WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY VIDEO TESTIMONIALS?
MIKE'S VIDEO TESTIMONIAL
The range of motion in his cervical spine was terrible (almost non-existent), and he had an array of odd signs and symptoms (for one, he had tight hamstrings that affected his neck if he did not continually stretch them). He had widespread FASCIAL ADHESIONS with some TENDINOSIS thrown in here and there. I worked on Mike three times over the course of four days, and would guess that he is at least 80% better as far as pain is concerned, and infinitely better as far as his range of motion. But don't take my word for it; watch the video! BTW, Thanks Mike!
I specifically tell patients that these videos are not meant be an advertisement. Our hope is that they give others hope. There are so many people suffering with various CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES, that are not being helped by the myriad of things they have tried, my goal is to give them some hope. Yes, there are people just like you who have been given a SOLID GOLD BRICK in the form of having their lives given back to them.
MORE SIDE EFFECTS OF FLU SHOTS
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. Narcoleptics, when falling asleep, generally experience the REM stage of sleep within 5 minutes, while most people do not experience REM sleep until an hour or so later... The main characteristic of narcolepsy is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS), even after adequate night time sleep. A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or fall asleep or just be very tired throughout the day, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime naps may occur with little warning and may be physically irresistible. These naps can occur several times a day..... Drowsiness may persist for prolonged periods of time. In addition, night-time sleep may be fragmented with frequent awakenings. Wikipedia
Teams of scientists working independently from each in Sweden, Finland, and Ireland have published studies that show Narcolepsy rates were 7 to 13 times higher in vaccinated children than unactivated children. This increases the incidence of contracting Narcolepsy from about one in every 2,000 children to as many as one in every 140 children. What is life like for a child with Narcolepsy? Let me just say that thoughts of suicide are a common.
Many cannot function in school anymore, and those who do go to school, cannot get by without taking a host of drugs (RITALIN -- a legalized form of Meth, sleeping pills, ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, etc). They fall asleep at the drop of a hat --- anywhere. They have night terrors caused by the persistent hallucinations. They have a total loss of muscle control (weakness / collapse) brought on by laughter, having fun, being sad, or other intense, every-day, emotional responses. And the kicker is that there is no cure --- it's forever.
I am not going to lie to you --- the flu is a bummer. And these Flu Pandemics have the potential to be severe (the Swine Flu Pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 and 100 million people, depending on whose statistics you believe -- HERE). Just realize that with modern medicine, the threat of dying of a Flu Pandemic is small --- particularly in America (HERE). The threat of the accumulative neurotoxic effects of decades of flu shots is not (HERE).
FOLIC ACID SUPPLEMENTATION AND CANCER
IS THERE A LINK?
These studies, as are virtually all nutritional studies, are performed using Synthetic Supplements. Most likely, they are the same kind of Nutritional Supplements that you are taking. Is there really a difference between Synthetic Nutritional Supplements and Whole Food Supplements? You bet your sweet bippy there is! It is the reason that studies on specific Nutritional Supplements frequently show no benefit (HERE, HERE and HERE are a few examples). Allow me to explain.
Even though all vitamin companies will tout their products as "natural", this is far from the case. The vitamins found in "enriched" foods like the flour mentioned above, are cheap, super high potency, synthetic fractions of what God built into real food. For instance, women get duped into taking really crappy calcium supplements that contain mega amounts of ground up chalk (HERE) ---- and maybe some Synthetic Vitamin D ---- and are told it will prevent Osteoporosis. WHOLE FOOD NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS are different. The truth is, unless you are actually looking for a drug-like effect from the synthetic fraction (for instance, I.V. Ascorbic Acid for cancer), Whole Foods or Whole Food Supplements are the only way to go. I would suggest you glance at the link above to understand this concept better.
PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME REVISITED
PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE AND SCIATIC NERVE UNDERNEATH
"About 5 million of the 26 million Americans who suffer from low back pain each year have piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome produces an intense, sometimes crippling pain deep in the butt cheek, usually just on one side..... Even though your back is flawless, the piriformis muscle in the buttock may tighten, go into spasm and entrap the sciatic nerve, causing the same symptoms and misery that come with herniated disks. Those who compile statistics declare that piriformis syndrome may account for as much as 50 percent of the pain that strikes in the backside and radiates down the back of the leg..... Many internists, neurologists and pain specialists aren't very familiar with this problem, and mistakenly think the source of the pain is in spinal nerve roots. Because it is so easy to confuse with herniated disk, piriformis syndrome can be extremely difficult to diagnose, partially because MRIs and X-Rays don't pick it up."
Of this Piriformis Syndrome, not all of it is alike. Some Piriformis Syndrome is caused by congenital issues or poorly understood factors that I have no answer for. These people are more likely to show positive findings with specific EMG testing. However, I would argue that the majority of the cases of Piriformis Syndrome will never test positive on an EMG. These are the people whose Piriformis Syndrome is largely the result of FASCIAL ADHESIONS and / or TENDINOSIS. I also believe that a fair number of these people have SYSTEMIC FASCIAL ADHESIONS as well; or maybe THORACOLUMBAR ADHESIONS. For more information on Piriformis Syndrome, take a few minutes to read my PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME BLOG POSTS.
I certainly do not claim to have all the answers when it comes to successfully treating Piriformis Syndrome. However, I can tell you that if your pain is being caused by problems in the Fascia or Tendons, you will see positive results after just one treatment. This is what I told "E" who out of sheer desperation, made a tough 3 hour drive to see me on Monday after doing THIS TEST. Here is the email I got from her last evening. She has a disc problem (VERIFIED WITH MRI) and a Piriformis Syndrome ---- the later of which was being worsened by Spinal Decompression Therapy; something I have discussed many times on previous blog posts on this topic.
The pain I felt in my calf muscle after the tissue remodeling has remained and even intensified. The pain in my hip / glute is noticeably decreased. I'm even not feeling the pain with coughing that I was having before. I feel confident that the treatment did something positive for me even though it may not save me from surgery. Thank you!
ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE CREATES FEAR IN PUBLIC OFFICIALS
THE WRITING ON THE WALL IS CLEAR
On some level, the medical community knows this (HERE). But despite governmental efforts (i.e. lots of tax dollars) to educate doctors; antibiotic prescriptions for things like colds, sniffles, sore throats, THE FLU, boo boos, etc, continue virtually unabated. This has public officials that know the score rather freaked out about the consequences that are beginning to rare their ugly head. How freaked out? Follow along and see.
Dr. Sally Davies is England's top medical adviser. She holds the title of Chief Medical Officer for the country and was the Director of Research and Development before that. Prior to that she was the Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and National Health Service (their version of Obama Care). She is so worried about this particular topic that she has petitioned Parliament to add "Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases" to the government's National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies. Other things on this list include terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tsunamis and alien invasions (just kidding ---- maybe). She called the looming situation "Apocalyptic" and had this to say about it. "There are few public health issues of potentially greater importance for society than antibiotic resistance". Think for a moment about what she is saying here. This is serious stuff! Others have been sounding the alarm for decades.
Interestingly enough, her address did not spend much time dealing with the overprescription of antibiotics ---- a colossal problem here in the U.S. Who / what did she blame increasing levels of Antibiotic Resistance on? Like a true socialist, she laid it largely at the feet of greedy Drug Manufacturers who are more worried about developing drugs for lifetime / chronic conditions than temporary infections. She says that in the past, there have always been new antibiotics to turn to when the old ones quit working. But why do the old ones quit working? Can anyone say, "Massive Overuse"? Apparently Britain has some of the same problems over there that we have here. And we are going to soon have some of the same problems here that they have there.
HERE ARE A FEW OF THE THOUSANDS OF COMMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT FROM ONE OF ENGLAND'S LARGEST NEWSPAPERS; THE GUARDIAN
It is interesting to note that not only were there literally thousands of comments on this article, many were quite similar to each other. There were scores of comments (like the one below) lamenting the problems associated with Socialized Medicine and the "rationing" that is taking place in their healthcare system ---- something that would never happen here in America ----- yeah, right.
"This is handy. Sickness benefits have been all but abolished in Britain, so we'll be faced with seriously ill people being forced to work until they die, infecting others in the process. It's almost as though they're deliberately trying to cull us."
The next three quips were in response to the idea that British doctors do not hand out antibiotics like candy --- like they do here in America. There were hundreds upon hundreds of similar anecdotes regarding this specific aspect of the problem of Antibiotic Resistance.
"So there's not one scientist or a scientophile willing to admit that the antibiotics themselves are the problem, not how they're used? Great, just keep on dishing out disasters wrapped as gifts and the humanity might have just enough time to make a 500-foot tombstone for itself with "Killed By Science" carved in it."
"Actually doctors do dish out antibiotics - I was at a baby group recently and they were recommending a doctor to each other on the basis that all you have to do is ask for an antibiotic and he will give you the prescription. The mothers seem to agree this is great and a doctor to be recommended. Nobody would listen to me when I tried to explain about antibiotic resistance and one of them snapped at me saying 'sometimes you know what you need yourself'. This doctor must be doing well out of his reputation."
"Yes, a cold is caused by a virus. However, doctors do dish out antibiotics to people who have colds. I was several times prescribed antibiotics by different doctors when I went to them with a bad cold. This happened in a work situation where I was required to see the company doctor(s). "I'll give you some antibiotics just to make sure this cold doesn't give you any infections in the throat or nasal passages", is what they said. So there you are. Doctors are dishing out antibiotics willy-nilly, "just in case" of infections and not because of infections."
If you want to learn how Antibiotics can be a portal to all sorts of sickness and disease, you need to read THIS. Is it possible to get through life without ever taking Antibiotics? My kids are 13 and almost 15, and have never had them. To learn more about Antibiotics, their ability to destroy your Immune System, and what you can do about it, HERE is the scoop.
MORE SYSTEMIC TENDINOSIS
Without delving into this issue too deeply, I am going to show you an email exchange that happened over the weekend. The thing I want you to notice is M's answer. Although her doctor is likely unaware of the fact; there is a very specific and logical progression that virtually all health problems go through before differentiating to the point where they can be named as specific disease entities (HERE). If the patient or their treating physician does not realize this (most do not), they will spin their wheels forever trying to deal with symptoms instead of addressing the underlying cause(s) of those symptoms. This concept is the same whether we are dealing with FIBROMYALGIA, AUTOIMMUNITY, CANCER, GUT ISSUES, HORMONAL PROBLEMS, or Systemic Tendinosis. Systemic problems have to be dealt with systemically if you want any hope of a solution.
I came across your website "Destroy Chronic Pain" and had a few questions!! I used to be a long distance runner and stopped 2 years ago because of chronic tendon pain. It is in my hamstrings, knees and feet/ankles. It flares up if i try to use an elliptical or any kind of exercise machine or if I'm on my feet all day. I mostly do light strength training and stretching. I can really only walk for exercise which is a huge let down for me since I used to race and run marathons. What i really am looking for is a honest answer from someone. Do people with these kind of injuries/chronic problems have them for years? Is it possible i could have this for the rest of my life and my running days will never be the same or could be over?? Have you treated other injured runners and have they returned to running again? I am only 26 and this has been heart breaking for me not only because i can't do what i love, but I also struggle with daily activity now too!!!! Any input would be helpful if you find the time!!
Even though I am not a big fan of running, I have successfully treated all sorts of athletes, including runners. Unfortunately, SYSTEMIC TENDINOSIS is not something treatable with the Tissue Remodeling I do. You are going to have to find out what is driving the INFLAMMATION. I would suggest that you go to my blog and read about GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, AUTOIMMUNITY, and LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. My guess is that you are Gluten Sensitive, or have some other underlying issue as well as a Leaky Gut.
You may also want to read my Blog Post on CARDIO TRAINING -vs- STRENGTH TRAINING as well, as this could be causing your problems as well. Please stay in touch and let me know how things go for you after you have done an ELIMINATION DIET / PALEO DIET.
I will check out your blog! It's interesting you think it could be gluten or something else going on because I didn't even tell you about my irritable bowel type symptoms and issues with certain foods!
Thanks again! M
ADHD NUMBERS EXPLODE OVER THE PAST DECADE
"The rates of childhood attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis has increased by nearly 25% over the past decade, researchers [Darios Getahun, MD, PhD, and colleagues of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group] found." The work of Dr. Getahun and colleagues from JAMA Pediatrics as reported on Medpage Today
If you are a person who either struggles with ADHD yourself, or have children with ADHD; become proactive and intervene. Step up to the plate and be the parent you should be. Their / your future depends on it! Educate yourself. Read. Click on the links. Don't sit there in sheep-like fashion watching Seinfeld reruns while your doctor "medicates" you or your family with drugs in the Methamphetamine family (Adderall and Ritalin). Take the steps to defeat ADHD naturally.
TRANS FATS: DESTROYER OF HEALTH
"The National Institutes of Health has funded over $100 million on three studies at Harvard University over the past 20 years ---- the results of which unequivocally prove that the risk of Cardiovascular Disease correlates to the consumption of Trans Fats [and not Saturated Fats]." From the Foreword to Judith Shaw's 2004 book called Trans Fats; The Hidden Killer in our Food. "We were told by the experts then [the 1950's and 1960's] that the epidemic proportions of Coronary Heart Disease could be halted if the country united against butter, red meat, and eggs. However, funding for the research that unequivocally seemed to 'prove' the connection between Heart Disease and diets high in saturated fats were companies such as Proctor & Gamble (Crisco), Wesson and Mazola (Vegetable Oil), and Fleishmann's (Margarine) --- the very food giants who stood to benefit most from their conclusions." Ibid. It is interesting to note that the campaign against Saturated Fats was not only supported by organizations like the American Heart Association, but by our government as well.
WHAT ARE TRANS FATS?
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, German scientists developed a method of driving hydrogen atoms into vegetable oils (or sometimes into whale oil / fish oil) to convert them to a solid. The process of "Hydrogenation" spread to various parts of Europe until Procter & Gamble bought the US rights and set up a factory here in America. The name of their 1911 product? One that you likely grew up with ---- Crisco. Prior to this, people ate and cooked with lard, tallow, pork fat, and butter (or even bear "grease"). What is the common denominator here? They're all animal fats. Please note that obesity and heart disease were both extremely rare at this time.
As new sources of oils were found to hydrogenate (soybean oil was essentially a byproduct of animal feed until they started hydrogenating it), the hydrogenation industry literally exploded. Women were given free cookbooks from Proctor & Gamble that were full of recipes which relied on Crisco. Shortening was touted as "healthy" because it was made from "vegetables". And as the formulas were tweaked, it was discovered that Vegetable Shortening such as Crisco could actually produce foods that were thought by many to be superior in both taste and texture to those made with butter or lard. And no one could argue that Trans Fats provided foods with a longer shelf life --- something that the food manufacturers were quite interested in ---- particularly in the days before the Interstate Highway System and widespread refrigeration.
By the 1920's, animal fats were being largely phased out of the fledgling processed food industry as well as commercial bakeries. By the 1960's, Hydrogenated Vegetable oils had almost completely replaced animal fats across the board. If you are old enough to remember, much of this was due to the suggestion that animal fats were the cause of all sorts of health problems, including heart disease. You probably also remember that one of the selling points of these products was that they are made from healthy "Vegetables" (Vegetable Shortening).
Even though one of the most prestigious medical journals on the planet (The Lancet) suggested a relationship between hydrogenated oils and heart disease back in 1956, the information was largely buried / ignored, and life went on as usual. As people bought into the whole "unsaturated fats are healthy / saturated fats are unhealthy" myth (HERE), the hydrogenation industry exploded. However, by the late 1980's the tide was beginning to turn. Researchers were hollering for more funding for studies; and as the money and studies poured forth, the Trans Fat empire began to collapse, albeit slowly.
The earlier studies showed that as many as 20,000 Americans per year were dying as a direct result of dietary Trans Fats in the form of hydrogenated oils. By 1994, studies had upped that number to over 30,000 death per year. Twelve years later, a study in the The New England Journal of Medicine raised the number of estimated annual deaths directly due to Trans Fats nearly three times to over 100,000, saying that, "On a per-calorie basis, trans fats appear to increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease more than any other macronutrient, conferring a substantially increased risk at low levels of consumption." I know what you're thinking; if Trans Fats are so bad, could someone please tell me why? It all has to do with the Cell Membrane.
CELL MEMBRANES / THE LIPID BI-LAYER
- PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL CELLS FROM THEIR SURROUNDINGS: This is important for keeping bad things out of the cell and allowing good things to enter into the cells.
- CELLULAR SIGNALING AND COMMUNICATION: The cell membranes not only transmit nerve-like messages via the fact that they are electrically charged (see below), the fluidity and mobility of the membrane has the ability to conduct / transmit messages. This should remind you of one of the properties of FASCIA.
- IT IS AN ANCHOR SYSTEM FOR ALL SORTS OF STRUCTURES BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE CELL: This sort of goes hand in hand with the next bullet point. Cell Membranes provide cohesion so that groups of similar cells can group together into functional units, tissues, and even organs.
- CELL MEMBRANES HELP GIVE INDIVIDUAL CELLS AND TISSUES THEIR UNIQUE SHAPE: Without Cell Membranes, each cell would effectively function like an amoeba. Some people I know would barely notice this. Trans Fats stiffen Cell Membranes and leave them less flexible and fluid. Although this sounds harmless enough, it is the basis of the disease process we will look at momentarily.
Cell Membranes are said to be "Selectively Permeable". In English, this means that the cells choose what they allow to enter into them or go out of them, in relationship to what their individual needs are. There are several methods of transporting things across the Cell Membrane. We will explore some of these related to disease processes when we specifically deal with the Cell Membrane in just a moment.
- CELL MEMBRANES ALLOW WATER AND OXYGEN INTO THE CELL, WHILE LETTING CARBON DIOXIDE OUT: This process does not require energy.
- THE CELL MEMBRANES HAVE CHANNELS MADE OF PROTEIN THAT ALLOW FOOD TO BE TRANSPORTED INTO THE CELL: The opposite is true as well. The cells expend energy to pump certain substances back and forth across the cell membrane. This also occurs in a different manner via processes of known as endocytosis (moving things into the cell) and exocytosis (moving things out of the cell) respectively. Instead of substances being pumped through channels, they are engulfed like something from the movie, "The Blob". Then the whole thing is moved across the cell membrane and the contents "spit out" where they need to be.
Consuming Trans Fats in the form of Partially Hydrogenated Oils is a veritable death sentence. Oh, don't get me wrong ---- it's not like they will kill you as soon as they hit your mouth. Instead, they'll do in a slower and more subtle fashion. It is now known that consuming these man made fats dramatically changes both the structure and the function of the Cell Membranes. This means that man made Trans Fats can kill you in a slow, painful manner (Diabetes) --- or all at once (Heart Attack). Follow along as I show you some things that just might save your life, while giving you a better quality of living in the process.
As you saw in the pictures above, Cell Membranes are composed of two layers of phospholipids that are positioned opposite each other. Their attracted-to-water (hydrophillic) tails face each other so that the water-repelling (hydrophobic) heads create a barrier-like outside edge of the cell. This allows the cell to block substances from entering the cell ----- unless the cell decides it needs to let them in. When it all works like it should, life is peachy. When it does not, health can go south in a hurry.
Trans Fats create what some experts refer to as "Stupid Cell Membranes". Allow me to explain. As more and more Trans Fats are incorporated into Cell Membranes, they lose both their flexibility and ability transmit and receive messages. After this, they begin to fail at being "Selectively Permeable". On one hand, they start letting things into the cells that should not be there, while preventing things from coming in that should be in the cell. On the other hand, they keep things inside the cell that should be let out (i.e. metabolic waste products) and let things out that should stay in.
One of the chief ways that this happens is that the specific fats and oils that make up the "lipid bilayer" (Cell Membrane) must be able to respond to their environment, and respond quickly --- almost instantaneously. One of the reasons your body can metabolically react like it does to things like hormones, neurotransmitters, inflammatory mediators, nutritional compounds, drugs, etc, is because of the fluidity of the Cell Membranes. Take away that fluidity and the body reacts in completely different ways. As you might imagine, the less flexible your Cell Membranes become, the more prone to diseases you are.
ASSOCIATED WITH TRANS FATS
"[Trans Fats have] no safe level of human consumption. [They have a] tolerable upper intake level of zero." From a 2002 report put out by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science.
Because Systemic Inflammation has been strongly associated with dozens of disease processes as well as dramatic increases in C-Reactive Protein (CRP), it is advised to learn what it is and how to avoid it. We know that Trans Fats are one of the major sources of Inflammations for most Americans. In fact, several governmental organizations have issued statements regarding the fact that there is no level of the Partially Hydrogenated (artificial / man made) Trans Fats that can be safely consumed in our diets.
- HEART DISEASE / CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: There have been dozens of studies linking dietary fat to Heart Disease. Be aware that while the evidence for a causal link between Trans Fats and Heart Disease is overwhelming, the evidence for a causal link between Saturated Fats and Heart Disease is not. We can see this in a blood test by watching for an increase in the ratio of bad cholesterol to good. Remember also that although Trans Fats contain no cholesterol themselves, they jack the ratio of the LDL (bad) to the HDL (good).
- IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION: Studies have shown that Trans Fats stimulate the part of the Immune System that deals with Inflammation. Look at the earlier link. How many diseases are associated with Inflammation? Too many to count. Interestingly enough, there is a growing body of researchers (see previous bullet point) who believe that high cholesterol has little to do with dietary cholesterol. Instead they believe that Cholesterol is the body's "patch" to fix the damage that occurs in arteries caused by ---- you guessed it ----- Inflammation.
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Although this one is also being linked to high blood sugar and HFCS, the Archives of Neurology tied it to Trans Fats in a study that was published almost 10 years ago to the day.
- CANCER: The first studies on Trans Fats and cancer occurred back in the 1940's. Since then the consensus of the mainstream medical community is that there is either no link, or the link is minimal. However, there are numerous scientists and studies from around the world linking the two. Stop for a moment and think. It is only logical that impairing the integrity of the cell's guardian membrane would have consequences as far as cancer is concerned.
- DIABETES: Stupid Cell Membranes have been shown by studies not to function optimally as far as allowing glucose in and out of the cells. Trans Fats have been shown to alter the effects of both Insulin and Insulin Receptors (Insulin Resistance); a precursor to / component of Type II Diabetes.
- OBESITY: Trans Fats cause obesity ---- even in the absence of caloric excess. Like Cortisol, their intake is shown to cause most of the excess fat to be deposited in the abdominal area. Abdominal Obesity is associated with far more health issues than generalized weight gain.
- LIVER FUNCTION: The Liver is your body's chemist. Trans Fats alter the way that your body metabolizes certain fats. Be aware that the most common cause of mild to moderately raised levels of liver enzymes is a fatty liver, and a fatty livers occur most commonly in people who are obese.
- FEMALE INFERTILITY: Just a 2% increase in Dietary Trans Fats caused female infertility to skyrocket.
- DEPRESSION: Studies have shown that Trans Fats lower brain levels of DHA. DHA is the two active components of PFGO. Note that dozens of scientific studies have linked low brain levels of DHA to Major Depressive Disorder (DEPRESSION).
For someone who is GLUTEN SENSITIVE, they will often feel better almost immediately after cutting wheat and wheat products out of their diet, the same cannot usually be said for Trans Fats. This has to do with the fact that once Trans Fats are incorporated into the Cell Membranes, they tend to stick around indefinitely. If you cut Trans Fats from your diet and dramatically increase the intake of healthy fats (including "clean / unprocessed" animal fats), it will take time for the Cell Membranes to regenerate themselves. How long, I'm not sure. But don't expect for all of these problems to go away overnight just because you changed your diet.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS HEALTHY TRANS FATS?
TRANS FATS MAKE UP A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THESE COMMON FOODS
"Unlike butter, the manufactured hydrogenated vegetable fat in crackers, and cookies, precooked french fries, and pot pies, buns, muffins, salad dressings, chicken legs, and fish filets, ensured that the product that started out in New Jersey would still be fresh when it got to Washington state and for months and years to come. It would preserve foods shipped across the seas." Judith Shaw from Trans Fats; The Hidden Killer in our Foods.
- Commercial French Fries
- Commercial Peanut Butter
- Almost Anything that is Commercially Battered and Fried (Fried Chicken)
- Baked Goods, Including Pie Crusts, Donuts, Cake Mixes, Muffins, Pancake / Waffle Mixes, Cookies, Biscuits, Sweet Rolls, Crackers, Pretzels, etc
- Many Breakfast Cereals
- Vegetable Shortening, Cake Frosting
- Non-Dairy Creamers & Fast Food Milk Shakes
- Microwave or Movie Theater Popcorn, Potato Chips, Corn Chips
- Fast Food / Snack Food / Candy Bars
- Numerous Packaged or Processed Foods
How can we determine whether or not Trans Fats are present in a food or not? Although Trans Fats were required to be labeled as such by a federal law passed in 2006 (See Below), things are never as easy as they should be. Remember how we learned earlier that Trans Fats are made up of oils that have been "Hydrogenated"? It used to be that you simply looked for the numbers of grams of Partially Hydrogenated Fats on a food label. With the new law, all we need to do is look for the numbers of grams of Trans Fats --- sort of.
As unbelievable as it may sound to you (sarcasm is intended), when the government created the regulations to disclose the amount of Trans Fats to the general public via food labels, they created a loophole --- one that in many cases you could drive a Mack truck through. They said that as long as a food does not have at least .5 grams of Trans Fats per serving, it does not need to be labeled as containing Trans Fat. Think about it this way; many of the foods that contain copious amounts of Trans Fats also happen to be foods that come in very small serving sizes. Let me explain. A certain cookie may have .49 grams of Trans Fat per serving. But if a serving size is two small cookies, and the average person eats a dozen at a sitting, they are getting a serious jolt of Trans Fat ----- nearly 6 grams ---- even though the "Government Approved" food label tells you that these cookies contain 0 grams of Trans Fats. Make sure that you not only read the "Nutrition Facts" part of the label (below), but the "List of Ingredients" as well. Again, just look for the words Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated.
HOW TO GET TRANS FATS OUT OF YOUR LIFE
Since the early 1970s, for instance, Americans' average fat intake has dropped from over 40% of total calories to 34%; average serum cholesterol levels have dropped as well. But no compelling evidence suggests that these decreases have improved health. Although heart disease death rates have dropped--and public health officials insist low-fat diets are partly responsible--the incidence of heart disease does not seem to be declining, as would be expected if lower fat diets made a difference. This was the conclusion, for instance, of a 10-year study of heart disease mortality published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1998, which suggested that death rates are declining largely because doctors are treating the disease more successfully. AHA statistics agree: Between 1979 and 1996, the number of medical procedures for heart disease increased from 1.2 million to 5.4 million a year. "I don't consider that this disease category has disappeared or anything close to it," says one AHA statistician. Food Researcher Gary Taubes from a 2003 internet article.
And if you simply followed logic, you would have to assume that dramatically cutting back on fat and it's 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram for both carbs and protein, would solve the problem. Only it hasn't solved the problem. It's made it worse. This is because most doctors do not have as good of an understanding of the relationship between the Endocrine System and weight as they should have (HERE). And even though study after study is showing that animal fats (particularly fats from non-obese, clean animals) is not the pariah it was once thought to be, we are still bombarded by experts telling us to further cut down our intake of fat (Fuhrman, Pritikin, Ornish, McDougal, etc). Here are a few simple ways to get healthy fats into your system while avoiding the baddies.
- IF IT CONTAINS HYDROGENATED OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED FATS, DON'T BUY IT OR PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH: It's not rocket science folks. Learn to read labels as though your life depends on it ---- mainly because it does. Just look at the list I created for you and avoid those foods as well. When you eat Trans Fats, you are changing your Cell Membranes for the worse. Unfortunately, it takes far longer to change them back. A key fact you must understand about these artificial fats is that they have a half-life of about 50 days. This means that after 100 days, 25% of the Trans Fats in the Krispy Kreme you ate just over 3 months ago is still part of your cell membranes!
- USE BUTTER INSTEAD OF MARGARINE: It never ceases to amaze me how many crappy spreads out there tout themselves as "Heart Healthy" when they know darn well that this is far from the case. For Pete's sake, use BUTTER!
- USE COCONUT OIL TO COOK WITH & EVOO FOR SALAD DRESSINGS: Remember that it is possible to turn good fats into Trans Fats via heat. Don't believe the hooey that certain celebrity doctors are saying about Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Fuhrman says it's on the short list of "worst foods"). It is the best salad dressing base I have found. Stay away from crappy "VEGETABLE OILS".
- EAT GOOD FATS FROM A WIDE VARIETY OF SOURCES: Nuts, wild fish, raw dairy (for those not sensitive), and even SATURATED FAT from "clean" meats are all fine to eat, and will provide you with quality fats to build healthy Cell Membranes with.
WHY ARE TRANS FATS INCORPORATED INTO VARIOUS FOODS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
AS SERIOUS AS A HEART ATTACK!
Almost exclusively due to unbridled Antibiotic use, about 3 million Americans a year are infected with a bacteria called Clostridium Difficile ---- a bug that is typically picked up in hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and other similar settings. Because this particular bacteria (C. Diff) attacks the Gut, about half a million of those infected develop cramping, diarrhea, and fever, along with a painfully inflamed colon. And despite the fact that you've never heard of C. Diff before, as many as 30,000 Americans die from it annually. Just another one of those dirty little secrets.
Interestingly enough, there is another group of people who tend to get this infection. Along with HELIOBACTERIA PYLORI INFECTIONS --- the stomach infection which is the known cause of Ulcers and Gastritis ---- people taking acid blocking drugs (prevacid, prilosec, tagamet, asiphix, etc) are getting it as well, due to their propensity to foul up the body's pH balance (they raise stomach pH, while lowering the pH of the body --- the exact opposite of what most people really need (see above link). Once C. Dif takes over the G.I. tract, all sorts of bad things begin to happen.
One of the last-ditch efforts being used in treating these individuals involves something called "Stool Transplants" (the official name is Fecal Microbiota Transplantation ---- FMT). Despite the fact that people suffering from C. Diff have Guts (intestines) that are literally devastated by the effects of INFLAMMATION, it has been discovered that transplanting "healthy" fecal material from a donor to the infected patient cures the infection in about 90% of the cases. Let's go look at some history to figure out why; because maybe if we can figure out why this is happening in the first place, it can be stopped in its tracks before it takes off and runs (no pun intended).
GUT HEALTH AND OUR MODERN MEDICAL COMMUNITY
For starters, your Gut is the seat of your Immune System. An Australian study done by a team of several medical doctors was published in a 1999 issue of The American Journal of Physiology. It was called, "The Intestine as a Sensory Organ: Neural, Endocrine, and Immune Responses". What did these researchers have to say about this topic? They said that according to the current research, "The gut immune system has 70– 80% of the body's immune cells" (HERE). When you look at the incredible amount of information packed in to these two highlighted sentences above, an interesting picture begins to emerge. We see just from these two sentences that there is a powerful relationship between the Endocrine System, The Gut, and the Immune System.
Just remember this; Dysbiosis is being linked back to numerous health problems of the Immune System and hormonal (Endocrine) system (AUTOIMMUNITY, THYROID PROBLEMS, BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION / DIABETES, ADRENAL PROBLEMS, SEXUAL HEALTH, and a plethora of others). If neither you nor your doctor are versed in addressing these problems logically and systematically, you'll end up like so many others who are spending unholy amounts of money on medical care and getting nowhere as far as answers are concerned. More of the same-old same-old; more tests, more drugs, more surgeries, and more blank deer-in-the-headlight stares.
Remember how I said that if you go back 50 years or so, you'll see that the medical community thought differently about Gut Health than they do today? Let me prove it to you. Although veterinarians have been using this procedure on sick racehorses for the better part of a century, 55 years ago in Australia, Dr. Thomas Borody performed the first Stool Transplants on four C. Diff patients --- successfully, I might add. Why has it not garnered more attention before this? I probably do not have to tell you. For one thing, you cannot patent dukie like you can patent a drug. For another; you walk into your doctor's office, and he says you have a bacterial overgrowth in your large intestine. You assume he will give you an antibiotic (which is actually the current treatment of choice ---- after all, antibiotics kill bacteria). You fill the prescription on the way home. But as you surf the web, you stumble across my blog and begin studying the information that you find there. One of the first things that you learn is that it was the antibiotics that made you susceptible to the infection in the first place.
Like I just mentioned, the medical community's SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for treating C. Diff infections is treating them with antibiotics. But once you understand that Antibiotics do more to destroy American Immune Systems than almost any other common substance people ingest in the name of health, you'll begin to grasp how big a deal this really is. You see, although the Antibiotic treatment used to treat the initial C. Diff infection works about 90% of the time, reinfection rates are skyrocketing. This is not difficult to understand.
You get a cold or the flu and your doctor erroneously gives you Antibiotics --------> You take the Antibiotics faithfully ---------> The cold goes away like it would have done on its own anyway ----------> Antibiotics weaken the Immune System, which is largely made up of bacteria living in your Gut ----------> A weakened Immune System leaves you susceptible to more infections ---------> When you get another infection, you go to the doctor who prescribes you ---- yep; more Antibiotics.
As the cycle spins in a big circle (Sickness, Antibiotics, Sickness, Antibiotics), your run down Immune System gets weaker and weaker and weaker ---- each round hammering it into a veritable playground for all sorts of sickness and disease. And finally it happens. On one of those trips to the doctor, you pick up a C. Diff infection that someone has so thoughtfully left for you to find. Not only might it take years for anyone to actually figure out that your problem is a Clostridium Difficele infection, if they do figure it out, there is an almost 100% chance of you being treated with Antibiotics. Besides the cost of this particular antibiotic-therapy being ridiculously high (about $1,500 for 10 days), Antibiotics are exactly why the the recurrence rates for C. Diff are also so high. And as you might imagine, the odds of really bad things (like death) go up with each recurrence.
