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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
 

By Dr. Doug Williams
February 12, 2018
Category: Paleo

I hope you have been enjoying our series on the Paleo Lifestyle. We are in the middle of the Paleo approach to food. Last week, we reviewed some basics on protein, which you can read here, in case you missed it.

This week, we are going to tackle one of the more confusing and contradictory topics so far: dietary fat. When we hear the word fat, it is usually in a negative context: "I feel fat," or "That food is high in fat," or "That fat is bad for you." While you may "feel fat" and some "fat is bad for you" food that "is high in fat" is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we need fat to survive!

All Your Cell Membranes are Made of Fat

Fat is a great source of fuel and is used extensively in making all of the hormones that run our body. It surrounds and insulates our nerve system, protecting it and keeping it from short-circuiting. Fat also protects our vital organs from injury. If you didn't have fat in your body, you couldn't survive.

Every tissue and organ in your body is made up of cells. Every cell has a wall called a cell membrane, which are like the gate keepers for the cell: they let good things in and keep nasty stuff out. The primary building block of the cell membrane and, subsequently, your whole body is FAT!

But, not all fat is created equal. Some types of fat are very fluid and allow for easy transfer back and forth across a cell membrane; others are not so fluid and slow down, and can even stop the transfer of important items in and out of cells.

The least fluid fat and the worst offender is Trans Fat. Trans fat is actually an artificial fat, found in margarine and shortening, and can be found in anything with a shelf life (ie, cookies, crackers, chips, baked goods etc). Trans fat is very bad for cell membrane fluidity and, therefore, bad for you! Don't eat it!

The next fat in the fluidity scale would be Saturated Fat. Saturated fat is found primarily in animal and dairy products. Over the years, trans fat has been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease. This thought has been coming out of heathcare for decades, but recent studies indicate it may not be true. An interesting article from Medical News Today was one of several I found indicating that reducing saturated fat in the diet did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular or stroke events.

The best fat in terms of fluidity is Unsaturated Fat. Unsaturated fat comes from plants, such as olives, nuts and seeds, as well as cold water fish and wild game. This fat is usually liquid at room temperature. In contrast to trans fat (which is harmful), saturated fat (which may be neutral), unsaturated fat may be protective in nature, relative to heart disease and its related disorders. A 2017 Harvard Health Publishing Article does an excellent job of summarizing the different types of fats and the potential health benefits of unsaturated fat.

A Closer Look at Unsaturated Fat

Just like proteins are made up of smaller particles called amino acids, fat is made up of fatty acids. Also like proteins, there are essential fatty acids and non-essential fatty acids. Non-essential fatty acids are ones the body can put together on its own and essential fatty acids have to come from a food source.

Two essential fatty acid groups that have been in the press a lot lately are Omega 6's and Omega 3's., which are both found in unsaturated fat. Sources of Omega 6's include grain (corn, wheat, etc), nuts, seeds and vegetable oil. Sources of Omega 3's are fish (cold water, deep caught fish, fish and krill oil) and wild caught game.     

We need both for healthy cells, but there is an important caveat: the ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's should be in the neighborhood of 1:1. Today, the ratio has been estimated as high as 1:25 (WAY TOO MUCH OMEGA 6'S). Dr. Mercola notes research that shows an increase in the following heath issues as the ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's increases: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Macular Degeneration, Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, Type II Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psychiatric Disorders, Cancer, Asthma, Autoimmune Diseases and others.

Doc, Bring It In for a Landing!

I told you at the beginning that fat was one of the more confusing and contradictory topics! But they are important. Here is the take away:

  • Far from being bad for you, fat is vital to health.
  • Certain fat is better than others, primarily based on how well they allow particles to pass through cell membranes.
  • The worst kind of fat is trans fat.
  • Saturated fat may not be as bad as once thought.
  • Unsaturated fat may improve your health.
  • Omega 3 fats are the best.

 Some Practical Steps:

  1. Incorporate cold water, wild caught fish (salmon) and/or wild game Into your diet.
  2. Start taking a fish oil or krill oil supplement.
  3. Look for Omega-enriched eggs and grass-fed beef.
  4. Cook with olive oil and coconut oil on medium heat.
  5. Use butter instead of margarine.
  6. Don't eat deep fried, fatty foods.
  7. Don't eat things with a long shelf life (cookies, chips, etc).

Until next time, eat healthy and live well!

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