7 Easy Tips to Stay Healthy During the Super Bowl

7 Easy Tips for a Healthy Super Bowl Party


Odds are there will be a lot of crap for you to eat at the Super Bowl party this weekend. Six-foot long sandwiches, chips, salsa, and beer are the usual grub, right? Those are the “manly” things to eat after all, aren’t they? No. They’re not.

Now, here’s the deal. I know you want to have a good time without having to think much about ‘eating healthy.’ You just want to live the moment and enjoy the awesome super commercials, eat and be merry. I get it.

But eating an excessive amount of toxic foods during the Super Bowl is not worth it. It never is. I am not suggesting to be neurotic and fanatical, but only to be aware. You have one life. Live it right.

OK, I will step off my soapbox now and give you seven good tips that I personally will apply this weekend to enjoy the Super Bowl without paying the price.

7 Health Tips to Enjoy the Super Bowl

  1. Don’t lose sight of the main goal, which is to share good times with family and friends. Talk a little smack and laugh. Food and beer is a small component of that.
  1. Have a great breakfast on Super Bowl Sunday. I’m talking high-octane proteins like a veggie omelet (no bread) or a power smoothie (tips here)
  1. Work out on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s what the football players are doing, after all. Act like you are playing in the super bowl and workout as such. I am half joking here, but if you get in the right state of mind your workout can feel awesome.
  1. Eat right before leaving your home or before everyone comes if you’re hosting. Again, eat a top notch meal. No junk! This will prevent the dangerous situation of starting the party in a hungry state. All bets are off if you start on empty.
  1. Be mindful. It is easy to overeat and over-drink when you get caught up in the moment and eat simply without thinking, so think about it!
  1. Have a veggie platter with hummus dip if you’re hosting. Bring one to the party if you are not. Don’t eat raw broccoli though, it is very hard to digest when it is not at least steamed. (Also, raw broccoli contains goitrogens which damages your thyroid – did you know that?) Carrots and celery are OK to eat raw. Easy on that white creamy dip though.
  1. Root for the Seahawks! Actually, I just want to see a good game. But I really like Russel Wilson. For a relatively short quarterback, that level of talent is an aberration. And I like aberrations. Plus, he is a Wisconin Badger, my favorite college football team. (Don’t discount the rest of my advice if you’re rooting for a different team.)

Who are you going for? Or do you not care? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.

Lastly, here is a sneak preview of this years Budweiser’s super bowl commercial.  It’s a bit of a tear jerker so grab your handkerchief.

Be safe.

Battle Of The Fitness Bands – are they worth it?

Battle of the Fitness Bands, are they worth it?




Fitness bands can be a massive motivational boost as well as a neat and convenient way to track your training progress.  I personally use a Nike Fuel Band, but I wanted to explore the Internet and find out what people were saying about other popular Fitness Bands.  That’s what I did, and here are the results, listed A to Z with some pros and cons for each.



  • It delivers the most detailed reports of all the Fitness Bands.
  • It automatically knows when you’re running, walking, biking, or sleeping.
  • It measures Heart Rate (HR), a big plus for me.


  • Expensive!
  • Some users report that it has trouble telling the difference between watching TV and sleeping.
  • Does not measure distance

Price: upwards of $149.99



  • Strong in activity monitoring, does all the basics (walking, biking, running, stair climbing)
  • Great battery life
  • Silent alarm feature
  • Sturdy
  • Sleep monitor


  • No heart rate monitor

Price: less than $100


  • This one records your steps, how many hours of sleep you get per night, and your caloric intake as well with the help of the smartphone app.
  • That app has an elegant user interface that makes it very easy to use.
  • It’s easy to put on.
  • It connects with social networking sites, if you’re into that!


  • The device itself has no interface.  It’s a band without a screen, so you’ll have to keep your Smartphone on hand.
  • It does not sync automatically with your Smartphone.

Price: $149.99



  • It’s a simple, non-flashy design with a friendly user interface.
  • It tracks your steps, your sleep, and your calories.
  • It’s pretty comfortable!
  • Nike Fuel is a neat imaginary point system.
  • It syncs wirelessly to your Smartphone.


  • Some say the calorie counter is a little bit inaccurate, and the sleep monitor doesn’t stand up to that of the other brands.
  • What is “Nike Fuel” anyway?

Price: $125.00+


  • It’s tiny, and therefore very portable and discrete.  You could stuff it in your shoe, keep it in your pocket, clip it to your tie, tape it to your bicep…if you want.
  • It’s 100% waterproof.
  • Its internal battery has a year-long life.
  • The Smartphone app gives specific and practical advice for reaching your goals.


  • It’s tiny, and therefore easy to lose.

Price: $119.95


  • A detailed display shows steps, distance traveled, and calories burned.
  • The calorie-counter takes hills into account, which is pretty cool!
  • It also displays your heart rate and blood oxygen level.  Great for those of us who are training for events.


  • The Smartphone app has a crowded user interface.
  • Not exactly waterproof, but it will survive a splash or two.

Price: $100.00-$200.00


My Fathers’ Day gift two years ago was the Nike Fuel Band.  As a guy who likes to quantify things, I embrace the idea of having this black rubbery band around my wrist all day, every day. After a while, it becomes part of your look. Even after the battery runs out (about every 4 to 5 days), I keep it on for another day or two.  It sort of becomes a part of you.

I have to say, the Fuel Band keeps you on your toes – literally.  You are probably goal oriented.  I am too.  The Nike Fuel Band, like the other trackers I listed above, allows you to set goals of how much daily “fuel” you would like to burn or how many steps to take.
What’s this “fuel” thing about?    The “fuel” measurement is unique to the Nike Fuel Band and it may seem arbitrary at first, but over time, you’ll notice your daily average, which then allows you to earn more fuel points.  It takes some getting used to, but it’s a workable system.

My own goals are moderate: use 3,000 fuel points per day and take 10,000 steps. 3,000 fuel points is what an average, active but not athletic person would use.  I admit, there are days I fall short, but I try to hover around those numbers. There are also many days when I hit over 4,000 points. What’s cool is that if I am 1,000 steps away from my goal or need 500 fuel points to get to 3,000, I tend to do a little extra something to get there, e.g., walk up the stairs, park as far from the supermarket as I can, or do a fifteen-minute workout.

There are a few downsides to the Fuel Band I didn’t list above.  For instance, if I’m not moving the arm with the band on it, I get no fuel points.  So when I take a Citi Bike here in New York for 2 miles or so, I get no love.

I am not a fitness-band expert as I have only tried the Nike Fuel Band, but I know that a band that measures heart rate is best for me.  If you’re looking for a more detailed review, I suggest going to the experts here!

The Bottom Line.

•    If you’re doing hardcore exercise daily and like to see the numbers, I would recommend the Pulse O2.
•    Looking for something light-weight and user-friendly?  Shine.
•    If you’re looking for an efficient, no-nonsense bargain, go for the Fitbit.  It seems to be the most popular!
•    If you’re a casual exerciser and want something you can quickly slap onto your wrist before you go, the Jawbone is for you.
•    The Basis, I would say, is for those of us who need to monitor our body states in detail, or just like to have all the data. Most expensive but also has a heart rate monitor.
•    The Nike Fuel band is nice but not my favorite since I only ‘get credit’ when I move the arm that has the band wrapped around the wrist. However, It’s simple, durable, and has just enough features to keep my on my toes.

I’m ready to move on to the next fitness tracker. Not sure which one yet.

But….. rumor has it the iWatch will be out soon! Starting price? $349

HERE’s a good review of the iWatch

HERE’s a fantastic XY wellness blog post on Fitness as a Lifestyle




The Mr. Happy Team Triumphs at the Spartan Race

The Mr. Happy Team Triumphs at the Spartan Race


The Spartan race this past weekend was a tremendous  (painful) experience.

It was a potpourri of emotions: grueling, dizzying, disheartening, camaraderie and exhilarating.

The Mr. Happy team: Austin, Gary, Geo and Brandon. Having a good time before going to Mountain Creek, NJ.




We arrive to the race. No pain yet,, just fun and laughter. Brandon (next to me)  is 17 years younger – and it showed. 😉 Very HOT and HUMID.




Good luck hugs all around as the Mr. Happy team gears up.


And here we go!



By now we have already gone through the barbed wire crawl: a low crawl through mud under barbed wire for about 50 yards in length where my head got nicked and scratched. After a walk through about 20 yards of water shown below,  we continue.


Austin and Brandon, clearly in great shape as they pause and laugh after mile 2 while they wait for me and Gary.


Spoke too soon…. Brandon cramps up. MAN DOWN!



Dr. Geo to the rescue!! Dijon mustard, water and salt to help Brandon with his cramps. Yellow mustard is thought to relieve cramps do to turmeric, which is used to give yellow mustard its color. Turmeric has many anti-inflammatory properties which are believed to enable the immediate relief. Cramps can be caused by a deficiency in acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates muscles to work. Mustard contains acetic acid, which helps the body produce more acetylcholine. This approach has not been verified by scientific research but it seems to work.



The Horizontal Wall Traverse is uses upper body, lower body, and core strength with a good dose of coordination to cross and tap the bell at the end. Gary shows great team effort by staying by me in case I fall. If I fall, I’d have to do 30 burpees. I don’t want to do burpees.

SparGeoSliding wall

Rope climbing? Oh no.  Austin is up.  My arms are dead after the Horizontal Wall Traverse. Rope Climb:  A rope is hung over a body of water/mud with a bell placed at the very top. Participants must “ring the bell” before climbing down.


Let’s do it!  And up we go.


Team effort is what its all about. Let’s go Gary, get up!


SparGeohelping gary

The penalty for missing the spear throw was 30 burpees. I was pooped by this point. Spear throw: from a distance of 20 yards we threw a wooden spear into a target. If the spear does not stick (and my didn’t) we had to do a penalty of 30 burpees.


 Object carry:  Throughout the course we carried a tire, rock-filled bucket, boulder and sandbag. Now I am dizzy and my legs are numbed – I can barely feel them. God help me.


I lost my grip. My arms give out.  I don’t know if I could make it further. Crazy!


Whew! I made it. Barely. Gary now has a swollen ankle. Is it broken? Or just a sprain? I don’t know.


Where’s Gary? Looking for Gary who  decided to go through the rock/bucket challenge with a (I think) sprained leg. C’mon Brandon, let’s go get him.


Found him. Let’s Go Gary!!! You can do it brother!


YES!!! What grit! You did it brother!



Just when I  question my decision on doing this, I read this guys shirt. And that’s exactly the message  I need to read. Let’s GO!


After a few more wall climbs, one herculean hoist and a log jump, the Mr. Happy team made it to the finish line.

 Wall climb: as the name suggests, runners must climb over a wooden wall. Walls range from 4–8 feet and are often in sequence. This obstacle may be repeated throughout the course.

 Herculean Hoist: pulled a cement off the ground using a pulley system.

Log Jump: Logs are arranged in a zig-zag pattern at varying heights and participants have to hop on them without touching the ground. A true test of balance. Yup, I failed this one too but made it through Gary’s help.


8.5 miles and 28 obstacles later… We jumped over  fire and made it to the end. In pain. No energy to smile. The Mr. Happy Team Triumphs!


Will I do it again? I’m too sore to answer that right now. There were times where I felt like I was going to vomit. Some delirium also set in around mile 6. It was too hot and those obstacles were grueling.

We definitely pushed ourselves to the limit.

Mr. Happy Blog with more pics

4 things I learned by doing the  biggest physical challenge of my life:

1. The human spirit is able to do anything to survive

2. People are genuinely good and want to help each under  extreme circumstances

3. I need to lose 15 pounds.

4. I’m not in optimal spartan shape.

OK, so,,, who’s in for the next one?

If curious, see this 1 minute plus video on the spartan race.

Adulterated Herbal Supplements – what you need to know


Last week news took hold on the contamination and adulteration of herbal products.

According to this study, Canadian researchers looked at numerous bottles from 12 companies and found that what was on the label was different than what was about 30% of bottles tested. Many of the herbal products were adulterated with fillers such as wheat, rice and soybeans.

