Tag Archives: exercise

Awareness Starts with Prevention

October is here again and with it comes an increase in pink donned by everyone from your next door neighbor to the players on the field each weekend.  This yearly tradition signifies breast cancer awareness month which emphasizes the importance of early detection and potentially life saving subsequent treatment.

But what if we took it a step further?

What if instead of simply looking to detect and treat, we placed the overwhelming emphasis on doing all we can to prevent it in the first place?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), approximately half of all cancers are preventable if certain strategies are implemented (i.e. diet and exercise).  If this is accurate, we are talking about millions of cases of cancer prevented, ultimately leading to a decrease in death, suffering and expensive cancer treatments.

Yet for some reason the act of prevention through education and lifestyle modifications continues not to be the main focus.  Rather the detection of an already existing, potentially deadly disease. This train of thought which holds true for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and the current mainstream medical model can best be summed up in a 2,000 year old quote:

“Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure a disease after it has manifest is like digging a well when one feels thirsty, or forging a weapon when the war has already begun.”

This is not to say that some of us may be more genetically predisposed to one condition or the other. Certain diseases do appear to be an ugly ornament upon the branches of many family trees.  However, as the field of genetics continues to lose more and more steam in implicating inherited genes as the decisive factor in the expression and development of disease, the research and focus is slowly diverting to lifestyle and environmental influences as that decisive factor.

I am once again speaking of epigenetics.  If you’ve read any past posts you know this is a reoccurring theme, and for good reason.  Mounting research (including the afore cited WHO proclamation) points to environmental influences as being the determinant of whether or not certain genes are expressed, turned on, or altered, thereby leading to disease.

This type of information can prompt a wide range of emotions and reaction.  If increasing research continues to point towards this being true, then the notion of being a helpless victim of your genetics goes out the window.  Also out the window goes a care free, over indulgent and indiscretion filled lifestyle.

In comes the notion of personal responsibility and accountability;

the acknowledgement that our daily, routine actions do indeed generate far reaching and severe reactions;

the opportunity to utilize the latest information to your advantage and play an active role in scribing your genetic destiny.

Intelligent decisions bathed in self discipline and respect for life.

Realizing that food truly is thy medicine and beginning to eat to live rather than the other way around; all part of the empowering picture.

One more note pertaining to your role in how your genes are expressed, and ultimately the expression, progression or regression of disease.  It has been noted that at any given time, our genes are expressing 20-40% of their potential. That leaves 60-80% dormant or silent.  With this recognition and subsequent action based upon the fact that environmental and lifestyle factors determine what 20% is expressed, the power lies in your hands.

Will you implement the strategies that foster genetic expression leading to a life health, energy and a zest for life, or will you choose to stay ignorant to, or simply refuse to make changes that current studies implicate have a real and positive effect on the expression of your genes?

So let’s talk specifically about the contemporary topic.  What can we do about breast cancer?  What are some strategies we can implement in order to stack the deck in our favor and keep the genetic expression that leads to cancer quiet?

First off is a change in deodorant, namely ditching the antiperspirant.  Using an antiperspirant that works by clogging the sweat glands leads to a toxic build up of chemicals and metabolic by-products that are intended to be released.  A good place to start is by eliminating deodorants that contain ingredients like aluminum, phthalates, parabens or any color followed by a number as these ingredients have been shown to be potentially carcinogenic as well as powerful endocrine disruptors (which is more serious and far reaching that you may think).

Another area to address is the diet, particularly getting a hold of your blood sugar and insulin.  Varying degrees of insulin resistance are all but commonplace in this country due to carb/sugar heavy meals and over indulging, coupled with a lack of physical activity.  There have been insulin receptors found on tumors which have been shown to facilitate tumor growth.  Thus if we have insulin spikes due to carb/sugar heavy meals or borderline resistance, we now have an abundance of insulin circulating, a portion of which can bind to a tumor and encourage growth.

To take this a step further, cancer cells have been shown to flourish off the broken down component of carbs/sugar: glucose.  One way to get the insulin in check and attempt to starve the cancer out is by incorporating a fat adapted or ketogenic diet.  This means our body switches over to using fat as the primary fuel rather than carbs, which emerging research is showing to not only benefit cancer patients, but actually lead to regeneration of brain cells, potentially preserving mental and cognitive health.

