Call It What it Is

Ryan Guthmiller

I was perusing the market at lunchtime today and noticed the organic raw shelled Brazil Nuts in the bulk foods section. Realizing that I had never eaten this type of nut before I quickly scooped some up. After tasting some I can safely say that I still have never eaten this type of nut. What? Brazil Nuts are technically seeds, not nuts, but their brown nut-like casings have served to keep people calling them nuts. So there you have it.

They are produced by a South American tree which tends to grow in virgin rain forests, and they are an extremely popular food source in many Latin American nations, as well of the rest of the world. The nuts have a rich, creamy flavor.

In nature, Brazil nuts develop inside a large capsule which strongly resembles a coconut. If cut open, the capsule reveals a number of three-sided nuts. The nuts have extremely hard shells, but if they can be successfully cracked, they yield protein and fat rich seeds. Brazil nuts are considered a complete protein, making them an excellent addition to the vegetarian diet.

Like all the other types of nuts, Brazil nuts are also known for their great taste and health benefits. Besides being one of the richest dietary sources for selenium, a vital mineral for human health, it contains significant amount of magnesium, phosphorus and thiamine, and very rich in protein and dietary fiber. 28 g of Brazil nuts approximately contain 190 calories, out of which 170 calories can be attributed to its fat content. Out of the total fat, 5 g is saturated fat, 7 g is mono-unsaturated fat, and the rest 7 g is polyunsaturated fat. The protein content is about 4 g, while fiber and sugar contents are 2 g and 1 g respectively. Again, 28 g of Brazil nuts contain about 190mg of potassium, 4 g of carbohydrates and 0 g of cholesterol, trans fat and sodium.

Apart from these, 28 g of Brazil nuts can provide about 20% of the daily value of phosphorus, 8% of the daily value of zinc, 25% of the daily value of magnesium and copper, 15% of the daily value of manganese and 780% of the daily value of selenium. Additionally, Brazil nuts are a good source of vitamins like, thiamine and vitamin E.

Most of the health benefits of Brazil nuts can be attributed to its high selenium content. Selenium is an important antioxidant that can protect from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive particles that can oxidize and thereby, damage the body cells and tissues. Selenium can neutralize such free radicals and in the process, provide protection against a number of diseases including, heart disease. Selenium is also found to boost the immune system and promote the synthesis of glutathione, which plays an important role in minimizing free radical damage.

Another important fact about Brazil nuts nutrition is that selenium is also required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Apart from this, like other nuts, Brazil nuts can assist in controlling weight. High protein and fiber content of these nuts help to control hunger and thereby losing weight. However, people trying to lose weight should control their total calorie intake; consuming Brazil nuts only cannot assure the prevention of weight gain.

Brazil nuts are a very rich source of omega-6 fatty acids that can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, the mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in Brazil nuts lower the level of cholesterol, and thereby reduce the risk for heart attacks and strokes. The benefits of these healthy fats often seem to outweigh the effects of small amount of saturated fats found in the nuts. Brazil nuts can prove beneficial in a very rare inherited disorder, which is known as Acrodermatitis enteropathica. In this disorder, the body fails to absorb sufficient amount of zinc from the diet leading to zinc deficiency. Brazil nuts contain high level of zinc and hence can be helpful for anyone having zinc deficiency.

Considering all the Brazil nuts nutrition facts, we can conclude that including a few of them in our daily diet can improve overall health and well-being. However, excess consumption should be avoided, as it contains a very high level of selenium. Presence of selenium more than the required amount in the body can cause fatigue, irritability and stomach upset. So, it is essential to maintain moderation in case of any food or dietary supplement. Moreover, it is better to use the unsalted or lightly salted nuts, as salted nuts means high level of sodium, which in turn is associated with hypertension.

    Wheat, Wheat, The Magical…

    Ryan Guthmiller

    Just finished another book about the potential dangers of grains, mainly wheat, and have to say that I am not entirely convinced. So I have been abstaining from as much wheat and/or grain products as possible to see if I was able to garner any noticeable results. In just a couple weeks I have noticed no difference in my training/performance when working out and running. I have noticed that the small layer of what I can only assume is visceral fat around my lower belly has been reduced.

    Even when I was training and running at my highest level (for me was 50 – 60 miles per week), I could never get rid of this small layer. Does that mean I am healthier with or without it? I can’t say but at this time I do not feel any ill effects of my abstinence.

    Due to’s glitchy issues right now you will have to type in the address:

      Changing My Compass Direction

      Ryan Guthmiller

      It is one thing to be active and have a sense of progress, it is entirely another to know if your progress is in the proper direction. We need challenges to gauge where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going. That is where the importance of goal setting comes to the forefront. Goals give you a compass in order to direct your path through life. Goals will focus your thoughts and actions on areas that have precise purpose and meaning.

      I have decided that doing the Tacoma City Half Marathon on May 4th , 2014 is my next goal. This will be my first race since October last year. Race info can be found here.

        Cake Has Never Been This Healthy!

        Ryan Guthmiller

        Uploaded a new recipe today that is tasty, healthy, and satisfying. Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes w/ Avocado Salsa!!

        The recipe will yield 4 cakes (1 cake per serving) and provides the following nutrition:

        • Calories: 330
        • Fat: 16.1g
        • Saturated fat: 2.4g
        • Monounsaturated fat: 10.3g
        • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.9g
        • Protein: 9g
        • Carbohydrate: 39.6g
        • Fiber: 8.5g
        • Cholesterol: 47mg
        • Iron: 1.9mg
        • Sodium: 393mg
        • Calcium: 90mg
        Don’t get turned off by the high amount of fat. It is mostly monounsaturated fat which comes from natural foods that are unmolested and it is good for satiety.

          Hiatus What?

          Ryan Guthmiller

          Hiatus – a break or interruption in the continuity of a work,  series, action,  etc.

          My last race was October 12th, 2013. To say that I took a hiatus is to say that I breath air effortlessly. Both of these statements are true.  The last 4 weeks I have spent a considerable amount of time getting myself back into shape and working off the 20+ lbs that I gained since October.  Delicious but unhealthy…you really do reap what you sow.

          New races and training to come soon!!

            A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later

            Ryan Guthmiller

            By CARL ZIMMER

            Published: August 7, 2013

            Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.

            Soon the cells — nicknamed HeLa cells — were being shipped from Baltimore around the world. In the 62 years since — twice as long as Lacks’s own brief life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer.

            In the journal Nature on Wednesday, a team of scientists from the University of Washington described the HeLa genome, which they recently sequenced. The project is a tour-de-force of DNA analysis, befitting the best-studied human cells in the world.

            But the research is exceptional for another reason. Henrietta Lacks, who was poor, black and uneducated, never consented to her cells’ being studied. For 62 years, her family has been left out of the decision-making about that research. Now, over the past four months, the National Institutes of Health has come to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.

            “In 20 years at N.I.H., I can’t remember something like this,” Francis S. Collins, the institute’s director, said in an interview.

            Though the agreement, which was announced on Wednesday, is a milestone in the saga of Henrietta Lacks, it also draws attention to a lack of policies to balance the benefits of studying genomes with the risks to the privacy of people whose genomes are studied — as well as their relatives.

            As the journalist Rebecca Skloot recounted in her 2010 best-seller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Ms. Lacks’s cells were removed without her consent. She gave no permission for scientists to rear them. Compounding that injustice, the scientists studying the cells and developing lucrative medicines from them did not inform her family or share any profits. Her family discovered that their mother was, in effect, scattered across the planet in 1973, only when a scientist called to ask for her children’s blood to study genes inherited from her.

            For the Lacks family, this March brought an intense feeling of déjà vu. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory published the genome of a line of HeLa cells, making it publically available for downloading. Another study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health at the University of Washington, was about to be published in Nature. The Lacks family was made aware of neither project.

            “I said, ‘No, this is not right,’” said Jeri Lacks Whye, one of Henrietta Lacks’s grandchildren, in an interview. “They should not have this up unless they have consent from the family.”

            When the University of Washington researchers had originally applied to the N.I.H. for a grant to sequence the HeLa genome, no red flags went up about contacting the Lacks family. “I don’t think we would have anticipated this had we looked at the grant,” Kathy L. Hudson, the National Institutes of Health deputy director for science, outreach and policy, said in an interview. “Hindsight is twenty-twenty.”

