Stress

Stress

Ah yes, stress. That great mountain so many of us have to climb. However, when I take a step back and observe, I realize something: we are making a mountain out of a molehill. Everyone scurries here and there, works their tails off, eats bad, drinks worse, make bad choices and wonder what went wrong. Wowzers. Alright, my beloved reader, calm down. Fine, everything will be.

A while ago, I realized I was at a stopping point for losing weight. I lost a bunch, but couldn’t lose anymore (aiming for the sixpack, almost got it). Aside from my semi-narcissistic goal, I was worrying about WHY I COULDN’T LOSE WEIGHT. It just wasn’t happening for me. But, I took a step back, observed my life, and realized the following:

#1 – I work a high-intensity job where I don’t take time to relax or recuperate

#2 – Family situation is out of whack, and a great source of stress

#3 – My nutrition was great for weight loss, but not neccesarily for overall health (ouch)

#4 – I worked full-time, then crammed my weekend full of social business (girlfriend, partying, extra work)

#5 – I didn’t take time to RELAX. ENJOY LIFE. And boy, I paid a price. My hormone levels were… bad.

But the good news, my intrepid reader, is that I’m going to share with you my tactics for reducing stress and increasing positivity.

Tactic 1) Yoga: I do yoga 3-4 times per week, and as a whole, its relaxing. Going through a series of poses slowly, listening to gentle music (or calming sounds like waves), and mmmmm, feel that calm energy flow. Best part? Time Economical (note the capital E). It only takes about 15-20min for my schedule. So I get great ROM improvements plus the stress reduction.

Tactic 2) Diet: Eating a diet that delivers all the necessary nutrients is essential. I eat high fat, low carb, med protein, and supplement well. I’m working on growing my own veggies (I live in the country and we have… unwelcome visitors). Before, I didn’t supplement, and ignored the usefulness of certain supplements/food strategies for improving calm. Magnesium is awesome before bed, and I love drinking tea (shout-out to chamomile decaffeinated).

Tactic 3) Work: This may be a controversial area, so bear with me. I do several things at work. I take short breaks (this breaks up monotony, and since I stare at a book or computer all day its necessary for eye health); I always have something to drink (vitamin C water, water, tea with butter; this helps to keep my hydrated, focused, and not be worried about running to grab a drink in the middle of the work day); I have a standing desk (this allows me to break up monotony of sitting and move around freely as I have a large desk); I talk with coworkers (our environment is fairly laid-back, and I love the people I work with).

Tactic 4) Activity: 3-5 times a week I either take a walk in our woods, do Insanity (a very fun DVD exercise program), walk the countryside, just get out and get physical. This helps in two ways. One it provides a counterbalance to my sedentary indoor working lifestyle. Two getting outside and getting some realness really helps keep me centered.

Tactic 5) Relaxation techniques: Some people do breathing exercises, yoga, etc. I love hot baths. Just sitting there, cool (mentally), calm, collected, listening to Beethoven’s 5th. Mmmmm. I love using my acupuncture mat for releasing endorphins/enkephalins, natural relaxers in the body. Experiment in this area, let me know whatcha come up with 🙂

Tactic 6) Religion: For me, my faith is important, and being able to give everything that happens to God is such a relief. Matthew 6:34 says,”Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Some of you may not be religious, but its something of great and precious value to me, and I’d encourage some exploration if you think it will help.

Overall, life is better now. I’ve begun to lose weight, and my situations are much less stressful. Taking time out of your life to purposefully combat stress could perhaps be the key to unlocking a whole new you 🙂

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A Day in My Life

Well my adorable readers, it has been far too long since I have shared my nutritional wisdom. Ha. Anyway, I’ll step off my high place of authority… *steps off* and proceed with giving you some good information. I realized that while I’ve given some protocols, its sometimes more useful to know what that person actually does. So, today, from beginning to end*ish*, here is my nutrition… Wakeup: Oil pull with coconut oil and oregano oil

Pre-Breakfast: 3g Vitamin C, 10000 IU Vitamin D, 3tabs Ginkgo Biloba, 2mg B12

Breakfast: Organic medium-roast coffee with 1Tbsp Unsalted grassfed butter

Mid-Morning: 1cup organic green tea with 1Tbsp Unsalted grassfed butter, 5g vitamin C

Pre-Lunch: 1Tbsp ACV

Lunch: Unwich (natural salami and roast beef, wrapped in organic lettuce with homemade mayo and mustard), organic salsa with organic blue corn chips,

Afternoon: Coffee with 1Tbsp Coconut Oil, Dark Chocolate

Dinner: Ummm… its my birthday, so we’re eating out. Mexican foooood!!! 😀

Post-Dinner: 4capsules Coconut Charcoal for detoxing

Evening: Oil Pull (same ingredients), Metamucil, Chamomile Tea with 1Tbsp MCT Oil, Magnesium (800mg)

My schedule is fairly simple for food. Remember, if you want a good body and good health, spend more time in the kitchen than you do in the gym.

