What Makes Grass-Fed Butter Better?

butter on bread

 

As a whole North Americans have become woefully deficient in fat soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Our modern day diet is clearly the #1 reason.

We aren’t designed to thrive on low-fat, fat-free, white meat, lean meat only diets! We NEED fat! That’s where these critical fat soluble vitamins naturally come from.

Fat soluble vitamins play critical roles in our health, including cell membrane integrity, cognitive function, hormonal balance, reproductive health, and so much more.

Butterfat is likely America’s best source of the critical fat-soluble vitamins since we don’t consume large amounts of other foods that have abundant fat-soluble vitamins, like organ meats, blubber of sea animals, fish eggs, and shellfish. (Eggs and fish are also great sources of fat-soluble vitamins.)

In fact, vitamin A is more easily absorbed and utilized from butter than from other sources.

Real butter added to vegetables and spread on traditionally prepared bread, and real cream added to sauces and soups, ensures the proper assimilation of the minerals and water-soluble vitamins in vegetables, grains and meat.

When you consume the “right” type of butter, it’s more than “acceptable” in the diet… it’s recommended.

Hold onto your happy pants a minute…

Not just ANY butter will do. Not ALL butter is highly “recommended”.

Butter is essentially pure animal fat with only a smidgen of dairy proteins and sugars. As with all other animal-based foods, the nutritional quality of the food in question directly depends on the quality of the animal’s diet.

So, what’s the superior choice for butter? Grass-Fed, hands down.

 

What makes grass-fed butter so great?

1. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Content

CLA is a actually a trans-fat… but, it’s a good, naturally occurring one, not the synthetic, toxic sort we’re more familiar with. CLA isn’t found in man-made butter knock-offs, like margarine – it’s produced in the unique digestive systems of cows (and other ruminants) that munch grass.

CLA has been linked to reduced belly fat and greater fat burning,  improved metabolism, suppression of tumors, improved blood pressure and cholesterol, improved insulin resistance, superior heart health, reduced inflammation, decreased risk of cancer, and more.

This is true of meat and other dairy products from grass-fed sources, too.  As far as the friendly dairy cow is concerned, natural pasture feeding leads to CLA levels that are 3-5 times higher than that of grain-fed cows.

No contest.

 

2. Fatty Acid Content

Even though butter is predominantly comprised of saturated fats, we still need to consider the polyunsaturated fat content, since this is where we can get into trouble with all fats and oils.

Butter is approximately 2/3 saturated fat, just under 1/3 monounsaturated fat, and the rest is polyunsaturated. So, we’re not talking about a huge amount… but it adds up… especially if you’re going out of your way to ADD butter to your diet for health reasons now!

Cows raised on pasture greens produce milk with a balanced omega 6 to omega 3 ratio – typically, 1:1. Grain-fed cows produce milk that is heavy on the omega 6 content. You may recall how important it is to strive for a balanced ratio of omega 6:omega 3 essential fatty acids. When omega 6 consumption climbs too high (out of balance with omega 3), a myriad of health problems follows. We need these fats, but we need them in balance. Grass-fed butter provides this critical healthy, balanced ratio.

 

3. Vitamin Content

If you’ve ever seen real, grass-fed butter, you know that its color is different than “regular” grain-fed butter which is a bland white-ish color. Grass-fed butter is a deep yellow, sometimes even a bit on the orange side. This is because it contains more carotene (from the cows eating fresh vegetation) and vitamin A.

Another biggie in grass-fed butter is the vitamin K2. It’s another one with a long list of benefits – it helps the body utilize calcium correctly and efficiently, as well as reduce (and prevent) arterial plaque, to name a couple.

Only cows eating green grasses produce butter rich in vitamin K2. Those unique digestive systems of cows make a very important conversion. Fermentation in the cow’s stomach turns vitamin K1 (from leafy greens like grasses, spinach, kale, etc.) into K2 which ends up in the dairy fat.

(There’s not much vitamin K1 in the corn that’s so commonly fed to cattle, by the way.)

Grass-fed butter also has higher content of vitamin D, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

 

4. The Flavor Factor

Oh. My. Goodness.

If you’re not familiar with the flavor of grass-fed butter… you’re in for a delicious treat! Try a side-by-side taste test with grain-fed butter. There’s just no comparison.

Grass-fed butter is creamy, smooth and rich. Did I mention that this is actually GOOD for you?!

 

Butter vs. Vegetable Oils

So, while grass-fed butter is clearly superior to grain-fed butter, grain-fed is still a better option than conventional cooking oils and fats, like vegetable oils and margarine. Even though it doesn’t have nearly the same benefits as grass-fed, at least the saturated fats in grain-fed butter are stable and, therefore, safer for cooking. This is not true of the unstable fats in most vegetable oils that turn rancid and toxic when heated.

 

Buying Butter

If the label doesn’t say it’s from grass-fed or pastured cows, it’s not.

If you have the choice between “organic” and “grass-fed”, choose grass-fed butter. Organic from grain-fed sources falls short of the many benefits of grass-fed.

Grass-fed butter is actually pretty easy to find, even in mainstream grocery stores now. It costs a bit more than the nutritionally-deficient options, but you’re paying for quality.

Also, if you don’t have the resources to regularly purchase grass-fed meats, paying a bit more for grass-fed butter is a good way to make up some of this ground.

The most common brand of grass-fed butter that I tend to see in various stores is Kerrygold. You can get it salted or unsalted (the type we use in our “Bulletproof Coffee” each morning), although the salted is most commonly found on store shelves… even at Costco. Salted comes in gold foil and unsalted comes in silver foil.

If you buy it in bulk, you can freeze the extra until you’re ready to use it.

There are a few other brands I’ve seen out there, too. Kalona Super Natural, Organic Valley (not their regular organic, but the seasonal one they produce that comes in a green foil package), and Anchor (you can order online). You can also check your farmers’ market and chat it up with the actual farmer to see what the cows’ diets are really like.

 

Grass-fed butter is a healthy staple in our family’s diet. I cook with it, add it to vegetables, add it to coffee, … and lick it off the spoon! I know folks that actually “snack on” grass-fed butter. I’m not quite there… yet!

Do NOT forget to feed this stuff to your kids! The healthy fats in butter are critical for optimal brain function. What a great way to start their day, too!

 

 

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is an expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline. Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

Drug Commercials (Part 3): Numbness, The New Normal

depressed

 

In part one and part two of this mini-series on Drug Commercials, I ended with one of the lessons we’re trying to instill in our children is that we do not need chemicals in order to live a normal, healthy, happy life.

Also, real life, normal life, doesn’t always feel perfect and symptom-free. I do not believe we are designed to live our lives in a state of numbness!

That’s sure not the message we get if we watch any television or listen to the radio or read the newspaper or flip through any magazines or surf the internet or see any billboards…

The message is “Have a symptom? Your life’s not picture-perfect? Take a drug.

It breaks my heart particularly when I see this mindset in teenagers and young 20-somethings in our practice. They’re going through massive social and emotional changes and growth (normal), and yet so many have been convinced that they’d feel better – more “normal” – if they took drugs during this process.

No, wait… I thought we told our young people to “Just Say No To Drugs”… or that they’re in “Drug-Free School Zones”.

(Oh, right. That’s just for the pushers who don’t have prescription pads. We should respectfully call the prescribed drugs “medicine”, right? OK. That makes it all better.)

What a mixed up message.

If you’re in pain, big or small = take drugs.

If your body is expressing symptoms (the full expression of healthy function) in the form of a runny nose or sneezing or coughing = take drugs.

If your body is trying to burn off the cause of the aforementioned symptoms in the form of a fever = take drugs.

If you have a headache = take drugs.

If you have an earache = take drugs.

If you need to shed some excess weight = take drugs.

If you want to eat toxic food but it gives you heartburn = take drugs before you eat it.

If you have trouble sleeping = take drugs.

If you have trouble waking up and feeling energized = take drugs.

If any of your body parts aren’t functioning normally or are expressing symptoms = take drugs.

If you have trouble with sexual function = take drugs.

If you don’t want to get pregnant = take drugs.

If your legs are restless = take drugs.

If you can’t sit still and pay attention = take drugs.

If you’re tired because you work the 3rd shift = take drugs.

If you can’t stop smoking, but want to = take drugs.

If you aren’t comfortable in social settings = take drugs.

If you feel sad, mad, worried, stressed or anxious = take drugs.

If you feel anything at all = take drugs.

If you have a diagnosed dis-ease = take drugs.

If you’ve been given the “clean bill of health” = keep taking drugs… just to be “safe”.

If you are sick = take drugs.

If you’re addicted to drugs and need help stopping = take drugs.

If you are healthy, happy and breathing = take drugs… because I’m sure you need ‘em for SOMEthing!

 

(Yes, I’m being facetious with some of these… but only a tiny bit.)

“Now hold on!”, some of you are saying…

I KNOW there are temporary “solutions” in some of these measures. I was not born yesterday. I am not completely oblivious.

There’s really no need to argue with me about how this drug or that drug helped you or someone you know. I get it. I was very appreciative of the drug intervention given to my mom at the very end stage of her life ~ I was grateful for the “numbing” in a circumstance like that… where healing, restoration and recovery were no longer options.

I am appreciative of the potential benefits of drug intervention for life-saving endeavors, and in crisis & emergency care, or short-term use.

I am very appreciative of the relief drugs can provide on many levels to the person ‘afflicted’ AND to their loved ones.

But, REALLY?!

What I’m talking about here is clearly not the same. We’ve gone TOO far.

Somehow, we’ve created a culture that jumps ahead to drug-intervention without spending the necessary time in lifestyle-intervention! (I personally believe this is pure marketing genius!)

Health can be defined as homeostatic cell function. Drugs to do not improve this. Oh sure, they alter cell function, all right… but improve homeostatic cell function? No. If that ever happens… sign me up!

So, if drugs do not restore health, what’s our goal… our desired outcome… if we choose to take them? I think we better know that going in.

