Take the Gluten Challenge

Bread  

This could literally change your life forever

 

I will be the first to say that these diet topics get so confusing and contradicting, that it’s understandable why most people just ignore them and eat what they want. One expert says that gluten is a poison, and the next one says it’s a safe staple of our diet. Just this morning, an article hit the Wall Street Journal that was titled “This Story Is Gluten-Free” which went on to say that organic food is probably not any better than conventionally grown and GMO foods are completely safe.  His closing line was “Perhaps on July 4th we should all resolve to enjoy factory-raised grilled meats and be grateful for what's left of the freedom to make our own decisions.” This article was written by a well educated guy who has been involved with business and finance his whole career, and published by a highly respected paper.

 

I’m not here to tell you that gluten is a poison or to tell you that you should never eat bread again,...

How Celery Can Make You Fat

Overweight  

It might seem odd or counterintuitive to try to link a negative reaction to food with weight gain. It makes more sense to think, eat bad food = feel sick. We’re going to look at a couple things that are happening under the hood which are causing us to pack on the pounds.

 

At the risk of sounding like a bad late night infomercial… identifying foods that you are sensitive to, and avoiding them, will likely result in weight loss as well as a whole host of other great benefits without necessarily cutting any calories!

 

I know, I know!  Next I bet you’re expecting to hear “If you call in the next 15 minutes, we’ll throw in a free set of steak knives”.

 

Quiz: What do all of these have in common... heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, acne, stroke, depression, eczema, autoimmune diseases, and obesity? If you said inflammation, then you will be receiving a free set of steak knives (joking of course). But seriously, it’s inflammation… chronic inflammation to be more specific.

 

Inflammation + Insulin =...

The Anatomy of a Habit (part 2)

Soda  

Let’s recap (part 1)… habits are part of our biology and are intended to benefit us by shifting a large portion of the workload of repetitive tasks from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind. There are 3 parts to a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Finally, dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) is used to make it all work.

 

Armed with the knowledge that we are hardwired for habits, how do can we use that to our advantage?

 

Using the Habit Loop to Break a Habit

It’s important to note that habits form neurological pathways that strengthen in the response to frequency and intensity. Even after you’ve successfully “broke” your habit, don’t be surprised if you still have cravings weeks or even years later… those pathways will still be there.

 

To use the habit loop to change a habit, we start by breaking it down into it’s components.

 

First, write down the routine you want to change and why you don’t like it. Be as specific as possible.  Stating that the...

The Anatomy of a Habit (part 1)

Smoking  

Before we can get into some strategies and tricks to change our habits, we need to first understand what a habit is.

 

By design, habits are a good thing. We have two parts of the brain, the conscious and subconscious, working independently toward the same goal… to serve the host.  We all like to believe that our conscious mind runs the show. If we do something, then it’s because we chose to… right?  Not really, about 45% of our daily actions are a result of habit.

 

All Habits are Good!

First, it’s important to know that ALL habits are good. “What? You are an idiot. So you’re saying that habits like smoking are good?” Yep

 

A habit is usually born out of a conscious decision to take action. Maybe our smoker thought it would make him look cool in high school.

 

Over time, that action is handed over to the subconscious to handle in a more automated fashion, freeing up the conscious mind to do what it does best… think. Isn’t it great that we...

Don’t fear carbs… get to know them (glycemic load)

potato  

If you’ve never heard of the glycemic index and glycemic load, then this article is going to forever change your relationship with the carbohydrate containing foods you eat… in a good way!

 

This impacts general health, weight management, and type 2 diabetes.

 

Before I get into it, I want you to understand that you don’t have to know the exact values to benefit from this. Just a basic understanding will most likely shift many of your daily food choices, and that can make all the difference.

 

I don’t know about you, but I need at least a little “why” before I’m willing to put any effort in.

 

Insulin is a master metabolic hormone whose main job is to keep our blood sugar levels in a safe range, but it does so much more. It also has a lot of say in whether we are burning fat or making fat... and whether we are breaking down cholesterol or producing it.

 

When we eat carbs, our blood sugar levels increase. An appropriate amount of insulin is released...

Test for Insulin Resistance at Home

glucometer  

Last weeks article ran a little long, so I’m going to make it up to you and make this one pretty short.