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Light ‘Em Up…

Hello my dear readers! Its been a long time since I’ve posted, but I’ve come across some nutritional goodies that I simply cannot resist sharing about. While reading the book Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife, I noticed a commonality between the diseases that may be caused by bacteria seeping into the blood stream and spreading throughout the body.

The common cause is inflammation. This should almost be labeled as its own condition. Chronic inflammation is the worst, leading to possible diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or even asthma! The science supporting these theories is astounding, and after reading a few of the supporting articles, I’d have to say that I’m starting to believe much of what Dr. Fife is claiming.

So, the question is, how do we reduce inflammation? That’s a million-dollar question, and one that I hope I can endeavor to help you with in this post. I believe that overall, you can do several things to help reduce systemic inflammation and get your body functioning in its optimal state.

Step #1: Reduce sugar and refined carbs – these raise inflammation levels on their own and produce no nutritional benefits. An occasional treat is ok, as your body can deal relatively easily with the occasional acute inflammation, but have a treat too regularly and you’ll have a problem on your hands. Fruit high in sugar (apples, peaches, grapes, watermelon) should also be avoided, as fructose can also be a cause for inflammation.

Step #2: Eat organic, or as much as you can. Pesticides, insecticides, growth hormones, antibiotics… the list goes on and on for the chemical crap we continually choose to pour into our bodies. Eating organic (better yet, growing your own food and/or raising chickens for meat/eggs) can be a great start to getting this stuff out of your body and helping reduce stress/inflammation.

Step #3: Eat as much saturated fat (coconut oil and butter are Amazing) and avoid polyunsaturated/trans fats. The former has been scientifically proven to help reduce inflammation by reducing cytokines (and coconut oil has natural anti-biotic properties) while the latter contains unstable/synthetic oils that present many opportunities for chronic inflammation to take hold in your body.

Step #4: Oil pulling. This removes many of the harmful bacteria that reside in your mouth. Its not a common idea, but think of this way: Your mouth is a part of your digestive tract, and thus is a good representation of the condition of the rest of your track. A nasty mouth means a bad digestive system. A tablespoon of  coconut oil (virgin, non-heat pressed, organic) swished for 10 minutes then spat out is by far the superior oil for oil pulling. As mentioned before, it has anti-biotic properties and as a saturated fat has better permeability for penetrating your gums and doing a thorough cleaning. If you wanna be really gung-ho, try adding a drop of oregano oil, also noted for anti-biotic properties.

Step #5: Supplement. If you follow the above steps (particularly the part about eating organic) you’ve eliminated bad foods which reduces inflammation, but making sure your body has enough high-quality nutrients can also help your body fight inflammation. I take the following regimen, which is broad and helps immeasurably:

Vitamin C – Dual Focus – roughly 10g per day – powder form, stirred in water (bonus: blend Vitamin C with water and 1 Tbsp MCT oil to achieve higher bioavailability): strong antioxidant properties

Vitamin D – Solaray – 6,000 IU per day – pill: affects over 1000 genes and is a precursor for hormone production

Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Blue Ice – 2mL per day – liquid: source of vitamin D and vitamin A, also Omega-3

I also take a variety of nootropics to help my brain function at max capacity. Overall, inflammation is one of the biggest enemies in your body, and the above steps helped me tremendously in my quest for better health.

Supplements…

Alright, here we go! Supplements 101. On the left side of the room, we have the naysayers that continue their clamor that supplements merely make expensive urine. On the right side, we have the hardcore supplementies who can’t last 5 minutes without taking a pill. In the middle, sitting awkwardly, is… me. Yup, I’m in the middle on this debate. Despite that ancient Chinese proverb: “Man who walk middle of road get hit by car.”

Okay, enough of that for now. Seriously. Supplements are a great, homeopathic way of supplying your body with the nutrients it so desperately needs. Even if you eat a diet that’s 100% organic and lots of variety, chances are you still need to supplement certain things. I’ve provided a small list of my supplements and why I take them.

Vitamin C: I take this bad boy constantly, and I thank the Lord I have a job which allows me that privilege (aka time to actually do it). In one day, I’ll take roughly 10,000mg of the stuff, which is about my bowel tolerance (btw, overdosing in this stuff results in a C-flush [diarrhea] which, if performed once a week, can actually be beneficial for cleaning out the intestines). The form I take is ascorbic acid in crystallized form.

Vitamin D: I take about 10,000 IU per day. This stuff affects over 1000 genes in your body. I work an inside job and don’t get out much otherwise (aside from walks in the park with my girlfriend) so I don’t produce much vitamin D from sunlight. Even so, research points out that only people who are chronically and adequately exposed to the sun (like lifeguards) get enough vitamin D. The stuff is also a precursor to testosterone, which as a hot-blooded male, kinda important to me.

Magnesium: I take about 400 mg (1/2 teaspoon) every night 1hr prior to bedtime. Magnesium is great for your muscles and nervous system. It promotes relaxation, and a deficiency of it is sinister and can cause many problems.

Ginkgo Biloba: This is a nootropic. I buy a fairly typical brand, and take about 3-4 tablets of it (I apologize, I currently am not aware of how many mg are in each tablet). The stuff is great for memory support and actually just general cognitive functioning. But be aware that everyone is different, and even if I get a very positive impact from it, it may not affect you to the same degree. I do have ADHD, which may explain why GB works so well for me.