And, knowing the insane types of side effects and negative consequences we’re seeing in our current drug line-up, for safety’s sake shouldn’t their use should be short term?!

If utilizing drug intervention, then there’s got to be:

1) A deliberate plan of action to restore health and function simultaneously… to correct (or at least improve) the dysfunction;

2) An EXIT strategy! We can’t “chronically” take drugs and expect healthy function to result!

It’s all a very strange message we’re being sent. Some would call it corrupt.

Is this what we want our kids growing up believing? That they can’t possibly live a normal, healthy, happy life without ongoing chemical intervention?

I don’t want my kids thinking that every time they have a cold, or a stomach ache, or a fever that they must “need” drugs. I want them to understand that those are SIGNALS… the God-given innate intelligence of the body is sending a clear message.

I especially don’t want them to grow up thinking that experiencing a range of emotions is abnormal and requires drugging. I’d rather them learn:

  • how to properly fuel their bodies, hearts, minds and spirits
  • how to avoid or limit the things are toxic and act like poisons to their bodies and minds
  • AND learn how to respond in the “best way” possible to all the things that happen around them.

Real life is full of ups and downs… smooth sailin’ as well as some pretty stormy (rotten, stinky, challenging, maybe even horrible, devastating and dark) times. I call that normal. I call that part of the deal.

I believe we’re equipped to manage and flourish without drugs.

Once again, yes… I know there are “extreme” cases. However, I think we need to be very careful with casually re-defining what constitutes an “extreme” case. Speaking both clinically and personally, I don’t believe that the masses are suffering from anything “extreme”.

Except desensitization.

We’re buying the message that we must need drugs in order to get through the day… to get through the challenges… to get through the symptoms.

As far as I can tell, the only way to “remove darkness” for good is to ADD MORE LIGHT.

I won’t be making “drug decisions” for our kids once they’ve reached a certain age, but I pray they learn enough in their childhood to keep their faith in the Master Design of their bodies and minds… and their God-given right to feel feelings… and their God-given ability to heal and repair. I also pray they learn how dangerous it can be to interfere with this design.

***

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com and http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

Tips for Decreasing Your Toxic Exposure

toxic air

 

I talk about toxicity here quite a bit. For good reason.

When we’re chronically exposed to toxicity, whether through external or internal sources (like chronic stress or sleep deprivation), this can cause inflammation at the level of the cells. Inflammation is one of the most significant root causes of all chronic illness.

Toxicity and inflammation interrupt healthy hormonal communication at the cell membrane, potentially causing hormonal resistance; they block key nutrients from getting into the cell, and accumulated toxins & by-products from exiting the cell; they disrupt our energy production within the cell; and they can change the expression of our genes from healthy to “sick”.

Inflammation and toxicity are nothing to shrug off.

Now, there’s plenty of toxic exposure out there that we can’t do much about. Let’s not fret about that for the moment. Instead, let’s focus on some of the major sources of toxicity that we can control… and minimize.

1. Food – No surprise here. Food has become a major, chronic source of toxicity as we move from “real” foods grown naturally, to franken-foods, factory foods, and foods loaded with drugs and chemicals.

What can you do?

  • Choose more organic and “clean” foods when you can. The first foods to focus on cleaning up are: meat, eggs, dairy, and grains. Choose foods from free-range, pastured livestock that is as drug-free as possible.
  • Organic vegetables and fruit are ideal, especially in the case of some the classically more toxic choices, like strawberries and apples. If you can’t get organic for whatever reason, then clean your produce very well with a vinegar/hydrogen peroxide (food-grade) rinse, or a pre-made produce wash. Google it.
  • Choose wild fish from deep, cold waters. Minimize your consumption of large fish that tend to be higher in mercury contamination, like tuna and swordfish.
  • Obviously, eat more “real” foods and reduce your intake of foods made with artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners.

2. Water – Our modern day water supply has many toxins that can contribute to our toxic load. No, the solution is not to drink pop, energy drinks, coffee, or alcohol instead!

  • Filter your tap water. Try a reverse osmosis filter or a multi-stage carbon filter.
  • Use glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers for storage or transport… or wherever you’re drinking water.
  • Avoid water from soft plastic containers – this is the type of plastic known to leach into the water and seriously mess with our hormonal function. Don’t drink from these plastic water bottles if they’ve been left in the heat.
  • Along the same lines, if you’re the sporty type, minimize the use of “camel-back” type plastic water containers.
  • Yes, you still need to drink plenty of water each day. 6-8 glasses is still the general recommendation.
  • Get yourself a filter for your shower (or bath, if you’re the soaking type). Look for the type that specifically says it limits chlorinated hydrocarbons. Not all filters do.

 

 


3. Personal Care, Skin Care & Cosmetics

What we put on our skin (and expose our skin to) gets absorbed into our bloodstream and circulated throughout the body. It’s an enormous vehicle for toxicity. It’s also easy to significantly upgrade our choices here.

  • Use “low-toxin” make-up, lotions, and creams. Avoid products with: parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, alcohol, and ‘fragrance’. Generally, a good starting point is to shop for these types of products in a health store where your options will be less-toxic across the board.
  • A super-easy, super-healthy alternative for slathering on toxic body lotion that’s leaching into your bloodstream each day is to use pure coconut oil. Sure, you might have to wait a few minutes to get dressed, or wipe off some of the excess, but that’s nuthin’ compared to the potential damage caused by conventional body care products. Another nice, healthy option is almond oil.
  • Don’t forget to upgrade your sunscreen. Applying toxic sludge to your body, then going out into the sun, bakes it right into you. Choose less toxic sunscreen.
  • Look for shampoo, conditioner, hair color, mousse, gel, etc., that is made without sodium lauryl sulfate, paraben, phthalate and other petrochemicals, as well as alcohol. There is a growing market for salons and spas that use these types of products now.
  • Avoid hair spray, especially the aerosol type. If you desperately need some control in the locks department, again, purchase the type made without all the petrochemicals.
  • Avoid the use of synthetic perfumes and all the synthetically scented body care and hair care products. Sheesh… do we constantly need to be scented and glittered?
  • Speaking of smelling, you are supposed to sweat, people! “Anti-perspirants” block critical detoxification pathways AND usher in toxins like aluminum, right into the axillary lymphatic area no less! Who’s brain-child was this?! I get it. We don’t want to stink, and we don’t want those dreaded underarm circles. Try a deodorant crystal or a non-toxic deodorant stick instead. Some folks even swear by applying dampened baking soda (or washing with it), then wiping off the excess before dressing.
  • “Mainstream” feminine hygiene products are another source of toxicity. Consider upgrading to less-toxic brands made with organic ingredients.
  • Cool it with the anti-bacterial soaps, already! Where did the over-use of antibiotics get us? Were you not paying attention?? We need bacteria… we need an exposure to germs. This is normal! Killing them ALL off is dangerous. Germs are not the bad guy – an inner terrain that is unhealthy is the problem. Address the cause. (Dismounting the soapbox now.)

 


4. Household, Lawn & Garden Products

The things we use to “take care of” our home and property are most likely some of the most toxic products we regularly come into contact with. We can simplify here, as well as detoxify.

  • Instead of purchasing 52 different cleaners that we’re told we need for all our cleaning jobs, try your own cleaning products made from simple combinations of inexpensive ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Google it.
  • If you don’t want to make your own, then purchase less-toxic cleaners. Again, it’s a growing market so you have several choices now.
  • Anywhere you’re using toxic cleaners and high temperatures combined is a good place to detoxify. For example, dishwasher detergent. Conventional detergents are loaded with chloride and other toxic chemicals – add the hot water and the closed environment and you’ve got a chemical storm happening in there… being absorbed by the dishes you eat from.
  • It’s a similar story with laundry detergent and fabric softeners. You can make or purchase less toxic types that get the job done without harming you or the environment. Also, when purchasing brand new clothes, wash before wearing – several times, if the clothing has fire retardant in it.
  • Air fresheners and fabric sprays are another unnecessary source of ongoing toxicity. Air doesn’t need perfume sprayed or spritzed into it! If you desire some type of scent, try natural sources like essential oils or simmer some citrus peels, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, etc. Try opening your windows if you’re looking for that “fresh air” scent. ; )
  • Consider this, if you feel the need to keep your pet away from surfaces you’ve just cleaned because of the chemicals… it’s probably not a good idea for humans to be exposed either!
  • This is true in the outdoors, too. Avoid spraying pesticides or herbicides in or around your home. Not every weed must be annihilated with chemical warfare! Not every lawn in America was necessarily destined to be the exact shade of (Monsanto) green without a trace of any other plant growth in it! Not every tomato in your garden must appear perfect and enormous… nor must every single flower in your garden be flawless! It hurts, I know. It hurts worse to treat chronic illness caused by chronic toxicity.

5. Plastics

The large-scale use of plastics has been linked to the disruption of hormonal function in our bodies. Hormones are the chemical messengers that are involved in virtually every physiological, mental and emotional function in our bodies. Not a good idea to mess with these.

  • Avoid plastic bottles and containers with the 3, 6 and 7 on the bottom. These are not your winning lottery numbers. They are the most likely to leach harmful plastics into the contents of they contain.
  • Purchase and store your foods and liquids in glass containers when possible.
  • Do not use plastic in a microwave! (Really, I wish you wouldn’t use a microwave at all. It’s another chronic source of toxicity.)
  • Minimize the use of plastic wraps and plastic food bags. I know. It’s tough. But, you have other options for food storage that are safer.
  • You’re better off hand-washing your plastics rather than putting them into high-heat dishwashers. Don’t shoot the messenger.

 


6. Dental Care

  • The #1 biggie to avoid is mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury is a neurotoxin. Find a dentist who is properly trained to provide non-toxic options AND knows the proper removal protocol for mercury fillings.
  • Re-consider root canals. Ask a holistic dentist for his/her opinion first.
  • Switch to a non-fluoride toothpaste. Cleaning with just baking soda and water is an option.

