Category Archives: Nutrition

Is your favorite on the dirty dozen list?

The dirty dozen – sounds like it could be the next Quentin Tarantino movie, doesn’t it?* But you guessed it, it is not. So, what’s up with the dirty dozen?

The dirty dozen is a list that gets put together by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) every year based on the amount of pesticides and chemicals they contain. Meaning that the item at the very top of the list contains the highest amount of pesticides, and therefore it is not considered a wise food choice.

To make it easy, when you cannot remember the list, think of it like this. The more fragile the vegetable or fruit is, the larger is the chance for damage during transportation. This means an increase in using food spray and anti-mold chemicals to make sure that vegetable or fruit does not get damaged. Also, the more porous the skin is on the fruit and veggies, the more it will absorb everything that has been sprayed on it. It will basically act as a sponge, like strawberries for example. This is important to think about, because once it has been absorbed by the fruit or veggies you cannot simply rinse it off. Still need some more help with the list? EWG has an app to help you out.

Not only does these different chemicals mess with our liver and kidneys (that have to work very hard to try and filter them out of our bodies). These chemicals also interfere with our nervous system.  A common misconception is that nerve toxins used to kill insects are not very harmful to humans. This is not true as they are toxic to our nervous system[3] and neural development [4]. They also interfere with our hormonal system (one of the most used herbicide in the world, Atrazine, is a known endocrine disruptor)[2], and the nutrients in the food by making it harder for our bodies to absorb them.

Here is the current Dirty Dozen list from 2017

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

But, what about organic food costing more? Yes, it does cost a bit more, but it is an investment in yourself and your family. I think that it is very important to buy organic produce. We are getting enough pollution through every day life, and I believe we do not need to add even more to our bodies through food. Did you know that “at least 107 different active ingredients in pesticides have been found to cause cancer in animals or humans; of these 71 are still in use on food crops”.[1] If taking the step to buy organic seems like a lot to you, at least start thinking about omitting the biggest offenders on the dirty dozen list. You will be doing yourself a big favor by reducing the amount of poisonous chemicals that your body has to deal with on a daily basis.

Did you know that people who are allergic to a certain vegetable or fruit are most likely allergic to the pesticides and food sprays on it, and not the actual food itself.

Think of the nutrients and organic food as strong clean building blocks for “the house” (you) that you are constantly building. Think of the pesticides, food sprays and other chemicals of acting like heavy duty fungus, mold and termites in this metaphor. You may not notice that they are there right away, but after a while they can and will destroy your entire house. What kind of building blocks are you interested in choosing for “your house”?

Spread the word, not pesticides!  😉

 


* Actually the Dirty Dozen is a World War II movie from 1967

[1] According to the National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform. p.418 Staying Healthy with Nutrition

[2] Endocrine Disrupters. p.418 Staying Healthy with Nutrition

[3] Misconceptions about Pesticides p.432 Staying Healthy with Nutrition

[4] http://e360.yale.edu/features/from_the_fields_to_inner_city_pesticides_affect_childrens_iq

Is your shoulder driving you nuts?

So, I have some news for you guys! In addition to my studies in Osteopathy, I have just started a program with the NTA (Nutritional Therapy Association) to become a Nutrition Therapy Counselor (NTC). I am very excited about their program, and it will take me a little under a year to complete, so I will be ready for some more in-depth Nutritional Counseling as of this coming spring. I am very excited 🙂

Why Nutrition studies?
Through Osteopathy I am learning about how to help the body on a deeper level, like adjusting the spine, and helping the liver to detox for example. I find this information very fascinating and useful in my practice. For instance, did you know that a distressed liver can cause you pain in the right shoulder? This has to do with the fact that the liver and the shoulder share certain nerve paths in the spine. [2] Again, through Osteopathy I am learning tools that I can use to assist the liver and shoulder which is great.

But, I also want to know why the liver is stressed in the first place. I believe that if you cannot address the root problem you will just be treating symptoms. Not that treating symptoms is a bad thing, and it most certainly is necessary in helping the body to self heal, but finding the culprit so you can get things on the right track again from the very core, is really what excites me. And that line of thinking led me directly to nutrition.

Did you know for instance that your chocolate cravings could be a sign that you are Magnesium deficient?[2] Most people are not aware of this and will just try to abstain from eating too much chocolate, because they know it is not good for you, but as the cravings will not go away, it is just a matter of time before they will fail and start digging into a whole box of chocolate. Wouldn’t it be nice to know then, that if Magnesium is the problem, simply by getting your Magnesium levels back on track, your chocolate cravings will go away? I find this very fascinating.

As my interest in nutrition is already great and I am reading about it all the time, I thought this would be the time to get a more thorough education on the subject, which I think will complement my Osteopathy studies in a great way.

But which School to choose? There are so many out there, and I searched for quite a while until I finally found one that has a philosophy that I agree with.

 In NTA's words “NTA’s philosophy is that the myriad health problems plaguing modern society result from weaknesses in the body’s physiological foundations brought on by poor nutrition... Our foundational holistic approach focuses on the importance of properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods paired with a well-balanced lifestyle.”

What also sets this program apart, from any other that I have looked at, is that they use functional testing in order to assess a client. I believe this kind of hands-on approach to be invaluable in finding out how a clients digestive system actually is doing.

So don’t be surprised when more nutrition blogs will show up here. Oh, and there is also a community project in the works that I will be doing as part of my studies which should be a lot of fun, and I hope you will be able to join me in that. More on that later 😉

 

 


[1] Segmentale Phänomene, Ein Beitrag zu Diagnostik und Therapie by Ben van Cranenburgh, p103

[2] Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L.Wilson, p157

3 day reset after the holiday splurge

After 3 weeks of traveling in Asia I have enjoyed a lot of different foods and drinks, and as much fun as it has been I also can feel the toll it has taken on my body.
No matter how well you choose when eating out, eating in hotels and restaurants is always a challenge as you have no control over what is put into the food. Of course part of the fun when traveling is trying a lot of different things so I am not saying that you shouldn’t. But, all the added extras that tend to show up in restaurant food like different kinds of sugar, taste enhancers and unhealthy fats does make life very tough for your digestive system.

So what can you do on your way back home?
I like to look at the flight as an opportunity to transfer from the holiday fun back into a more healthy sustainable lifestyle. Whether or not there is a lot of jet lag involved I think that following my previous jet lag guide is a great place to start, and this includes avoiding all airplane food. If most restaurant food is not that great for you, airplane food is way worse. So plan ahead and bring your own healthy food along, like organic apples and nuts. Or if you are a bit more hardcore simply fast during the flight. If you think about it, even on longer flights you do not really need to eat, it’s usually something that you tend to do more out of boredom. But if you feel that it is too much, just try with a few healthy snacks instead.

Once you are back home remember to hydrate! Drinking enough water really is key for optimal health. You can think of water as the body’s internal transportation system which is very important for proper cell function and balance within. Do some easy sports or just get out and walk, as your body will feel better with movement, and it will help your lymphatic system to drain excess fluid.
If you have the opportunity to use a sauna then do! It is an excellent way for the body to recover and to sweat out unwanted bacteria and toxins. A bath with epsom salt is also a great alternative. Cut out all sugars (this includes alcohol) as the sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut. I know this one is tough, but it is totally necessary.
Reduce caffeine as much as possible as it is a strong stimulant and as such keeps the body wired and makes it harder to relax and recover. Try green tea instead of coffee.
Eat as much vegetables as you can and take a break from meat, to make it easy on your digestive system. Adding a green smoothie into your day is a great way to boost your health.

We quickly get used to eating more sugar (and drinking) so it is important to make a strong reduction as soon as you get home so that you don’t get stuck in the new “holiday habit” you might have acquired. Taking a pro-biotic supplement to help the good bacteria take back control in your digestive system might be a good idea. It might also be a good idea to help out your liver and you could do that by taking the natural herbal supplement of milk-thistle.

Why a 3 day reset? It is small enough that mentally the obstacle isn’t too big, but still long enough to actually have an impact, and if you are up for it why not continue for another few days? I wish you a lot of fun during your future travels, but make yourself a favor and have a plan ready for once you are back home, so that your fun indulgences doesn’t become new unhealthy habits.

Enjoy exploring some new teas 🙂

Eat your brain into better wellth*

Last week we talked about looking at calories in vs calories out compared to what foods you actually eat, and how that affects your weight. Now let’s take this one step further. What if the food you are feeding yourself and your family is either creating a healthy brain or an unhealthy brain? Did you know that it could be as easy as changing what you eat? That’s some very powerful stuff. Wouldn’t you like to know more about that?

“To me the message is clear, that a well nourished body and brain is better able to withstand ongoing stress and recover from illness” – Julia Rucklidge [1]

And what about the people who are suffering from depression and are on anti-depressant medication? At present it is way too common that people are taking anti-depressants, and talking to your doctor about your nutrition is not standard practice prior to getting medication. What about kids with autism and ADHD, could nutrition help them as well? There are studies showing [2]that kids with ADHD are worse off long term, than kids that never got any medication in the first place. Scary! This TED talk is very inspiring and shines the light on the very important role that nutrition plays in a happy and healthy brain.

We need to think about how our food does not simply makes us shrink or go fat, but how the food we choose, our cellular building blocks so to speak, also helps create a healthy or unhealthy brain. DocCheck also writes an article on the subject, check it out here.[3]

In a nutshell, eat lots of veggies, healthy fats, lean meats and cut out all sugars and processed foods.

Check out the video and help spread the word, as this is a very important message and it cannot be shared too often. You are able to influence your brain and wellth* long term by the food choices that you make today and everyday.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” -Hippocrates

 

 


[1] The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health with Julia Rucklidge at TEDxChristchurch https://youtu.be/3dqXHHCc5lA

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3063150/

[3] http://news.doccheck.com/en/6076/depression-you-are-what-you-eat/

http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y

Excellent reading: Cure your child with food by Kelly Dorfman    www.kellydorfman.com

*wellth: noun | \welth\ A new and more valuable life currency
: a life exemplified by abundance, happiness, purpose, health, and joy. http://wellth.mindbodygreen.com/

 

Calories in equals calories out, right?!

As long as I can remember I have been told that at the end of the day it is just simple math, calories in equals calories out. So, if you want to loose weight all you have to do is make sure that either you consume less calories, or burn more. This sounds fairly simple as an idea, but why doesn’t it work for everyone if that’s all there is too it? Yes, yes there might be some genetics playing a role but we cannot all be genetically challenged right? I know plenty of people who continuously eat very few calories, are always hungry, they exercise quite a lot and still they cannot loose any weight. Why is it like that?

I recently read “Why we get fat, and what to do about it” by Gary Taubes, and found it a very compelling read on the topic so I wanted to share it with you. In his book, Gary basically says to get rid of all carbohydrates. Based on his research he is suggesting that your diet should be based on mainly protein, fat, and non-starchy veggies. He also says that when it comes to weight-loss, exercise is not the key, nutrition is.

You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.”  – Dr Mark Hyman

Dr Hyman and Gary are not the only ones to agree on this. So, if we assume this to be true, then we have to look at nutrition.

Calories are merely a measure of the energy content of the food we eat. They can be valuable for calculating the energy content of a meal or the nutrients in it – the carbohydrates, fat, and protein. But when it comes to regulating our weight, what we need to care about is the effect those nutrients have on the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue.” [1]

Coming from an athletic background where I was constantly eating carbohydrates in all shapes and forms like bars, sports drinks and not to mention the pasta, talking about removing all the carbs felt very weird. Could that really work? But then I started to think about the reasons why I ate the carb heavy diet as an athlete. Was it because of the research I had read? Or because of the different diets that I had tried and I preferred that one? No, it was just because that was what I had been told and that was what everyone else was doing.

But, if my body didn’t have carbs to burn for sports, where would it get the energy? I need carbs for that, right? I decided to keep reading the book with an open mind and see if Gary’s arguments were strong enough to intrigue me.

I found his writing about how carbs stimulate the insulin production and what happens to our bodies when we produce too much insulin over time, and how that leads to the connection of fat accumulation to be really interesting.

Because the insulin level in the bloodstream is determined primarily by the carbohydrates that are being consumed – their quantity and quality … – it’s those carbohydrates that ultimately determine how much fat we accumulate. “ [2]

Gary also explains how “... carbohydrates cause obesity and that abstinence from starches, flour, and sugars is the obvious method of cure and prevention.” [3] He also brings up some very interesting and thought provoking points about overeating. He says, The third Law of Adiposity states “We don’t get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we’re getting fat.” [4]

I completely agree with him that all calories are not equal, because different foods will signal our hormonal system in different ways. Some calories will also feed the bad gut micro-biome whereas others won’t. To think that you can go for an hour run, and then eat cookies, sweets, pizza etc. and think that your body will not be impacted by that at all, other then in pure calories in – calories out, is quite naive. I mean would you ever give a kid a candy bar just before bed? Do you want a little energizer bunny just before sleep time? Do you think the same would happen if the kid had a bowl of broccoli instead? So if we can agree that all calories are not created equal and that they do carry with them different messages into our bodies, wouldn’t you like to find out more about how that works?

If you always do what you‘ve always done, you will always get what you‘ve always got. -Albert Einstein

What I really like about this book is how well written and researched it is. It is easy enough to follow along even if you are not that much into science, but it has enough detail if you, like me, like to know how he backs up his arguments in more scientific detail. This is actually a shorter version of the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” so if you want to really get into depth about these topics start there.

If you are someone who is interested in the food you eat, someone who has tried to loose weight by calorie restriction or amping up the exercise, or someone who is dealing with heart issues, metabolic syndrome or diabetes then this book is most definitely for you.

I suggest you read the book, challenge your current mindset and see where you land. I know that I will be making some changes to try them out and see how I go.  🙂

Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

 


Resources

[1][2][3][4]Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat page p.219, p.122, p.149, p.99

Article “Why do we get fat”
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-taubes-why-we-get-fat-20160511-story.html

http://garytaubes.com/works/books/why-we-get-fat/

www.drhyman.com

Are you a perfumed garbage can? (Part 2)

Stinky Dave (from last week) was open to make the change and started with adding the water. He found it very challenging at first, and it took him about a month to be comfortable with drinking 2 liters a day. Because he was drinking more water he automatically drank less coke, and within 3 months he had managed to cut out the coke completely, although he admitted to some rough withdrawal symptoms. He still had coffee and red wine, but a lot less than before. He added more veggies when he could.

After about a month there was a huge difference in his stinkyness. I noticed it, and he happily noticed it too. He no longer was that smelly guy in the room, and also didn’t need to keep three extra cans of deodorant spray in the car. He also told me that he had been sleeping better,  felt more energized and at ease, and that he was getting better results in his sport.

After about 6 months he had another check up with his doctor, and he was stunned to find out that all of his values were now back in order.

Dave helped out his internal system by adding more good stuff like water and vegetables, and by reducing the things that was irritating it – coke, sugar, coffee and wine. The body was able to adjust, the pressure was off and as the kidneys and liver could work under less stress, his system slowly went back to normal.

So rather than trying to fix a stinking problem with an industrial grade deodorant, try to pay attention to how your body smells and when it smells. For sure you know that after a big night out with a lot of alcohol you will smell terrible the next day. Maybe other things will trigger it too – start by paying attention. Try to incorporate more water and veggies into your daily habits, and reduce the other stuff. You will notice a change in your smell, and you might even find that you do not need a deodorant every day of the week. Or at least that you can get by with a more natural one, that does not contain all the chemicals that the typical deodorant does.

What about stinky breath, you may wonder? I am so glad you asked! That is also a very interesting topic that will be tackled in a future blog post.

In conclusion:
your problem:
excess stench
just treating the symptom: industrial strength soap and deodorants
root cause: imbalance within the body, most likely kidneys and liver overworked and backed up
solution: add water and more vegetables. Reduce irritants like sodas, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes. First thing in the morning, drink warm water with lemon, (this stimulates the liver in a positive way after a night of hard work).

It’s like having a broken garbage can but rather than repairing it properly from the inside, you just spray perfume over it every time you pass by. This would be what Seth Godin calls “it’s broken”(4).

Taking your stench seriously is seriously very important! You might not care much at the moment, and covering yourself in heavy deodorants and perfumes may seem like an easy solution. But if you are stinking because your kidneys and liver are having a hard time, imagine what could be happening in your body already or just lurking around the corner. Things like insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver syndrome just to mention a few, could already be heading your way.

Don’t be a perfumed garbage can, get involved and get ahead by learning to fix the problem from the inside, by taking responsibility for your own health.

 

Just because you are trash it doesn’t mean you can’t do great things.
It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot”

*author unknown

Resources

4. Seth Godin / you tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZiDS-4Xd2k&list=PL9og4p-D6hpTlGqhrvhNNMKtOxg7fjSPA

Are you a perfumed garbage can?

Are you a perfumed garbage can? (Part 1)

So lets talk about that smelly person in the room! You know, the one you really don’t want to sit next to in a meeting, or when they come up and talk to you, you immediately try to avoid breathing in the air around them. Or maybe it’s you who is stinking, and cannot get rid of the smell no matter how hot you shower or how much deodorant you use. To solve the problem you must simply find the right deodorant, right?!

I do not believe that you can fix an inside problem by spraying on chemicals from the outside. Let me back up by telling you a story of a friend from a few years back. Let’s call him Dave.

Back then, Dave was 35-years-old, sporty, a fit guy who worked in the sales industry. He always smelled a lot, especially if he was in a hurry. Either the smell was über-strong from his deodorant, or from his body odor and sometimes a mix…phew…not so lovely. So, being a good friend I thought I had to gently approach the subject as it was clearly having an impact in his life and for the people around him.

So one day I said, “Hey Dave, I’ve got to tell you something you really stink!” He said, “Oh no, but I just used deodorant, is it really that bad?”

Turns out he always had a couple of extra spray deodorants in his car, so that he could use it before he went into sales meetings or meeting up with people. As the ice had been so delicately broken on the subject I decided to dig in some more and ask about his food and drink habits.

Even though he was doing a lot of sports, and looked to be in great shape, his dietary habits were not. The key things that stood out was this: He drank coke, coffee every day and red wine almost every day. He might have a glass of water with the red wine but that was about it. His food intake wasn’t too bad, but he needed to add more vegetables for sure. He also told me that the last check he had with the doctor was not good, and a lot of his values needed to be improved.

I suggested that he should, if nothing else, start to drink about 2 liters of water a day, preferably even more if he was exercising. Next up was to cut out the coke, preferably completely, and reduce the intake of coffee and red wine, and increase the daily amount of vegetables.

But why did Dave stink in the first place? There are a couple of different possibilities but most likely his kidneys and liver were not able to keep up with their job due to his dietary habits.

Our body has 5 major pathways for getting rid of toxins. Through the kidneys(1) (and urine), liver(2), colon (poop), the skin and the lungs. It is the kidneys, liver and colon that is supposed to do the heavy duty work here, the lungs and the skin are a last resort. That means that when the liver and kidneys are over worked and blocked, there is an excess of toxins and waste in your body. The body then tries to find other solutions to get rid of this garbage and it turns to the skin.  As the skin is sort of a last resort for this detoxing, its solution is not as elegant or rapid, and you will start to stink. The smell comes from an excess of bad bacteria mixing in the toxins and wastes. If this continues for a longer period of time, you will most likely start to have other skin conditions as well – dry flaky skin, itchiness, rashes, acne. These signs can point to a more particular problem, but what they all have in common is that there clearly is an imbalance within the body.

These toxins and wastes have been building up over time in your body. You might wonder, “why now, I haven’t changed anything lately?” but it is simply the accumulation factor. Daily use of stimulants like caffeine, sugar, cigarettes, sodas, and not drinking enough water will among other things fatigue your adrenal glands and thus lower the function of your kidneys and liver. Not having enough water in your system and being constipated makes elimination (pooping) more difficult. The longer the poop stays in your colon the more wastes and toxins will be reabsorbed in the body(3). Constant irritation in this area can also be the reason why you have low back pain. This makes the process of getting rid of the wastes and toxins slower than the accumulation factor.

Toxins and wastes can be built up from food pesticides, medicine, daily pollution, heavy metals in our drinking water and food, cleaning solutions for our homes, make-up, cigarettes etc. These wastes and toxins also love to stay stored in the excess fat in your body, so carrying a lot of excess weight is like inviting them to stay.

See you back here on Friday for Part 2.

 

Resources

  1. detox your kidneys
    http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10914/how-to-support-detox-your-kidneys.html
  2.  Liver health
    http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-26296/what-i-tell-my-patients-to-eat-for-liver-health.html
  3. Colon health
    http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6163/Why-a-Clean-Colon-Is-the-Key-to-Health-5-Steps-to-Keep-You-in-the-Clear.html