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Posts for tag: diet

I have faced my fair share of diet challenges in life like most of you. One of them is the picture above: Dr. Sue is an amazing cake maker and she also makes some pretty amazing chocolate-coated strawberries!

This week, we are talking about how to apply the Minimum Effective Dose (M.E.D.) to our diets. M.E.D. is the concept of applying just enough of something to effect a positive change.

M.E.D. is really a way to get right to making changes in our lives without overthinking or planning things. Think of it as looking for the biggest bang for your buck.

WHAT IS THE LEAST I CAN DO FOR THE LARGEST OUTCOME?  


Two of the biggest culprits in the Standard American Diet are grain (including wheat and corn) and sugar.

Grain… Tastes Good But… (and hips and thighs and belly!)


There is no doubt you can go to the bookstore right now and find one magazine that promotes a diet high in complex carbohydrates (whole grain) and, right next to it, one that promotes eating grain-free (keto, paleo, etc.). I have actually written pretty extensively on this before on our blog under Paleo – Carbohydrates: What Kind and How Much?. But, for our purposes today, here are some facts about grain (wheat, corn, etc.):

  • Grains raise blood sugars
  • Grains have a high calorie count
  • Certain proteins in grain can cause inflammatory/auto immune reactions

These three issues can result in: diabetes and diabetes-related health issues, obesity, and obesity-related health issues, inflammatory diseases and symptoms (pain, stomach and gut issues, worsening fibromyalgia and arthritis, possibly lead to brain degeneration and worsening neurological issues). Some people have greater reactions than others, in terms of active disease states, but the scale doesn’t lie in terms of weight gain.

Reduce or eliminate grain in your diet = lose weight and get healthier.


M.E.D. for that right away? Every time you go to have a grain product, reduce it by half and replace it with a) nothing, b) vegetable, c) fruit. Start making your sandwich open faced, instead of with two slices of bread. Only eat one roll instead of two at dinner. Cook an egg and eat it with 1/2 your regular amount of oatmeal. Have an apple instead of a granola bar. You get the idea. In a few weeks, cut everything in half again. You’ll get used to it!

I Do Love Me Some Sugar!


The second thing I am going to suggest as a dietary M.E.D. is straight-up sugar. There are a lot of forms of sugar, but the two largest culprits in the U.S. are high-fructose corn syrup (found in pop, candy bars, ice cream, cookies, really, anything that is sweet and packaged) and table sugar (the sugar we bake with).

Sugar has two of the same issues that grains do, namely:

  • Raises your blood sugar (leads to diabetes and related disorders)
  • Has a high calorie count (leads to obesity)

In addition, while you might be able to make the case for grains having some B-vitamins (often added in) and fiber (you can get more than enough, if you eat a healthy amount of vegetables), but sugar really has no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever. I didn’t say it doesn’t taste good, just that it has no redeeming nutritional value! Any more sugar is like the surgeon general ads that warn you against smoking. Who doesn’t know that?

So, if nobody is arguing that we can benefit from reducing sugar, how can you do that? Following the “Half Approach,” outlined above in the grain section is a good start. Another simple hack would be to have a big glass of water before you’re going to partake in a sugary snack. Often times, the water will make you feel fuller and you are less likely to eat as much or at least as fast.

Finally, if you are going to eat sugar in your snack, see if you can combine it with protein or fat. This can do two things: it can slow the rate it is digested and reduce spikes in blood sugar, and the protein and fat may be more effective at making you feel full sooner, as opposed to just consuming the sugary snack alone.

Don’t Forget the 85/15 Rule!


I graduated from chiropractic college over 30 years ago (yeah, I was pretty young!). I don’t remember a lot about the ceremony, but I do remember one thing the commencement speaker said. It was something to the effect “that we had just spent a lot of time, energy, and money learning how to get sick people healthy, but not to forget to have an ice cream cone once and awhile along the way. You never now when you might step out on the street and get hit by a car, and it would be terrible if you had never had ice cream!”

Now, I really don’t want anything bad to happen to you, but I have found life a little more enjoyable when I work hard on diet and exercise 85% of the time, and take it easier 15% of the time. I think this rule can apply to food as well!

Next week, we will look at some M.E.D. recommendations on exercise.

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

Let’s Get Down To Business!

I hope your January is going OK so far. As I write this week’s blog post, I am in Denver visiting my dad. Dr. Sue is back in Indiana and I am really hoping she will have the driveway cleared before I get back tomorrow (Sunday)! We are starting out this year with a short series on realistic ways to get and stay healthy, as opposed to all the quick fixes and miracle results promised around this time of year.

We are going to look at four different parameters:

  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Sound Nervous System 
  • Diet/Nutrition

Let’s start things off with looking at the impact stress has on a Sound Nervous System.

