Category Archives: Firstline Therapy

The Ketogenic Diet, Doing it Right

Easy Peasy?*

It seems so easy, so simple. Add fats, reduce carbs. Bingo, and the fast track to weight loss, right? Not so fast. For best results, and even more importantly, for your own safety, make sure you implement the Ketogenic diet with a good grasp of what it is, and with guidance from those who are trained to make it work best for you.

When you change to a ketogenic diet, you are changing the energy source for your body from primarily glucose from carbs to ketones from fats. That is no small thing. Thats like changing your car from gas to electric. Well, kinda, you don’t actually change the motor, since our bodies are much more advanced, but you are changing the fuel, so your performance will change in a couple ways.

Let your Calories be Your Guide

So to start with a calorie guide can help. To start a basic rule is 10 times the weight you want to reach is the calories you want to consume. so for example, you want to weigh 150lbs? Then Consume 1500 calories, 185 lbs, 1850 calories, and so on. This is of course a basic rule, and will have to be adjusted for height and other factors…

But then what fats? What carbs? How much of each, and when?  Is it a lifestyle, or a temporary menu plan? This is where it can become a bit more tricky, and where some fail to maximize the plan.

Take it Away

First What to remove: Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Corn, Peas, Beans, Beets, and even most fruits, especially Bananas. You must let your carbs come from Vegetables.

Now Use Your Fists…

Fats and Proteins. How much and from where? First how much?  With ratios at about 60-70% fats, 20-30% proteins, and 10% carbs you have a starting point. But how do you calculate those amounts?

Here is a general rule. A fist sized portion of protein, and a fist sized portion of healthy fats from non legged sources like Fish and veggies at each meal, and five meals a day. Since Proteins have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram, you end up with an almost perfect ratio for your energy balance in those portion sizes. If you decrease the meal frequency, you must increase the meal size for your proper energy balance. But we recommend the five meal plan because it is always better to eat for energy as needed. As a possible solution you can add a ketogenic shake.You could also use a ketogenic soup.

You can also add medium chain triglycerides (MCT) to speed the process, and add fat energy more quickly since these are processed faster than long chain triglycerides (LCT).

While these fats and proteins form one key component of the diet and most of the calories there is also another vital component you cannot forget.

Don’t Lose Your Color

Protein and fat is great, but you really NEED your vegetables too. Leaves and all sorts of textures and colors. This is not just for specific nutrients which are extremely important when you limit your diet, but for fiber, and to keep a healthy GI tract by feeding and sustaining your microflora balance, which as we have said in other posts is about 70% of your immune system.  Remember too this expansive colored diet needs to be for all five meals. So all your red, yellow, purple, black, orange, and green. The more per meal the better.

Shifting Gears

Shifting your body from a standard diet to one that transitions you into ketosis will result in your body, and particularly your brain, taking issue with your new plan. Carbs hold water, and when your brain senses the dehydration you will experience, particularly if you don’t make sure to drink lots of water, you will suffer headaches and other symptoms of dehydration, almost like a hangover or the flu. (Not that any of you EVER experienced that!). That is what salt or in this case better yet, ketone-salts come in. They can rapidly induce ketosis and help your body retain more of the water and minimize the effects of this transitional dehydration.

Another effect of the transition is that for 7-10 days, your body and muscles will be adjusting to switching energy sources, and this can be tough particularly for athletes. Athletes on rigorous resistance training programs, cross-fit, interval, and endurance programs need to be ready to be weaker and less vital and to actually lose some strength over this period, which can be as hard on the ego as it is on the body. This would be a good time to switch to aerobic exercise, lighter weights, and just less intensity during this period. After the 7-10 day window, the body should be ready to go right back to the previous intensity, and be fully able to handle what you bring, with new energy from fat sources fueling the momentum.

Not Really Meant as a Weight Loss Program

The ketogenic diet is a great way to burn fats, and get energy. It is a clean and efficient way for the body to burn its own fat stores, and manage glucose levels. And you can lose weight.

However, it is also a potential recipe for fast weight gain, as with most extreme diets taken exclusively for weight loss. Because a person tends to be extreme, and try to limit all carbs and sugars, which can be good and is really the purpose of the diet, they can quickly revert to extreme indulgence in those loved carb and sugar laden components missed while on the plan. As with all things, and as the name of this site and blog indicate, we are for balanced lifestyle changes that maintain health, not just regulate the number on a scale which is often deceptive, and NOT an exclusive indicator of health. You could weigh less and actually be less healthy than if you weighed more, if your composition is off balance.

So there is a lot to consider, and we certainly encourage you to get as much information as possible before embarking on an extreme menu change. We will be having more posts about this and other programs to maintain health and wellness, and we encourage you to keep checking back and follow our instagram @therapeuticlifestylechange for updates and relevant posts to help you along the way!

More to come…..

James Marfleet, CNC, LE

*Important Note:

I am a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Lifestyle Educator, not a doctor. Even more Importantly I am not your Doctor. Your Doctor knows you and your physiology best. Always be in communication with your doctor when you start a new diet regimen,  particularly one as drastic as a ketogenic plan. If not done right, some have been dangerously dehydrated, and suffered other ill effects, due to improper implementation. With proper guidance and the right tools, and possibly even some enhanced supplements, you can really see fast progress in utilizing the ketogenic plan.

*This post and all statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. No products referred to on this site are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. Apparently, the FDA is only concerned with deciding if profitable drugs from billion dollar pharmaceutical companies can be used for improving health, and not if food and supplements can be used to mitigate chronic or acute conditions. Since this is the case, we always advise close communication with your physician before changing anything in your diet or exercise program. Most Doctors will likely agree with us anyway!

