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Watch What You Eat – Not How Far You Jog. And Eat California Heirloom Garlic.

California Heirloom GarlicThe title on the cover of this week’s Time, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin,” jumped out at me like the boogie man when I was perusing Barnes & Noble yesterday.

What?!! I stared in disbelief. Have I really been living a lie? Those six words forced me to shell out $5 to find out.

Before I proceed, let me make one thing clear – I know eating fresh, healthy, lean foods is essential to my well being, and I do eat healthily the majority of the time. However, I’ve always been in the mindset that I could eat a double cheeseburger and fries – if I pleased – as long as I punished myself by running six miles afterwards. Or, at least, reward myself with a bowl of ice-cream after an hour-long yoga session.

However, after carefully dissecting Time and other trusted news sources, I uncovered multiple studies shedding newfound light on the importance of a balanced, nutritious diet – rather than exercise – for the health of the body and the brain.

Therefore, when I read the line, “It’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight,” in the Time article, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin,” a vision of California heirloom garlic popped in my head (more on that later).

The article cited various studies that indicate, when it comes to weight loss, eating healthful foods is arguably more crucial than exercising, as vigorously working out makes you hungrier and “erodes the brain’s self-control muscle,” prompting you to reward yourself with more food or foods high in fat. If that’s the case, too much exercise might even make you gain weight.

One such study, supervised by Dr. Timothy Church, chair in health wisdom at LSU, consisted of four groups of women, wherein three of the four were told to exercise for 72 min., 136 min. and 194 min. a week, while the fourth was told to adhere to a regular workout schedule: all were told to maintain regular eating habits. Interestingly enough, all four groups lost weight, but the three subjected to aggressive workout schedules failed to lose significantly more weight than the controlled group.

As psychologist Kelly Brownell – who once oversaw a Yale lab that treated obese patients with a “more exercise, less food mantra” – stated, in hindsight, about his program – “I would probably reorient toward food and away from exercise.”

(Disclaimer – the Time article is not stating exercise is bad. Obviously, exercise helps prevent disease, strengthens the heart, improves the brain and others, but the article questions what level and extent of exercise is required when trying to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle, when compared to the role of nutritious food.)

I further contemplated the meaning of the Time article when I logged onto The New York Times this morning, and the first headline I saw was – “Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise.”

This article discussed the quick consequences of eating “fatty foods” because, according to a new study, consuming high-calorie foods appears to have an immediate negative influence on your brain’s short-term memory and exercise capabilities.

While it’s well known that habitually eating unhealthy foods can cause weight gain, heart disease and cognitive degradation, the new research points out that eating fatty foods, for merely a few days, has nearly instant mental and physical implications – before weight gain is even evident.

Yikes – that’s the last time I maximize an all-you-can-eat buffet.

However, jokes aside, I had a holistic epiphany this morning. Perhaps I should alter the way I look at exercise and food, as there is a proven delicate balance. On one hand, I don’t earn more food because I biked farther, and vice versa, if I eat too much, I can’t bike as effectively as normal. Which is why – everything in moderation. And, for the most, part, keep that moderation healthy.

This is where California heirloom garlic reenters the picture. Truly, the power of one clove of California heirloom garlic should never be underestimated.

Studies demonstrate fresh garlic is a powerful health-boosting agent that can combat a variety of medical conditions, including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, arthritis, strokes, the common cold and others. This is due to fresh garlic’s antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to a high-nutrient content, including phosphorous, potassium, zinc, allicin, selenium, calcium, iron, germanium, polyphenols, arginine, manganese, Vitamin C, B and others.

In my humble opinion, it’s hard to say what’s more important for each individual – eating healthily or exercising, as bodies and genes are subjective, and I believe, if moderated, the two are complementary.

Incorporating California heirloom garlic is an easy and advantageous step in the direction toward healthy living. So long as it’s not consumed on a double cheeseburger following every run.

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