Category Archives: Heath and Diet

They say survival of the fittest, thats not true… it is survival of the adaptable.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.19.32 PMIt’s likely that you’ve heard about the detrimental effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands. It can make you anxious and irritable, lead to weight gain and bone loss, contribute to diabetes and heart disease risk, and deplete your energy levels.

Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol gets too high, it puts you into a “fight or flight” response, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and your adrenal glands. When this occurs, there is a decrease in your digestive secretions and an increase in blood pressure. This puts your body in a state of constant stress, which will burn out your adrenal glands, stress your digestive tract and cause you to age more rapidly.

So if you want to look younger, feel younger and be healthy — and heal adrenal fatigue — you must get your cortisol levels balanced.Side effects of chronically elevated cortisol can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Common Colds
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Weight loss resistance

So what can help us adapt to stress and lower cortisol? Adaptogens …

 

What Are Adaptogens?

Phytotherapy refers to the use of plants for their healing abilities. Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants: They help balance, restore and protect the body. As naturopath Edward Wallace explains, an adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action: It helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions. (1)

Naturopath Marcelle Pick of Women to Women reports that adaptogenic herbs can recharge your adrenal glands, helping you to respond to stress. (2) Adaptogens include ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil, some mushrooms and rhodiola. According to Jan Whiticomb, there are 16 proven adaptogenic herbs.

Top 7 Adaptogen Herbs

1. Ginseng is the most well-known adaptogen, and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is considered the most potent. According to Wallace, research has validated Asian ginseng’s use for improving mental performance and your ability to withstand stress. This red ginseng also has antioxidant effects, antidepressant effects, and can help naturally lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

There are a number of adaptogens referred to as ginsengs that aren’t technically ginsengs, but keep in mind that they have similar composition or effects.

2. Holy basil also called tulsi, holy basil is known in India as the “elixir of anti-aging.” Preliminary studies suggest that holy basil benefits include helping you fight fatigue and stress; boost your immune system; and regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and hormone levels.

3. Ashwaganda is often referred to as Indian ginseng. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwaganda regulates the immune system and eases anxiety. Ashwaganda has been used in Eastern medicine for over 2,500 years and has immuno-modulating effects that boost your immune system and aid the body in lowering cortisol levels.

 

4. Astragalus root is used in Chinese medicine, astragalus boosts immunity and buffers the effects of stress. It increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to repair and prevent stress-related damage. It may also reduce the ability of stress hormones like cortisol to bind to receptors.

5. Licorice root can increase energy and endurance, boost the immune system, and protect the thymus from being damaged by cortisol, but its use requires professional supervision because of how it may affect blood pressure.

6. Rhodiola (rhodiola rosea), or golden root, is a potent adaptogen that has been the focus of much research. Rhodiola provides a buffer to stress-related mental and physical fatigue. According to Whiticomb, Rhodiola was used by Russian cosmonauts, athletes and military personnel, and years of study have begun to uncover the very mechanisms by which it acts as an adaptogen.

Rhodiola rosea contains a phytochemical known as salisdroside. This component helps relieve anxiety and combat aging. Rhodiola suppresses the production of cortisol and increases levels of stress-resistant proteins.

Studies have found that it restores normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress; lowers mental and physical fatigue; and protects against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals. Rhodiola also protects the heart and liver, increases use of oxygen, improves memory, and may even extend longevity. Also, new research proves it’s effective as a weight loss agent.

7. Cordycep mushrooms reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are funguses with antioxidant properties. That means nutrition-rich mushrooms have all the benefits of antioxidant foods. They may not be adaptogens in the classic sense, but each has adaptogenic, anti-tumor and immune-enhancing properties.

Eating well, getting proper rest, staying active, writing down what you’re grateful for and maintaining social connection all help protect you from chronic stress, which can kill your quality of life. Adding adaptogens to your routine can make you even more resilient to the damaging effects of high cortisol levels.

 

 

 

Coconut Oil to Reduce Cholesterol and Dementia?

A few years ago, Dr. Mary Newport’s discovery of using coconut oil to reverse her husbands advanced Alzheimer’s disease made a big splash in the alternative health media. Some of this splash managed to wet a few pages of the mainstream media (MSM), and Dr. Newport wrote a book about her discovery for hubby’s turn-around called Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones.

Meanwhile, others who were showing early signs of dementia or worse picked up the news with the same attitude Mary had, “what do we have to lose? Thus a movement toward using saturated fat coconut oil for dementia prevention and reversal was spawned with mostly successes.

