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What are the Implications of Body Fat? (Overweight, Underweight, Prevention & Disease)

Implications of Underweight, Overweight, & Obese On Our Health

There are risks when it comes to managing weight. Being underweight is a concern because excessively underweight people are more at risk to die from starvation. They lack body fat and nutrient reserves which can lead to extreme deterioration and death especially when trying to combat sickness or disease (Sizer and Whitney, 2017).

Conversely, being overweight or extremely overweight, which is called obese, can also has health risks which can lead to disease and death. Research suggests that “risk of dying increases proportionally with increasing body weight” (Sizer and Whitney, 2017). Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, sleep apnea, lack of mobility, and body pain are just some of the things that we put ourselves at risk for when we neglect our bodies and become overweight (Sizer and Whitney, 2017).

Preventive Measures We Can Take

Underweight individuals can die from starvation due to lack of body fat and nutrients. It is suggested that they “gain body fat which acts as an energy reserve and to acquire protective amounts of all the nutrients that can be stored” (Sizer and Whitney, 2017). Overweight individuals that are at risk for multiple health issues should begin to monitor their caloric intake and output. Food is energy, but each one of us needs different amounts depending on our lifestyle. As a truck driver I require many less calories, “energy in” than that of an athlete because my “energy out” is much less due to sitting the majority of the day.

5 Characteristics of Healthy Diet

A nutritious diet is a habitual eating plan with 5 Characteristics:

  1. Adequacy: knowing that the foods have adequate nutrients, fiber, and energy.
  2. Balance: when food choices are balanced by including all types of nutrients.
  3. Calorie Control: food choices that give the body just the right amount of energy to maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Moderation: choosing foods that are not overly fat, salty, sugary, or otherwise unhealthy.
  5. Variety: keeping a pattern of eating that includes multiple types and styles of foods.

Diets that follow the A, B, C, M, V principles are more likely to be nutritious and provide the body with balance and a steady supply of nutrients.

Stages of Diet Behavior Change

There are six stages of behavior change represented in the Transtheoretical Model (TTM): Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance, and Termination. The helpful list below explains the different stages (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

The Stages of Behavior Change Stage Characteristics & Actions


Not considering a change; have no intention of changing; see no problems with current behavior.

Collect information about health effects of current behavior and potential benefits of change.


Admit that change may be needed; weigh pros and cons of changing and not changing.

Commit to making a change and set a date to start.


Preparing to change a specific behavior, taking initial steps, and setting some goals.

Write an action plan, spelling out specific parts of the change. Set small-step goals; tell others about the plan.


Committing time and energy to making a change; following a plan set for a specific behavior change.

Perform the new behavior. Manage emotional and physical reactions to the change.


Striving to integrate the new behavior into daily life and striving to make it permanent.

Persevere through lapses. Teach others and help them achieve their own goals. (This stage can last for years.)

Adoption/Moving On

The former behavior is gone, and the new behavior is routine.

After months or a year of maintenance without lapses, move on to other goals.

Knowing what stage one is in personally is beneficial to assess individual nutrition, health, and wellness goals. One study on adolescents who used the TTM to change nutrition behavior found that TTM is a “successful strategy for nutritional intervention aiming at improving dietary intake in adolescents. Its application in different contexts shows that the TTM is flexible and possible to be implemented in many settings” (Nakabayashi et al., 2020). Understanding where one is on the health journey is the first step to getting to where one wants to be.

Self-awareness plays a crucial role in personal nutrition because recognizing health problems in the body, such as a calcium deficit, can be complex. One way to keep track of goal progress in nutrition is to “take stock” of your food intake over several days (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Once a weakness or problem is recognized, small goals can be set to correct it, and improved results can be obtained (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). The best thing to do is to start now. Think of life as a personal nutrition science experiment, begin a study of oneself, analyze the results and make changes to eliminate problems so that one is left living within the healthiest possible body and mind.

Nutrition & Common Health Conditions

Food is energy and nutrition for the human body, but too much or too little non-nutritious foods can lead to disease. Food that is over-processed and high in saturated fat, salt, and sugar can lead to obesity because those foods are easy to overeat. Obesity contributes to adverse health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer (Sizer and Whitney, 2017).

Diet and lifestyle modification can lower the risk of these diseases by reducing or eliminating contributing factors such as high blood pressure, malnutrition, and diabetes. Reducing amounts of sodium, trans-fats, alcohol, and sugar while also increasing physical activity will go a long way in minimizing the risks of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer (Sizer and Whitney, 2017).

Nutrition & Physical Activity

Research suggests that people who participate in regular, long-term physical activity report feeling happier, show increased cognitive function, lower their risk for multiple diseases, have increased mobility, less bodily pain, more energy, and live longer (HBO Documentary Films, 2012). Physical activity of any kind, even studying, takes energy supplied to and by the body in the form of calories (Sizer and Whitney, 2017). The healthier we eat, the better the nutrition we will digest, and the more effectively and efficiently the body will use the vitamins and minerals from our food to convert into energy for activities.


