5 Fun Drink Recipes To Improve Weight, Energy, and Inflammation

debbie (27)Great weight, good energy, and optimum health? Oh yeah, they’re important. If you read this blog, you know it’s not a low calorie, low fat diet that makes Health,.. it’s Nutrients; and we get Nutrients from our food. That’s why I’m such a Real Whole Foodie.

Here’s the thing though, it’s more than eating good fats, good proteins, and a ton of Vegetables. Real nutritional powerhouses are Herbs and Spices, and if we want to “up our game”, we need to learn how to incorporate them into our every day life.   The problem: herbs and spices scare people.

Don’t Panic! I get comments all the time like: “I don’t know how to use herbs.” “I don’t know which herbs or spices taste good”, and, ” I don’t have time to do those big recipes that have herbs and spices Debbie, I’m busy!”.
It’s okay! Busy people can be healthy too. Everything’s a journey, right?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and that’s how you’re going to approach eating healthy every day. Everything’s only difficult until it’s routine. Then it’s no big deal.

Consider this: (1) We Americans grow up with pretty Bland Tastes: we want sweet, or we want salty. We were raised that way, and for the most part, we’re raising our kids that way. This isn’t working out very well. And (2) we’ve been convinced that Nutrition and Health come from a Pill, a doctor, or Processed Food products with tricky names, like “Ensure”. (Check out the ingredient list of ensure at the end of this Post.) Awareness is a big part of the battle, right?

Here’s a short primer on a handful of herbs and spices, and ideas on how to use them.  If I can do it, you can do it. I was brought up on salt, pepper and sugar, like all good American farm girls. I evolved though, and you can too. Here’s some super delicious (HONEST) recipes to up your nutrition:

20150426_082054This is my Ginger Juice:)
I make this several days a week and put a little in our teas and our waters. It’s simple: buy big, knobby ginger, cut off a piece, peel it, and then chop it into little pieces. Put the pieces in a jar, and fill the jar with hot water. I let this sit and steep over night. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory, great for digestion, and stomach upset. I always make sure to chew and swallow a piece or two also, I’ve grown to appreciate the bite. Ginger’s a great source of iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.

This is a morning smoothie. Smoothies can be SIMPLE (base, fruit, and ice), or smoothies can be vehicles for piling on the nutrients, which is what I do! This smoothie has 2 raw eggs, coconut milk, greens powder, cinnamon, nutmeg,smoothie411 and frozen berries. My smoothies change daily, and I try to keep a mental list of what I use one day so I can switch it around a little the next. Green powder is great for the liver, and now we’re finding that the chlorophyl in greens powder actually helps our cells make energy – just like it does for plants- THAT IS SO COOL! Cinnamon is great for lowering blood sugar, and fighting certain virus and fungi; and nutmeg boosts the immune system, and benefits the blood and skin.

This is Megan’s “Golden Milk” drink. The ingredients: Coconut milk, turmeric, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, ghee/butter, and Maca. (Pimage (1)roof that our example matters, right?) Here’s some “whys”: Turmeric is super duper Anti-inflammatory, and multiple ( THOUSANDS ) of studies show it’s benefits in cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart health, and and more.   **Turmeric can be off-putting for those of us not used to it’s flavor. I eased my way into the taste by using Garam Marsala and Curry, two spice mixes that incorporateimage Turmeric, but are less pungent.  While I still LOVE, and use, those spices, I’ve also come to love the taste of turmeric.

Vanilla’s shockingly healthy! It has loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which means it not only feeds our cells, but can reverse oxidative damage to our cells, much like turmeric. Cayenne’s another powerhouse: weight loss, digestion, throat congestion, heart disease, the list goes on and on. And Maca, have you heard of that? That’s a herbal “adaptogen” That means it makes hormones “normal”, and who doesn’t need normal hormones? Seems like most of us are walking around with totally Crazy Hormones.

20150224_144352 (1)Next, here’s a tea I make in my French Press: black tea, whole cloves, ginger, and slippery elm. Cloves are very anti fungal, anti bacterial, and anti viral, they’re strong. They’re also indicated in fighting cancer, protecting the liver, and fighting mouth disease. The slippery elm has been my new go-to since last fall. Slippery elm helps the body build mucus ( YES – we need mucus. Delete the TV commercials that picture mucus as Bad Bugs out to get us. Reality: when we’re sick, mucus is instrumental in getting the Bad Stuff out of our body. Plus, several parts of our body are supposed to be lined with mucus, like our throat, our stomach, and our lungs. When we don’t have enough mucus, bad stuff happens.) I started using Slippery Elm (and marshmallow root) this fall, most days of the week. For the first time since high school, I didn’t lose my voice once this past winter, nor get a scratchy throat. Slippery elm (and marshmallow root) help the body build it mucus where it needs it.

20150422_140548And finally, here’s one of my favorite afternoon drinks:  In my french press I mix decaf coffee, cocoa beans, coconut flakes, and then usually turmeric, and here I added Ashwagandha.   THIS IS SO GOOD.   ** My decaf is “Swiss Water” decaffeinated, and it matters.  If you’re not drinking Swiss Water decaffeinated coffee, you’re drinking chemically decaffeinated coffee.  Not only do you drink those chemicals, but studies show chemically decaffeinated coffee isn’t nearly as caffeine free as you may think.  Swiss Water is a patented process that only uses water to decaffeinate, and strips out almost 100% of the caffeine.

Coffee is a Nutritional Powerhouse, so is Cocoa.  The phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, are abundant.  So are the health benefits.

Ashwangandha’s another “adaptogen”; it benefits thyroid and adrenal function. It’s also supposed to reduce brain cell degeneration – I need that!

Did you notice that I used the word “anti-inflammatory” often? Let me link anti-inflammatory and weight loss:  If we can’t lose weight despite working out and eating fairly well, it’s probably because our cells are “inflamed” with either Insulin or Leptin Resistance.  When the cell is inflamed, all the doors on the cell that open for nutrients, are instead, shut.  These anti-inflammatory herbs and spices can help reverse that, and correct cell metabolism so that nutrients can get in and be “burned”, which is a dumb term, but paints a good picture.

My point: anti-inflammatory foods aren’t just for sore joints, and bad stomachs, and chronic disease; they have a profound effect on our metabolism.  Who doesn’t want a better metabolism?

Honestly everyone, there’s a whole new world out there to explore when you start diving into to the components of food, and learn how they benefit our body.

When we get sick, or fat, or run down, we’re not missing a medication.  Think about that:  we’re not LOW on meds.  We’re low on Nutrients that our body uses to function, and build, and repair.  It’s so worth the effort to learn a little bit every day of how our body works and what we can do to make it better.

We’re not a Math Equation, we’re a Chemistry Set.  Food is Medicine, or Food is Poison;  our health, our weight, our energy is the cumulative result of what we do every day, day in, day out.  Make choices that produce great end results, and see your health and weight and energy improve day by day, month by month, year by year.

References and Resources:

Check out Drug and Herb Interactions here: www.standardprocess.com/MediHerb-Document-Library/Catalog-Files/herb-drug-interaction-chart.pdf

Research Herbs and Foods here:

www.greenmedinfo.com

www.organicfacts.net

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed

Learn about Swiss Water Decaf:

http://www.swisswater.com/consumer/swiss-water-process

And the Health Benefits of Coffee and Cocoa Beans:

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cocoa.html

http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-coffee-good-for-you/

Great Place To Buy Herbs: www.mountainroseherbs.com

Ashwagandha Benefits: www.draxe/ashwagandha

Finally, look at the ingredients in Conventional Medicine’s healthy drink: Ensure.  Hint, it’s disgusting.  www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/how-to-really-lose-weight-it’s-not-by-dieting-and-a-looks-healthy-but-isn’t

Want To Lose Weight? Ditch the Dumb Mini Meal!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Spring and I have several clients who want to lose weight by summer.  Many of them have been eating 5 to 6 times a day, as suggested by their doctor, their weight loss center, or some book they’ve read.