Actually, the use of high saturated fat diets to create ketones was created by Johns Hopkins Medical Center in the 1920’s.  Ketones are processed easily to provide fuel for brain cells when carbohydrate metabolism fails within the brain. But a few decades later, the medical mafia decided that saturated fats are bad and cholesterol, especially LDL, the “bad cholesterol”, just had to go in order to prevent obesity and heart disease.

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are on the rise, with over 5 million people suffering from the disease in the U.S. It is costing the country $148 billion annually.  While we tend not to worry about diseases that occur much later in life, knowing how to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s is essential. Lifestyle choices such as diet can help prevent the disease, with some research pointing to the relationship between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s – and how this oil can help prevent and reverse the problem.

Big Pharma was not on Steve Newport’s side when he began experiencing progressive dementia at age 53 and later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Doctors put Mr. Newport on Alzheimer’s drugs. Eventually, Mr. Newport could neither remember how to get water out of the refrigerator nor draw the face of a clock.

Rather than pursue the fruitless path paved by pharmaceutical companies, his wife Mary Newport, MD, began researching Alzheimer’s itself. She found that ketones provide an alternative energy source for brain cells when they have trouble using glucose as they do in patients with dementia. The body naturally produces ketones in the absence of carbohydrates, but rather than put Mr. Newport on a strict diet, Dr. Newport simply had her husband take 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of coconut oil a day.

By then, Dr. Newport had learned of a promising drug trial for dementia. Humorously, the drug was created using a non-patentable natural substance, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) derived from coconut or palm, since the synthetic drugs are failing – this is the drug Dr. Newport was going for.

According to recent research, when the body metabolizes MCT oil, it forms ketones that may protect against and even reverse Alzheimer’s. This is true for Parkinson’s and Hungtington’s disease; multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; drug-resistant epilepsy; brittle type I diabetes; and type II diabetes, as well. But Mr. Newport was unable to get into the drug trial, so he began taking coconut oil twice daily.

Reported by the Alliance for Natural Health:

“At this point, he could barely remember how to draw a clock. Two weeks after adding coconut oil to his diet, his drawing improved. After 37 days, Steve’s drawing gained even more clarity. The oil seemed to “lift the fog…every morning he was alert and happy, talkative, making jokes…He was able to concentrate on things that he wanted to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distractible and rarely accomplished anything unless he was directly supervised.”

Over the course of a year, his dementia reversed itself. He was able to run again, his reading comprehension improve dramatically, and memory improved. An MRI proved his brain atrophy had completely stopped.

Dr. Newport’s finding on the relationship between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s saved more than one life. If word of her study spreads, it could help millions of degenerative disease patients reverse their conditions more effectively and more frugally than with pharmaceuticals. The drug trial Dr. Newport had examined used a coconut oil-based drug, but its effects still only lasted 3 hours compared to the 8 hours from moderately-priced, non-hydrogenated, store-bought coconut oil.

This isn’t the first time natural methods have been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals at preventing dementia. While knowing the coconut oil and Alzheimer’s connection can prove extremely useful, Dr. Robert Williams of Kings College in London has advocated the potential benefits of vegetables- and fruits-sourced flavonoids. Many foods—like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, anthocyanin in berries, greens, and nuts improve memory and general brain performance.

Alcohol and your Digestive System

Digestive System

This system is where food is broken down, or digested. Its organs include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The mouth, stomach, and the lining of the small intestine contain tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. The liver and the pancreas also produce digestive juices that reach the intestine and help the process of digestion.

Alcohol is not digested like other foods. Once alcohol is swallowed, it travels down the esophagus into the stomach and the small intestine. It avoids the normal digestive process and goes right into the bloodstream. About 20 percent of the alcohol consumed is absorbed in the stomach, and about 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine.

One organ that is particularly affected by alcohol is the liver because it is the main organ that processes alcohol. The liver weighs more than three pounds and is the largest organ in the body. One of the liver’s main jobs is to get rid of poisons—like alcohol—that enter the body. Without the liver, you could not live.

Heavy drinking over a period of years can damage the liver. Some of this damage comes from free radicals, a group of molecules that are highly reactive. These molecules can attack the nearest stable molecule, leading to a dangerous chain reaction that can result in a disease called cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue and the liver, which needs unrestricted blood flow, doesn’t work as it should.

Alcohol increases acid in the stomach, which in alcohol abusers can lead to severe stomach pain or sores in the intestines. One way to help prevent the increase of acid is by eating while drinking. Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by the body.

