All posts filed under: Fundamentals of Wellness

Update on Fats: 2017

Since I first posted this in 2013, we’ve gotten even more research, especially about saturated fats, and the news is good:  they help decrease heart disease and they truly help inflammation. Here is the latest: You need fats.  Do NOT try and lose weight by turning to low fat options.  Guess what they trade for fat so that the product tastes ok?  SUGAR = CARBS.  The trade off is that you’re hungry in an hour!  Why?  Your insulin just spiked.   How many times have you eaten a meal only to feel hungry in an hour or two?  Fat gives us satiety, the feeling of “I’ve had enought to eat”.  So, fat is your FRIEND, especially if you want to lose weight.  Here’s simple guidelines for fat consumption.  Did you know you don’t absorb certain vitamins without fat?  Vitamins A, D, E and K are considered “fat soluble” and are absorbed MUCH better when paired with fat. List of “Good” Fats: vary where they come from, add them to your meals, and find you’ll stay …

How to survive Holiday Parties

Have you lost weight and want it to stay off? Are you actively trying to lose weight… or, are you a good weight but don’t want the upcoming months, holidays and winter to add on the post-holiday ten pounds? One of the hardest things is dealing with food and social gatherings.   No matter what holidays you celebrate, food is pivotal in all of them.  Here are the guidelines that work well for me. The basic thing to avoid is the one component that makes your insulin shoot up, making you WANT more food:  CARBOHYDRATES! Here’s a good strategy:  Be absolutely sure you eat protein.  Chicken, shrimp, beef, fish, nuts.  Buffets often have smaller portions, so pick your selections so you get your 4 oz. serving by end of night.  EAT FAT.  Yes, I said EAT FAT.  That’s what will satiate you.  So, dips, cheese (if you can tolerate dairy), bacon, dressings that aren’t loaded with sugar.  Fat will make you feel full.  AVOID CARBS AT EVERY TURN.  Put dip on veggies, not crackers.  Skip the …

Illness and Childhood Trauma

Make sure you tell your physician if you’ve had childhood trauma. Ongoing adversity in childhood leads to a chronic state of “fight, flight or freeze.” Researchers at Yale recently demonstrated that when inflammatory stress hormones flood a child’s body and brain, they alter the genes that oversee our stress reactivity, re-setting the stress response to “high” for life. This increases the risk of inflammation, which manifests later in cancer, heart disease, and other autoimmune diseases, and often death decades earlier than our non-traumatized counterparts. Donna Jackson Nakazawa has studied autoimmune illness and chronic illness extensively, partly because of her own history.  She also wrote the book “The Auto-Immune Epidemic” which helped me understand my mercury toxicity much better. This new study on traumatic childhood experiences is groundbreaking and every doctor should add the questions about childhood trauma to their initial intake/history. This blog post I’m linking to below shows the power of functional medicine and intelligent questioning.  Instead of writing more of a post, I am choosing to share it in it’s entirety.  Please take …

The Essence of Functional Medicine

Because I am a nurse, I know a lot of people in the medical community and as they learn my story and I get healthier, I’ve often been asked what functional medicine is. This image below sums up completely what a patient’s experience with functional medicine is like: Patients have evolved since the 1950s and they’re much more informed and want to participate in their care compared to decades ago. They often want to know why they have whatever illness it is they have. Unfortunately  during those same decades, conventional medicine became more specialized, and, at least where primary care is concerned, it took a turn away from what was important: seeing the entire person and trying to figure out how the symptoms come together and solve a puzzle. Don’t misunderstand me — patients are being treated more efficiently and quicker than ever before, the problem is that chronic illness is exploding in a way that we’ve never seen in history.  So, despite having better drugs and more efficient technology, we are getting sicker faster …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 10

Ok, Day 10 of 10!  For my “finale” (thank God, this has been hard to post 10 days in a row!),  I’ll talk about supplements to add to your regimen and some general guidelines and links to articles that I think have important information about insulin resistance, weight loss, and staying healthy.   Here are a few supplements that can help stabilize your insulin levels and lower your blood sugar: It’s important you take a good multi-vitamin, even if you are eating totally healthy.  (read why here and more here).  I take Multigenics Phyto Multi which contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It is widely available. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but plays a very important role in metabolism.  Many of us are Vitamin D deficient.  As you doctor to check your level.  Taking 1,000-5,000 units/day of Vitamin D3 is considered pretty safe in most people. read more here There are a few other things that can help your insulin levels stabilize if you’ve struggled with your weight, or if you want to lose …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 9

Today is simple.  The next time you want to reach for potato chips, try one of these low carb snack alternatives!  In general, I’ve avoided cheese because I don’t eat dairy.  You can add cheese in small amounts if you can tolerate dairy. The key for a snack is this:  you MUST have some protein, some fat and some flavor!  Then, you won’t feel deprived! Protein  +  Good Fat = Good Snack! Olives – high in healthy fats, they’ll keep you feeling full. Celery with Nut Butter Cucumber chips with guacamole Hard Boiled Egg!  A little salt and pepper and you’re set A handful of almonds, cashews, pecans or walnuts. High fiber, low carbs, good fats ½ cup berries, and if you can do dairy, ½ cup greek plain yogurt One or two of my strawberry cookies! Half an avocado with tuna or chicken salad (home made if possible) Half an avocado with ½ tomato with salt and pepper Organic lunch meat without fillers (read your label) with asparagus or dill pickles Egg salad in …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 8

Condiment Caution! It may seem negligible, but ketchup can sabotage you!  Hiding behind it’s pretty red “I’m a vegetable” mask is actually a food that has a fair number of carbs.  Let’s look at condiments, some of the common ones.  Everybody knows jam and jelly have sugar, so I won’t address those.  Just the usual common condiments we eat every day with food. I did NOT use the same measurement for each one, for obvious reasons.  You would probably not eat 3 TBS. of mustard, but you could easily have that much mayo with tuna salad, or dipping french fries in either ketchup or mayo (yes, some people prefer mayo to ketchup on fries!). So, here they are.  Now, the calories are important, but not NEARLY as important as what happens to your blood sugar and insulin levels after you eat anything.  Yes, calories matter, but carbs are the driver behind the steering wheel of your insulin response.  More carbs, more insulin.  More insulin, more fat storage, more hunger.  In order to break the cycle, …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs: Day 7

Avoid, or at least be skeptical of anything labeled “non-fat”. This is the biggest scam around.  We were taught, since the 1960’s that fat was to be avoided.  Now that recent research has cleared that stinkin’ thinkin’ up, we still see recipes calling for low fat cheese, low fat milk, low fat yogurt.  WHY?!?  Because habits are hard to break!  Yes, it is ok to eat low fat cheese and yogurt, but NOT if you choose one that has had carbs added to make up for the taste of taking the fat out!  That’s how food companies get low fat/non-fat items to taste better.  Additives, carbs and thickeners.  (chemicals!) I’m going to pick three common foods and compare them side by side.  Full fat is often better, keeps you full longer, and won’t spike insulin.  Dr. Atkins had some of it right, and with the exception of avoiding dairy, I basically eat a low carb diet. Example 1: Peanut Butter Low Fat Peanut Butter is a joke, because they add sugar to make it taste …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 6

T2T Restaurant Carb Hacks. It’s not as hard as you think to go low carb at a restaurant.  Here are some of my favorite tricks to stay low carb and still enjoy yourself: I want to say something first.  If you eat out once a year, or it’s your birthday, use the 90/10 rule:  decide when you’re going to have that 10% “blow my rules” meal, and then ENJOY it!  If you order something and then feel guilty about eating it, what’s the point?  For the rest of the time, use these hacks: Look for entrees that offer a simple fish, meat, or poultry option.  Stay away from pasta and things with sauces that may contain cornstarch, flour, sugar, or other thickening agents. When rice or potatoes are served, ask for two servings of the vegetable instead. Order a salad with dinner, and specify you want a dressing without sugar.  Oil and vinegar are usually available, and many restaurants make their own vinaigrettes, you just have to be assertive and ask what is in it.  …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 5

Today is a very important one.  I’m not posting these in order, and maybe this should be considered #1.  EAT MORE FIBER.  Sounds simple, but here’s a trick that can help you get healthier, thinner, and lower your cancer risk.  A win/win! The Role of Fiber in Weight Loss, Heart Disease and Diabetes: Dr. Dennis Burkitt, an English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and western people like you and me.  The bushmen seemed to be free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  They ate a ton of fiber every single day.  In fact, the bushman had a stool weight of 2 pounds and the westernized men had a stool weight of only 4 ounces (yes, 87.5% smaller!).  Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from a raw whole foods diet (roots, berries, leaves and plant foods). And the fiber is what helped them stay much healthier than the average American today. Why is fiber so great? Fiber …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 4

This one is simple once you see it in facts.  Stop drinking ALL juice.  Here’s why: Let’s take something you’d never eat on a diet.  How about a “fun size” snickers bar?  That’s clearly in the “no-no” zone, right?  Well, what if I told you that when it comes to blood sugar, insulin, and weight gain, orange juice is worse?  Would you be incredulous?  Here are the facts, based on TWO tiny snickers vs. 1 cup of OJ: So, the calories are a bit higher in the snickers bars.  But, although nutrient devoid (and that’s another post), they have less sugars than the OJ!  Now, this does not mean I want you to go out and eat snickers, but it does mean your use of juice should be negligible to NONE.  These calories go straight into your bloodstream, as there is no fiber in the juice to slow digestion.  Juice is not an item you want in your food plan at all.  In case you’d like more information, all the juices are listed here.  I …