I hate the Mini Meal Plan! If you want to lose weight, the constant grazing just has to stop.

Years of Diet and Supplement companies advising us to eat 5 or 6 times a day to “speed up our metabolism” has been disproven -scientifically – over and over.  Unfortunately, the “eat all day long” idea has taken hold; that’s an exciting thought for Foodies! But how’s that working out for health and weight loss? Not so well, and no wonder.

Mini meals don’t speed up metabolism. If you eat 2000 calories in a day, divided by 3 meals or 6, it takes the same amount of energy (thermogenesis) to digest that food. Sadly, thermogenesis doesn’t actually account for much of our calorie burn at all, so as a weight loss tool, it’s ineffectual. As a weight GAIN tool, multiple meals are perfect! The habit of eating all day is pleasurable for our brain to establish. For everyone who’s tried this form of eating, you know that dependency and excitement about the next meal becomes a happy mental focal point.

Mini-meals cause eating to happen whether there’s hunger or not. Eating happens because “it’s time to eat”.

I recently heard an interesting study on Flight Attendants who smoked.  They were questioned as to when their desire for a cigarette started to well up while on their flights.  The answer:  the duration of the flight had nothing to do with wanting a cigarette, but how close they were to landing, and actually being able to smoke, was what triggered the wanting.

Apply that to food, and constant mini-meals:  the schedule, or thought that your next meal is right around the corner, produces a desire and excitement for eating.  So does plummeting blood sugar.  Join mini-meals with high carb “snacks” ( like most diet bars or shakes ), and you’ve got a problem: constant glucose/sugar in the blood stream, going up up up, and then crashing down down down.

By the way, who does benefit from Mini Meals?  The Diet, Supplement, and Food Industry.  Snacking is a multi-BILLION dollar business.

Snacking was pretty much unheard of for Adult Americans until the early 1970s.  Hmm, that’s about the same time Weight Gain started to ramp up!  Until then, snacking was considered something only for young and growing children.

Quick Review:  Carbs are digested to blood sugar/glucose.  When glucose is present in amounts over 100mg/dcl, that’s considered TOO MUCH GLUCOSE in the blood (remember: excess glucose is TOXIC to the body). Your pancreas releases the hormone Insulin, which takes the excess glucose and (1) puts it in needy muscle cells, or (2) puts in empty liver cells, or (3) takes all the leftovers and remakes the glucose into TRIGLYCERIDES.  Triglycerides are FATTY ACIDS.

Say out loud to yourself:  “Excess sugar and carbs are turned into body fat.”

Wonder if this is happening to you? Look down at your stomach. The body deposits most of these homemade triglycerides in the abdominal area. In addition to belly fat, excess glucose and excess insulin dramatically create/cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to absolutely every single chronic disease and condition out there, including weight gain.

Here’s my approach: we only eat 3 meals a day; we eat mostly healthy fats and proteins, tons of vegetables, some fruits, some nuts and seeds, some whole fat dairy, our blood sugar/glucose stays under 100, we go hours WITHOUT insulin in our blood.

****Then our pancreas releases the hormone GLUCAGON. Glucagon “taps” the fat cells holding those triglycerides, takes them to the liver, which remakes them into glucose for the body to burn. Now we’ve literally “burned fat”.

What about “crashing”?  Please don’t worry that you’ll “crash your metabolism” if you don’t eat every couple of hours. That’s ridiculous. Your metabolism is at the mercy of your HORMONES; the hormone Insulin BUILDS, the hormone glucagon TEARS DOWN. Anabolic and Catabolic. ( We’re a Chemistry Set, not a math equation. )

Worried because you can’t seem to go more than a few hours without STARVING?

Two reasons.  1) You’re a sugar burner. Sugar burners have created systems for digesting and storing sugar/glucose, and because that system runs so fast, you’re genuinely hungry all the time. Fat Burners can go HOURS without feeling hungry, even through hard workouts. IT FEELS GREAT TO BE A FAT BURNER. Honestly! For years I was a 5/6 mini-meal a dayer. What a pain in the butt.

2) You’re addicted to either food or eating, or both.  :(

Either way, get in touch with me.

Anyone and everyone can break the patterns and habits that have led to weight gain, fatigue, and inflammation.  Everyone.  It’s Mid April, you could be a rock star in a few months if you start now.  You could be a whole new person by Christmas!  

Food is Medicine or Food Is Poison.  Let me teach you how to make Food your Friend.

Guest Post By Megan: How To Eat Well On Vacation Or While Traveling

IMG_20150407_114757I get asked all the time “what should I eat while I’m on vacation in ________?”  Usually, I answer on a case by case basis, but I think the ACTUAL issue, is:  “Usually on vacation I pig out and gain weight, because it’s vacation and that means I can eat whatever I want when I want.”   Ohh, wrong mind set; let’s change it.

My oldest daughter, Megan, has been traveling the world for 4 years this coming May.  Seriously, she comes home and works to make some money for a few months here and there, and then she leaves again.  She’s lived in IMG_20150411_094940Alaska, Hawaii, Central America, South America, and Europe.  Right now, she’s in Guatemala.

She’s been able to do this through a couple “work-for-room-and-food” sites, called WWOOF ( world wide organization of organic farms ) and Help-eX ( Help-Exchange).  I’ll let her tell you more about them in future Posts, but for now, if you really want advice on what to eat while you’re _______, read her Post.  If anyone can answer that question, she can.

As to the actual discipline of eating healthy while you’re away from home and your kitchen and your grocery store, the answer to that is Mind Set and Planning.

Seriously.  If you’ve been dreaming about all the food you’re going to eat and indulge in on your trip, you’re doomed to go overboard, gain weight, and possibly have a hard time getting back on the wagon.  If you don’t plan on eating healthy, and the steps you need to take to do that, it won’t happen.

If you don’t eat processed foods and flour and chemicals and overdose on alcohol, because you think they cause cancer, inflammation, stomach bloat and disease, then it’s really not that hard to stay away from them.  Practice the mental associations that lead to that mind set!

FB_IMG_1428767563713Here’s Megan’s Post, along with some of her latest pictures.  If you’re interested in following this particular journey that started December 31, 2014, check out michaellibis.com blog that I’ve attached at the end of this piece.

Health and travel are two of my greatest passions. I’ve been living and traveling around the world budget-backpacker-style for nearly four years now, and I plan to continue traveling for quite some time. I find deep joy and fulfillment in discovering creative new ways of eating healthily while I’m on the go. Throughout my journey, I’ve learned that it is ALWAYS possible to make healthy eating choices on the road, regardless of location, accessibility, or budget. However it does require taking the initiative, trying new things, thinking outside of the box and the willingness to stay true to your commitment towards a healthy lifestyle. Luckily, it’s a lot easier than you might think, not to mention, the challenge is fun and rewarding on so many levels.

Here are some healthy tips for clean eating away from home:

1. Plan ahead. Stock up on nutrient-dense foods that travel well and are convenient for snacking when you need to refuel on the go. Try packing nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruits, nut butters, hard boiled eggs, veggie sticks, good quality dark chocolate, coconut butter or jars of fermented vegetables. Before I go on a road trip or hop on a plane I’ll eat a pretty large meal beforehand to avoid buying food at an airport or gas station. If my accommodation provides a place to cook, I always carry along some cooking staple items with me, like coconut oil, salt, pepper, a knife, etc.