Are Your Vitamins Harmful to Your Health- Synthetic vs Natural Vitamins

For the average person, the health food and vitamin landscape is overwhelming at best and confusing at worst. When you walk into the vitamin department, you expect to find healthy foods and supplements.  But, did you know there’s such a thing as synthetic vitamins as opposed to natural vitamins?

When you think about vitamins, you probably automatically think “healthy” and “natural”.  Unfortunately, that’s just not so.  In fact, some synthetic vitamins, which are made up of isolated nutrients and synthetic ingredients, can actually build up in your fatty tissues and cause toxicity.

Most synthetic vitamins are derived from chemical compounds and other synthetic ingredients, the likes of which certainly aren’t found in nature.  For thousands of years, the human body has become adept at metabolizing and digesting foods found in nature and, because of that, your body prefers natural vitamins and ingredients (such as those found in whole foods) as opposed to the chemical compounds found in many synthetic vitamins and supplements.  And, believe it or not, the human body is smart enough to know the difference between natural vitamins and synthetic vitamins.

Synthetic Vitamin Problems

With some synthetic vitamins, the body is able to flush them out easily because of their water solubility.  In fact, when you take some synthetic vitamins, you may notice that your urine turns a bright yellow color, particularly with Vitamin B12.  Rest assured the body is doing its job: flushing out the excess that it can’t use.  But, while the body is flushing out the excess, the kidneys are also being taxed to remove that excess.   Additionally, some synthetic vitamins are made up of ingredients that have a low bioavailability, and your body is unable to utilize most of the nutrients, which means your money is, quite literally, flushed down the toilet.

In addition to the increased potential for toxicity when taking some synthetic vitamins, there’s also an increase potential for allergic reactions.  Since some synthetic vitamins are largely made up of chemicals, including nicotine and coal tars, some individuals may experience allergic reactions when taking them.

But, what about fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E & vitamin K?  Aren’t they always considered natural vitamins?  The simple answer is “NO”.  Fat-soluble vitamins can be chemically altered with synthetic ingredients in a laboratory, resulting in pure synthetic vitamins. And, because they are dissolved in fat instead of water, if you take more of these fat-soluble vitamins than your body can metabolize, they will be stored up within your fat cells.  Over time they can accumulate, resulting in toxicity and creating even more health problems for you!

The alternative to synthetic vitamins is clear: eat as many whole foods as possible and take only the finest natural vitamins.

Identifying The Finest Natural Vitamins

While the solution is simple, you may find yourself asking the question, “what exactly are natural vitamins?”  Unfortunately, that’s where the simplicity ends and the complexity begins.  While the label on a vitamin can reveal some vital information, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.  For example, many vitamins contain the label “natural”.  This can mislead many into thinking that the vitamin is made up entirely or even mostly of natural ingredients.  In fact, within the United States, this is simply untrue.   Vitamins can be labeled as natural by containing as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin.  That means the other 90% could contain purely synthetic, isolated nutrients.  Not nearly as natural as you thought, right?

Another label that can be misleading is the label, “organic”.  While many people consider products labeled organic to be vastly superior to those that aren’t organic, this isn’t always the case.  For example, some sources of Omega 3s can’t be certified organic – like fish oils.  And, if a vitamin contains Omega 3s from fish oils, it can’t be certified as entirely organic.  That doesn’t, however, mean the particular vitamin isn’t superior to the competition. It just takes a bit more investigative work to determine if they are among the finest natural vitamins and if they are superior to the competition.

Reading The Label

While labels can’t always tell the whole story, the ingredient labels should give you further insight into whether they are the finest natural vitamins or if they are made up of mostly synthetic ingredients.  The finest vitamins will most likely include a mix of natural and synthetic vitamins, chosen based on risk factors and bioavailability.  Look for the parenthesis after the listed ingredient which can help you tell what form the supplement uses.  To identify synthetic vitamins, look for words that begin with “dl” in the vitamin’s ingredients.  When an ingredient contains these letters, it is an indication that the vitamin is synthetic.  For example, “dl-alpha tocopherol” is one synthetic form of vitamin E.

By taking the best forms of vitamins – whether natural or synthetic, you allow the ingredients to work synergistically within your body, and allow the vitamins the best possible chance for producing the desired results in your life.

For more help in finding the right natural vitamin supplement for you feel free to contact us.

Dieting- finding the right science for your body

Dieting,Meal Plans,and the Junk in Between

Science-
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Therefore science is only OBSERVATION by definition. Facts are only facts until more information is gathered and theory now becomes the new replacing “fact”

So many people are so caught up in the right ways and wrong ways to diet. They lose sight of the value of the vast array of information that we have at our disposal. This information is sure to point in one direction. There is no perfect direction that works for every human being on the planet. (Excluding my own biblical beliefs)

Dieting for a competitive fitness athlete vs Dieting for a non competitive fitness athlete.

Let’s start with macro nutrients.
Protein,fat,carbohydrate,(sugar). Most people process protein equally. There are people who can process protein faster, and in greater amounts than others. Usually through genetics or supplementation.
Fat is slightly more complicated. In order for our body to lose body fat, we must take in certain types and amounts of healthy fats. Otherwise our body will refuse to let go of it’s highly valued fat. (Fat is our most efficient source of energy)
Carbohydrates are the most complicated of them all. Some people process carbs perfectly fine. Some people are carb sensitive. Some people just don’t thrive on a traditional carbohydrate in general. Depending on genetics, origin, nutritional history. All affecting our ability to process carbohydrates. In most cases our hormonal response to carbs is out of wack for one reason or the other. All carbs are not equal. Glycemic index basically ranks by speed of conversion how fast carbs turn into sugar. Which in turn decides calorie storage or use.
Sugar, I give sugar it’s own category because of it’s extreme affect on our society. Sugar is the largest contributor to our obesity epidemic. It’s causes more issues than I care to discuss for this piece. The basic idea I’d like to show is sugar tells your body to store energy (fat) as fast as possible.

Now that we have a basic concept of macro nutrients, let’s move forward into micro nutrients. As far as health is concerned, we should be far more focused here. Micro nutrients are vitamins & minerals that are essential (required). Not only for optimal health but optimal performance for our circulatory system. Which is the system that transports all nutrients. If our micros are off then our macros become only guess work. I won’t go into great detail for the lack of most attention spans. Basically if your macros are not packing your micros you will struggle in more than just weight loss.

I suggest three films if you really want the education. (Food inc, Food matters, Sugar, the bitter truth)

Dieting for competition is an extreme. It can be done safely, but there are many different methods. I like to categorize them as so.

Hormonal Response

IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS

Caloric Intake

Hormonal response is basically recognizing that Protein burns fat, healthy fat burns fat, and carbohydrates have the ability to store fat. Although over consumption of any of the three can cause weight gain, and disease. For most people completely cutting out carbs for long periods of time can cause damage. The damage comes not from lack of carbs but transitioning at extreme rates. Not replacing your bodies need for external energy. Also not supplying with sufficient micro nutrients. Ketosis is very powerful but should be used in moderation in most cases. Most hormonal response diets are carb cycle diets. A simple search on google will explain both Ketosis and carb cycling if you are interested.

IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS

This strategy is gaining quick popularity because of it’s great variety in food choices. It works really well in a body that is well balanced in it’s hormonal response. (Insulin production and timing being the key). The misconceptions about this diet are prevalent in both supporters and those who appose the IIFYM strategy. If you have a carb sensitivity through genetics or self inflicted damage to receptors this diet can pose some undesired roadblocks. IIFYM is not solely based on caloric intake. 1500 calories in twinkles is not aligned with this theories approach. It is based on specific amounts of protein,fats,and carbs. As basic as that seems many who appose the theory don’t understand that basic concept. On the other side the supporters promote the variety and ease. Which in cases can prolong the lack of discipline and food addiction that has gotten so out of control. Again a quick google search can give the guidelines to this strategy

Caloric intake

This is the theory of calories in calories out. Which is often mistaken for IIFYM. This is where IIFYM gets most of it’s negative response. Many studies have shown that if you stay in a caloric deficit no matter the food type (twinkies for example), you will lose weight. This by no means says you will be healthy or look healthy or attractive. It just means the scale will change. I won’t spend time on this approach. DONT DO IT!!!

Although I have my opinion on what works best, I’ll let you come up with your own conclusion. Just kidding

For competitors or non competitors I like to start with a short Ketosis 1-3 weeks to a carb cycle to a carb back load to a macro nutrition calorie count. When getting closer to a competition i get really strict on protein choice, carb choice and veggies. In some cases all the way back to a Ketosis (low to no carb diet.)