Let me wrap this up by saying that there is no full proof plan. You have your outliers on either side of the equation.  You have the individual who lives life to a tee health wise yet still winds up suffering from a horrible disease. You also have your aunt who smoked a pack a day while drinking a pint of whiskey yet lived into her 90s.

These exceptions to the rule remain somewhat of a mystery, while simultaneously serving as an excuse for others to ignore the power of daily habits and lifestyle choices.  Fueling their fire for no discipline and a hands up, life happens, victim approach.

However, the tide is turning.

The information is available.

The choice is ultimately yours and these choices made on a daily basis will lead to consequences, either good or bad in the future.

I ask again, wouldn’t you want to do all you possibly can to stack the deck in your favor?

 

 

 

 

The Time For Change is Here

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a large number of diverse souls.  Due to my profession and personal interests, many of these conversations have been about health, namely that of the other party.

I will  usually hear a laundry list of complaints and presumed reasons for these issues.  Many times the individual will even verbally acknowledge the importance and impact that lifestyle changes could play in their life.

However, for whatever reason, the disconnect between talk and action remains and the path towards sickness and breakdown continues.  Knowledge without action is useless, and in this case, detrimental to your health.  Rather than going off and making this a psychoanalytical piece on why people don’t help themselves, let’s keep it positive and focus on how to get moving in the right direction.

First thing that needs to be done is to keep it real with yourself.  Take a good look in the mirror and decide what you really want.

Do you really want better health?

I would imagine so.  We all do.

Are you willing to WORK for it?

I mean really work. Not for show. Really work on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  This requires a discipline that keeps you in line and on track when no one else is looking. These are the times that the real changes occur.

What’s your goal?

Is it to kick the meds, normalize your levels, get rid of pain, drop some weight, do all you can to elongate this one shot at life?  Be clear on your goal as this will serve as your motivation to start and stick with it, especially early on in the process.

And be clear, this is a process. A marathon and not a sprint.  Living like no one else now so later on you can live; no, thrive like no one else.  Although drastic results are experienced by some early on, this is no quick fix. The “quick fix” mentality has got us in this mess to begin with by way of pill-popping per symptom and never really investigating or attempting to remedy why the symptom emerged in the first place.

Once you have your goal, investigate the means to achieving it.  What needs to be done and in what fashion in order not only achieve but sustain the achievement?

When it comes to healthcare, 90% of the time we are talking about lifestyle changes. Breaking the routine or the accustomed norms. This is where the “keeping it real” with yourself part comes into play.

Is your goal and the means by which to achieve that goal worth more to you than coming out of your comfort zone and breaking the habit?

Is it worth investing the time to plan and prep meals for the week ahead?

Will you follow through and set the alarm earlier or skip that 60 minutes of TV time in order to get that workout in?

Keep it real now. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Although objectively speaking they do, ultimately this comes down to subjective perspective.

If you find that you are tired of the current state of affairs in your own life and you’ve decided enough is enough, the next step is to formulate a realistic, practical plan.  I find this to be another major stumbling block for people.  A sense of overwhelm sets in along with analyzation paralyzation.

The trick here is to get with your trusted healthcare provider and come up with a plan together.  Never be afraid to start small, as any change, any momentum in the right direction is better than sitting idle.  While sustained sweeping changes across the board would be ideal, studies show longer lasting changes occur more often as a product of smaller changes, cultivation over time.

A perfect example of this is my own personal anatomy of a “cheat meal.” This is that meal that diverges from the norm, an indulgence if you will. (In order to have a cheat meal you need to be sticking to clean eating for 80% of your meals or better.)

Through years of cultivation, the cheat meals have evolved from pizza and ice cream to a meal with gluten free rice, or a smoothie with organic peanut butter and heavy fruit. The latest “cheat” dessert has become a bowl of chia seeds with nuts, fruit, peanut butter and chocolate almond milk.

I say all this not to induce hunger, but to illustrate where you can wind up if you simply get started.  Make a change here and a change there. Implement another one as you learn more.  Once you get that ball rolling down the hill, it can be a powerful thing.

The other initial hurdle is that it is never a good time. Well, when it comes to core lifestyle changes there really never is an ideal time.

Again, they idea is to simply bite the bullet and get rolling.  In most cases it doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Just do it.  Constantly talking the talk, while constantly finding excuses will leave you wondering where the time went and how on Earth things got so bad.

Believe in the power of lifestyle changes.  Resolution of every issue does not have to be another drug.  Every issue should not be blamed on genetics, making us all helpless victims.  Embrace the empowerment behind epigenetics and realize that lifestyle choices play a significant role as to whether or not certain genetic traits are expressed.  We’re talking about everything here from hair loss to cancer and auto immune diseases.

One shot.

One body.

That’s all we get.

The time is now to respect this opportunity and treat your body right.  Pick somewhere and get started today.  If you would like assistance on this journey, call us at anytime.  As we continue our own journey, we would love to be a part of yours.

Autoimmunity: Are You One of the 50 Million Plus?

In keeping with the theme of our last post, we will delve into the puzzling and agonizing world of autoimmunity and how it relates to functional medicine.  The first couple of  eye opening paragraphs below were scribed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian and could make a substantial difference in quality of life.

“Autoimmunity has become a growing epidemic and many individuals seeking care in the healthcare system are suffering from autoimmunity.  Autoimmunity is basically the loss of self tolerance, or the inability for the immune system to recognize self-tissue from foreign or pathogenic organisms, leading to an attack upon oneself.”

(I’d be remiss here if I didn’t briefly touch on one of the reasons why our trusty immune system may turn on us and it comes down to what we knowingly put in our bodies. When the food we eat leads to issues within our gut, lending to leaky gut or intestinal permeability, one of our main barrier systems of our bodies becomes compromised and foreign and undigested particles are allowed entry.
Our immune system sees this and does it’s job and attacks.  Problem solved.

The issue arises when the presence of unwanted invaders persists and the immune system must continually attack.  This puts the immune system on hyperactive defense mode and eventually, due to the similarity in structure between certain tissues and certain foods, the up regulated immune system begins to also attack our own tissues.

This can lead to the start of rheumatoid osteoarthritis as the immune system attacks the joints and breaks down cartilage, or diabetes 1 as the pancreas is attacked (studies now illustrating the similarity in structure of the beta cells of the pancreas and the casein proteins found in milk), MS as the protective covering of our central nervous system, myelin is broken down, or hypothyroidism (Hashimotto’s) as the thyroid is attacked (similar protein structure between thyroid tissue and gluten).

While diet is a major player in the development or facilitation of an autoimmune reaction, the list of catalysts goes well beyond that including many other environmental toxins.)

“The loss of self-tolerance and the development of autoimmunity is a major reason why many individuals notice a rapid decline in their health and seek consultation with a healthcare professional.  Unfortunately, autoimmunity leads to a destructive process to various tissues over several years, and early autoimmunity may be easily overlooked in the current healthcare model.

In the current system, autoimmune disease is not diagnosed until the tissue has already been destroyed.  In other words, an individual may have cartilage antibodies for several years and suffer significant pain, but they will probably not be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis until they have severe joint deformity.
Another person may have subtle autoimmunity to myelin and present with diverse neurological symptoms, but they will not be diagnosed because their MRI does not show enough destruction to be sensitive to MRI findings.  It is now clear that the antibodies to tissues appear years before total destruction is obvious, and during these years, individuals suffer from symptoms associated with the destructive process.”

In the all too common scenario like the one above, a person suffering from the early stages of autoimmunity seeks consultation and since they do not have total tissue destruction, they are not diagnosed with any conditions.  At this point many individuals end up seeking alternative medicine, as conventional models offer them very little support in the early stages.

Functional medicine looks at autoimmunity through a different lens, classifying it into three stages.

1) Silent Autoimmunity: antibodies present, but no symptoms.
2) Autoimmune Reaction: antibodies AND symptoms present, BUT not enough tissue destroyed to be diagnosed as an autoimmune disease.
3) Autoimmune Disease: antibodies present, symptoms may or may not be present, enough tissue destruction to diagnose.

So what can you do with all this empowering information? Well, speak with a healthcare professional who goes beyond the black and white and looks at things from a functional perspective.  A review of history and symptoms will be done along with an exam.  Appropriate  blood work can be ordered and analyzed and if need be tests looking for specific antibodies can also be obtained.

With this information the appropriate nutritional, dietary and lifestyle modifications can be made in order to potentially delay progression or keep symptoms quiet by lessening inflammation, controlling the immune system and addressing any other systems specific to the individual.

Curious?

Want to know more?

Have some specific questions?

Call us anytime (321-848-0987) to explore the liberating possibilities.

Don’t Just Sit There (Part 2)

In case you missed it, last week’s post incriminated sitting and poor posture as major contributors to not only what is deemed as “normal” pain and systemic dysfunction, but actual shorter life spans.  Not only were these two culprits incriminated but a solid case was made against them with easily graspable explanations.  So now it’s on you.  You have the knowledge.  What are you going to do with it?

As promised, we will now take it one step further and provide some easily implementable strategies for breaking up the sitting and combating the collateral damage that comes with it.

1) Get Up. Stand Up.

This will be the easiest and most intuitive of all the suggestions we bring to the table.  Break up the long periods of uninterrupted sitting by simply standing up.  Obviously the more movement, the better but I realize in many situations, getting up from your chair and busting out some squats isn’t always conducive to your surroundings. Although, it is a good idea… the new “normal,” if you will.

Set an alarm on your phone for every 15-20 minutes that reminds you to stand up for at least 60 seconds.  Take it a step further and incorporate a simple movement like the Bruegger exercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxXqVcDam7Y ) in order to reverse some of that anterior muscle tightening and posterior weakening.

2) Breathe Right

Standing up and executing a movement such as the Bruegger exercise will also open your chest up and provide more room for the lungs to expand, drawing more oxygen in.  This brings us to our next suggestion, and that is to be cognizant of your breathing mechanics.  This can be done in the seated or standing position.  The key is to concentrate on breathing with your abdomen or belly breathing.

This is done by utilizing the main muscle designed for breathing, the diaphragm.  This muscle separates your chest cavity from your abdomen and descends on inhalation (creating negative pressure in the chest cavity and drawing oxygen in) and ascends on exhalation (forcing the carbon dioxide out).

When you breathe properly, you allow the muscles of the chest and neck to relax and not be forced to work all day in order to aid in your respiration.  Unlike the diaphragm, these muscles were not designed to work with every breath. When they are forced to do so because of faulty breathing mechanics, it can lead to neck pain, muscle tightness and more of the hunched forward posture we are trying to avoid.

Being that the abdomen is heavily innervated by the parasympathetic nervous system, belly breathing will also enable us to relax and de-stress.  We explained this mechanism thoroughly in a previous post so feel free to brush up if need be.  https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/07/10/breathe-right/

3) Ergonomics

As you can see, other than physically getting up and breaking up the sitting, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to sit right.  In keeping with the theme, this also was a topic of a past post: https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/08/21/pain-discomfort-fatigue-your-workspace-could-be-a-culprit/ .  Making sure your workspace is favorably arranged so that it is the least physically stressful should not be overlooked.

Most large businesses will provide an ergonomic evaluation upon request.  I urge you to take advantage of this.  If yours does not or you work from home, I invite you to review the link above, as it provides basic tips to getting you started.  You can also feel free to contact our office (321-848-0987) as we offer full ergonomic evaluations.

4) Deskercise

A buzz word we are seeing thrown around more and more is “deskercise.”  These are exercises to do at your desk for all of you who are moving a little slow this morning.  Patients of Clarke Chiropractic and Wellness are provided with an ongoing, progressive regimen of postural and lifestyle exercises, which includes movements to keep yourself in check while at the desk.

The starter point provided in this post will be to first make sure your ears are lined up directly over the shoulders.  This will begin to reverse that attractive chin jutting.  Once you have this down (and you are naturally breathing correctly) you can begin to implement reverse shoulder rolls.

One at a time, roll your shoulder up, back and down, each time starting the next roll at the point you ended the last one.  Do this three times for each shoulder, constantly being aware that your ears remain over your shoulders.  This will again, open up your chest and engage the mid to lower back muscles as you pinch your shoulder blades together.

5) Mas Agua

Remaining properly hydrated is key to help you sustain optimal health.  This will assist in keeping your joints lubricated and keep your discs (which absorb so much of your seated weight) hydrated.  In addition to providing you an excuse to break up the sitting to refill your water, natural physiology will also kick in and force you to break up the sitting in order to revisit the restroom.  (Unless of course, corporations begin to implement a toilet-chair, which wouldn’t surprise me.)