7. Drugs & Vaccines

  • If what you’re taking, prescribed or over-the-counter, is not directly responsible for keeping you alive, then have a chat with your prescribing doc(s) to determine the exit strategy. Chronic use of drugs is a chronic source of chemical toxicity. Get the the right doc who can help you find the root cause of your health challenge, then work on fixing it rather than performing an ongoing chemistry experiment in your body.
  • Save the drugs for life-saving endeavors, emergencies, and crisis care.
  • Take a look at the ingredients in any given vaccine. Then, find a study that proves the safety and efficacy of vaccines. (I’ll wait.) OK, now, I urge you to reconsider this choice. Vaccines are a frightening source of toxicity… and for what? No “hysteria” or “fear tactics” here. None needed. Just evidence-based science.

8. Home & Office

  • Use an air filter, like a HEPA filter with a charcoal filter, to continuously clean your air.
  • If you’re building or re-modelling, let carpets, furniture, and paint “off gas”. (Google it for directions.) You can do this with a new car, too.
  • Consider purchasing used furniture that has already had the chance to off gas.
  • Use only low-VOC or no-VOC products, like paints and floor covering.
  • Minimize the use of new, synthetic (toxic) carpets in your home. Opt for real wood or natural fiber carpets when possible.
  • Change the filter on your furnace every season. Don’t forget to clean your air ducts.
  • Remove your shoes and leave them at the door to minimize various petrochemicals, pesticides, and a gazillion other toxins being walked through your home.

 

9. Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

This is a field of study causing growing concern, for good reason. We are inundated with these invisible fields from cell phones and towers, televisions, computers and tablets, clock radios, microwave ovens, electrical wires, and a gazillion other sources. I’ll write more about this soon.

  • For now, minimize the amount of time you have your cell phone pressed right up to your head. Use a hands-free option. Better yet, contact me to find out about a little device you can place directly on your cell phone (as well as your computers and tablets) to dramatically reduce the effects of this toxicity.
  • If you still have one, use your land-line phone anytime you can.
  • Get that digital clock away from your head while you’re in bed!
  • Don’t use electric blankets, or turn it off before you ever go to bed.
  • Take regular breaks from your screens! (T.V., computers, and so on.)

Of course, there is so much more we could talk about in an article covering toxicity. The main points I want to emphasize are:

A) Control what you can. We can’t remove ALL sources of toxicity, but we sure can do better than what we’re currently doing in most cases.

B) Make sure your body is able to handle the ongoing inundation of toxicity. In my opinion, this means we’d all better be doing regular cellular detoxification protocols as part of a healthy lifestyle. There’s no way our bodies can handle this enormous onslaught of toxicity without a dedicated focus on cleaning things up, beginning at the level of the cell.

***

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com and http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

6 Tips for Getting Better Sleep

bed

 

Being sleep deprived isn’t much fun.

I spent years in and out of a state of chronic sleep deprivation, so I know the feeling all too well.

What most folks fail to consider is that chronic sleep deprivation is a source of toxicity. It causes the release of stress hormones.

A chronic lack of sleep is a risk factor for all chronic illness, because we’re chronically toxic and chronically not going through the optimal levels of cellular repair and restoration that are supposed to take place while we’re sleeping.

There are serious consequences of not meeting our sleep requirements.

Internal Effects:

  • increases the risk for all chronic illness
  • mental, emotional and cognitive effects – more easily stressed, brain fog, short-term memory decline, lack of clarity and focus

External Effects:

  • look more tired and less healthy (I know I look a decade older if I’m sleep deprived. As if being exhausted isn’t insult enough!)
  • weight gain and/or challenges with dropping excess pounds – this is due to the long-term release of stress hormones, like cortisol, as well as the lack of the fat burning hormone, growth hormone, which is supposed to be released during deep sleep cycles.

These gnarly effects are cumulative. The more nights you’re deprived of good, deep sleep, the worse the effects are, especially in the area of cognitive function.

In a two-week sleep restriction study reported in the New York Times, the subjects only getting 4-6 hours of sleep per night (as opposed to 8 hours) for two weeks had the same level of cognitive impairment they would have if they were drunk. Yikes! I must have been interesting to live with all those years!

Here are 6 suggestions to start getting better sleep:

1) Live a healthy lifestyle overall.

The majority of the time, eat healthy foods and get regular, invigorating exercise. Aim for balance.

2) Prepare for sleep – Chill out and power down.

Don’t do intense exercise within 2-3 hours of your intended bedtime… even longer, if you can help it.

Go to BED when you’re tired. Not the couch. Not the recliner. Bed.

Decrease mental stimulation as sleep time approaches. Again, not the time for scary movies, late night (bad) news, or stressful encounters. This also includes backing away from all your connections and screens for the night – computer, phone, ipad, television, and whatever else you’ve got goin’ on for gadgets!

Have relaxing rituals and routines at night. Deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, light reading, whatever works for you!

I like to jot down plans, action steps, and ideas for the next day so that my brain can calm down when it’s time to sleep.

3) Watch your evening intake.

No alcohol a couple hours before bed. (If you’re really sleep deprived and really desperate to improve here, cut it out all together for a couple weeks and see what happens)

Keep all liquids to a minimum for your last couple hours – helps with night time trips to the bathroom.

I wouldn’t recommend having caffeinated beverages in the afternoon… or at least not 8 hours or so before you’d like to sleep.

If you need a late night snack, base it on healthy fats and protein, not starchy carbs or other high-sugar foods.

Really, the same can be said for dinner. I know this can be tough, but dinner (especially a late dinner) is not a wise time to scarf down a big ‘ol plate of pasta or a bunch of grains.

4) Consider your sleep environment.

Sleeping in complete darkness is best. This allows optimal release of the “sleep and relaxation hormone”, melatonin. Even if you have to get up to use the bathroom during the night, try not to flip on lights. It interrupts this hormonal release.

Move anything giving off EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) away from your noggin. e.g. your digital clock.

Several studies indicate that an air temperature around 60 degrees, give or take, is the best for optimal sleep. Most people have trouble sleeping when it’s too hot, or the heat is cranked all night.

Having a window cracked for fresh air in and the escape of carbon dioxide can also be helpful.

Make sure your feet are warm. I found this to be true for me. Cold feet keep me tossing and turning all night. Solution? Socks. You’re welcome. That’s why they pay me the big bucks, right there.

Try some “white noise” or use ear plugs if external noises are disrupting your sleep. I keep a small fan on in our room.

This may be easier said than done (or maybe I’m just talking to myself here), but the more peaceful, relaxing, and ‘tidy’ your bedroom is, the more likely you are to be fully relaxed in it. Like, maybe your kids don’t need to use your bedroom as their second storage area. Maybe your bedroom should serve as an oasis of sorts. Just sayin’.

5) Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

I’ve resisted this in the past, no doubt, thinking I’ve “earned” some extra shut-eye on a weekend morning. But, it’s probably no coincidence that I’ve been very consistent with my bedtime and waking time for the last few months and my sleep has dramatically improved – and, therefore, so has my focus, memory, clarity, and productivity. Give it a try for a couple weeks and see how it works for you.

6) It could be something else…

Your sleep challenges could be the result of certain meds, or a combination of meds, you’re taking. Many have that effect. Talk to your prescribing doc about an exit strategy.

You might have some chronic hormonal imbalances or hormonal resistance. This could be from chronic toxicity and inflammation. Until that’s resolved, all hormonal function can be skewed.

In the case of sleep, some of the biggies are cortisol, melatonin, and insulin, to name just a few. In some cases of hormonal imbalance, the result is that you can’t fall asleep. In other cases, you can fall asleep, but then you wake up often and can’t get back to sleep.

Ugh. Annoying!

By the way, remember that if your cortisol levels are off (or the receptors are congested due to toxicity and inflammation) you’re going to gain weight and have a tough time losing it.

Having sensitivities to certain foods can keep you awake at night, too. If you have gut permeability issues (most likely the case if you’re sensitive to many foods), this can cause symptoms and discomfort that keeps you restless.

* If you’re looking for help with a proper detoxification or gut permeability correction protocol, I can help. Leave me a comment here and we’ll chat. : ) *

Of course, there can be other reasons for occasional or temporary loss of sleep – things like stressful situations or events, or certain seasons of our lives (like co-sleeping with a baby or young children), or travel, or a major change in life… and so on.

The occasional and temporary loss of sleep isn’t so horrible. Humans can be pretty amazing at adapting. When it becomes chronic, we need to take it seriously and work to correct it.

***

What works for you? How do you make sure you get a good night’s sleep each night? Please share YOUR tips… and please share this article with others who need some good sleepin’, too!

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

14 Simple Things That Make a Big Difference

daisies

 

 

Each year around this time, I like to take a look at how I’m doing with plans and commitments once the brew-ha-ha over the New Year has settled down.

I’ve been reflecting upon recent months to see what’s working for me, and what makes my life better.

I’ve come up with a list of simple choices I make that keep me healthy, happy, productive, and (somewhat) sane. Some of these are more recent changes or improvements. Some have been there for awhile.

Either way, these are the 14 Simple Things That Make a Big Difference in my time & productivity, health, and family life.

Time & Productivity:

I recently wrote this post about Getting More Done in Limited Time. You might want to check that out, too.

1. One of the most significant changes I made in my schedule in the past few months was to increase the length of my “Power Hours”. This is my dedicated, focused time I spend working on me and my various projects for a few hours every morning before anyone else is up. I can’t tell you the difference this has made in my productivity and stress reduction. I cherish this time.

2. I’m big on writing things down and having a plan. For the past few years, I’ve been playing around with online planners, a planner on my phone, and smaller planners to save money and space. This year I’m back to my favorite “2 pages per day” planner and am happy once again! Having a system that really works for me helps on so many levels – I’m able to clearly keep track of all the “stuff” in my life and the various roles I need to play each day. My brain is more at ease this year. : )

3. Speaking of planning and productivity, one ritual I have that really works for me is to use my planner to plan ahead (duh!), as well as look back. In addition to big plans on an annual and quarterly basis, at the beginning of each month I like to get very specific with what my major focus is, and what my major action steps will be each week in order to accomplish this.

I also look back at the previous month to see what’s still hanging out there, incomplete. I bump it into the current month, providing it’s still relevant. For me, the magic has been in looking at things a month and a week at a time. (I go into more detail about the beauty of the plan in one of my books, “Create a Fulfilling Life by Nourishing Your Relationships and Priorities”.)

4. Since my head is constantly spinning with ideas for topics I’d like to write about or teach about, I carry my planner and/or digital recorder with all the time. I’ve “written” several books while out for a run and speaking my thoughts into my recorder, then uploading it later. I also recently (finally) began using Dragon Naturally Speaking to help me streamline the process of writing.

5. Maybe not the most profound thing you’ll read in this list, but a major time saver for me is to “cook once, eat twice”. I won’t go as far as to say I’m a master meal planner, by any means. But I do depend on this simple practice of cooking a healthy meal once, then saving portions of it for upcoming breakfasts or lunches. This saves me tremendous time and makes it easier to offer healthy options at those meals, too.

 

Health:

6. I made a commitment to myself over a year ago to intentionally move every day. Most of the time I do an “official” workout, either resistance training or some form of cardio training, or a combination of the two. I also throw in “lighter” days where I’ll just do stretching and spinal hygiene exercises, or walking, or jumping on the trampoline with the kids, or yoga, etc. Motion is Life.

7. Almost a year ago, I stopped having grains with breakfast and started having vegetables instead. There have been a few times that I’ve added a piece of sourdough bread, but not too often. I feel a difference when I keep it clean with just the veggies along with healthy protein and fats.

8. Many days, I have a liquid lunch. No, not that kind! Particularly on the days I go into the practice, I like to make a smoothie for lunch. I don’t do a lot of fruit in my smoothies to keep sugar in check, but I like to add veggies and “super foods”, as well as protein powder, probiotics, fish oil, and some other key nutrients. I feel like I’ve done something important for my overall health going into the second half of my day, while keeping the caloric intake low so that I have more energy.

9. We started doing the 3-day Suero Cleanse each month. It’s a cultured whey beverage, loaded with essential probiotics and structured water to begin a simple detoxification at a cellular level. We do a more comprehensive detox that addresses all 7 detox pathways in the body, too, but we only do that once or twice a year. This monthly Suero Cleanse is a great way to maintain a healthy “inner terrain” along the way.

 

10. One of the most significant health changes I made in recent months was to stop drinking alcohol. I wanted to prove a point to myself about self-discipline, so I stopped having a glass of wine with dinner &/or while I was preparing it. But, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to experience the other benefits that have accompanied this choice. My sleep has dramatically improved, as well as my focus, clarity, and energy the next day. And, it’s certainly not like I was a “lush” before! It’s amazing the big impact such a small choice has made. I know there will come a time when I choose to enjoy a nice glass of wine again. I’m fine with that. For now, I’m enjoying the benefits and feelings of not drinking far more.

11. I cut out coffee, too, for months at a time. However, in recent months, when we are drinking coffee, I’ve started drinking “Bulletproof Coffee“. My brain is happier and I feel better about that cuppa’ Joe!

 

Family:

12. I continue to re-commit to practicing PTC with my kids – Present Time Consciousness, or enjoying the NOW. We are together ALL the time on this little home schooling adventure of ours, so it can wear thin some days. But I do regularly give my head a good shake and re-commit to being intentional about my parenting and the time I spend with them. This is only one season of our lives, so I remind myself to fully enjoy this one while it’s here. I know it goes all-too-fast.

13. Again, nothing profound for most of you, but sometime last year, out of frustration and an acute case of “doormat-itis”, I raised the bar for my family. I pointed out that there are 4 people creating clutter, eating healthy meals that require time in the kitchen, using the bathroom, wearing clothes that need to be laundered, enjoying our pet, adding to the trash cans, and living in our home that acquires dust and debris. It is not just ME doing all these things, therefore, I no longer accepted the role of being the only one to do anything about it, dagnabbit.

I know this about myself: a clean(er) home makes me feel significantly more peaceful and relaxed. (Sheesh, you’d think they’d be all over the tidying up thing just for that reason alone, wouldn’t you?!)  : )

14. A mental shift I’ve made this school year with the kids is to focus more on “Adventure vs. Algebra”.  At this point in my life (and schedule), I can’t be that mom who sits down and provides a classical education for my kids, and has everything perfectly scheduled for the day. I choose to be OK with that. We regularly cover what I consider to be the core basics (math, reading, writing, science, history, geography, etc.), then spend the rest of our time living “real life” lessons, learning new skills, and having fun adventures together. Every few months I need to remind myself that my kids are turning out just fine!

* * *

So, there it is. Those are the basics that make up the big picture for me… and make it all work out in the end. (Sure, there are a gazillion other things that regularly come into play, especially with the family dynamic… but these are some of the biggies.)

How about YOU? What would you add to the list? What works for you?

 

 

 

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabata Workouts ~ High-Intensity Fat Burning in Just 4 Minutes!

stopwatch

 

It’s hard to choose between barfing and passing out after “properly” performing one of these workouts!

Sound like fun?

It is… a little bit. Especially once you’re done the workout!

I’m talking about Tabata workouts.

At first glance you may wonder why on earth anyone would intentionally do this to themselves! But, there’s a reason this type of high-intensity interval “burst” training has become a go-to workout, not just for elite athletes, famous celebrities, but even regular folks, like me.

(Who you callin’ “regular”?! Puh-lease. Nothin’ regular goin’ on over here, thank you.)

Although I’ve done some crazy-intense Cross Fit workouts in the past, admittedly, I’ve never belonged to a Cross Fit gym… so I can’t be sure that I’ve ever played the Cross Fit “game” full-out. Cross Fit diehards would surely say, “Nuh-uh.”

Nonetheless, Tabata workouts are definitely some the THE hardest workouts I’ve done. It’s clear why the masses of Tabata believers call this “The 4-Minute Miracle.”

As fun as I’ve made it sound thus far, it’s definitely worth doing. Doing as little as 4 minutes (or one “Tabata”) can increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR: helps you burn more fat & calories even at rest), aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, and VO2 max.

In other words, it’s great for your metabolism, your circulatory system, and your respiratory system.

Some statistics say that Tabata workouts can make you (relatively quickly)  look 200% leaner than traditional steady-state cardio workouts lasting an entire hour!

Yes, 4 minutes can actually do that. Tabata workouts can give you better fitness gains than a full hour of traditional cardio!

What’s not to love?

By the way, Tabata is not new. It was developed in the 1970’s for the Japanese Olympic team to gain a competitive edge over the rest. Betcha’ they did.

The trick to achieving all these glorious benefits from your Tabata workout is the level of intensity. No surprise there. We know the 3 main keys to success with fat-burning exercise are: intensity, variety, and consistency.

Tabata inherently covers the intensity component. Adding these workouts to your other forms of exercise and activity takes care of the variety aspect. Then, it’s just a matter of sticking to it for awhile for the consistency component.

To do a Tabata, pick a cardio activity, like running, jumping rope, or biking. Then, go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times.

And when I say “go as hard as you can go,” I mean it!

Go for 100% maximum intensity.

So, a Tabata is 8 “intervals”, alternating 20 seconds of 100% intensity with 10 seconds of “rest”.

By the end of the 4 minutes (really, by the end of your second interval) you should be gasping for air, feeling you’re quite possibly going to die. Don’t fret. You probably won’t! ; )

Really, the “workout” part is only 4 minutes, but you should absolutely warm up for 3-4 minutes and cool down for another couple. OK, so it’s really 10 minutes.

Think you’ve got enough time for that? (Don’t even think about saying “No”!)

Although Tabata is traditionally used with cardio activities, I’ve also applied the same structure to super-intense “resistance-type” and dynamic workouts.

I’ll do these with a variety of squats (weights included), swings, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, incline rows, bent-over rows, overhead press, etc.

I’ve also mixed up a Tabata routine by adding “burst” moves, like burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, bench jump-ups, tuck jumps, and so on.

A mix of the two (resistance and bursts) is barf-provokingly good, too!

It’s crazy what 4 minutes can do!

You can Google Tabata workouts to get loads of ideas on how to create fresh routines every time, as well as ideas of what movements you can incorporate into a Tabata.

Tips for Getting Started with Tabata:

1) Even though you can do a Tabata interval with just about any exercise, start with one you’re very comfortable with. Focus on one new challenge at a time! Most people choose sprinting on a treadmill.

If you really want a challenging high-intensity workout, do hill sprints as Tabata workouts! Whoa – seriously great workout!

2) I’d recommend you get yourself a good timer to help you be as specific as possible with the intervals – they actually sell “Tabata” timers, if you think you might stick with this for awhile. Don’t even think about estimating the time, or keeping track in your head. Trust me. Your head will be busy with other life-preserving thoughts!

3) If you’re going to use a treadmill, after your warm-up, stand on the side rails and set the speed and incline for your maximum intensity 20-second bursts – you do not want to be messing with this during your workout!

4) It’s easiest to watch your treadmill timer for an easy, “even” time to start. E.g. on the minute or half minute. Then, a few seconds before that time comes, get one foot “pumping” on the moving platform so you get a feel for the speed, then hop on and go hard for 20 seconds.

Hold onto the railings and hop your feet off to the sides of the treadmill while you watch the timer for 10 seconds (9 seconds, really… so you’re already running at the very start of your next interval), then hop back on at 100% for the next 20 seconds, and so on.

5) Many veteran Tabata-believers recommend that you create a mantra that you can repeat to yourself during your 20-second intervals to distract you, motivate you, and plant some motivational seeds in your brain so that you’ll keep going.

