When Is The Best Day to Plant a Tree?

healthy lifestyle Oct 22, 2020

My father, before he passed away, often said things like "if I only knew then what I know now." He might be giving advice about working with a difficult boss, navigating the dating world, or taking care of his body.

It seems true in life that as we make progress on our journey through life, we make discoveries that would have been exceedingly valuable if we had taken action on them year prior. 

Prevention

You may have heard the adage that starts, "When is the best day to plant a tree?" Answer: 20 years ago. When is the second best day to plant a tree? Today.

This week's thoughts were prompted by a study that showed the rates of 6 obesity-related cancers are on the rise in young adults. Specifically, the rates of multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer, uterine cancer, and pancreatic cancer were increasing in adults ages 25-49 years old. While the exact cause of the increase is not known, one hypothesis is that the rising rates of obesity...

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Success Leaves Clues - Lessons from the National Weight Control Registry

"Success Leaves Clues"

I'm borrowing a quote this week, from personal development speaker Jim Rohn. The long version is “Success leaves clues. Be a better observer of the winners and the losers, those who are doing well and those who are falling behind. Take mental notes and say: ‘I’m going to adjust what I’m doing based on what I see.'"

By studying those who have already gone where you desire to go, you can "shortcut" the process and learn from their success (and their mistakes) so as to speed up your progress.

You may have heard that losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. In fact, there is a whole movement called Health at Every Size that states that we should stop encouraging folks to lose weight and instead focus on health. I do agree with the sentiment that we should not stigmatize overweight, and that people of any size can get healthier through nutrition, movement, and sleep, even if they do not actually lose weight....

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Are You Living By Design or Default?

healthy lifestyle mindset Oct 07, 2020

The Brain-Behavior Gap

Have you ever had one of those moments where you stop all of a sudden and wonder, "when did I stop doing that?" I know meditation is good for me personally (I tend toward racing thoughts), but the habit of meditation has never been very "sticky" for me. Recently I had a busy week, and somewhere in the midst of it, my meditation habit fizzled out.

Do you have a recent experience like this? If so, let me share some insight from Kyra Bobinet, MD, a researcher at Stanford who I heard discuss behavior change on the Sigma Nutrition Radio podcast.

She tells a story of interviewing a woman in a weight loss program who was excited about the progress she was making, but then said, "I know what I should do and eat, I just don't know why I don't do it." That is a thought I've heard repeated in my clinic over and over through the years. Anyway, this thought motivated Dr. Bobinet to delve deep into what she termed the brain-behavior gap. That is, the gap that...

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Can You Use Food to Decrease Inflammation? A Look at Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Nutrition and Energy

In last week's post, we focused on energy production, and one of the points introduced was this:

  • Think about inflammation and healing. Your body works best when its repair system is functioning well, and excess inflammation can impair the healing process. Excess inflammation is associated with many adverse health outcomes including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Ways you can help:
    • Choose unsaturated fat over saturated fat (there is controversy about saturated fat currently but the scientific literature clearly supports that unsaturated fat has greater health benefit)
    • Choose quality carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, whole grains)
    • Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I received several inquires about omega-3 fatty acids, so let's take a deeper look.

One way to improve your nutrition, and therefore your health, is to simply start thinking about food quality, and looking for ways to "upgrade" what you eat....

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Where Do We Get Our Energy?

I felt like I'd been unplugged

In 2018 I had surgery to repair a damaged leg artery. I was recovering nicely for the first week, and then something changed. It was like I had been unplugged. For 2 days, I could barely get out of bed. It was hard to keep my eyes open. The trip downstairs to the couch was so taxing I'd nap for hours. I recall wondering if I'd ever get back to normal.

To this day, I don't know what happened. After 2 days, my energy improved and I got back to recovering from the surgery. When I think back, I feel gratitude that my energy was restored and 

But what  if you have fatigue and it's not getting better? What if you're not recovering? I frequently evaluate and treat people for whom fatigue is a daily struggle.

Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints that lead people to see a physician. Unfortunately, an explanation for fatigue is not always available, even after thoughtful analysis and testing. If you are experiencing fatigue, I...