Healing, Physiology and The Stress Connection

In the early part of the last century, there was a famous medical doctor named Hans Selye. As a young doctor in school and early practice, he was struck by how many disease states were difficult to identify until the later stages of the disease.

Essentially, he found the body's response to most illnesses was fundamentally the same and it wasn't until late in its progression that the body manifested unique, identifiable signs.


In a sense, doctors knew you were sick, but weren’t sure why! This led him to go on and research this topic for many years, and, ultimately, Dr. Selye was one of the pioneers of the impact stress (both positive and negative) has on our health. One of his greatest contributions was the concept of the General Adaptation Syndrome,or G.A.S.

One of the key points of the G.A.S. is our bodies go through stages when they encounter a stressor (illness, death of a loved one, birth of a baby, etc.; Selye didn’t define stress as positive or negative).

Most people have an acute reaction to stress: elevated heart rate, lowered immune response, anxiety, fatigue, aches and pains, maybe catching a cold. If the stressor is short-lived, then the body pretty much recovers as expected.

However, if the stressor is not removed, something very interesting begins to happen. For a period of time (even months), the individual can show signs of recovery and appear to be handling things remarkably well. What is really happening under “the hood” though is they are living off of their stress hormones.

Stress hormones are really made for short bouts of insult and then they need a recovery period to replenish. If the individual never goes into a recovery period, they “burn out” the system. When you burn out the system, you can have a hard crash, resulting in disease states like cancer, ulcers, autoimmune diseases, etc. There is a great review of the G.A.S. in Medical News Today that is well worth the read.

Go Hug A Tree

So, if chronic stress literally “burns out” our nervous system and makes us sick, how do we deal with things like the death of a loved one, the birth of a baby or the loss of a job?

Good Question!


The strain of these events can often impact us well into the future, and, in some cases, our lives will never be the same again. 

Part of the reason I came out to Denver was to go with my dad to his first visit with a new chiropractor, Dr. Jenna. She was a delightful young doctor. She spent a lot of time with my dad getting a full history, part of which included the impact the loss of my brother (his son) and my uncle (his brother) had on his life and health. She proceeded to do a very thorough evaluation of his spine and then gave him an excellent adjustment. At the end of our time, with my dad sitting on a chair and she on the adjusting table, she said “Now, what are we going to do about your stress?” She hadn’t forgotten the conversation earlier and didn’t pass over the impact it could be having on my dad’s health… and, more importantly, she called him to take accountability!

I was very impressed (and a little ashamed at this young doctor addressing things I too easily pass over). My dad talked about a few things he was doing (a Williams family trait: we don’t deal with some of the hard stuff, we just keep soldiering on). Dr. Jenna acknowledged those efforts and, at that point, encouraged my dad to get outside, walk around barefoot (this wasn’t lost on me, as I looked out the window at the snow falling at a rapid rate), and get in contact with nature.

Then she said, “You know… hug a tree!”


Dr. J, you were doing so well! Don’t ruin it!

Now my dad is pretty open minded about a lot (more so than me), but he was ROTC, active duty for six months and in the reserves for awhile. But, outside of a big beard and a gold chain in the 70’s, I wouldn’t have pegged him as the Tree Hugger Type. But, you know what? As I sat there and watched, he nodded… he got it! He recognized his system had been tied up pretty good and he needed to let it unwind in order for his system to take a step toward healing. Good job, Dad, and good job, Dr. Jenna!

Al and Number Two of Four Sons

It was really good to see my dad and catch up with my brothers, family and friends. In fact, it took my stress physiology down a few notches! The visit with my dad to the chiropractor reminded me that healing really is an inside job. We can’t avoid stress in life, but we can counteract and offload it along the way. That starts with recognizing the relationship between stress, and our health and nervous system. Next week, we will cover some ways to offload stress on a regular basis!

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

Yeah... Not really. Welcome to 2019, everyone! I have been racking my brain all week on what I was going to cover in this week's blog. Last year, we covered the Paleo Approach to health. You can find that and a host of other useful information (if I do say so myself) on our blog.

At first, I thought I should jump on board the media wagon and do a series on motivation, weight loss, exercise, super foods, detox diets, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about that stuff as much as the next guy! But, like most of you, I either don't stay with it long enough to see results, or find it isn't all as cracked up to do or be as advertised. So, as much as I would like to bring you the next big thing in health and wellness, I can't. But I don't think anyone else can either!

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Instead of ripping off the latest headlines that over-promise and under-deliver, we are going to dive into a New Year's Health Series with a practical framework that is realistic and scientifically sound.

I know that doesn’t sound really exciting, so, to make it sound just a little bit sexier, I am going to call it:

Health Secrets from the Vault

 

Each week, over the next few months, I will drop a

SECRET FROM THE VAULT!
 