 

Before we dive into the test, it’s important to note that there are several other markers that can be used to help you and your doctor understand how you may be managing sugar (fasting glucose, cholesterol, cholesterol/triglyceride ratio, insulin, c-peptide, and HA1c). The following test is quick, cheap, and will tell you much more about the way you are currently managing sugar than any single blood test.

 

Disclaimer: Please talk to your doctor before taking this test at home.

 

The test is called the glucose tolerance test and it’s dead simple. All you are really doing is drinking some sugar and charting how your body is managing your blood sugar levels over a 2 hour period. What could be easier than that?

 

What you’ll need

  1. Glucometer - It’s the device diabetics use to monitor their blood sugar. You can get one at the drugstore or Walmart for around $15-20.

  2. 8 test...

How to resist insulin resistance… be sensitive to insulin sensitivity

meditationDemonstrating how easy it is to increase insulin sensitivity by de-stressing

Last week we talked about the main cause of insulin resistance (consuming too much sugar) ,and some of the health risks associated with it. If you missed it, here’s the link.

 

What I failed to touch on last week is just how insane this problem is. As of 2011, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, that’s 8.3%... and 79 million have prediabetes, which is over 25% of us! These numbers are rising quickly and are guaranteed to be worse today. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of the problem, which means that the vast majority of diabetes is within our control.

 

Below we will look at several things that have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity (decrease insulin resistance). Going into a lot of detail on each of the following points would have made this article too long to digest in one sitting.

 

Sugar / Fructose

We covered a lot of this in the first article. One of the best things...

Insulin, an 1825% Increase in Sugar, and You

factory
A basic understanding of the role insulin plays in the body will demystify and change your relationship with the foods you eat, especially sugar. Everyone knows they should eat fewer carbs and most have some idea about things like insulin, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes… yet there’s a disconnect.  

While there is an amazingly elegant cascade of chemical and cellular reactions that allows insulin to do what it does, we will benefit much more from understanding what it does rather than how it does it.

 

I like to think of the body as a massive factory. The blood vessels are the hallways, the organs are departments, the cells are the rooms within the departments where all the real work gets done, and insulin are the workers responsible for managing the fuel supply. Insulin has several responsibilities, but for the sake of this discussion, we are going to focus on three of them.

 
  1. Keep the glucose fuel at the right level in the hallways

  2. Maintain a steady supply of...

13 Ways To Support Your Heart (only unlucky if you don’t read this)

heart

Unlucky 13?  Nope, the folks that ignore this list are the unlucky ones.  Even if you just pick one or two of these to focus on right now, your heart will thank you.

 

Dark Chocolate

Flavanols in cocoa have been shown to decrease blood pressure, make our blood platelets less sticky, and increase blood flow to the heart and brain.  (enjoy some real dark chocolate… no, not the stuff in your kids Halloween bag)

 

Magnesium

A major study that looked at 7,664 people over 10.5 years found that those with the lowest levels of urinary magnesium were 70% more like to die from heart disease.  Good food sources include: spinich, kale, kelp, almonds, brown rice, flaxseeds, beens, avocado, walnuts, salmon, yogurt, bananas, and dark chocolate.  (get at least 400mg per day)

 

Stress

The mind-body connection is not just some treehugger talk.  Stress has very real effects on our body and body chemistry.  Stress can increase cortisol levels, raise blood pressure, disrupt sleep, and increase insulin resistance.  Did you know that...

Your great great great great great grandmother would like you to eat…

Sauerkraut
This topic itself seems sort of boring on the surface… like mildly interesting, with a “so what” aftertaste. Talking about water feels that way, but there’s nothing “so what” about water,  just go a day or 2 without it. What I’m saying is; please stick around a bit and see if we can’t turn this seemly “so what” into a “holy crap”.  

Whether it’s vitamin D, multi-vitamins, probiotics, you name it, I’m always asked “Why is this  so important NOW? People have been living without supplements and other newage treehugger garbage for thousands of years. So why should we care now?”. Creationists and evolutionists can both agree that we haven’t changed much over the last couple thousand years. What has changed drastically is what we eat.

 

To really drive this point home, let’s imagine one of our ancestors living 300 years ago. If you’re familiar with your heritage, then you can imagine what foods they might have had available, how they were stored, and how they were prepared. Now that you’re...