Friday, February 24, 2012

*Re-Post* What Is "False" Fat?

According to Dr. Susan Lark on, chemical imbalances are the root cause of weight gain in women over 40. These imbalances include a sluggish metabolism which accompanies aging, food allergies that trigger an inflammatory response, and mood swings that intensify food cravings. "False fat" is the accumulation of inflammatory fluids in body tissue caused by food allergies. Where excess fat is stored when we either eat too many calories or can't burn those calories efficiently, "false fat" is due to the accumulation of excess fluids, which we experience as bloating and swelling. It is, therefore, critical that allergens be identified and eliminated from the diet. Failure to do so will cause weight gain and undue stress on the vital organs.

So, what causes "false fat"?

The inflammatory response is caused by damage to the digestive tract, allergic reactions, processed dairy, red meat, and poultry skin. The two most common allergic responses come from consumption of wheat (gluten) and pasteurized dairy.

What kinds of foods remove inflammation from the body?

Increasing consumption of omega-3 essential fatty acids like those found in cold water fish and flaxseed is a great place to start. Natural anti-inflammatories like bromelain are found in fresh pineapple. Onions and apples contain another called quercetin.

What should my diet consist of going forward?

Consult with your doctor to identify your specific food allergies and eliminate them from your diet. Caloric intake and adequate proportions of vitamins and minerals should be determined by your overall health condition, activity levels, weight loss/gain goals, age, and gender. In general, you may utilize the food pyramid at to ensure a balanced diet. Opt for more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, raw milk, and whole grains (if you tolerate them). Avoid refined sugar and flour products. Be sure to drink plenty of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces).

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

*Re-Post* What Does Being Overweight Say About Your Health?

Your attitude about gaining weight and your understanding about how the human body works will determine your number on the scale. Many people believe that exercise alone will fix the problem of being overweight. Others believe that if they go on a diet for a period of time, they can resume "normal" eating habits once they reach their goal weight. Some believe that they are destined to be fat because "everyone in the family got fat at my age." Those whose health has declined and now rely on prescription medications to help correct the damage have been told by their doctors that the medicines will make it difficult to lose weight. Really?

The human body was designed to follow the universal law of cause and effect: "For every action, their is an equal and opposite reaction." If you put the right things in, you get the desired results. Each of our body's major systems has homeostatic controls. Homeostasis is "the tendency of a living body to maintain relatively stable internal conditions in spite of greater changes in its external environment." (Saladin, 2007) Consider the thermostat on a central air conditioning unit. The purpose of the thermostat is to trigger the unit to start cooling the room when it gets too warm and to shut off once the set temperature is reached. Our bodies are designed to function optimally in a state of balance.

If you are overweight, then your vital organs are unable to process the quantity and quality of the foods you have elected to consume. Any or all of the following conditions may exist: fatty liver, stones in the kidneys or gallbladder, high blood cholesterol, plaque in the arteries, impacted colon, or a clogged lymphatic system. These conditions also indicate that even when a nutritionally dense meal is consumed, your body is unable to properly metabolize it and extract the nutrients from it. It will rot in your body and poison it before it will provide much-needed benefits.

The key to managing your weight is simple. Avoid behaviors that upset the natural state of balance in your body. Examples of these bad behaviors are:

1) Overeating;
2) Poor nutrition;
3) Lack of physical activity;
4) Lack of proper rest;
5) Smoking, taking drugs, and drinking alcohol.

The things that you should do include:
1) Eating the right foods;
2) Eating the the right amounts of the right foods in the proper proportions from each food group;
3) Drinking adequate amounts of water;
4) Exercising moderately/intensely for at least 30 minutes per day 3 to 4 days per week;
5) Sleeping 7-8 hours per night most nights of the week;
6) Taking periodic fasts to allow your body to rest, heal, and eliminate waste and toxins;
7) Seeing your doctor regularly for a physical assessment and following-through on the plans to correct health issues and nutritional deficiencies.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 8 Weight Management: Putting It All Together

There are many different approaches to managing weight. Some people use exercise, some people diet, and others use some combination of the two. If you simply eat enough food to fuel your level of physical activity, maintaining your weight should be fairly easy, right? Well, your weight is often a direct reflection of your health condition. It is just as important to eat the right types of foods as well as the right amounts of food. You have to eat for your health as opposed to eating for taste or comfort.