We will rotate through the four topics I have found over the last 25 years that form a solid foundation for health, optimal physical function, and minimal body pain. We will cover supportive science, as well as practical ideas on how to implement each one.

How About A Hint?

These are the four topics we will be going through:

  • Rest 
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Sound Nervous System

At first glance, these don’t sound very tantalizing or profound. They don’t look like they are going to provide any short cuts or dramatic overnight results either, do they? Not only that, but they sound like they might also take a little effort and discipline.

Sometimes You Have To Wash Off The Dog Before She Can Come In The House!

This is our dog, Maisey. If you have been getting this newsletter for awhile, you have seen her wander through the pages from time to time. She is an awesome dog: she catches the Frisbee, walks without a leash, doesn’t bark much, and comes when called. She does, however, have a few bad habits. One of them is rolling in stinky stuff. You don’t always know what it is, but you always know you need to get it off, if she is going to come inside! That’s the way getting and staying healthy works:

Sometimes it is messy, sometimes it takes work, sometimes it is inconvenient… but, in the long run, IT IS WORTH IT!


Stay with us over the next few months – I think you’ll find it’s worth it on many levels. You may not lose 100 pounds or add 100 years to your life, but I’ll bet you’ll feel better and experience more of what life has to offer when you are healthy!

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
February 26, 2018
Category: Paleo

All Right, Team, Let's Pull This Thing Together!

Over the last month, we have covered a lot of ground. We have been working our way through the Paleo Lifestyle Approach and, more specifically, how it looks at eating. Let's sum it up!

First, the Overarching Principles:

  • Eat real, whole food, not processed products
  • Eat local, seasonal food
  • Eat animal protein that was raised according to their species needs; ie, not living in restrictive pens or forced to eat drug infused inappropriate foods
  • Eat organic food grown in a nutrient rich soil

Next, the Food Pyramid:

Nuts 
&
Seeds
Fruit
FATS
Meat and Fish
V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E-S

Some Additional Suggestions:
  1. Pick one thing from each of the lists above (Overarching Principles of Eating, Paleo Pyramid) to start working on.
  2. Don’t go for the jugular! For instance, if you aren't really that invested in your breakfast cereal, consider changing it out for free range scrambled eggs (you can get free range chicken eggs at Walmart).
  3. Don’t try to make your spouse or kids comply. It just won’t end well, it really won’t. Pick a meal that you usually eat by yourself. For example – lunch is usually safe. If you don’t eat enough vegetables, make a point to start having at least one fresh vegetable with lunch most days.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up! Remember the 85/15 rule: it doesn’t have to be spot on all the time, just the majority of it. If you are one of those people who start out having to do the things, all or nothing, you are going to have to plan to fail part of the time. Life is hardly, if ever, an all-or-nothing event. You are in it for the long haul!

A Quick Check Sheet to Keep on the Fridge!

Some people just want the facts. The facts are that food can really cause a lot of health problems. The facts are that most of what we eat in the standard American diet is not very healthy and is, in fact, often times toxic. The fact is that the traditional food pyramid is wrong, at least, if you want to avoid diabetes, arthritis, possibly Alzheimer's (any diseases that are inflammatory based). The facts are that a healthy diet is simple. The facts are that it takes discipline, especially in the beginning!

EAT THIS                                                                              NOT THAT              

 

Fresh or lightly steamed vegetables (organic, if you can)

Heavily cooked vegetables in sauce (cheese, etc.)

Fresh fruit; no-sugar fruit sauce (organic, if you can)

Canned fruit, jams, fruit wraps

Fish, chicken, beef, pork (organic/grass-fed, if you can): baked or grilled

Fried or battered meat, lunch meat, hot dogs, Slim Jim's, etc., fast food

Water

Pop, fruit juice, alcohol

Caffeine-free herbal tea

Caffeine drinks

Raw nuts and seeds, nut butter

Salted nuts, peanut butter

Gluten-free "baked products," oats, rice and gluten-free "baked products" (sparingly)

Wheat and wheat products (cereal, crackers, chips, cookies, cakes, pies)

Butter, spices, fresh salsa, wine marinades

Margarine, cheese, gravy, BBQ sauces, bottled marinades

Flax meal, ground chia seed

Pre-packed store-bought baked products with a shelf life

Free-range/omega-enriched eggs

Caged white eggs

Olive oil, coconut oil

Vegetable shortening

Dark chocolate

Candy (especially brightly colored)

 

*Items in bold represent the worst of the worst.

Download Check Sheet

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have been enjoying bringing it to you! We have been going through material found, in large part, in the special addition of Paleo Magazine called "Go Paleo: The Step-By-Step Guide." The outline we are using is:

  1. Eating
  2. Sleeping
  3. Unplugging
  4. Connecting with others
  5. Sunlight
  6. Movement and Play

Next week, we will start on Sleeping.  