Although people who are not sick tend to gross out and talk about the "ick factor" of a Fecal Transplant, sick people really don't care as much as you might think. It is sort of like the TISSUE REMODELING TREATMENTS that are a huge focus of my practice. Because there can be some ugly and widespread bruising associated with the procedure, people who are not in pain tend to look at the bruising of people I have treated and say something along the lines of, "I would never have that done, even if you paid me" (HERE). This just means that any physical problems they may be dealing with have not reached critical mass ---- the point of true desperation. People who have the kind of pain that encompasses their whole being, ruins their life, and becomes the only thing that they can think about (HERE), couldn't care less about a bruise. Desperation born from pain produces people who would be willing to let you beat them with a ball-pein hammer if they thought it had a prayer of fixing their problem. In many ways, a Feces Transplant produces a similar situation. I get it ---- the term "Fecal Transplant" does sound kind of gross. But laying on your back, six feet under, with your arms folded across your chest, taking a dirt nap (or living the rest of your life in misery) doesn't sound too enticing either.
Truthfully, if you simply try not to think about it, going to the dentist is probably worse. After having the colon cleaned out via an enema --- similar to the preparation for a Lower GI Study ---- less than two ounces of donated fecal matter is "injected" into the rectum using a gizmo that is basically an extra-large syringe. It takes a grand total of about 5 minutes to perform the procedure, and patients often see dramatic changes within the first couple of days. The transplant typically needs to be done only once to re-establish the good bacteria and start the process of restoring one's Immune System.
Not that I am recommending it, but there are scientific studies as well as a growing body of anecdotal evidence for actually performing this procedure in the comfort of your own home. My interest in this topic was piqued a couple years ago after reading of an individual who got tired of bickering back and forth with his insurance company who were refusing to pay for the procedure (they called it "experimental"), so he went out and did it himself. He found a healthy donor, cleaned out his colon, and gave himself a Feces Enema. In fact, in Europe, they are beginning to use this technique to heal AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES. It's not like it's brain surgery, and it's definitely better than the alternative. Speaking of alternatives.......
A couple of big drug companies are working feverishly on medications and vaccines against C. Diff. If you understand VACCINES, you'll know that I do not believe this is a good idea. Many of these developmental drugs are being designed to go after the toxins made by the bacteria. Although this is not a terrible idea, I would rather see the infection dealt with than simply covering symptoms with a drug ---- and then using Antibiotics to take care of the C. Diff infection itself.
Furthermore, if you have been following my blog and grasp the relationship between the Gut and overall health, it is fairly easy to understand why it's actually being used to treat problems other than diarrhea and cramping. I have written extensively on the relationship between Gut Health and Immune System Function, and mentioned the amount of research associating abnormal Gut Flora (bacteria) with all sorts of disease process. Wikipedia agreed, saying this about Stool Transplants.
It can also be used to treat other conditions, including colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and some neurological conditions and autoimmune disorders. Wiki paraphrased this from a 1989 issue of The Medical journal of Australia.
The thing is, Stool Transplants are a still a niche ---- a form of treatment done only by a select group of forward-thinking Gastroenterologists. If you are not already suffering from raging C. Diff infection, I want to go over a few methods to help prevent the problem from starting in the first place. These things might actually help cure the infection of one who already has C. Diff as well.
THINGS TO DO TO PREVENT CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFCILE AND OTHER SIMILAR INFECTIONS
- NIX THE ANTIBIOTICS: Although they have the ability to save lives, I would argue that other than our massive over-consumption of processed foods, nothing has done more to destroy the health of the American public than Antibiotics. When people have chronic infections, H. PYLORI, Staph, Strep, Yeast, Mold, Fungus, etc, etc, ANTIBIOTICS are almost always to blame. This is the case with C. Diff as well. The truth is, we are frequently way too clean both inside and out (HERE).
- CUT BACK ON SUGAR AND STARCHY CARBS: If Antibiotics are the cause of various forms of DYSBIOSIS (including C. Diff infections), SUGAR is the straw that stirs the drink. I have shown you over and over that UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR is at the root of practically all health problems --- including this one. Be aware that GLUTEN (grain protein) is being implicated in this problem as well.
- EAT A DIET OF WHOLE FOODS: Whole Foods are where it's at. If you are not eating a LOW CARB or PALEO TYPE DIET, you may want to look into some of the research on the subject.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND EXERCISE: These are both generalized health tips that will boost your Immune System function and help promote Bowel Health. The best way to exercise is HERE. If you are fighting an active C. Diff infection, you may have to back off of the exercise until you get it under control.
- TAKE PROBIOTICS: Everyone needs to be periodically taking PROBIOTICS --- especially if you have been on Antibiotics. I recommend broad-spectrum HSO Probiotics that replenish your Gut with the same bacteria found in organic soil. If you have C. Diff, you have to get extremely serious about this by eating lots of fermented foods as well. Be aware that for some of you, probiotics will not be enough (HERE).
Be aware that I not only have numerous articles on FMT, but that it may need to be part of the protocol used for taking your health back (HERE).
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OBESITY
AND YOUR ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
WHAT IS A CALORIE?
By definition, a calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise one cubic centimeter (CC) of water, one degree Celsius. There are three essential macro-nutrients (four if you count water). They are carbohydrates, fats (aka lipids) and proteins. The "Holy Grail" of weight loss is calorie counting. As far as counting calories is concerned, science tells us that.......
- CARBOHYDRATES CONTAIN 4 CALORIES PER GRAM
- PROTEINS CONTAIN 4 CALORIES PER GRAM
- FATS CONTAIN 9 CALORIES PER GRAM
- WATER CONTAINS NO CALORIES
Half the world's population is living on fewer than 2,500 calories a day, while about half are consuming over 3,000 calories per day. Looking at this calorie distribution map raises a question. If caloric intake is the sole cause of Obesity, why is 70% of the adult American population overweight or obese, while European obesity rates are a small fraction of ours, even though we are eating similar numbers of calories? As a side note: The Russians used to be lean, but the past decade has seen skyrocketing Soviet obesity due to processed foods and increasingly sedentary lifestyles. It seems like we won the Cold War and are now in the process of "Westernizing" the rest of the planet in regards to health and weight.
COMMON MYTHS & MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DIET, EXERCISE, AND OBESITY
- Calories in, calories out, is the best way to understand the relationship between diet and weight.
- All calories are alike (HERE).
- If you want to lose weight, just eat less and exercise more (HERE).
- Overweight people consume far more calories than people of normal weight.
- Low calorie diets are a great way to lose weight.
- You need at least 130 grams of carbs a day to fuel your brain (HERE).
- Starvation diets are good for short-term weight loss.
- We all have a "set point" as far as our weight is concerned.
- Dietary fat causes obesity (HERE).
- Carbs are not addictive (HERE).
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WEIGHT,
THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM RULES
The Pancreas makes two very important hormones as far as weight is concerned; Insulin and Glucagon. Insulin is a storage hormone, which, in significant amounts can not only cause all sorts of sickness and disease, it can cause weight gain in the form of fat. Glucagon is its opposite. It causes the body to burn fat stores for energy.
Think about it for a moment........ what if you knew how to control these two hormones? It's easier than you might think. Because I have written extensively about these hormones, I will send you to a previous blog post on the topic (HERE). Just understand that as far as weight gain / obesity, dietary fat is essentially an inert substance. You''ll soon see that not only is it carbs that largely drive the Endocrine System, but that dietary fat actually has the effect of blunting the effects of carbs and insulin. No; dietary fat does not make one fat. If this were true, farmers would be feeding their cattle bacon instead of corn.
By now everyone knows that excess amounts of the body's chief stress hormone (Cortisol) causes obesity. When stress triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System, Cortisol is released into the blood stream. This immediately signals the body's "Fight or Flight" mechanism. The body needs glucose (blood sugar) and it needs it right now. Besides going after the glucose found in muscle glycogen, it actually starts breaking down its own muscle mass. Because the excess sugar is not needed for most of our modern stress responses (we are not having to run from a saber tooth tiger), the body starts storing this excess blood sugar as fat ---- belly fat. To learn about the relationship between Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue, just visit THIS PAGE.
SEX HORMONES; TEST & EST
Interestingly enough, your sex hormones play a huge part in your weight. For any number of reasons that can be seen HERE, our population faces an almost totally ignored health epidemic --- Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen Dominance is exactly what it sounds like --- a dominance or over-abundance of the sex hormone Estrogen in relationship to other sex hormones. Estrogen is the hormone that makes women women. It gives them soft skin, brings forth secondary sex characteristics, and it makes women naturally carry more body fat than men --- on average about 10% more.
Estrogen is made in two different places in your body; the ovaries and the fat cells. As women get heavier, fat cells increase, and as they increase, they make more Estrogen. The Estrogen causes women to be fatter, which causes them to make more Estrogen. Repeat the cycle indefinitely. Oh, and understand that on some level, this cycle happens in men too. Why do you think that overweight men are much more prone to having what looks like female breasts, impotence, and even more weight gain?
Testosterone, the male hormone, is also important in the weight department. Without proper amounts of testosterone, men cease acting and functioning like men. Some of the signs of low Testosterone include....
- Depression / Anxiety (HERE)
- Mental Fogginess / Difficulty Concentrating
- Inability to get Motivated
- Loss of Libido / Impotence (HERE)
- Muscle Loss / Weight Gain
Your Thyroid is the seat of your metabolism. When it does not function properly, weight gain is one of the most common consequences. Because I have a huge Blog Post on the thyroid, you can see how this all works by going HERE.
So, despite what you have been told, dietary fat does not make you fat. OBESITY is largely a function of your Endocrine System, and is driven (or controlled) by one's blood sugar. For more information on the Endocrine System and its relationship to Gut Health, visit ENDOGUT. I would also strongly suggest the book,Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.
ARE BREAD, SWEETS, AND OTHER CARBS AS ADDICTIVE AS HARD DRUGS?
I'm sitting in a comfortable chair, in a tastefully lit, cheerfully decorated drug den, watching a steady line of people approach their dealer. After scoring, they shuffle off to their tables to quietly indulge in what for some could become (if it hasn't already) an addiction that screws up their lives. It's likely you have friends and family members who are suffering from this dependence—and you may be on the same path yourself..... Think of this stuff as more than a drug—it's like a metabolic parasite, taking over your body and feeding itself. Paul John Scott describing what goes on in a typical Panera's Bread restaurant in an article found in the March 2011 issue of Details called "Are Carbs More Addictive Than Cocaine?"
"Bread — even whole wheat bread — is metabolically equivalent to Skittles, because it has the same glycemic index. You get the same sugar rush from a ‘healthy’ whole wheat bagel that you do from candy… and though it might not taste as sweet, it’s all the same to your digestive and metabolic system". J. Stanton, author of Gnoll Credo, from his website.
How addictive are these foods? For a significant portion of the American population, junk carbs are more addictive than cocaine. A 2007 French study that we will mention again (University of Bordeaux) showed that when given a choice, rats chose sugar over Cocaine. Follow along as I show you many similar studies, as well as the effects that unbridled carb consumption has on neurotransmitters and brain function in relationship to addiction.
Research from New Zealand says that carbs might be as addictive as cigarettes. Dr. Simon Thornily, whose team worked out of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service and was published in the medical journal Medical Hypotheses, had this to say, "Heavily processed carbohydrates such as cornflakes, sweets and croissants quickly raise the amount of sugar in your blood. This rush of sugar stimulates the same areas of the brain that are involved with addiction to nicotine and other drugs."
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of NUTRITION, diet, and food addictions. Her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology is from Princeton University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. In other words, she is a smart cookie. Dr. Avena says that rats exposed to lots of sugar makes them exhibit the kind of behavior commonly seen in drug junkies ----- withdrawal, depression, anxiety, binges, cravings, altered personality, etc. This is because sugar stimulates the body to make Dopamine (a "feel good" neurotransmitter that affects the part of the brain related pleasure ----- the same part of the brain that coke and meth both stimulate). Shortly, we will delve deeper into this premise that processed carbs and grain-based junk food are not really that different from some of the more common street drugs as far as their effects on the brain are concerned.
But from as long as I can remember, dietary fat was the Great Satan --- the derailer of health that could ruin your heart while making you fat. Not carbs. Carbs were good good clean fuel. In fact, I was taught that dietary fat is the only thing that could make you fat. But the truth is, we could live our whole lives and never eat any carbohydrates. Think about it this way; there are Essential Fatty Acids and Essential Amino Acids (the building blocks of proteins). There are no Essential Carbohydrates other than glucose --- a sugar that our body can readily / easily manufacture from both fats or proteins (think of the Eskimos here --- or VILHJALMUR STEFANSSON). In fact, there is a growing number of scientists who believe that we should be seriously restricting non-vegetation-based carbs. This stands to reason with all the research coming out on the topic, including this quip from from a 2010 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) telling us that, "[carbohydrates are] a nutrient for which humans have no absolute requirement". The study was headed by a renowned Endocrinologist at Harvard University.
Most of us were taught that a person’s weight is the result of food intake compared to their energy expenditure. I will have a blog post up within the week showing that this is simply not true. It is stupefying that we still have a medical community preaching a dietary message that was popular when I was in school --- that you should reduce both dietary fat intake and total calories if you want to lose weight (along with incorporation some sort of cardo-based exercise program). This is what I was taught in school and what I believed (Kansas State University's Nutrition / Exercise Physiology program). The truth is, however, that obesity is a function of what you eat, far more than it is a function of how much you eat. Too many carbs will not only make you fat, they are maximally addictive. You don't believe me? Even city folk know that the best way to fatten a beef is with grain / corn. So, what is our government (USDA) doing with this tidbit of common sense information? Of course, they are telling us to eat even more processed carbs. Still don't believe me? Look at their Food Pyramid
USDA guidelines say, "Sugars and starches provide energy to the body in the form of glucose, which is the only source of energy for red blood cells and is the preferred energy source for the brain". This is a completely true statement. But it is a half truth. While it is true that the brain has to have fuel in the form of glucose (a simple carbohydrate), this glucose can be easily manufactured by the body from both fats and proteins. It can even come from vegetables (remember that corn is a grain, not a vegetable).
As crazy as it sounds, the diet above is still being promoted by both ADA's (American Dietetic Association & American Diabetic Association) as well as the AMA (American Medical Association). Their official recommendation is to get about 55% of our caloric intake in the form of carbs (grains, potatoes, pasta, cereal, breads, etc). We are told to decrease protein (they claim it is harmful to the kidneys), decrease fat (they claim it makes you fat and causes heart disease), and eat a minimum of 130 grams of carbs / day (I am not making this up). And although this thought process is starting to change, I cannot tell you how many diabetics, pre-diabetics, or folks with Metabolic Syndrome have been told to eat more carbs and keep fat intake to a minimum if they have any hope of turning their health around. Even Dr. Oz has promoted (and continues to promote) this sort of thinking on some level (HERE).
Part of the problem with this dietary conundrum is that although we may all be using the same language, we are probably talking about very different things. What do I mean by this? Technically speaking, green leafy vegetables are carbohydrates. But so is white toast with cinnamon and sugar on top. Is there a difference? Darn straight there is! The same is true when we talk about proteins and fats. Is your dairy raw organic, or is it pasteurized, homogenized, fat-free, and loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones? Is your fish, wild, cold-water fish or was it farm raised in warm waters (only wild fish has high levels of EPA & DHA)? Do the eggs you eat come from free-range hens, or were they laid in a commercial egg farm by chickens that were fed grain? And what about your meat? Is it grass fed and organically raised (or wild, i.e. venison)? Or did it come from a feed lot where it is fed grain along with antibiotics, GROWTH HORMONES, and heaven only knows what else? The bottom line is that the more processed your food source, the worse it's going to be for you, the more reactive it is likely to be, and it is much more likely to be addictive as well. Just understand when I use the term "carbs" in this post, I am speaking of High Glycemic Index carbs --- or carbs that are rapidly converted to blood sugar (Glucose).
JUST HOW ADDICTIVE ARE CARBS?
I don't believe you. I eat sugar and enjoy it. I am also active, happy, slightly underweight, and in excellent health for my age. My teeth are good, too. Did you read the article somewhere about the fatigue that comes from decision-making, and the effect of a shot of glucose to the brain in easing that fatigue? You should. There is no food that is evil, even sugar. So go ahead, fail to enjoy yourself. I think I'll have a chocolate salted caramel. A reader's response to an article on sugar addiction by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a pediatric Neuro-Endocrinologist and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California.
It is no big revelation that sugar is related to cancer. If you Google "SUGAR FEEDS CANCER", you will find a few articles knocking the idea, and a ton of information supporting it. Just understand that cancer cells utilize sugar differently than normal cells. The great OTTO WARBURG was one of the most brilliant scientists (biochemist) the world has ever seen. After all, how many people have won three Nobel Prizes? One of the prizes was for figuring out that cancer cells make energy differently than normal cells --- not via the oxidation of fat, but from the break down of sugar (glycolysis). In other words, Warburg believed he had found the key to curing cancer clear back in the 1930's. He believed that this difference in metabolism was the main thing that separated cancer from non-cancer (it's actually known as the "Warburg Effect"). Be aware that much (probably most) of the scientific community pooh poohs the idea that cancer is related to sugar. But I regress. Let me show you how this topic is related to sugar / starch addiction.
A few years ago at the University of Würzburg in Germany, a team of doctors ran a study on the effects of a KETOGENIC DIET (virtually zero carbohydrates ---- the Atkins Induction Phase) on cancer. Time Magazine reported in their September 17, 2007 issue that, "for five patients who were able to endure three months of carb-free eating, the results were positive: the patients stayed alive, their physical condition stabilized or improved, and their tumors slowed or stopped growing, or shrunk." Wow, looks like a potential way to tame the tiger that we call cancer. But unfortunately, most dropped out of the study because they could not adhere to a carb-free diet. The researcher's leader, Dr. Melanie Schmidt, sounded frustrated when she stated that, "we didn’t expect this to be such a big problem, but a considerable number of patients left the study because they were unable or unwilling to renounce soft drinks, chocolate and so on." Wow! Great results with cancer in just three months, but most patients could not adhere to the diet. Such is the sway that sugar and junk carbs have over great numbers of people that they will potentially forfeit their life for their fix.
WHAT DOES CARB ADDICTION LOOK LIKE?
(Symptoms of a Sugar / Starch Addiction)
The first question I would ask you, is whether or not you are overweight? You see, carb addicts tend to eat not only mass quantities of carbs, but mass quantities of food in general. This is because eating sugar or starchy carbs causes insulin to be dumped into your blood stream in increasingly large amounts. This triggers a desire to eat still more food, creating a vicious cycle. Just like the example of fattening a beef; when you eat copious amounts of carbohydrates, you will jack your insulin levels higher and higher. Because insulin is a storage hormone, sooner or later you will gain weight if you continue to eat lots of High Glycemic Index carbs (HERE) . As people over-consume carbs, their energy levels fall and they gain weight. If you are on this crazy train, there is an almost certainty that you are addicted to carbs. Let's look at a few others.
- Do you have to start your day with carbs such as bagels, waffles, pancakes, French toast, cereal, toast, syrup, honey, sugar, etc?
- Do you get hungry before lunch time even though you ate a big breakfast?
- Are you hungry shortly after eating a meal ---- even a large meal?
- Do you always seem to be hungry no matter how much food you consume?
- Are you unable to give up carbs?
- Are you unable to even cut back on carbs?
- Do you have withdrawal symptoms (headaches, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, depression) if you attempt to go off carbs?
- Do you get tired easily?
- Do you feel foggy in the afternoon?
- Do you find yourself searching for a sugary or starchy snack in the afternoon?
- Do you find yourself unable to stop once you start eating your favorite carbs?
- Do you use food to fill an emotional need?
- When stressed, is your first response wanting to eat junk carbs?
- Do you fantasize about carbs or sugar?
- Do you feel that you could never live without your favorite carbs?
- Do you frequently binge?
- Do you hide / stash junk food?
- Do you frequently crave high-carb foods or sugar?
- Are you a compulsive eater?
- Do you find yourself wishing you could control your eating?
- Do you find yourself eating carbs despite the fact you are not hungry?
- Do you frequently feel sluggish, bloated, or fatigued after carb binges?
- Do carbs always seem to be calling your name?
- Does your behavior and habits associated with the consumption of carbs cause you to feel personal pain and emotional distress?
- Do you find yourself going out of your way or spending money you really don't have just to get your sugar fix(es)?
- Does consuming carbs ever decrease your ability to function effectively on a day to day basis (work, daily routine, school, social activities, family life, sex, travel, etc)?
- Do you continue to consume junk carbs despite significant emotional and / or physical problems related to your eating?
- Do you try to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings by consuming sugar or carbs?
- Do you find that carbs do not seem to produce the same feelings they used to --- or that it takes increasing amounts of carbs to get the same reactions / feelings that you used to get?
- Do you feel unsatisfied if your meal does not contain a large portion of starchy carbs or sugar?
- Do you feel a meal is incomplete without dessert?
- Are you frequently stimulated to eat by the sight, smell, or thought of carbs?
- Do you frequently find yourself eating carbs even though you are not hungry?
- Do you reward yourself with carbs?
- Do you consume carbs late at night --- or as a "midnight snack"?
- Have you tried and failed numerous diets?
- Would you be content to exist on fast food, snack food, junk food, and / or sugar and sweets?
- Do you find yourself frequently drinking large amounts of fruit juice, soda (diet is as bad as regular -- HERE), sports drinks, or energy drinks?
- Do you have blood relatives that are obese, have Diabetes, or are carb addicted themselves?
- Do you regularly "substitute" (HERE)?
WHAT ACTUALLY CAUSES THE CARB ADDICTION?
But besides being the thing that causes the hormone insulin to be dumped into your system, carbs also cause the release of certain chemicals and neurotransmitters, namely Serotonin, Dopamine, and Endorphins.
SEROTONIN & CARBS
HERE is something I wrote on this subject after the fact. Serotonin (5-Hhydroxy-tryptamine or 5-HT) is made from the amino acid Tryptophan (in other words, L-Tryptophan is the main precursor to Serotonin). 90% of it is manufactured in the Gut (intestines). Serotonin not only regulates bowel motility, it is responsible for regulating things like appetite (low levels can lead to either or both anorexia and bulimia) and sleep patterns. It also functions in memory and learning. But the most well-known thing it does is modulate mood --- it is known to be intimately related to feelings of well-being and happiness. I have previously written about the relationship of Serotonin and DEPRESSION.
One thing that we know about levels of Serotonin is that they are jacked up by the consumption of carbs via increased levels of insulin (actually, sugar and simple carbs increase the absorption of Tryptophan in the Gut). Because sugar raises Serotonin levels, and Serotonin is a 'feel-good' chemical, many people will feel driven to eat sugar or High Glycemic Index carbs to keep their Serotonin levels elevated. Do you see an addictive pattern starting to form? Just remember that your body cannot tolerate increased insulin levels for very long without paying an ugly price in the form of severe health problems like Diabetes, Obesity, and Heart Disease. In fact, you might be shocked to learn that the peer-reviewed scientific literature is tying virtually every health problem you can imagine back to high blood sugar / high blood insulin.
One of the things that we are learning is that stress, whether emotional, psychological, physical, etc, leads the body to produce cortisol and adrenaline / epinephrine. Besides causing increased amounts of belly fat, extended exposure to Cortisol will send one into a condition known as Adrenal Fatigue. This is better known in America by it's other name --- Fibromyalgia. Just remember that Cortisol has the ability to foul up the body's mechanism for manufacturing Serotonin. This is why things like depression, insomnia, eating disorders, etc, are typically going to be treated by your doctor with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's). In case you did not know, there are lots of potential problems caused by taking this class of drug (see link two paragraphs previous).
In a nutshell, sugar increases Serotonin, and Serotonin alleviates both physical and emotional pain. Unfortunately, life does not always go the way we think it should, and when things become stressful, many of us will turn to the quickest, easiest, pain reliever we can find --- one that does not require a doctor visit or prescription --- sugar / carbs. Most of us will do almost anything to avoid pain. Thus, for the person trapped in the addictive loop, the cycle is repeated over and over and over again ---- on a daily basis. Furthermore, because the feedback loop that would normally tell people to stop consuming carbs and sugar is either downregulated or damaged (or both), people caught in this vicious cycle will often binge like there is no tomorrow.
DOPAMINE & CARBS
The other of the chief neurotranmsitters of the brain is called Dopamine. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain (chiefly the Substantia Nigra and the Ventral Tegmental Area) and is heavily involved with reward-driven learning. In fact, every single one of the body's "Reward-based Systems" (start thinking in terms of addiction here) increases Dopamine transmission in the brain. This is true whether your "reward" is cocaine, methamphetamine, or bread. Some of the specific functions of Dopamine in this regard would be things like
- Telling us when a reward is present or available.
- Motivating us to seek said reward.
- Motivating us to learn more about the reward.
- Makes us conscious of cues related to the reward.
The hedonic properties of food can stimulate feeding behaviour even when energy requirements have been met, contributing to weight gain and obesity. Similarly, the hedonic effects of drugs of abuse can motivate their excessive intake, culminating in addiction. Common brain substrates regulate the hedonic properties of palatable food and addictive drugs, and recent reports suggest that excessive consumption of food or drugs of abuse induces similar neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuitries. Here, we review evidence suggesting that obesity and drug addiction may share common molecular, cellular and systems-level mechanisms. Dr. Paul Kenny's abstract from an article in the November 2011 issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience called Common Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms in Obesity and Drug Addiction. Kenny is a leader in the field, with a Ph.D is in Neuro-Psycho-Pharmacology.
When a carb addict is merely getting ready to chow down on carbs, approximately 9 of 10 neurons in the Ventral Tegmental System enter into an excited state. They reach out and neurologically touch various parts of the brain that control things like pleasure (the nucleus acumbens), emotions (the amygdala / limbic system), and hippocampus (converts short term memories to long term). In 2001, a team of researchers working for the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that obese people had significantly fewer dopamine receoptors in the brain's reward centers than people of normal weight. What does this mean? It means that in order to get the same amount of 'satisfaction' from eating, obese people had to eat much more food. Interestingly enough, the thing that caused the down-regulation of this particular system in the first place was the over-consumption of "highly palatable food" --- foods high in both sugar and fat.
And when 'full' subjects were shown videos of people enjoying their favorite foods (or were allowed to see and even smell their favorite foods --- but not eat them), a veritable tsunami of Dopamine was released by the brain. Sort of sounds like the neurological version of Pavlov's Dog, doesn't it? Here is a practical application to this finding. In the same way that it would not be prudent for a recovering sex addict to spend time in strip clubs, it is important for recovering carb addicts not to bring junk in the house or go into places where junk is easily accessible --- something that can prove difficult to say the least.
We've looked at how carb addictions develop in the Serotonergic System, but as far as the Dopaminergic System is concerned, addictions tend to develop like this. A person is continually seeking their reward (carbs and the feelings associated with eating carbs). Eating carbs (cashing in on the reward) causes large amounts of Dopamine to be dumped into the system. When the neurological pathway involving the Ventral Tegmental Area and the Nucleus Acumbens is perpetually saturated with Dopamine, the body begins to down-regulate the system (a typical negative feedback loop not much different than the way a thermostat maintains the temperature of your house). Just how severe is the down-regulation? Dr. Kelly showed us a decade ago that rats eating a diet of 'highly palatable food' (junk food) for only two weeks, decreased the amount of enkephalin (an endorphin-like natural pain killer) in the Nucleus Acumbens --- the same finding found in heroin addicts. What does all of this mean? In order to get the same amount of pleasure (reward), you must eat increasingly more junk.
As you eat more junk and dump more Dopamine into the system, the Dopaminergic System shuts down even further (further down-regulation). As you can see, overeating can become extreme as people attempt to capture those same "good feelings" that they used to get from eating carbs. Research has shown that once a person reaches this point, not only do they feel trapped in this cycle, but they have to eat more and more food to experience that old feeling of reward and pleasure. For the addict, it becomes almost impossible to stop once the first bite hits the mouth. Hint: HERE is a way to stop.
This is why telling an addict in this condition that "all foods are OK in moderation" is sheer folly. In the same way that the recovered alcoholic cannot sit in a bar and drink "or or two" beers, neither can the carb addict have even one bite of cake. Think I'm over-reacting? Just last year Dr. Serge Ahmed (he worked in the Neuropharmacology Department of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California with Dr. Paul Kenny) showed that when given the choice, lab animals prefer sugar to I.V. heroin or cocaine in 19 out of 20 cases. Wow! Research has shown us the extremes mammals will go to for that junk food fix. When lab rats are given unlimited access to junk food, they will all but literally eat themselves to death. They will...
- Walk across a surface that hits them with severe electrical shocks over and over.
- If they only have a limited time to eat, they will gorge themselves until the food is removed.
- After the junk food binges, the rats will curl up in a ball, wring their paws, and act extremely irritable and nervous.
- Without their regular "fix" of sugar they end up with the shakes.
- Rats on this diet developed a tolerance to sugar that led them to quadruple sugar consumption over the course of the diet's first week.
- Remove the sugar and the rats have withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen with hard drugs.
- Rats that were addicted to sugar were much more prone to consuming large amounts of meth, coke, or booze.
- Once the rats started the hard stuff, they were easily addicted when compared to normal rats.
- If given the choice, cross-addicted rats (drugs / sugar) always chose sugar over the hard drugs.
OTHER COMMON REASONS FOR CARB ADDICTION
- SYSTEMIC YEAST: Women know all about yeast infections. But what happens when yeast becomes blood-borne and settles in the digestive tract? Just understand that Systemic Yeast is caused by ANTIBIOTIC USE, but fed by SUGAR / CARBS. You had better understand GUT FLORA / DYSBIOSIS and PROBIOTICS if you have any real prayer of getting this monster under control. I have read authors who claim that the energy draw of yeast, bad bacteria, and parasites can be greater than that of one of your existing organ systems. How does your body react to this heightened energy need? It tells you to eat more sugar --- the food of choice for these nasty critters.
- HYPOGLYCEMIA: This is related to blood sugar issues we have already talked about. Oversimplified; the body likes as little fluctuation in blood sugar as possible. When you eat sugar or foods that are quickly converted to blood sugar, your pancreas makes insulin. The higher the spike in blood sugar, the more insulin it produces. Insulin moves sugar out of the blood and into the cells. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar that is technically called "Reactive Hypoglycemia") occurs when the body 'reacts' to spiked blood sugar by making too much insulin. This drives the blood sugar levels below base line, which is why high blood sugar and low blood sugar are actually two sides of the same coin; both precursors to Diabetes. More on HYPOGLYCEMIA.
- ADRENAL STRESS / ADRENAL FATIGUE / FIBROMYALGIA: How many Americans do you know who are chronically tired? For many of these people, eating sugar or High Glycemic Index carbs is the equivalent of a snort of speed. Your adrenal glands are your stress glands. They make your number one stress hormone --- Cortisol. In normal amounts, Cortisol is fabulous stuff. It is responsible for things like regulating sugar metabolism, blood pressure, and immune system function --- of which INFLAMMATION is part. Cortisol also helps control memory functions as well as decreasing one's sensitivity to pain. Under stressful situations, your body's Cortisol level rises. Chronically high levels of Cortisol actually cause muscle tissue to be broken down for conversion to blood sugar (energy to fuel the fight or flight mechanism). It then turns around and moves the unused sugar into the body's cells to be burned for energy or stored as fat. The longer that high Cortisol levels continue, the greater the chances of high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, various brain dysfunctions including atrophy of the hippocampus (where short term memory is converted to long term), anxiety, SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, depression, trouble sleeping, diminished healing capacity, and the tell-tale sign...... increased belly fat. The increased belly fat aspect of Cortisol is heightened because fat cells in the belly have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells elsewhere. This means that your addiction is reinforcing itself in a vicious cycle. You are essentially converting muscle into fat. Oh, and one more thing. Running is a known raiser of Cortisol. This is why I recommend STRENGTH TRAINING OVER CARDIO almost 100% of the time.
- INSULIN RESISTANCE: INSULIN RESISTANCE is characterized by high levels of blood sugar and high levels of blood insulin circulating through your system at the same time. When you dose out on carbs and jack your blood sugar, your body responds by flooding your blood with insulin. Your body immediately stops burning fat and begins storing fat (again, usually around the MID-SECTION). And just like a drug addict that takes increasingly larger amounts of heroin / cocaine / methamphetamine / to get the same feelings of euphoria ('high') they used to get, it takes more and more insulin to do its normal job. People's response is to eat even more sugar so that they can crank insulin levels even higher and drive some sugar into the cells. As this feedback mechanism becomes more and more blunted (downregulated), the pancreas can no longer keep up with the body's demand for insulin and begins to fail (METABOLIC SYNDROME). These people have plenty of sugar in their blood, but their over-consumption of carbs / sugar has put them in a place where they can't move it into their cells. As the cycle spins out of control, people feel as though they cannot satisfy their cravings for sugar. Diabetes occurs as the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. Even as people get fatter and fatter, they crave more carbs --- it's never enough to satisfy this broken cycle. Be warned that increased belly fat (fat around the organs) creates far more health issues than fat deposits in other areas of the body.
GLUTEN ADDICTION: YET ANOTHER KICK IN TEETH
Some of the day-to-day things that can bring on this feeling of euphoria for brief amounts of time are exercise ('runner's high'), sex / orgasm, athletic triumph, good news, etc. The high is caused by the release of something called 'endorphins' (endogenous morphine). The term 'endogenous' means that the opiates come from inside the body. Certain drugs like Cocaine or Methamphetamine (exorphins ---- exogenous morphine-like chemicals that come from outside the body) have the ability to modulate opiate receptors for much longer periods of time. Although no one gets a "Carbohydrate High" for hours on end like users get from meth, it will typically last longer than an orgasm. As you have seen, this leads to the potential for addiction. Enter Glutomorphin.
When GLUTEN (wheat protein) is broken down by the body, some of the partially digested gluten fragments have the ability to act like and bind to opiate receptors due to their morphine-like shape. These are called Glutomorphins ---- Gluten Morphines (Glutomorphin is one of the GLUTEN CROSS REACTORS). As crazy as it sounds, two of the most-studied food-based exorphins are Glutomorphin and Gliadomorphin (Gliadin is a wheat protein that is part of the Gluten molecule). Is this brand new information? Not even close. Clear back in the April 1979 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, we were told about the stringent criteria that must be met for these wheat-based exorphins to find their way into the blood stream, in a study called Opioid Peptides Derived from Food Proteins........