The study used a method called DNA barcoding to test the herbal products of interest. CLICK HERE for the BMC study and HERE for the New York Times article.

My Take On This

Unlike the popular belief, the dietary supplement industry is regulated by the FDA. In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and in 2006 by the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection were developed to regulate the dietary supplement industry. The confusion is that dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs but regulated like food.

The rub is that there is no premarket approval for supplement production. Another words, there is an honor system in place that allows supplement manufacturers to produce products until proven unsafe.

How does DSHEA work?
DSHEA placed dietary supplements as a category of food and created a specific definition for dietary supplements. Further, DSHEA provided FDA with additional enforcement authority, including the ability to remove a dietary supplement from the market the agency considers unsafe.
It’s also the law for companies to abide by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) rules enforce the following:
•    the design and construction of physical plants that facilitate maintenance, cleaning
•    proper manufacturing operations
•    quality control procedures
•    testing final product or incoming and in-process materials
•    handling consumer complaints, and
•    maintaining records.

More on FDA regulations with dietary supplements GO HERE to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
Again, the FDA does not have the resources to closely oversee over 1000 manufacturing facilities to assure that GMP rules are followed. So there are some companies that intentionally or unintentionally do not follow the rules – and no one will know it until a dietary supplement  proves to be unsafe and then it’s tested.

So clearly this is a problem.

People are  buying dietary supplements and not always getting in the bottle what is written on the label.

DNA barcoding has been questioned by experts in the botanical medicine field as not being an accurate method of measuring adulteration in herbal supplements – CLICK HERE for more on this from the American Botanical Council (ABC).

What should you do?

If your healthcare practitioner is versed in the field (Naturopathic doctor or Integrative MD) no need to worry. Such doctors typically have access to the highest quality of dietary supplements.

For example the nutritional supplement companies I use for patients are from companies with very high manufacturing standards that go beyond what the FDA requires. 90% of dietary supplements I use are from Designs for Health (DFH) or Douglas Labs (DL).

How DFH does things

In addition to strictly following GMP laws, DFH seeks third party company , namely the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) who frequently visit manufacturing facilities to assure the highest level of manufacturing practices.

Every DFH dietary supplement:

•    Is evaluated and monitored for potential contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and microbiological organisms
•    Is analyzed to confirm the quantity of all dietary ingredients, thereby ensuring the consistency and accuracy of our label claims
•    Methods to test for yeast and mold counts and pathogen screens for e.coli, staph and salmonella
•    Complete analytical screening of all raw materials and finished goods
◦    Independent third party residual solvent screens
◦    Potency verifications and pesticides tested at the Designs for Health analytical lab via High Performance Liquid        Chromatography (HPLC) and Gas Chromatography (GC)
◦    Independent third party heavy metals analysis via Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)

DFH is the manufacturer of most dietary supplements in XY wellness, LLC including Mr. Happy™.

How DL does things

Douglas Laboratories  has similar manufacturing standards to DFH including ISO-9001 Certification and ISO-17025 Accreditation for in-house laboratories  as well as NSF Certification.  DL are FDA compliant and have rigid procedures and manufacturing practices that are designed to monitor and verify quality throughout every step of the production process.
Their in-house laboratories test and monitor for quality and safety from the raw materials as they enter our facility through to finished goods.  Materials are kept in quarantine until they have passed testing specifications. Materials and formulas are tested for potency, purity, disintegration/bioavailability and stability. Additionally, this year ConsumerLab.com rated DL #1 Rated Healthcare Practitioner Brand Based on Consumer Satisfaction.

DL is the manufacturer of ProstP10x™ and Cysto Renew™

Doggy Bag Message

The study by the BMC should not deter consumers from consuming beneficial botanicals that have minimal to no side effects and can be very effective. There are over 1000 dietary manufacturing supplement companies and for sure, not all have the same manufacturing practices mentioned above  – but most do – especially practitioner brands.  A fabulous resource for consumers , for about $36 a year, that randomly selects dietary supplements and independently test them for purity is ConsumerLab.com.

I hope this clears up most of the confusion.

Let me know if you have any questions

Bear with me – technical glitch.