Remember, you don't have to make it all work in one day, pick a piece at a time and see how it goes!

Yours in Health,

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
February 20, 2018
Category: Paleo

High Carb? Low Carb? No Carb? Help!

If you are just joining us, we are working our way through some material on the Paleo Lifestyle. You can check out some of the previous posts here. As you may recall, the Paleo Movement started out primarily as an approach to eating more like humans have historically (and potentially pre-historically) than how we have been eating over the last hundred years or so. Recently, the Paleo Movement has also incorporated exercise, sleep, electronics, and even social interactions. Currently, we are finishing up the section on food. Today, we are going to be covering carbohydrates. Before we talk about the Paleo approach to carbohydrates, let's take a minute and talk about exactly what a carbohydrate is!

What is a Carbohydrate?

While a protein can be used for energy production in the human body, it is not very efficient and way more important as a building block. Fat is a highly efficient form of energy, but takes a little while to get burning. Fat also has some very important roles in hormone and cell production. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are an energy source that burns fast and hot! They don't take much to get going, but they burn out quick. Carbohydrates also convert to fat in the body, if they are eaten in greater amounts than the body needs.

Sources of dietary carbohydrates include

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Legumes (Beans)

Carbohydrates in our diet can be either refined or unrefined. Refined refers to how much of the "wrapping" around the carbohydrate has been removed. For instance, if you took an orange and squeezed it for the juice, a high percentage of what you got would actually be pure carbohydrate. If you took that same orange and ate the whole thing, you would get the same amount of juice, plus a lot of fiber.

When You Consume Too Many Carbohydrates in Your Diet

The problem with consuming too many carbohydrates in your diet (and refined carbohydrates, for sure) can be summed up in two words: Insulin Resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas to help get carbohydrates into cells and to help convert excess carbohydrates into stored fat. If a diet is too high in carbohydrates (especially refined ones), then the insulin system works overtime. Do this for too long and it starts to become less efficient, and it will eventually stop working altogether, which results in Type II Diabetes! Diabetes itself is associated with a variety of health issues, including heart disease, eye issues, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

What Do Paleos Do?

The "Go Paleo: Step-By-Step Guide that we have been following from Paleo Magazine emphasizes getting the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables, then more sparingly from fruit, as it has a higher concentration of sugar (fructose).

It is recommend to stay away from grains and legumes. Grains have several issues: they are higher in carbohydrate compared to fruits and vegetables and, therefore, can raise your blood sugar more quickly. In addition, the primary grain we use in the US is wheat. Wheat has a protein in it called gluten. Gluten can have negative effects on both the gut and nerve system in a lot of people. Legumes (beans) are composed of a material that requires a specific enzyme to break it down for digestion. Most people don't have that enzyme, hence that famous song: "Beans, beans the magical fruit..."

The Paleo approach emphasizes getting your carbohydrates first from eating a lot of dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach), then incorporating vegetables and fruit from a variety of colors. Each color can add different nutrients. It is recommended to limit starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn, as they have a high percentage of carbohydrate to weight.

What Do You Do, Doc?

Like I have said in previous posts, I try hard to follow the 85/15 rule: Eat right at least 85% of the time and don't worry the other 15%!

Here is what I typically do:

  • Most days, we try not to have any carbohydrates (fruit or vegetable) prior to lunch time. We do this by having either bacon, eggs and coffee, or turmeric tea with coconut cream for breakfast. Then, we try not to eat before noon. This gives the insulin system a long break from bedtime till lunchtime (for us, about 12-13 hours).
  • For lunch, I try to have a salad of salmon, carrots, celery, spinach, flax meal, and avocado, along with an apple and pear, and some nuts and M&M's for dessert.
  • Most dinners are a vegetable and meat, but we do eat chili, burritos, and hamburger rolls with gluten-free flour (dinner would be our highest concentration of carbohydrates).
  • When we bake, it is with 1/3 gluten-free flour, 1/3 almond flour and 1/3 flax/chia mix. The almond flour and flax/chia mix are actually very high in fat and low in carbohydrates. We usually make banana bread and M&M cookies this way, minus half the recommended sugar.
  • Our biggest indulgence are frappuccinos (this probably makes up most of the 15%)!
  • We rarely buy chips, crackers, or cereal.
  • You will see us at restaurants, mostly Chipotle and McAllisters, and that is another place we cheat a little.
  • Pop is rare; carbonated flavored water is the norm.

Again, 85/15 is the goal.

I hope this gives you a little better an understanding of how carbohydrates work and why it is important to chose them carefully. Remember, you don't have to be perfect or finish first to have a successful race, but it is a good idea to be heading in the right direction!

Next week, we will wrap up the eating portion of this series with a Quick Tips and Help Sheet!

Yours in Health,

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana