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Doctor Lee's Blog

Musings from The Doctor of Fitness: Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Expert, & Sports Medicine Physician

The purpose of this blog is to write informally for anyone who is interested in fitness, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports medicine, and breaking fitness and nutrition news. If you'd like to reach me directly, you can contact me here. Feel free to take a look at my professional bio and my not-so-professional bio.

Red, White and Blue It Up For Memorial Day

on Tuesday, 23 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is traditionally the last Monday in May. For many Americans it’s also the first official day of summer. What better way to kick off a great season than with an all-American red, white and blue spread? 

Appetizers:

Red, White and Blue Corn Chip Bites. While you’re getting the grill good and hot, keep the party rolling with these tasty treats.

Main Dishes:

Red, White and Blue Burgers.  Red peppers and white onions make this burger stand out, while the blue cheese completes the ensemble.

Red, White and Blue(berry) Chicken.  If a burger just isn’t in the cards for you, then why not chicken? While the colors don’t run, they may stain, says the recipe, so enjoy this dish outdoors.

Sides:

Red, White and Blue Deviled Eggs.  Everyone likes deviled eggs, so make them with patriotic pizzazz.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad.  Who says potato salad has to be bland looking. Red and blue potatoes give this dish its all-American credentials.

Salads:

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad.  For a lighter fare, try this simple salad with watermelon and blueberries for color and flair.

Desert:

Summer Crostini.  Sure you could bake a cake, but you want to enjoy the summer. These easy-to-make treats will let you do just that.

Drinks:

Patriotic Drinks.  While you may have plenty of cold ones on hand, don’t forget the kids. This colorful and kid-friendly concoction is perfect for any star-spangled occasion

It’s great food with a little slice of patriotism. What could be better this Memorial Day?

Family Game Night

on Tuesday, 16 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Has that humdrum day got you down? Wanna spice up your life? Well, why not bring the Monopoly Man home with you for hours of real-estate mogul inspired adventures? And if the Monopoly Man isn’t your style, there’s Pac-man, the lovable Donkey Kong, competitive Scrabble, lawn bowling and more.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  ~ George Bernard Shaw

A family game night can have other benefits too. If you include the kids, games can give them valuable practice at problem solving. Many games build specific skills that can be useful to them throughout their life such as math, spelling, and vocabulary.

Research from Carnegie Mellon shows that even a small amount of practice playing games can lead to better results in the classroom. And who says the kids can’t teach Mom and Dad a thing or two?

There are advantages for adults as well. Playing games can improve your relationships and help foster empathy for others, key skills in just about any profession. Games can even help create an improved state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you deal with stressful situations and make new friends.

Whatever your guilty or not-so-guilty pleasure, a family game night may be just what you need to break out of the mold and shake things up a bit. You can include the kids or not, but the idea is to have fun, and more importantly, share the fun with others.

The Pros and Cons of a Gluten-Free Diet

on Tuesday, 09 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Food is trendy, and not just because we’ve been dealing with it in some form or another since we were born. No, by trendy we mean that like fashion, some foods are in style and some are ‘oh so last year.’ One of these new trends is gluten-free eating. If you’ve decided that it’s time to kick gluten out of your life, either because of health problems like Celiac disease, or just for your overall health, here are some things to consider:

If you’re going to simply substitute out cakes, cookies and breads for their gluten-free alternatives, then eating gluten free is not necessarily healthier.  Many of these processed foods actually contain higher amounts of fats and sugars. They’re also more expensive than their glutinous cousins. 

Gluten is insidious. It’s not just in breads and pastries; it can also show up in condiments like ketchup and soy sauce as well as many snacks. A gluten-free diet will force you to read nutrition labels much more carefully, but in the process you’ll become much more aware about the foods you eat.

Eating out can be problematic. Fortunately, since ‘gluten-free’ is now trendy in many places, the amount of choices you have has increased considerably. You’re still better off keeping it simple and sticking to meat, vegetables and basic starches like rice.