You may have noticed  the site looking a little different and not as functional. In the last 36 hours we have had a technical glitch causing this setback. We are working on it and it should be up and running by later today.  Thank you for your patience.

Anyone interested in subscribing can safely and easily do so on the right.

Make it a fantastic day.

Dr. Geo


Do you suffer from Electile Dysfunction?

Just to change the focus away from health matters with a little humor – are you a man or a woman who suffers from electile dysfunction? If so, see this short video. (click here for to see the video on the post)

Whole Foods Market “organic” food from China – must see video

If you look at  Dr. Geo’s 12 easy steps to eat healthy, you will find the 12th step is to eat local foods first, then from health food stores. Eating locally means that your food comes from no more than a 400 mile radius – the closer to your residence the better. Local food is sustainable, fresher, tastier and often times with minimal to no pesticides.  A great website for local grown food is LocalHarvest.org.

This report shows the 365 Whole Foods Market brand of fruits and vegetables sold as “organic” comes from China. China’s standards of organic food is sub par and often times  highly contaminated. Walmart  also carries organic foods that come from China by the way.

Six months ago while shopping at my local Whole Foods Market I did notice something “rotten” when I decided to read the label of my 365 brand of asparagus – “Product of China” Arrrgh!!!  Who can we trust?  I have known for sometime that “organic” foods from China sometimes have even more pesticides than non-organic foods in the US. This is frustrating.

Take Home Message: Eat locally foods purchased from local farms or farmers market or grow your own. Smaller health food stores typically carry real organic foods and even Whole foods Market carry local and real organic foods as well – you just have to read the label.


Enjoy the Video.


Saw palmetto – dissapointing study

Take home message FIRST


  1. Saw palmetto taken alone is no better than placebo
  2. Herbalist, Naturopaths and other Complementary health care practitioners often use saw palmetto along with other agents, eg. Pygeum, rye pollen extract, beta sitosterol, nettle root, etc. an this combination may have beneficial effects when taken together
  3. There has always been synergistic value in medicinal plants taken together as oppose to taken individually
  4. This study, unlike other studies on saw palmetto had the best design:
  • Close to 400 subjects
  • Dose escalation to up to 960mg
  • Placebo randomized trial
  • In men with Mild to Moderate BPH (Barry et al. 2011)

It doesn’t get better than that.


My take on this


Great study  and well put together.

In the past saw palmetto has proven as beneficial when compared to Proscar, a popular drug used for BPH that shrinks the prostate and relieves symptoms. Avodart is the more modern type of drug with a similar mechanism – 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. It is thought that saw palmetto had similar, although weaker abilities with less side effects.

A study in 2005 (Bent et al), suggested that saw palmetto was no better than placebo in men with moderate to severe BPH. I barked at this study because they studied men with moderate to severe BPH at only 320mg a day.

No more barking from my end. This recent study went as high as 960mg and subjects had mild to moderate BPH. It is not clear that their urinary symptoms were derived from an enlarged prostate or from bladder dysfunction but that’s OK. I’ll let that slide.


The combination of saw palmetto with other natural agents, however, may still be highly useful to many men suffering from Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS). Other useful agents include: rye pollen extract, pygeum, cranberry extract, beta sitosterol, etc without the side effects. For a complete list of studied natural nutrients for BPH and a description of this condition go the most credible prostate website on the net – prostate.net.


In Optimal Health,

Dr. Geo



Bent S, Kane C, Shinohara K, Neuhaus J, Hudes ES, Goldberg H, Avins AL.Saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia. N Engl J Med. 2006 Feb 9;354(6):557-66.

Barry et al, Effect of increasing doses of saw palmetto extract on lower urinary tract symptoms: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2011 Sep 28;306(12):1344-51.


Update on Vitamin D and health


Take home message first

If one’s health goal is to stay healthy or slow the progression of most diseases, then consumption of at least 2000 IU of vitamin D is a good start.


Vitamin D 101 – for the layperson

Vitamin D does a whole lot more than sustain healthy bones by assisting in the absorption of calcium. There are receptors throught out the body that attach to vitamin D and regulates DNA.