In addition to these simple and practical suggestions, beginning to execute movements that support proper posture and movement are a must as well.  Virtually all patients we see are prescribed a progressive exercise regimen that concentrates on the core and relearning the harmful faulty movements obtained due to prolonged sitting.

If sitting, standing or any position for that matter causes you pain or discomfort, it is definitely time to listen to your body and address it.  That is where we can intervene to assist you in getting out of pain and on the course to preventing it in the future.

Hopefully this and all posts will at least plant a seed in your mind so you begin to think about these things.  Once the awareness is there, you can begin to take rectifying action.  It’s alright if it’s uncomfortable or feels unnatural at first.  The key is repetition and consistency in creating a new normal.

You have the knowledge and some strategies.  The rest is up to you.

Keep It Moving.

What Causes That Post Meal Crash?

It seems as though nodding off after a holiday meal is just as much of a tradition as eating a Christmas tree or decorating a Thanksgiving turkey.  (Did you catch that or did I catch you drowsy from your last meal?) But why does this happen?  And worse, are you someone who is routinely tired after meals, regardless of the time of year?

The reason behind this varies depending on your specific situation, but mainly involves too many carbohydrates and poor blood sugar control.  Ideally, when we consume carbs/sugars the pancreas releases a proportionate amount of insulin which then delivers the glucose (end result of crab breakdown) to our cells for energy.

On one level we have someone who usually eats relatively healthy, but just consumed a carb load as if they were preparing to hibernate.  The flooding of glucose into the blood alarms the pancreas who, being the diligent little organ he is, dumps insulin to handle the carb load. (Elevated insulin levels due to too many carbs or outright insulin resistance is also not a good thing and has been linked to everything from inflammation to autoimmunity and cancer).

The pancreas wants to make sure all the glucose can catch a ride to a cell so it overcompensates with the amount of insulin secreted.  This also happens with people who have poor blood sugar control (aka dysglycemic).  The end result here is the glucose being cleared from the blood so rapidly that you have now gone from one extreme to the other; from blood sugar spike to crash.  This can lead to symptoms of hypoglycemia; which include light headedness, headaches and feeling tired.

Another reason for the post meal siesta occurs when our tissues become resistant to the insulin that is attempting to clear the blood of and deliver glucose.  This can also happen from over doing it on carbs and is the mechanism behind diabetes type II.  Anyone concerned with intelligently controlling your weight should perk up for this explanation.

When your tissues become insulin resistant due to poor diet, lack of exercise or binge eating, the glucose remains in the circulating blood causing damage to your brain and blood vessels. (We then have our body’s natural bandaid called in (cholesterol), to patch up the damage from the dysglycemia and insulin resistance.)

Your body wants to keep your blood glucose levels under control, so when plan A doesn’t work (glucose cleared from blood by insulin), plan B kicks in.  The glucose is then converted to triglycerides and stored around your midsection as, you guessed it, fat.  In many cases it’s excess carbs, not fat in your diet that leads towards poor blood sugar control, possible diabetes, insulin resistance, aaaaand additional weight gain in the form of glucose being converted to and stored as body fat.

This conversion of glucose to triglycerides en route to your fanny is a process that requires a lot of your body’s energy/fuel.  So much so that it actually leaves you tired and crashing, and thus we have the post meal coma.

Add to this the fact that this process can also raise serotonin levels.  As we’ve discussed in past posts, serotonin is actually the precursor to the sleep hormone melotonin, and because of that can induce drowsiness.  This is also the reason turkey knocks you out as it contains the precursor to serotonin, tryptophan.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the subject for those curious about why we hit the hay after scarfing down a delicious feast.  Enjoy the holiday.  Indulge if you like as you now know what’s going on within and the possible dangers routinely doing so can pose.

However, if you are someone who struggles with cravings, crashes, and weight as we discussed, make it a point to address these signs of internal dysfunction before they get worse.  We’re coming up on a new year which serves as an ideal time to get serious and make your health a priority.

Again, enjoy the holidays and come see us when you’re ready to step it up in the new year.