Entries in heart disease (15)


Begin with the End in Mind

Where do you envision your life in the next year?  Maybe the next 10 years?  What about your health?  Do you wanting to be climbing the mountains of Switzerland or are you just content to live your life in your home town spending time with friends?

Just as planning your financial future takes forethought and energy, so does taking care of your health.

If you want to remain energetic, healthy and vibrant then your diet and exercise regime needs to be managed on a daily basis.  If it does not matter all that much, stop reading this blog and hopefully your genes will carry you to where you want to go.

Daily I hear “I just don’t have time to fit in exercise” or “life is too short not to eat what I want,” or “I just want the brownie or fries or whatever I happen to come across.”

Let’s be real.  Some days are like that.  However, if one day leads to a concession of days your health may suffer the consequences.

Exercise cures a multitude of sins.  I know I sound like a broken record…but not being able to fit in 30 minutes of exercise a few days of the week?  Those 30 minutes exponentially leads to a substantially lowered risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.  A new study just last week showed women exercising just 1 hour per week showed positive results in their blood work and health.

Clean unadulterated food without a label is food the body can readily accept and use for your health.  Processed packaged food was never intended for the body – hence creating metabolic and health issues with long term consumption.

Take home message? 

If you want to be healthy and live out your current and later years with good health you can’t afford the time NOT to exercise and eat well.  We were designed to move and eat real whole foods.

I plan to visit as many countries as I can before my life is done with energy and gusto for culture, life and fun.  Let me know if you want to join me.


Honest Food?

Recently I watched the documentary Food, Inc.  Although I knew much of what the content would be I was still disturbed at how our animals our treated.  The four major food manufacturers control much of the market and small farmers have been manipulated and pushed out.  This is not honest food.

Many of you know I believe in organic whole real foods and how what you eat affects your health.  I also believe in the importance of protein at each meal since it increases satiation and evens out your blood sugars.

I do recommend but am always a bit reluctant to advocate grass-fed meat due to the cost and availability.  However, after watching this movie I changed my mind.  What our animals are consuming is of utmost importance.  The majority of our cows eat are raised in factories on inorganic corn versus how they were born to be raised on farms eating grass.  This increases our risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and food borne illnesses.

Eating Organic is Not Enough

Most organic poultry and eggs sold in stores are still raised eating soy and corn.  Chicken were made to eat grass, insects, and other plants.  You can purchase “pastured” chicken and eggs but it is challenging.  They are only available at a few places in my area – farmer’s markets besides one or two other small stores.

The government has made it almost close to impossible to eat in a healthy manner and take care of your health.

There is no easy answer to eating honestly and healthfully.  As much as possible:

  • Buy your produce from local famer’s markets and other services that offer local organic produce
  • Eat grass-fed meat and pastured chicken and eggs from your farmer’s market or order online from farms
  • Eat organic and grass-fed dairy

Although not easy, choosing a few of the above ways to eat can create a shift in the balance of your body towards health.  If we start to change the way we eat I wonder if our food manufacturers will see that honest food is what Americans want.


An Omega 3 per day Keeps the Doctor Away: Will Omega 3 or Omega 6 Fats Win the Race in your Body?

What would you do if there was a supplement or food that could lower all forms of inflammation in your body, decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and make you smarter?

That supplement/food is omega 3 fats.  Omega 3 fats came into fashion a few years back, but many did not realize its critical significance for health and longevity.

Lowering Inflammation

Omega 3 fats lower inflammation in the body, and omega 6 fats increase inflammation.  When animals eat grass, we receive omega 3 fats as a result of consuming them, and when they eat corn or grains we receive omega 6 fats.

Since omega 3 and omega 6 fats compete for first line in the body, whichever is more prevalent will win the race.

The 3 omega’s are ALA, DHA, and EPA.  DHA is essential in brain development.  It also can lower cortisol and stress levels in the body. 

ALA is found in ground flax seed and is important for hormone stabilization.  Studies show the lignan found in flax seeds rids the body of bad hormones which can lead to cancer.

EPA can lower risk of disease states including diabetes and heart disease.  It is imperative to get three omega’s to have the most benefit in the body.