Buying a Multivitamin Could Save You Money, and more

How Buying Supplements Saves Money

An Economic report issued by the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRN) in 2014 indicated that nutritional supplementation including a good multivitamin can greatly reduce personal as well as national healthcare costs. According to Steve Mister, president, CRN Foundation,  “Chronic disease takes a huge toll on people’s quality of life, and the health care system spends a tremendous amount of money treating chronic disease, but has failed to focus on ways to reduce those costs through prevention,” he continued, “We already knew that the dietary supplements identified in the report can play a role in reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases; we felt compelled to find out if they could also contribute to health care cost savings by reducing the medical events associated with those conditions. This new report says emphatically that they do.”

We have a full post about this report here.

We Need A Maintenance Plan

We all know when we are healthy we do not need medical care. That seems obvious. However, unlike their cars, people are often less inclined to provide the extra nutrients needed by their bodies, until they start to feel negative effects of poor nutrition. This is of course, when the body is already in a state of decline, and will take much more effort to bring back to balance. Stable and regular supplemental nutrition such as from a good multivitamin, is like a vehicle maintenance program. Gas, oil, filters, fluids, parts, and service personnel are all metaphorically represented by food and nutrients for our body. If we keep a good schedule, and the right components, we will run longer and better, with less catastrophic failure.

Sadly our food production and distribution system does not provide the highest quality components in food alone. Vitamin and mineral depletion in foods is due to so many factors that would be a whole other post. One I will have to do sometime. Just to quickly cover some things though, here are some basic examples.

Reasons Food is Not Enough Anymore

  1. The water is deficient in nutrients due to modern processing.
  2. The soil is over-farmed not allowing for nutrients to replenish. Scientific American had a post about this here.
  3. The foods are packaged and shipped long distances to maximize profits.
  4. Local foods are shipped far away to get a better price, and cheaper foods come in from abroad because they can be produced cheaper. This makes it necessary to pick sooner, to preserve for the trip, losing valuable “cooking” time connected to the soil and enzymes.
  5. Toxins, either directly used as pesticides, or indirectly absorbed from other sources.
  6. Grain feeding animals instead of letting them eat what they need, like grass. This makes the meat we eat very nutrient depleted, and even unsafe in some cases. Deadly E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria are nourished by the acidic environment in the intestines of cattle created by grain feeding. E. coli bacteria that can actually kill people. Grass fed beef does not have this problem.

You’ve Got The Power

Since foods cannot supply what you need on their own, finding a program of supplements is essential, perhaps even more than just a multivitamin. It is not really optional like we used to think. It would be like putting gas in your car, but never changing the oil. Or maybe filling an aircraft with enough fuel for 800 miles, and planning a trip for 1200 on that fuel. Hopefully it is a good glider, or you will drop from the sky like a stone! You can’t trick physics anymore than you can fool your cells into building from insufficient materials.

When you add a program of supplements, including a multivitamin, you give your body the tools it needs to make the demands you place upon it possible in the long term. If you don’t it’s  just a matter of time before you run out of fuel, and your mechanics quit. Then you are gliding along hoping to cheat the natural laws that dictate what it takes to run your body’s machinery.

Most people are deficient in some key components. Fiber, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Omega-3 Fatty acids, also called “fish oils” since one of the greatest sources is fish. That alone is a long list! And that is just a few indicated by a number of media and medical sources. You can search for these studies all over the web. There are many more other studies indicate, but each person is different and your own diet and environment will determine your personal deficiencies. Even your level of activity will determine to some degree the Macro and Micro nutrients you need for your system to function at it’s best.

You Get What You Pay For, Why Saving Money is Not Saving You Anything.

When we go to the local supplement store, we may think that reading the label provides valuable information guiding a wise choice in our healthcare and nutrient intake. Sadly this is not the case. The FDA does not regulate the production of supplements as far as accurate labeling. There is no regulatory body that checks for accuracy. A number of studies have been done, and all of them show a sorely lacking ethical concern with proper labeling and accurate levels of nutrients shown on bottles.

Recently the attorney general of New York leveled accusations against Target, Walgreens, GNC, and Wal-Mart. The claim was that they are selling herbal supplements that claimed to contain ingredients they didn’t actually contain. Some dispute the testing techniques, but DNA tests of some of these stores’ supplements found that only about 1 in 5 had the DNA from the herbs and plants the label indicated.

Consider the Source First

So it is not so much what the label indicates that shows you are getting quality supplements. The company who produces the supplements is far more important to research than the claims of the labels. Only a company that is, by it’s own strict self regulating standards, determined to provide quality will actually do so. So paying less for a product, could actually just be wasting money entirely. None of us want that.

So you have a few options with multivitamins from Metagenics.  There are many programs, designed for an assortment of needs from general wellness, to the specific needs of men, women, pregnant women, menopause, balancing blood sugar, and joint health. These include a premium multivitamin as well as targeted additional supplements like Omega-3’s for specific circumstances. See the documentation below.

You Pay For What You Get, Why You Pay More When You Pay Less.

We do not endorse bargain supplements. Pay less = get less. But paying more does not always get more. Sadly there are less than scrupulous companies charging big bills for bad pills. Whether you use us as a source for your needs or not, don’t be lured in by price alone. It would be nice if apples were apples. If paying less is the only concern, you will ultimately pay more. 12 apples that weigh 4 ounces are not the same as 10 apples that weigh 4 lbs. What seems less can actually be more, don’t let the numbers fool you.