For example, “I can DO this. I can DO this. I can DO this!” Or, “I am strong. I am strong, I am strong.” You get the point. It’s not original or creative, but it’s what works for me!

Adding just two Tabatas per week to the rest of your exercise routine will help you shed noticeable fat within just a few weeks… as long as you’re not blowing it with a toxic diet on the side!

* * *

If you’re doing workouts like these, along with resistance training, and eating a “healthy” diet, but you’re still not losing fat (or weight), PLEASE contact me! Something’s obviously not right, and I can help. It might be that you need some simple dietary corrections, or maybe there’s a problem with hormone resistance due to chronic inflammation and toxicity, or gut permeability… just get in touch with me and I’ll help!

* * *

If you already do Tabata, let me know how it has changed your overall health and fitness.

If you give it a try for the first time, let me know how you do!

Toxic Diets, Inflamed Brains & Really Dumb “Health” Advice!

brain

Dr. Hubby and I were recently consulting with a family regarding their young teenage boy.

The boy has had major attention and learning issues for several years.  In recent years, he has also become extremely anxious and stressed when it comes to school work.

Smart as a whip, really nice kid, but refuses to perform within the parameters of conventional school.

He has an atrocious diet. We’ve made recommendations here for years… but he’s not keen (understatement) on improving his nutritional intake at all. In fact, it’s a source of anger for him – he refuses to change.

Let me just say, science now unequivocally proves that “fire in the gut equals fire in the brain.”

If the gut is inflamed (small intestines, large intestines, colon, stomach, liver, gall bladder, kidneys), the brain is inflamed.

Inflammation is caused by toxicity. Inflammation disrupts communication pathways between the brain and every cell of the body. Inflammation disrupts “normal” function on every level.

An inflamed brain does not perform well.

This kid eats the “brown-beige-white-yellow diet”: foods with no (naturally occurring) color. He lives on macaroni & cheese, other pasta, pizza, chicken tenders, tons of ice cream, donuts, nachos, hot dogs, and fried cheese sticks. The more fried, the better.

He eats only “dead” food. Won’t eat vegetables. Won’t eat much fruit at all.

Not only does he eat horribly, he eats excessively. It’s seemingly a constant input of toxicity. He orders a full appetizer before a full meal at restaurants… and he eats at restaurants often.

He’s not “fat”, so this issue probably isn’t getting the attention it might get otherwise. His doctor(s) have repeatedly said that his weight is in a normal range for his height and his age.

Who gives a rip about his weight?! The kid is a toxic wasteland!

Like so many people, there’s the mistaken impression that, if he takes in excess calories, he’s fine as long as he “burns them off”. So, if he happened to help with the snow blower that day, there’s the misconception that he’s “fine” because he’ll just burn off the excess.

You can’t burn off toxicity.

His parents have tried to clean things up over the years, but, bless their hearts, have given up the battle in large part in exchange for some family peace.

I understand that.

It’s challenging when one parent is more “on board” than the other. It messes with the family dynamic quite a bit.

At least both parents are on the same page regarding drugging him – been there, done that. Their various doctors and counselors have diagnosed him with virtually every learning and behavioral disorder under the sun… and recommended the accompanying drug that goes along with it.

They are no longer interested in this approach, as they’ve seen the very negative side of psychotropic medication.

Meanwhile, his performance and behavior continues to suffer.

He’s completely deficient in vital nutrients. He hates going to school, except for the social part. He doesn’t exercise, play sports, or exercise his body on a regular basis.

He has no energy. He stays up far too late and is, obviously, exhausted in the morning when he gets dragged out of bed. He won’t eat breakfast.

He hates his first class with a passion.

Recently, school counselors called for  (another) meeting with his parents because some of his teachers, especially the one from first period, were complaining that he was nodding off in class.

In the meeting, the counselors asked the parents to take him to their family doctor for (another) physical to “see if anything is wrong on a physical level”.

Um… let me see… what could possibly be wrong?!

So, they take him to the doctor. Doctor checks him over – everything “looks good”. Ran a basic blood panel. Nothing glaring showing up. He “can see no reason” why the boy is exhausted all the time… except on weekends and summer break.

(There’s not a medical test for TOXICITY and DEFICIENCY! You actually need some common sense for that one.)

Now, this family doc of theirs knows that he might take a right hook from the mom if he recommends yet another psychotropic med… so he’s got to pull something else out of his bag of tricks.

He didn’t disappoint.

Are you ready for this?

“Start drinking coffee every morning before school.”

Awesome. That oughta’ solve everything.

Thankfully, the parents see the ridiculousness in this advice, too.

They were simply going through the motions, trying to appease the school by going to this appointment.

They know full well that his issues are not the result of a lack of caffeine surging through his system!

Unfortunately, the kid got the message from the doc that he doesn’t really need to change anything at all about his lifestyle… he simply needs to add one more source of toxicity and that will fix things up just fine.

Oh, he’s not asking for organic, low-acid coffee from beans grown at high altitudes… with raw honey or stevia added as a sweetener.

Au contraire. Since his doctor didn’t mention anything about the high toxicity levels of conventional coffee, this kid now thinks he should be stopping by the local large-chain drive-thru for a an artificially sweetened and flavored coffee on his way to school each morning.

Nice job.

Yes it was better than recommending another drug.

But still stupid advice, nonetheless.

 

 

 

9 Tips for Getting More Done In Limited Time

time in the sky
- MattW - / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Like so many of us, I’m a bit busy.

I liken it to having many plates spinning and wearing several different hats.

I divide my time and focus among my family, home schooling, our practice, writing, DrMomOnline, “virtual” coaching, exercise & personal health-related stuff, social stuff, domestic stuff, kids’ activities, and the general care & feeding of my family.

I was having this conversation recently with another woman who asked, “How do you fit it all in?”

I’m always uncomfortable when someone asks me this… and somewhat embarrassed.

I DON’T fit it all in.

Partially because I don’t even attempt to… and partially because I just stink at getting certain things done!

However, I know how to accomplish what I choose to accomplish… at least most of the time.

(I often say that our house would be much cleaner and I’d have all sorts of domestic projects under my belt if I didn’t spend so much time on health-related things, outdoors-y things, and work things. Guess that goes to show where my priorities are!)

Anyhow, her question got me thinking…

We all have 24 hours each day, so the “limited time” phrase in the title can be misleading. It’s more accurate to say that the more plates you spin and hats you wear during certain seasons of your life, the more limited your time may be in each of those roles. At least that’s true for me.

What I know to be true for me is that with all the plates and hats going on, I’d better be proactive in creating a schedule that allows me to maximize my time spent in each of those roles.

This isn’t all about “accomplishing the most” and checking lots of things off a to-do list each day just for the sake of doing so. For me, it’s about creating a fulfilling life, serving God and others, being present, enjoying my family and the people around me, and “bringing home the bacon” through things I’m passionate about in the process!

So, I began reflecting on some of the tips and strategies I’ve picked up over the years that have helped me become a more productive person.

I spent over a decade of my adult life training with one of my mentors in particular. It was through him that I learned many of my most valuable lessons in living intentionally and accomplishing what I set out to accomplish.

Here are 9 of the most important time management and productivity principles he, and subsequent teachers, taught me:

1) I need to be clear on what my priorities in life are: my most important relationships and roles that need regular nurturing.

2) I need to say “no” to many things (especially time stealers) in order to be able to say “yes” to the things that are most important right now.

I have to draw certain lines in the sand when it comes to my commitments. Everyone around me suffers when I take on too much. This area is a work in progress! It can be tough when you own your own business… businesses.

3) I need “big picture” plans that are subsequently “chunked down” into short-term plans and action steps. I go to bed each night knowing what my most important objectives and tasks are the following day.

“Have a plan, then work the plan!”

 

4) I schedule my priorities rather than solely prioritizing my schedule. Big difference.

5) I am somewhat ‘”ruthless” with my time – I protect it. This is  especially important if you’re also trying to run a business or flex your entrepreneurial muscles.

This doesn’t always win me popularity contests, but it allows me to focus on what I feel I need to focus on at the time.

I have set times for phone calls, checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. I picked this habit up from several mentors over the years, and it annoys my friends and family to no end! (Sorry!)

Rarely, will I simply hear my phone ringing and pick it up right then and there. Shoot. I’d be on the phone all day, every day if I did that.

In fact, my phone is often tucked away in my bag or charging in another room… until it’s time for me to check messages and make calls.

Plus, most of my favorite people love to t-a-l-k. If I knew that our phone calls would only last a few minutes, that would be one thing. But we’re talking 30+ minute calls here!

The last time I decided to ‘surprise’ a close relative by answering the phone right when she called, I was cooking dinner after an already-long and late day at work. I told her this, but she had a lot going on in her life and didn’t exactly register that my dinner schedule was not the same as hers! We spent almost an hour on the phone… I didn’t say much… dinner was overcooked and served to my family after 9pm!

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s what life is all about, though – our relationships!” While I agree, I can’t just do the phone thing like that on a regular basis, or whenever it fits someone else’s schedule.

I have dedicated blocks of time during the day when I return calls, or make my own. It’s OK if you don’t answer, I understand!

6) Here’s another one of my favorite time management mindset tips from my primary mentor dude:

Q: “How long should it take to do a 10 minute job?”

A: “9 minutes or less!”

It’s not about being in a frantic hurry all the time. It’s about focus and intent.

Get in. Get it done right. Quit dilly-dallying.

7) If I have small blocks of time in the schedule that are not currently taken up by a “big” job, like working with the kids on school, or a big writing project, or a consultation call, or studying, or anything else “big”, I take advantage of those moments with spurts of productive activities.

This might mean that I start preparations for an upcoming meal, or sweep the floor, or put away a load of laundry, or something that needs to get done anyway.

But, my favorite things to do in these tidbits of time throughout the day are more “entrepreneurial” in nature. I actually keep a list of “5 minute productivity boosts” that I can do when I suddenly find myself with a bit of extra time, but not enough time to dive into a big project or properly harass my children!