            Once reports of the controversy emerged, the European researchers took down their public data, and the publication of the University of Washington paper was stopped. Dr. Collins and Dr. Hudson made three trips to Baltimore to meet with the Lacks family to discuss the research and what to do about it.

            “The biggest concern was privacy — what information was actually going to be out there about our grandmother, and what information they can obtain from her sequencing that will tell them about her children and grandchildren and going down the line,” said Ms. Lacks Whye.

            The Lacks family and the N.I.H. settled on an agreement: the data from both studies should be stored in the institutes’ database of Genotypes and Phenotypes. Researchers who want to use the data can apply for access and will have to submit annual reports about their research. A so-called “HeLa Genome Data Access working group” at the N.I.H. will review the applications. Two members of the Lacks family will be members.

            With this agreement in place, the University of Washington researchers were then able to publish their results. Their analysis goes beyond the European study in several ways. Most important, they show precisely where each gene is situated in HeLa DNA.

            A human genome is actually two genomes, each passed down from a parent. The two versions of a gene may be identical, or they may carry genetic variations setting them apart.

            “If you think of the variations as beads on a string, you really have two strings,” said Jay Shendure, who led the Washington genome study. “The way we sequence genomes today, for the most part we just get a list of where the genes are located, but no information about which ones are on which string.”

            Dr. Shendure and his colleagues have developed new methods that allow them to gather that information. By reconstructing both strings of the HeLa genome, they could better understand how Ms. Lacks’s healthy cells had been transformed over the past 60 years.

            For example, they could see how Henrietta Lacks got cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus infections. The virus accelerates the growth of infected cells, which may go on to become tumors.

            Dr. Shendure and his colleagues discovered the DNA of a human papillomavirus embedded in Lacks’s genome. By landing at a particular spot, Lacks’s virus may have given her cancer cells their remarkable endurance.

            “That’s one of the frequent questions that I and the Lacks family get whenever we talk about this stuff,” said Ms. Skloot. “The answer was always, ‘We don’t know.’ Now, there’s at least somewhat of an answer: because it happened to land right there.” (Ms. Skloot is a friend of the writer, who supplied an endorsement for her book.)

            Richard Sharp, the director of biomedical ethics at the Mayo Clinic, said he thinks the agreement “was pretty well handled.” But he warned that it is only a “one-off solution,” rather than a broad policy to address the tension between genome research and the privacy of relatives, now that recent research has demonstrated that it is possible to reveal a person’s identity through sequencing.

            Dr. Sharp considered it impractical to set up a working group of scientists and relatives for every genome with these issues. “There’s absolutely a need for a new policy,” he said.

            Eric Lander, the founding director at the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T., said resolving these issues was crucial to taking advantage of the knowledge hidden in our genomes.

            “If we are going to solve cancer, it’s going to take a movement of tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of patients willing to contribute information from their cancer genomes towards a common good,” said Dr. Lander. “We are going to need to have ways to have patients feel comfortable doing that. We can’t do it without a foundation of respect and trust. “

            This was an article in the New York Times that has to do with a book I read this year, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack’s.

              Some Motivation Required..

              Ryan Guthmiller

              I am up to 45-50 miles per week in my training for the Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon and I have officially hit a rut. So far I have had no serious injuries but the workouts every Saturday and Sunday are taking their toll. For instance, I will run 10 miles at race pace this Saturday and a 20 mile easy pace on Sunday. A running rut for me is more than just a lack of motivation, it makes the workouts feel like a drudge and time is a silent killer.

              Hopefully I can snap out of it after some good runs this weekend and get that damn tyrannosaurus off my rear!!