- Wheat Exorphins must appear in the digestive tract after eating them and during digestion.
- Wheat Exorphins must survive the initial assault by digestive by enzymes attempting to break them down into individual amino acids.
- Wheat Exorphins must be absorbed into the bloodstream – whole or intact.
- Wheat Exorphins must then cross the blood-brain barrier.
We know that these criteria are met in people with Celiac Disease. But incidence of Celiac Disease here in America is thought to be about 1 in every 100 persons. Although estimations of Gluten Sensitivity vary wildly, let's conservatively estimate it at ten times that rate, or 1 in every 10 people (some estimations are as high as 1 in 2). But how is wheat protein (Gluten, Glutenin, Gliadin) getting out of the digestive tract, into the blood stream, and then past the blood brain barrier unmolested? Enter the "Leaky" family ---- Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain, Leaky Lung, and their nasty relatives.
Because it is by far the most common of the "Leakys", we will address LEAKY GUT SYNDROME first (when doing your own research, it is critical to remember that Leaky Gut Syndrome goes by the name Increased Intestinal Permeability within the medical community and has been the subject of nearly 10,000 scientific studies over the past two decades). Leaky Gut Syndrome is driven by Inflammation, and is the FOUNDATION OF MOST EXISTING DISEASE PROCESSES. In a nutshell, Inflammation causes the 'tight' junctions between cells in the small intestine to become 'loose'. This creates larger openings than should be present, allowing bigger particles to get through into the bloodstream --- particles like undigested or partially digested wheat proteins among many other things. The real kick in the teeth is that the very same thing can happen in the brain with the blood-brain barrier. Furthermore, we see the same thing occurring with other food-based proteins as well. Milk, for instance, gives us Casomorphin (Casien Morphine --- Casien is milk protein).
Wheat also happens to contain high levels of the amino acid Glutamine. Glutamine / Glutamate acts as a stimulant in the body. It is an Excitotoxin in the same vein as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). WGA (Wheat Germ Agglutinin) acts in the same manner. The ramped up energy, blood sugar, neurotransmitters, and exorphins from wheat, provides addicted people the "boost" they are looking for. But think about the irony of this situation. The very food that is making them sick, happens to be the focus of their addiction. It would behoove all of us to learn more about Inflammation and what it takes to keep "THE LEAKIES" out of our lives!
OK; YOU REALIZE YOU'RE A CARB JUNKIE
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BREAK THE CHAINS OF ADDICTION?
The "everything is OK in moderation" line that many of today's experts are trying to sell us is the equivalent of selling us down the river. Remember my earlier point about sex addicts and strip clubs? The truth is, when it comes to breaking carb addictions (notice that the word here is "addictions"), this diet issue is more black and white than many of you have been led to believe. If you read the section on Neurotransmitters and Endogenous Morphine, hopefully you are beginning to understand the physiological / neurological consequences of carbs on the carb addict. I believe that it is absolutely imperative that you not ratchet up your craving for carbs ---- particularly while trying to break the addiction. For many of us (yeah; I hate to admit it, but self included), carbs are drugs. It's really fairly simple to understand. Drug addicts can't dabble with drugs. Sugar addicts can't dabble with carbs. Period --- end of story. If you stay away from them you no longer want them. But what about a Cheat Day?
I tried to do the "Cheat Day" thing in the past. It's something that Tim Ferris promotes in his book Four Hour Body. I have found that it really doesn't work for me ---- particularly doing it one day a week like he suggests. Some of you can get away with it. After all; everyone is unique. However, you better know yourself pretty well if you are going to cheat. Many of you already realize that a Cheat Day will mess you up for days --- or maybe weeks. If that is the case, why go there? The really cool thing about defeating a carb addiction with the 'Cold Turkey' method is that most of you will have your addiction under control in about a week or so. Bottom line, for many of you, the only way to successfully defeat the carb monster is to get totally off of them. Try and dabble and you'll rekindle a raging fire. Remember that when Ferris was addressing the topic of Cheat Days in his book, his focus was on people with weight problems and not addiction(s).
- SIT DOWN AND CREATE A WRITTEN PLAN: When you build a house, what is the first thing you do? You make a set of plans. Without good plans, anything can happen. Without a firm plan of action, you are committing / resigning yourself to failure.
- DON'T DABBLE WITH THE BEAST: I just mentioned this one but I'll repeat myself. The research says that carb-addicted people will have addictive reactions to the smell, sight, or even thought of sugar and carbs. Don't think for a minute that just one little tiny bite of cake won't rekindle an inferno. Grab the tiger by the tail and you'll soon be staring into its eyes.
- GET RID OF THE JUNK IN YOUR HOUSE: If you were a recovering crack head, you would hopefully realize that hanging out in a crack house might not be in your best interest. In the same line of thinking, someone who is serious about quitting smoking would surely not keep cigarettes laying around the house would they? Take the cue and get the crap out of your house. Clear the fridge, the freezer, the pantry, and yes, your secret stashes. No, do not keep it on hand to feed to company.
- DON'T THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO "CALORIES", ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS ARE OK: These bad boys have a multitude of problems associated with them. They lead to sugar cravings and even though they have no calories, they spike insulin just like sugar does. Studies have shown that people who drink diet soda actually gain more weight than those drinking regular soda. If you fail to understand this, these sweeteners will sabotage you.
- GET THE WHOLE FAMILY IN ON THE ACT: How are you planning on radically changing the way you eat without some degree of concession, cooperation, and understanding from your family? Why wait until your kids have the outward trappings of carb / Gluten addiction before you start to make changes? Educate your family and proceed. They might gritch a little at first, but they will love you for it later.
- DON'T REWARD YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN WITH SUGAR OR CARBS: I want you to notice one of the words in the title to this bullet point; "Reward". If you were paying attention to this post, you realize that Dopamine runs your brain's Reward Center. Neurologically reinforcing (training) anyone that carbs are a reward is a slippery slope. Fail to heed this advice and you can end up with FAT CHILDREN or worse. Specialists are seeing a rash of diseases (Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, etc) in children that were previously only seen in adults.
- EAT BREAKFAST AND MAKE SURE IT'S THE RIGHT KIND: The average American breakfast consists of things like donuts, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, syrup, cereal, sugar, toast, etc.... You get the picture. What do all these things have in common? Carb city! Eating a veggie omelet would be a great way to start your day. If you are pressed for time, make sure you have all of the ingredients mixed up in a sealed bowl in the fridge for the next morning. If you are really pressed for time, you could eat an apple and a glass of GREENS & SP COMPLETE.
- DO NOT LET HYPOGLYCEMIA RARE ITS UGLY HEAD: This is fairly simple. Make sure to snack on small amounts of protein throughout the day so as not to let your blood sugar levels yo yo all over the place. When you spike your blood sugar, you are going to see a corresponding inverted spike (valley) a short time later. As insulin does its job and brings your blood sugar down, it often overshoots its mark and drives your blood sugar below where it should be. As I have shown earlier, this triggers sugar cravings.
- DRINK MORE WATER: If you are drinking anything other than maybe some green or black tea (or maybe a cup of real coffee), stop. This is not difficult to understand. Your body needs water. It's even better if you drink the sort of water that spares your metabolic center (Thyroid) HERE. Be aware that coffee is one of the most common Gluten Cross Reactors.
- LEARN HOW TO BREATHE CORRECTLY: Most of us are very shallow breathers. Learning how to deep breathe takes almost no time and dramatically improves brain function. And in case you have not noticed, addictions take place in the brain.
- START CALMING YOUR SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM: You have two different nervous systems. The Parasympathetic System (relaxation, digestion, and contentedness) and the Sympathetic System (fight or flight, high tension, stress). Most Americans live in a state of perpetual SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. Find out why.
- HAVE MORE SEX: Have you seen the research about the effects of sex on Dopamine and Serotonin levels? Neither have I, but it sure sounds like a great excuse to have more sex. All kidding aside, sex does increase neurotransmitters as well as providing a boost of endorphins. Orgasm creates a short-lived Dopamine brainstorm.
- CLEANSE AND DETOX: This could be any number of things. I am particular to the Master's Cleanse. You could get out your Champion Juicer and do nothing but fresh, raw, organic vegetable juices for a week. There are all sorts of ways to cleanse, but you really need to understand the importance of BOWEL HEALTH as far as overall health is concerned.
- CERTAIN SUPPLEMENTS CAN BE BENEFICIAL: I have already mentioned some of these by name, but the amino acid L-Tryptophan & 5HTP are both precursors of Serotonin, and certain co-factors such as Vitamin B6, vitamin C, Folic Acid and magnesium are needed to complete the conversion process. As far as Dopamine is concerned, it is called Dop-amine for a reason ---- amino acids. Your best bet for increasing Dopamine levels is to consume plenty of high quality animal protein.
- TAKE A QUALITY PROBIOTIC: If you have been a sugar addict for very long, you almost certainly have some degree of Yeast taking up residence in your bowel. Once you have done a cleanse, restore your good bacteria by taking a broad-spectrum probiotic (HERE).
- MAKE SURE TO GET PLENTY OF HIGH QUALITY OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS IN YOUR DIET: Notice I used the word "quality" here. Do not think that the fish oil you buy at Aldi's for $2.99 is going to fill the bill. You can get Omega Threes from certain vegetables, grass fed beef, venison, free range chickens or their eggs, and even raw milk. The truth is, though, most of us are going to have to take a high quality FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT if we want to have any hope of getting the amount that our body requires. Omega-3's form approximately 3/5 of the brain's fat-based cell structure. Studies have even shown that diets low in Omega-3's lead to 20% fewer Dopamine Receptors in the part of the brain most associated with impulsivity, as well as increasing Serotonin Receptor activation. And if you have not seen the scientific studies on Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil and its ability to squelch anxiety, anger, depression, etc, you need to click on the link.
- EXERCISE AND MOVE ON A REGULAR BASIS: I am not telling you to go out and do absurdly difficult workouts or exercise for hours on end. I am telling you that if you look at the research on carb addiction and addiction in general, you see that exercise is an extremely important component of breaking them. It leads to better brain function and reverses brain atrophy. It lessens the symptoms of withdrawal and it directly regenerates Dopamine Receptors. As always do your own research. HERE is a good place to start. Exercising outside can provide additional benefit because bright sunlight has been shown to increase both Dopamine and Serotonin.
- DON'T CHEAT: I have already covered this one, but at least during the initial phase of your battle against carb addiction, don't tempt fate by cheating (HERE). Yes, you might hurt someone's feelings (the neighbor lady who invited you over for pie and ice cream). Just ask yourself if eating that plate of lasagna is worth fighting the days of cravings it will stimulate.
- DON'T FOOL YOURSELF WITH FOOD SUBSTITUTION GAMES: This is the game where people fool themselves that they are doing good because they gave up their six-sodas-a-day habit. What they are not telling you is that they replaced it with "healthy" drinks like Gatorade or orange juice. There are about a jillion other examples of this (HERE).
- DON'T BE AFRAID OF CONSUMING FATS: Depending on what you have heard and how brainwashed you are, you may have to sit here and repeat to yourself, "not all fats are bad, not all fats are bad". There are some fats that are deadly (TRANS FATS). Avoid them like the plague. But a fat free diet or nearly fat free will doom you to failure. Dietary fat is going to help keep you feeling full and squelch your cravings for carbs.
- YOU NEED TO BE EATING A LOW CARB DIET: In case you have not figured it out yet, carbs can really mess with your metabolism. They are what drives the Endocrine System's fat-storage machinery. If you have any AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (they tend to travel in groups) or unexplained health problems, you should seriously consider going PALEO as well.
- EAT WHOLE FOODS: Make sure that the foods you are eating are "clean". For more information, visit our WHOLE FOODS PAGE.
- UNDERSTAND THE GLYCEMIC INDEX AND THE CONCEPT OF GLYCEMIC LOAD: Simply stated, different carbs are broken down to glucose at various rates. Things that break down rapidly (white potatoes, popcorn, pancakes, bread, sweets, etc) cause a sharp spike in blood sugar that leads to a sharp spike in insulin. If you have been following along thus far, you realize that you want neither. You want to eat carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Load (apples, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables).
- GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Every year, just after Thanksgiving, I start having visions of eggnog. This year, my buddy Rick and I created THE HOLIDAY CHALLENGE (which, by the way, is coming to a close --- the post will be up in the next couple of weeks). There is not a one of us who cannot benefit from someone holding our fingers to the fire. Breaking your carb addiction with a friend is much easier than breaking it by yourself. In our hi-tech computer age, your friend could live across the country. Reminding each other how far you've come and how darned difficult it was breaking the addictive cycle may be just the motivation you need to stay on the straight and narrow.
ARTHRITIS MEDICATIONS LINKED TO SHINGLES
Approximately 12,000 patients taking TNF drugs for RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS were looked at. The three most common TNF drugs patients take for Rheumatoid Arthritis were the subject of the study. They are.....
- Generic name Etanercept, sold as Enbrel
- Generic name Infliximab, sold as Remicade
- Generic name Adalimumab, sold as Humira
Not only did the incidence of Shingles (Herpes Zoster) more than double for those taking the TNF drugs, their incidence of other skin infections increased as well. Although some of this has to do with the disease itself (RA is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE), much of it has to do with the drugs that are given to treat it. Because Autoimmune Diseases involve the body making antibodies against itself and then attacking itself, the drugs that are given are typically Immuno-suppressive. Although CORTICOSTEROIDS are a popular Immuno-suppressive drug, there are many other drugs that could be classified as such, including TNF.
Furthermore, of the 'severe' cases of shingles (severe was defined as bad enough to require hospitalizations), 20 out of 21 cases were from the TNF group. The TNF group's Shingle patients were far more likely than the non-TNF group to have widespread (multi-dermatomal --- see below) Shingles as well as Shingles in the eye. But that's not all. The rates of other serious skin infections (Staph, Necrotizing Fasciitis, cellulitis, and others) went up significantly as well.
PROGRESSION OF SHINGLES:
- (1) Shingles starts out as a cluster of small bumps that can be either
- (2) It turns into blisters that resemble chickenpox (you'll see why in a moment)
- (3) The blisters fill with fluid / pus, break open, and crust over
- (4) They finally disappear (bear in mind that sometimes they leave scars).
This process typically takes about 3-6 weeks to run its course, with the acute phase (through #3 above) being finished within the first two weeks. However, in some cases, a painful condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (post-Shingles nerve pain) can occur. This form of neuralgia has the potential to be severe.
- (5) This condition is caused by damage to the nerves, and can last from weeks to years after the rash / blisters disappear.
WHAT ARE SHINGLES
Due to any number of factors (stress probably being the biggest), the dormant Herpes virus is awakened and again becomes active. It tends to follow a "Dermatomal" pattern. That is, it will follow the pattern of the nerve(s) it was living in. You can often see this when you compare the Dermatome Diagram (on the right) to the distribution of the outbreak. This is why Shingles is rarely found in a random pattern.
In the near future, I plan on doing a post on natural ways to prevent Shingles if you have not yet had them, or make their duration shorter and less intense if you do have them.
MONEY CANNOT BUY HEALTH
If it were not so sad, it would be almost comical watching people with lots of degrees and letters behind their names scratch their heads in puzzlement over this issue. In typical bureaucratic fashion, they can't figure out why we Americans are not healthier than we are. After all, we spend more (far more) money than any other country on the planet on healthcare. In fact, when the latest panel of government experts (an oxymoron to say the least) compared Americans to sixteen similar higher income countries, what did they find? Here are a few of the tidbits your tax dollars paid for.
- American teens have the highest rates of both pregnancies and STD's (including AIDS) of the countries looked at.
- Americans use recreational drugs, alcohol, and tobacco at greater rates than people in "similar" countries.
- For decades, America has had the highest obesity rate for "similar" countries.
- Likewise, we also have the highest rates of diabetes when looking at the same group of countries.
- Americans hit 50 with the worst cardiovascular risk profile of countries looked at.
Should we be surprised by any of this? My only surprise is that it is not worse. But then again, when you are bringing up the rear, you can't really finish worse than last place. In fact, for the 16 countries looked at (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the U.K.) the panel found higher rates of American mortality (death) and morbidity (sickness and disease) for every 5-year age group studied from birth to old age. Furthermore, the panel said that this ill health was found universally across the entire country regardless of any demographic differences such as age, race, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, income level, education, health insurance status, etc ---- all things our government loves to endlessly talk about and blame our country's ill health on. The report goes on to say that,
"Americans who reach age 50 generally arrive at this age in poorer health than their counterparts in other high-income countries, and as older adults they face greater morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases that arise from risk factors that are often established earlier in life....... This study would suggest we need to think about the way we spend our [healthcare] money."
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT OUR NATION'S
POOR HEALTH AND OUT OF CONTROL COSTS?
As a nation, we talk about healthcare the same way that we largely deliver healthcare. We spend way too much energy, time, and money covering symptoms and not really addressing underlying causes. For instance, when the panel tells us that we have the highest rates of Diabetes in the Western world, it tells me that doctors are not communicating SIMPLE FACTS OF PHYSIOLOGY to their patients. And where are we hemorrhaging the most money in our healthcare system? Although there is need for improvement all over the place, I see three distinct areas that go far beyond our current discussion of EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE. They are......