This keeps me productive rather than starting me down the slippery slope of ‘lounging’ on Facebook, or browsing in various forums online, or surfing the net with no direction in mind.

All too easy to do!

 

 

8 ) I’ve created “shifts” in my day that make sense for my schedule.

When you break your day into different shifts, it’s easier to stay on track, and not throw in the towel if you “blow it” early in the day. Just get back on track for your next shift.

Since I wear many hats throughout the day, these shifts help me fulfill the various roles I need to tend to each day. Mom, wife, teacher, doctor, writer, business owner, house keeper, cook, taxi driver… you know the routine.

You can make as few or as many shifts as work for you… it’s your day you’re designing!

(i) “Power Hours”:This is in the wee morning hours before anyone else is awake.

This is the time that I do my personal morning rituals, as well as my most productive work and big projects that require the most focus. I do my writing, blogging, studying, and planning for product creation at this time. I have a very clear list of priorities and tasks to focus on during these hours. This is not the time for socializing via email or any social media outlet. Those are my time stealers.

I LOVE these focused hours. It’s usually a solid 3 or more hours before my next shift begins.

I’m convinced that this is the ONLY way I’m able to get the things done that I want to get done. Crawling out of that warm bed is well worth it!

(ii) Once everyone else is up, I switch gears to family time. I spend time with my family, take our dog out, cook a healthy breakfast, and then tidy up the kitchen and house a bit.

(iii) Then, home school takes top priority for the next few hours. When the kids are doing their independent work or they’re taking a break, I’ll squeeze in some practice-related work with my husband, like educational materials, preparation for seminars, or advertising pieces.

I also take advantage of this time to do consultation calls with clients.

(iv) Then, it’s more “me” time before heading in to the practice. This is the time that I typically work out. I’d rather do it earlier in the morning, but my Power Hours are far too valuable to trade in for work outs right now.

This early afternoon shift is also the time I make another healthy meal for the kids’ lunch, as well as pack their food for the rest of the day, start dinner preparations, prepare the next day’s food for my hubby, take the dog out for a jaunt again, and tidy up a bit.

(v) Then, it’s time to head off to work.

Ha! It always cracks me up to say that! By the time I “go to work”, I’ve usually been up and working for an entire work shift already!

(vi) After work, it’s a pretty straightforward shift. Get home. Prepare dinner. Dinner & family time. Clean up. Talk to my dad many nights. Unwind together as a family. Put the kids to bed. Take the dog out.

(vii) The final “me” shift of the day: Plan for the next day. Do some small work projects. Do some reading, if I can keep my eyes open. Relax… Zonk.

Not everyday looks exactly like this due to changes in work schedules, kids’ activities, and special events. Yet, all of my days start and end in pretty much the same way – with rituals.

9) Being productive doesn’t really matter a lick if it turns me into a giant ball of stress! I need balance. I need “margins”.

Honestly, some days are much better than others.

On days that I’m called to spin ALL the plates, and there’s little-to-no “margin”… I can be a hot mess.

As long as I’ve got “margins” around my productivity, I’m good.

Margins encompass my downtime, relaxation, fun time with my kids and husband, and time spent socializing with friends, neighbors, and family. When I consistently make the time for these types of activities, I’m significantly more balanced.

That’s what makes me the happiest – being balanced AND productive. And, taking the occasional day off from spinning those all those plates!

 

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

Drug Commercials (Part 2): Core Principles Inside the Drug Culture

pharmacy

 

 

In Drug Commercials (Part 1): What’s the Message Kids Are Hearing I started this conversation about the inundation of drug commercials in our culture.

I always wonder “Does anyone actually listen to these?!”

The side effects are officially beyond ridiculous. 99% of the time I’m thinking, “You’d be far better off living with your original condition or symptom, than dying with this drug!”

Hey, there’s a time and a place for intervention. Yes, I know. If you have a raging bacterial infection, or acute pain of known origin, or you just had a body part removed, for cryin’ out loud… then go for it! (Although, there are still alternative options and remedies available to you, even during these crises… however… let’s not go there right now.)

Emergencies and traumas are the perfect time to consider medical intervention.

Short term. Temporary. We know it’s not about correcting the cause, or creating better health. We’re just putting a little bandage on things until we can get down to the business of getting better.

(Or, as I’ve experienced with both of my parents and cancer, there comes a time when, medically speaking, there’s no chance for “cure”, so they’re simply taking a drug(s) for the long-run in an attempt to keep their horrible symptoms at bay. I get that.)

When it comes to chronic and degenerative illness, I don’t believe that chronic, long-term drug intervention is the wisest choice… especially if it’s at the expense of working on correcting the root causes.

However, we live in a culture where the masses obviously don’t see things this way.

Being on drugs is a perfectly acceptable way of life… unless we call them “drugs”… because that makes people uncomfortable… So, we’re supposed to call them “medications”.

Sorry. I’m not trying to be insensitive, just accurate.

With the endless barrage of drug ads on television, in magazines, on the internet, and everywhere we turn, we certainly don’t get the message that taking drugs is dangerous. Instead, we’re told what drugs we need to tell our doctors to give us.

Or, we just zone out… somewhere in our subconscious, accepting that “taking drugs is normal”. We’re desensitized to the whole mess.

As I mentioned in the first article, this can all be very confusing and contradictory for kids. They may have grown-ups telling them “Just Say No to Drugs”… but that’s not necessarily what they’re seeing day in and day out.

It comes down to that “drugs” vs. “medicine” thing again, doesn’t it?

I like my kids to know the WHY behind our choices:

  • Why drugs are not the first choice for treating conditions or symptoms
  • Why we choose to eat the way we do
  • Why we need to move our bodies daily
  • Why we home school
  • Why we don’t use toxic household & personal care products
  • Why we don’t watch or listen to certain shows, movies, songs, etc.
  • Why we choose not to use certain words, phrases, or expressions
  • Why it’s critically important to proactively take care of your body now… rather than in a reactive way later

And so on.

If they understand the principles and the “why” now, hopefully they’ll make “good” choices based upon these core principles down the road.

So, in the case of drug use (the “medication” kind), we want them to understand some “big picture” concepts, as well.

Some of the core principles we’re attempting to teach are:

* We do NOT judge a person who chooses to use drugs (medication). The vast majority of the time, they’ve trusted someone in a position of ‘authority’ and have been led to believe that it’s their best option. It’s not their fault, so to speak. (Although, professionally speaking, I think people need to take more responsibility for their health and their future.)

* The’decision-makers in pharmaceutical companies and every single person who KNOWS the physiological, mental and emotional devastation caused by many of these drugs they’re creating and marketing… yet still pushes them on the public, well… my thoughts aren’t as kind toward them.

I’m sure some believe they’re doing the right thing. Others must know. Still, it’s not our job to judge. It IS our job to be aware, be informed, do what it takes to stay healthy… and stay away from this threat.

* We do not develop dysfunction because of a drug deficiency. Therefore, we will not restore normal function with a drug.

We lose normal (optimal) function when we are chronically toxic and or deficient. To “cure” the condition (and the person as a whole), the obvious starting point must be to add purity and sufficiency. This is “The Wellness Formula” - if it becomes imbalanced, symptoms and dis-ease result.

Drugs may halt a life-threatening situation (a very good attribute!), keeping you alive long enough so that YOU can get down to the business of getting healthy, happy and restoring normal function. Drugs do not create health or healthy function. Health comes from WITHIN.

* One of the most challenging lessons for our kids to wrap their young brains around is that people will DO things and SAY things to make money… placing the safety and health of others second. It sure can be dark out there.

* Another ongoing lesson is centered on the strikingly different paradigms of “health”. One is more short-term, fractionated and limited in the way it ‘thinks’ about health and function.

There’s a primary focus on symptoms and isolated ‘body parts’ and systems of the body. (Yes, this is the one that can save a life in an emergency situation. No doubt.) This is actually the “sickness care” paradigm – with the focus on pathology. We DO teach that good people are working within this paradigm… doing what they feel is the best possible thing to help others.

* The other paradigm looks at the big picture of health and function. It looks at the cause of dysfunction as the starting point for restoring health and improved function, holistically. It considers the need for the systems of the body to work in coordination and harmony. It considers whether or not the “treatment” is actually adding to the overall health and quality of life of the person, or putting them at further risk for loss of health (even if isolated symptoms might be improving). This approach strives to restore homeostatic cell function – overall health and the interrelated function of all systems of the body & mind.

(Yes, we’re seeing some “cross-over” where individuals in paradigm #1 are realizing that paradigm #2 is beneficial. Hopefully, our kids will see this much-needed change in thinking flourish in their lifetime.)

* Finally, a critically important point we want our kids to understand is that a normal, healthy life is NOT always symptom-free, pain-free, and “sad-free”! There’s a deep, disturbing message that’s passed along through drug ads… one that has far-reaching social ramifications. The message is that if we FEEL something… anything other than “perfect”… then the solution is in a drug.

As a parent, this is potentially the most dangerous point of all.

If they become desensitized and brainwashed into thinking that their health and happiness are up to external sources, we’re in trouble.

It’s critical that we teach our children (and remind ourselves) that the true source of health and happiness comes from Above… down, and inside… out.

 

Terrain

 

***

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com and http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

Drug Commercials (Part 1): What’s the Message Kids Are Hearing?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Ever wonder why you don’t hear drug commercials on radio to the extent that you see them on television?

Because… you might actually listen to what they’re really saying and NOT be visually lulled into a desensitized state by oftentimes beautiful, very convincing, seemingly happy, very realistic actors role-playing their miraculously transformed state of health!

You know how, if one of our senses is damaged or impaired, the others are heightened? Heaven forbid we should ever listen more carefully to what those commercials and what the drugs can actually do!

I deeply despise drug commercials.