This blog proved through the combination of various elements of nutrition science that behavior change is possible when it comes to personal diet. Humans should be aware of their nutrition habits and how food choice can impact their health and risk of disease. The building blocks of food are the same ones that we become after eating and digesting those foods. The materials are chemically changed and used within the body for energy on a daily basis. Filling the body up with energy fuel is a balance that can be achieved through the A, B, C, M, V diet principles. Although the studies and science of nutrition are relatively new, people should not be disheartened by the changing results and knowledge. Instead, we should acknowledge and embrace the scientific process while recognizing where we are personally in the process of our own behavior change and be willing to make changes that eliminate the results of disease and poor health both physically and mentally. Nutrition will always be a changing field, just like any science, but seeking continuous education will make anyone prepared for nourishment for a lifetime.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Nakabayashi, J., Melo, G. R.-I., & Toral, N. (2020). Transtheoretical model-based nutritional interventions in adolescents: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1543.

Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

What are the Implications of Body Fat? (Overweight, Underweight, Prevention & Disease) Read More »

How have Food Portions Changed Over Time and How Can We Portion Control?

Change in Food Portion Sizes Over Time

Research data indicates that U.S. food portion size has continuously increased since the 1970s and is greater than the federal dietary guidance standard. Multiple causes can be attributed to this increase. 1.) The food service industry has grown more prominent, and people eat out more, 2.) Marketing has become more concentrated, and many more new products have been introduced. 3.) Widespread price competition has induced manufacturers to introduce more oversized items to retain and expand market share. 4.) Profits for most food items rise when manufacturers increase product size. 5.) From a marketing standpoint, oversized packages draw attention to a new product, as research has shown for beer, soft drinks, and fast food. 6.) Concern about value also drives the foodservice industry to offer larger products; many restaurant owners report that customers want more food for their money (Young & Nestle, 2002).

Health Implications of This Change

As the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) explained, “consuming too much of a nutrient endangers health, just as consuming too little does” (Sizer & Whitney, 2017), but the type of food that is consumed will always be the most significant variant that will determine what health implications will arise from what we eat.

Eating too many calories and too many foods with saturated fats, sugar, and sodium, alongside a lack of physical activity, has led to widespread obesity and cardiovascular disease.

3 Simple & Low-Cost Tools/Techniques to Help With Portion Control

Three ways to help change diet behavior and implement portion control are: 1.) Using food applications that can plan and monitor your food intakes, such as MyPlate or Google Health. 2.) Cook and eat at home. Research shows that eating out at restaurants will increase the amount of food you eat because they serve large portions and because we typically want “more food for our money.” 3.) Get smaller bowls and plates for your home. Sizer and Whitney (2017) suggest that “tableware seems to function as a sort of visual gauge for sizing up food portions. In research, people eating from large containers often eat more per sitting than those eating from smaller ones.” I like to use a combination of Google Health and my Fitbit.

Key Recommended Guidelines & U.S. Diet Realities

“Putting it positively, you can enjoy the best possible vim, vigor, and vitality throughout your life if you learn how to nourish yourself optimally” (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). 

Sizer and Whitney (2017) explain how the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) are the U.S. and Canada’s standards on nutrient intake. The micronutrients that we consume should fall within a particular safe zone to contribute most effectively to health. Additionally, healthy ranges for the consumption of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (macronutrients) have also been established and are known as Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR): “45 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrate. 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat. 10 to 35 percent of calories from protein”(Sizer & Whitney, 2017). The infographic below (Sizer & Whitney, 2017) shows clearly that American diets are not falling within the ideal nutrient guidelines. Micronutrients are under-consumed, while macronutrients such as “red and processed meat, refined grains, added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats” (Sizer & Whitney, 2017) are over-consumed.

Checking Out Food Labels

Nutrition Facts are required by law to be located on food packaging to provide detail about their “nutrient composition” (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). For example, if a food is high in sugar or trans fat, the label is how consumers would know. The information required by law is not the only text on food packaging. Often, the other writing is more detailed about how good the food is, or a value (cheap) buy. The marketing regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reliable; however, not all of the marking is regulated. The salesmanship of the food industry often tricks the consumers by hiding or wording the labels and ingredient lists in devious or complicated ways. If we know what to look out for and how to read labels and ingredient lists, we can make better food and nutrition choices.

While we are primarily aware of the labels and ingredient lists on individual food packages, other models such as the NBC above in the picture and the Meal Balance Index (MBI) consider total meal nutrition by applying metrics on “nutrition data of online culinary recipes, and canteen or restaurant menus” (Mainardi, et al., 2020). This could “potentially support consumers in understanding the extent to which their meal is balanced and aligned with food-based dietary guidelines” while out to eat or after whole meals have been prepared (Mainardi, et al., 2020). I have gotten better at reading labels and knowing what “trick words” (for sugar, for example) to look out for, while I shop for food, but having this meal metric would be beneficial for a trucker who has to eat out much more often than those who can cook at home.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Mainardi, F., Prozorovscaia, D., Sweeney, G., & Green, H. (2020). Development and validation of a meal quality index with applications to NHANES 2005–2014. PLoS ONE, 15(12), 1–13.

Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

Young, L. R., & Nestle, M. (2002). The contribution of expanding portion sizes to the US obesity epidemic. American Journal of Public Health, 92(2), 246–249.

How have Food Portions Changed Over Time and How Can We Portion Control? Read More »

Should We Eat Carbohydrates and Fiber?

