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ReedThe health benefits of a ketogenic life are not just physical. They’re also mental. What you eat affects a lot more than your weight. It affects your mood, your well being, even your relationships.

A lot of health problems could be solved simply by reducing sugar and grain in your daily diet and eating more ketogenic foods, low in carbs and high in healthy fats. The ketogenic diet works especially well on certain ailments. Here are three common health problems and how a ketogenic diet can alleviate them:

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, the body fails to create enough insulin to lower blood sugar after a meal. That’s why, for type 2 diabetics, blood sugar levels continue to rise. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid the most dangerous impacts of type 2 diabetes. By consuming foods high in healthy fats (such as avocado and olive oil) and reducing your intake of carbohydrates, you can change the body’s energy source, so it uses stored fats for energy. The result: Blood sugar and insulin decline. Having a ketogenic diet is a great way to manage, and even reverse, type 2 diabetes.

High Blood Pressure

ReedHaving high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for several diseases, such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. While high blood pressure has many causes, salty foods, clogged arteries and stress are common causes of it.

A ketogenic diet low in carbohydrates can be an important tool in reducing blood pressure. It also ups your intake of healthy fats and the “good” cholesterol your body needs. The bottom line, a ketogenic diet can cause a significant reduction in blood pressure.

Inflammation

ReedIf you are getting ready for bed in the evening and notice swelling around your ankles and calves, it’s actually a sign of inflammation. A certain amount of inflammation is good to a point, because it helps heal problematic areas of your body.

However, too much inflammation is not good. It causes pain, fatigue and stiff joints and makes it hard for people to move freely. Limiting carbohydrates and sugar allows the body to keep inflammation low, therefore reducing joint pain and muscle soreness, write Jimmy Moore and Eric C. Westman, M.D. in their book Keto Clarity. So if you want to reduce inflammation, try reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your daily diet and replacing them with healthy fats such as walnuts, almonds and salmon.

The three health conditions above could result from too much sugar and grain in your diet.

Begin by taking small, concrete steps to reduce your intake of sugar and grains, and when you achieve minimum sugar and carbohydrates below 40 grams a day you will see real results.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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christmas-tree-farm

Before you tied your Christmas tree to the top of the car and carted it home, a truck driver worked to get it to the Christmas tree lot in the first place. John Reed is one of those drivers. He has been delivering Christmas trees for 15 years. “It’s just part of driving a truck every year,” says the veteran owner operator (and Drive My Way columnist).

When we spoke with Reed, he had just delivered a load of 640 Christmas trees from a farm in Washington state to a business in southern California. They ranged from 18-inch decorative trees to eight-foot conifer spruces.

Loading the trees in Washington state

Loading the trees in Washington state

“I always enjoy having the responsibility of transporting Christmas trees because I have an 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son and they love the holiday season,” Reed says. “They’re thinking about their Christmas lists and wondering if they’re going to get what they want. I really enjoy this time of year, and I get a lot of pleasure out of watching my kids.”

When Reed first began transporting Christmas trees, he got caught up in the festive holiday vibe easily.

Now, Reed happily brings the spirit of the season to people through his delivery. But, Christmas trees resemble his other loads—they just have to get there.

Unloading the trees in California

Unloading the trees in California

“After a couple years, you don’t think about it as much,” Reed says. “It runs just like a normal load would. It pays the same. For me, it’s just about keeping busy before the holidays.”

Reed hauls the trees in a dry van. They don’t travel with a water source because it usually takes only a day or two to transport them. But when Reed opens his trailer, the fresh scent of pine hits him hard. “It’s overwhelming sometimes,” he laughs.

For Reed, the Christmas trees are no-touch freight.

Workers at the Christmas tree farm load the trees into Reed’s truck and when he arrives at his delivery point, staff unloads them.

john-reed-trees-wrapped-up“I just have to sweep out my trailer really well because it’s full of pine needles when the trip is over,” Reed says.

As the longtime truck driver that he is, Reed can’t help but feel for his colleagues who won’t be able to spend the holidays with their families this year.