The average adult may consume anywhere from 1200-2000 calories per day. The great majority of those calories should come from unprocessed foods like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, raw dairy, and healthy fats. Water consumption should be about 12 glasses of water per day.

Physical activity helps to tone the body from the inside out. While muscle size and bone density may increase as a result of exercise, the cardiovascular system is tuned up as well. Vitamins and minerals are more efficiently metabolized and delivered to needed parts of the body because of improved circulation.

In addition to dedicated exercise 3-4 days per week for at least 30 minutes per session, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle. Daily chores, playing with the children, hiking, raking leaves, or washing the car are all great ways to stay active.

In summary, weight management is successfully achieved by eating the right foods, eating the right amounts of them, and staying active.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 7 Dietary Supplements: Are They Good or Bad?

There has been much debate about the necessity and safety of taking dietary supplements. The FDA doesn't regulate them, so professionals in traditional medicine don't recommend taking them over the counter. But, there are strong arguments in favor of them because of declining food quality. For any number of reasons, one may experience periods in his/her life where the body is deficient of certain vitamins and minerals. Age is certainly a factor as every stage of development has different requirements. Pregnant women may need iron and folic acid. Vegetarians may lack protein. High-performance athletes may require potassium or calcium. Those with chronic illnesses may require a variety of vitamins and minerals. So should supplements be taken daily? If so, what kinds and how much?

Many people make the mistake of treating symptoms as singular occurances as opposed to part of the whole body. Before taking a dietary supplement, see your doctor for a complete physical and nutritional panel which will identify any health problems and nutritional deficiencies. Make changes in your diet to replenish what is lacking. If supplementation is recommended to you, be sure to select whole food supplements and follow the dosage guidelines. Toxicity will result if excess amounts of a supplement are consumed. Therefore, adjust your diet first and then be careful to monitor the kinds and amounts of any supplements you take.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 6 Water: The Life Sustainer

Proper hydration is critical for sustaining life. Since the human body loses water daily through urination, defecation, expired breath, sweating, and evaporation, it is very important to monitor fluid intake. The average adult requires 96 ounces (3 quarts) of water per day at a minimum. Level of physical activity, diet, climate, and health condition may require the body to increase or decrease fluid intake. Drinking adequate amounts of water has the following positive effects on the body:

  • Endocrine gland function increases
  • Fluid retention is alleviated
  • Liver function improves
  • A higher percentage of body fat is used for energy resulting in weight loss
  • Natural thirst returns
  • Appetite decreases
  • Metabolic functions improve
  • Nutrients are well distributed throughout the body
  • Body temperature regulation improves
  • Blood volume is maintained

Any of the following factors may lead to dehydration:
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Exercise in hot/humid climates
  • Consuming beverages high in caffeine content
  • Excessive protein intake
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Consuming excess sodium
  • Use of laxatives/diuretics
  • Prolonged physical activity without fluid replacement

Dehydration has the following adverse effects on the body:
  • Decreased blood volume
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased performance
  • Sodium retention
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Decreased sweat rate
  • Decreased blood flow to skin
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased perceived exertion (feeling the need to put forth more effort when performing the same activities)
  • Water retention
  • Increased use of energy stored in muscles

In addition to maintaining proper water intake, consuming foods with high water content will help to prevent dehydration from occurring. These foods include fruits, vegetables, milk, fresh juices, soups, smoothies, and shakes. Foods and beverages to be avoided include caffeine, green tea, excess protein, excess sodium, alcohol, diuretics, laxatives, and soda. Exercise in cooler temperatures and be sure to drink 16-24 ounces for every pound lost during exercise.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Week on "What's Eating You?"

Our nutrition series continues this week with a look at the importance of hydration, the pros and cons of dietary supplements, and weight management. Here is the lineup:

Monday, February 20, 2012 Water: The Life Sustainer

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Dietary Supplements: Are They Good or Bad?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Weight Management: Putting It All Together

Thursday, February 23, 2012 What Does Being Overweight Say About Your Health?

Friday, February 24, 2012 What Is "False Fat"?

Be good to yourself! More next time...