No one would knowingly pay money with the knowledge they will not get what they are buying.  Not getting what you are trying to buy is not saving anyone anything, it is a waste pure and simple. You work hard to earn your money, and a supplement company should not get that money unless they work hard to give you what they say you are buying.

Not to mention, harm can be caused by products that are produced in less than ethical or savory conditions. There is very little value nutritionally in low quality products. You will pay a great deal more later for the medical care you were trying to avoid.*

We can offer large discounts to our buyers on Metagenics® products, because we are a direct seller, not just a retailer. We save on stocking and shipping, because we ship directly from Metagenics® own production facility, so we can pass those savings on to you!

What It Does Not Mean

So as with all medical information, no guarantees can be made. When we try to better our health, there are so many factors to consider, one thing alone will not be enough. We at Therapeutic Lifestyle Change describe in our name what we propose is needed to maximize overall health and wellness, namely, Lifestyle Change. Only with a fully integrated health plan can we hope to battle the onslaught of corporate sponsored un-health. Let’s face it, there is more money to be made in good tasting, easy prepackaged food. We are all so busy, it is hard not to be sucked in.

We are dedicated to provide guidance and knowledge and quality products that can at least help to support the changes necessary to create a better tomorrow for anyone who chooses to start to make these changes.  Consider it an investment in your future. It is also an investment in your family, your children’s families and generations to come.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. No products or suggestions referred to on this site are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. Apparently, the FDA is only concerned with deciding if profitable drugs from billion dollar pharmaceutical companies can be used for improving health, and not if food and supplements can be used to mitigate chronic or acute conditions. Since this is the case, we always advise close communication with your physician before changing anything in your diet or exercise program. Most Doctors will likely agree with us anyway!

Body Composition & Sumo Wrestlers

Japan Times Photo

Food Portion Distortion,  Body Composition, and Sumo Wrestlers?

Good or bad body composition can vary with genetics, but if we understand the principles, we can see that it is mostly our own doing. Most of us, when faced with an opportunity to eat our favorite food, take it as a challenge to see how much we can fit into our body at one sitting.

Think of this: If you try to overfill your gas tank, you will spill fuel onto the concrete, running the risk of a catastrophic fire, exploding into a blaze of all consuming flames of destruction and mayhem. If your car knew this, and had the ability, it would construct an excess storage tank, and keep all the extra for later.  If you overfilled each time, before using the fuel in the excess storage, you would need still more storage, until the weight would make travel difficult and even impossible.

While eating too much at each meal will not have such an immediate catastrophic response (Usually), you are telling your body to put in a reserve tank. Every time you eat more calories than you use, you make your body build new stores of fat and change your body composition. What your Body can actually use is relative to activity and muscle mass, which is under perpetual construction and demolition. As you create a lifestyle around this excess calorie model, your storage, which is really you, will just get bigger.

All of this relates to your always changing body composition. What composes the very fiber of your being. Your weight does not tell who you are, this is not a personality contest. Your weight and your composition do tell what you are, physically, or what your cells are made of materially.

Don’t Skip 

Now some would say, “Hey, then I will just eat less, maybe even skip one of those fat creating meals”. Ok, that almost sounds logical right? not eating should make your body lose fat right? Sadly, this is not the case, and is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight. Your body, Just like your car, needs fuel, and it needs it at very specific levels and at very specific intervals. You may be surprised how much you have to eat to just keep up with your Base Metabolic Rate and keep a static body composition.

Self Cannibalization

When you skip a meal, it can slow this rate, which is the speed with which your body burns the needed calories. Not only that, since your brain in particular, even if you were just sitting in a vegetative state watching TV, needs glucose to keep running. where does it get this energy? If you dont provide outside sources through food, your body will actually break down muscle tissue, send the proteins and other body components to the liver and kidneys in a process called gluconeogenesis. All that word means is your body makes new glucose: gluco=glucose, neo=new, genesis=origin or formation. So you take tissue from your own body, and you cannibalize yourself.

Not only is this just as bad as it sounds, it’s worse. As your body takes muscle mass, and converts it to glucose, it loses part of it’s calorie burning power with each bit of muscle tissue it consumes, making the next meal even more likely to be stored as fat. Muscle is like the cars engine. You start with a 12 cylinder super drag racer, and by skipping meals you can lose them one by one, ending up with a little lawn mower engine, that’s hard to start with a broken pull cord.

Not Overweight, but Overfat?

Many people who think they look good because of losing weight, and they might look better to some degree, have actually become what is called “over-fat”. Why?  This is because they changed the muscle weight they had to fat weight by not eating enough to feed their bodies requirement of macronutrients. So the total weight is less, but the ratio and percentage of fat is higher than it used to be. They will be weaker, and their immune system may be compromised due to this loss of essential calorie burning machinery. It would be like running out of gas, and then your car has a system of consuming engine parts to make energy. You can see this cannot be sustained for a long time without catastrophic failure.

Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail

Ok I don’t prefer Cliche´s, but this one is an exception. Planning is truly the key, just like in any successful endeavor of life. Sadly we tend to put food on such a low level of importance for good planning, because we feel that available prepared foods have already been planned for us. They have definitely been planned. They have been planned to make the most money for the companies which sell them. It’s not that they are all evil, it’s economics 101. They produce what people will buy, trying to have the highest margin of profit to sustain the company, provide growth to shareholders, and pay the workers etc. Just like you look for the most effective and efficient way to do your job.