HATPICS-003202. Prepare your own meals. If your accommodation or hotel has a kitchen, try to make time to cook and prepare your own meals, it’s always the healthiest option. Bring containers so that you can pack prepared meals for busy days that you’ll be out and about. When grocery shopping, focus on stocking up on whole, fresh foods. No matter where I am, I religiously avoid pre-packaged, processed, refined food items and anything containing gluten, wheat or sugar. I’m also a vegetarian so I personally choose to avoid meat and dairy, but if it pleases you and you have access to good quality meats and/or raw dairy items, seek out these ingredients to incorporate into your prepared meals. Prioritizing high-quality, nutrient-dense food over IMG_20150411_094546prepackaged conveniences is perhaps the most important component of staying healthy on the go. I am currently living in a small apartment on the side of a cliff in a remote village in Guatemala where the nearest vegetable and fruit stand is a 20 minute walk away. I regularly stock up on plantains, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pastured-eggs, beets, carrots, cucumbers, onions, avocado, lettuce, etc. I’ve created a wide variety of different dishes since I’ve been here just using these basic few ingredients like hash browns, potato pancakes, veggie scrambles, curries, veggie frittatas, roasted vegetables, plantain pancakes, veggie burgers, salads, lettuce wraps, etc. I’ve learned it is really important to be willing to get creative with whatever is available, especially when it feels like the options are limited. If you’re in need of extra help and inspiration for recipes, try websites like Supercook.com where you can do recipe searches based on the ingredients you have in your fridge.

3. While eating out, scan the menu for real, whole food options. Restaurant menus are often filled with plenty of tempting items that don’t serve your health, so scan the menu for foods that you feel genuinely good about putting into your body. Look for dishes that incorporate as many fresh and nutritious ingredients as possible, choose real food options over the processed ones. Most of the time restaurants are happy to accommodate your dietary needs if you speak up, and nowadays most places have plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and fresh-food options available right on the menu. Free apps like AroundMe and HappyCow are incredibly helpful tools to finding organic, locally sourced, grass-fed or gluten-free restaurant options near you in any city or country around the world.

4. Don’t stress. Be flexible and adaptable. Enjoy yourself. It is likely that there will be different options available to you when you’re traveling than what you’re used to back at home. Don’t let this derail you from your commitment to healthy eating, but even more megbraidimportantly don’t let it stress you out. Sometimes you’re going to have to think outside the box or eat something that normally would avoid, but that’s ok, just try your best. Be sure to spend more of your time enjoying yourself and soaking up the moment than stressing about what you’re going to eat.

5. Utilize the resources that are available to you; open up and try new things. Visiting new places equates to leaving your comfort zone, so use this as an opportunity to open up and try things that aren’t normally as accessible to you. Try foods that are native to where you are, if you’re visiting the tropics, snack on tropical fruit; if you’re in Alaska try the fresh caught salmon, etc. Before I lived in the Caribbean, I had never eaten a plantain but I quickly discovered that they were a main staple down there, not to mention incredibly cheap and nutritious; they soon became one of my favorite foods and I learned how to incorporate them into most of my meals.

lunch on beach6. Listen to your body. Your body may have different needs than you’re used to depending on where you’re traveling, especially if you’re traveling to a different climate zone. I find that when I’m visiting cold places I crave slightly heavier foods that warm me up from the inside out and ground me, like root vegetables, spicy curries, soups, legumes and grains like oats and quinoa. While in the tropics, my body wants lighter, fresher foods, like smoothies, salads, and raw fruits and veggies. Tune in and and listen to the unique and ever-changing nutritional needs of your body.

And there you have it: advice on eating well while traveling the world.

BTW:  The first several pictures were taken recently of Meg by her boyfriend Michael Libis, a Travel and Photography expert; his blog link’s in the Resource links.  The last pic is a phone photo of us visiting Meg last year when she was working at a B&B in Culebra, Puerto Rico, taken by Mark, who’s NOT a photography expert.

However, he is a “eat well on business trips” expert, so I’m going to get him to write a Post on Business Travel soon, as that’s another question I get often.  He didn’t know that til just now, but he loves me and loves to do me favors, so I’m sure he’ll be happy about it.

I also asked my other daughters to write Posts on, 1) eating well when you’re Epileptic and in College, and food choices really DO make a difference in day to day health , and 2) eating Real Whole Foods in college.

Moms and Dads, our examples are ENORMOUS sources of influence and behavior, so it really, really matters what choices we make while on vacation, or travel, and obviously, every day.  Be determined to develop a Mind Set about Food that leads to feeling Healthy and Energetic and happy with ourselves; not Bloated, Tired, Sick and mad at ourselves.

Resources:

Questions about traveling on the cheap, or clean eating in different areas of the world?  Reach out to Meg on FaceBook: Megan Abbott.

Wondering where to go on Vacation, or want to be transported somewhere else right now?  Check out Mike’s Travel Blog, get in touch with him, and yes, he’s a professional, that’s why the pics are so amazing:

http://www.michaellibis.com/

https://www.helpx.net/

http://www.wwoof.net/

 

I’m 50! Here’s my Diet and Body Image Story, See If You Relate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomorrow I turn 50, woo-hoo!  Big day, and I thank God for all my blessings.  One of those blessings is that I’m healthier at 50 than I was at 40, and even 35.  Are my abs leaner? No. But that’s about the only health marker that hasn’t improved in the past several years since I gave up Dieting and switched to Real Whole Food.

Confession:  I used to be a food addict; and I had an obsession with wanting to be thinner and leaner. Now, after 28 years in the fitness and nutrition business, I can definitely say that way too many women feel the same way, and those thoughts rule the mind, and ruin the body.

It doesn’t have to be like that!

Here’s my story of dieting and negative body image, see if you relate.

I was a typical female teenager. I’d read Teen Magazine and Seventeen, stare at the models, and dream of looking like them. My first diet started when I was 15. I’d busted through the 114 pound weight limit I set for myself in 9th grade, which compelled me to sneak home a pack of Dexatrim – it worked, for a while. Til it didn’t. Next, I tried the Fruit Only diet; which worked less well than Dexatrim. In 12th grade I bought a pair of special pants that – for real here – attached to our vacuum cleaner, and I had to wear them while exercising – while the vacuum was running. I believed in those pants, but they didn’t work either. I still just looked like me.

Reality Check: at 5’6 and 128 pounds, I wasn’t overweight; I just didn’t look like the girls in the magazines, or on TV. And it bugged me.

Fast forward to 1987, I’d graduated from college and married Mark. My 4 years of college had me totally committed to the world of fitness,  I loved exercising!  Not only did I get a serious endorphin rush from workouts, (and still do) but I fully, deeply believed that exercise would keep me slim; the whole “calories in – calories out” theory. I took a full time job managing the Aerobics Department at a local gym, and my career was born. Through the rest of the 80’s, and the 90’s, my desire to be fit – and weigh less – never waned.

Well, actually, after my first baby, Megan, in 1990, between heavy nursing and working out, I got down to 114, my 9th grade goal weight! Let me tell you all: Happy. Days. But then she quit nursing and I got pregnant again (Amanda), and again (Macy), and again (Shelby).

Through constant diet efforts, I managed to stay around 128, but I never looked like Cindy Crawford. It bugged me. I wanted that thigh gap.

Sometime in the mid 90s, I switched from reading regular women’s magazines, to body builder women’s magazine. This did so much for my self esteem! Now my dream shape wasn’t just thin; it was ripped, lean, and muscular. (Strong is the new skinny.) Since I was a group ex instructor, and personal trainer, I had the opportunity to workout hours a day. I fueled myself with frozen diet meals, diet desserts, diet drinks, cereals that had more fiber than hay, and (thank you mom! ) vegetables. Meat was a rarity, and fat was an absolute no-way. I ate 5 to 6 “mini-meals” a day, carried my protein bars with me everywhere (I was scared I’d get hungry), and counted the hours to the recommended “cheat meals”, which sometimes consisted of a whole pizza and a pint of ice cream. No, actually, and honestly, that was just starter food; because I was never full from crap like that; I was just triggered to eat more.

