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Blogs

One Small Change

Contributing writer Joe Kita dares to make one little, healthy change every month. Past experiments include giving up caffeine, napping daily, and stretching like it's your job.

One Small Change

The Perfect Posture Experiment

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The idea was simple: Spend one month doing everything possible to perfect my posture. Granted, it wasn’t as sexy a goal as getting washboard abs or bigger biceps, but poor posture is often the overlooked cause of chronic pain, nagging injury, and lackluster performance. Plus, it fits the theme of this blog: One small change that could make a big difference.

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Tags: Posture, Reduce Pain

One Small Change

Better Posture with…Duct Tape?

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Here’s an enlightening way to kill some time over the holidays and make even those interminable gatherings with the in-laws more tolerable and productive. Find a roll of duct tape and take off your shirt. While standing as straight and upright as possible, have a friend apply a strip of tape down your spine—from just above the vertebrae at the base of the neck to your lower back. Then apply two other pieces of tape from the top of each shoulder to the middle of your back. When finished, it should look like you’re wearing an upside-down peace sign.

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Tags: Health, Gear, Home, Posture

One Small Change

The Better Posture Workout

Dave Cruz

Of all the things we could be training for—strength, power, speed, muscle, weight loss, the Olympics—why should we waste our valuable time training for better posture? Simple. Because it’s foundational to all those things. Without a state of balance in the body, which is the definition of posture, you won’t be able to reach your full potential in any activity, plus there’s a good chance you’ll injure yourself trying.

Better posture is the secret performance weapon most athletes ignore. Or at least that’s what Sue Falsone, PT, CSCS, the director of performance physical therapy for Athletes’ Performance, contends. In fact, she’s thrown down a challenge: Make one small change in your training this month by doing the following workout and see if it improves not just your posture but a whole lot more.

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Tags: Flexibility, Soreness, Stability, Posture, Stretching

One Small Change

One Small Change to Look Leaner, Stronger, Taller

Dave Cruz

For Christmas this year, how would you like Santa to help you look leaner, get stronger, have more energy, live pain-free, appear more confident, get a raise at work, look younger, breathe easier, boost performance, and even grow an inch taller? Would that be the icing on the fruitcake, or what?

Well, I’m here to tell you that no matter how naughty you may have been this past year, it’s all possible. The only thing you have to do is sign on for this month’s One Small Change experiment. Then, for the next 31 days, we’ll set out to improve our posture, which is the simple, overlooked key to getting all these gifts.

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Tags: Work, Injury Prevention, Posture, Soreness, Health, Reduce Pain

One Small Change

The Verdict on Going Vegan

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For the last 31 days I haven’t eaten one speck of beef, poultry, dairy, eggs or honey. I grilled waiters and gave food labels the same focused attention I once gave Playboy as an adolescent. And along the way, I learned about seitan and soy cheese and all the new pseudo-foods developed to fuel the rise of the vegan race.

Now that the experiment is over—excuse me a moment while I dab this spot of gravy off my keyboard—I wish I could say it changed me dramatically. But I didn’t lose any weight, my energy level never flagged and, as far as I can tell, there was no drop in my exercise performance or fitness. Physically, I emerged from this month-long experiment just as I had entered it. But that doesn’t mean I was unaffected. Here are some final observations, a few revelations and, most important, a verdict on what you should keep in mind if you ever attempt to go vegan:

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Tags: Health, Eating Out, Cooking, Food

One Small Change

6 Tasty Vegan Meals

After 3½ weeks of rice, beans, tofu, soy milk, and cheese-less pizzas, I’ve developed a serious hankering for something more substantial and flavorful. Although my wife, Maria, who’s joined me in this month-long vegan experiment, is a great cook, even she has been hard-pressed to work magic with such limited and often-unfamiliar ingredients. So I invited her and my always hungry, I’ll-eat-anything-if-you’re-paying, college daughter to join me for lunch at one of New York City’s premier vegan restaurants, Candle 79. This is an upscale “vegan oasis” that former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni reviewed as “pleasurable and largely satisfying, leaving an omnivorous interloper with a sense not of deprivation but of relief.”

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Tags: Food, Dinner, Health, Eating Out

One Small Change

The Ultimate Vegan

Robert dos Remedios, above, explains his keys to building strength on a vegan diet.

A few years ago, Men’s Health magazine sent me to profile Robert dos Remedios, the director of speed, strength, and conditioning at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. He had just been named the Collegiate Strength Coach of the Year, which was no small feat given that he works for a junior college and the award includes the biggest universities in America.

At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Coach Dos is a mountain of a man who’s gentle in all aspects of life except one: the weight room. He’s all about building explosive strength and speed through workouts with testosterone-charged names such as CHAOS. And with these routines, he’s performed miracles not only on his athletes but also himself. At age 44, he can toss around dumbbells and medicine balls in ways that kids half his age can’t. But what makes all this even more impressive is that he’s been a vegan for 20 years. When we went to lunch, he ordered the bean burrito instead of the double-beef fajitas. All the stuff you’ve heard about needing steak, eggs and other traditional protein sources to build stamina, lean muscle and power? Forget about it, says Coach Dos.

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Tags: Protein, Strength, Energy, Health, Build Muscle

One Small Change

7 Lessons from 2 Weeks as a Vegan

Pizza with soy cheese. Doesn't look half bad, right?

I’ve been vegan now for 13 days, 7 hours and 14 minutes. But who’s counting? On a business trip last week, my host took me to the best steakhouse in town. He ordered the Porterhouse while I had to settle for the penne pasta with cherry tomatoes. Instead of a sports jacket, I felt like I should have been wearing a skirt. And at a local street fair last weekend, I stood around enjoying the aroma of barbecued ribs for nearly 10 minutes. (Tell me, is inhaling the scent of meat also against vegan values?) But I’m still determined to make it through the month (read why I'm doing it). In case you’re also experimenting with veganism or are considering it, here are seven important things I’ve learned so far:

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Tags: Cooking, Fat, Food, Nutrients, Health

One Small Change

Is That Drink Vegan?

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When I decided to turn vegan for a month, I drew some encouragement from the fact that at least I wouldn’t have to give up beer—or any alcohol for that matter. Although the Clydesdales may be fundamental to Budweiser’s success, it seemed safe to assume they weren’t part of the brewing process. Indeed, it was reassuring to know that if I ever grew tired of flaxseed and almond milk (I know, I know, that seems improbable), or if I got beat up by a gang of testosterone-crazed meat-eaters at the gym, I’d still be able to find solace in the can.

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Tags: Food, Beverages, Health

One Small Change

Vegan for a Month

Tetra Images / Getty Images

Yesterday I said goodbye to pizza, tenderly caressed a chicken breast, bid adieu to fudge ripple, and gave sushi one last sayonara. In a symbolic eulogy conducted at my local steakhouse, I even had my last bite of dry-aged beef, medium-rare and scrumptious.

And today I am a vegan. I no longer eat things with faces or support animal exploitation. Alicia Silverstone and I—should she ever respond to my countless eCards—will finally have something to talk about and forever bond us. When I awoke, the world was fresh, my intentions pure—but my refrigerator was frighteningly empty.

This isn’t going to be easy.

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Tags: Food, Nutrients, Health

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