Look into what a private chef does. They plan schedules of meals, where to shop, ingredient, and techniques meticulously. You don’t have to be so detailed, unless you want to, but imagine if even a professional chef did not plan anything. No amount of training or experience can make a quality meal from rotten or spoiled, let alone missing ingredients.

Good Plan

Would you leave the house without combing your hair, or getting dressed? Of course not right? But doesn’t that take more time than just walking out the door? Yes but we prioritize what gets us results that are immediately observable. It is a weakness we all have, to put aside as less important the things that are truly more valuable. What good is a great outfit, and hairdo, or even a great career, if our body is breaking down? So planning food, which really won’t take that long, is really going to pay off in the long run, like a great financial investment we are willing to let sit for years to mature.

This does not mean you have to eat bark, leaves, and suck on a rock for minerals, drinking only water pumped directly from the artesian springs of your nearest health guru co-op. Not so. Foods that are good for you will likely taste even better than the junk, they just might take a bit more prep.

Impatience Could Make Inpatients 

To maintain a healthy body composition, you need to eat, on average, a meal or healthy snack every 3-4 hours. Just like you need to get gas every 3-400+ miles depending on your car.  You can’t get away with altering that schedule for long. Also you should eat slowly, and the right kinds of foods, which is tough when its your favorite pizza, pasta, or dessert! It takes your body about 20 minutes to register the intake and to tell you it’s had enough. Take your time, and allocate good ratios of quality foods to make your eating both pleasurable and good for you.

Eating too quick will skew your bodies ability to regulate the intake naturally, and could send you to the doctor more frequently.

What Size Portions?

If you think in terms of familiar objects, you can easily gauge your portion sizes to be appropriate for your bodies needs. If you then plan a menu for all the nutrients you need (something we can help you with if you like) you will know immediately even when eating out, what portions of the different foods are good, and which ones are going to be a problem. For example, a standard portion of meat, or highly concentrated protein should be about the size of a deck of cards. So don’t load the deck, just play a fair game and keep your poker face.

To Lose Weight, Eat More

Successful weight loss and getting better body composition will actually involve eating more than  you even think you can. I’d say it again, but just go ahead and read it again. Yes, if you eat all the calories your body needs, you will not be hungry even while losing weight. The challenge will be getting it all down during the day.  To lose weight you need 3 meals, and at least 2 snacks spaced out at 3-4 hour intervals. This gives your body fuel, and fuels even more fat burning.

Your hormone levels (insulin and glucagon) are also directly affected by whether you eat or not during the day, in real time. That muscle eating process we discussed earlier? The body releases glucagon which starts the process of breaking down the muscle when you skip meals. So if you skip a meal you are losing weight, just not the weight you want. A lighter car makes it more fuel efficient right? Unless the engine is what you took out. Then it’s a no-go.

So eat ALL your meals, and even add a snack in between them, and you will change your whole body, and your life.

Are You on The Sumo Wrestler Diet?

Sumo Wrestlers are big right? Really big. Most of that body composition is fat too. You would think all they do is eat right? No, again, that is not the only thing needed.  Athletes who are fit and trim can eat just as many and even more calories! Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day! But he also burned it every day.

Sumo wrestlers who can eat around 10,000 calories or more actually only eat twice a day! TWICE!! What! How is that even possible? It’s possible for all the reasons we have discussed here. It’s scientific. They eat two HUGE meals, 5,000 plus calories each, and load them with very high glycemic index foods like potatoes, white breads, bagels, etc. Then they go to sleep. So they take in huge amounts of energy containing foods, then use none of the energy. It is then stored as fat, and they get big, with bad body composition. We can’t cheat. It happens every time.

So don’t eat a large meal late at night, and then go to sleep. Also, make yourself as active as you can, so the calories you take in get burned. Take a long walk. Walk to lunch, far away. Get a dog to walk. Do everything you can the hard way physically! It doesn’t have to be much, but don’t eat and sit. It’s science.

Water and Weight Loss

Weight Loss with More Water

Did you know that you retain less water if you drink more of it? Crazy right? Who would think you could have significant weight loss just by drinking more water? Very few people realize this seeming contradiction. Water is the body’s lubrication and disposal system. It carries nutrients and other substances to cells, waste from the cells, lubricates joint surfaces as well as other organs, and keeps the respiratory tract properly moisturized. It also keeps the digestive system working properly. Without enough water your body gets sticky inside. All the waste builds up, and you keep toxins in that you should be in a hurry to get rid of. Your body also tries to prevent more loss, thus the retention of water, working against any attempt at weight loss.


Get Your Weight Loss Motor Running

Just imagine an engine without oil, or with just a little. All those surfaces in close contact, with very little or no barrier to friction and almost no moisture to keep seals from drying out and cracking. When the intake of water is low, the body has an emergency response to maintain levels to keep functioning. That is when it retains the water that is left and keeps more of the little bit you consume on hand, thinking there will be too little coming in the future to let any more go. So much for expecting weight loss when your body is hanging on to water!

It all begins because of a hormone your body secretes if too little water is being consumed. The hormone is aldosterone, and it is even more accentuated if there is too little protein is in the diet, which often happens when people go on the latest fad diets, thinking they are doing themselves good. It is also worse for women just prior to menstruation due to hormone imbalance.

Also, fad diets should be called “fat” diets, because they do not create proper body composition and actually can make a person “overfat” even if they are not overweight. This means that the proportion of fat is actually a higher percentage of the total weight than is normal, because the diet concentrated on weight loss and not health improvement. Water retention is just another example.