Anyway, I thought it was such a great Diet Plan! Just like the women in the magazines! Except for when I fell off the wagon, which happened all the time. And not for a meal, but for a day, or two, or more. I lived on what I call the Diet Roller Coaster: Starve – Feast – Starve – Feast, for years. My weight actually averaged out, but it was all so consuming that I started to worry about myself. I didn’t want my 4 daughters disliking their body, or obsessing about food, like me.

I began to see the insanity of this cycle, but I couldn’t stop. I wanted to stop, badly, but I literally couldn’t. I went to a counselor sometime in my late 30s to describe what I guessed was bulimia, or food addiction. He told me I was probably either depressed or anxious, and did I want a prescription. I was neither, and I was pissed he’d even suggested that.

(Ever notice how often a doctors default with a woman’s health issues is, “do you want an anti-depressant?” )

This is when my health started to take a nose dive. Really, it started to go downhill at 30, when I developed asthma, but it took 10 years for me to see what was happening. (Inflammation from the crap I ate) The asthma came on quick and strong, and I was put on 3 separate daily drugs to “manage” it.

Then, after my 4th baby at 31, severe IBS began. Severe. Like, sometime starting in my mid 30s, my stomach would bloat every afternoon to the point of me looking 5 months pregnant.  And.. I had bad gas. It was awful. I thought it was a side effect of eating so healthfully….

Right around then my period stopped, for the first of many times. My GYN ran a blood test which determined I was so low in estrogen that the lab listed me as “post-menopausal”. I was 34. The solution? Put me on The Pill to force a period, and make me “normal” again. I did it, but it kept happening, for years. (Today I know that low estrogen isn’t normal, and it’s fixable.)

At 36, fatigue and low energy set in; a test showed my thyroid hormones were low, which meant daily thyroid meds. At this point, our medicine cabinet was loaded with drugs to deal with all the symptoms I considered completely normal: Gas X, Beano, Tums, Seravent, Advar, Fast Acting Inhalers, Armor, the Pill, Midol, and Advil. I popped these things in my mouth every day without a thought. I carried them in my car…. Now I carry systemic enzymes and “bitters”.

The final straw, my Ah-Ha moment, came at 40. I got my second blood clot. My doctor told me that since this was my second one, I needed to go on Coumadin, a blood thinner. OMG. Grandmas take that stuff! Thank you God for the clot, because THAT was my wake up call. Instead of Coumadin, I went to a Functional MD, and was put on systemic enzymes and big doses of fish oil, (actually, those were my starter supplements). Every blood test I’ve had since then has shown zero “sticky blood”, just normal blood.

For the first time, I started to look and connect what I ate, with the health problems I was having. Up til then, I’d just Dieted, which I thought was supposed to make me healthy, but it hadn’t. The big shocker: I realized that the majority of what I put in my mouth wasn’t actual food, it was Pretend Food that looked real and tasted great, or at least I thought it did at the time. But except for pretty big daily serving of vegetables, I lived on processed foods high in carbs, chemicals, and bad oils; in other words, pure crap.

I served COMPANY frozen diet dinners with vegetables added, topped with slices of fat free cheese! I thought I was a smart Gourmet! I wasn’t.  Those “foods” slowly made me sick, and kept me constantly hungry.

Over the next few years, I morphed from a “Diet” based paradigm, to a Real Whole Foods paradigm, eating (seriously) copious amounts of healthy fats, healthy meats, and absolute loads of vegetables.

I quit eating grains, then sugar. That was hard because I was addicted, but I preserved, and thank goodness! Today I use ZERO effort or will power to stay away from that stuff.

The “no grain/no sugar” scares people, but consider this. Imagine what it’s like to never have gas, bloat, or constipation. I said my stomach’s not as lean, but it’s flattish! Or to not constantly think about food.  Or to have more energy at 50 than at 40? My asthma’s gone. My thyroid labs are normal. My estrogen’s still low, but I made it through menopause, fully, without one hot flash or night sweat.

Best part? My weight’s not an issue. Not because I weigh 114 or 128, but because the obsession is over. The Diet Roller Coaster, which was caused by dieting, is over. I don’t gain every weekend and lose every week. I don’t promise myself every Monday morning that “this will be the week I lose weight.” I’m just…. stable, and normal. There’s still no thigh gap. I don’t for a moment look 20, but, I look fine.

I’ve stopped being so ridiculously hard on myself.

I feel like I used to live “Under The Dome”, but now I see how I was manipulated into wanting someone else’s unattainable ideal body image. Those images are just Temptations, trying to entice us to spend our money on products!

This brings me to the point of my piece: Women, I think many (most?) of us are the victims of slick marketing created to make us feel bad about our looks.

I think said marketing conspires to convince us that we’re too fat, too busy, too depressed, too stressed, and too inadequate to handle life with out special diet food, diet pills, diet aids and diet groups. Science Daily reports a study that says 75% of American women surveyed report unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food or their bodies.

Really? 75% of us feel badly about ourselves and/or food? Is this what we’re teaching our daughters? Talking about with girlfriends? We’re being duped into wasting most of our lives stressing and obsessing about our weight! This is criminal, and the efforts aren’t just making companies money (billions!) while we continue to gain weight; they’re making us sick, which leads to pharmaceutical drugs, which have side effects, which leads to more drugs.

Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist. Here’s a few statistics that I base my conspiracy theories on: In 1960, about 10% of Americans were obese and an overweight child was a rarity. Today, we have 68% of our adult population either overweight or obese, and 1 out of 3 kids. In the 1970s, new Federal policy stated that Americans needed to lower their intake of fat and cholesterol from animal or tropical sources, which they did. Butter decreased and margarine and vegetable oils increased. Weight, Heart Disease, and Cancer rose.

In the 1970s, the same policy recommended that Grains comprise a majority of our diet, up to 12 servings a day, which we did; consumption of grains – and sugar – skyrocketed. Weight, Heart Disease, and Cancer rose. As weight and heart disease and cancer continued to rise, our doctors medicated us for the ills, and told us to eat less and exercise more. We have. Weight and disease continue to rise.

In the 1980s, weight loss centers, diet foods, and diet drugs, as a business, were booming. Today, Dieting is a multi billion dollar industry. We’re all dieting, and yet weight and disease continue to rise. This makes us feel pretty badly about ourselves.

Meanwhile, in 2015, 1 out of 4 American women are on a psychiatric drug. Read that sentence again. It doesn’t have to be like this. Women, we don’t have to be fat, bloated, tired, and unhappy. We’ve fallen prey to companies and foods that cause addictive behavior, that lead to weight ups and downs which cause depression, and Moms, if we don’t stop the cycle, our kids won’t just be on the same boat we are, they’ll be on a worse boat.

The Surgeon General says that there’s a strong possibility that todays children might be there first generation of American children to have a shorter life span than their parents.

I started by opening up to you about a decades long body issue and food battle. I put myself through some crazy crap, which I know from my work with other women is not unique. I don’t do crazy anymore, I changed. You can change. Anyone can change. Everyone can break cycles and habits.

If you’re ready to change, evaluate what you’ve been doing. Get in touch with me. The definition of insanity is doing the same old thing and expecting a different outcome, right? Change your belief system from Calories In Calories Out, Low Fat blah blah blah, to Food Is Medicine, or Food Is Poison.