                The Mirror Of The Signs

                Ryan Guthmiller

                “The Mirror Of The Signs”

                By BUSH

                you could say that all love breaks you
                and every kiss is who you are
                if i could tell you what i’ve been thinking
                maybe we could get along
                see yourself through the mirror of the signs
                it’s alright to lose your mind
                in a world of paradise
                yesterday before your eyes
                and all the lives you leave behindyou can’t run from what’s inside you
                and what don’t kill will set you free
                all those days i felt my rage
                but i found the strength to be me, yeahsee yourself through the mirror of the signs
                it’s alright to lose your mind
                in a world of paradise
                yesterday before your eyes
                and all the lives you leave behind
                in a world of paradise
                (in a world of paradise)don’t fake
                don’t fake anyone

                don’t lie
                don’t lie till you’re done

                dive in
                dive into everything

                you could say that all love breaks you
                and every kiss is who you are, yeah
                see yourself through the mirror of the signs
                it’s alright to lose your mind
                in a world of paradise
                yesterday before your eyes
                and all the lives you leave behind
                in a world of paradise, yeah
                watch them fade in the shadow of the sun
                each new day the last is done

                  I am not a teacher, but an awakener.

                  Ryan Guthmiller

                  My food intake for last night and this morning was no different than any other day regardless of having swam 1.2 miles last night and .6 miles this morning. By mid-morning today I was hurting for fuel and broke down with a Chocolate Chip Cliff Bar. I haven’t had one of these for a few months since I started making my own homemade energy bars where I am able to control what goes into it and subsequently into my body.

                  What is wrong with Cliff Bars? Plenty, but it depends on your purpose.

                  Did you know that there are almost 4 calories (3.87 to be more precise) per gram of sugar? So when the package on the above cliff bar says 23g of sugar, that means that there is 23g x 4 calories per gram = 92 calories per serving are from sugars alone. The bar is 1 serving and has 230 calories, so the sugar makes up 40% of the calories in the bar. Wow! If fat-burning is your goal or you are eating these to supplement your bodies glycogen levels during training, keep in mind that this much sugar and carbs are only beneficial if you are going to be training over 3 hours. That isn’t all! If you ARE training over 3 hours, you still should stay away from Cliff Bars because they use soy protein isolate as the main source of protein, which is known for causing digestive stress, inflammation, and thyroid problems.

                  You should also pay attention to labels, this is the biggest mistake that most people (myself included) often make. The Chocolate Chip Cliff Bar has sugar listed in 5 of the top 6 listed ingredients. The very first ingredient is Organic Brown Rice Syrup (but it’s Organic!! LOL), second ingredient is a Cliff Bar Proprietary Blend that includes Barley Malt, fourth ingredient  includes Cane Syrup, fifth ingredient includes Cane Syrup, sixth ingredient is Organic Cane Syrup straight up!

                  Some sugar is needed as a sweetener; in-fact, I use some in the homemade bars that I made. However, you should keep it limited and make sure to use unprocessed (unrefined) organic types.  

                  I found a website that highlights 143 reasons that sugar ruins your health, Now you know.

                    Beyond The Kale

                    Ryan Guthmiller

                    The way that I’ve been ranting and preaching from on top my soap box you would be shocked to hear me say that there is more to living a healthy life than diet. While I believe diet plays a bigger role than any other factor with the exception to the training itself, I also am being handed a slice of humble pie. Not even a full week after my recent 5k 2nd place finish I have acquired a case of what I believe to be chondromalacia patellae. It is most commonly known as “runners knee” and is basically inflammation of the underside of the patella (knee cap). It is an overuse injury that once present, gets progressively worse with more activity; especially running up hills. The only real way to get rid of this ailment is to stop the activity that caused it in the first place and give it rest.

                    Fast forward to Tuesday of this week, the first week of my new training program for the Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon in September. 400m hill repeats were on the menu and my knee was not as responsive as I would expect it to be. I ended up struggling through the workout and finished at the pool for some low-impact laps. All this week I have been doing standing and jumping squats whenever possible combined with balancing on my bad leg (the left) for prolonged periods, and foam rolling my upper legs until the pain is intolerable. All in hopes that merely strengthening my thigh muscles will put my knee back on track and relieve the soreness. 

                    I went swimming again this morning and the knee actually feels fairly good. At this point I am at a crossroads, do I perform my scheduled tempo workout today and risk putting my knee further in the coffin, or do I shut it down until next week…Either way, I now must place a serious effort to strengthen my core and upper legs throughout my training cycle if I want to have a chance in placing in the top 3 overall for the Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon. Losing fitness even this early in the process seems like an unacceptable option.