You Are What You Drink

Since 70% of your body is water, keeping that level up, and sufficient to flush your system completely, takes a good amount. Maybe more than you are used to. Drinking more reduces the production of the hormone aldosterone, and thus the bloating, as well as the weight accompanying it is reduced. Your body expels the proper amounts of water and sodium, and everything can go on as normal. And not only does it result in weight loss of water, but your body is in a better position to get rid of other waste, that collects in under-hydrated cells and tissues.

How to Increase Water Intake

Now the standard recommendation from many doctors for proper water intake has been about 1/2 your body weight in ounces. So if you are 160lbs then that means about 80 ounces of water a day, barring excessive heat, exercise, or other factors that would increase that amount. Just a regular day, no particular special circumstances. Now you don’t have to go out and gulp down a gallon of water after reading this. As with all things there is a need for reasonableness. start with a couple glasses a day, then add one, then another. You should reach a sort of “threshold” where retention is noticeably reduced, you lose a few pounds , and you begin to have a regular thirst.

Note the Change, then Note The Change

Once you begin this process you could write notes or add reminders to your smartphone or schedule as to when you should have water and how much. You might even get a measured container with the amount you need for the day, and keep track of your consumption so you drink it all each day. After a while it will be natural, and you will not need to force yourself anymore, it will just feel right. You might even add some natural flavor like an orange or lemon slice, to spice it up a bit. You will notice the changes in how you feel and your lack of retention of water.

Water You Waiting For?

Ok, I couldn’t resist! Bad pun, but for a good reason, water is “clearly” one of the best tools for a healthy diet, and for good system functionality. Use it generously, and start now. After all it is also the most plentiful liquid on earth, so it should not be hard to find.


Juicing Diets May Just Be Too Sweet

The Juicing Diet claims

You have probably heard people touting the benefits of a juicing diet. The “nutrients are in the juice” “speed up the absorption of nutrients”, “concentrate the nutrients”…etc. These are the claims of proponents of heavy juicing diets. While this can be partially true, there is a significant problem that few hear about. It is the very concentration of the juice that is the issue.

I will acknowledge that juice from fresh fruit and veggies is a decent source of nutrients. It does even concentrate them in a smaller easier to ingest form. But remember, EVERYTHING in the juice is concentrated. Why does this matter? Have you ever wondered why fruits and vegetables have all that fibrous build up around all that healthy juice? It was no mistake they were created that way. It is the same reason pharmaceutical pills are designed as time release, dissolving tablets and capsules.

Why Juice comes in a Fibrous Package

Your body requires a measured dose of macro and micro nutrients each day, throughout the day. While a juicing diet does flood the many essential nutrients rapidly, one element of juice makes drinking too much, or using juice as your vegetable intake a dangerous proposition. Sugar. Yes juices have all the sugar from the vegetables and fruits they come from. This can be a lot. Fiber provides a safe and manageable absorption rate for these nutrients and sugars to be absorbed. Without regulation, excess sugar consumed too rapidly, even from healthy foods, is bad for you. As discussed in the posts on this site Type 2 Diabetes and other problems including cardiovascular disease, are associated with excess sugars in the diet, and increased insulin levels. It does not matter where the sugar comes from, even if its supposed to be a healthy juicing diet. We are not saying a Juicing diet would cause Type 2 Diabetes, but the spikes in sugar and insulin can be an unhealthy roller coaster for your body to ride.

When you eat whole foods veggies and fruits included, they are like time release capsules. The nutrients are assimilated into the body in a slow methodical and calculated digestive process, which allows the body to unpack and distribute nutrients and sugars in an organized way. The fiber in those foods actually regulate and slow the process of assimilation so the bodies systems can keep up with the intake, particularly of the sugars. This allows insulin levels to keep a measured pace and the body can use the energy from the sugars during the few hours of assimilation.

The Sugar Flood

Juice however takes all the roadblocks out of the process. Its like a torrential downpour on a drought stricken area. Flash floods and erosion, instead of saturation. So much sugar is taken in so fast (think of how many apples it takes to make an average glass of juice) your body cannot possibly assimilate it quickly enough, and the result is excess sugar in the system, releasing excess insulin, possibly even creating insulin resistance over time, just like too  much candy or fast food. Then the excess sugar the body cannot assimilate or expel fast enough is turned into fat, and stored as metabolically active and toxin releasing cells, which can even create or exacerbate inflammation and all the inflammatory disorders so common today.

The fact is you need the fiber. The fiber is essential to regulating blood sugar, and keeping the GI tract in good shape. Fiber also fills space, so you feel full and don’t take in too much food. In addition to fruit and vegetable fibers good fiber sources include: beans, bran, brown rice, and nuts. You can even use powdered varieties, but the whole grains and complete foods are always best both for the fiber, nutrients, and sugars.

The Balance of a Juicing Diet

Obviously moderate use of juice can be beneficial. Adding protein and fiber to a smoothie can also help make a concentrated juicing diet a little more balanced. But it is always best to eat as many whole fruits and vegetables as is possible, since they are perfectly designed to allow the body to properly use and distribute the components of the food appropriately.

In my next post I will address the importance of water.

Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Sugars in the diet.