- End of Life Heroism
END OF LIFE HEROISM:
One of my favorite songs is David Crosby's (with Phil Collins) "Hero". Let's be honest with each other for a moment. Who doesn't like playing the hero? We all love playing the part! It is the basis of the games we play from the time we are little kids (cops and robbers, soldiers, good guys / bad guys, cowboys and Indians, and about a million variations of these). Heroes are why we go to the movies. And doctors are no different. Anytime someone can be heroically saved, it's a good thing --- isn't it? While this is typically true, we now have the ability to keep people alive, even though they are not really living. Our medical technology has far outstripped our ability as a nation to pay for it (can anyone say 'National Deficit'?). On top of that, have you seen the statistics floating around concerning End of Life Care?
- We know that in 2008, Medicare spent $55 billion for care given during the last two months of covered patient's lives. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? It is. It was bigger than the budget for the Department of Education.
- It's been estimated that 1 in 5 Americans spend their last days in the ICU.
- As I've written in the past (HERE), Medicare cannot reject any treatment based upon cost (according to our current laws) --- even if they know it's futile.
- There are studies saying that 20% of the population is using 80% of our healthcare dollars (verified by two different studies from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).
- There are studies saying that five percent of the population accounts for almost half of total health care expenses.
- On top of that, the 15 most expensive health conditions account for 44 percent of total health care expenses.
- Furthermore, patients with multiple chronic conditions cost up to seven times as much as patients with only one chronic condition.
- And almost one third of all Medicare expenditures come in the last year of people's lives.
I could go on and on, but I would assume that you are starting to get the picture.
You see, the problem is that too many people think that doctors can solve every problem short of rigor mortis ---- and that they will be the next medical miracle. I guess they forgot to read the latest medical research saying the the death rate for Americans compared to the rest of the world is identical ---- exactly 100%. I get it --- dying is not something that most of us look forward to with gusto. But if you fail to take care of your health throughout your life, you may be looking death in the face sooner rather than later.
Patients and family members frequently go against the advice given them by their medical providers, telling treating physicians to, "do everything you possibly can". When this is done at the end of life, it leads to a myriad of complications and side effects, uncontrollable infections, mental and physical decay, chronic pain, and prolonging the inevitable. Like the statistics show, despite all the drugs and technology, people still die.
Don't get me wrong; I am not promoting ideas touted by the late Jack Kevorkian here. But the brutal truth of the matter is that sooner or later (judging from our national budget / deficit, probably sooner), you will see some serious European-like rationing of healthcare. In an increasingly European-like government-run healthcare system, it should come as no surprise. As a nation we are broke. It is sort of like the scene from the old movie Dumb and Dumber where Harry and Lloyd bring the brief case of ransom money back to it's rightful owner. Only after a few little loans for 'bare necessities', it's now full of hundreds of handwritten IOU's instead of millions of dollars.
I am not going to spend inordinate amounts of time carping on this point. Suffice it to say that Americans eat one of the crappiest diets in the world. How else do you explain the fact that despite spending more healthcare dollars than anyone else on the planet, we rank extremely low (last according to the study this Blog Post is addressing) in almost every measurable category of health? We are eating ourselves to death. SUGAR, PROCESSED GRAINS, JUNK CARBS, TRANS FATS, Preservatives, Additives, Pesticides, Herbicides, MSG, GMO, Chemicals on top of more Chemicals........ And we wonder why we are sick and seemingly everyone is getting CANCER? What's the solution? I'm not exactly sure, but allowing folks on the SNAP program to put only 'staples' in their shopping carts would be a tiny start.
Actually, this is not that difficult. If more doctors took a proactive role in patient's healthcare instead of only dealing with their sickness care (HERE), at least part of this issue could be solved. Tell patients the truth about diet (this would mean that doctors would first have to learn what constitutes a healthy diet --- and then LIVE IT OUT THEMSELVES). Give people good handouts or send them to educational websites (like mine - yeah, right). And most importantly for doctors, as you are leaving the exam room, look your patient in the eye and tell them to avoid SODA, drink more water, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut way back on the processed junk. No, it's not a cure all. But if we don't start involving our nation's treating physicians in the equation, then nothing is ever going to change.
Do you smoke? Are you doing any sort of regular exercise? Do you have poor dietary habits? Do you drink too much? Are you sedentary, sitting around playing video games, tinkering on your computer, or watching TV all day long? Are you taking drugs or engaging in risky sexual practices? Are you over-medicated? Recent research tells us that if poor lifestyle choices are not addressed from an early age, they will likely become lifetime habits. The health costs caused by these sorts of behaviors are off the chart.
Think about it like this for a moment. If you think that today's Geriatric patient population has health problems, just wait for tomorrow. What is coming down the pike as far as the burden to our healthcare system should scare the pants off of anyone who pays taxes. Our government (yes, they will shortly be the sole provider of healthcare in America) will soon be taking care of a generation that grew up in a far different fashion than we grew up. Too many of the things on the list in the previous paragraph have become the norm for too great a percentage of the population. Case in point: Most of the over-60 crowd grew up raising a vegetable garden. Most of today's under-30 crowd not only has no idea how to go about raising a garden, they do not even eat vegetables unless you count fries and ketchup as vegetables like the USDA does (HERE).
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO KENNY EASLEY?
If you were a football fan in the 1980's, you'll remember Kenny Easley. Easley was a top draft pick of Seattle in 1981 (UCLA), eventually earning Defensive Rookie of the year honors and going on to play in 5 pro bowls (he was Defensive player of the year my senior year in high school -- 1984). He was a defensive nemesis of the KC Chiefs in the AFC West. He had that Darth Vader look with the black rubber-like arm coverings --- not to mention he was one of the first guys to wear a tinted facemask. On the football field, Easley was a bad boy. But he only played in the NFL for 7 years. Where did he go?
Believe it or not, Easley fell victim to something that is shockingly common here in America ---- severe kidney damage / failure caused by over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, Acetaminophen, Advil, Ibuprofen, etc (HERE and HERE). How many of these pain relievers was Easley taking every day? He claims that he was taking up to 32 tablets a day for months on end. Interestingly enough, the National Kidney Foundation indicates that this is not that uncommon, claiming that 10% of all kidney failure is caused by these drugs.
VEGAN -vs- PALEO
Not only do Vegans not eat any animal products whatsoever, they do not use anything that comes from an animal. They do not wear leather or ride in cars with leather seats. They do not use cosmetics or beauty products that either have animal ingredients in them or were tested using animals. They don't wear or use fur, wool, or silk, or eat honey. Vegans want nothing to do with anything that is said to 'exploit' animals or for that matter, insects, birds, or fish. Some are even against having pets. If you enjoy that sort of thing, there are any number of raging online debates concerning just how far one has to go to be considered a true blue Vegan.
VEGANISM & PALEO BOTH HAVE RELIGIOUS UNDERTONES
Vegainism is not merely eating a vegetarian diet. It is a lifestyle, which, for many could accurately be characterized as a religion (the courts have thus far denied this is the case, but my guess is that this will change in the near future). If you have followed Veganism over the past decade or so, you would realize the religious nature of Veganism, although many would adamantly deny their reasons for not using animal products are religious. Mostly this has to do with the fact that Vegans believe that utilizing animals in virtually any manner is inhumane; slavery; wicked; exploitative; (insert your own adjective here).
I respect the Vegan's view as long as it is logical and congruent. There is a natural loss of credibility when I see folks who support things like Abortion on Demand, turn around and in the same breath, tell me I should not wear leather boots, eat a VENISON STEAK, drink a glass of farm FRESH MILK, fry an EGG in BUTTER, or have a DROP OF HONEY IN MY HOT TEA ---- because it's "unethical". Without delving too deeply into this matter, you could simply Google, 'Veganism Religion' and see what comes up. It is eye-opening to say the least.
In a somewhat different vein, I believe that the Paleo Diet has religious undertones as well. It is based on the premise of 'Evolutionary Eating' --- eating the sort of diet that folks from the Paleolithic Period (2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago) supposedly would have eaten. Being one of those CRAZY CREATIONISTS as opposed to an evolutionist, I feel that despite the fact that they are eating in a manner that I believe is healthier than the typical Vegan's, their "evolutionary" reasoning for doing so is is likewise flawed.
I would contend that the physiological basis for such a huge percentage of people not physically / neurologically tolerating grains has far more to do with the fact that TODAY'S GRAINS are radically different than they were even 50 years ago (GMO, intense hybridization, built in PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES, CHEMICALS OF ALL SORTS, etc). The idea that that our physiology is not compatible with eating grains --- a recent evolutionary development ---- does not resonate well with most non-evolutionists and is not why some of us eschew them. Although grains are clearly a biblical food, today's grains share little in common with those eaten during Bible times (HERE). I also happen to think that anyone trying to make a biblical case for not eating or using animal products (meat, milk, honey, leather, etc) is trying to defend a position that is indefensible.
THE AMAZING STORY OF VILHJALMUR STEFANSSON
In 1906 Stefansson went on his first polar expedition with the same, "food tastes and beliefs of the average American." Stefansson said this about the typical American dietary beliefs. "It was desirable to eat fruits and vegetables, including nuts and coarse grains. The less meat you ate the better for you. If you ate a good deal of it, you would develop rheumatism, hardening of the arteries, and high blood pressure, with a tendency to breakdown of the kidneys - in short, premature old age. An extreme variant had it that you would live more healthy, happily, and longer if you became a vegetarian. Specifically it was believed, when our field studies began, that without vegetables in your diet you would develop scurvy. It was a "known fact" that sailors, miners, and explorers frequently died of scurvy "because they did not have vegetables and fruits." This was long before Vitamin C was publicized."
Due to 'experiments' and ending up stranded in the arctic regions several times, Stefansson wound up living solely on fish and meat (polar bear, seal, etc) at various points in his lifetime. Interestingly enough, he not only did well on this diet, he literally thrived. He said that it took about three months of living with these "Eskimos" before he completely gained a taste for their diet. What did Stefansson say about his Eskimo-like diet? Only that he spent, "several years during which I lived on an exclusive meat diet. For I count in fish when I speak of living on meat, using "meat" and "meat diet" more as a professor of anthropology than as the editor of a housekeeping magazine. The term in this article and in like scientific discussions refers to a diet from which all things of the vegetable kingdom are absent. To the best of my estimate then, I have lived in the Arctic for more than five years exclusively on meat and water." Wow. That's really quite amazing. But the real issue we are all wondering about is how his so called, "Meat Diet" affected his health.
In the 1920's, Stefannson met with doctors from the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, New York's famed Bellevue Hospital, as well as physicians from the United States FA (later to become the Food and Drug Administration). After being thoroughly examined several times over, one of the doctors involved wrote an article for the, "Journal of the American Medical Association for July 3, 1926, "The Effects of an Exclusive Long-Continued Meat Diet." The committee had failed to discover any trace of even one of the supposed harmful effects.... The aim of the project was not, as the press claimed at the time, to "prove" something or other. We were not trying to prove or disprove anything; we merely wanted to get at the facts."
And who made up the committee? Physicians and researchers from prestigious institutions such as those mentioned above, plus the American Museum of Natural History, Cornell University Medical College, Harvard University, the Russell Sage Institute of Pathology, the University of Chicago, as well as others. After verifying his good health, this committee put Stefannson through a grand experiment to see if this sort of diet would work in America.
In the third part of the article, Stefannson goes on to explain that, "more than twenty-five years have passed since the completion of my first twelve months on meat and more than six years since the completion in New York of my sixth full meat year. All the rest of my life I have been a heavy meat eater, and I am now fifty-six. That should be long enough to bring out the effects. Dr. Clarence W. Lieb will report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that I still run well above my age average on those points where meat has been supposed to cause deterioration. The same is the verdict of my own feelings. Rheumatism, for instance, has yet to give me its first twinge." Stefannson goes on in his series of articles to talk extensively about the astounding DENTAL HEALTH of the Eskimo people, as well as the fact that he believed that fish as well as meat from seals, penguins, polar bears, was a cure for Scurvy.
This is truly an amazing series of articles. If you are interested in reading the whole thing, HERE it is. Be aware that I do not believe for one moment that Stefannson could get away doing what he was doing with today's meats (processed, growth factors, antibiotics, estrogen-based hormones, additives, preservatives, nitrates, nitrites, etc). It is important to understand that most adherents to the Paleo way of eating are into eating clean meats.
FORKS OVER KNIVES -VS- FAT HEAD
Interestingly enough, I know people who have, at least initially, done quite well eating in this manner. Much of this has to do with the fact that the Paleo crowd and the Vegans both share a universal goal ---- getting adherents healthier by getting them off of processed foods. The truth is, both the Vegans and the Paleo folks want to see people off of the SAD (Standard American Diet). If you stop cramming your pie hole full of the junk that most of your neighbors are cramming in theirs, there will be an increase in health --- at least initially. However, for many different reasons, I will show you why Vegans are going about things, at least to some degree, the wrong way.
I seriously debated doing a full-blown critique of Forks Over Knives. The movie is full of partial truths, misrepresentations, and even has its share of out-and-out lies. Why? What do the Vegans have to gain from proselytizing their ideas and trying to make converts to their way of living? Although there are a few who make money promoting Veganism, as far as I can tell, it is not really about money. The truth is, most Vegans are 'true believers' (remember the religious aspect of Veganism?). I will never change these people's minds, and that's OK.
Below are two critical reviews of the movie Forks Over Knives. There are dozens of others. All of them basically bring up the same points.
- DR MERCOLA'S REVIEW of Forks Over Knives
- DENISE MINGER'S REVIEW of Forks Over Knives (her Blog Post started a firestorm and has something like 2,000 comments)
Instead of blindly following the premises set forth in Forks Over Knives, you might want to check out the movie Fat Head. Fat Head is a 2009 documentary made by Tom Naughton. In the movie, Naughton challenges the premise set forth by Morgan Spurlock in his 2004's Supersize Me (a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed and believe had great benefit). Naughton felt that while Supersize Me had merit, it did not go far enough. He thought (and rightly so) that it's premise (America's obesity epidemic is being caused by the consumption of fast food) was flawed. Naughton wanted to prove that it is not fast food per se that is causing Americans to be fat, but the everyday foods that people are putting in their shopping carts and bringing into their homes. His goal was to show that we as a nation do not have fundamental understanding of nutrition.
Just understand that Naughton is not promoting fast foods in this movie. His point is simply that DIETARY FAT is not the "Great Satan" that it has been made out to be for decades on end. His movie is based on research and premises promoted by some of the most brilliant minds in the field of nutrition. In case you do not want to watch it, I included a short review of the movie by KELLY THE KITCHEN KOP.
WHY VEGETARIANISM IS NOT THE BEST DIET FOR LARGE NUMBERS OF AMERICANS
I have written extensively about the fact that America is facing an EPIDEMIC OF AUTOIMMUNITY. Our own government claims that at least one in five citizens has an Autoimmune Disease. However, many experts say that this number is grossly under-estimated, and the true number of those suffering with Autoimmunity is closer to 50% --- or even greater. From what I see in practice, I tend to believe the higher numbers (HERE IS A LIST OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES). Either way you slice it, the number of Americans with Autoimmune Diseases is ridiculously high. And the question we need to be asking ourselves is why, and what does it have to do with the Paleo -vs- Vegan debate?
WHICH IS A LESS REACTIVE WAY OF EATING?
Although anti-inflammatory drugs are one of the most-prescribed classes of drugs in this country, few doctors really grasp the relationship between the foods one eats, the multitudes of potential inflammatory processes, and various diseases that occur in the body (see above link). Although systemic (whole body) inflammation can be caused by many different things (parasites, heavy metals, chemical sensitivities, chronic subclinical infections, etc, etc), the most common things people react to are foods. Without delving into the chemicals that are in foods (pesticides, herbicides, artificial colors, artificial flavors, MSG, etc), what are the most common of these reactive foods? They are the very things that most Paleo adherents cross off their meal list. It goes without saying that adherents to Paelo are going to dramatically limit their sugar intake --- particularly High Fructose Corn Syrup.
- GRAINS: As I said earlier, today's grains are not the same grains that people were eating back in Bible times. In fact, they are not the same grains that your grandparents were raised on just 2 or 3 short generations ago (HERE and HERE). Today's grains have been genetically modified (almost 100% of soy and corn are now GMO), and hybridized in ways that defy common sense. And because the food industry values GLUTEN (wheat protein) and the gluten-analogous proteins found in all grains, they have bred our modern varieties of grain towards this end ----- increasingly high levels of these proteins (most particularly, Gluten). People's immune systems start recognizing these proteins as foreign and react accordingly --- particularly with LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. And if you think that just because your grain is "organic" or "unprocessed" that you are not subject to reactivity, think again (HERE).
- DAIRY: Milk is one of about 45 known GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS. While it is true that store-bought milk (pasteurized, homogenized, hormones, antibiotics, etc) is an extremely reactive food, far fewer people will react to fresh cow's milk. And even fewer still to fresh goat's milk. Just like grains, dairy is not inherently bad. The thing that makes most of it bad is the fact that it is processed to the point that it is barely recognizable as milk. Just be aware that Gluten Sensitivities and Dairy Sensitivities frequently go hand in hand. If you are sensitive to one, you are likely sensitive to the other as well.
- NIGHTSHADES: NIGHTSHADES are a group of vegetables that many people have trouble with as far as reactivity is concerned. These include tomatoes, potatoes (sweet potatoes are OK), eggplant, peppers (chili peppers, habeneros, cayenne, paprika, etc, but not black pepper), Goji berries, ashwagandha, Cape gooseberries, ground cherries, garden huckleberries, and yes, tobacco. Although people could potentially have all sorts of health issues associated with the Nightshade family, the most common symptom of sensitivity to this particular class of plant is arthritis-like pain. You can easily incorporate them into an ELIMINATION DIET, go off them for awhile, then add them back and see how you feel. HERE is an interesting article debunking the notion that nightshades cause pain. Forget the article --- read the comments.
- LEGUMES: One of my biggest problems with a Vegan diet is the amount of SOY that is typically consumed. Although certain kinds of soy are not as reactive as others, it is problematic for many different reasons. One of the biggest is the fact that it is a phyto-estrogen. In an age when ESTROGEN DOMINANCE runs rampant in both sexes, it only makes sense to cut this out of the diet. And as for BEANS; like grains and soy they contain a compound called Lectins. Lectins are sugar binding proteins that are thought to be natural pesticides. Because Lectins are 'sticky', they bind to the wall of the small intestine, and have been associated with LEAKY GUT SYNDROME in the scientific medical literature. Having Leaky Gut (usually called "Increased Intestinal Permeability" in the medical field) means that fragments of these foods will be absorbed into the blood stream and potentially end up in tissues they should not. The body does what it is supposed to do; mount an immune system response against them. The body will often begin attacking the tissue(s) they are attached to. Can anyone say Autoimmunity?
I might suggest that you follow Paleo expert, Robb Wolf's plan ---- similar the the Elimination Diet I have suggested. "The 30 day strict paleo approach followed by individual tinkering of adding back in certain foods allows us to find the best possible approach to nutrition for each individual person. Illnesses are predictable: chronic fatigue, lack of energy, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic diseases including weight gain, obesity, pre-diabetes, diabetes, and many more."
I have cut the Gluten-containing grains out of my diet and cannot begin to tell you how much better I feel physically. Have I cut beans and nightshades out of my diet? No. But I am beginning to think I probably need to do an elimination diet with these foods as well. I absolutely love both of them and truthfully, the thought of doing so makes me cringe a bit.
As a side note, the popularity of Dr. Fuhrman's "Nutritarian" program leads me to make a couple of comments. I really like some of what I see in his Food Pyramid. The fact that the pyramid's foundation is vegetables instead of grain like we see in the USDA's version is truly a breath of fresh air. He at least includes fish, lean beef, chicken, and eggs on the pyramid as well. However, his pyramid is very heavy on both legumes (40% of calories) and whole grains & potatoes (20% of calories), which could prove problematic for those with Autoimmunity and Food Sensitivities (not to mention those with BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES). Also, equating clean quality beef to sweets and processed foods is ridiculous and not based on good science (HERE). I would also take him to task for his recommending heavily processed milk (fat free) for people who consume dairy products. I am not sure that "fat free" anything is an optimal way to eat, in light of the research concerning the importance of consuming quality dietary fats. For those who eat dairy, raw milk is a much better choice for those who have access (it's easy here in the Ozarks).
WEIGHT LOSS AND VEGANISM
WITH SO MANY 'BEAUTIFUL' PEOPLE STUMPING FOR THE VEGAN LIFESTYLE; HOW COULD IT NOT BE OPTIMAL FOR CHRONICALLY ILL PEOPLE?
If you Google phrases like "Vegan Weight Loss", you'll see hundreds of articles promoting Veganism for losing weight. When I look at many of these articles (i.e. Sassy's Top 10 Tips for Vegan Weight Loss), I realize that I fully agree with the vast majority of what they are touting. Many of these Vegan articles are even saying to cut back on the grains, particularly the processed grains (cereal, bread, etc). The bottom line is that you can certainly lose weight eating a Vegan or Vegetarian diet. And truthfully, following a whole food Vegan diet is probably going to be much healthier than the way most Americans are eating right now --- at least initially.
However, Veganism has problems that can manifest over time. In light of the scientific evidence, I think that animal / fish proteins and fats are too beneficial to leave out of one's diet (particularly if you are replacing them with really crappy products like MARGARINE --- see the pyramid at the top of the page). A simple rule of thumb concerning the best way to eat comes from Dr. David Seamans, a Chiropractic Neurologist from Florida. Seamans says, eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation (remember that grains are not vegetation). Dr. Seamans actually had an incredible article on anti-inflammatory eating that was touted on the cover of last month's issue of PRACTICAL PAIN MANAGEMENT --- a medical journal produced for pain management physicians.
Although a WHOLE FOOD-based Vegan diet can certainly help people lose weight (depending on the amount of grains one eats), it can also leave one vulnerable to a wide array of nutritional deficiencies. The most common of these are found below. Many of these deficiencies can be avoided by proper supplementation. However, quality Whole Food Supplements (i.e. those made by Standard Process) frequently contain animal products in their formulas. It's either that, or you consume something made in a lab ---- nutrition that is COMPLETELY SYNTHETIC.
SOME OF THE MORE COMMON DEFICIENCIES SEEN IN VEGANS
- VITAMIN B-12: Cobalamin's key roles include brain and nervous system function, blood formation, general metabolism, energy production, fatty acid synthesis, and DNA synthesis. Important stuff! Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in fish, meat (especially liver), poultry, eggs, and dairy. Some of the signs and symptoms of B-12 deficiency include lethargy, weakness, IBS-like issues, mood changes and depression, memory loss, and numbness and tingling in one's extremities. BTW, check out this amazing article about the difference between natural B and synthetic B vitamins (HERE).
- OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS & FAT IN GENERAL: While it is simple to get plenty of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a Vegan diet, it is extremely difficult to get enough Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) --- the two active ingredients in fish oil --- without supplementing animal products (namely fish). When I look at the Vegan's Food Pyramid (near the top of the page) and see margarine (Trans Fat) listed as the fat of choice, I simply cannot believe it. Margarine usually contains Trans Fats. On top of that, the Vegan Food Pyramid tells us to keep our fat intake to a teaspoon a day. Are you joking me? Not only is this unrealistic, but it is heading back to the dark ages of dieting as promoted by Pritikin, Ornish, McDougal, and others --- eating that was disproved by science years ago. Your body needs fats to both survive and thrive. Veganism makes getting these crucial fats difficult to say the least. For more on Omega-3's, you can look HERE.
- IRON: Although you can get iron from plant sources (beans, Swiss chard, black-strap molasses, dark chocolate, and sun-dried tomatoes are a few), the best source is red meat. Unfortunately, too many Vegans believe they are getting enough high quality iron from their (fortified) Raisin Bran --- a belief that needs reconsideration.
- ZINC: Zinc is a mineral that is a component of numerous enzymes that have to do with cell reproduction, tissue growth, cellular repair, and healing. It is also important for the immune system. Plant sources of zinc are wheat germ, beans, and some nuts. Unfortunately, two of those sources are in potentially reactive foods.
- CALCIUM: Although the dairy industry claims that not eating dairy will lead to a deficiency in calcium, this is simply not true. Calcium is actually fairly easy to get from plant sources. It is pure myth that milk is a great source of calcium. As crazy as it seems, American women get more calcium than any other people on the planet. Yet we also have the top rates of OSTEOPOROSIS. Something is not adding up here. Some non-animal sources of calcium are black-strap molasses, collard greens, turnips, kale, bok choy, almonds, etc.
- VITAMIN-D: Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin (HERE). If you are a Vegan who is not getting regular sunshine, you will be Vitamin D Deficient. There are no good (unfortified) plant-based sources of Vitamin D that I am aware of. I read something about UV-irradiated yeast being an exception. I would not recommend that, particularly if you are consuming lots of carbs (HERE).
- PROTEIN: If you are an athlete or train regularly in some sport, you will be hard-pressed to get enough protein on a Vegan diet. I am not saying that it cannot be done. I am saying that it will be difficult and require some real forethought. Tony Gonzales, arguably the greatest tight end ever to play in the NFL (and an ex- KC Chief to boot), espouses the Vegan lifestyle (he has made commercials with his wife for PETA). But the truth is, his diet is far from Vegan. He eats chicken, fish, eggs, and even on occasion, beef. He realized not long after starting his "Vegan" lifestyle in 2007 that he was losing too much lean body mass without animal proteins in his diet.
On one hand, the internet is full of stories of Vegan successes. However, it is equally loaded with Vegan horror stories. There are lots of people who initially believe that Veganism is the way to go, and then back off because they realize their body is not doing well on the diet. Some, though, do not back off.
Many of you reading this can get by eating a Vegan diet --- and may actually do better eating in that fashion. In the same vein, many of you cannot. Anyone with Autoimmunity needs to be extremely cautious about eating Vegan --- particularly when it comes to grains. Think about it like this. We now know that over 80% of the American population carries the genetic makeup for GLUTEN SENSITIVITY. What is a grain-based diet going to do to these people (look at the Vegan's Food Pyramid)? Are there problems with the animal products that most non-Vegans are regularly consuming? You better believe it! We swim in a sea of hormones, xeno-hormones, ANTIBIOTICS, chemicals, MSG, growth factors, and heaven only knows what else. I think that Steffenson and his experiments involving living like an Eskimo proved how beneficial eating "clean" animal products can be.
The bottom line is that however you chose to eat, you must CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. Uncontrolled blood sugar (even if it is within the 'normal' range) is being tied to almost every disease process you can imagine --- including obesity. Paleo is one of many ways to manage blood sugar and the problems associated with letting it get out of hand. But Paleo is much more than that. It has a great deal to do with GUT HEALTH.
Reactive foods are heavily linked to Inflammation, Leaky Gut Syndrome (Increased Intestinal Permeability), and pain. This is the natural cycle of virtually all disease processes (HERE). What have natural doctors told us for generations? Heal the gut; heal the body. Do I eat a strict Paleo Diet? No I do not. But I have learned that the more I lean toward Paleo, the less pain I have, the leaner / stronger I get, and the more energy I have.
For people heading into the world of Autoimmunity (or already there), this way of eating makes a lot of sense. And by the way, what are the proponents of Paleo really promoting? Are they really telling us we should be eating mass quantities of meat? Although a few are, most aren't. Follow Dr. David Seamans advice; eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation. A diet heavy on non-reactive plants and vegetables with ample (clean) protein for your body's daily needs is critical for good health. For those of you looking for a protocol to follow, take a look AT THIS POST.
ARE YOU TIRED OF PUTTING UP WITH DECADES OF CHRONIC NECK PAIN?
COME SEE US!
I've only been in practice since 1991. By the time I retire, I'll be able to say that I've seen it all. Unfortunately, Tammy's is a story that I have seen / heard far too many times. An abusive relationship nearly three decades ago left her with chronic neck pain that has frequently been relentless. Prior to her visit with us, Tammy recently spent a lot of time sitting and crying. She was 80% better after one single treatment given ten days ago. Watch Tammy's powerful testimonial. I know you've tried 'everything' and think your problem is hopeless. I am here to tell you that hopeless people are whom I most enjoy helping.
Stacy, 35 years old, was in a brutal MVA back when she was 22. It was a severe enough accident that the person who hit her was killed --- and Stacy delivered her son prematurely. Stacy struggled through life for over a decade until finding our office two years ago. After only two initial treatments, she is 95% better on a day-to-day basis ---- two years after the fact. If you think that there is no hope for you just because you have suffered with CHRONIC PAIN for so long, it might be time to rethink some things. My goal is not only to help you today, but to give you an exit strategy to help you get over your problem(s) for the long haul.
PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME OR DISC HERNIATION?
I had a patient come in yesterday for a second visit. She was a fit, middle aged woman with pain in the left SACROILLIAC REGION and buttock. The severity of her x-ray had somewhat fooled me. She had a compensatory curve in her low back, with a couple of severely thinning discs at the very bottom. On top of that, she had a severely wedged disc and a lateralisthesis (her 4th lumbar vertebrate had slipped sideways on the 5th). There was plenty of calcification and bone spurring as well. I had a hunch that it was yet another case of Piriformis Syndrome, but wanting to be sure, I only adjusted her on her first visit (no TISSUE REMODELING). I let her know what was going through my mind and how we would proceed to treat her, as well as giving her a couple of specific webpages to read.
When she came in yesterday, complaining of zero improvement and an epicenter of pain at the area of her Piriformis Muscle, I knew for certain were looking at a case of Piriformis Syndrome. She could barely tolerate me even touching the area at first, but as I continued to treat, her Piriformis settled down. Within a few minutes, she was 75% improved. Every day is a learning experience. An important thing for everyone (doctors and patients) to remember is that study after study after study shows that x-ray and MRI findings like those mentioned above, can be extremely difficult (often times impossible) to correlate to a person's pain (HERE). To muddy up the waters even further, we have the issue of ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS. If you are truly seeking an answer to the question posed in the title of this post, you need to read this link. (HERE) is a simple test that might help you differentiate between the two problems.
CHRONIC BACK PAIN, NECK PAIN, KNEE PAIN, ANKLE PAIN, OR SHOULDER PAIN?
INJURED LIGAMENTS ARE NEVER THE SAME
How can you say that your ankle will never be the same after a Grade III ankle sprain? Not everyone is the same and I made a great recovery from mine. The ligament in my ankle had completely torn. We are all different :)
Dr. Moshe Solomonow is Emeritus Professor and director of the Bioengineering Division and Musculoskeletal Disorders lab in the University of Colorado's orthopedics department. His Masters is in Electrical Engineering (Cal) and his Ph.D. is in Engineering Systems and Neuroscience (UCLA --- back in 1976). Pay attention to what he wrote in the 2009 issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (Ligaments: A Source of Musculoskeletal Disorders)
"There are several ligaments in every joint in the human skeleton and they are considered the primary restraints of the bones constituting the joint. Ligaments are also sensory organs and have significant input to sensation and reflexive/synergistic activation of muscles. The muscles associated with any given joint, therefore, also have a significant role as restraints. In some joints, such as the intervertebral joints of the spine, the role of the muscles as restraints is amplified. The role of ligaments as joint restraints is rather complex when considering the multitude of physical activities performed by individuals in routine daily functions, work and sports, the complexity of the anatomy of the different joints and the wide range of magnitude and velocity of the external loads. As joints go through their range of motion, with or without external load, the ligaments ensure that the bones associated with the joint travel in their prescribed anatomical tracks, keep full and even contact pressure of the articular surfaces, prevent separation of the bones from each other by increasing their tension, as may be necessary, and ensuring stable motion. Joint stability, therefore, is the general role of ligaments without which the joint may subluxate, cause damage to the capsule, cartilage, tendons, nearby nerves and blood vessels, discs (if considering spinal joints) and to the ligaments themselves. Such injury may debilitate the individual by preventing or limiting his/her use of the joint and the loss of function."
The problem with Grade II and III sprains has to do with the way that ligaments heal. Ligaments heal with much less strength and elasticity than the original tissue. In fact, most pathology texts will tell you that the very best an injured ligament can heal, is about 60% --- maybe 70% in rare cases. This fact alone tells me that range of motion must be affected. And whenever joint motion is affected, MECHANORECEPTION / PROPRIOCEPTION is affected as well. Although we are talking about an ankle, this is true for every joint in the body including the spine (actually far greater for the spine). In fact if you were to look at all the x-rays of the necks in the above link, I would venture to guess that despite severe degeneration, many of these people went for years --- or even decades ---- after their initial injury, before having pain (HERE'S WHY).
When Proprioception (the body's ability to sense stretch, pressure, movement, and position in joints) is adversely affected, the result will always be degeneration of the affected joint. Understand that this degeneration is not an overnight process --- even in people who have CHRONIC PAIN post-injury. Like I said, my pain did not show up until at least a couple years after my last (third) avulsion fracture. But show up it eventually did. This is why rehab and restoration of ROM are so critical for the injured patient --- whether we are talking about ankles, knees, backs, or necks (and let's be honest, a neck is about twenty times more neurologically and mechanically complex than a knee or ankle). By restoring as much strength and motion as is humanly possible as quickly as possible, it improves proprioception, slows down the degenerative process, and helps prevent (or at least slow down) the onset of chronic pain.
I say "slows down" instead of stops or reverses because according to a 2013 issue of The Open Rehabilitation Journal (Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics) there is no way to completely stop the process of post-injury degeneration.
"Ligaments are the most frequently injured tissues within a joint. When an applied load causes all fibers to become nearly linear, the ligament continues to absorb energy until tensile failure or disruption of the tissue. Just as it does with overstretched ligaments, joint instability occurs with ligament disruptions or tears, often with more severity. When ligaments are stretched or elongated past a certain point for a prolonged period of time, they can lose their ability to retain their original shape. When this occurs, the ligament becomes lax and unable to properly support the joint, leading to instability and pain, and eventually to OA [osteoarthritis aka Degenerative Arthritis] of the joint. Although research suggests that persisting collagen abnormalities may be the most critical aspect of regaining ligament tissue function, virtually all other tissue components are likely to play equally important roles in tissue function, either directly or indirectly "
What are these components? I have shown you several times (HERE and HERE come immediately to mind that Scar Tissue (FIBROSIS) is dramatically different than normal tissue. Listen to these authors spell out the way that Scar Tissue is different.