Cod Liver Oil: I take this stuff in a doses of 2mL. Its rich and chock-full of delicious Omega-3 fatty acids, which are used mainly to maintain normal functions throughout the body rather than be used as a source of energy. It also contains amounts of vitamins A and D, so there’s a bonus in its consumption.

Honestly, that’s about it. I’m a low-key supplementer. What about you? Leave a question or comment below.

Cow’s Milk is for… well, Cows

For anyone who is a leche lover, I’m afraid today’s World Wide Web blog posts will have you shifting uncomfortably in your seat as evidence is revealed that milk and other dairy products may not be as healthy as they once seemed. Dr. Thomas Levy returns in his book, Death by Calcium presents a plethora of research that serves to convince the reader of the dangers associate with excess calcium intake. This post, just as an FYI, will cover the skeleton of the data. If you want the real deal, well, here’s a link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615889603?keywords=death%20by%20calcium&qid=1444074409&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Now, on to the important stuff. For the most part, dairy is accepted as a staple of the standard American diet, or as I like to say, the SAD. Dr. Levy discusses that calcium is indeed a vital nutrient for many physiological processes that go on in the body, but that most foods will give more than adequate amounts. He condemns dairy and its delicious fatty rich goodness, but gives a measure of grace at the end by giving a “detox” like protocol to allow his readers some freedom.

Dr. Levy’s book revolves around calcium and its unfortunate association with increased risk of stroke, cancer, and heart attacks when there is too much in the body. This is especially a risk factor for people with osteoporosis, who are already losing calcium (via a process called resorption) that is moving throughout the body and being deposited and causing oxidation and inflammation. Now, you may cry out indignantly, “Hey! You sod! People with osteoporosis need that calcium so they don’t break their bones!!” Well, actually… they don’t. Sorry Charlie!

Death by Calcium

People who suffer from OP do NOT, I repeat NOT, need to supplement calcium. Dr. Levy prescribes a protocol, the focus of which is to increase the density of the bone matrix by a regimented supplementation of many nutrients. These nutrients include: vitamin C, K, D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium. Dr. Levy also encourages testing for hormone levels to make sure they’re in an optimum range.

Whew. ~350 words in 5 minutes of typing. 70 words per minutes. Man, and I swore I’d never be a desk jockey. But on a serious note: calcium supplementation is not a good suggestion due to the raise in risk factors for cancer, heart attacks, and strokes that it causes. Dr. Levy’s book explains the physiological mechanisms and research that fuel his book, and hopefully you’ll be interested enough to check it out. I would sincerely urge you to purchase the book, but a quick jog to Wikipedia is always a blast.

Btw: we used to play a Wikipedia association game where you see how many clicks it takes you to get from one word to another. I got from “Hitler” to “unicorns” in 2 clicks. Try it, and tell me what ya find!!!

Fat Finally in a Worthwhile Study

Ah, Friday. How sweet thou art. I will admit, this week has been absolutely grueling, and I won’t lie: I love my job, my responsibilities, my co-workers. But this is one weekend I’m looking forward to very much. Seeing my brother (haven’t seen him in like 3 months), helping a friend move, and I have an awesome romantic-ish date with the girlfriend. All in all, A+.

But, to the topic at hand. Fat. Fat is a macronutrient that was used as a scapegoat to further the sinister ambitions of large companies who, while they tell you their low-fat products are healthier, snicker in the background as poorly-informed people get in line to buy products they believe are healthier but have no scientific evidence to substantiate them.

So, poor, poor fat. Ostricized, left all alone except for Europe, where surely there must be much more heart disease because that’s what we were told?! Nope. Nada. Zip. Goose egg. France has one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world, so low in fact it has been dubbed “le French phenomenon”. But wait, if they eat lots of fat, and don’t have lots of heart disease…

That leaves the question of why in America, home of the free and land of the low-fat diets, there’s ever-increasing numbers of heart attacks. Hmmm. Coincidence? Ha. Fat chance… ok, sorry, that was terrible. Anywho, the question now is, does eating fat make you sick and overweight?

Well, I’m gonna endorse another dude (and by endorse I mean share a link) who knows his stuff. Enter Mr. Ben Greenfield, world-renowned person trainer, holistic expert, and all around guru. Here’s the link btw: http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/05/how-much-fat-can-you-burn-2/

Now, his focus is mainly on athletics, and while I did make heart disease my main topic of discussion, I think that after reading this you’ll understand why I did. If someone as ridiculously healthy as he is eats a diet comprised of 60% or more fat, logically, you simply cannot reason that eating fat can cause heart disease. He lists several links in his article that go to other articles, and if you’re a health nerd like I am, you’ll enjoy spending hours and hours and hours just reading.

I’ll throw this in: if you or anyone you know closely has had heart disease, I am very sorry for you. I would never make fun of the seriousness of the condition. What I will say is that, if you follow a low-fat diet, and you’ve STILL had heart disease, maybe its time to widen your gaze and see what else is out there. Have a great weekend everyone!