So, we are always told that to make a successful diet plan, you need to decrease food intake, and increase activity. That is by far a monumental oversimplification and is actually wrong thinking. A successful diet often actually increases food intake, along with moderate, but not necessarily vigorous activity. Your body needs food, and taking this away can weaken your system. But the right kind of foods are essential, and in proper proportion, and with good spacing between them. (we will get to some of that later)


Protein for instance is a vital building block the body needs in the diet to function and make muscle, skin, hair, and other tissues in the body. Without the right amount of dietary protein each day, you are depriving your body of essential nutrients needed to make you healthy, build new cells and strengthen your immune system. Protein also aids in the manufacture of hormones and enzymes to help with digestion, and proper metabolism of foods. There are many sources of good protein, all meats, vegetables, and legumes have it in varied amounts, but the best sources are actually fish (due to high Omega 3 fatty acids), eggs, lean meats, nuts, and even dairy products.

Some protein should be included with each meal in your diet, because these high protein foods are usually low GI (Glycemic Index) foods, or low sugar load foods which means they will fill you up, without creating cravings for more high glycemic foods. This will control your appetite and reduce unhealthy cravings, causing better distribution of nutrients throughout the day.


When it comes to carbohydrates, and sugars in the diet, this is where it gets tricky. You need carbs, and sugars since they are what provide good sources of all kinds of good dietary components like fiber, energy, vitamins and minerals, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, polyphenols, things all needed for proper body function. Some carbohydrates however are not good for you since they are “High GI” foods and can spike the sugars in your system as we discussed earlier, and create problems with your bodies regulatory system for sugars with insulin, and can actually lead to type 2 Diabetes over time. The more refined and processed the carbohydrates and sugars, the worse off your system will be. Soda, candy, cookies, cake, white bread, bagels, french fries, potato chips, white rice, and all the high sugar breakfast cereals are all very processed, and are high GI foods that spike your sugars when included in the diet. This raises insulin, and results in stored fat, and low energy, adding more risk for chronic disease and all sorts of inflammation.


If you are going to eat the right carbohydrates, you need to eat whole foods, naturally provided with fruits, vegetables, beans, and unrefined grains like whole grain breads and pastas, instead of the pretty white refined ones.

We will next discuss a good food composition in the diet plan, how to structure a plan to get the right components, and when and how to eat them.

How Fat is Misunderstood

Low fat, non-fat, fat fat fat. We always hear about fat as though it is the enemy. The logic is if you eat fat it gets added on to your body like adding clay to a sculpture. People think “low fat” means healthy. But even with all this propaganda and clever labeling of foods, the world gets fatter. 65% of the population are overweight in this country, and 30% obese! People are less healthy, including the ones on the “lowfat” diets. Why? How could a lowfat diet make you fat?


There are a few reasons. First of all, when fat is taken out of foods there is usual a tendency to replace that part of the foods makeup and flavor with something else….sugar. So much is added that when eaten, the body secretes high amounts of insulin, the hormone which helps the body regulate sugars in the system. Strangely this increased insulin signals greater hunger, and the additional sugars are stored as fat! Yes fat. So “lowfat” but high sugar actually is worse than the original fat contained in the product you thought was helping you lose weight. When you start your day with a high glycemic index (GI) food, it will serve to increase your hunger for the remainder of the day making you eat more “lowfat” food and creating a cycle of weight gain. Doesn’t it just make you angry? It is really criminal that food producers can claim as healthy, foods that are actually worse for you, but that is the magic of marketing. It does not matter what the truth is if it sells better by saying something else.


Another factor is that we actually need fat in our diet. Not just any fat of course, but the right kind. This proper fat actually makes you eat less by filling you up faster, and it is a low GI food. Red meat and dairy have what you call “saturated fats”. These are not the ones you want. So if you eat red meat, make it lean, and dairy is not only a bad fat, but is also highly inflammatory, so is to be strictly limited. These fats actually worsen insulin resistance which is the bodies resistance to the proper function of insulin to allow sugars into the cells for use as energy. This is due to the cycle of too much insulin being produced as a result of high blood sugar brought about by high GI food intake. The body senses the high insulin, and the cells start to shut the door, recognizing this as a problem.

So what fat do we need? To start with cold water fish and flaxseed have these fats, nuts, seeds, safflower, soybean, and olive oil, avocados, all possess these fats as well. You may have heard of them. Omega 6 and Omega 3 oils. Our diet should have a 1-1 ratio of these fatty acids, and in years gone by they used to. Grass fed beef has a 1-1 ratio of these oils, but corn fed, which is most of todays beef, does not. Also we used to eat more oils and fish, nuts and seeds, and so forth. Now we think we are doing ourselves a favor by eating low fat foods and diet meals processed and prepared for us for speed, and what we think is food prepared by health professionals for our benefit. Not always true. The more a food is pre-processed, the less your body has to work to digest, the faster the food is assimilated and the faster the blood sugar spikes after a meal, which as we already stated is bad news. The fiber content in whole foods is a regulatory material which helps keep the speed of assimilation at a proper level, which keep the sugar levels at a good constant rate. We will also discuss meal spacing and snacks (the good kind) later too which is part of the issue.


Now, to cap it off, we need certain fats. Your brain is actually mostly fat. But, don’t think this means that you should go on a fat binge. There is still a need for balance. Avoid things like potato chips and snack foods since these have the bad fats. Cakes, cookies and donuts too are no good. Lard, Margarine, palm and kernel oil, cheese, shortening, poultry skin, deep fried foods and any trans fats, or hydrogenated oils.

Next time we’ll talk about the use of protein, carbohydrates, and sugars in the right way for a balance diet. Happy eating!

Congress Discusses Functional Medicine in Healthcare.