Studies show omega 3 fats:

Lower depression
Increase IQ in children whose mother’s took omega 3’s during pregnancy
Lower violence in general
Lower risk of autoimmune diseases
Lower insulin resistance, heart disease and diabetes

The list of positives is fairly long.  If you go to the search engine pubmed which shows abstracts of major studies, and type in omega 3’s, you’ll find at least 20,000 studies in their database.

Are we getting enough omega 3’s?  100 years ago we did not have to worry about getting enough omega 3’s.  Our animals ate grass and pre-packaged processed foods did not exist.

In the last few decades our government and control of farms geared our food supply away from the natural way animals ate, which increased our intake of omega 6 fats.

In addition, the food supply is filled with soybean and cottonseed oils, omega 6 “seed oils” that require industrial processes to extract the oils, and did not exist 100 years ago.

The hard drive of your body starts in the brain – the way you walk, move, hormone function, etc.  If the brain does not get the food it needs, these systems can become compromised.

What can you do for the Omega 3 fats to win the Race in your body?

  1. Eat grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and eggs
  2. Eat Wild Fish a few times a week
  3. Avoid prepackaged processed foods
  4. Use at least 1 tablespoon per day of ground flax seed
  5. Take an omega 3 supplement with at least 500 mg. each of DHA and EPA
  6. Use an oil high in omega 3’s such as extra-virgin olive oil and lower intake of omega 6 oils such as soybean, cottonseed, corn, vegetable, safflower, and sunflower

Your brain and body will thank you and you’ll spend less time visiting your doctor.  Maybe the old adage should say “an Omega 3 per day keeps the doctor away."


So What About Calcium Supplements?

One of the most recommended supplements by physicians is Calcium.  Personally I’ve never been a fan of calcium supplements.  They are not well absorbed and they increase constipation – enough of a reason not to recommend them.

This past week The British Medical Journal published a review of different studies looking at the outcome of women taking calcium supplements.  They were looking at the risk of fractures, bone density, etc. 

Surprisingly, they discovered women taking calcium supplements had an increased risk of heart disease, or more specifically heart attacks.  In addition, they did not seem to be of any benefit.

This study did not address calcium coming from foods, just supplements.

Bottom line:  get your calcium from food – organic yogurt, cheese, cottage/ricotta cheese and milk.  Calcium-containing foods are much better absorbed than supplements, and the best part is - a happier stomach.


Eating with Utensils...A Lost Art to Good Health?

After watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution one gets a clear picture of the sober situation of food and weight issues in America.  The show starts out by Jamie trying to make changes in a town called Huntington, West Virginia – coined the unhealthiest city in America.

The series opens with Jamie trying to modify elementary lunches from processed fake foods to real whole foods.  The high resistance to change radiates from the kitchen staff to the superintendant of schools to a DJ who is quite influential in the community.

Jamie meets the most heat when he requests that the children eat with forks and knives versus just a spoon and their hands.  No utensils are used since the children are eating pizza, chicken fingers and French fries.  When they are shown different vegetables the children are not able to identify them.  In fact, one appalling statistic is that a pile of French fries is counted as 2 vegetable servings per child.

When the forks and knives are taken out the children need to be taught how to use them.  Is the skill of using utensils becoming a lost art?

You need utensils to eat real healthy food.  Without these basic skills we are creating a lifestyle where older children eat their food with one hand and use the other hand to text or play games.  This creates a perfect storm for mindless eating.

Mindful healthy eating requires utensils.  Continuing to feed our children processed fake foods is creating a generation of children with increased risk of diabetes and heart disease who will have shorter lives than their parents.  Eating fruits, vegetables and food made from scratch rather than out of a box with multiple ingredients is the mission of  Food Revolution which will hopefully change food in school lunch programs.

It is our responsibility at home and in the schools to educate, equip and model how to eat and appreciate the benefits of healthy real food.  It is an investment this country cannot afford to pass up.

If we can teach our children at an early age to eat with utensils and enjoy whole real food we might start to get a hold on obesity in America….resulting in mindful eating and good health.  Remember, it's prevention not prescription.