In the past 20 years, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with:

  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic syndrome (combination of hypertension, fat deposit in blood vessels, diabetes, blood glucose imbalance and fat around the belly)
  • Cancer – especially colorectal cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Infections
  • Overall non-specific death (Melamed et al., 2008)

Who needs vitamin D supplementation the most?

Darker skin people, the obese and those who live in regions away from the equator where there is low ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight are in higher need of vitamin D supplementation. Yes, that’s pretty much all of us

It may not be a coincidence that cancer occurs more frequently in dark-skinned people, the obese, and in regions with limited exposure to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight. Each of these factors is associated with low blood levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, cancer survival rates are lower when the diagnosis occurs in months of lower sunlight levels, suggesting a protective role of vitamin D. Studies suggest that vitamin D protects against numerous forms of cancer, including widely prevalent cancers such as those affecting the colon, prostate, breast, and lung. (Giovanucci 2005)


The cancer / vitamin D link


Colon cancer – A study of studies (meta-analysis) revealed that out of 35,000 people studied, those with normal vitamin D levels had lower risk of colon / bowel cancer. Other studies suggest that high calcium (1000mg) with 400IU of vitamin D a day offers no protection. To note, 400 IU a day is a ancient lower suggested dose that plays no role in modern nutrition. For most, 2000 IU is the minimum on should take.

Breast cancer – Also, a meta-analysis regarding vitamin D and the prevention of breast cancer demonstrated a 45% decrease in breast cancer risk for those in the higher blood levels of vitamin D compared with those at the lowest. (Hu et al, 2009) A clinical randomized trial, the gold standard, looking at over 1100 women,  showed that the incidence of breast cancer was lowered by daily supplementation with 1000 IU of vitamin D plus calcium in postmenopausal women (Lappe et al. 2007).


Prostate cancer – epidemiological studies, that is, a study designed to examine large group of people and its associations with its increase the risk of disease, indicate a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and prostate cancer. Test tube studies and animal studies do as well. Human studies with consumption of vitamin D have been inconsistent (Barnett et al. 2011) We yet do not know objectively what blood levels of vitamin D are most adequate (normal is between 30ng/ml – 100ng/ml) or what dosage is best for daily consumption for prostate cancer prevention or adjuvant treatment.

Final thoughts

Governmental agencies like the Institute of Medicine, IOM, fall short in their recent daily recommendations of vitamin D. After “careful” review of the literature, researchers from the IOM increased the daily dosage of vitamin D from 400IU to a marginal 600IU. Since most people have insufficient if not deficient levels of vitamin D, 600 units will not get virtually anyone to normal levels.

The absolute best way to determine adequate levels of vitamin D is to get a 25-hydroxy-vit D blood test from your practitioner and make sure levels are between 50ng/ml to 90ng/ml (mid to high normal.) A Calcium blood test is also adequate to assure hypercalcemia ( too much blood calcium) which can also cause problems. Based on my clinical experience, no one should take anything less than 2000 units of vitamin D3 a day with food or fish oil – anything higher should be monitored by a physician. This is particularly true for those who are obese, dark skin color or one who is not out in the sun much. By the way, if you are out in the sun and use sunscreen, all bets are off, no vitamin D production for you either.


In Optimal Health ,


Dr. Geo



M.L. Melamed, E.D. Michos, W. Post and B. Astor, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of mortality in the general population, Arch Intern Med 168 (2008), pp. 1629–1637

Giovannucci E. The epidemiology of vitamin D and cancer incidence and mortality: a review (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Mar;16(2):83-95.

P. Chen, P. Hu, D. Xie, Y. Qin, F. Wang and H. Wang, Meta-analysis of vitamin D, calcium and the prevention of breast cancer, Breast Cancer Res Treat 121 (2009), pp. 469–477.

J.M. Lappe, D. Travers-Gustafson, K.M. Davies, R.R. Recker and R.P. Heaney, Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial, Am J Clin Nutr 85 (2007), pp. 1586–1591.

Barnett, C.M, Beer, T;Prostate Cancer and Vitamin D; what does the evidence really suggest?; Urologic Clinics of North America; Volume 38, Issue 3 , August 2011, Pages 333-342