Healthcare According to Congress

The healthcare system is getting attention and Congress and the world are exploring the most effective ways to administer healthcare. It has become even more imperative that we address how much power the individual has in caring for themselves medically. The whole concept of lifestyle change is based upon the idea that your own choices can have more impact on your healthcare than many medical interventions. This is because lifestyle changes address the problems before they happen. They are preventative, instead of trying to repair a damaged body after the fact. Recently the U.S. Congress discussed this very fact. Check out the press release from the Council of Responsible Nutrition.

It seems so elegant and sophisticated to solve complex problems medically. For the medical community it has seemed too rudimentary and simple for nutrition and lifestyle to be accorded the same weight as actual medical science. As some of my other posts have indicated though, new discoveries warrant another look. Epigenetics and modern biochemistry make scientific equality of nutritional and environmental issues essential for medical science to even progress. These two elements are becoming even more important to study since so little is known about their true connection to all aspects of body function and disease. They are emerging sciences. As such are only beginning to show their importance in the overall prevention and treatment of the diseases and chronic disorders that have also financially crippled so many in the last century.

The linked article above from the Council for Responsible Nutrition quotes one M.D. this way:

“Mark Hyman, M.D., Medical Director of The UltraWellness Center and nationally recognized author, speaker and authority on prevention and wellness, spoke about the importance of treating the entire system, not just the symptoms, when it comes to health conditions or illnesses.

“The irony is that the current healthcare system will pay for expensive medical treatments, but it won’t pay for dietary supplements to keep our bodies healthy,” said Dr. Hyman. “As a nation, we are overfed but undernourished. Dietary supplements play an important role in functional and preventive medicine.””

Can Science Catch Up with Us?

Science is trying to catch up with our own bodies natural ability to heal when given the proper tools. They do not fully understand the body, but are trying, and are just beginning to really formulate some tools. That is why I work along with a company called Metagenics and use their products. This company is not merely a supplier of nutriceuticals, but is on the forefront, with it’s research team headed by Dr. Jefferey Bland Ph.D, creator of the concept of Functional Medicine, of studying these emerging scientific patterns, and how to utilize them in modern nutritional therapy.

Since you cannot patent a food, or at least should never be allowed to, (contrary to some GMO food patents currently held) their research is unusual. Why?  It does enhance their ability to create proprietary blends of different nutrients and profit from their sale. However, the nutrients themselves, once isolated as functioning in a particular therapeutic capacity, are fair game to any manufacturer to use, citing the studies paid for by Metagenics. That is what prevents the FDA from accepting health food products official claims to treat disease.

If the same resources that pharmaceutical companies use to develop profitable synthetic drugs were used to prove the efficacy of natural remedies, we could see a much more rapid development of standardized therapies from nutrition and supplements. But who will pay for the studies and the science that they will not personally benefit from financially where does the money come from? Good question. It has to be someone who cares about the science more than the money, and helping others more than themselves. This seems contrary to the very nature of our species. But in the case of nutrition, helping others is helping ourselves, and not pursuing this with all our force and resources, is self destructive.

We must all keep our eyes and ears open for new information and emerging studies. These can help empower us to become stronger and healthier using simple techiques. All this without relying exclusively on post-catastrophic intervention, and chemical cocktails that line pockets. All science must work together, and as we know, hubris is probably the biggest hurdle in any scientific discussion. This is of course second only to personal remuneration, or cash returns, and this can be simple greed, which is a sickness of mind not body. Yes I can hear the altruistic champions of scientific integrity, and heated denials of those in the scientific community staunchly rejecting any charge of selfish gain or ego. Rebuttals do not create truth. Only positive actions and meritorious, meaningful work do.

How Nutrition Affects your Genes

Epigenetics are Epic Genetics

Your mother always used to say “you are what you eat” right? Not even she knew how truly profound the implications of that simple expression are. To say you are what you eat does not even go far enough. It starts in your genes, and ends in your jeans. New research actually indicates that in some sense you are doing more than creating what YOU will become. According to recent science, what you eat could be determining what your children and grandchildren will be like.

An example of research that proves this point is what are called the Agouti mice. These mice show the power of the epigenome. “Epi” refers the the idea that the gene signaling process is “above” or “in addition to” the actual physical gene. This epigenetic process is what determines how a cell will express the codes inside the genes. In other words, it decides which ones will be turned on or off. It is like the “software” to the DNA which is the “hardware”.  These are actual chemical signals, like a language. The only way our body sends these signals is by having available materials to generate them.

Genes and Food

There is a lot of technical and scientific information about DNA methylation (regulating DNA expression through chemical signals). There are also other intricate processes that could be brought into the discussion. This is not a site for scientists and special jargon, and really, words can be either be used to confuse or inform. This site is for basic understanding of complex processes, and we try to explain in a way anyone can understand.

Food is a combination of chemicals which provide information. It is also stored energy and specialized materials used by the body for anything from growth to fighting disease. This information is distributed to cells for them to build cellular components, renew themselves, and orchestrate all the complex functions taking place each moment of every day. Each food has a specific role. This is why eating a good variety of food, particularly vegetables, a person is providing specific tools the body needs. It uses these tools to regulate the expression of the genes contained in the nucleus of each cell.

Individual cells all require these tools to create healthy tissue and allow the whole body’s systems to function at the highest level. They also serve to combat and even prevent disease. As an example of this various studies support the role of the different colored vegetables and fruits actually having varied therapeutic  effects upon the body systems.

Really, the different colors actually code the foods as containing certain nutrients called phytonutrients or phytochemicals for vital body functions. “Phyto-” just means “from plants”.