The true health benefits of a gluten-free diet come from eliminating processed foods, not substituting them.  It’s a back-to-nature sort of diet that can pay long term dividends for your health.

4 Tips for Retirement Planning

on Tuesday, 02 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

A hundred years ago, most people’s idea of saving for retirement was stuffing some money into a jar and burying it in the backyard. And while we can appreciate the foresight of our ancestors, these days the old jar just doesn’t cut it anymore. So how can you gear up for retirement?

Save More Today.  Financial experts recommend saving as much as 15 percent of your salary for retirement. Try doing it gradually, maybe one or two percentage points at a time. If you can, take advantage of automatic deductions at your workplace. If your company doesn’t offer it, do it yourself by setting a date on your calendar, or scheduling an automatic transfer from your checking to savings.

Pay Down Debt.  The last thing you want is to be heading towards retirement, head over heels in debt. Make a point of getting out of debt, even if you have to postpone some things you want.

Consider Downsizing.Take a hard look at what you have, and decide how much of it you really need. Scaling down what you actually need to be comfortable can not only save you money, but also time. Big expensive things tend to require a lot more maintenance. 

Don’t Increase Your Risk Factor.Now isn’t the time to learn how to become a wild and crazy day trader. Don’t go for high end, high-risk schemes just because you’re behind the curve on your retirement savings. You’re going against pros, so the odds are that you’ll simply fall further behind.

It’s your retirement. Manage it so you can spend your time doing what you love, rather than worrying about what you don’t have.

Getting Fit in the Spring

on Tuesday, 25 April 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Winter has ended. There’s a hint of a warm breeze and wait! Is that a crocus poking through the grass? Spring is finally here. 

You may be tempted to go full tilt at the first hint of a nice day, particularly if you’ve been cooped up all winter, but like a car engine your body needs to warm up first.

You’ll want to start gradually. In fact, the first step to a spring exercise program may be to schedule a physical with your doctor to make sure you are ready to take it on. Once you’re cleared, pay particular attention to stretching exercises and work to build up your stamina before you take on a heavy-duty workout regimen.

Your exercise equipment may also need to be tuned up before it’s ready to be put back into action. You may even want to replace some of it. Now is the time start fresh with a new pair of running or cross-training shoes. Likewise, it may be time to upgrade the cheapie pedometer you’ve been using to a more accurate one. You might also consider trading in that old cotton t-shirt for a synthetic one, since modern fabrics do a better job of keeping you cooler and drier.

It’s spring, so there’s no reason not to get out there and enjoy it! Just be realistic about your goals when you first start out, and you’re bound to have a great (and healthy) time.

The Outrageous History of Outrageous Deductions

on Tuesday, 18 April 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Trying to find loopholes in the tax code is nothing new. In one of the earliest examples of getting a tax refund, the legendary Robin Hood would ambush the sheriff’s tax collectors and then give the money to the poor. Not everyone takes it to that extreme, but who wouldn’t like to squeeze a little more out of the tax code? 

Here are some of the more outrageous deductions people have filed:

  • If you want to lower your property taxes in Florida, the best way is to get a cow. Regardless of where you live, slap down a few sheep or cows on your land and you can qualify for the ‘agricultural’ discount on your property taxes.
  • A couple who owed a junkyard put out cat food to attract wild cats. The IRS ruled it a legitimate business deduction since the cats helped keep mice and snakes off the property.
  • One mother was able to get an orthodontist to proclaim that clarinet lessons corrected her child’s overbite. She wrote off the lessons as a medical expense.

Not every attempt at a deduction is successful. Here are a couple that didn’t make the grade:

  • A furniture store owner, now serving time in prison, found out the hard way that the ‘consulting’ fee he paid a local arsonist to burn down his shop in order to collect the insurance payment was not deductible as an investment expense.
  • One gambler was surprised to learn that gambling losses don’t count as charitable deductions to the casino or to the Minnesota state lottery.

As always, for more information contact an experienced and capable tax advisor.

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