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It’s a new year and with it comes renewed motivation for change and resolutions. One of the most prevalent goals for the new 365 day cycle is to shed those pounds that may have been accumulating for sometime now.
With all of the quick fixes and abundance of conflicting information out there, it can be difficult to know which way to go. Well, a simple, free way to get the ball rolling is by eliminating all wheat from your diet. Now this may sound way too simple, but there is a physiologic explanation for this and here it is:
The first concept that needs to be understood is that for the most part it is not dietary fat, but rather the carbohydrate that is mostly responsible for increased deposition of body fat. This includes everything from bread, sugar, pasta, and even too much fruit.
This is due to the fact that these foods break down to glucose in the body, which then prompts the release of insulin. Insulin delivers what glucose is needed to fill stores in tissue like the liver and muscles, with the rest being stored as fat.
You see this mechanism came in handy for our Paleolithic hunter and gatherer ancestors who encountered real periods of feast and famine due to the unavailability of food supply. It was at these times that the fat stores would be utilized to survive. For the most part this is not the case today as we live in an age of availability and relative abundance.
The issue arises when, due to high carb meals, insulin is constantly triggered by elevated blood glucose levels. When no more is needed for fuel, the storage of fat begins. The difference being, most people do not fast or skip meals at this point, but rather eat another carb heavy meal when hungry or even out of habit. The fat storage continues, the pounds pile on and the waist circumference balloons.
The higher the carb content of the meal, the higher the blood sugar rises, the more drastic spike in insulin, and the more fat being deposited; mainly around the waist and abdominal region.
This creates a vicious cycle as a high carb meal will lead to a high insulin response from the pancreas. This aggressive clearing of glucose from the blood can then leave you tired and hungry for another ride on the blood sugar roller coaster.
This is also the mechanism behind type II diabetes, as repeated spikes of blood sugar from high carb meals and subsequent surges in insulin in response to the blood sugar spikes leads your tissues to become insulin resistant, not wanting to accept any more glucose. At this point the only place for your body to dump the glucose load is around your waist as body fat.
So why is wheat public enemy #1 if you are diabetic, trying to lose weight or simply interested in overall health? Well if we comprehend the physiologic process laid out above, we understand that the higher the carb load, the more insulin is secreted and the more fat is stored for a rainy day; or better yet a beach day when it’s really appreciated.
Wheat is special due to the fact that it breaks down into a complex carbohydrate (a string of glucose molecules) in the body called amylopectin A. This particular carb has the distinguished honor of spiking the blood sugar more than actual table sugar.
If you are familiar with the glycemic index, you know it is basically a scale or measurement showing how readily absorbed a food is and the effects it will have on the blood sugar levels. Wheat ranks higher on the glycemic index than actual table sugar.
If we combine that knowledge with the knowledge of the carbohydrate digestive process that leads to fat deposition and the road to diabetes that we described above, we know that this is a big, bad deal. It also is essential, empowering knowledge of you are looking to drop the weight.
In addition to leading to weight gain and the metabolic dysfunction described above, wheat packs one more diabolical punch in that it is actually chemically addictive. You may hear people joke about their addiction to bread, but chemically it breaks down and serves as an exorphin to your brain that stimulates the same pleasure generating opioid receptors as heroin or morphine. There is a reason for the overeating of this mind altering, comfort food, and now you hopefully have another reason to kick it to the curb.
Two points in closing:
Many people resist the notion that wheat, or any food they were raised on can have such a negative impact. What needs to be fully understood is that the food, and wheat in particular, of today is not the food of the past. Cross breeding, hybridization and genetic modification has created a new product not in line with our genome, of which the long term effects are not known.
What is known is the basic human physiology and systemic impacts of elevated blood sugar (which wheat is king at causing), as far as weight gain and the path to diabetes. The fact that a diet consisting of heart healthy grains is still suggested to anyone, but especially those with the aforementioned two conditions is outright shameful.
The second point is that while kicking wheat (and all wheat, not just the obvious bread; read your labels) can have a strong impact on weight and blood sugar control, it needs to be accompanied with an intelligent diet. It seems obvious, but if you avoid wheat, but continue to drink soda, eat a high sugar diet (excess fruit included), and high carb/sugar gluten free alternatives, results will in all likelihood be hindered or outright negated.
However, beginning to phase the wheat and gluten out of your regular regimen can have benefits well beyond those covered in this brief post, but is essential if you are looking to drop some weight or regain control of your blood sugar.