Food Colors and Their Meaning

White fruits and vegetables

White fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), Secoisolariciresinol Diglycoside (SDG), and other lignans which are estrogen-like phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. These phytonutrients also boost immunity activating natural killer B and T cells. They help reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels, reducing the risk of cancers related to hormone level imbalance. Garlic and other members of the onion family are high in allicin, a phytonutrient that lowers cholesterol and reduces blood pressure.

Purple and Blue vegetables and fruits

Purple and Blue vegetables and fruits contain phytonutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the previous examples, these phytonutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support proper gastro intestinal function, and help with the absorption of calcium and other minerals. They also fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells. By supporting GI function, all these phytonutrients in all these foods reduce inflammation. This is because much of it is caused by a “leaky gut” which leaches toxins into the body. This then causes your body to attack tissues in the joints which causes inflammation and even arthritic pain.

Red Fruits and vegetables

Red Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, and hesperidin, as some examples. These nutrients help with prostate and urinary health, lower the risk of prostate cancer, slow or mitigate tumor growth, reduce blood pressure, reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, rout out harmful free-radicals, and strengthen soft joint tissue tissue in cases of inflammation and even arthritis. Studies have shown that people who have high concentrations of lycopene in their diet are also less susceptible to heart disease, lung disease and various other forms of cancer.

Yellow and Orange fruits and vegetables

Yellow and Orange fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients particularly beta-carotene, help reduce age-related macular degeneration and susceptability to cataracts. They also reduce the risk of prostate cancer, reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, also fighting harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.

Green vegetables

Green vegetables have chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate (vitamin B one most people are deficient in), vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. These phytonutrients can minimize cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, and create better gastrointestinal function. This supports healthy bacteria in the intestines. They also support the eyes with nutrients that help retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost general immune system activity. They can help prevent osteoporosis, kidney stones, and high blood pressure. Vitamin B is active in supporting brain function.  Vitamin D also helps with this being produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. Legumes have high amounts of protein for energy and muscle and organ building materials.

The Tip of the Iceberg

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Continuing research into this burgeoning area of science continues. As it does, the relationship between biochemistry and the medical community is growing closer and closer.  Modern medicine is starting to use nutrition as actual medically sound therapy for diseases as serious as cancer. I have personally worked along with doctors here in Southern California to integrate nutritional therapy into their practice. Doing so has resulted in easily duplicatable results in patients. We have met with much success changing blood glucose levels and even altering body composition and inflammation. All this just through modification of diet. Even the Surgeon General has issued a report indicating lifestyle choices will affect length of life and quality of life including many chronic conditions.

Further studies have indicated that the diet of a parent can influence the genetic expression in a child, and even a grandchild. The fact is we can alter the quality and possibly the length of our life and that of our offspring with life changes. These changes include diet as well as our environment and activities. What we eat and what we do will program our genes in one of two basic ways. Either they function well and stimulate positive gene function, or they allow disease and chronic disorders to flourish in our system. Quite Obviously not everyone has the same genes. So the epigenome will express different conditions for different people depending on their individual predisposition.

Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Metabolic Syndrome is one of the most prevalent health issues facing the industrialized world. Basically it is the name for the condition associated with the following combination of factors any 3 of which together are indicators of the condition:

1. Blood pressure = or above 130/85 mmHg

2. Fasting blood sugar (glucose) = or above 100 mg/dL

3. Increased waist circumference (central fat) in Men of 40 or more inches and in Women of 35 inches or more

4. Low HDL (also called good) cholesterol in Men – under 40 mg/dL and in Women – under 50 mg/dL

5. Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL

These factors ultimately are associated with a gain in fat tissue ratio to lean tissue, resulting from improper diet and lifestyle, which increases the overall fat content in the body, raising health risks significantly. This is not always seen in obvious visible obesity. In some cases persons whose body size is not necessarily significantly larger, will be what is called “over fat” while not necessarily overweight. However much of the time the visceral or central fat tissue is a visible sign of problems. This is not an aesthetic condition. How it looks is not the problem, but the actual quantitative effect on a persons health is. That is why what I do as a professional Lifestyle Educator is not a weight loss program per se, but a body composition program.

In 2001 the then Surgeon General of the United States David Satcher M.D. Ph.D. issued a report entitled Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity”. This report indicated the significant health risks, premature death, disability, health care costs, and other factors associated with any overweight condition, and obesity. Just this year, the current Surgeon General Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin M.D. M.B.A. has issued a report entitled “The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010” which explains her take on this concept with both reports calling the problem “epidemic”.

As a result of this overweight, obesity, and metabolic syndrome problem, the bodies of persons affected by these conditions will often develop a resistance to the proper utilization of insulin. As mentioned in a couple other posts about Type 2 Diabetes, this resistance tends to grow and ultimately can result in full blown type 2 diabetes if left unchecked.

Metabolic Syndrome is actually pretty easy to prevent though. With a system of properly scheduled meals, as well as well proportioned meal sizes you can keep your body fed, and reduce the risk of any of these conditions. One important thing to note is, if at all possible, never skip a meal! This seems counter-intuitive. Most people would think taking in less calories would help the body lose unwanted pounds. This is actually the opposite. When you skip meals, you force your body to basically eat itself to get the energy it needs, and you lose important lean mass which is calorie burning, metabolic tissue, since the protein in muscle is what is usually used to get this energy. You then eat a large meal being starving, and the body must store the unusable excess food eaten as fat. Your body needs a constant flow of nutrients and calories to keep going, so you need to eat to lose weight. So never skip meals!

If you live in the Orange County California area call me for a personal consulting session, and I can formulate a personal plan for your metabolism. Call me at 714-866-9649.