MindBody Fitness

Willpower

Research supports that willpower is not a personality trait or a skill, rather it operates like a muscle, and as such, it can be strengthened – but also easily fatigued. So, the question is, how do we train it?You are at a breakfast buffet – do you select the healthy options or the fried foods and pastries?

You are going to bed late, skipping breakfast and your workout and simply grabbing 3 espresso shots to start your day. Is this a healthy alternative?

Staying on the treadmill ( the weather is unpleasant outside) for a time goal you set and you are watching the minutes go by and feeling the increasing fatigue and boredom. Are you losing motivation?

Your schedule is becoming increasingly demanding – commitments to family and work. Your workouts are becoming shorter and less frequent. How do you respond?

What do all of the above have in common? Each requires willpower – the ability to ignore temporary pleasure or discomfort to pursue a longer-term goal.

The research further indicates :

– Willpower is a mind-body response, not merely a mindset.
– Using willpower depletes resources in the body.
– Willpower is limited.
– Willpower is trainable.

1. Willpower is in the Mind and Body.

Mind-body responses allow you to adapt to some challenge due to coordinated physiological changes. (Ex: The fight-or-flight response to stress or danger- with increased heart rate, blood pressure, and heightened sense. The relaxation response, in contrast, allows the body to respond to its internal needs of digestion, growth and restoration).

Similarly, physiological changes occur in the body during acts of willpower – coordinated responses that help us adapt to challenges requiring self-control. The mind-body response allows us to temporarily freeze our impulses and focus on our long-term goals.

Heart-rate variability (HRV) seems to help us slow down and proceed with intention, not instinct. Maintaining a higher HRV in the face of a self-control challenge seems to connect with an inner strength and stress resilience – stay focused ( as in the fight-or-flight response) and calm (as in the relaxation response). The result – acting to support our higher good and not giving into immediate gratification.

2. Willpower Depletes Resources of the Body

The mind-body response of exercising willpower actually produces fatigue. In essence, mental self-control effects physical stamina. Our mind and bodies draw from the same source of strength – glucose. Glucose is the primary fuel for the body as well as for willpower. Willpower engages many areas of the brain and uses up high levels of fuel.

When blood glucose levels are low, willpower is impaired, impacting self-control, attention, emotions and behavior. Therefore, it is vital to maintain a healthy diet and choose foods that stabilize blood glucose levels and not skip meals.

3. The Limits of Willpower

As with the body – no matter how fit we are, exertion can lead to exhaustion. Self-control depletes willpower. Since willpower is limited – each act of self-control is a win-lose situation, helping in the immediate time frame but potentially leading to a loss of control later. Ex: Resisting the impulse to splurge on expensive clothes makes it more difficult to resist a high-caloric dessert at dinner. Therefore, it’s important to set priorities and be easy on ourselves with less important decisions.

Further research indicates:

– Image can deplete willpower. Managing our image in work or social settings – especially when repressing our natural personality – impacts other goal setting.

– Social stress impacts willpower. People feeling socially rejected have less control over their thoughts and health-enhancing behaviors.

– Social support is critical to developing willpower – share your goals and celebrate your successes with others.

– Make a list of things in your life that create stress and make a plan of the things in life that are in your control. If you cannot control it, cross it off the list.

4. Restoring Willpower

Getting adequate sleep is essential to restoring willpower once it is exhausted. Sleep deprivation weakens our resolve and we head toward the path of least resistance. We often revert back to unhealthy habits that require less mental/physical effort.

Elevating one’s mood also seems to help restore willpower – this can be done by gifting or rewarding oneself after we have followed through with a new healthy behavior.

Getting enough sleep, laughter, positive thinking and treating yourself – are helpful strategies that give people a sense of greater control over their willpower reserves.

5. Increasing Willpower

Willpower can be trained like a muscle. The more you work it, stretch it, and let it recover, the stronger, more flexible and more resilient it will become. Committing to incremental, consistent acts of willpower in any area of life – from improving your posture to creating a sound financial plan – can increase overall willpower.

6. Conserving and Bypassing Willpower

If willpower is inherently limited, it would make sense to conserve it. Planning in advance is a key strategy in conserving willpower. Organize your life so you don’t have to think about what you are going to eat or whether you are going to exercise. Emphasize the positive – make healthy choices in advance and in moments of greatest strength.

Deal with obstacles before they arrive. Often writing in a journal about how to deal with barriers to exercise leads to greater adherence to the program. Visualizing your success and following through with your intentions and plans leads to better results.

Also, you can face challenges by completely bypassing willpower and drawing on a different strength – motivation. Instead of focusing on the sacrifice or effort, focus on the positive reward of the behavior. ” Who do you want to be”. “Why do I care”. “What’s the higher purpose” – create a self-image in your mind that leads to success.

In summary:

– Willpower is limited. Set reasonable goals and priorities. Save it for when it really matters.
– Reaching for success has bumps on the road. Setbacks will happen and they are only temporary.
– Willpower is not “all in the mind”. The fuel that supplies the mind-body that’s needed to face life’s challenges include – rest, a healthy diet, a balanced exercise regimen and a flow of positive experience.
– Understand that your ability to adhere to a health or fitness program can be challenged by the demands of your job, family, and other relationships.
– Identify and reduce stress in your life which will support any significant life change.
– Conserve or bypass willpower by focusing on other strengths such as planning, commitment and positive motivation.

posted by Philip Bergman at 5:46 AM 0 Comments

Slowing Down

As a life coach I am always trying to study and learn more about human behavior and then provide this information as a tool that will help  facilitate positive changes in the lives of my clients. One thing that has become more and more apparent to me is how much time we spend keeping busy in our work and personal life. The more we take on in life the greater the stress and the implications for our health and longevity. I frequently hear – ” where has my day, week, month and year gone”.

The busier we get the more distorted this reality seems. Well, I am here to explain how we can not only slow down time but also learn to quiet our minds and greatly reduce our stress and improve our health and well-being.  The key lies in our minds and learning to find time to do nothing or simply quiet our overstimulated brains.

If you are always doing something, there’s in fact, no way to actually absorb new information and expand your mind. Victoria Sweet , MD believes that ” there’s no way to reach new conclusions” – if your mind is always busy. Our society rewards busyness and hard work, thus, we are always encouraged to be “on”. The reality is we spend so little time just thinking or even relaxing. We often worry about what we have have done in the past or concern ourselves about the future. The only thing we can control is the present moment. And what we do in the moment is completely under our control.

Busyness exhausts our nervous system. In fact, it activates the sympathetic nervous system which if constantly stimulated turns off the para-sympathetic  system – which calms our minds and bodies. Neuroscientists believe that this over stimulation is destroying our ability to be productive and creative and can lead to unmanaged stress levels that lead to illness, disease and aging.

Empty time is actually productive time. Taking mental breaks throughout the day is extremely beneficial and shifting out of multitasking is even more crucial. The reality is our brains can only do one task at a time. Multitasking is a very unproductive and harmful activity.

Unstructured time stimulates what neuroscientists call the ” default -mode network” in the brain, where problem solving and creative thinking take place. When we are performing a task, whether it’s sitting in front of a computer or driving a car, we are using our executive-control network ( deductive reasoning ). When are relaxing and letting our minds rest and wander the brain’s default-mode network kick in. This process is called “incubation” – new ideas become innovations. In other words, a certain amount of inactivity is essential to creativity. Furthermore, it leads to a higher level of health and well-being

Studies have shown that over working the mind actually has profound negative effects. The more people work beyond 40 hours a week the worse they feel, the more stress they report, the less they are engaged  and the more ill effects they experience. Idleness stimulates the para-sympathetic system, leading to a plethora of positive health outcomes, including better cardiovascular and digestive function and improved energy and moods.  Andrew Deutscher of the Energy Project states ” doing nothing gives your brain a chance to work out things that are not urgent. Otherwise, we’re just skimming the surface of our lives”.

Our society is addicted to busyness  and activity – in our always-busy culture, doing nothing carries a stigma. Success is often defined by doing more and taking on greater responsibility. Frank Lipman, MD believes ” most people seem  to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.” He continues: ” In some cases, people just don’t feel comfortable stopping and feeling their feelings. In other cases, they feel uncomfortable because they perceive it as being lazy.”

Deutscher says there is a difference between quieting the mind and enjoying leisure time. Watching TV or taking a weekend trip with your friends is leisure time and but your brain is still very active and busy. It is more about sitting quietly and emptying your mind – you have to aware of your intention about going into the empty time.

Quiet time really yields real benefits: replenishing glucose and oxygen levels, your brain can actually file and archive information and you will feel more rested and clear- headed. Additionally, if you are stuck resolving a problem taking a break actually yields greater and more obvious solutions ( think ” big aha moment”)

Simple Strategies:

Minimize time stealers- ex : constantly checking email and social media feeds or playing games on your phone. 