“The responsibility of delivering the essentials for everyday living sometimes gets in the way of the family bonding we all need for a healthy existence,” Reed says. “Let’s remember people who will be away from their families over the holidays and keep them in our prayers.”

Do you have a special load that gives your CDL trucking job a sense of purpose? Connect with us here and tell us about it for the chance to be featured in a Drive My Way story.

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Few elections have featured two nominees as divisive as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And while the nation wrangles over whom to vote for, consumers are filled with anxiety about what the next four years will bring.

As their anxiety builds, consumers are slowing their spending. It’s having a major impact on the trucking industry, too, as trucking clients throughout America curb their own spending in response to consumers’ frugality leading up to Election Day.

Consumers feel apprehensive

“The economy moves the trucking industry, and for whatever reason, businesses slow their freight down during an election year,” says Anthony Leichty, a company driver who hauls cars for Toledo, Ohio-based Irelan Trucking. “You really feel it during election years because no one knows which side is going to be in power next. It’s kind of a fear thing. People get afraid.”

Anthony Leichty and family

Anthony Leichty and family

Car hauling especially slows down, because cars are a substantial investment for consumers, says Leichty, who’s had a CDL trucking job for 16 years.

“My first year with this company was an election year,” he says. “I made $37,000 that year. The very next year I made $55,000. I attribute that to the election being over. The economy ticked back up.”

Comparatively, business slowed this year, but not drastically, Leichty says.

Normally, Irelan runs about $4,500 in business per truck a week. Right now, it’s running about $3,500 to $4,000 in business per truck weekly.

However, Marci Hinton, president and director of safety at refrigerated carrier Coldliner Express, says the election has in fact greatly impacted her company’s business this year.

Big companies such as Kroger and Wal-Mart buy from Hinton’s clients—recognizable food brands such as Tyson and Hillshire Farms. “Refrigerated products are time sensitive,” Hinton says. “So when buyers like Kroger and Wal-Mart place orders with my customers, they order based on our economy. When consumers are afraid of what is to come with the election around the corner, they buy and order less.”

Hinton really noticed a drop off in inventory this summer.

American families curtailed their spending. In response, Kroger and Wal-Mart curtailed theirs.

“The average middle class family lives on a budget,” Hinton says. “When they are worried about where our country is going to be in the next six months, they don’t spend the money on family parties and cookouts. Instead, they put that money back. During the summer is when you usually see a big increase in hot dog and ground beef purchases, but this year it was down over 20 percent due to the election.”

Hillary, ClintonRefrigerated trucking is the sector likely affected most during an election year, Leichty says.

Because every major trucking company has a refrigerated division. Companies don’t want to sit on food if consumers aren’t going to buy it.

“Companies don’t want to take the chance of a huge profit loss in an election year, so they just slow production down,” Leichty says. “During an election year, go to Wal-Mart. You’ll see they have a smaller stock than they normally do. They don’t order as much during an election year.”

One of Hinton’s clients already has stopped delivery to certain regions until the election is over.

The company simply is not selling enough inventory. It’s had to throw product away, so it’s chosen not to sell in certain cities until after Nov. 8, Hinton says.

“It impacts the amount of orders I receive from clients,” Hinton says. “I have to go to a broker board. A broker finds freight for trucking companies to ship. We have to go on a board and work with companies we don’t know real well. We go through all of that and then sometimes they end up canceling the load.”

Broad impact felt across the board

The election’s impact is felt across the trucking industry, from fuel surcharges to freight capacity.

John Reed

John Reed

Business owners would be smart to keep a savings account for anything that might happen unexpectedly, says Drive My Way contributor John Reed, an owner operator leased to Mercer Transportation. For those with owner operator trucking jobs like him, Reed recommends setting aside $20,000 for emergencies during an election year.

“A lot of small owner operators are worried about upcoming economic changes because they may not have enough money to correct their business model before they can adapt to the change,” Reed says.

Owner operators, however, also have more flexibility than company drivers in where they can fuel up or purchase tires.

Through that flexibility, they can save money.

“It’s easier for owner operators to adapt to presidential change than it is for a larger company to adapt,” Reed says. “When you have to bring your ideas in front of a board of directors to create change, it has to go through a voting process, whereas an owner operator can virtually change something overnight if he sees something that’s not working the way it should.”

Things should stabilize after the election, when Americans have a greater understanding of what their future holds. Until then, expect Americans to continue clutching their purse strings ever so tightly.

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trucker health
The Great American Trucking Show is over for another year and the excitement of this great annual event, done. For me, this year’s event was personally gratifying. For the first time, I was a featured speaker in the Health Pavilion. Thanks to Rick Ash of Trucking Solutions Group and Randall-Reilly for inviting me to participate in this year’s event. I had a great time.

Another Year at GATS

This year’s show was very special for me. I was given the opportunity to participate in the Health Pavilion as a nutritionist in the trucking industry and share my knowledge with all of the wonderful people who heard me speak. I gave two talks, one about controlling Type 2 Diabetes with diet and another about losing your job due to government regulations on the health of CDL permit holders. Afterward, I opened it up for questions so people could ask me about the ketogenic lifestyle and all it has to offer.

I have had the privilege of attending the Great American Trucking Show for the last few years. I am amazed at the growth of the Health Pavilion since its beginning just a few short years ago. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of the people who have worked to make it a reality. Along the way, they have raised awareness for health problems among truck drivers and given truckers valuable tools to live healthier on the road.

Each booth in the pavilion offers something useful for the health of the trucking community

This year, nurses were on hand to take blood pressure, give back massages and offer lotion to alleviate joint pain. Women truckers received free mammograms. A DOT-certified physician gave free physicals so drivers could update their DOT medical cards. And there were a host of healthy giveaways too numerous to count.

The rest of the Great American Trucking Show was just as fabulous

Down on the main floor next to the Pride and Polish Truck area was my team at the Drive My Way booth hard at work. Truck drivers spun the wheel for a snack of some sort. (Too bad none of the snacks were ketogenic. I need to talk to them about that.) I hope to see all of you there next year, with healthy snacks and all.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

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TruckerGood Fats, Good Life

If you’ve ever tried to diet, you know how overwhelming it can be. I felt challenged by all the choices, too. That’s why I chose to become educated in nutrition. The more I learned, the more I saw the benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle—one low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats.

Today I specialize in a ketogenic lifestyle, because, simply put, it allowed me to lose more than 80 pounds. So yeah, I’m a believer. Even with Type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic lifestyle enables me to keep my blood sugar at normal levels without medication. A ketogenic menu allows you to eat properly without calorie counting, without measuring and without starving yourself (seriously).

You naturally change the way your body processes food, and that makes the ketogenic lifestyle a winner. It’s a lot healthier to rely on stored fats for energy than it is to rely on sugars and carbohydrates for energy. Today, I’m here to help you ease into a ketogenic lifestyle. It’s a big word with big benefits. Let’s get started.

1. Make a list of foods that are purely ketogenic, eliminating all sugars and grains.

There areThe Trucker a lot you can choose from, depending on your own personal tastes. Any of the following foods will do, and it’s just a sampling: Eggs, raw nuts, bacon, olive oil, coconut oil, heavy whipping cream, real butter, meat, fish and steamed vegetables (except root vegetables). The fattier the better.

2. Be very strict for the first 3 weeks to eliminate sugar from your system.

This will get you “fat adapted.” After a few weeks, you can start adding some carbohydrates back into your daily menu.

3. Keep your diet consisting of 75 percent fats, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates.

understanding that if you are more athletic you will need to have a bit more protein. Use a free app like My Fitness Pal to track your progress for the first few weeks until you know what you should eat.

4. Eat only when hungry.

Don’t fall into the trap of eating when you think you should. Stop and evaluate your hunger. Eat small portions, then wait 10 minutes for your stomach to signal your mind that you are full. Then, if you’re still hungry, eat another small portion.

5. Do not eat within 3 hours of bedtime.

You do not want your body to be digesting food when you need to relax for bed.

6. Turn off all electronic devices a half hour before bedtime.

Allow your body to start melatonin production for a restful night’s sleep. Try meditation or just sit and relax. Now you are on the road to better health.

After a few weeks, start adding foods that are low in carbohydrates back into your daily meal plan. Avoid sweeteners, and the energy you have will amaze you. You can have fruit twice a week, but avoid tropical fruits. I recommend a side dish of sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed with real butter to slow the glycemic stress on the body. Enjoy the journey!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

ReedWe all know the main addictions: Nicotine, alcohol and narcotics. But what about that other addiction we don’t hear as much about? If you can’t go down the candy or snack cake aisle without grabbing a treat for yourself, if you eat so much you have to unbuckle your pants just to breathe, let’s face it. You have a food addiction.

Addictions, even food addictions, start slowly over time. Maybe as a child your parents made you eat everything on your plate before dessert. Maybe you have one of those ethnic mothers who always made sure you had just one more plate of her cooking. Whatever the cause of your bad habits now, you are an adult and you need to look in the mirror and have a serious discussion with the only person who can change your unhealthy lifestyle, you.

Do you think that at some point it will not catch up with you? Think again. I know it will catch up with you, because it caught up to me. Diabetic and weighing more than 250 pounds, I had to change my ways. And I did change my ways. It was easier than I thought it would be. It will be for you, too.

Here are 3 simple steps you can take right now toward a healthier you. By advancing one step at a time, you will find it’s not as hard as you think.trucker

Step 1: Substitute healthy snacks for unhealthy snacks. Forgo the chips and cookies for raw nuts or nuts that have sea salt. Even a small bag of pork rinds are better than all the sugar goodies.

Step 2: Stop adding sugar and flavored creamers to your coffee. Try half and half instead. Better yet, if you have a cooler, use heavy whipping cream, which does not have lactose.

Step 3: Stay away from soft drinks and energy drinks. The average soda has no nutritional value and as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar. Energy drinks, meanwhile, can have just as much sugar as soda and more caffeine than you’ll find in four Cokes. Instead, drink Perrier Lime or plain ‘ol water.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

imagejpeg_1Drive My Way has a new health columnist. He’s a longtime driver who’s had a CDL trucking job in one capacity or another for 35 years. These days, he’s an owner operator leased to Mercer Transportation.

His name is John Reed.

“Whatever I do, I strive to become the best,” he says. For years, Reed strove to be the best owner operator he could be. He supported his wife and two kids. And in the little spare time he had, he educated himself on business management, accounting and tax preparation.

But he was skimping on one important thing: his health.

“Unfortunately, I never thought about my health,” he says. “I have been struggling with my weight since I was in school 50 years ago. Except for 4 years in the military, I have always been overweight because of my bad eating habits.”

In 2010, already suffering from sleep apnea, high blood pressure and back pain, Reed was diagnosed with diabetes.

His two-year medical card was reduced to a one-year medical card. But his weight continued to climb until 2014. That’s when Reed, 240 pounds and racked with depression, chose to make a change. “I decided to make my health a priority,” he says.

Reed began researching diets online, but none of them would have been easy to implement in a CDL trucking job. Besides, there were so many diets promising weight loss, he didn’t know which to believe.

“I decided the only correct way to find the truth was to become a nutritionist myself,” he says.

Two years later, Reed is 75 pounds lighter and a certified specialist in nutrition. Having made so many strides in his own health, he now spends his spare time helping other truck drivers get healthy.

You can find him consulting on health matters at the Expedite Expo in July and the Great American Trucking Show this August. Today, we’re happy to introduce him as Drive My Way’s new health columnist.

Look for Reed’s column, “Reed’s Way: The Trucker’s Fast Lane to Better Health,” every month right here on DriveMyWay.com. He’ll cover a different topic every month, so you’ll be able to keep up with several of Reed’s great tips on how to stay fit on the road. Stay tuned for his first column right here on April 19.

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ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Whether you spend your down time doing crunches or you’re sick to death of all this health talk, one thing is for sure: Health and fitness is gaining serious traction in the trucking industry. In response to the burgeoning fitness craze, several Facebook groups devoted to truck driver health have popped up. Here are our top 5 picks for you (yes, you, drivers!), whatever your fitness level may be.

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truckin’ Runners

The group’s tagline, “Truckers who run. Runners who truck,” says it all. The group is for people who work in the trucking industry and want to share training tips, playlists, race information and nutrition facts.

What started out small in 2010 has grown to 768 members today.  Truckin’ Runners caters to runners of all levels. That’s exactly why it’s built a strong following, says the group’s cofounder, owner operator Jeff Clark. “We have to take as much joy in the driver who just walked a mile for the first time without having to take a break as we do in the elite runners,” he says.

Health tip: “Recognize that it’s hard to get exercise when you’re a truck driver over the road, but know that it’s worth it.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Big Truck Health and Fitness

This is the latest effort from the people behind the Facebook group Big Truck Cooking. “The goal is to get truck drivers to exercise and eat better,” says Darlene Williams Ventura, the group’s cofounder. “As a driver, the hardest thing is getting exercise on the road. We’re starting them off slow, and we’ll help them build from there.”

The group offers exercises that are easy for people with CDL trucking jobs to do on the road (think: push-ups and planking), as well as nutritional tips, recipes and encouragement.

“My greatest hope is that drivers will realize their potential,” says Kari Fisher, who leads the group’s healthy eating side. “You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to be healthy.”

Health tip: “Download the food app Fooducate. It breaks down nutrition information for all foods. And stay away from sugar and white flour.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition

If it takes a leader who puts his money where his mouth is to whip you into shape, this is the Facebook fitness group for you. The group’s founder, John Reed, is a 35-year truck driver, an owner operator leased to Mercer. Once weighing more than 250 pounds, Reed got serious about his health a couple of years ago. He dropped 75 pounds and returned to school to earn his degree in nutrition.

“People talk about truck driving as being one of the most unhealthy occupations. I’d like to change that,” he says. The Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition is one way Reed helps other drivers get healthy. The group features health articles, healthy recipes, inspiration and more. Reed uses the group mostly to augment his own nutrition website, nutrition-forlife.com.

Health tip: “Stop thinking about food as something to be worshipped. Food is just sustenance.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for TruckersDriven to Be Healthy

This Facebook group started as a six-month contest at GATS 2015, putting people with CDL trucking jobs to the test from August 27-February 29. During that time, drivers strove to eat healthier, lose weight and exercise more for a shot at cool prizes.

While the contest is over, the Facebook page lives on, keeping truck drivers motivated through recipe sharing, inspirational words and exercise tips.

“If we made the difference in the life of one driver and he’s healthier and gets to live longer because of it, then it was worth it,” says the challenge’s organizer, Julie Dillon. “Because that’s our goal. We want to see them be healthier and live longer and enjoy their families.”

Health tip: “Commitment is continuing to push yourself when no one else is around. The days that are the hardest are the days that produce the most results.”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/driventobehealthy/

Big Trucks Fitness

With the tagline “Strive for progress, not perfection,” Big Trucks Fitness is ideal for truckers who want to get fit through exercise or diet. Members share truckside workouts, healthy recipes (Cobb salad on a stick, anyone?), workout articles and friendly encouragement.

“My goal for Big Trucks Fitness is to help everyone stay in shape through tips and motivations,” said the group’s co-administrator, Joshua Briggs, a company driver for MIDI Transport. “The group was created because there were drivers I’ve came across who said they are just barely hanging on to the physical card due to their health, and a majority of gyms are not accessible to big trucks.”

Health tip: “A little stretch can go a long ways when you’re sitting behind a wheel up to 14 hours a day. Try to go no more than 4 hours without stretching every part of your body.”

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now