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Gut Bacteria and Your Blood Sugar

Uncategorized Sep 17, 2020

The Microbiome

Current estimates for the number of bacteria comprising the "microbiome," or bacteria living in the human body (mostly in the colon), suggest that there are 38 trillion bacteria that live in or on you. That number is larger than the 30 trillion human cells that comprise your body. Yes, there are more bacteria than human cells! These bacteria express genes, make proteins, use energy, and contribute in many ways to the function (and dysfunction) of your body.

I've been interested in microbiome research for several years, and I believe the current science is strong enough to state that there are healthy and unhealthy changes in the microbiome that can occur within you, that these changes can impact your health in positive or negative ways, and that paying attention to "gut health" is worthwhile as you pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Interesting Studies

I wanted to briefly highlight 2 studies of interest. In the first, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found...

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What Is The Best Diet? Results of the DIETFITS Study

What is the Best Diet?

I know, we keep coming back to this question. I get asked this question frequently. I think that's cause lots of people are frustrated with the glut of conflicting information available, and want to know how to get results.

I wish there were a quick answer. I will say, when it comes to healthy lifestyle, I've be come obsessed with helping people understand what will produce the results they want in their own bodies. We all grow tired of the same advice of "just eat less and exercise more." While there is a certain truth to this statement, for most people such advice does not lead to changes that actually produce benefit. Something is missing.

Low-fat vs. Low-carb

Low-carb is an approach that works well for many people. Low-fat diets have fallen out of favor, although traditional low-fat diets are not the same as healthy low-fat diets that don't rely on processed foods (think vegetarian approaches that emphasize plants and whole grains).

So,...

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"Don't Just Hork it Down!" Use "Mindful Eating" to Improve Your Nutrition

"Don't just hork it down"

My kids grew up watching animated movies, and there was a time as a young parent where I think I went several years without watching an actual live action film. To me, Pixar movies are the best. The quote above comes from a great scene in Ratatouille where Remy, the main character, teaches his brother to love food. As his brother tosses a wad of cheese down his gullet, he's scolded, "No, no, no...don't just hork it down."

Remy then proceeds to teach his brother how to eat carefully, enjoying the experience. Sometimes I try to remember this scene, especially when I get my hands on one of those foods (e.g. wife's cinnamon rolls - only allowed to eat on Christmas Day) where I find it hard to control the urge to race through the experience of eating.

I like to believe Remy is an early practitioner of mindful eating.

Mindful Eating

Mindfulness is a concept which has been gaining in popularity over the last decade. In particular, mindfulness meditation is...

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2 Interesting Observations About Your Brain

The Brain is Fascinating

When my daughter was about 5 months old, I watched as she figured out how to rotate a toy so she could pass it through the bars on her crib. I realized in that moment that at 5 months old she could solve a problem my 5-year-old dog could not master! I as fascinated by how quickly her brain was developing.

The human brain is fascinating. I thought I'd highlight 2 observations about the brain that have direct relevance to your health, and which you may not have heard.

1. Your Brain is Cleaned When You Sleep

In people who develop Alzheimer's disease (AD), characteristic changes occur in the brain. Substances like beta-amyloid and tau protein, which are present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain, become deposited in the brain. Known as "beta amyloid plaques" and "tau tangles," these changes represent the pathological markers of AD.

When I speak about the 3 components of Optimal Metabolism - Quality Movement, Quality...

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The Attention Economy

healthy lifestyle Aug 20, 2020

The Attention Economy

Apparently Herbert A. Simon is thought to be the first person to write about the attention economy, when in 1969 he wrote:

  • “Now when we speak of an information-rich world, we may expect, analogically, that the wealth of information means a dearth of something else — a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

We live in a world where there is a wealth of information, which created a poverty of attention. Facebook, Google, CNN, Fox News, Instagram and others all compete for your attention (so they can sell it to others) and email, Netflix, and television can take up hours of your time. Add in time devoted to work demands, parenting, friendships, etc. and you...

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