Importance to Our Health

Fiber, the indigestible part of plant foods (Sizer & Whitney, 2017), helps maintain bowel health by helping to add bulk to stool and absorbing water. Fiber helps decrease the chance of constipation. Carbohydrates play a significant role in energy for the body, but that is not their only function (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). Sizer and Whitney (2017) explain how carbohydrates are also used in the creation of the slippery mucus, a “watery lubricant that coats and protects the body’s internal linings and membranes.” I have been studying a bit about the body’s fascia, so I wonder if carbohydrates also play a role in the slickness of the myofascial system. I will have to do more research later. The slipperiness of our internal organs, fascia, and muscles plays a prominent role in health because when these body parts are dehydrated, it causes pain and disease in the body.

Why Avoiding Carbs May Be Ill-Advised

We learned that carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy or fuel for the body. Protein and fats are the only other nutrients that fuel our bodies (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). However, protein-rich foods can be expensive and do not provide an advantage over carbohydrates; protein also has several disadvantages (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). Furthermore, fats are not typically not used by the brain and central nervous system (Sizer & Whitney, 2017), which obviously need energy! The brain and nervous system prefer to use glucose. Therefore, avoiding carbohydrates such as glucose from whole foods that supply carbohydrates would be ill-advised.

Recommendation for Carbohydrate & Fiber Intake

According to the text Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies by Sizer and Whitney (2017), the “minimum amount of digestible carbohydrate determined by the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) committee to adequately feed the brain and reduce ketosis has been set at 130 grams a day for an average-sized person and several times this minimum is recommended to maintain health and glycogen stores.” The World Health Organization (WHO) Healthy Diet (2020) guidelines suggest recommended DRI amounts of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and milk for best practice carbohydrates consumption. The WHO also suggests in the textbook that Total Carbohydrates should be 55% to 75% of total energy and Total Dietary Fiber should be ≥25 g/day from foods (Sizer & Whitney, 2017). 

Sources of carbohydrate-rich foods, as well as two sources of fiber-rich food are: Fruit, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources of both carbohydrates and fiber.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

World Health Organization. (2020, April 29). Healthy diet.

Should We Eat Carbohydrates and Fiber? Read More »

How does Digestion of Nutrients Impact Our Health and Wellness?

Six Classes of Nutrients and How They Help Us to Maintain Our Health Status

There are six classes of nutrients that are vital to the function of our bodies. These nutrients become fuel for the human body through food consumption and digestion. The infographic below shows how food and the human body are both made up of the same six materials, water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

When the body moves and functions throughout the day, it uses energy. There are three energy-yielding nutrients called macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. “The carbohydrates and fats (also called lipids) are especially important energy-yielding nutrients. Protein does double duty: it can yield energy, but it also provides materials that form structures and working parts of body tissues (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Vitamins and minerals (also called micronutrients), have the job of body regulation.

“As regulators, the vitamins and minerals assist in all body processes: digesting food; moving muscles; disposing of wastes; growing new tissues; healing wounds; obtaining energy from carbohydrate, fat, and protein; and participating in every other process necessary to maintain life”(Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

The sixth nutrient is water, which is continuously being depleted and replaced to keep the body tissues hydrated and cells functional (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Understanding the six types of nutrients and how they maintain the body allows individuals to apply this knowledge when building a healthy diet.

The Digestive Tract: Purpose, Components and Absorption of Nutrients

The body breaks down food during digestion to be metabolized and used throughout the body as energy for all body functions. Vitamins and minerals in specific quantities are vital for human health. Once a person has eaten food, the brain and hormonal (endocrine) system direct the components of the digestive system to do work to digest and absorb the vitamins and minerals of the swallowed food. The infographic below shows the digestive tract and associated organs (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

“The main function of the digestive system is to take food and fluids in from the external environment and to prepare nutrients, water and electrolytes into components that can be taken into the internal environment of the body, therefore providing raw materials and energy sources for cell activity. The digestive system is complex because it carries out many functions to ensure food is available in a form that allows cells to use it” (Johnstone et al., 2014).

The digestive tract is twenty-six feet of a flexible, muscular tube starting at the mouth and proceeding through the throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). After eating something, for example, a bite of bread, it begins to follow the digestive tract through the throat, down the esophagus, and onward. The bread is still technically not inside the body, and it is still considered part of the external environment at this point. “Only when a nutrient or other substance passes through the wall of the digestive tract does it actually enter the body’s tissue” (Sizer & Whitney, 2016) and become a usable part of the body’s internal environment. This is why someone can accidentally swallow a foreign object such as gum or a marble, and it will remain intact, unabsorbed, and not truly enter the body, but instead exit as it entered, in a few days.

