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Practical Information for Healthy and Happy Life

77 Year Old Vegan Bodybuilder Might Make You Reconsider Your Diet

posted May 10, 2015, 12:37 PM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated May 10, 2015, 12:38 PM ]

This video was not the reason why I became vegan. When I watched it for the first time, I already was a vegan. I am wondering if the video will help somebody to reconsider their diet and become vegan, or maybe it will not help. If you watched this video, please share your thoughts if it did change any of your perception about food or maybe it didn't ... tell us, why?


Low-Fat Vegan Diet and the Amount of Food Eaten

posted May 8, 2015, 10:35 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated May 10, 2015, 10:12 AM ]

When people switch to a low-fat high-carb vegan diet they often seem to be making one critical mistake: not eating enough food. This picture demonstrates what it can lead to, especially if coupled with strenuous exercise program. You can read more about this story here.


Low-fat vegan food intake may look massive, but the real reason behind this, is the low caloric density of the foods eaten (mainly due to the high amounts of dietary fiber and relatively low fat content). The video below shows the amount of this type of food that a person can eat. Although it does not mean that you have to do exactly the same, and having a variety in your diet would be important, it still demonstrates an important point: you have to eat enough, which probably means you have to eat more than you think is necessary. By the way, does the man in this video who is eating so much look fat to you? To me he doesn't look fat at all, and also he looks quite happy and content ... Anyway, if you like the video, share your thoughts with everyone.


Another video, watch it, especially 2:39 - 6:39 minutes. Keep in mind, this is corn pasta, not wheat pasta (why this is important we will discuss latter, in short it has to do in part with the glycemic index).


What Alarm to Use in the Morning, and Why

posted Nov 11, 2014, 1:43 PM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:10 AM ]

How do you wake up in the morning? Do you think it matters?

Picture this. You open many different programs on your computer, including some unsaved work in your word processor and excel charts. The computer is busy doing many different tasks: moving information, cleaning space, copying the files, reorganising them, writing logs, installing important updates from the web, connecting to different web services... and suddenly you abruptly turn off the power! Have this ever happened to you? How long did it take to restore everything? If you are like most of us, you probably felt some frustration because of the accident. Now, imagine doing this daily. How well do you think your computer will function after that?

REM cycles in our sleep normally occur every night (pictured blue in the graph below). REM cycles are our brain's maintenance time. In REM our brain organises the information, reshuffles memories, and generally speaking organises and clears our mind. Now imagine a loud alarm going off in the middle of a REM sleep cycle. As you can see, most of REM sleep occurs in the morning so there is a high chance the alarm will hit right in the middle of it. It's similar to abruptly shutting down a computer. If we suddenly wake up before this process is completed, we may feel disoriented, foggy and our memory and concentration for the day can be poor, and we will not know why. If this is repeated daily, chances are our brain will not be as sharp and clear as we would like it to be.

What's the solution? Don't go to work and sleep as long as you want without using an alarm. If you are not that lucky, using an alarm clock with very gentle and slow fade in sound, particularly one that is combined with a light therapy device (like this one in this picture below). This can help you to wake up more naturally. After completing a REM cycle and while transitioning from REM to Non-REM sleep, you will hear the alarm sound and gently wake up.

If you do not have a sophisticated alarm, don't worry, you just can be creative. I personally use a very old Litebook plugged into a little timer device. I set the timer to turn on the Litebook 15 minutes before my desired wakeup time. I do not use any sound device to wake me up, the light itself is usually enough. Just in case, I set my radio alarm 15 minutes after my desired wake up time, and I am typically awake before it goes off. I have noticed that since using this way of waking up my memory and concentration became even better than before. So, this is just one more little trick for you to try and I hope it will help you as well. If you wish, you can discuss your thoughts about this, for example here on Facebook.

100 km, 100 ml, 100 for 100 and my Beautiful Friend Andrea

posted Nov 7, 2014, 9:26 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:10 AM ]

She can run 100 km in a day. She plans to run (June 2015) 100 ml in one stretch. She is saving the animals and the planet with an extremely creative and fast growing vegan social activism project '100 for 100'. She has a successful financial business and a million of friends and followers on Facebook :-). She knows way more, both, practically and theoretically, about health and wellness that most doctors do (certainly way more than I do). She is lots of fun to be with and that's all in one person. Meet my beautiful friend Andrea.

http://www.facebook.com/andrea.kladar

Martian Looking Glasses That Can Help Your Sleep and Moods

posted Oct 27, 2014, 4:40 PM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Apr 30, 2015, 10:41 AM ]

Sleep and moods are both important for all of us to feel at our best. Light therapy, if used properly, can help both, especially during autumn and winter times
Chances are that you already are (or should be) using light therapy and there are many different types of devices. Recently I came across this new one called Re-Timer made in Australia. It's expensive, but if money is not an issue, I like it, because it's more convenient to ware the light on your head, like glasses (or over your regular reading glasses), than to sit in front of it for long time. Let me know if you use any type of light therapy and how you like it.
 Pictures from the Red Ferret article.

Weight Gain, Type 2 Diabetes, CPAP, and my Lovable Dutch Friend

posted Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:11 AM ]

Today I want to write a post about (and for) a long time friend of mine from Holland. We were out of touch for a while and I have just found that he developed type 2 diabetes.

He told me that he gained lots of body weight (and although recently he lost 10 kilos he is still at 135). He started losing weight by working on his diet (less fat, less 'evil' sugar, 'more fruits, but not fructose', and more vegetables). For exercise he walks his dogs. He takes medication (Metformin) to control his blood sugars. He also tells me that his sleep is not very good, and that he has a CPAP machines that he is not able to use, because it is uncomfortable and he removes it unintentionally at night. He thinks that he needs a new CPAP machine. He appears to be open to suggestions on how to improve his health, and has some motivation to do something about his lifestyle to be healthier.

A couple of days ago we had a lovely chat on Skype, catching up on news about family and friends. He was very proud to tell me about his daughter who is now studying towards a Masters in Psychology. My friend is a very cheerful and lovely person, very social and lovable. He did a lot of voluntary work in his life. He supported me much and I stayed at his house many times during my study and work days in Holland. Now I really want to help him. So, the question is how?

First of all, can you see the connection between nutrition, exercise, sleep/recovery and mind in this case?

Secondly, what would you do or say to a person in a situation like this?

Apart from all the usual stuff one can find on the internet in lines with "continue medical management, and improve your diet and exercise" here's what I would add:

1. Low fat is a great approach for type 2 diabetes. Low fat 'whole food' plant based is probably even better.
2. Don't be scaried of carbs. Carbs are just polimers of glucose and cells in our body (especially in our brain) run on it. We need lots of slow, low glycemic index (GI) carbs (but not fast, high GI carbs). In a nutshel to achieve this we need to get a lot of fiber with carbs in our diet, and that should help.
3. Loosing weight by diet modification is best. Do not exercise to burn calories, exercise to build muscle (including heart and lungs).
4. Walking for excercise is all he can handle for now. Do not do high intensiy exercise until sleeping well. Exercise without proper recovery (sleep) can really burn us out. And proper sleep means not just quantity, but also quality.
5. Rather than getting a new CPAP machine, I think it is more likely that the old one will have to be adjusted and set up properly in a sleep clinic.

These would be my starting points. To achieve meaningful long term results he would need to stay motivated for long time (at least a year).

Do you have someting you'd like to add? Discuss it on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Changing Your Lifestyle: Doing It Yourself Or Finding a Coach?

posted Oct 19, 2014, 11:29 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:11 AM ]

Hiring a health coach can be a cumbersome (and costly) experience and before you do that I really encourage you to try it first by yourself. But if you came to this blog chances are that you have already tried (possibly many times, and failed) on your own. So, how do you know when it is a good time to get a health coach?

First of all, doing it with a coach doesn't mean that you should not carefully plan ahead of time and not be prepared to do most of the work by yourself.

In my life most of my lifestyle adjustments I did on my own. But even being a highly trained medical and health expert I have extensively used help from different health experts at different times in my life. Unfortunately for me, none of the experts I worked with were able to provide me with a well rounded picture of my particular situation. And I have talked to many different ones: fitness trainers, physicians of all kinds, including sleep specialists, nutritionists, psychologists, and many other of so called alternative health provides.

Just to see some of them for a brief consultation (15 minutes) I would fly half a way around the world and pay a lot of money. At the same time I was able to get the expertise of others through the internet and absolutely for free, by just listening to hundreds of hours of their recorded lectures on YouTube. Each one of them gave me something of importance. I still continue constantly learning from as many of them as possible, and even now I still continue making small adjustments to my personal health practices if I discover some new information worth my attention. Although at this time I probably learn most from the people that I help to apply the principles of good health by using the comprehensive health system that I have developed.

If you are contemplating to work with a health coach, here's what I would suggest. First think very long and clear about if need and why you want a coach. What issues are you trying to solve? Is it to get clarity with health information? Or are more after some support, encouragement and motivation? Are you realistic in your expectations? Do you have enough resources and can you afford a coach?

If you ever would want to work with me, I say that first you have to have an open mind and a lot of motivation. If you already 'know' - there is no place within your mind for any new information that I will be sharing with you and it will be a waste of time for both of us. Also, sorry, but I am not going to motivate you as well. If your health problem is not enough of a motivator for you, I will be useless in trying give you a kick in the butt to motivate you to do something for yourself. If you want to work with me, your level of motivation has to be at least 100%, preferably 150% :-).

Before you choose a coach, ask around for recommendations, and the best recommendations would be from the satisfied clients who were able to solve their problems similar to those that you are dealing with right now. Also, do not be shy about asking questions and clarifying all the expectations, including terms and length of the proposed work. I personally, always want to be very open with my clients - to have a meaningful and profound change in your lifestyle we will likely need much more time than you expect. The minimum I would work with someone to get long lasting effect would be one year (on biweekly sessions frequency).

At the same never feel discouraged by previous setbacks that you had in the past. As it is often in life, the more you have failed - the higher your chances of success the next time. It certainly was the case with many changes in my life.

So, let me to congratulate you on your effort to change something in your life because it takes a lot of courage to do so. I admire you for that and I wish you all the success. Let me know if I can ever be of any help along the way. Cheers!


The Four Pillars of Health

posted Oct 19, 2014, 11:27 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:12 AM ]

There are many things that impact our health. But from a practical standpoint these are the ones that I consider the Four Pillars of Health: Nutrition, Exercise, Recovery/Sleep and Mind Mastery Work. Often these are the quickest and easiest to change and in doing that we can have a very profound effect on the one's level of health, probably bigger than you can imagine possible before hand.

At the same time, in my experience these four pillars are also the most neglected. For some strange reasons people prefer to invest their time an resources into trying to find some miracle solutions ('snake oils'). One possible explanation for that is that many people, unfortunately, do not seem to have a good understanding of the health determinants (often not even being aware of that, which makes it much harder to work with them because they already 'know everything').

On a surface it seems so obvious and natural and we often do not pay attention to what we do: just eat, move, sleep and be. Who can not do that? But it turns out that we often get entrenched into some pretty destructive habits without even knowing the true dangers of our behaviours. Part of the problem is that we are constantly bombarded by streams of information from all the sides often by people who just try to sell us their products and services, regardless if they work or not.

As I have learned in over 25 years of studying different aspects of health and medicine, these 'common sense' approaches in health are often misleading and it is not surprising to me that being unhealthy is a new norm in our society.

Becoming healthy is not as easy as we like to think. In my experience it can take a lot of time to make meaningful changes in our lifestyles, even if that looks simple.


The purpose of this website is to give you an alternative view to many 'common sense' approaches that do not work in real life. There is a huge degree of misinformation deeply engraved in our common mind. Let me give you an example: many people would consider almonds to be a very healthy food and a good source of protein. In reality, although almonds do have some protein (about 13% of their caloric value, as much as for example oats do), the majority of almond calories comes from fat (74%). Because of its very high fat content I would not consider it to be a 'healthy food' for the majority of people, but marketing push continues doing its job of misinformation. At the same time, beans, have almost twice the amount of protein per calorie (and significantly less fat), but for some reason it is not a widely promoted health food.

This was just one small example to illustrate the problem with misinformation that we are facing. As we go along I hope to show you many other of these 'little' misconceptions and the huge effect they can have on our health and wellbeing. But keep in mind that learning requires two things: time and open mind. So, if you give me some of your time and an open mind I will work with you to help you to build a truly holistic understanding of health, that will help you to get through some big challenges of your life. Be prepared that you will have to implement a lot of 'small' changes in your life, and it will take time (and effort) but eventually it will have a dramatic positive and long lasting effect on your health and wellbeing.

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