If you have questions, need help getting started, figuring it out or devising an implementable and practical plan, please do not hesitate to contact us. (321-848-0987)
Make a move.
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?
In the ever evolving world of nutrition a clear villain has emerged. It is a villain cloaked in mouth-watering and opioid receptor stimulating deliciousness. It is a villain that can be somewhat of a chameleon, hiding in large volumes in seemingly “healthy” foods. I am of course speaking of your favorite and mine: sugar.
(Unfortunately this sugar classification also includes high carb foods like grains. Translation: all that bread will eventually be broken down into the simple sugar: glucose.)
Mounting research implicates sugar (namely high fructose corn syrup and other processed/refined varieties) as a major culprit behind a plethora of diseases well beyond the obvious, but never understated obesity and diabetes. As a realist I realize that complete elimination of sugar is not much of a practical or desirable option, however a reduction in consumption would serve us all well, especially if you are having other seemingly unrelated health issues.
So other than coming to terms with the fact that you may be consuming way too much sugar, how do you know if you possibly are having issues with the way your body handles sugar? And why is this an issue anyway? Well, sit back, relax (dump your soda down the drain) and I’ll try to give it to you in a raw, unsalted nutshell.
We’ve heard the terms hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but we will mainly be referring to dysglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. These are conditions in which your blood sugar levels are not being handled properly and can be anywhere along the chain of dysfunction. Therefore addressing and correcting becomes imperative for health.
If you are someone who is consuming too many carbohydrates or sugar on a regular basis it is likely that your pancreas will become overactive in its secretion of insulin. This will lead to blood sugar levels rapidly swinging from high to low after a meal.
A clinical picture of this is marked by a drop in energy levels, mood swings, and overall cognition. This can be seen as spacing out easily, poor short term memory, becoming agitated if going too long without eating, and being prone to crashing in the later part of the afternoon. This is what’s known as reactive hypoglycemia, a form of insulin resistance which goes hand in hand with diabetes.
This person typically misses meals, eats foods high in sugar, craves sugar and salts throughout the day, depends on caffeine to function, and has a hard time waking up in the morning or sleeping through the night. Fatigue, brain fog, and headaches are also amongst the effects of this condition.
This could also lead to or be a contributing factor behind becoming hypoglycemic. This condition is marked by fatigue, mental confusion, lethargy and headaches and can also be caused by adrenal fatigue, poor diet, hypothyroidism or drug side effects.
A clinical picture of this would be someone who craves sweets throughout the day, is irritable if they miss a meal, eating can relieve fatigue, feeling shaky, jittery or having tremors, depending on coffee to get started or keep going, feeling lightheaded if meals are missed, getting agitated, easily upset or nervous or being forgetful.
Another possibility is to escalate from the reactive hypoglycemia to insulin resistance. The chronic release of insulin due to high carb/sugar loads eventually fatigues the cells to the point where they no longer want to accept the insulin or the glucose it is trying to deliver.
Clinically this entails feeling like you need a nap after every meal, craving sugar after every meal, being constantly hungry even after big meals, increased belly fat, insomnia, and facial hair or thinning hair in women (due to the fact insulin resistance promotes testosterone production in women), or breast and hip growth in men. It can also include frequent urination, migrating aches and pains, and overall difficulty losing weight.
Insulin resistance has also been linked to other coveted conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, obesity, hormone metabolism disorders and certain types of cancer.
A key factor to be aware of is that if you are dysglycemic in any way, your adrenal glands will also be activated in the body’s attempt to stabilize your blood sugar. The same holds true in reverse, as when your adrenal glands (stress glands) are on overdrive and they severely alter your body’s ability to effectively handle blood sugar.
Dysfunction on both fronts can be at the root or a main contributor to hypothyroidism, a weakened and inflamed digestive tract, a weakened immune barrier of the gut, lungs and brain, hormonal imbalances, clogging of the body’s attempts at detox and impairment of fatty acid metabolism.
So what to do? If any of these pictures we painted sounds like you it would be wise to investigate further and take action prior to escalation and emergency reactions. Rather than addressing each one of these symptoms separately with a potential side effect causing pill, imagine if you could clear up many issues simply be addressing your diet.
As we’ve said in the past, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” holds true in a variety of venues, but never more so than with the diet. Outside of the obvious weight gain, the systemic effects can be devastating.
If you are ready to get serious and commit to investigating and potentially remedying your issues, please give us a call (321-848-0987) as it would be our pleasure to collaborate with you on your liberating journey towards optimal, all natural health.
It’s what we do.
Come join us.