Understand that good fat is good for us; starving ourselves backfires; our hormones always rule; and small plates and baby forks for weight control are Dumb. Come on! We can be positive examples for our kids; we can be the one in our circle to stop the cycle and start a trend; and let’s not waste another minute lamenting our stomach, thighs, butt, or weight. There’s so much more to life than that.

Do You Have “Weight Loss Resistance”?

20150322_174519I have really interesting information today that relates to your weight, your energy, and your risk for disease, but first, a little info on where I’ve been the past week.

See my lead picture?  That’s me, with Mark, 2 of my sisters, 1 brother in law, and my parents.  My dad threw a big – super fun – party for my mom down in Florida, where they live half the year.  Pretty weather, fun in the sun, lots of dancing – it just messed up my writing schedule!  It didn’t however, mess up my learning schedule, as I’m obsessed with reading and listening to anything and everything about health.

Then, I spent 2 days in Hampton, Va at a Joyce Meyers convention with Mark.  Wow.  That woman’s amazing and inspiring, check her out.

Weight Loss Resistance:  This past week there’s been a Diabetes Summit on line, and if you haven’t been listening and you have diabetes, high blood sugar or just can’t lose weight, you should buy this summit.  Why?  The docs on this summit have a LOT of new info, holy smoly – tons, seriously it’s the best summit I’ve heard in a while.

In light of how many people actually have diabetes, and how many are predicted to develop diabetes, this is a condition that will literally touch ALL OF US in one way or another.  CDC predicts that by 2020 – 6 years from now – half of all Americans will be either diabetic or pre-diabetic.  MOMS, OUR KIDS ARE AT RISK HERE.  

The good news?  DIABETES TYPE 2 IS BOTH PREVENTABLE AND REVERSIBLE.  You don’t have diabetes because of genetics. Sorry. Diabetes rarely affected our grandparents when they were young, and our great-grand parents (in their younger years) possibly never even heard of it.  Type 2 diabetes is a LIFESTYLE disease of High Blood Sugar, and Insulin Resistance.

It’s fixable; and we want to fix it, because high blood sugar and insulin resistance lead to many many disease states other than diabetes.

Weight Loss Resistance is one of them; here’s why it happens.  When we have high blood sugar, insulin is released to the blood stream.  Insulin’s job is to lower blood sugar, because high blood sugar wrecks havoc on our arteries (high blood pressure, ED, etc), our skin (wrinkles, age spots), our nerve endings (hello neuropathy), our brain – Alzheimer’s is being called Diabetes Type 3, and I could go on and on.  The weight connection:  when excess Insulin is in the blood, FAT BURNING AIN’T HAPPENING. PERIOD PERIOD PERIOD.

If you eat a breakfast of “healthy whole grain” oatmeal and a banana and go to the gym to “burn fat”, you won’t; you’ll just burn the sugar/glucose in your blood stream.  It’s science: when insulin’s in the blood stream, our “fuel burners” aka mitochondria, burn glucose, not fat.  It’s a rule, and we can’t change it.

What about Weight Loss Resistance?  I’d never heard that term before I heard one of the summit’s docs coin it, but I sure do know people who have it, including some of my clients who literally do everything right and still can’t lose weight.  This explains it!

First, a review of what “Insulin Resistance” is, and how that leads to “Weight Loss Resistance”.  The hormone Insulin can be Caustic and Irritating.  In NORMAL amounts insulin is wonderful and necessary.  In EXCESSIVE amounts, say, the amounts required to store all the excess blood sugar consumed today, Insulin is DANGEROUS.  Our cells and our body, knows this; so the little doors-receptors on the cells that happily open for NORMAL amounts of insulin, close and say NO WAY to excessive amounts of insulin; they’re self-preservating. When receptor doors close, there’s inflammation, there’s a shut down of cell function, and **** other hormones, like Thyroid, Sex, and Leptin (which tells our brain we’re full) are prevented from entering and delivering their messages.   

A whole bunch of dysfunction is happening, right?

Two more points about Insulin Resistance:  1) if you have this, you’ve become a Fat Making and Storing Machine.  Long chemistry explanation, but true.  2) Insulin Resistance begets MORE insulin resistance; the lack of insulin in the cells sends a signal to the pancreas to spit out more insulin.  It does, but the insulin has no where to go, because the doors are shut.  So the pancreas makes even more, which irritates more doors to shut.  It’s a vicious cycle.

What about Weight Loss Resistance?  What if you just quit eating refined grains and sugars, everything should go back to normal, right?

Sometimes; most of the time. Sometimes not.

Here’s a great point brought to light via the summit’s speakers:  Insulin Resistance isn’t only caused by excess insulin. The cells doors/receptors are bothered and irritated to closing by TOXINS also.  What toxins?  Crap in our water, foods, cigarettes, personal care products, cleaning products, pesticides, herbicides, etc.  We have tens of thousands of irritating chemicals in our life every day, and they’re so completely hidden from view that they’re mostly invisible.

Removal of toxins and refined sugar and grains are the first step to healing Insulin Resistance.  Healing the cell so that the doors/receptors open normally to insulin and all our other hormones, is the next step.

This is trickier, and it involves both correct nutrients, and great digestion.

The exterior of our cells is made from Fats and Cholesterol, and believe it or not, SATURATED FAT, is WAY preferred over POLY-UNSATURATED fats, or even mono-unsaturated fats, for building the cell wall. ( Hmmmm. NOT THE MESSAGE WE HEAR FROM OUR DOCS OR THE GOVERNMENT.)  Why?  Sat fats are structurally neat and tidy, like a brick wall.  Nutrients get in easily, and trash gets out easily, like it’s supposed to.  Saturated fats are the most stable and durable in the face of Free Radicals, Heat, and Oxygen of all the fats.

Remember I said that we burn sugar instead of fat if Insulin’s in the blood stream, it’s a rule?  Well, the fact that saturated fats and cholesterol make the best cell walls is another Rule like that one.  It’s just science.  What happens if you don’t eat saturated fat or cholesterol, but like me, you went years eating vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils, like margarine or Crisco?

Your body will use those weak, damage prone fats to build your cells.  Nutrients won’t get in well, and trash won’t get out well.  Not only that, but those cells are now prone to inflammation and dysfunction;  think: INSULIN RESISTANCE.

One more fact about saturated fat and cholesterol:  it doesn’t make your blood sugar rise AT ALL.  ZERO insulin is released to take care of it, zero.

Cells need to be healed if Insulin Resistance is going to be reversed. Obviously, we need good fatty acids to do that, and to breakdown and absorb and use those fatty acids, we need good digestion.  If you bloat, belch, fart, have reflux, or GERD, you don’t have good digestion.  That has to be fixed using supps like DGL, aloe vera, digestive enzymes and more.  There’s specific nutrients that target the cell receptors, like Berberine and ALA, and there’s spices and herbs that repair cells and reduce or reverse inflammation, like turmeric and garlic.

Food Is Medicine or Food Is Poison, right?

Exercise helps reduce Insulin Resistance, because it makes muscle cells have more mitochondria, so the cells have the capacity to accept more sugar/glucose.  Burst training/HITT/intervals/plyometrics and weight training have the most positive effects on Insulin Resistance, much more than long cardio, which can actually make things worse. (long explanation)

If the term Weight Loss Resistance caught your eye, because you think that applies to you, get in touch with me.  We can come up with a plan to get you Burning Fat instead of Storing Fat.  Our bodies want to be healthy and normal, we all have the capacity to change and heal and feel great.  Take control of your life today; eat Real Whole Foods, prioritize sleep and stress management, schedule exercise into your week.  This is doable, and you’re fixable.  I promise.