The Mechanical Aspect of Digestion: Key Mechanical Processes

There are three key pieces to the mechanical puzzle of digestion; the mouth, stomach, and intestine. “Mechanical digestion occurs where food is broken down into its smaller constituent parts, mixed with digestive juices, moved along the gastrointestinal tract, and removed from the body as feces. It consists of chewing, swallowing, peristalsis and defecation” (Hendry et al., 2014). “Peristalsis, a series of squeezing waves that start with the tongue’s movement during a swallow and pass down the esophagus” (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Let us take a trip with the bite of bread that was mentioned in the previous paragraph. At the opening of the mouth, the lips guide and keep the bread in the mouth. The tongue guides the bread during chewing (mastication), forming a small ball of bread for swallowing (deglutition), and is also essential for tasting the bread at this time (Johnstone et al., 2014). The tongue is covered by taste buds that, when stimulated, create enjoyable feelings from the taste of the delicious bread (Johnstone et al., 2014). “The taste buds also stimulate the production of secretions from the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and gallbladder in preparation for the arrival of food in the digestive system” (Johnstone et al., 2014), which is part of the chemical process that will be discussed in the next section of this essay. After the bread is swallowed and arrives in the stomach, where more chemical aspects of digestion occur, the stomach muscles are responsible for the churning action that mixes the bread with gastric juice and breaks down the bread into a semi-solid consistency called chyme. The stomach muscles move food to the sphincter so that it opens, and then small amounts of bread-chyme are pushed through into the small intestine (Johnstone et al., 2014). When the bread-chyme has arrived in the large intestine, digestion and absorption are almost completed. The colon’s (large intestine) task is to “reabsorb the water donated earlier by digestive organs and to absorb minerals, leaving a paste of fiber and other undigested materials, the feces, suitable for excretion” (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). The whole process takes between twenty-four and seventy-two hours, from taking that first bite of bread with the mouth to final excretion (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). However, it is not just the mechanical-muscular work of chewing, waving, pushing, and squirting that matters. Throughout the digestive process, there is also a chemical component at work.

The Chemical Aspect of Digestion: Key Chemical Processes

The key players of the chemical digestion process are the same as the mechanical ones; the mouth, stomach, and intestine. “Chemical digestion occurs when food is broken down into absorbable units so that they can pass through the intestinal mucosa into the circulatory system” (Hendry et al., 2014). In the mouth, each bite of food is mixed with saliva by the teeth and the tongue. “The carbohydrate-digesting enzyme of saliva begins to break down the starch of food such as bread, banana, and peanut butter into sugars”(Sizer & Whitney, 2016). In the stomach, gastric juice mixes with the swallowed food. “Acid in the gastric juice unwinds proteins from the food then an enzyme clips the protein strands into pieces” (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). The watery, carbohydrate, and protein-rich part of the chyme enters the small intestine first, and a layer of fat follows (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Sugars require little digesting and begin to cross the linings of the small intestine immediately on contact. Close by, the liver gives bile through a duct that blends the fat and chyme. The pancreas squirts enzymes to break down the fat, protein, and starch (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). “As the enzymes do their work, smaller and smaller chemical fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and lymph along with vitamins and minerals, through the cells of the small intestine wall to nourish the body tissues (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). In the large intestine, “fiber fragments, fluid, and some minerals are absorbed, but most are not digested” (Sizer & Whitney, 2016) and then passes out the colon. Through all of this digestion and absorption, the body begins to utilize the food as fuel. However, some of the “fuel” can have a negative impact on the body and create digestive disorders.

Correlation Between Food Choice and Digestive Disorders

The correlation between personal health and food choice is directly linked. The digestive system plays a vital role in the health of the body because it is the bodily system responsible for making the foods one chooses to eat usable by the body to maintain health. When unhealthy food is eaten or when too little or too much food is eaten, the digestive system will not have the adequate nutrients to give to the rest of the body systems for use and could be negatively impacted in many ways. Lack of nutrients or abundance of harmful nutrients can cause disease and digestive disorders. Four primary digestive disorders are constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and hiccups. Constipation can often be caused by poor diet, sedentary behavior, dehydration, or certain medication (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Diarrhea is typically caused by poor diet, emotional stress, or irritation of the colon (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause damage to other organs such as the esophagus, and taking acid-reducing drugs such as self-prescribed heartburn medicine, one can mask the symptoms and be unaware that they are dealing with GERD (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Hiccups (spasms of both the vocal cords and the diaphragm) can result from irritation of the diaphragm, indigestion, or other causes such as eating too fast (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Part of eating right is choosing food wisely, learning to be self-aware to eat the right portions at the right pace, and educating oneself on how the body operates so that one can manage it to maintain health, will add joy and vitality to life.


This blog explained the significant components of the digestive tract and how nutrition absorption works. It examined the mechanical and chemical processes of the digestive system and discussed common digestive disorders and their causes. The human body is a beautiful, working piece of art. Each body system works in union with every other piece, and part of the body to create, grow, maintain, and rejuvenate life. The digestive system plays a crucial role in that life by breaking down the food we eat. The materials of food are mechanically and chemically processed and changed for use by the digestive system. Humans should be aware of their nutrition habits and how food choice can impact their quality of life.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Hendry, C., Farley, A., McLafferty, E., & Johnstone, C. (2014). The digestive system: part 2. Nursing Standard, 28(25), 37–44.

Johnstone, C., Hendry, C., Farley, A., & McLafferty, E. (2014). The digestive system: part 1. Nursing Standard, 28(24), 37–45.

Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

How does Digestion of Nutrients Impact Our Health and Wellness? Read More »

What Drives Our Food Choice?

Cultural and Social Connections to Food

Many social and cultural factors contribute to why we eat food. Enjoying traditional cultural cuisines can be a celebration of heritage (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Sharing ethnic foods can be symbolic of shared values (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). Other than cultural connections to food, sociocultural environments also play a role. Several sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were statistically significant determinants of diet quality (Pestoni et al., 2019). One example of an environmental factor that drives my food choices is my occupation. As a truck driver, I am literally driven, toward limited options on the road. Typically, I can buy food from truck stops (much like gas stations) and Walmart. Unfortunately, both of these places have limitations when it comes to offering healthy, nutritious food options.

Factors That Lead to Food Choices

Three factors that lead to food choices are advertising, availability, and emotional comfort (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). As a trucker, I identify with these factors that lead to my personal food choices. While driving the nation’s highways, I am constantly bombarded mile by mile with advertising. I try to ignore it as much as possible, but I can not drive with my eyes closed, and I know it is persuading me and/or draining me of willpower, even on a subconscious level. My truck is 53’ long, and I am hauling up to forty thousand pounds of product. Availability plays a massive role in what I eat because I can not simply drive to the regular grocery store or farmers’ market. Additionally, I have limited room in my mini-fridge and minimal cooking equipment. Truckers can drive up to eleven hours a day and can work longer doing other occupational tasks in addition to those hours. I believe that boredom plays a significant part in why the trucking industry is unhealthy and obese. Emotional comfort and boredom are two main reasons we often overeat.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Pestoni, G., Krieger, J. P., Sych, J. M., Faeh, D., & Rohrmann, S. (2019). Cultural Differences in Diet and Determinants of Diet Quality in Switzerland: Results from the National Nutrition Survey menuCH. Nutrients, 11(1), 126.

Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

What Drives Our Food Choice? Read More »

What’s the Connection Between Disease, Nutrition and Our Kids?

Linking Diet & Health.

After living more than six and a half decades of life, by the age of 65, we will eat more than 70,000 meals, and our bodies will discard enough waste to total the weight of half a house, that’s 50 tons! The food we eat supports our body to grow, maintain, and rebuild the cells, muscles, bones, skin, blood, and every other aspect of our human biomechanics (Sizer & Whitney, 2016). We choose what we eat, and our diet plays a direct role in our health. The food we eat is chemically broken down, starting with the saliva in our mouth and finishing by discarding waste out of the anus. The food digestion process from start to finish operates in the same way for everyone. Still, differences occur in what foods we choose to eat. Those differences create positive or negative effects in the body as our food is broken down and used for all the biochemical processes that occur daily and over time.

Inadequate or Improper Nutrition in Our Children

There is an abundance of research that, in my opinion, does more than merely suggest that malnutrition is a growing problem that is creating health risks and disease. Instead, this research should be understood as undisputed truth and common knowledge. A recent study in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal exposes the disturbing nutrition fact that we are not just failing ourselves as adults. We are failing our young children worldwide. The research showed that children had high energy deficiencies due to malnutrition, followed second by high deficiencies in Vitamin A (Radi, 2021). Vitamin A is an antioxidant (Vitamin A, n.d.). Lack of vitamin A in our bodies can lead to blindness, infertility and delayed or stunted growth (Streit, 2018). Nutrition deficiencies are starting at an alarmingly young age.

The HBO documentary film (2012), The Weight of the Nation: Part 3 Children in Crisis, suggests that children who are obese have a 33% higher chance of having diabetes as adults. They are also more likely to have other diseases such as chronic liver disease and cardiovascular disease by their mid 30s and will struggle more to be able to lose weight throughout their lifetime (HBO documentary film, 2012). Children who are obese suffer side effects such as fatty lesions formed in their arteries, joint pain, difficulty breathing, and many children have the “metabolic characteristics of an obese 25-year-old” (HBO documentary film, 2012).

Remember that kids will have eaten 70,000 meals by the time they turn 65. This means that, on average, parents and guardians will have influenced the first 17,230 meals (ages 0–16 years). That’s 17,230 reasons for us to focus on being healthy and raise our children to do the same.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


HBO Documentary Films. [HBODocs]. (2012, May 14). The weight of the nation: Part 3 — Children in crisis.

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis. (n.d.). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from

Radi, S. (2021). Nutrient intakes and adequacy among preschool children under blockade in Gaza City, Palestine. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 27(5), 467–473.

Streit, M. L. S. (2018, June 2). 8 Signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. Healthline.

Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (14th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

Vitamin A. (n.d.). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from

Vitamin A. (2019, July 2). The Nutrition Source.

What’s the Connection Between Disease, Nutrition and Our Kids? Read More »

Grounding for Truckers

Hey MOTOvator, I know what your first thought is, “walk out onto the truck stop urine saturated grass barefoot! Um… hard pass!!”.

Listen, I get it, and no, I am not talking about exposing your feet just anywhere. I am saying that when you find a really nice rest area or shipper and receiver, find a spot to get those feet in contact with the earth!

What is grounding?

Grounding or Earthing is a technique that realigns your electrical energy by reconnecting to the earth. Some smaller studies have found the benefits of grounding to include increased energy, improved heart rate variability, decreased night-time levels of cortisol, reduced fatigue, and reduced inflammation.

Let’s get in the dirt of grounding effects.

The earth’s surface has a limitless supply of free/ mobile electrons (allow electrical current to flow easily). This negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment (Chevalier et al., 2012).

This means that when you bring your bare feet (which is electrically conductive) to the ground, there is a transfer of energy from the ground into the body. This creates multiple physiological changes in the body. The more profound discovery for truckers is that Grounding helps improve sleep, reduce pain, and reduces inflammation.

In a study called Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons, the researchers had a group of 60 participants split into two groups, one that was given a fake grounding blanket and one given the real one. They found that the group that the grounding group had improved sleep quality by 93%, and 100% of the tested group woke up feeling rested. Check out the table below.

In a different double-blind study published in EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing, the participants used grounding mats to get the benefits of Grounding. After 5 weeks, participants had reported improved quality of sleep, decreased sleep disturbance, and less fatigue.

With improved sleep comes less pain, and improved mood. Grounding also improves blood flow which helps reduce inflammation and leads to less pain. Don’t just take our word for it; go and research yourself. At the bottom is a list of references readily available for you. Some of the references were used in this blog, and some weren’t.

So now you know how Grounding can wonderfully impact you as a driver; let’s discuss ways to implement it into your life.

Getting grounded while trucking.

Simply walk out on the sand, or dirt barefoot, or lay down in the grass. There are just as many great rest areas as there are terrible ones. Whenever you stop for a 30 min break or restroom break, pull into a rest area, scope it out and get those feet exposed. It takes 8 whole minutes to use the restroom, walk to the lovely grassy area, take off your shoes, and step right onto the grass. When you are on home time or off time, try to get to natural water like the ocean or lake. Then immerse your body in it or just go out and play on a boat, waterboard, or kayak. In Montana heading east on I-90, there is a rest area we love to stop at because there is a river behind it. No matter the season, if we are there, we jump right in! We feel exhilarated and pumped for anything!

We know the trucking industry can be amazing for your wallet, but terrible for your body, mind, and time. If you find that you truly can’t get outside enough, then purchasing a grounding blanket or mat might be the best option for you. However you MOTOvators do it, what matters is that you do!


Chevalier, G., Patel, S., Weiss, L., Chopra, D., & Mills, P. J. (2019). The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers’ Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial. EXPLORE, 15(3), 181–190.

Oschman, J., Chevalier, G., & Brown, R. (2015). The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of Inflammation Research, 83.

Chevalier, G., Brown, R., & Hill, M. (2015). Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 305.

Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S. T., Oschman, J. L., Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2012). Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, 1–8.

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A Personal Diet Modification Plan for a Truck Driver

Nutritional Strengths & Weaknesses, Behavior Changes & Dietary Guidelines


As an over-the-road truck driver, the main challenges I have are occupational. Finding nutrient-rich food is extremely limited. Having time as a team truck to participate in healthy lifestyle activities like physical movement or cooking is also difficult to overcome. We try in small ways to remedy these challenges by purchasing fresh produce that mimics a Mediterranean diet from Walmart. We work out focusing on calisthenic movements and finding optimal ways to release pain on the truck. Through all our efforts and sacrifices made for the multitude of big goals we have, we still fall short. This being said, we keep trying to improve our health and wellness because, ultimately, over time, our bodies, minds, and wallets will benefit.



There is a life rule that many people use when change is the goal called the 80/20 rule. I have seen it used in all areas of success; I like to think of it as an excellent general rule to life. In achieving and maintaining a healthy diet, think of starting this goal with 80% nutrient-rich foods and 20% other foods. Some people are successful at achieving goals by going at it 100%, but from my own experience changing my behaviors to match the goals I desire, this strategy often fails. Setting up milestones within the larger plan is the most effective way to achieving any goal.


Nutrition and diet is such a controversial topic with no one specific answer to which method is best. However, most diets have commonalities as to what foods have a healthier impact on the body. To start eating healthier, it is essential to keep it simple and use a common-sense approach to find foods to eat. Once the behavior of eating healthier begins to be a dependable routine, seeking new credible knowledge on diet and nutrition is a necessity. Another type of knowledge that is important is self-awareness. Collecting data on mood, behavior, thoughts, sleep, relationships, spirituality, etc., will help one improve self-awareness to gauge which foods have the most personalized benefit.


Knowing the challenges of the trucking world and how it affects overall health and wellness, I want to create a plan to change, but HOW?

A straightforward five-component plan to use when faced with an abundance of food choices is A. B. C. M. V., ask yourself if the diet you habitually eat consists of Adequacy, Balance, Calorie control, Moderation, and Variety. If any of these five components are not met then, nutritional disorders can occur.

A nutritional disorder is when the body is not getting the necessary nutrients it needs, not having the ability to absorb nutrients, or not having a diet that provides such nutrients.

Adequacy is providing all essential nutrients, fiber, and energy to maintain health and weight. One of the most common nutritional disorders is Iron Deficiency. The most common type of Iron deficiency or (ID) is iron deficiency anemia and is caused by a lack of iron in the body. This is important because a lack of iron can lead to a lower red blood cell count. Iron is used to produce red blood cells, which help store and carry oxygen in the blood. If you have fewer red blood cells than is normal, your organs and tissues won’t get as much oxygen as they usually would (NHS, 2020). If iron deficiency is left untreated, it can cause cardiovascular issues, weakened immunity, fatigue, impaired muscular performance, decreased ability to maintain body temperature on exposure to cold, mucosal and epithelial abnormalities, pica, disturbances in menstruation, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and decreased mental development of children (Barton et al., 2020). A few iron-rich foods to add to improve iron intake are Red meat, pork, and poultry, and dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach (NHS, 2020).

Balance provides your body with foods in appropriate proportion to each other, ensuring that all nutrient-rich foods do not overshadow each other. A diet that has an imbalance of calcium intake can cause poor bone development during the critical youth growing years and increases the susceptibility of developing osteoporosis. The most calcium-rich sources are milk products (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

Calorie control manages the energy intake of food and balances this intake with energy expenditure with physical movement and what is required for optimal body function. Using this technique in managing diet can help with weight management (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).

Moderation is used to limit amounts of foods to prevent excess intake. Moderation does not mean abstaining from foods unless suggested explicitly by a physician. Placing limitations on nutrition can help increase any health goal, such as limiting salts or sugar.

Variety is providing a diet with many options. The book Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies (14th ed.) by Sizer and Whitney (2016) suggests that a varied diet is more likely to be adequate in nutrients. A monotonous diet may deliver large amounts of toxins or contaminants. Variety also brings back the emotional component by keeping one interested in their diet and it being pleasurable.


As a trucker with limited options, following any specific diet to the letter is a whole other challenge. I have tried to use the My Plate suggestion among others and what I have found is that all nutrition has some evident principles, but the element of nutrition that makes the difference for you is unique to you. Please go out and experiment with all the diets that make the most common sense for you; one of my personal favorites is the Mediterranean diet. With the table below, use it as simple guidance when picking groceries or eating out, and remember to think of Adequacy, Balance, Calorie control, Moderation, and Variety.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2016). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies — Standalone book (14th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Barton, J. C., Wiener, H. H., Acton, R. T., Adams, P. C., Eckfeldt, J. H., Gordeuk, V. R., Harris, E. L., McLaren, C. E., Harrison, H., McLaren, G. D., & Reboussin, D. M. (2020). Prevalence of iron deficiency in 62,685 women of seven race/ethnicity groups: The HEIRS Study. PLOS ONE15(4), e0232125.

NHS. (2020, February 1). Iron deficiency anemia symptoms and treatmentsHttps://Www.Nhsinform.Scot.,of%20iron%20in%20your%20diet.

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Nutritional Requirements Across a Lifespan — from Pregnancy to Childhood, & Adolescence to Adulthood


Many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from foods are essential for developing a baby and for the mother during pregnancy. Pregnancy requires different stages of increased calorie intake and nutrient intake. During the first trimester, not much needs to change in ways of diet except for more vitamins and minerals. The second trimester requires an increase in calorie intake to 340 calories per day. The third trimester involves an increase of 450 calories per day. Carbohydrates, fibrous foods, and essential fatty acids are some of the most critical foods to ingest.


Infants have most of all they need in breast milk as well as in infant formula. The milk provides the carbohydrates and lipids necessary to provide a food source but, more importantly, protect the infant and builds the baby’s immune system.


In childhood, diet shifts from solely milk to now including solid foods and cows milk. During childhood, children are exploring and experiencing preferences and learning nutrition habits. It is best to stick with natural foods, not processed foods. Children also need food to help build muscles, and bone strength, to grow and mature.


“Needs for vitamins, minerals, the energy-yielding nutrients, and in fact all nutrients are greater during adolescence than at any other time of life except pregnancy and lactation (Sizer & Whitney, 2016)”. Adolescent children are shifting into the growing up phase, changes in height and weight, sexual maturity, all need an abundance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to achieve. An increase in carbohydrates, fats, proteins is necessary to assist in the maturation of the body and provide the teen with the energy needed for sports activities or just an active life.


As we age, our diets shift towards preventative measures and maintenance. Protein intake is vital to maintain muscle mass. Carbohydrates and fibers are essential for brain health and digestive health.


When we learn more about why nutrition is essential to every other aspect of life, I think more people who are still “innocent” or not exposed to the poor food options we have are more likely to stick to the recommendations. I believe this is because once we’ve had the sugar, fats, junk food, we crave it; when you don’t know what your missing, it can be easier not to choose those foods. If we are all grabbing herbs and some produce from our private gardens, we stay connected to the process, respect the food, and find pride in personal work. A suggestion to get started is to start from seeds, and growing kale, a great green vegetable, needs minimal work. However, if you are in a smaller space, use container gardens (Adventist Health, 2020). I think that the idea of a gatekeeper, someone or yourself keeping guard of the types of foods that enter your home, is a great way to see the success in nutritional goals and see that change is attainable.