I honestly believe, as a culture, we’ve become desensitized to this insanity. It has become “normal” to hear about common side effects such as, thoughts of suicide, fatal events, immune suppression, cancer, violent tendencies, cognitive impairment, risk of heart attack or stroke, etc….

What?!

Since when is that acceptable?

Seriously, if you forced yourself to close your eyes during all drug commercials on television, you might think differently about them.

Maybe. Maybe not. I’d like to think so, though. I still have hope for humankind.

How do you think children and teenagers process the conditioning stemming from drug commercials? (Along with all the other garbage they’re exposed to, like violence, blatant sexuality, disrespect, etc.)

I don’t think we should try to keep our kids in an ultra-protected bubble of purity necessarily. But I do think we need to smarten up and pay attention to what’s getting into their head space the most frequently and consistently.

As parents, we at least need to be aware of the threat… and take some action to understand it and its consequences, avoid it, filter it, or annihilate it all together.

You do the same thing when it comes to teaching your kids about sex, street drugs, predators, bullies, safety issues, and so on.

We’ve got to teach kids about drugs – not just the street drugs our parents worried about. But the kind that you can legally purchase or get at the pharmacy. The kind they may very well see in your “medicine cabinet”.

No pun intended, but it’s a tough pill to swallow.

This awareness is something we focus on at home with the kids. If the television is on and they happen to be in the room when a drug commercial comes on, we don’t just sit back and “take it”. We may…

1) Change the channel and let them know it’s because we don’t want them repeatedly lied to and taught that they “need” drugs in order live a healthy, happy life… or taught that their bodies are “stupid” and couldn’t possibly heal and repair without chemical intervention. We do not get “sick” because of a lack of drugs. They are not the solution.

2) Or, we quickly ask them to close their eyes (cover up with a throw pillow!) and LISTEN to the unbelievable, unfathomable list of side effects. This one has initiated some very important conversations with the kids… like,

“Why would you take a drug if it could make you act violently or aggressively?”, and

“What are suicidal thoughts and tendencies?“… shortly followed up with,

“WHY would anyone ever want to DO that???” Or,

Why do they even make drugs that do that?”

I’d say that’s some rather significant stuff to discuss with our kids before they’re exposed to it on their own. Sad.

3) Or, we will discuss the “condition” (however ridiculous and contrived it may be), the drug, and its consequences from a physiological perspective… breaking down the marketing voo-doo and talking about real health, real function, and the real consequences of making choices that move us away from healthy function.

How’s this for a confusing concept to teach a kid: Many of these proposed “treatments” are far worse than the original condition itself!!

Then, we continue down this conversational path and have the kids try to imagine what could possibly be happening in the cellular make-up of the body and brain when a second… and third… and fourth drug are added to the mix.

STOP.

Let me say this loud and clear.

I am NO different than you when it comes to many core values and beliefs,  hopes, dreams… and fears.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I’m a woman.

I want to nurture and protect those I love and care about.

If my child’s life, my husband’s life, a loved one’s life, or my own life was in danger, or I felt it was in danger, or I felt they were ‘losing the battle’ against the ailment… and I thought a drug could help (with limited-to-no harm)… you bet your boo-tocks I’d be in favor of it.

The only difference in the way I see things is that I have a different health paradigm, so I’m looking for different solutions, I’m asking different questions, I’m committed to creating health first, and addressing the true cause, before ‘treating symptoms’. I have studied the positive and negative physiological consequences of our choices, that’s all.

But, when it’s life on the line, or crisis, or emergency… or we’ve crossed that line where we can no longer restore healthy function? We’re the same. Trust me.

Next up… I’ll share some of the core principles we’re teaching our kids on this subject of drug use.

Until then, close your eyes during drug commercials. It’s step one in desensitizing!

(Better yet, turn off the television!)

 

***

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com and http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

 

 

Update on the Bulletproof Coffee Routine

coffee

A couple months ago, I wrote about “Upgraded Coffee” from the The Bulletproof Executive.

Here’s the link to that article.

You may recall that I had just stopped drinking coffee when i came across this info. I tend to do that a few times each year… give my adrenal glands some time off and go without coffee for a few weeks or months.

The information I came across was interesting… convincing.

In fact, it had me at “healthy fats”!

So, I thought I’d give it a try.

Dr. Hubby and I have been drinking “bulletproof” coffee now for over two months.

I’ve deflected many bullets since then, so I think it must be working. ; )

Basically, you start with the “right” type of coffee. That’s the most important part of this equation.

Most people don’t realize how utterly toxic conventional coffee is. (Read that first article!)

 

 

Then, you add the goods.

Unsalted grass-fed butter is the biggie.

I know. Sounds weird.

Really, it’s major brain food to start your day! Butter is one of the most efficient ways for us to get our required fat soluble vitamins in… which our brains thrive on.

“Grass-fed” means it’s going to have “better” fats in it… like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is highly beneficial. You don’t get that from lazy cows who eat grains, soy, and corn-based diets.

I was already putting a big scoop of pure coconut oil in my coffee each morning just because it’s SO good for us.

Then, the Bulletproof folks got me onto this MCT oil kick.

It’s like super-charged coconut oil!

I didn’t try it right away because it was on back-order… so I was just enjoying the grass-fed butter and coconut oil combination.

 

Bulletproof™ Upgraded™ MCT Oil - 32 Fl. Oz.

Then our MCT oil came in.

Hmmm… interesting.

I’m not even sure how to describe the way I feel when I put all these ingredients together.

I think I really AM super-charged!

No buzz. No jitters. I feel perfectly calm… even… focused… energized… sustained. Just really gooooood!

(Not that I was feeling “bad” before… so it’s kind of hard to explain!)

I still don’t drink much coffee, relatively speaking. I have one cup most mornings now, and I could “take it or leave it” when it comes to the second. No weird cravings or reliance on the coffee.

I like that.

It seems to have balanced out something with my morning hunger as well. Shoot, it’s got enough healthy fats in it… I shouldn’t be starving after drinking this!

In fact, it really helped with a detox I did for a little over a week. I didn’t give up that cup of coffee during the detox – I had a high quality, organic coffee with the aforementioned healthy fats. I considered it part of the cleanse. Most of the times that I do a detox of cleanse, I end up feeling ‘weird’ by mid-morning if I haven’t eaten.

Not so this time around. First, because the cleansing program I used was totally different, I’m sure. But also because I felt that sustained energy and “nourishment” from the coffee. I swear it made the detox a breeze!

I’m sure I’ll take time off from coffee again at some point… just to make sure I’m not “addicted”! (Welcome to my brain.)

But, for now, I really do love drinking coffee this way. I can’t imagine going back to plain ‘ol coffee again.

Even if you don’t do the “Upgraded Coffee” or “Upgraded MCT Oil”, definitely clean up your coffee source and then try adding the grass-fed butter and some coconut oil.

We can deflect bullets together… and maybe even leap tall buildings in a single bound!

 

 

 

 

Creating Health vs. Counting Calories

diet plate

We are certainly not suffering from any shortage of so-called health experts and fitness gurus these days!

They’re offering their advice in virtually every magazine at the grocery store check-out; they’re found in droves on the internet; and some of the top-rated reality and talk shows on television feature the most well-known of these celebrity gurus.

In large part, it’s a positive thing that we have so many experts to refer to and call upon. Advice on getting fit and maintaining a healthy body composition couldn’t be timelier. The rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses directly related to them, are at all-time highs.

So, what’s the deal? We have more “health” being spoon fed to us than ever before, yet we’re fatter and sicker than ever before!

Something’s not matching up.

While there are several overlapping, interconnecting lifestyle and environmental factors at play, I believe that one of the most damaging trends is the peddling of misinformation and incorrect focus, based on a faulty paradigm of “health”.

(What the heck did she just say?!)

Health is a state of homeostatic cell function. Health is not defined by how you look or what size your jeans are.  Although, a healthy body composition and fit physique are the natural by-products of a healthy lifestyle.

We achieve health by meeting our body’s innate genetic requirements: creating purity and sufficiency in the way we move, eat, think, respond to stress, sleep… consistently and for the long run. We lose our health (move away from homeostatic cell function) when we make toxic and deficient lifestyle choices.

Is it possible to experience optimal health and function if you’re obese? No, it’s not.

Is it important to shed some of that toxic fat and overbearing weight? Yes, it really is.

Excess body fat and weight are truly dangerous to your health and quality of life. Excess body weight and body fat are not only a problem on their own, but they also directly contribute to (and dramatically increase our risk for) all chronic illnesses.

I think we’re all intelligent and experienced enough to recognize that not all methods of dropping weight are safe or beneficial.

Health needs to come first.

It’s baffling that there are still “experts” whose primary advice regarding getting healthy is to count calories. I don’t believe that knowing the caloric intake of your meal is inherently a bad thing.

What I do believe is devastating is the exclusive focus on the number of calories (or fat grams* or grams of sodium or “point value” of food) at the expense of overall nutritional and health value.

*It’s the source of the fat that’s the most important piece of information – not the total amount of fat. We need “good” fat.

Time and time again, I read reports, articles and interviews by experts (doctors, nutritionists, trainers, celebrities, etc.) where they are literally advising people to use artificial sweeteners in their recipes, or to purchase low-fat, fat-free, low-calorie or some other manipulated “diet” food for the sole purpose of cutting calories and fat.

Again, I get it. You can’t be healthy if you’re obese. But, you definitely can’t be healthy if you’re toxic!

Remember, health only happens as a result of purity and sufficiency, consistently… over time.

Limited advice that focuses primarily on cutting calories and fat will certainly have an effect on our overall weight. But, we might not live long enough to enjoy our new physique! When we make toxic and deficient choices we move away from health… skinny or not.

So, what should we be focusing on when it comes to ideal nutrition? It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Here are my “5 Golden Rules of Nutrition”.

1) Eat “Real” food. (include lots of plants)

2) Eat whole foods. Foods as close to their naturally occurring state as possible.

3) Eat fresh, local, seasonal foods. Be sure to include ample raw foods.

4) Eat food that is the least toxic possible. (e.g. organic)

5) Eat foods that have been traditionally prepared. (e.g. fermented, cultured, sprouted, etc.)

*** I would also add an important caveat to this list now. If you’re experiencing chronic weight loss resistance, I’d get with a real health expert and do some investigative work. You might need to do some functional testing to assess hormone resistance, gut permeability, oxidative stress, and cellular inflammation, in addition to other critical assessments. Contact me if you need help.***

If this is the way you ate the vast majority of the time, you’d find yourself reading labels a lot less – a very good thing!

These five guidelines for choosing healthy foods far surpass the importance of caloric content, sodium, fat, and “points”.

There’s a reason we have chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, arthritis, depression, infertility, Alzheimer’s, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, digestive and intestinal disorders, and so on, increasing at astronomical rates.

We’re not focusing on health. We’re focusing on what we look like on the outside or on the short-term pleasure and convenience of the toxic food.

If we were to shift our focus when choosing and analyzing foods to meeting our body’s genetic nutritional requirements, we’d be pleasantly surprised by the outward improvements in our bodies in addition to the obvious internal, life-saving ones.

When you give your body what it needs and avoid what it doesn’t need, it rewards you with some fabulous outward benefits!

Before reading any label, consider: Is this “real” food? Is it as close to its naturally occurring state as possible? Is it fresh? Is it the least-toxic possible?

This is the pathway to a long life… AND your skinny jeans!

 

5 Tips for Becoming a Better, Injury-Free Runner This Winter

snowy road
Just because it’s winter, and that means chilly temperatures for many of us, doesn’t mean we can’t improve our running performance.
I know you might be enjoying your warm couch rather than heading outside for some frigid running… but let’s talk about a proactive strategy to adopt ’til the weather warms up again.
Winter is a great time to take a different approach to working out and running. It’s a great time to work on any underlying weaknesses in your body, any chronic injuries, as well as performance.
This is one of the items listed in my “2013 Plan for Success”: in the first quarter, my main “health” focus is to repair my body. That includes several things, from cellular detoxification and a cellular healing diet, to addressing musculo-skeletal injuries, and changing up my workout routine to accomodate a light day with a “body nurturing” focus every other day.
If you’d like to be a better runner come spring, so that your body performs and recovers better with fewer injuries, here are 5 things you can work on over the winter:
1) Strength training & Cross-training
When we primarily participate in only one predominant form of exercise, we pave the way for weaknesses and imbalances. Take the time now to address these by branching out and adding a variety of exercise to your routine.
Add full body resistance work outs, where you focus on multi-joint exercises for both upper and lower body strength – e.g. variations of squats, lunges, dead lifts, swings, push-ups, pull-ups, overhead press, chest press, rowing, etc. Big movements to work on big groups of muscles.
One of the most common weakness patterns in longer distance runners is gluteal weakness and/or imbalances. Yes, I’m talkin’ about your bum.
Be sure you’re incorporating functional resistance training to address these weaknesses with exercises like squats and lunges. These are some of the best ways to improve glute strength.
Single-leg exercises, like Bulgarian split squats, unilateral dead lifts, and pistol squats take your glute re-balancing and strengthening to the next level. Walking lunges with some type of resistance are great for lower body strength and balance as well.
Adding instability to your work out will help improve your muscle balance, too. Make friends with a BOSU ball, balance disc, exercise ball, and any other innovative ways to create an uneven, unstable surface for you to exercise on. This creates a greater challenge for your intrinsic, core postural muscles and will pay off big when you run, and even when you don’t.
Adding high-intensity burst training will improve your performance across the board, and keep you muscular and lean. Add bursts with basic moves like burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers, varieties of kicks, vertical leaps, and so on. Of course, I highly recommend adding sprinting workouts to shake things up in your running.
A critical component of this whole enchilada is to give your body enough time to rest and recover. Make sure the day after a high intensity workout is a lighter day. If you work too hard, too many days in a row, your body has no time for repair.
If your spring, summer, and fall are filled to the brim with running, then add something completely different now. Shoot, it could be anything… skiing (downhill or cross country), snow boarding, skating, a racquet sport, dancing, kick boxing, play a sport, join a Cross Fit gym… you name it.
Of course, it would be nice to maintain some of this variety, even in your heavy running months. Just sayin’.

 

2) Joint Mobility

Again, when you primarily do one type of exercise most of the time, you set yourself up for some problems. One of them is a lack of (or imbalance in) joint mobility.

The greater the distances you’re running, the more this may tend to happen. Poor mechanics, poor posture, and chronic injury will contribute to joint dysfunction and muscular imbalances. The soft tissues that surround your joints will take a toll. If you’re not being proactive and taking care of those soft tissues, an injury is bound to occur.

Two of my favorite tools for getting down to the nitty gritty of soft tissue work are the foam roller and a lacrosse ball. Well, they’re my “favorites” in an “I seriously hate them at times” sort of way!

These two inexpensive tools can help reduce chronic inflammation and, over time with consistent use, help to restore the proper length of your over-worked muscles and reduce the strain on your joints. Some of the most common problem areas that will probably need your attention are:

  • Iliotibial band & tensor fasciae latae – “IT band” & “TFL” (those gnarly, tight things along the outer side of your thighs)
  • Glutes & piriformis muscles – basically, all over your buttocks, sacroiliac (SI) joints, and hips!
  • Hamstrings
  • Calf, soleus muscle, Achilles tendons – all lower leg stuff
  • Psoas muscle (and hip flexors) – one of the major, most overlooked, most chronic contributors to low back pain. You won’t love working on this in the moment… but you sure will afterwards!
  • Chest and upper back – just because they tend to get ignored.

You could spend an entire day reading and watching Google results from a search on how to use these two tools! Suffice it to say, they get in there and get the job done!

Kelly Starrett

Whether or not you’ve already got soreness, aches, or pain, you’ve got to tend to your soft tissues and joints. If you’ve already got pain, you’re late. : )

Hands down, my favorite go-to guy for ALL joint mobility, injury-prevention and recovery stuff is Kelly Starrett, DPT of www.MobilityWOD.com. His site offers a wealth of information, knowledge, and fantastic strategies to help your body recover from injury and perform at its best.

Love/hate him, too!

(99% love.)

3) Get Things Fixed

This tip kinda’ ties in to the last one. Take care of yourself.

In tip #2, this was up to you. Do your stretching and foam rolling and lacrosse ball work. In tip #1, adding variety and days of recovery were up to you, too.

In this tip, get the help from others you need.

I think every owner of a physical body should have a team of folks who help them take care of it. No, not pharmacists, either. Folks that help your body stay tuned up and functioning at its best… like Chiropractors. How can your body perform at its best if it’s neurologically and structurally out of whack?!  Regular Chiropractic care is part of a healthy lifestyle for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Add to that list all sorts of fabulous body work to benefit from: massage, structural integration (Rolf technique), Bowen technique, postural integration, Hellerwork, Soma, CORE… so much to choose from!

Take advantage of this time of year, when your running schedule might not be as intense, to address underlying chronic issues. Get ‘em fixed… then maintain your new & improved “fix-ed-ness”!

4) Assess Your Running Technique

This one may be a bit tricky. Maybe. Maybe not.

Many running experts suggest having a video taken of your running technique so you can take a look-see at your technique – posture, stride, cadence, foot strike, etc.

Whether you can swing the video or not, one of the most important, injury-preventing tips for running is to be aware of the amount of force you’re landing on, and where the brunt of that force is taking place.

Think of landing “softly” with each step. Like a cheetah. I’ve never seen a cheetah pound its feet into the ground when its running! Swift and light.

Many running coaches recommend, in order to accomplish this lighter landing, that you adjust your cadence a bit. Shorter, quicker strides. Give it a try – see if it reduces the brunt of the impact for you.

Also, the obvious thing to address here is heel strike. If cheetahs had a “heel”, I seriously doubt they’d land on it first! If you’re driving that heel down first, your kinetic chain will suffer – too much jarring impact through the heel… up to the knee… into the hips… low back… you get the picture.

Of course, there’s far more to proper running technique than just cadence and foot strike, but most would agree that foot strike is one of the most important things to assess, and correct, first. Oh, and quit stickin’ your head out so far in front… your brain wants to be over your spinal cord!

5) Eat an “Anti-Inflammatory” Diet

This is just a no-brainer for overall health and performance.

Chronic cellular inflammation not only prevents optimal performance and recovery from injury, but it puts us at serious risk for developing chronic and degenerative illness. This is serious stuff.

Some of the more inflammatory foods to consider reducing or eliminating are:

  • trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats & oils
  • high fructose corn syrup, conventional corn and all its derivatives
  • refined sugar and excess of any source of sugar (including grains)
  • artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors
  • modern soy and all its derivatives
  • energy drinks, ‘sports’ drinks, fruit drinks, designer coffee drinks, soda pop
  • the majority of packaged snack and convenience foods, fast foods, junk foods
  • diet food & beverages, low-fat & fat-free foods
  • conventional dairy products & conventional meats/animal products that are grain-fed, soy-fed, or corn-fed

Keep it simple: grass-fed meats and eggs, wild-caught fish from deep cold waters, healthy (real) fats, abundant fresh vegetables, some fruit, fermented and cultured foods, some raw nuts & seeds, lots of pure water, and some ‘green drinks’  for good luck! Beyond Organic is a great source for many of these healthier foods.  (Check out your local farmers, too.)

To take it to the next level, you could even work on a cellular detoxification program where the focus is to restore optimal communication at the cell membrane, thus improving all hormonal function, and improving the ‘excretion’ of toxins out of the cell while improving the ‘flow’ of nutrients into the cell.

This is all part of the recover, repair, and regenerate phase we can focus on at this time of year.

(Contact me if you’d like more info about a thorough detox protocol to accomplish this.)

*****

Let me know what YOU do during the cooler (colder) months to stay in shape and be ready for more running in the spring!