For non-competitors I won’t get as strict because we don’t have a date to peak out.
As far as health risk. What are we comparing? The average American diet? A healthy balanced diet? I guess we really have no generality to compare it to. My theory is this, keep your vitamins and minerals where they need to be and you can play with your macro count. Observe how your body reacts and adjust if needed.
When going to the extreme of a show diet, taking it all the way down to extremely low body fat. Taking it down to really low macro nutrients. It’s imperative to understand adaption of hormones.
Example: If you take pain killers and become addicted, you body will stop producing certain hormones. If you just quit cold turkey, you will have some extreme consequences. In some cases death.
So in the case of dieting, if you over load your body with hormonal response (insulin overload) after a long period of time of controlling it. You will have tremendous hardship. Your body will react in crazy ways. Extreme water retention, adrenal fatigue, “metabolic damage” ect.  So we stair step into extreme diets and stair step out. (Reverse dieting) (water reloading)

To sum it up, people all over the world react different to food choice both mentally and physically. Our society is made up with an extremely dynamic culture. So many different physical responses to food because of size, origin, genetics, habits, disease and so on. Focus on finding what works rather than what’s comfortable. Be mindful and observant of how your body is reacting. If you have any influence at all in other peoples life, never stop absorbing information. Not just information proving your theory, but all information. Otherwise you may miss out on some great truth. For the people who argue about healthy balanced diets. Sometimes you have to trade just a little bit of healthy for a whole lot of hot. The argument spurs from a subconscious rejection of your new choice not lining up with their vision of you. People are very uncomfortable with you doing what they are not. That’s a whole other topic. I hope this gives at least a topical view of
Dieting, Meal Plans,and the Junk in Between

by Justin Blevins

(817) 776-1302

Fat Loss- weight training and cardio

Let’s talk about fat-loss. More importantly, let’s talk about why an effective fat-loss program utilizes strength training with weights. Over the last few years, more and more women have started buying into the benefits of strength training for physique and weight management. We are not restricting ourselves to just cardio machines, and now our workouts are more efficient (and hopefully a bit less boring) than ever. For many, the primary focus of hitting the gym is to burn fat, and we’ve outlined some (scientifically backed) reasons weight training is the best tool for just that.

1. More Muscle = Faster Metabolism

The first rule of fat loss: having muscle increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR)1,2. A crucial element of fat loss is simply having muscle mass; muscle mass burns fat for energy, and building muscle requires resistance training, not cardio. No matter what your trainer tells you, you won’t build any lean muscle by performing 40 minutes on the elliptical. Lean muscle is built through a consistent resistance training program that utilizes large muscle groups and compound movements (like squats, rows, and push-ups).

 

 Strength Training = Faster Metabolism

All gimmicks, infomercials and cheesy marketing schemes aside, it is possible to burn calories all day long without lifting a finger! During an intense workout, your body’s oxygen stores are depleted. Consequently, after a high-intensity workout, your body must work hard to build it’s oxygen stores back up. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or “The Afterburn Effect”, and it keeps your body at a heightened metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after a high-intensity workout3! What’s more, studies show high intensity resistance training results in a greater EPOC than steady-state cardio… so it’s time to prioritize the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight training workouts in your weekly routine4!

3. Improve Your Body Composition

You’ve heard it before: the “muscle weighs more than fat” mantra. As tired as it sounds, the saying holds some truth; muscle is more dense than fat, therefore a pound of muscle takes up less volume in your body than a pound of fat. For this reason, we recommend GETTING OFF THE SCALE. As many women see when they begin a strength training, fat-loss regimen of weights and high intensity cardio, the number on the scale does not drop as quickly as they would like. In fact, your weight may immediately go higher. DON’T PANIC! What’s more important is that you are turning your body into a fat-burning machine by decreasing your fat stores and increasing your lean mass

 Metabolize Fat, Not Muscle

There is a simple formula for weight loss: energy in must be less than energy out to lose weight. Many weight loss programs call for a calorie restricted diet. While a calorie restricted diet isn’t recommended for everyone, many do choose to participate. We’ve covered why having muscle is critical for fat loss, but did you know that on a calorie restricted diet, your body may compensate by consuming a heightened ratio of muscle than fat for energy? This is not a desirable effect, but thankfully studies show utilizing strength training programs will help your body maintain lean body weight while on a calorie retracted diet5. So no matter what type of diet your program calls for, always balance it with strength training at least 2-3 times per week.

5. Fat Loss = Balance

There are thousands of weight loss and fat loss programs out there. Flip on the television and you’ll see an infomercial for new types of exercise equipment or the next big home-workout DVD guaranteed to help you shred down a jean size. Just remember, fat-loss comes from a balance of proper nutrition, strength training and cardiovascular training. Most importantly however, the idea of losing fat should not consume your life and control your happiness. We’ve found that with just a few days a week, short bouts of intense exercise (strength training and HIIT) coupled with a diet of lean proteins, healthy fats, well-timed carbs and plenty of vegetables is the easiest way to let your body know you love it, while feeling healthy and progressive in your physique.