When performing repetitive chores or while working out allow your mind to wander. Shut out the noise and empty the mind. 

While at work – take a few minutes several times a day to break from your focused activities and relax the mind.

At the end of the day – shut off the electronic devices and just sit quietly and allow your thoughts and feelings to unfold. 

Doing nothing or practicing idleness is a learned skill and  takes practice.

Biochemical Individuality

Each person has a unique biochemical profile. This profile can be altered over the course of time by many factors – genetics, physical and emotional stress, nutrition, drug interactions, etc… Our mind and body are connected via the pyschosomatic network. Our thoughts and beliefs truly impact our physiology ( neuropeptides, neurotransmitters and hormones). Positive thinking leads to positive biochemical changes, while negative thinking leads to negative ones. Research has proven that the brain can change ( neuro-plasticity) at any age. We are not as hard wired as we once thought we were.

This individuality allows each of us to approach the world differently – how we respond to stress, how flexible we are mentally and psychologically, and how are bodies manifest these individualities.  Below are some interesting facts about our biochemical make up:

1. Every cell in your body knows everything about you all the time.

2. You cannot fool your body.

3. Your memories are attached to your emotions.

4. Genes are not your destiny, rather they are your predisposition.

5. Genes are correlated to disease if they are turned on.

6. Psychological age ( how you feel) influences biological age ( your cellular reality).

7. Live more consciously – awareness impacts biology.

8. Be open and flexible – willingness to leave where you are to go to what you want to become.

9. You and you alone determine your life journey – be more flexible and open

10. Remove the ” shoulds” and ” absolutes:”

Unmasking Mental Health

The recent passing of comedian/actor Robin Williams once again reiterates the growing problem that seemingly is increasing and can no longer be ignored. Whether we are talking about the unspeakable mass killings we have witnessed in recent years, gang violence in our inner cities, the tragic suicides among not only celebrity actors/performers but also the countless number of individuals that take their lives due to depression, substance abuse  or social isolation is no longer an issue that can be ignored.

Much of our discussion on mental health is usually intense and probing right after an event occurs. Media and health care professionals take up the mission to initiate the dialogue to find solutions to the growing problems we see. but what is really being done. After every tragedy we reflect back on what could have been done. We see obvious signs and behavioral changes that raise red flags. So what is the problem. Is it a follow through issue? Are we not putting enough resources into a failed system of accountability and supervision?

One thing that seems clear it is predominantly a problem that features more males than females who are acting out against society or committing suicide. Whether we are examining young males going on shooting sprees, witnessing  the elevated use of mind altering drugs, and increasing use of physical violence to solve problems – the trend is clear.

What really needs to change is the dialogue. We as a society  – as individuals, family members, co-workers need to reinforce the idea that it is ok and healthy to talk about one’s concerns and problems. We need to become better listeners. We have to make it acceptable to feel safe to ask for help and then provide that system of support. Mental health issues primarily depression is running rampant in our society. The system strikes me as very incapable of handling the problems and providing solutions.

Depression and other illnesses such as bi-polar and personality disorders  have a hereditary element. As such, family history needs to be taken into account. Early signs such as social isolation, lethargy, substance abuse have to be dealt with. Difficult life events can also trigger emotional and  bio chemical changes that can lead to a cascade of declining mental health.

So what are we to do? I believe that there needs to be an integrated informational and educational system that provides resources to everyone – not just the folks who can afford it. Support groups that are well staffed  and well funded that can reach out and also provide a “safe” refuge for those who feel scared to come forward and help them understand they have options.

I also believe that treating depression and other mental illness requires alternative therapies: wellness and fitness programs that help to re- balance a person’s mind and body. Much research indicates that the brain can be changed. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s own ability to change and reset. Some of our veterans returning from war with PTSD and TBI are benefiting from such therapies. Thousands of young men and women are coming back  from war and unfortunately many have fallen through the cracks of the VA system. These individuals who put their own lives at risk to protect our freedoms really need our help and support. If we do not address this large problem soon we are going to have an epidemic crisis on our hands. Simply treating them with drugs just addresses the symptoms. Most drugs used to treat depression and bi-polar disorder have far reaching side effects.  I have seen it up close and personal.  We cannot turn our backs on these or any other individuals. Parents and teachers need to be the first  line of defense. Beyond that, it should be everyone’s duty and obligation to act if you see or sense that someone is in need. You never know, one day it could be you!!!

Stop talking and start acting !

Music and Movement

Exercising or moving to music has many physiological and psychological benefits. The expression “being in the zone” applies to both the competitive athlete as well as to a person engaging in mindful exercise such as Chi Gong or yoga.

Music can serve as a distraction – that some need in order to participate in their fitness activity but it can also enhance one’s mood at medium and high levels of exercise intensity. Many sedentary people report that physical discomfort is a barrier to exercise. These same individuals report less pain and fatigue when working out to music. Several studies back this up and indicate these same people will train harder and longer to reach desired fitness goals. With that being said, it is also important to monitor one’s level of intensity to ensure that over-exertion or over-training is not occurring!

Further research indicates:
1. Physical performance improves with music ( in both training and competition ).
2. VO2 ( maximal oxygen consumption ) can improve, lower levels of blood lactate, reduced blood pressure and lower exercise heart rates have been documented.
3. When movements are synchronized to music benefits are seen in terms of energy efficiency in repetitive endurance activities ( aerobics, running, cycling) and dissociation ( through having to focus on time).
4. The tempo of the music impacts motivation: slow and soft music produces a calming effect ( cool down or yoga) – tempo less than 80 beats per minute and fast, upbeat music creates a stimulative effect ( aerobics and spinning class , interval training) – tempo of 120 beats per minute or greater.

Additionally, it seems that well-trained individuals often prefer no music when they are doing specific types of workouts as they can better listen to their bodies and breathing patterns.

Music also seems to have huge benefits for special populations. Studies have shown that dementia patients respond well to background music.

Patients suffering from TBI and PTSD have also shown positive responses to music. Although, it has been noted that certain high intensity sound can further exacerbate their psychological and physiological conditions.

Other interesting findings:

The perfect workout music:

1. To get people to move use a lot of percussion – rhythm helps to optimize activation levels during workout.

2. Use harmonies – positive harmonic blends keep the mood elevated.

3. Positive lyrics – affirmation in lyrics are helpful.

4. Utilize cultural and personal connections when appropriate.

5. Tempo should match the desired heart rate.

6. Match work and recovery cycles to support the desired training profile. Get synched !!

7. Try a variety of music it may produce new and better results.

Meditation: The Wellness Booster

The majority of us are busy from the minute we wake to the moment we fall asleep. Hopefully, we get get a restorative night sleep so we can embrace the challenges of the next day. It is becoming ever apparent that we all, and some more than others, are feeling overwhelmed by life and the many decisions  we have to make day to day. How we manage these decisions and the stress that comes with them as a profound effect on out health and well-being.

An abundance of research and studies has clearly provided us with some solid findings that getting stimulating exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, positive approach to life and healthy relationships are the foundation for minimizing stress and creating wellness.

An area that does get mention but needs further discussion is mindfulness meditation. Meditation is the quieting of the mind and the awareness of living in the moment. It is at it’s simplistic form a way to slow the brain and the nervous system down. It enables us to shift out of the high gear ( sympathetic nervous system ) and into a low gear ( parasympathetic nervous system). This allows the mind and body to become more integrated and allows a person to become more present and focused, which ultimately allows you to gain clarity and process information better. In this super fast moving and multitasking world that we all live in, meditation can give you an edge in handling and processing all the information.

Meditation changes the brain. Studies indicate that people who meditate regularly have more gyrification ( folding) in the cortical brain and these extra folds seem to help regulate distractions and improve cognitive function.

Mindfulness meditation (10-12 minutes per day) can make you more productive. In the journal Emotion, a study has shown that mindfulness improves working memory, the “system we tap into for managing information, controlling emotions, problem solving and complex thought”.

It may also play a role in boosting positive brain neuro-chemicals which could help combat depression and help in managing chronic pain.

Children with ADHD who practiced Transcendental Meditation for 10 minutes twice a day were able to significantly reduce their symptoms within 3 – 6 months. This may have huge implications for children with learning difficulties. It may also help counter some of the negative brain effects that children experience due to prolonged use of video games.

Additionally, deep relaxation brought on from meditation may impact bodies and thus longevity on a genetic level. Research indicates that genes that protect us from hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and infertility were switched on by the “relaxation effect”.

Mediation classes and course are available everywhere and can be found at yoga studios, health clubs, spas and online.

Take time to slow down and you will find that a quiet mind leads to a more productive life.

It’s Never Too Late 

I have been in the health and fitness industry for over 30 years. I got into this business because I wanted to make a difference in how people lived their lives. I watched my father die of cancer at a young age. At the time I didn’t understand how it was that his lifestyle choices had such dire consequences. As I look back on his life and that of many others who I have consulted and advised over the years, it has become very clear that we all make choices that impact our quality of life and longevity. Research has now proven that our genetics play only a small part in how we experience life and it is more significantly impacted by our behaviors, actions, thoughts and beliefs. We are the product of both our internal and external environment.

I have watched my clients over the years make extraordinary changes once they have committed to and truly embraced a healthy lifestyle. I have heard all the stories: “I was never very athletic in my youth.” “I was always very uncoordinated in sports.” “My family never supported or encouraged me to be very active.”

Well, I say that was then and this is now! We all can change and start to embrace a healthy way of life! We all have busy lives and many commitments to fulfill. We make time for our jobs, our kids, our social life. What seems to get neglected is our health and well-being. What needs to be understood is your health is the most important aspect of your life. Without it, you are eventually going to experience stress and disease. It’s inevitable. Stop procrastinating and start making time for yourself and realize that your mind and body will function more optimally. Trust me when I say that exercising daily and eating right have profound benefits. You don’t have to become a marathon runner or a triathlete to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Your  personal and work relationships will improve.

Your social life will be more fulfilling.

Your energy will be greater.

Your mood and outlook will be enhanced.

Your ability to concentrate and problem solve will improve.

Your immune, metabolic, hormonal and neurological systems will function at a higher level.

Your self-image and self-perception will change.

Your enthusiasm to try new things will lead you in many new and exciting ways.

Your motivation and drive to achieve greatness will be increased.

So what are you waiting for .

It’s never too late !!

Living Your Process

I remember years ago while in graduate school I took a class in philosophy. After reading a book by Norman Cousins I decided I would write my master’s thesis on his work in the field of mind-body medicine. Meeting him to discuss his life’s pioneering work on the power of the mind and how it is interconnected on so many levels with the body ( and soul) shaped my passion and interest in mind-body medicine and direction my career would untimely take.

What I learned from him has not only influenced my life and work but it also reminds me today of some real basic truths that I want to share with you.

Mr. Cousins believed one of the most important concepts is to understand that we learn and grow from our mistakes. Failure is only failure if you don’t grow and adjust. Growth and learning happen in the uncomfortable space when we leave our comfort zone and experience something new.
He believed that the process was where we learned the most not simply be achieving our goals. He said: ” Live and learn from process because the end result might not be what you had hoped for.” He believed it was important to set deliberate intentions. To shift one’s perspective to view practice as the ultimate goal, not perfection.

He also believed that being attached to a result (which we cannot control) rather than to the process (which we can control) is what ultimately sets us up for disappointment. The process teaches us about patience, staying clear and focus. Taking on tasks becomes easier. You build confidence and ultimately accomplish more.

While being in the process you experience total engagement and see yourself striving for better performance. If you are only focused on the outcome you will more likely to feel stressed and anxious and see less optimal results.

Let your goals be the reward for enjoying and living the process. We all need to have goals. But what we all need more of is the attention to the process. We cannot change the past and we have yet to experience the future. What we have is the moment. Live in that space and you will be amazed at what you have accomplished.

Longevity Factors

Much has been written about aging and longevity. The real truth is that the key to longevity is how well we manage the aging process. There are many factors that determine how we age: genetics, epigenetics, ( turning on or off our genes), internal and external environmental factors such as the air we breathe and the toxins we are exposed to, the food we eat, the amount and quality of physical activity and sleep we get and the thoughts and beliefs we all have, which directly and indirectly impact our immune, hormonal, digestive, neurological, digestive, and cardiovascular health. Recent research indicates that our longevity is in fact 90% controlled by non-genetic factors. With that in mind, it is vital to understand that we do ultimately control our own destiny.

We now have come to the understanding that specific DNA biomarkers known as telomeres might hold the key to understanding and measuring life expectancy. Telomeres are the end sequence of chromosomes that house our DNA. DNA molecules are comprised of the biological instructions for all human development and function. The telomere’s job is to protect the threadlike structure of the chromosomes from unraveling.

Research has proven that oxidative stress ( harmful reactive oxygen or free-radicals) and chronic inflammation decrease the strength and protectiveness of telomeres. Free radical activity has been proven to be highly correlated to aging and age-related diseases. Crous-Bou ( 2014) points out that telomere length is a bio-marker for aging – “shorter telomeres are associated with a shorter life expectancy and increased susceptibility to chronic diseases.

The researchers conclude that  our dietary patterns and lifestyle decisions impact telomere length and integrity. They believe that a cross between the Paleo and Mediterranean diets ( removal of refined sugars and processed foods)  has a powerful antioxidant  and anti-inflammatory effect and thus correlate to longer telomere length. It is also noted that even in healthy people, telomeres shorten with age. The anti-aging benefits ( as illustrated by the telomere length) may directly result from the diet’s ability to overcome oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Nutrient-rich foods can improve the metabolic pathways that directly help to prevent or slow down heart disease, stroke, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.

There also seems to be a very strong correlation between physical fitness and telomere length, as measured by maximal aerobic capacity. The researchers concluded that the data indicated a clear connection between telomere length and aerobic capacity. Additionally, aerobic exercises activates specific anti-inflammatory processes which help to prevent or inhibit telomere shortening.

Take Away:

Getting active and consuming a healthy diet directly impacts our quality of life and longevity. But it must start with the understanding and realization that we are in fact in control of our longevity. We can turn on or turn off our genes, we can alter our biological instructions and thus take an active role in reshaping our health and well being.

Parasites – how to handle them

Detoxing the body of parasites.
A. Takes about 2-8 weeks to complete

⁃ Parasites can be very tenacious, toxic and immunosuppressant.
Detox that can be done with natural approach ( drug free).

⁃ Unsweetened cranberry juice mixed with water ( high in organic acids that attack parasite protein).

⁃ Pumpkin seeds high in zinc and Vitamin A ( 2-3 oz toasted pumpkin seeds)

⁃ Garlic high in many immune bolstering properties.

⁃ Black walnut extract.
B. Parasites – underlie many of these symptoms:
1. Allergies.

3. Joint and muscle pain.

4. Intestinal issues and GERD, weak LES, hiatal hernia, IBS.

5. Sleep issues ( frequent awakening throughout night ).

6. Headaches and nervousness.

7. Cancer and virtually any autoimmune disease.

8. Liver problems.

9. Skin conditions – eczema, rashes, hives, etc.

10. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (often a Giardia underpinning).
If you have a healthy microbiome parasites cannot exist. Therefore it’s critical to get the microbiome fixed.
But must first get rid of parasites before you restore micobiome!!
Otherwise you just feed the parasites !! Once you treat parasites you can then start to restore gut flora
Parasite cleanse first – parasites feed off micobiome and crowd them out.
Once parasites are dealt with then proceed with these:
⁃ fermented vegetables

⁃ Kefir

⁃ Full spectrum probiotic

⁃ If you have a positive SIBO ( small intestine bacterial overgrowth) test get this dealt with first.
C. Parasite Cleanse
1. My Colon Cleanse Kit

2. Berberine ( low dose )

3. Grapefruit seed extract

4. Dandelion root
In some cases might need a pharmaceutical intervention for a particularly aggressive parasite.

Ex- Alinia for blastocystis, giardia or cryptosporidium infections.

Testing is hard to detect parasites – they can be hidden or in early stages of reproduction.

Some live in small intestine not the large intestine
Use Diagnos- techs labs
Parasites steal your nutrients and block absorption

Ex B12, fatty acids.
D. Blood test
⁃ WBC count differential – look for elevated esinophils and monocytes
E. Nutritional Actions:
⁃ Avoid gluten and sugar – parasites can feed off of both of these food toxins.

⁃ Eat low glycemic fruits.

⁃ Add chia and flax seeds.

⁃ Fermented veggies.

⁃ Healthy grains – buckwheat, millet, quinoa.

⁃ Bone broth ( great for gut healing).

⁃ Jicama, Jerusalem artichokes.

⁃ Dr. Ohhira probiotics ( full spectrum probiotic- with organic acids and TH 10 which deal with E. coli and h. pylori )

Lifestyle Medicine

7 ways to modify your life and practice preventative and natural medicine.

 

1. HEALTHY FATS:

There is a growing trend  that is backed by solid research and science that is shifting our understanding on the consumption of fat. Most of us have been raised to fear fat and eat a low-fat diet. We were led to believe that is was healthier to avoid meats, eggs, nuts, seeds and avocados – concerned that their relatively high fat content would contribute to weight gain and heart disease. Well, new research indicates that virtually all fats in their natural form – including saturated fat found in butter, eggs, and red meat – can help facilitate a healthy metabolism and support  essential biochemical processes, including optimal cell, nerve and brain function.

The prepared food industry over the last several decades took advantage of the fear that dietary fat was the root of obesity and cardiovascular disease. This misconception permeated and influenced  the food and advertising industry until very recently. They dominated  the marketplace with a variety of processed low-fat products. They were high in refined carbs, which have now been proven to fuel both inflammation and obesity. This campaign or war on fat has really been the prime driver of modern day  incidence of obesity and chronic disease epidemic.

Weight gain for years has been calculated by the simple mathematical equation: More calories in minus fewer calories out equals calories stored as fat. The reality is, this weight loss advise does not add up. Researcher David Ludwig, M.D. of Harvard points out is doesn’t take into account the metabolic and hormonal impact of different foods. His team of researchers are focusing on the benefits of higher-fat, lower-glycemic, whole-food nutrition programs, especially for those who have struggled throughout life with obesity.

 

2. MICROBIOME:  Key to Functional Medicine

Our microbiome is a thriving ecosystem that consists of 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. They in fact out number our human cells 10-1. Until recently, these microbes were thought of as hostile invaders to our system that needed to be destroyed.  And destroy we did! Research now supports the idea that we in fact need plenty of these “bugs,” and in the right balance, for optimal health. The fact is a plentiful and thriving microbiome supplies us with critical nutrients, helping us fight off toxic pathogens, keeps our immune system in balance and modulates our weight and metabolic function by releasing energy and calories from the food we consume.

Interesting facts:

– Microbiome patterns are hereditary.

– The diversity and density of species that make up the human microbiome vary from person to person, depending on factors such as diet , geographic location, and medical history.

Both helpful and harmful microbes are found throughout the body ( skin, nose, mouth, tonsils, lungs, gut and genital tract).

– Imbalances in our gut microbiome can have far reaching health implications – obesity, colitis, asthma, and mental illness. Robert Rountree, M.D., a functional medicine specialist, says most of these problems take years or decades to develop. They then take protracted treatments that include lifestyle and diet changes, probiotic use ( beneficial bacteria), and in some instances, nutriceutical  medications.

 

3. GLUTEN AVOIDANCE:

Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, rye, barely, spelt, Kamut and triticale. One in 100 individuals has an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease, whereby gluten attacks the small intestine. Researchers now believe another 40-50% of Americans may have developed a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In this case, gluten sets off a chain of inflammation that can lead to an array of disorders – reflux, arthritis, chronic fatigue, migraines to name a few.  New research is looking at the possible connection of gluten with aging of the brain and neuro-degenerative disease.

4. PALEO DIET:

The fast growing trend towards Paleo or as some call it, the ” caveman diet,” is gaining a lot of traction these days.  This approach emphasizes foods that were available in our pre-agricultural past such as grass-fed or wild meats, wild fish, edible greens, vegetables, roots, nuts, seeds and some seasonal fruits, while also minimizing reliance on more modern dietary additions, especially processed sugars and gluten containing grains. Paleo advocates say the disconnect between our ancient genes and the modern diet goes along way toward explaining the health issues that plague us today, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes autoimmune disease, and much more.

5. THE AUTOIMMUNE FACTS:

Autoimmune disorders ( such as  type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, MS, asthma ) have significantly increased 0ver the last half century. Their numbers are rivaling cancer and heart disease. Additionally, the cures for these disorders seem to to challenge conventional medicine. Alessio Fasano, M.D., a top expert in autoimmunity, states that there are 3 main components to the autoimmune  diseases –  genetic predisposition,  an environmental trigger and a leaky gut.  Plenty of research indicates that the human gastrointestinal system can be weakened by stress, poor nutrition, food sensitivities/allergies and toxins creating a leak or faulty valve that allows undigested food particles, bacteria, viruses and toxins to cross the intestinal barrier and enter into the bloodstream. The immune system then goes into hyper-drive and eventually compromising and destroying healthy tissue.

Since over 70% of the cells of the human immune system reside in the gut, the gastrointestinal area is now getting a lot more attention. Reducing inflammation and toxicity of the gut might hold the key to eradicating a lot of disease and unlocking the mysteries to longevity.

 

6. THE SOIL TRUTH:

Microbiologist Elaine Ingham, PhD is interested in not only the food we eat but the health of the soil in which we grow the food. She says: “Human health and soil health are one and the same.”  She goes on to say: “Healthy, well- managed dirt is naturally fertile, free of dangerous toxins, and full of microorganisms and nutrients that carry on a synergistic partnership with plants and with us humans.”

Recently, there has been a growing interest in really examining the impacts of conventional industrial framing and agricultural practices on soil health and erosion, and an increased awareness of the connection between nutrient-depleted soils and the declining nutrient density of our farmed produce. Even though the vast majority of American farming still relies on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, monocropping and GMO’s, more and more farmers are using organic and biodynamic techniques to rebuild and protect soil health. Furthermore, it has been proven that vital soil helps to sequester excess carbon in our atmosphere  thereby potentially playing an important role in resolving climate change.

7. THE POWER OF SLEEP:

Quality and regular sleep is critical to pursuit of optimal health. It is during sleep that our bodies and brain repair and re-balance themselves. Sleep deficit or prolonged deprivation can directly impact our immune systems, causing inflammation, hormonal imbalance, metabolic and cognitive impairment and even alter our genetic physiology. Research indicates that sleep problems can lead to a surge of pro-inflammatory molecules throughout the body which in turn create problems such as cognitive impairment ( decision making, reaction time, situational awareness and communication are all reduced by 20-50%),  memory loss, sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s.

Good sleep is essential to one’s health. To ensure good sleep do the following:

– Get to sleep at a regular time, get at least 7 hours, and try to wake at the same time in the morning.

– Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet ( avoid refined carbs, increase healthy fats, minimize alcohol and caffeine use).

– Avoid or minimize electromagnetic devices prior to bedtime ( TV, smartphones and similar devices)-  try to create a quiet and calming effect.

– Natural sleep aids include:  5 -HTP, Melatonin, Magnesium,  VitD, Valerian root

– Practice meditation: helps moderate and re-train the body’s fight-or-flight stress response ( Sympathetic Nervous System). This response triggers a release of pro-inflammatory chemicals, including cortisol and adrenaline. Furthermore, it disrupts vital digestive and immune processes and can also lead to joint and tissue inflammation, altering brain chemistry-  promoting depression, bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorders, mood swings and elevating food cravings.

Mindful meditation combined with deep breathing helps to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System – lowering our stress hormones and quieting and resetting the brain and body.

 

 

 

How Old Are You?

As a Wellness Coach, I spend much of my time examining and exploring how I can help my clients better understand the aging process and, more importantly, how to slow it down. I frequently hear the words “I feel so old” or “It’s no fun getting older.” In my pursuit of helping my clients to battle the aging process, I have come to realize that there are 2 types of aging: chronological age and biological age. Yes, they are both real aging processes but they differ in some important ways. Chronological aging is unchangeable and will remain constant as you progress throughout life. It is defined by the calendar. As an index of aging, it is deeply flawed. Biological aging, is dynamic and variable and can be sped up or slowed down. It is your real functional age.

Your biological age is difficult to calculate. It is a complexity of many interacting physiological components. Many factors come into play – genetic makeup, immunology, endocrinology, neurology, cardiology, etc.. Most aging experts look at specific numbers and then monitor their changes ( ex: blood pressure, respiratory capacity, aerobic power, and blood glucose levels, bone density, height, and weight). Some factors that contribute to biological age are not so obvious, such as the ability of your kidneys and liver to process toxins and  gastrointestinal function – the health of the gut which directly impacts our whole system. These changes all impact how the body ages. In addition, these changes can impact and override our genetic code and, thus, speed up or slow down the aging process.

In addition, our biology is also impacted by the way we think and feel. We are in fact what we think and feel. Mind-body research has strongly correlated the power of the mind on how the body functions and, thus, ages. We are all products of our thoughts and beliefs. Our neurochemistry, for example, which controls our brain functions can be altered by not only what we eat, how much exercise we get, how well we sleep, but also by the way we think and  how we perceive ourselves. The truth is we are a very complex organism. Positive thinking yields positive brain chemistry. This in turn drives our behaviors and how we interact with the world around us. Conversely, negative thinking yields a negative biological state.

So let’s look at what we can do to slow down the biological aging process.

1. Exercise daily: Oxygen is the key to life. Movement is essential  to keeping the mind and body strong and resilient. THE BODY NEEDS TO MOVE.

2. Eat Healthy: consume wholesome, organic, GMO-free foods and  hydrate with ionized water. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.

3. Practice mindfulness and positive thinking. Open your mind to the possibilities. WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK MOST OF THE TIME.

4. Sleep: Sleep is essential to our biology and longevity. It is during sleep that our body de-stresses and repairs itself. GET 7 HOURS OF SLEEP DAILY.

5. Keep Learning: Surround yourself with people you can learn from, give back and get rid of expectations. WE ARE PRODUCTS OF OUR EXPERIENCES. 

6. Live With Passion: Whether in work life and sports – find what challenges you and share this with the world. BELIEVE  IN YOURSELF.