- The COLLAGEN FIBERS are smaller
- The Collagen Fibers are disorganized
- There are flaws between Collagen Fibers
- Lots of cellular and ECM turnover (probably due to cells injury and cell death --- severely affects FIBROBLASTS)
- Lower ECM to Fibroblast ratio
- Higher cell density (dense tissue is inflexible tissue)
- Immature Collagen crosslinks (see my FASCIA PAGE)
- Too much Type III (immature) Collagen and not enough Type I Collagen (mature)
- And the list goes on and on and on
The real question, however, is how should these injuries be treated? In other words, even though study after study after study says that soft tissues (ligaments included --- especially spinal ligaments) are extremely difficult to image with standard technology such as MRI, that's what we continue to use. Just be aware that what will happen is that you are likely to be told that there is nothing really wrong with you except some "age-appropriate" arthritic changes. So, as long as you do not have a broken bone or other contraindication, controlled motion is the place to start.
"Overall, it appears that carefully controlled exercise plans promote healing of injured ligaments. Motion itself causes an increase in blood flow to the affected joint, providing the damaged tissue of the ligament with nutrients and metabolites necessary for its repair and healing. Under loading conditions, cells within the ligament sense tissue strains and respond by modifying the tissue. Mobilization for the treatment of soft tissue damage has also been found to decrease muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, adhesions, and joint stiffness following injury. Studies have indicated that, even in healthy and diseased older adults, short-term high-intensity strength training is well tolerated and helps reduce proinflammatory cytokines and knee joint loads."
But here, folks, is the rub. Standard medical fare is getting a lot of things bass-ackwards when it comes to treating these injuries effectively. Despite the fact that "motion is lotion," the medical community continues on with their drugs --- even though they frequently do not meet the current guidelines for standards of care. Need I give you an example? The easiest by far would be "THE BIG FIVE" --- and most specifically NSAIDS and CORTICOSTEROIDS. The same authors in the same study go on to say that...
"NSAIDs have been a mainstay treatment in ligament injuries for many years, especially in the case of acute sports injuries, but new research has shown that these anti-inflammatory drugs are only mildly effective in relieving the symptoms of most muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries and are potentially deleterious to soft tissue healing. Corticosteroid injections have also been a long-standing treatment regimen for musculoskeletal disorders, including ligament injuries. Although steroid injections have been shown effective in decreasing inflammation and pain in ligament injuries for up to six to eight weeks, they inhibit the histological, biochemical, and biomechanical properties of ligament healing. Mounting evidence has shown that corticosteroid injections into injured ligaments have an adverse effect on healing. For instance, corticosteroid injections into ligaments and tendons have also been known to inhibit fibroblast function and thus collagen synthesis, even to the extent of causing collagen necrosis [death] at the injection site. Steroid-injected ligaments have been shown to be smaller in cross sectional area and weaker in integrity, as manifested by decreases in peak tensile strength and load (energy) to ligament failure. Given the inhibitory effects corticosteroid injections have on ligament healing, many experts now caution against their use for treating ligament injuries, especially in athletes."
Did you catch that? Anti-inflammatory meds don't cut muster. The thing is, none of it is new information. If you go back and look at THIS POST, I show you exactly the same thing. The link is to an article I did a year ago on the Inflammation / Scar Tissue / Fibrosis / Degeneration connection, that was written using my pathology text book --- copyright 1987. It really is true --- the more things change, the more they stay the same. The cold hard truth is that when ligaments do heal, there are often problems. And when they don't.... "Osteoarthritis is the long-term consequence of nonhealed ligament injuries and continues to be the most common joint disorder in the world." Corticosteroids and NSAIDS (IBUPROFEN and others) only serve to hurry the process along. And while you will probably be told that ACETAMINOPHEN is safer, after doing a few minutes of research, you might be convinced otherwise.
GRADING THE SEVERITY INJURED / SPRAINED LIGAMENTS
The thing I want you to grasp while going through this short section is that inflammation always (that is always as in always) leads to fibrosis --- the medical name for Scar Tissue. Furthermore, firbrosis always (that is always as in always) leads to degeneration. HERE is the post on this subject. Also, while it's relatively easy to grade a KNEE or ankle injury, it's far more difficult to grade a neck injury in similar fashion.
GRADE I SPRAIN: There is damage to a small percentage of the collagen fibers that make up the ligament. This damage produces local INFLAMMATION (not the same as swelling, of which there will probably be some). There will be some degree of pain in the area, but even in the absence of rehab, there should be no significant long-term instability.
GRADE II SPRAIN: There are a greater number of the ligament's collagen fibers damaged. This produces a greater inflammatory response with much greater pain and edema / swelling.
GRADE III SPRAIN: The damage to the collagen fibers that make up the ligament is so great that there is a complete tear / rupture of the ligament. Besides intense pain and swelling, this injury is marked by long-term joint instability. In some cases, surgery can be necessary to attempt to solve the joint stability issue. Just be aware that for an ligamentous injury to cause permanent symptoms, it does not have to be a Grade III.
WHAT ARE LIGAMENTS?
- 90% Type I Collagen
- 9% Type III Collagen
- 1% Fibroblasts (these are the cells that manufacture collagen)
If we look at ligaments under the microscope (see "Healthy Connective Tissue" image above) we notice something very important. The individual Collagen Fibers are arranged in a parallel fashion to each other. This provides both strength and elasticity and enables ligaments to resist the incredible tensile forces they continually face on a day-to-day basis. After ligaments are injured, the healing process frequently occurs in a random and unorganized pattern (Scar Tissue). The individual Collagen Fibers, instead of being aligned to each other in a parallel fashion, are tangled, twisted, mangled, and wadded up in all three dimensions ---- SORT OF LIKE A HAIRBALL. You can see this phenomenon when you look at the picture of "Injured Connective Tissue" above.
THE PHASES OF HEALING AND REPAIR
- THE INFLAMMATORY PHASE: This first phase lasts about 72 hours and is caused by cellular death. When cells are injured, they die. And when they die, they rupture their contents into the fluid (extracellular fluid) surrounding the tissue. The contents of the cell contain compounds that cause LOCAL INFLAMMATION (not to be confused with 'Systemic Inflammation' --- click the link to see the difference) Inflammation is not itself synonymous with swelling, but instead attracts swelling to it. Use R.I.C.E. during this phase of the injury process --- Rest, Ice, Compression (Ace Bandage), and Elevation (the injured area must be above the heart to be considered to be 'elevated'). It is important to remember that anti-inflammatory meds are said to cause injured tissues to heal with as much as 1/3 less strength and elasticity. This is why ICE is so important during this initial phase.
- THE REPAIR PHASE: The Repair Phase of healing is characterized by INCREASED FIBROBLASTIC ACTIVITY. In other words, the body kicks the collagen manufacturing machinery into high gear. Between the Fibroblasts and blood platelets, a sort of "scab" is created. This phase is over within six short weeks (90+% of it takes place with the first three weeks). Just remember that the collagen that is laid down during this phase of healing is Type III (immature). Fibroblastic activity can be increased by 'loading' the injured ligament (various types of massage, tissue work, adjustments --- if tolerable, etc). Many in the medico-legal arena (insurance attorneys --- think MVA here) will argue that healing of injured ligaments should be complete within 6-8 weeks. This is true, depending on what the definition of healing is. The tissue is all there, it just has not been matured. This happens in the final phase.
- THE REMODELING PHASE: Interestingly enough, every study on tissue remodeling is saying that this phase lasts longer than the study that came before it. For a long time, The Remodeling Phase was said to last up to a year. I am now seeing studies that are doubling that estimate. This phase is characterized not only by the maturation of Type III Collagen into Type I Collagen, but by tissue organization. By "Tissue Organization" I mean that the tangled, web of scar tissue is remodeled over time into tissue that is much more organized and parallel. This is why STRETCHING, STRENGTHENING, and functional training is so critical for the long term health of any injured joint.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE
HEALING PROCESS FAILS?
Sure, arthritis might not show up today, and it might not show up tomorrow --- it is a process that often takes some time to rear it's ugly head. But if all the ingredients are present, eventually it will make an appearance. Fortunately, any time that scar tissue is present, TISSUE REMODELING may be a treatment option. Just be aware that ligamentous scarring can cause abnormal tissue loading that can wind up leading to SUBLUXATIONS, FASCIAL ADHESIONS, TENDINOSIS, or even CHRONIC MUSCLE STRAINS. It is always nice to be able to intervene prior to severe degeneration taking place.
For more information on the ways that Tissue Remodeling for the microscopic adhesions that tend to form in Connective Tissues that have been injured either chronically or acutely, visit the link above. I would also suggest that you view our PATIENT TESTIMONIALS as well. And for those of you struggling with chronic conditions of all sorts, it would benefit you to take the ten minutes it will take to read THIS POST.
ARE YOU MAKING YOUR KIDS FAT?
The latest statistics (2008) from the CDC say that
- Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
- The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
- In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
- For whites, 31.9 percent of males and 29.5 percent of females are overweight or obese.
- For blacks, 30.8 percent of males and 39.2 percent of females are overweight or obese.
- For Hispanics, 40.8 percent of males and 35.0 percent of females are overweight or obese.
Unfortunately, these 'latest' statistics from the CDC are 5 years old. It's now 2013. Do you think they have improved in the past half decade? What has happened to American children in the last five years? Statistics tell us that childhood obesity has absolutely exploded. And what's worse is that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) along with other organizations has published research showing that children who are obese children have an 80% chance of ending up obese adults. Yep; if you raise fat children, they are likely to grow up to be fat adults. Furthermore, there are all sorts of studies saying that obese children are at the forefront of a new explosion of "adult" diseases such as heart disease, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, and TYPE II DIABETES. These are diseases that were previously seen only in adult populations.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN GET TO AND MAINTAIN THEIR IDEAL WEIGHT
This issue reminds me of a young patient that I saw years ago. The child was about five or six years old, and mom brought him in because of a wide variety of health problems (skin, SINUS, BREATHING, BOWELS, EAR INFECTIONS, etc). The little guy was already significantly overweight, and when I asked her what she fed him, I could tell this was a question she would rather I had not asked. The answer I finally got out of her? "The only thing he'll eat is chocolate cake and Cheetos". People; we can do better than that. It's our children's lives. We have to do better than that.
- DO THINGS RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING: If your plan is to wait until your child is 6 or 8 years old before introducing vegetables, you will have a war on your hands. Have a plan and work that plan from the very beginning. This involves......
- BREASTFEED YOUR BABY FOR AT LEAST A YEAR: You would have to have been living under a rock not to realize how important breast feeding is. Make sure that you are breast feeding your babies for at least one year. Then....
- WHEN YOU BEGIN INTRODUCING FOOD, INTRODUCE HEALTHY FOODS; NAMELY VEGETABLES: Kids will eat what you teach them to eat --- especially if they get hungry. This idea that children should be able to pick and choose what they eat ---- pure poppycock. Most kids will not like every single thing you feed them. But truthfully, if you do this right from the beginning, they will like most them. Again; make sure that your children develop a taste for healthy foods from the beginning. One way of doing this is to make sure that......
- IT'S NOT 'CUTE' TO GIVE YOUR BABIES SODA AND JUNK FOOD: How many parents think it's 'cute' to give their little tykes SODA or JUNK FOODS? Lots of them. This may be a great move if you are a low IQ individual who is trying to get their kids their own reality show (i.e. Honey Boo Boo). But really; why give your kids a taste for things that you do not really want them eating? And when it's time to ship them off to school........
- SCHOOL LUNCHES? BE CAREFUL: I have written about school lunches (HERE). Back in the day, school lunches used to be made from scratch. Now everything is "open the package / can, heat, and serve". The amount of starch and processed flour that is being pawned off on our children in the name of "government sponsored nutrition" is appalling. And when kids are finished with their school day, make sure that you.....
- LIMIT SCREENS / GET KIDS OFF THE COUCH AND OUTDOORS: Although large numbers of today's children are terribly unfit, they have incredible thumb strength. This is because if you'll let them do it, most kids (BOYS IN PARTICULAR) will play video games for hours on end. If you are going to have television and / or video games in your house, you have to strictly limit the time your kids sit in front of the screen. Get your kids outdoors and teach them to make some adventure on their own. Make sure you are doing this with them. If you want your kids to listen to what you have to say, you have to......
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE: You want your kids to eat healthy, but you are making regular trips to the Burger Barn? How does that work again? Listen folks; this issue is no different than any other. You are the parent; lead from the front. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, keep your weight under control, and.......
- EDUCATE YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE REASONS FOODS ARE EITHER GOOD OR BAD: I know, I know, I know. The government says we should never label foods as 'good' or 'bad'. Instead they say that, "All foods in moderation can be part of a healthy diet." Isn't that special. This is the same sort of politically-correct gobblety gook espoused by those who would ban dodge ball from gym class. The truth is, there is a wide spectrum of foods that range from healthy to unhealthy, and everything in between. There are foods you and your family should be eating regularly, and there are foods you and your family should be avoiding at all costs. One of the biggest of these is.......
- AVOID HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: HFCS is everywhere. In case you are not up to speed, just understand that this stuff is bad ---- really bad. Do your own research and prepare to be freaked out. Avoiding heavily processed sugars such as HFCS goes a long way towards......
- LEARN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR: If there is one link on this entire post that I truly believe you should click on, it's THIS ONE. Almost every conceivable health problem you can imagine (including obesity) is being tied back to uncontrolled blood sugar. Nowhere is this more evident than with kids. Just click on the link. And while you are at it.........
- SCRAP THE FOOD PYRAMID: How do you fatten a beef? That's right. You feed them grain. The more grain you feed them, the fatter they will get. Now look at the Food Pyramid. For the past three decades, our own government has been telling us to eat 8-11 servings of grains a day ---- the foundation of the pyramid. Hey, I wonder if it is a coincidence that during these same thirty years, the incidence of obesity has gone through the proverbial roof?
- HAVE A FAMILY MEAL TIME / DON'T EAT IN FRONT OF THE TV: Enjoy your mealtime. Teach your children to cook. Get everyone to pitch in with meals and clean up. Everyone sits together around the table and eats as a family. Invite the neighbors over. This is how Americans have always eaten ---- until very recently.
Oh, there are plenty more things you can do to help your children (and yourself) get to and maintain an optimal weight ----- for the rest of their life. This list is simply a starting point. As always, do your own research and formulate your own plan. OK, so your kids aren't toddlers any more. If you love them, you'll make the changes you need to make. No; I never said it would be easy. But the longer you eat in a healthy manner, the easier it gets. Stick with it and the day will come when it will seem easy.
ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS & CHRONIC SHOULDER PAIN
He had already been through one Rotator Cuff Surgery and because his other shoulder now felt the same way, he and his wife had actually crossed off time on the calender later this winter for him to have surgery on his other Rotator Cuff --- the one he was seeing me for. He was fairly dumbfounded when he left the office. His shoulder's Range of Motion was almost normal, and his pain was at least 75% better ---- instantly. His shoulder pain was due to that typical combination of TENDINOSIS and FASCIAL ADHESIONS.
Here are the three SHOULDER TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS we shot throughout the day on Wednesday. Feel free to visit our ROTATOR CUFF PAGE as well.
VIDEO TESTIMONIALS OF CHRONIC SHOULDER PAIN
CHRONIC ROTATOR CUFF PAIN
Betty is one of my favorites. She comes two hours (from Springfield) to see us. She was referred to us by a local friend of her's who had a serious, long-term, shoulder problem that we were able to fix several years ago. She is back to have her other shoulder fixed.
CHRONIC PAIN IN THE ROTATOR CUFF
Cliff is the definition of a good ole country boy. Years of heavy, hard work had left him with a shoulder that was wreaking havoc on his life. Cliff may have been my very first shoulder patient over a decade ago. That shoulder is still doing well. Today we fixed his other shoulder.
CROSSFIT-LIKE EXERCISES AND
HOMEMADE GYM EQUIPMENT
One day (my freshman year in college) I was walking home from class and took a shortcut that happened to take me right by a welding shop. I noticed that there was a big pile of very heavy, rusty, steel plates behind a fence. I stopped and inquired about them, and the owner told me that since I did not steal them from him, I could have them. He even cut out holes to the size that would fit an Olympic bar. That's how we did it back in the day.
That old 'DIY' spirit is back in the gym. Between Crossfit and the dozens of knockoffs, you can figure out how to get an incredible workout with almost no equipment whatsoever. Or, with a little bit of YouTube know-how, you can build whatever you need. This is a blog post that I basically created for my son and I to use. If you can find something useful here, enjoy. It is something that I will probably add to periodically.
GREAT LINKS TO DO-IT-YOURSELF STRENGTH EQUIPMENT
SYNERGY (Homemade Equipment)
DIESEL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING (More Homemade Equipment)
HOMEMADE GYM EQUIPMENT (Still more of the same)
DO IT YOURSELF TRAINING GEAR
HOMEMADE GYM EQUIPMENT (From Home Gym Bodybuilding)
GROUND UP STRENGTH
STRAIGHT TO THE BAR --- HOMEMADE GYM EQUIPMENT
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration