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The Smoothie Diet – Smoothies For Weight Loss And Incredible Health

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How to fast-track fat loss


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Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.


To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

Read the full article in the August 2016 edition by journalist Katelyn Swallow. 

NEXT > Discover ways to boost your metabolism.



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Will Immunotherapy Be the End of Cancer?


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In September of 2011, I did the worst Google search of my life. A year after a seemingly manageable melanoma diagnosis and surgery, I learned that my cancer had appeared again, this time moving aggressively into my lungs and soft tissue. Naturally, the first thing I did was open my laptop and type "stage 4 melanoma life expectancy." Then I cried. The results were terrifying. 

On the website of MD Anderson, one of the most prestigious cancer centers in the world, I found a January 2011 article on metastatic melanoma. There was a telling quote from Michael Davies, MD, of the center’s Melanoma Medical Oncology Department: "The average survival for patients with stage 4 metastatic melanoma is 6 to 10 months, and this hasn’t changed for 30 years."

I still get chills when I recall my prognosis not so very long ago, a prognosis that looked likely to wipe my presence from my two young daughters’ childhoods. Yet a month after my diagnosis, I became one of the first dozen patients in a new clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, receiving a type of treatment known as immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. Three months later, I was declared cancer-free, and I have been ever since. I had not only been granted a future—I had seen a glimpse of it. Welcome to the next era of medicine. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: "I Survived Stage IV Melanoma"

Outsmarting cancer

Our bodies are incredible machines. We are born with an internal defense system designed to fight off invaders like infection and disease. At the heart of that system are T cells, microscopic killers that recognize and destroy abnormalities. But cancer is a potent—and sneaky—foe. "For reasons we are just beginning to understand, your T cells don’t see the cancer cells," explains Naiyer Rizvi, MD, professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and a leading specialist in immunotherapy for lung cancer. And the immune system can’t fight an enemy it doesn’t even recognize.

In the fight against cancer, the trinity of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy—known by the assertive nickname "slash, burn, and poison"—has long been the weapon of choice. By going directly after cancer cells (almost always with collateral damage to otherwise healthy parts of the body), the method at least has an understandable logic: Scorch the area, then cross your fingers that the disease doesn’t come back.

Immunotherapy approaches the problem differently, stimulating the patient’s own body to kill the cancer. But reprogramming the immune system to, as Dr. Rizvi says, "break the hypnosis effect" that cancer cells have on our T cells has been hard to achieve, and immunotherapy languished for decades as a fringe field of research. I just happened to be lucky enough to be diagnosed with my typically fatal—and historically chemo-resistant—form of cancer at the right time for a breakthrough.

In the spring of 2011, the FDA approved the immunotherapy treatment ipilimumab, known by the brand name Yervoy. It was the first drug proven to extend the lives of patients with metastatic melanoma. That fall, when I needed a Hail Mary pass the most, I joined a clinical trial in which I would be given regular infusions of Yervoy with a new drug, nivolumab. (That drug would be approved under the brand name Opdivo in 2014.)

RELATED: Are You Getting a Good Skin Cancer Check?

Cancer cells slip past the immune system by appearing invisible to it. The job of immunotherapy is to activate the system to recognize the enemy. "I tell people, 'This is not a cancer drug; it doesn't kill tumor cells. This is an immune system drug,'" says James P. Allison, PhD, chair of the department of immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In my case, the hope was that the two drugs would work together to override the breaks holding back my own defenses, flipping the switch on my T cells to go find and kill my cancer.

And my T cells quickly did just that, like Pac-Man devouring pellets. After my very first treatment, a visible tumor under the skin on my back began to shrink. By my first set of scans—only 12 weeks into the trial—all my cancer was gone. And I was not an isolated success case; other patients were showing marked improvement, too. 

As the trial expanded, nearly 58 percent of patients had “significant reduction in tumor size,” an achievement my doctor, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Chief of Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service Jedd Wolchok, MD, noted at the time by saying, "Just five years ago, many of these patients would have been expected to live for only seven months following diagnosis." In September of 2015, the one-two punch that saved my life became the first immunotherapy combination treatment to gain FDA approval.

But what makes a story like mine even more mind-blowing is not just that the cancer went away. It’s that four years after I was declared cancer-free and two years after I completely ended treatment, it has not come back. In much the same way that once you’ve been vaccinated, your body recognizes and fends off formidable diseases, the hope of immunotherapy is that when your body has learned to identify your form of cancer, it remains vigilant against it. That’s why some of the currently approved courses of immunotherapy span only a few doses over a relatively short period: The idea is that as soon as the body learns, it remembers.

A life without the constant worry that I’ll get sick again has been the second greatest gift of my treatment. It puts me in a privileged population—a 2013 German study of recent cancer survivors found that more than 67 percent expressed a fear of recurrence. Of course, as one of immunotherapy's relatively recent successes, I know that things could change. But I also know that the early two- and four-year studies on the growing number of people who have had progression-free survival suggest that our responses have been generally durable. As blogger T.J. Sharpe—who, after a stage 4 melanoma diagnosis, has been thriving for three years in a trial of the immunotherapy drug Keytruda—puts it, "The truth is the drug isn’t beating cancer; my immune system is."

RELATED: 5 Everyday Foods That Fight Cancer

The new hope

With encouraging results like mine, it’s little wonder that in just the past few years, immunotherapy—alone and in combination with traditional methods—has been touted as the next big thing not only for melanoma but for cancer itself. Though other forms of the treatment take different approaches, like modifying and transferring T cells, they have the same goal: lighting up the individual’s own system. Since 2010, the FDA has approved immunotherapy treatments for prostate, kidney and lung cancers.

Meanwhile, clinical trials and research continue to show that immunotherapy holds promise for devastating forms of cancer, including breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers and myeloma. "We’re recognizing that the lessons we learned studying the relationship between the immune system and melanoma are applicable to other types of cancer," says Dr. Wolchok. "We’re now engaged in trials spanning 5 to 10 other cancers." Adds Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, the CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute in New York City, "The ultimate potential is that immunotherapy could have an impact on all types of cancer." New research and treatments have also been gaining ground against the notorious immune system foe HIV.

The principles of immunotherapy are not only being used to fight disease; they’re also being applied to preventing it. You’re probably familiar with one example—in 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil, the first of three vaccines that prevent infection with the types of HPV that can cause cervical and anal cancers. Scientists are working on vaccines for breast cancer and lymphoma.

In his final State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama pledged to support Vice President Joe Biden’s "cancer moonshot," and vowed, "Let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all." While cancer has a wide variety of unique manifestations that may never have a single cure, the possibility of profound progress owes a large debt to the explosion of breakthroughs in the field of immunotherapy. 

RELATED: 6 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods

Facing the future

But while there’s plenty to be excited about, there are still significant downsides. The cost of an approved course of immunotherapy for a late-stage cancer patient can be astronomical; when my drug combo hit the market, it held a price tag of more than $250,000 a year. And though you won’t lose your hair like you might with chemo, immunotherapy is far from a guaranteed "get out of side effects free" card. My course of treatment went relatively smoothly, but the side effects for some—from fever to colitis—can be so severe that they’re unable to continue treatment.

The biggest reality check of all, however, is that the number of cancers immunotherapy has been proven effective for is still relatively small (though growing)—and it doesn’t work on every patient. The fact that more than half the patients on my drug combination, people with serious cancer and alarming odds, had their cancer shrink is incredible. But it’s not what you’d call a decisive victory in the war on cancer.

Last summer, 91-year-old former president and metastatic melanoma patient Jimmy Carter began a course of treatment that included Keytruda. By December, he was sharing the good news that a recent MRI "did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones." (In March, he announced that he was able to stop treatment.) But two weeks before that, a friend of mine died. We’d both endured melanoma of the scalp and undergone surgery for it. We’d both had a recurrence that catapulted us into late-stage cancer. We had the same doctors. She had just started on the combo that saved my life. It did not save hers. She was 25.

Why did immunotherapy apparently work on Carter and not her? Why is it so effective on some of us and not others? Because cancer doesn’t play fair, and even the most promising treatments don’t work on everybody. T.J. Sharpe says that when he was initially diagnosed, "A doctor told me, ‘Don’t be surprised if you’re not here in two years.’ I know statistically he was right." Yet here he is. Here we are.

That’s the next great mystery. "What is it about the subsets of patients who respond that makes them different?" says Dr. Wolchok. "We are now at the beginning of the journey." Yet it’s one that has already come so far. One I can’t wait to spend my long, long life watching.

Every morning when I wake up, my eyes open to a print that leans against the wall opposite my bed. It reads, "When odds are one in a million, be that one." I have been. But how much more amazing it is, with every new breakthrough, to see myself becoming something else. Not so unique. Just another person who got cancer, and then got better. 

RELATED: What It Means That Jimmy Carter is 'Cancer-Free'

What you need to know about melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing more than 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. And the disease is on the rise: The CDC reports that between 1982 and 2011, melanoma rates doubled. While at least part of the problem is environmental (blame decreasing ozone levels), the main risk for melanoma arises from individual predisposition and behavior.

In the hopes of reversing the trend, in 2015 the FDA proposed a nationwide ban on the use of tanning beds for individuals under the age of 18. In the meantime, follow the drill you've likely known ever since you were a kid: Wear sunscreen, ideally a broad-spectrum SPF 30. Reapply regularly. Stay out of the sun during peak midday hours. Wear a hat. You don't need to be obsessigve or avoid your regular activities, but you do need to make friends with common sense and consistency like your life depends on it. It does.

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10 step guide to clean eating


Stick to your diet plans with this 10 step guide to help you resist temptations, stay on track and get results.

1. Shop once a week – if the food is not in the house, you can’t eat it. Set aside just an hour each week to stock up on dietary staples or order online. Resist purchasing chips and chocolate.

2. Know your quick and easy meals – if you have tuna or salmon, eggs, cheese, pasta sauce, frozen vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes, you can make five or six different meals in 10 minutes or less.

3. Cook just once or twice a week – if you prepare a couple of big serves of balanced meals such as pasta bake, a pie or a stir-fry with meat and vegetables, you are guaranteed two meals during the week that you can freeze or use as leftovers for your lunch.

4. Start a lunch club – if you’re tired of the same old sandwich or salad you’ve been making since 2010, team up with a work colleague and start a lunch buddy system. This way you can bring two tasty lunches each, each week and perhaps shout yourself to lunch out on the fifth day of the week.

5. Set aside 20 minutes on Sunday night to plan the meals – make a note of each dish you plan to prepare each night so you know exactly what you need to do to prepare it when you walk in the door.

6. Keep snacks with you at all times – each morning, pack a couple of protein-rich snack foods to prevent impulse food purchases during the day.

7. Leverage lunchtimes – if you find it hard to fit food planning into your weekend, use work lunchbreaks to get to the local supermarket and stock up on the foods you need during the day, and even for the evening meal.

8. Have a cook-up – if weekdays are simply too frantic to prepare any meals, cook a couple of extra meals over the weekend so you are certain to eat well for at least the first few nights of the week.

9. Rehearse – imagine how you’ll respond to impromptu offers of office cake or a third glass of wine, but leave room for flexibility to ensure you don’t beat yourself up or binge if you do indulge. For example, resolve to eat out just twice each week, so you can plan your indulgences (it’s like a control burn).

10. Utilise helpers – there are many mums, husbands and even friends who are often only too happy to help at home if you need it. Next time, if and when one of your support team ask if you need help, ask if they will help you with a meal or leftovers if you are finding it too difficult to fit meal preparation into your daily routine – you will be surprised how happy they will be to help.

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