Tag Archives: Anti-aging

Michele Ackerman Interview

Michele Ackerman Interview

Intolerance Testing for the Elite Over 50 Club

I recently had the privilege to talk to a wonderful women by the name of Michele Ackerman. Michele has been in the fitness world for over 20 + years. As she is currently now in the elite over 50 club, she is the living testament that you are never to old to take your health, nutrition, and fitness to the next level.To many people think they are doing just great on their own and are eating healthy and clean diets along with training and muscle building. However, as we should all know by now, eating healthy is individually subjective! That is where having an open mind comes into play and Michele is that kind of women. She is always looking for ways to better herself. She found our testing process and is so enthusiastic about the benefits of implementing the results that she has now joined the team and will be sharing and selling the product to friends, family, and other people in the fitness world.

 I would like to share an interview with Michele to share some of her personal information and what she thought about taking the test. I hope you enjoy the information and can learn from her. I know that she has given me motivation to jump back into exercise again!

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Elaine: Michele, Can you tell me how you got started in fitness and competitions?

Michele: I competed in my first physique competition in 1993 when I was 30 years old, as a bodybuilder. It was a dismal failure. After employing the keto diet typically used by bodybuilders, my 5’ 7” frame weighed a mere 112 pounds, not the kind of physique that wins bodybuilding shows.

I assumed physique competitions were out of the picture for me until this thing called “figure” came along about 10 years later. The ideal appearance is athletic — not too much muscle and not too lean. Friends from the gym convinced me to give it a try. So, at 41 years of age, I took the stage again as a figure competitor in 2004 at the National Physique Committee (NPC) Peggy Sue Classic.

This past year, I transitioned from figure to the “bikini” division. Though my physique has changed very little over the past 15 years, the sport has. Every division — women’s physique (formerly called bodybuilding), figure and bikini – has become more muscular in appearance. I believe I can now be more competitive at a higher level in the bikini division than figure.

Elaine: How many competitions have you competed in and how did you place?

Michele: I have competed in about 20 different shows in several bodybuilding federations over the years. Most of my competitions have been in the NPC, but I have also competed in the National Gym Association (NGA) and the Drug Free Athletic Coalition (DFAC). I have competed in primarily regional shows, but also competed at the NPC Masters Nationals in 2016.

Some of these shows are tested for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs); others are not. NGA and DFAC use urine tests and polygraph to ensure athletes are clean. I have taken a hard stance on PEDs from the beginning. I want people to get a realistic impression of what the human physique can be, without the use of drugs.

Regarding placings, I always say: if you compete long enough, you’ll stand at the top of your class and at the bottom, especially if you stretch yourself and move to the next level. Often, I learn the most from my disappointments. I have yet to tie it all together and present my perfect package. But I learn every time I step on stage and am getting closer!

I have won classes at the NPC Natural Cincinnati (2014), NPC Natural Northern (2015), DFAC Cardinal Classic (2015), NPC Natural Kentucky (2017), NPC Elite Physique (2018), NPC Natural Northern (2018) and NGA Monster Mash (2018)

Elaine: How did you hear about our Intolerance Testing?

Michele: I heard about Intolerance Testing from a fellow bikini competitor who had worked in the Intolerance Testing booth at the Arnold Classic in 2018.

Elaine: What made you decide to try our Intolerance Testing? 

Michele: My friend was very successful in reducing core inflammation after she made diet changes based on her Intolerance Test results. I knew the primary change for her prep this year was diet and was amazed at the changes in her physique, so thought I’d give it a try.

As well, I was having challenges losing weight during competition prep and suspected foods I was eating before my competitions contributed to bloat on stage.

Elaine: What did you think about the test results?

Michele: The test is one of the best investments I have ever made in my health, not just for physique competitions but for my overall health too. I consider the results to be Michele Ackerman’s specific blueprint for better health. I will retest again in about nine months to assess how changes in my diet impact results.

Elaine: Was it difficult to implement in your routine?

Michele: It was not a challenge for me to implement a new routine, largely because of my stance on food and because I have been meal prepping as part of my routine for many years. I view food first and foremost as sustenance and then as pleasure. Sure, I want to eat food that tastes great, but it needs to meet goal-one first.

My strategy was to take out everything — and I mean everything — on my list and see where I stood five weeks out. It took me about 10 days to phase out every “no” on my list (level 3, level 2 and level 1). I frequently visited the Intolerance Test website to determine what foods were tested and could be in my diet and learn where food additives (E series) are commonly found. I developed a grocery list of can-do foods to help with shopping.

I also switched up my supplement program. I stopped taking a multivitamin because I was deficient for some nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B7 and others) and near toxic for others (iron, magnesium). I now purchase vitamins and amino acids of which I am deficient separately and try to address deficiencies naturally through food in hopes of better absorption. I also stopped eating food packaged in tin because tin was listed on my heavy metals test.

Elaine: Do you have any tips to offer?

Michele: For this to work, I feel you need to be open-minded. When I sent off my hair samples, some asked, “What will you do if you find your favorite foods on the list?” I told them I would be thrilled to find suspect foods. What I did not expect was the extensive list I got. Though my diet was squeaky clean by most standards, nearly two-thirds of what I was eating was being rejected by my body – solid, nutritious foods, just not ideal for me and likely over-consumed.

So, some of my favorites had to go (wheat, oats, pineapple, apples, whey protein, citrus and sugar of ALL forms and more). But, there are tons of foods I CAN eat (peanut butter, dates, peaches, pears, rice, chicken, cheese, eggs and more). I didn’t mourn the loss of some of my favorite foods, but rather celebrated the fact that I have a tool that can help me develop my own plan for better health.

Another aspect of test I appreciate is that it doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Often people assume they are gluten or lactose intolerant. For me, the test revealed specific dairy foods and grains that are problematic. Though I am sensitive to cream, sour cream, whey and butter, I can tolerate milk and cheese. I have substituted spelt and rice flour for the wheat and oat flour I had previously used in baking.

Some also ask if I will be adding foods from my no list back into my diet when I’m not competing. Not a chance! I feel so much better that I have no desire to put them back in.

Elaine: Did the test results help you to feel better and did you see any results?

Michele: By making changes in my diet, I feel “lighter” overall, with less bloating in my abdomen and less inflammation in a knee that has caused me problems over the past two decades. I also lost a couple pounds when I made changes initially.

As well, for the first time since I have been competing, I am able to see my oblique muscles run the entire length of my mid-section. I attribute this to diet changes since this was the single biggest change I made this year.

Elaine: Do you think the Intolerance testing will help other people in the fitness world?

Michele: I believe the Intolerance Test can help others in the fitness world. It often takes multiple shows, testing different diets and foods to determine the best way to “peak” for a show. Everyone processes foods differently, and even the same person can process foods differently from show to show. In the years since I first competed, I have learned the keto diet is a no-go for me. I also learned that I can lose muscle mass eating tons of protein. I keep notes from season to season and consult them frequently in hopes of getting it perfect at some point.

Striking the right balance of protein, carbs and fat in the right amounts with the right level of activity is the challenge for each of us that steps on stage. Though there are dozens of different theories on pre-contest diets, I think the test can help to eliminate problematic foods from the onset. It can also help to address deficiencies, so an athlete can be running on all four cylinders.

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Can you MEAT me half way?

There’s been a shift in ingredient awareness in many aspects of our lives. That’s not a complaint by any means. In fact, I love it because I avoid chemicals in my cleaners, skin care and food as much as possible. I purged my home of chemical cleaners years ago, and I noticed a difference in my skin and my breathing. Recently, I was working in a pet resort as a dog bather. After about a month of working there, I started to notice that I coughed all day long while at work. I realized that the chemical cleaners that are used in that facility were affecting me. Once I realized this, I knew I couldn’t work there long-term. It also made me think about all of the dogs in the facility. Not only are they breathing in from those chemicals, but I started to think about chemicals that are found in pet foods.

My cat, Simon, had multiple upper respiratory infections and lungworms as a baby when I first rescued him seven years ago. It was around that time that I became aware of chemicals found in our home. Admittedly, I fed Simon dry food at the time because I wasn’t as educated about animal nutrition. As time went on, I graduated to canned foods to provide him with the proper amount of moisture his body needs. By age three or four, I learned about raw feeding.

It’s National Raw Feeding Week, so I want to discuss a few chemicals that are found in the different types of pet foods, and why I feed raw.

The first, and probably most well-known chemical, that I want to talk about is bisphenol A. or BPA. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It has been found to disrupt the endocrine system. In other words, BPA can imitate hormones, causing the body to become imbalanced due to improper production of hormones. It has also been linked to effecting brain functions and behavior, as well as cancer development. One study found that on average, infants born in the United States today have been found to have over 25 chemicals in their little bodies at birth. BPA is found in plastic products, like water bottles and packaging of pet foods. Then how is BPA getting into canned pet foods and bagged dry pet foods? Metal cans are often lined with plastic, which can contain BPA, and the ink used on bags of dry food can contain BPA, which can leak into the food. Recently, Rodney Habib presented results found from and independent, non-profit laboratory after testing common dry pet foods. In this study, they test for all of the chemicals discussed here. It is an ongoing series with multiple brands, so feel free to check out his Facebook videos to keep up with that study.

Glyphosate is the next chemical worth talking about. If you’re not familiar with it, glyphosate is commonly known as RoundUp. It’s sprayed on crops and gardens to prevent pests and weeds from destroying the plants. If you are feeding a plant-based or pet food that contains plants, be aware of the sourcing for that brand. Glyphosate is linked to causing cancer. What’s even more scary is that there are no studies that give limits to acceptable levels of glyphosates for dogs, and there are high amounts found in pet foods.

In addition to these two chemicals found in pet foods, there’s also cause for concern about high levels of lead and vitamin D. The FDA and AAFCO do not have any standards set in place to regulate the amount of heavy metals in pet foods. The same study that Rodney Habib discusses, found that the first two popular dry pet food brands tested had high levels of lead. A recent pet food recall has been going on with Hill’s dry food and their dangerously high levels of vitamin D, causing mass illness and death amongst dogs and cats. From my understanding, Hill’s pet foods has sourced their synthetic vitamins and minerals from China. Many brands source vitamins from China, and then produce their base mixes in Europe, so they advertise that the not do not use ingredients from China.

If you keep up with pet care news, you may notice that a lot of attention has been

directed toward the “dangers” of feeding raw. In my research, I’ve found two many concerns for feeding raw food to pets. The first and most popular issue, is bacteria, which is harmless for the most part. I’m going to be honest with you, we are surrounded by bacteria. It’s everywhere. We need good bacteria for digestion, and that good bacteria helps our immune system if we are exposed to bad bacteria. If you completely sterilize your life, then you could possibly throw off your immune system and bacteria biome that exists. Rodney Habib tested his home door knob for bacteria, and you’d be surprised at how much was found! Of course there is going to be bacteria found in raw pet food. The only time I am concerned is if they are pathogenic bacteria, which could cause diseases.

Many brands use a process called high pressure processing, or HPP, as a way to kill bad bacteria from the raw food. HPP is a cold pasteurization technique that places the food at high levels of pressure using water, and kills off any bad bacteria. Unfortunately, it can also deteriorate nutrients in the food. Besides nutrient loss, my other concern with HPP is that it is usually performed in individually packed food, so any chemicals found in the plastic packaging could be transferred into the food. Primarily, melamine derived plastics can transfer this chemical into the food through HPP. Melamine has not been declared acutely toxic to animals. However, I would be interested in long term studies into Melamine. As a side note, BPA is not a concern with HPP because there is no heat involved, that would activate that chemical. Furthermore, a high quality raw diet for pets would not have any unnecessary grains or fillers in their ingredients. Dogs and cats are carnivores and their bodies are designed to digest and absorb nutrients from raw foods more efficiently than processed dry and canned founds. Many health issues have been shown to improve from eating raw as well. The only time I don’t recommend raw diets, is when an animal has been diagnosed with cancer. Then, gently cooked has been found to assist the body with the digestion process. With that exception, I believe raw is the most natural way to feed your pets.

Given the facts, I prefer to feed raw food to Simon. His health has improved greatly, including the texture of his coat. He’s so soft with clean ears and eyes. The myth that dry food is good for teeth makes me giggle every time I check Simon’s teeth. I’ve brushed them maybe ten times in his life, and at seven years old, they are in almost perfect condition. His teeth are designed to tear through meat and muscle. This is what keeps them clean and prevents any tartar or plaque build up. If you feed dry or canned food to your pets, but are interested in trying raw (especially during National Raw Feedingweek) you have many options. Primal pet foods and Answers pet foods have great raw goats milk that can add benefits to their food, like naturally occurring taurine and probiotics. Giving your pets raw organ meats is also a wonderful addition or treat containing high moisture, taurine, protein, and vitamins to your pet’s diet. I don’t recommend feeding raw food and dry food together, because they process both in different intervals and can cause tummy upsets. Wait a few hours inbetween or dry for breakfast and raw for dinner is another option! Simon is more than happy to be a spokescat for raw feeding, and this week is a great way to do your research and watch millions of people come together through social media to share their experience with raw feeding.

I was once an uneducated pet owner, but now that I’ve witnessed how well pets thrive from raw foods, I want to spread the word. Let’s give our fur babies species appropriate diets! And, as always, if you think your pet is showing symptoms of a food or environmental intolerances, our hair analysis tests may be the answer to your questions! Contact 5Strands Affordable Testing for your human or pet testing options.

Written by Laura Boisson

DiorABelle's Story

DiorABelle’s Story

5Strands Affordable testing occasionally will share their customer’s history and testimony. When you hear the stories of other pet parents, you do not feel alone. Below you will read the story of DiorABelle, the Long Coat Chihuahua:

Diorabelle was very itchy all over, watery eyes, balding ring around both eyes, red eyes, thinning and bald patches from fur loss, red itchy ears, tummy gurgling, constipation and diarrhea, constant fatigue and over all feeling yucky and very clingy.
DiorABelle’s diet consisted of a prescription food from the veterinarian. Hill’s Science Diet ZD formula. Cornstarch protein.

2 years of constant research had yielded very little results in how to rectify the health issues Diorabelle was having. This food was somewhat helpful but still did not yield great results.

During my research in late 2017 early 2018, I happened upon 5Strands Affordable Testing in my online searches. I immediately further researched it and was hopeful this could help us figure out some of the issues. I decided to take a chance on the test. The price point was reasonably affordable and I had tried most other options already. I had no idea how much this product would change our lives for the better.

Once I received the results from 5Strands Affordable Testing I was shocked at the amount and type of food intolerances. Honestly I was a bit overwhelmed at first look. Even with the ease of reading the results, I thought how am I gonna tackle this? I quickly took a breath and made an easy plan. First, I hunted for ANY pre made dog food I could purchase that didn’t have the Red food intolerances in them. Unfortunately, DiorABelle’s intolerances are most common proteins and fruits & vegetables included in most dog foods. I could not locate a single brand to fit her needs. I decided at that point to start her on a raw diet. I haven’t looked back since. It was way easier than anticipated and the results were phenomenal. I decided to eliminate the red foods first, then work my way to yellow and finally green. IT WORKED! Within 1 week of eliminating the red food intolerances, DiorABelle’s fur was coming back. She was finally gaining weight, her energy levels were up, her itching was down, eyes were bright and her tummy woes were more in check! (Way less butt baths happening … happy pup and mom). We have continued the raw diet for over a year now and can not be happier with the results. Thanks to 5Strands Affordable Testing, DiorABelle is a thriving healthy dog.

5Strand Affordable Testing is accessible to all. Affordable, quick and easy to read results, and within 2 weeks time you can have the results of what is making your pet so sick. Then YOU get to decide how and what to eliminate. Putting you back in charge of your pets needs. I absolutely love that and I absolutely love this company and this test. Without it, I would still be struggling to figure out why DiorABelle is not thriving. For a year now I have had a healthy happy pup with a full coat of fur … Could not be happier or more grateful to 5Strands Affordable Testing!

I now recommend this test to everyone-both pet and human.

We are always interested in hearing your stories. If you would like to participate in our case study program, please let us know.

Written by DiorABelle’s Mom