Friday, September 25, 2009

Gynostemma - Another superfood not to be missed

There are two common types of drink that I normally consumed. Plain water or green tea on a daily basis, and veggie juices 2-3 times a week. Occasionally (1-2 times a month) I would indulged in black coffees (no sugar added of course), and once in a blue moon (once in 3-4 months) - those nice mochas at starbucks/coffeebeans (with low fat milk). I've not taken the local infamous teh tarik (milk tea) for like ages now. Fruit juices? nope. (see my post on fruit juices on over-hyped health claims)

I personally think the calories required by our body should comes primarily from the food we eat, not drinks. Most people didn't realised, we consumed way toooo muccch of sugar in our drinks (like most canned/bottled beverages/even the 'healthy' fruit juices) - it creates a high insulin level in our body almost instantly makes us wants to drink and eat even more! - it's a vicious cycle of fighting against the appetite. Balancing your sugar level is the key to losing the flab. See my post on sugar in our foods.

Anyway, recently, I've started to mix my usual doze of green tea with a new found tea. It's called Gynostemma (chinese called them Jiaogulan).

The loose dry leaves of gynostemma. I take about a spoonful of it, and steep it in the pot for 20mins.

We all know the health benefits of Green Tea (loaded with phynonutrients of EGCG (anti-cancer), catechin, and it's thermogenic effect that assist in losing the weight), but a reference to Gynostemma? nope, I've never heard it before.

I stumbled upon it recently while shopping at a specialty tea booth and I immediately seek Uncle Google help for the details. Well, check it out for yourselves - it's loaded with good stuff!! it's a chinese 'cure-all' kinda of tea. Used to be taken only by the Emperors in China.

Some points on Gynostemma health benefits:
(taken from ezinearticle)

  • Cholesterol
    Scientific studies have confirmed Gynostemma ability to assist the regulation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol, which helps to metabolize cholesterol from the arteries).
  • Blood Pressure
    Gynostemma has been widely reported to be effective in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Although the exact mechanism is still being researched, studies have shown that Gynostemma improves the metabolism of the heart directly as well as enhances the release of nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax the coronary blood vessels.
  • Digestion
    While Gynostemma is great for regulating cholesterol, it also assists a good weight loss program, by improving and strengthening digestion. At the same time, it helps an underweight person by assisting the absorption of nutrients. This regulatory effect on bodily functions is the hallmark of an Adaptogen.
  • Strength and Endurance
    The results of human studies confirm that Gynostemma can enhance the contractility of the heart muscle and heart pumping function. Other studies have shown that the saponins in Gynostemma increase strength and endurance in the body. Considering these findings overall, Gynostemma becomes the perfect herb for anyone who wants to improve his competitive edge in any field of athletic performance.
  • Immunity
    Gynostemma has also demonstrated an ability to support the immune system when under the siege of various destructive agents. Gynostemma has also shown its effectiveness, in clinical research studies, as a potent immune modulator. It increases the production of Lymphocytes, Phagocytes, and Serum IGG.
  • Adaptogenic Properties
    Gynostemma has a biphasic effect on brain functions, energizing or calming the system depending upon need, as well as on the regulation of hormonal functions in both men and women. The healthy maintenance of these physiological actions plays a major role in the body's ability to cope with stress.
  • Antioxidant Properties
    The results of many scientific studies show that Gynostemma powerful antioxidant quality protects against free radical damage

See a more detailed analysis on Gynostemma here.

Need I say more?? been taking it ever since. I bought the loose leave version, and steep in a hot water for about 20mins, and pour it out into a water container, then drink it continuously. The leaves can be re-used for up to 3 times. I normally having it just after dinner, for at least 2 steep, while leaving the 3rd steep in the morning for breakfast.

See my other post on Veggies Juices, Goji berries and Ginseng (that has been my common food these days).

So, what are some of other 'healthy stuff' you've found? share with me.

All the best.

Sher Khan.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sher's Maiden Ride.. (cycling)

I was being pestered by my bro (rafiq aka upiq) to join him cycling for a while now. He's an avid cycler (is that what they called??) and had participated in various triathlon around the nation.. being big as he is.. always getting the aweeee from the audience. Check out his blog here for more of his rambling.

So, on the 3rd day of Idul Fitri celebration, after 2 consecutives days of heavy caloric dump into the body, I was looking forward for an activity to burn it all... and thought to try something different.

Let's go and ride a bicycle!

The planned was to start at the rendezvous point at Bt. 18, Hulu Langat at 7:30am. Well.. I arrived late (overslept slightly), and we pushed off at about 8am. It's my first time ever.. going with my other 2 bros. I initially thought we are the only few crazy fellas going for a bike ride at the early morning deep in the kampung of Hulu Langat, to my surprised, there are already bunch of other riders at the rendezvous point!.. some even have completed their bouts of rides!! and.. these people tend to know each other quite well.

Anyway, we rode from the Bt. 18 to the Simpang Tiga, to the Langat Dam, to the Sg. Telaka Recreation Park.... and back. It was approximately about 44km, for about 2hrs and 30mins.

View Larger Map

The ride was excruciating at some point, going up and down the hill, changing gears highs and lows, fighting with the bicycle, and most of all.. with yourself.. some points we go as fast as 30-50kmph, and at some point.. even the snails are faster than us! mixed-bag of LSD and HIIT is for sure... but I make sure I didn't stop and keep cycling even when I feel my heart is like going to explode!!.. understand it.. You just have to experience it. The view is breathtaking (riding at the kampung, the hills, the dam, rivers...).. it was fun.

this pic is with my other bro (feroz aka ucu)..

All I can say, it won't be my last ride. Will come back for more!... aiming on Perez... some day.. ;)

btw, the equipment that I've on are all borrowed, including the gloves and the t-shirt!

My bro (upiq) said.. that ride, we would typically burned at least 1000 calories.. well.. my mission achieved!

Today morning, some arching down at the back, and at my posterior!! need a good padding the next time. Thinking of doing the Putrajaya route the next.. anyone?

How's your holidays?

Sher Khan.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sher's 6-pack quest video

Been wanting to post a video on my journey, and been working on it on and off this week, and finally please see the result.. not perfect, but.. at least something.

For the 1st time ever, I showed my shirtless body!!


I'm getting the hang of creating videos now, if you like it - I will create more!

Sher Khan.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

SEPT 2009 - My Progress.

This is my progress thus far.
Let's take a look at my infamous weight loss chart ;)
(for a larger view, pls click on the image)

As you can see, I’ve been struggling the past few months trying to maintain my weight and body fat %.
The most significant highlight since I started this journey is that – for the 1st time ever, my weight has consistently goes up during the month of April to July.
If you’ve seen my previous post during that period, I’ve kind of explained why that is so (earlier post - My Progress So far).
Also, if you remember, in May09, I’ve also started on a new regime (may post - Stop.. New Plan) after too many comments from people, and I’ve change my diet slightly.
The result?  my body fat increases tremendously (were at 12.7% to a whopping 17.1% !!, and body weight from 72kg to massive 76kg!!)–  YUP, I was shocked myself!!
It clearly shows my ‘new plan’ doesn’t fit me. It really makes sense – you can never out-train a bad diet. If you eat a lot, even the healthy stuff, while maintaining the same fitness level, more KG will be added to your body. My experiment proof that point.
However, I would like to think that the KG is not necessarily pure FAT, during that period (april-july), I’ve actually increases the weight bearing exercise to another level (june post - In the Gym today).
Look at this body composition table that I’ve captured.
It shows the BF% increases, also look at ‘Fat Mass’ and ‘Fat Free Mass’, it fluctuates. Well, I’m not a doctor/physician, I’m just assuming there’s some level of muscles mass being added somewhere, I did ask around, but not getting any convincing explanation.
Again, I may be wrong here. I’ve stopped going to the wellness doctor that I used to go (no expert opinion). Someone care to explain?.. anyone?
So, you asked, what’s next?
After seeing the poor July result, I’m back to my typical routine. One thing that I’ve realized/discovered is that -  in order for me to progress better, I need to do this: maintain my diet with healthy portions and I’ve to increase the intensity of my exercise routines.  I am now training harder than what I used to.
BTW, my plan to get 6 pack by end of the year (march post – My progress so far)? With this slight detour, I may missed that target.. I’ve to add a couple months to it.. say March 2010?
So, there you go on my latest update.
Anything not clear? Question? Drop me a note.
Let's get healthy.
Sher Khan


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