Not shifting a diet to include what is needed at every stage of life limits a person’s body, brain, and energy. Every stage has needs, and not providing these needs causes many diseases, sometimes death, abnormalities, and mental stresses like depression.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2016). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies — Standalone book (14th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Adventist Health. (2020, May 11). Healthy eating from your own garden: Easy veggies to plant and grow

Nutritional Requirements Across a Lifespan — from Pregnancy to Childhood, & Adolescence to Adulthood Read More »

Digestion, Absorption, & Metabolism of Macro-Nutrients (e.g., Carbohydrate, Protein, & Fat)

The digestion process begins at the mouth and oral cavity, including the tongue, teeth, and salivary glands. Next, the pharynx, specifically the epiglottis part of the larynx, esophagus, specifically the walls of the alimentary canal, guides the food to be digested. Then, the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine finish digestion and eliminate the unusable waste. Some other organs help and assist in the digestion process; the liver manufactures bile needed for the digestion of fats, the gallbladder releases a hormone to contract and squeeze bile, and the pancreas releases digestive enzymes and buffers to neutralize the acidity of the chyme in the small intestine (Colbert et al., 2019a).


The process of digesting begins at the mouth or when the act of ingestion occurs. The teeth, tongue, and saliva work together to physically break food down in a process called mastication. As the chewed food continues down the esophagus into the stomach, the process of digestion breaks food down into small molecules for the digestive tract to absorb. This process involves the secretion of acids, enzymes, and water to break the food down physically and chemically in the intestine and becomes ready for absorption into the blood. Lastly, the waste materials are prepped for excretion through defecation through the anus (Sizer & Whitney, 2016).


There are many different secretions of digestive chemicals needed in the process of digesting. Again, beginning in the mouth, the three salivary glands can produce 1–1.5 liters of saliva per day and not only aid in digesting but help keep your mouth clean. When eating, some antibodies, buffers, ions, and enzy

mes (amylase) are released. Amylase is a general name for digestive enzymes that help speed the chemical breakdown of foods. Plyalin is an example of a specific enzyme that can chemically break down starches into simple sugars. Most digestion in the stomach occurs in the pyloric region; this is also where chyme moves through to the small intestine. The stomach muscles move in three directions to help mix the food with gastric juices from the gastric glands. Gastric juice is another general term for combining different chemicals. In this case, it is the combination of hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen. When these two gastric juices combine, they form pepsin used to break down proteins. The primary organ that is involved in digestion is in the small intestine and uses several digestive enzymes and two hormones. The bulk of nutrient absorption near 80% occurs in the small intestines’ columnar epithelial cells (microvilli). Bile from the gallbladder is used to assist in the breakdown of fats. The pancreatic juice has the enzymes needed to break down nucleic acids and proteins. To break down sugars, the enzymes lactase, maltase, and sucrase are needed (Colbert et al., 2019a).


In this letter from our digestive tract, we would receive a plea of adaptations in how and what we eat. Our digestive tract would be asking for deeper self-awareness to listen to what our body might be need. We are asked to use our new knowledge of digestion when eating, drinking, sitting, or gaining weight. All of this is requested to help aid the digestion process and to prevent unnecessary harm to our digestive tract. Bad eating habits like eating too fast can cause gas, overeating can cause heartburn or damage to the esophagus, and gaining weight can constrict the stomach making it harder to digest. To alter these symptoms eat smaller portions, eat slower, stay active, and limit alcohol and soda. To elaborate on one of the many digestive disorders, let’s focus on lactose intolerance.

A simplified description of lactose intolerance is when the body has a deficiency of a small intestinal enzyme called lactase. Without a sufficient amount of lactase, the body cannot digest lactose which is sugar from dairy products. These undigested sugars cause bloating and diarrhea (Colbert et al., 2019a, p.)

After reading an article on what the author called a surface understanding of lactose intolerance, I have never understood lactose maldigestion better. Lactose intolerance is a common food sensitivity. In fact, infants produce lactase-phlorizin hydrolase to digest human milk, but this lactase production begins to decline months into life. Lactose cannot be absorbed in the small intestine until it is broken down by lactase, and if there is a decrease of the enzyme, then lactose can not be turned into monosaccharides, galactose, or glucose. Bacterial fermentation occurs when the undigested lactose reaches the colon, producing gastrointestinal symptoms (Jansson-Knodell et al., 2020, p. 1502).

All ethnicities are affected by lactose intolerance. In North America, Asian Americans are the most affected, second being Native Americans, then African Americans, Hispanics, and lastly Caucasians. The most practical test for lactose maldigestion is the Hydrogen breath test. This test requires the patient to overnight fast and then consume lactose syrup equivalent to 32 ounces of milk. The individual then exhales into a bag; the breath is then analyzed for hydrogen. The higher the level of hydrogen, the more likely the patient has lactose maldigestion (Jansson-Knodell et al., 2020, p. 1502).

Depending on the severity of the symptoms for the individual, a minimum dose of 12g up to a maximum amount of 18g of dairy should be consumed. Altogether avoiding dairy could cause nutrient deficiencies, and it is recommended that the exclusion of lactose is unnecessary (Jansson-Knodell et al., 2020, p. 1502).

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2016). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies — Standalone book (14th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Colbert, B., Ankney, J., & Lee, K. (2019a). Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease: An Interactive Journey for Health Professionals (3rd ed.) [E-book]. Pearson.

Jansson-Knodell, C. L., Krajicek, E. J., Savaiano, D. A., & Shin, A. S. (2020). Lactose Intolerance. Mayo Clinic Proceedings95(7), 1499–1505.

Digestion, Absorption, & Metabolism of Macro-Nutrients (e.g., Carbohydrate, Protein, & Fat) Read More »

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