using up this vitamin, so you soon feel the need for another cigarette. Each time you smoke, the very element that makes for calm nerves is robbed from your system. It is a merry-go-round which you are going to have to get off of if you expect to reach close to your potential in the weight game.

You may take a cigarette after meals because you feel that it helps your digestion, but this is not true. Thiamine promotes a good appetite and better functioning of the digestive tract.

Let's follow you to the supermarket and see what you are buying to build your body with this week.

You go down the first aisle and pick a couple of loaves of white bread off of the top shelf and drop them into your cart. 'Enriched' says the label. Twenty-six nutrients removed from the flour during the milling process and seven artificial ones replaced. If you consider that 'enriched' you're a ring-tailed baboon. Bread made out of of 100% whole grain with added wheat germ is what you should have purchased.

A package of macaroni, a box of pancake flour and a family sized box of Toasty Oats follow the bread into the cart, "because they help stretch my budget," you say. The same 'enriched' flour used to make your bread is used in these products, so I guess you know how much they will contribute to your 300-lb bench press.

Now we head for the bakery department. But, as an afterthought, you decide against it. "I'm getting a little too bulky anyway," you say to yourself. Here we are at the soft drink display. "Got to get a case of the low-cal stuff I saw advertised the other night," you murmur as a fat women with a full shopping cart squeezes between you and the cantaloupes. "Here we go, ten pounds of brown sugar, on sale today. I'll use this instead of white sugar on my cereal," you're thinking as you pull one of the sacks out from the back of the pile.

One more stop, to pick up a couple of cans of fruit cocktail and pineapple and you start wheeling your cart toward the checkout counter content with the fact that you have done your shopping, or most of if, for the week.

Okay, you may concede that this is a lot of junk food. As your groceries are being checked out by the pretty high school girl, you remember something about Vitamin C and smoking. What was it? To refresh your memory - each cigarette neutralizes about 25 mg of Vitamin C, the amount in one orange.

So if you eat one orange with your breakfast, your first cigarette destroys the Vitamin C from that orange. Your next smoke further robs you and on and on. You probably had a cup of coffee with your breakfast as most smokers also seem to be addicted to coffee. At lunch, or at your break, you probably had more coffee, a sweet roll or a sandwich and another cigarette. No Vitamin C so far all day but you are planning to have a terrific workout tonight! Ha!

You finally get on the ball for the big meal at night, and say, "Time for me to have my vegetables." So you have some head lettuce and celery which you bought five or six days ago and has probably lost all of its vitamins. The greener the vegetables, even when fresh from the field, the better are the vitamins.

What does Vitamin C have to do with smoking? Vitamin C strengthens the blood vessels, connective tissue and muscles. If this doesn't impress you, you had better stop lifting weights and take up horseshoes. Vitamin C also fortifies the tissues just under the skin . . . if you bruise easily, have black and blue marks, it is a sure sign that you are deficient in Vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps in the healing of wounds and neutralizes toxins in the blood, thus saving the liver from so much work.

So let's get with it! Make a big change in your life-style, meaning what goes into your stomach. Eat more vegetables, especially green ones. Throw out all processed food, anything that was milled or 'fixed up' in a factory. Don't cut vegetables and fruits and expose them to the air, eat them immediately, or they will lose much of their vitamin content.

Many weight men have had the happy experience to find that they lose their desire to smoke when they eat very heavily of fresh fruit and vegetables and cut down on protein and starch foods.

Others have found that consuming warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice in the morning, and again at various times during the day, has flushed the tobacco poisons out of their system and helped them stop smoking. Others have gone a step further and fasted a few days, drinking only water and fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Three days on this type of a routine and you will have lost all desire to smoke. A daily steam bath after a light workout while fasting will help flush the poisons out of your system. After fasting, you should not return to your regular eating habits, but eat fresh juicy fruits in small quantities for a day or two.

Brewers yeast and raw wheat germ, found in health food stores, are the cheapest and best sources of thiamine. Use about three tablespoons of each a day. Twenty tablets equals one tablespoon of brewers yeast. Do not confuse this with the yeast used to bake bread.

Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables are good sources of Vitamin C. If you purchase a Vitamin C supplement make sure that it contains the citrus bioflavonoids as these go hand-in-hand with Vitamin C.

When you consider that one cigarette contains at least 19 poisons in the tobacco, and three or more in the paper in which it is smoked, it makes sense to start working on the nutritional approach to kicking the cigarette habit. Many have been very successful with this type of approach. It's tough all right, but not as tough as three sets of 20 reps in the squat with maximum weight.

If you still are not convinced that smoking is affecting your health and weight training progress, give yourself this test. Wait an hour after your last cigarette and then record your resting pulse rate. Sitting down, place the middle three fingers of your right hand on the thumb side of your left wrist. If you can't locate your pulse with this method, place the same three fingers over one of your carotid arteries, located on your throat just below your jaw. After finding your pulse, look at the sweep second hand of your watch and count the number of pulse-beats during a 15-second interval. Multiply this number of beats by four. This figure represents your resting pulse rate for one minute. Now smoke a cigarette right down to with an inch or so of the filter and take your pulse again. There will be an increase of from 10 to 20 beats per minute because your heart is pumping faster to make up for the smaller amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. And as all studies seem to show, a higher heart beat will keep you from achieving peak physical performance. Enough said.

Next: Sweet and Deadly       

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