2015-03-29 08.56.13I’m ending with a picture of my mom and dad at the party, you can see where I get my bent for health from!

 

To check out the Diabetes summit, go here.

 

Success Story: Pain Gone and Weight Off

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love it!  Another client who’s lost weight, eliminated pain, and – this isn’t in her story – got rid of daily bloat and IBS.

Its. The. Food.

But it’s not “diet food” that you need, as a matter of fact, Chrissy lived on a diet.  A typical low fat, healthy whole grain diet.

That doesn’t work, not for weight loss, and not for inflammation; no matter how intuitive it might sound that to lose fat, you shouldn’t eat fat, it’s the exact opposite of the truth.

Chrissy didn’t see me for weight loss, she already looked great.  Her weight loss was just a bonus side-effect of eating for health.  She came to me because of the daily pain she experienced, which wasn’t getting resolved despite multiple attempts with doctors-tests-drugs.

Her back pain, and her bloat-IBS, were just symptoms of inflammatory chemicals in the foods she was eating.  “Healthy” foods by normal standards, but foods I believe are causing terrible health, pain, and weight gain in most people.

Grains and sugars and chemicals aren’t good for any of us, that goes for our children who often recover quickly from any acute damage they cause.  No one can recover forever though.  Eventually, the side-effects of grains/sugars/chemicals will present themselves, every day.  

If you have issues you’re dealing with, from PCOS, to headaches, to sore joints, poor immune system, issues other than just weight, you’re not deficient in medicines, you’re nutrient deficient and damaged.  You can fix that!  

Read Chrissy’s story, and then get in touch with me.

“I’ve been dealing with terrible back pain since September 2013. I’ve had every medical test you can get – sonograms, X-rays, CT scans, MRI, back injections, physical therapy, blood work and finally a colonoscopy. I was tested for celiac. No one could give me an answer as to why the pain would come and go and vary in intensity. Meanwhile, I was LOSING days every single month because I couldn’t get out of bed due to the extreme pain. I was becoming very depressed and starting to lose hope I’d ever be out of pain. Until a follow-up with the gastro doc in January – 16 months after the pain started. They said all this pain could be food related. Rather than go on the diet they wanted me to go on, I got in touch with Debbie Brockett Abbott -a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner – and she has absolutely changed my life! Within 5 days of going grain and gluten free, 95% of the pain was GONE. ALL the pain was gone within 1 week of the diet change. Very quickly I realized that I have a terrible reaction to corn and that corn is in everything! I’m back in pain if I get even the tiniest bit of corn – corn starch, dextrose from corn, corn syrup, etc. It’s crazy. Yes, this way of eating takes time in the kitchen cooking and it took hours just to de-grain my kitchen. But my family has been incredibly supportive because they finally have a happy and FUNCTIONING wife/mom back in the house! And I’ve lost 6 pounds in the almost 2 months of eating this way and have a ton of energy – total BONUS for me! If you are dealing with any sort of pain, do some research. Look at food labels. See if eliminating certain foods could be an answer for you. We’ve all heard we are what we eat – I was eating way too many processed foods and cooking with things that had hidden ingredients I wasn’t even aware of. And if you are local, meet with Debbie!! She’s truly awesome. I’m learning so much about food and nutrition and am finally PAIN FREE! Whoo, hoo!!

Bullet Proof Coffee, Hormones, and Weight Loss

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you haven’t heard of Bullet Proof Coffee (BPC) yet, you will soon.  It gets a lot of press, and the creator of BPC opened his first brick and mortar shop in California this winter.

Many of you have heard of it though, because I get asked about it all the time. I’ve been Bullet Proofing for a couple months now, but this Post isn’t an endorsement, it’s just information. (By the way, I haven’t given up my raw cream totally, I’m only BPing half the time.)  Here’s why, here’s what it is, here’s how you may need to tweak it, and here’s why it could totally, completely backfire on you.

BPC isn’t Dave Asprey’s brain child, he discovered it while climbing mountains in Tibet; apparently the Sherpas drink something similar (with yak dairy), eat very little, do strenuous work, and have great energy.  Dave had similar results and then brought the idea back to the US.  Wow, has that ever worked for him! (He’s built a pretty profitable empire)

What is BPC?  The general recipe is 2 cups of clean (mold free) coffee, blended with 2 tbsp of grass fed butter and 2 tbsp of MCT oil.  Other ingredients could be added, such as vanilla powder, coconut oil, or stevia, or even collagen, which I’ll cover later.  Oh, it’s supposed to be blended as opposed to just stirred; I use a little milk frother, but you could use a smoothie maker.

Will BPC work for you?  There’s a bunch of pro’s and cons here, and don’t for a second think that Bullet Proof Coffee is a Magic Bullet for any weight issues you’re having.  We’re a chemistry set, and there’s way more to our weight than a few good, or bad, choices.

Here’s some facts:

If you’re NOT adrenally fatigued, coffee’s good for you!  Antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee lower the risk for different cancers (prostate, liver, and colorectal).  Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing diabetes T2.  Coffee’s nutrients and caffeine lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by about 60%, and gives protective qualities against other neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and dementia.  Coffee’s nutrients have liver protecting qualities.  And we all know about caffeine’s effects on energy, performance, and brain recall: good, good, and good.

What’s not to like?  Well, if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends so much that you use coffee all day long, and barely feel it’s effects, you’ve set up a hormonal situation that negates any benefit coffee could provide.  You probably need to go on a coffee detox, and abstain for a while until your adrenals hormones, thyroid hormones, sex hormones, leptin, and all your other hormones can normalize.  Sad news, I know.

More bad news on coffee?  It’s grown in tropical climates; mold and bugs are a big problem.  Fungicides, pesticides and herbicides are all sprayed very very heavily, so go organic.  The Bullet Proof brand is created with this in mind, and is clean and free of any of those poisons, but I’m sure many other brands are also.  BP’s a little pricy for me, but I do buy their decaf, which is done without chemicals as opposed to the highly chemical-ized typical way of separating the caffeine out of coffee.

My biggest Con – and it’s important and has to do with your weight – will be at the end.  Let me go over why BPC could be good for you first.

When we wake up in the morning, if we’re normal, we’ve been in a hormonal state that’s triggered our cells to use FATTY ACIDS for fuel instead of glucose (sugar).  If we’re normal, we haven’t eaten for several hours, our blood sugar is low, and our insulin levels are low.  This is why we’re using fatty acids for fuel:  low insulin.  Remember, when insulin’s in the blood – fat is never ever ever used for fuel.  Only sugar is.  Low insulin=fat burning.

How do you know if you’re not normal?  Lot’s of ways:  high fasting morning blood sugar, belly fat, and labs that show a high level of hsCRP.  High levels of hsCRP mean Leptin Resistance, which means ABNORMAL.  Pay attention here, because typical BPC protocols aren’t for you if these are your body signs.

BPC can be used two ways.  1) you can have a cup or 2 in the morning before your breakfast.    2) you can drink it all morning long until it’s been about 16 – 18 hours since you’ve had dinner, and then start eating.  It’s complicated and if you’re interested in the Bullet Proof Fasting, read up on it.  Links at the end of Post.

Benefits of BPC besides the benefits inherent in coffee?  If we avoid carbs in the morning, and just have the BPC, which is very high in FAT, we keep insulin low, blood sugar low, and Fat Burning Up.  As long as we don’t eat carbs, the Fat Burning Continues.  This is a good thing, and effective – if you’re normal.  High fat diets provide a lot of nutrients and have a great effect on our hormones; plus, our cells become good at burning fat/using fat for fuel when fat is a normal and substantial part of our diet.

BPC really does make you feel very alert, and it does have an effect on cravings via fat’s positive effects on satiety hormones.  Additionally, the nutrients in grass fed butter and MCT oil are very good for our brain, heart, and gut.

There’s plenty of antidotal evidence that BPC can help you lose weight and become mentally sharper. If you visit the site, you’ll see testimony’s by actors, doctors, and athletes singing it’s praises.

Still, it’s not for everyone, and like I said before, it’s not a Magic Weight Loss Bullet.  Here’s why.

First, BPC is based on the principle that a high fat or ketogenic diet is good for you, which I believe in and use myself.  I don’t eat sugar or grains and I haven’t for years.  No problem.  If you do eat sugar and grains and think you’re going to get away with BPC, you’re wrong.  Lots of carbs + lots of fat = Lots of Body Fat.

Who else shouldn’t rely on BPC as a meal, or try that 16/18 hour fast I mentioned above?  Food Addicts and Chronic Dieters.  BP fasts or efforts will most likely throw you into a food binge rebound, just like all your other diet attempts.  Don’t do it!  Addicts and Dieters need to practice normal meals with Real Whole Food, and no snacking.  Baby steps.

One more caveat:  we women, with all our wonderful, fluctuating hormones, may need to add some collagen to the coffee.  Remember collagen?  Lots of amino acids that are very different from the amino acids in muscle meats like burger, or dairy, like whey.  Again, it’s a long explanation, and there’s a lot of science behind it.  Check out the links if you want to explore farther.

What if you’re interested in BPing, but don’t like coffee?  There’s other ways.  You can use green tea, black tea, ground cocoa, or even vanilla powder.  Again, check out the links.

There you have it!  Bullet Proof explained.  And just to really nail it home:  Bullet Proof doesn’t equal Magic Bullet.  You still need to Sleep, Manage your Stress, Exercise, and eat Real Whole Food. Have a good week!

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/weight-loss-food-cravings-leptin-resistance-insulin-resistance-what-applies-to-you/

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/working-man-parts-weight-loss-youthful-skin-joint-pain-what-do-they-have-in-common-they-all-benefit-from-bone-broth-and-gelatin/

http://dailycoffeenews.com/2015/01/15/a-branded-bulletproof-coffee-shop-is-coming-to-santa-monica/

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-coffee-mistakes-butter-coffee-fatty-coffee-and-more/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bulletproof-Diet-Reclaim-Upgrade/dp/162336518X

Want to Be Lean and Healthy? Train To Be A “Wow” Brain. Success Story Inspiration!

Ernestine-ShepherdOww Brain or Wow Brain; Mark and I heard that phrase in a talk describing two types of people:  1) those who balk at change/effort/organization because it’s too hard, so their life is one big excuse; and 2) those who accept change/effort/organization, despite that it’s hard, and actually embrace it.

If you want to lose weight, get healthy, and have a fit body, it’s not about luck, or having the time.  If you think that way, you’re an Oww Brain, that means YOU MAKE EXCUSES.  Practice being a Wow Brain, practice being organized, practice sticking to your schedule.  Other people do, you can too!

You don’t need a secret sauce or great genetics to be healthy and fit.  You just need a plan, and then, you need to stick to the plan.  The plan needs to be sustainable, forever.  The resolve to adhere to the plan comes from the Wow Mindset.  If you don’t have that, then develop that. Other people do, you can too.

Need to lose weight?  Want great legs?  Tired of having your stomach sticking out?  Tired of being sick and tired?  Other people change, you can too.

Hate to cook, bad at scheduling, think your kids or your job runs your life? That’s an Excuse Train/Oww Brain Mindset.  Other people change that, you can too.

Want some motivation to jump off the Excuse Train, end the Diet Roller Coaster, and start living the life you want?  Look at some of the Other People:

Maynard_7_t900Read about Kyle Maynard, a Professional Athlete who has no arms and no legs.  This guy kicked my butt in Burpee Tabatas at a conference once.  It was humbling.

 

 

maxresdefaultRead about Willie Murphy, who’s 77 and can do 1 handed push-ups in addition to squats and dead lifts!

 

 

 

masters_kathymartinRead about Kathy Martin, a Master’s Runner who didn’t even start running until she was in her late 40’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fran-miller-91-year-old-yogaRead about Fran Miller, the 91 year old Yogi, who never took a yoga class until she was in her 50’s.

 

 

 

DUNK360-Featured-Image-vince-400x242Read about Vince McMahon, who’s 69 and owns the empire – and still runs – the WWE.

 

 

 

tina armetRead about blind Ironman Tina Armet, who qualified then ran, biked, and swam at Kona (that means she made it through all the smaller races first).

 

Oh, what about my lead photo, the gorgeous body builder?  That’s 77 year old Ernestine Shepard, who didn’t start working out until she was 56.

To quote 2 Timothy 1:7:  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  (I love this verse.)

That doesn’t apply to some of us, it applies to all of us.  All of us are capable of taking the steps and living the life of fitness and health and purpose.  All of us.

Are you going to waste another day being an Oww Brain, or are you going to be like these Other People, and develop your Wow Brain?

How Cool! Egg Shell Calcium – Smells Like Dessert, and It’s Healthy!

20150228_081827These are before and after pictures of my eggshells:  whole, and then powered.  Holy Cow do they smell delicious, like meringue. This is my new, favorite way to get my calcium, the most 20150228_081926abundant mineral in our body.

Years ago I took calcium supplements; I actually used them as my “candy”, and so did my kids.  Ugh.  Big mistake.  Most calcium supplements use a form of calcium that doesn’t actually make it into our bones.  Worse, many calcium supplements contain junk we don’t want in our body.  Look at this ingredient list of Viactiv:

 Calcium Carbonate, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sweetened Condensed Milk (milk , sugar), Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Glycerine, Contains 1% or Less of Cornstarch, Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K1

Really?? Yet many in the health profession recommend this to “keep our bones strong”.

Here’s the scoop on calcium in a nutshell.  Our bones and teeth should hold about 90% of our bodies calcium.  When we eat absorbable calcium (like the kind in eggshells, raw dairy, bones, almonds and greens, all Real Whole Foods), our body puts the calcium where it belongs: the bones and the teeth.

When we eat processed foods and calcium supplements, which contain cheap and poorly absorbed forms of calcium, our body puts the calcium where it doesn’t belong:  arteries (that’s what “hardening” refers to), kidneys (stones), skin (scleroderma), eyes (cataracts), joints, even the prostate and ovaries, which also can become “hardened”.

Several recent studies nail calcium supplements for dramatically increasing the risk of heart attack:  “A large study of 24,000 men and women aged 35–64 years published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2012 found that those who used calcium supplements had a 139% greater risk of heart attack during the 11-year study period, while intake of calcium from food did not increase the risk.”  FYI: It’s crappy calcium that’s added to “fortified” foods, like orange juice; another reason to just eat Real Whole Foods.

Most ironic of all, study after study shows that calcium supplementation doesn’t increase bone density, and that countries who supplement the most have the highest rates of bone fractures.

Back to my Egg Shell Calcium beginning, we need good calcium! Not just for strong bones and teeth, but for our nerves, our enzymes, and every cell of our body. Good calcium makes us normal – one of my biggest goals!

Here’s the exciting part: studies show that eggshell calcium actually stimulates bone and cartilage growth, and decreases arthritic pain.

Here’s the DIY how-to’s:

Save all your egg shells in a big cup, and keep the cup in the fridge until you have 10 or more.

Boil the shells in a pot of water for 10 minutes.

Dry the shells in the oven on 200 for 10 to 15 minutes.

Grind in a coffee grinder; a blender or food processor’s blades will be too big.

One teaspoon of eggshell calcium contains about 800mg of calcium, so use accordingly.  Recommendations for adults are around 1000 mg a day, more for pregnant and lactating women, less for kids.

I’ve been putting mine in my morning smoothies or hot drinks, anything with fat because fat is absolutely essential for calcium absorption into the bone, as is Vitamin K2 (not K1, a la Viactiv) and Vitamin D2.

Isn’t nature cool?

You’re Not Lazy and You’re Not Crazy; It’s Just Your Hormones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently tested my estrogen and progesterone levels – at home. :)  I’m 50 in a few weeks, and passed the “12 months no period = menopause” mark in January. I was curious.

It’s not the first time I’ve tested my sex hormones.  Three times in the past, I went through my OB-Gyn for hormone blood tests, covered by insurance; and then 3 times I did both saliva and blood spot tests through a Functional Medicine doctor, and payed a fortune out of pocket.  I also tested my cortisol levels throughout the day.

Not this time!  Same lab, same tests, I paid $70, and had the results sent right to me.  Freedom! I’ll explain how you can do this at the end of this post.  First, let me explain why I think it’s a good idea to know what’s going on with our hormones.

Hormones Rule Us.  This isn’t a Post on menopause, it’s a Post about body weight, and how we can use information to really tailor that whole “Food is Medicine” thing.  It’s also a Post to reinforce that our body is a Chemistry Set, not a Math Equation.  The whole calories in/calories out….. we don’t run that way.

Let me bullet point some facts about food and hormones to illustrate the futileness of believing that weight loss comes from calorie deficits, and the hormonal effects when we employ traditional diet methods, or even a Standard American Diet.

* The thyroid gland slows down production of thyroid hormone – which slows down metabolism – as soon as it even suspects a lack of food.  Our thyroid gland is supposed to protect us from starving.  The result of a few rounds of dieting?  A thyroid that stays sluggish even when calorie consumption rises.

* When we eat grains and sugar (all grains digest to sugar in the gut), the result is high blood sugar.  High blood sugar induces high levels of the hormone Insulin.  Insulin is a building, storage hormone, it’s also a caustic damaging hormone when in excess.  For most Americans, insulin is in excess.

* Studies show that chronically high blood sugar actually destroys the thyroid gland, lowering metabolism even more via less thyroid hormone.

* When the hormone Insulin is elevated (say, after a breakfast of cereal, or a dinner of pasta), our cells are literally prohibited from burning fat for fuel.  They’re only allowed to burn sugar. In our body, that’s a rule we can’t change.  It’s part of our design.

* What happens when Insulin remains high – a la Insulin Resistance?  Insulin resistance leads to Leptin resistance.  Leptin is a satiety hormone.  “Resistance” means the hormone can’t get into the cells to deliver it’s message.   Leptin resistance means constant hunger.

* Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. It’s supposed to rise when our stomach is empty, and fall after we eat.  Studies show that in people who eat “diet food”, ghrelin doesn’t fall, or fall properly.  The result:  we stay hungry.  We need Real Whole Food to make the hunger hormones and the satiety hormones function correctly.  Diet Coke with a Protein Bar won’t work; actually, that’s a recipe for hormonal disaster.

* Estrogen Dominance is pervasive today, in men, women, and children.  Too much estrogen causes low testosterone in men.  Excess estrogen causes low progesterone in women.  These are both hormonal situations that lead to weight gain.

* Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands in response to the brains perception of stress, any kind of stress, even fake stress as in a scary movie.  Cortisol production inhibits sex hormone production.  Chronically high cortisol means chronically low sex hormones.  Chronically high cortisol is linked to insulin resistance ( it blocks insulin receptors on cells) and belly fat – and heart disease.

* Lack of sleep messes up more hormones than we can count.  One of them is ghrelin.  Lack of sleep raises ghrelin, which increases hunger.

* Thyroid hormone – again, responsible for our metabolism – is negatively affected by consumption of soy, fluoride, and chlorine.  Think protein bars, processed food, and municipal water.

* Drinking alcohol, any alcohol, causes an enzyme called aromatase to convert testosterone into estrogen.  This happens to both men and women, and it causes “estrogen belly”, formerly know as “beer belly”.

*A diet full of processed foods, flour, sugar, and chemicals, severely disrupts our gut flora (even if this diet is low calorie).  Our gut flora are highly involved in whether we burn predominantly fat or sugar.  One example, and there’s many, is that the more diverse our gut species are, the better our liver gets rid of old hormones, like estrogen.  Poor gut flora means poor elimination, and those hormones stay dangerously high in the blood.

* Numerous studies show that Vitamin D – which is actually a hormone, greatly influences both weight loss and inflammation levels.  Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic!

* Numerous studies show that excessive exercise and chronic dieting raise levels of cortisol in the blood.  Just like when Insulin is high, when cortisol is high, the body doesn’t burn fat, it burns sugar.

* Both Fructose and Trans Fats (present in most prepared foods, “diet” or not) both cause Insulin Resistance and raise markers of inflammatory hormones, again, inhibiting fat burning in the cell.

All that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Hopefully it was enough to convince you that losing weight isn’t about starving yourself, mini meals, excessive exercise, and diet foods.  All that stuff does the opposite of permanent weight loss; those kind of diet efforts put you into a hormonal state that makes weight loss impossible.

How does this tie in with me testing some of my hormones at home?  My health doesn’t come from my doctor; my health – and a healthy weight – comes from me paying attention to my body and making changes when I need too.  Having normal levels of sex hormones is really important, to my weight, my brain, my energy, my immune system.

Everything is so connected.  We’re not a bunch of individual parts that work independently, not even close.  I also test my blood sugar, at least a couple times a month, and just recently I did an A1C ( which shows a 90 day average of blood sugar – a great marker for Alzheimer’s and inflammation ).

Food is medicine, or food is poison.  When I know what’s going on in my body, I can literally use food as my medicine.  For instance, now that I know how low my estrogen is, and that I’m fully menopausal, I’m using particular foods and herbs to naturally raise my estrogen, and progesterone.  I’ll test again this summer and see how that’s working.

Last year I got really into Bikram yoga.  A friend of mind wondered if that level of heat stress caused a cortisol release, which causes high blood sugar.  So I took my glucometer to the studio and tested a couple times.  I’ve also tested after I’ve taught some tough boot camp classes.  Exercise doesn’t stress me, I know that now because my blood sugar was good each time.

However, I’ve also tested after tornados blow through my house and seen that my blood sugar is high.  ( we’re a big family who loves each other but … stress happens. )

Testing at home is fun, affordable, and while a full CBC panel can be confusing to interpret, a hormone panel, blood sugar numbers, and A1C aren’t, at all.  And they give you some real black and white answers about the state of your health.

I encourage all my weight loss clients to regularly test their blood sugar as it’s such a strong tool for weight loss:  if blood sugar’s high, the hormone Insulin is high.  When insulin is high, fat loss doesn’t happen.  Notice I said fat loss not weight loss.  You can starve some weight off, but if insulin is high, and worse, if the hormone cortisol is high from the stress of dieting/hunger/excessive exercise, the weight comes mostly in the form of muscle tissue, not fat tissue.  Less muscle tissue means a lower daily calorie burn.

Again, we’re a big cycle.  Here’s the links to the tests, if you want help with using them to lose weight or get healthy, or both, contact me and let’s work together.

To order the hormone panel:http://www.johnleemd.com/store/prod_test_kits.html

To buy a glucometer/blood sugar meter:http://www.amazon.com/Diabetes-Testing-TrueResult-TrueTest-Active1st/dp/B00PX2T58I/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t

To buy an A1C:http://www.amazon.com/4303514-Bayer-hBa1C-Waived-Diabetes/dp/B00D7C6YWQ/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0YN868HAH518CN8NCF45