Friday, March 27, 2009

Celeb Hair Secrets, Yogurt Poop and Other Nutrition Questions Answered

March 28, 2009 1:59 am

Celeb Hair Secrets, Yogurt Poop and Other Nutrition Questions Answered

Anyone else ever notice that health & fitness sites and mags often recycle the same old question-and-answers? On one hand, there is something to be said for learning by repetition but on the other hand if I have to read more expert’s take on how to do an interval workout on the treadmill I’m going to scream. (Hint: Slow. Fast. Slow. Fast. Repeat. Need more? Use the buttons. All of them except the big red one will change your interval.) Thankfully I have you guys. One of the things I love best about my Great Fitness Experiment Readers is that you guys come up with some awesomely weird questions.

Celeb Hair: Malnourished and Shiny?
From Reader Mackenzie:

Okay Charlotte, here’s another mystery for you… can the super slim stars a la Audrey Hepburn and others have such shiny, seemingly healthy hair?!?! Many underweight people (ahem, myself included) have a disgusting scraggly puft on top of their heads. While I used to be upset with my body, I did secretly pride myself on my rather lustrous mane. In the process of growing happy with my body that kept growing tinier, and getting some EDishness in the process, my hair got as non-existent as my boobs, bum, good attitude, body weight, body fat % and so forth. Any experience with hair problems and undereating?

Dear Mackenzie,
Hair loss (and brittleness, dullness, and thinning) are documented effects of malnourishment. Your experience is quite common in eating disorder land, sadly. (Which, by the way, your description of your losses was very well put.) So how do the starlets get away with poor nutrition and yet still have lustrous locks? Trickery. Let me put it this way - less than a year ago Britney Spears shaved her head, today she has shiny blond locks down to the middle of her back. Even the stars that don’t use wigs, falls, hairpieces or Jessica Simpson clip-ons usually have plenty of other help via talented stylists and photoshop. A makeup artist friend once told me the most surefire way to tell if a celeb’s hair is fake, is to look at the ends. Human hair thins out at the ends as it grows longer. If long hair is as thick at the bottom as it is at the top, it’s fake.

Fueling for Two-a-Day Workouts
From Anonymous:

I know there are lots of different tacks to take for when and what to eat before a workout (with the obvious bottom-line that it will be what works for that particular individual), but…nonetheless, I would like to ask some advice because I feel like the question is complicated when it deals with multiple workout days. It sounds like you often workout more than once a day, so do you have any advice? Sometimes if there is even a smidge in my belly from two hours prior midworkout i’ll feel neasous and like I could throw up, but on the other hand, being tired and having no energy for a workout sucks too! Thanks!!!!

Dear Anon,
Want to hear a gross story? The way I discovered I was intolerant to soy (always bad news for a vegetarian) is by eating a Boca burger about 3 hours before an evening Turbokick class. By the time we finished the warm-up, my stomach was a mess. By the time we were to the Turbo, it was pretty much a purple haze in there despite not being a Prince tribute day. I’m lucky they still let me in that class, frankly. (Speaking of - Turbo Jennie, we should totally do a Prince Turbo day!! It’s a Minnesota thing, right?) The moral of my nasty story is that I too cannot workout with food in my stomach - especially soy. And yet a girl’s gotta eat! Bonking sucks. As you pointed out this gets even trickier when you do multiple workouts a day. Ignoring for a second your reason for doing two-a-days (compulsive exerciser? Don’t be like me!!), it is very important to get some fuel both before and after your workouts. An hour or two before a strenous workout, I try to eat something that digests easily and quickly like carbs. A piece of fruit or bowl of cereal works nicely although I know marathoners that swear by baby food. Sometimes I’ll even use a late workout as an excuse to chow down a box of Jelly Bellies (was a candy ever so aptly named??). After your workout make sure to have a balanced meal of protein, fat and healthy carbs. As long as you are getting enough nutrition over the course of the day, don’t freak out too much about the timing of it.

LDS Vegetarians
From Louisa:

By the way, Charlotte, being LDS, are you a vegetarian? I heard that some of the healthiest people in the US were LDS folks in Southern CA. My first vegetarian cookbook in the 70s was published by LDS people.

Dear Louisa,
First, why yes I am a vegetarian! But it doesn’t really have anything to do with my LDS faith. I think you are confusing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with The Seventh Day Adventists. The former (also known as the Mormons) do have a dietary code called the Word of Wisdom to which I adhere - most notably we abstain from drinking alcohol, coffee and tea; smoking and illegal drugs. On the subject of meat, the Word of Wisdom advises simply to “eat meat sparingly,” an admonition that allows for a great deal of personal interpretation. The latter church, however, was the focus of the study to which you are referring due to their religious vegetarianism (and veganism, for some) - one of the most interesting and compelling I’ve ever read on the subject of a vegetarian diet impact on longevity. Although I do hope that your 1970’s cookbook was LDS as I bet it has some awesome recipes for “funeral potatoes,” “green jell-o salad” and “Relief Society punch”!

Yogurt Poopage
From Anonymous:

Hey Charlotte, I know you love your yogurt. What do you think about all the new yogurts? I hope I don’t offend you but they make me poop funny. Am I the only one?

Dear Anonymous,
So not offended! I had not thought to check my number 2’s for changes after eating yogurt! But your question comes at a most opportune moment. Up until now I’ve been slavishly devoted to my Fage Greek yogurt (yes, it’s plain and yes Reader N8, that means it tastes like sour cream). But the Better Whey of Life people just sent me a sample of their new whey-protein enhanced yogurt. The biggest surprise, after getting over the fact that they packed 3 yogurt cups in a box big enough to hold a small television, was that their flavored yogurt actually tasted pretty darn good in spite of having significantly less sugar than Yo-plait and the like. So, thanks to you dear anon reader, after eating the yogurt cups (last week, before my vegan mini-Experiment started), I religiously watched my poop. All I can say is consider yourselves lucky that my camera is at my parent’s house in Wisconsin because it was fascinating stuff. Turns out my poo changes considerably from one day to the next! How much of that can be attributed to the yogurt? I will leave that to better minds than mine. But I did quite enjoy the yogurt and if you are interested in trying it out, there’s a coupon for .00 off on their site!

Last Question
This one’s from me to you, dear readers: When Miss Green M&M strips for Sports Illustrated is she just disrobing or actually removing her skin? Because to me, it kinda seems like the latter. And that’s just wrong.