Nutritional Consulting for a Hypothetical Client with GI Issues

Nutritional Consulting for a Hypothetical Client with GI Issues

By Laura Sheehan

March 19, 2018
My client Mrs. Green has come to me for help with her GI issues. Her symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and recent unintended weight loss. She works full-time as a social worker and is also working on her master’s degree. She and her husband cook some of their meals and she also buys ready-made food at a gourmet shop.
Mrs. Green is wondering whether she might have IBS but based on her food record it appears she has already determined that she has it. Her consumption of fiber is very high. Fiber is a commonly recommended treatment for IBS by physicians1. But Mrs. Green may be consuming too much, or the wrong types of fiber2. I would suggest that she start to limit all types of fiber in her diet (i.e. beans, wheat berries), at least until her symptoms improve. I would also have her examine her continuing consumption of Metamucil and Colace, especially since she is currently not constipated. If she would agree to cutting them out or at least reducing them, we could see how that would affect her symptoms.
Another possible cause of her bowel issues is Lexapro. I do not know how long she has been taking it and I would attempt to get this information from her, especially because both diarrhea and constipation are listed as “common side-effects” of the drug3. If the bowel issues seem to have begun relatively concurrent or subsequent to her taking Lexapro, I would suggest that she talk to her doctor about potentially switching medications for her depression and anxiety.
My biggest concern about Mrs. Green is that she might be gluten-intolerant. Her reliance on gluten-containing foods is evident from her Food Frequency Questionnaire and 24 Hour Recall. Considering that cutting out gluten could help her IBS symptoms4, I will focus on this in the next section.
Mrs. Green appears to be an overall health-conscious eater. Among her favorite foods, she lists fish, salads, vegetables and fruits. Most of her foods appear to be fresh and not processed. Even the foods she buys pre-prepared at the gourmet shop look like they are made from scratch. This is good.
I am recommending that Mrs. Green do a trial of a gluten-free diet. I do not think this will be difficult for her as she will not have to change her current food selection habits very much. She will need to learn to replace gluten-containing foods in her diet with gluten-free options. It is likely that her gourmet food shop has gluten-free food selections that are prepared fresh and not processed. For example, instead of buying wheatberry salad, she could buy quinoa or buckwheat salad (although it would be better to buy tuna salad since I would like her to cut back on the fiber). Gluten-free foods are usually more expensive but this will likely not be an issue for her considering her demographic.
In order to increase the chance of compliance, I will try to transition Mrs. Green slowly to gluten-free. From her 24 Hour Recall, it looks like she consumes a gluten-containing food three times daily. I will work with her over time to reduce this to two servings a day and then gradually to zero servings. This should be relatively easy to do since she is motivated to make the necessary changes, and will be especially motivating for her if she sees changes in her symptoms.
The seed pizza is a favorite of Mrs. Green’s and for this reason I will provide an alternative gluten-free recipe for her. Here is the original recipe:
Seed Pizza
Ingredients:
1 13- to 14-oz. pkg. refrigerated whole-wheat pizza dough
2 Tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds, plain sesame seeds, and black sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 cloves of roasted garlic
3 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cubed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Unroll pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, shape dough into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Brush the pizza dough with the roasted garlic. Sprinkle with seeds and pine nuts and lightly sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle cubed mozzarella evenly over pizza. Drizzle olive oil over pizza. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Cut and serve.
Gluten-free modification:
Substitute a pre-packaged gluten-free pizza dough for the whole-wheat pizza dough in the recipe.
The gluten-free pizza dough should taste similar to the whole wheat pizza dough. In keeping with my philosophy of not changing too many things at once, I am making a relatively simple change in the recipe. I love the idea of a homemade cauliflower crust, but that would be a lot more work and Mrs. Green is already busy and stressed. Keeping the changes simple and straightforward will increase compliance. Plus Mrs. Green will get to keep the “crunch” she enjoys in her pizza.
Nutritionally, the whole-wheat and gluten-free pizza crusts are quite similar, at least from a macro-nutrient perspective5,6. According to the nutrition information supplied by the manufacturer5,6, each crust has about 150 kcal per serving and comparable amounts of carbohydrate (about 31 g/serving). Both recipes are low in fat and protein. There is only a small amount of fiber (2g) in each pizza crust.
Once I’ve made headway with Mrs. Green in cutting out dietary gluten, I would then assist her in eliminating refined sugars from her diet in the context of her overall carbohydrate consumption7. The degree to which I would eliminate the sugars depends on her response to the changes she will have made thus far.
In conclusion, I will work with Mrs. Green over a series of consultations to systematically identify and alter potential issues with her diet that are contributing to her symptoms. I will help her transition to a gluten-free diet and rule out issues with her fiber and laxative intake. I will also encourage her to examine potential unwanted side-effects of the Lexapro she is taking with her doctor.
References
1. El-Salhy M, Ystad SO, Mazzawi T, Gundersen D. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 2017;40(3):607-613. doi:10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072.
2. Talley N. Soluble or insoluble fibre in irritable bowel syndrome in primary care? Randomised placebo controlled trial. Yearbook of Gastroenterology. 2010;2010:46-47. doi:10.1016/s0739-5930(10)79444-7.
3. Lexapro Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity. WebMD Web Site. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63990/lexapro-oral/details/list-sideeffects Accessed March 18, 2018
4. Vazquez–Roque MI, Camilleri M, Smyrk T, Murray JA, Marietta E, Oneill J, Carlson P, Lamsam J, Janzow D, Eckert D, Burton D, Zinsmeister AR. A Controlled Trial of Gluten-Free Diet in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea: Effects on Bowel Frequency and Intestinal Function. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(5). doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.01.049.
5. Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. Amazon.com Web Site. https://www.amazon.com/Rossi-Pasta-Whole-Wheat-Pizza/dp/B002R6X1K6/ref=sr_1_4_a_it/144-8432636-3933151?ie=UTF8&qid=1521421843&sr=8-4&keywords=whole+wheat+pizza+crust
Accessed March 18, 2018.

6. Schar Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts. Thrive Market Web Site. https://thrivemarket.com/p/schar-gluten-free-pizza-crusts?utm_source=connexity&utm_medium=pla Accessed March 18, 2018.
7. Goldstein R, Braverman D, Stankiewicz H. Carbohydrate malabsorption and the effect of dietary restriction on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and functional bowel complaints. IMAJ. 2000; 2(8): 583-587. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10979349

Hypothetical Case Study #1 Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Hypothetical Case Study #1: An Approach to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

By Laura Sheehan

I am going to discuss my hypothetical client Marilyn. Marilyn has come to me for nutritional help, with the goal of making dietary modifications to get off her medications. She is 65 years old and obese.

Multiple definitions for Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) have evolved over the past two decades 1. The most recent and applicable definition to my clinical practice is the NCEP ATP III (2005 revision). In order to be diagnosed with MetS, my imaginary client Marilyn would need to meet three of the following five criteria: abdominal obesity (waist circumference >35 inches in women), high triglycerides (≥ 150 mg/dl), low HDL cholesterol (< 50 mg/dl in women), high blood pressure (≥ 130/≥ 85 mmHg), and high fasting glucose (≥ 110 mg/dl). According to these criteria, Marilyn fits all the criteria for MetS. She has obesity, type II diabetes with a fasting glucose of 190 mg/dl, hypertension (180/90 mmHg), high triglycerides (202 mg/dl), and low HDL cholesterol (40 mg/dl).

Insulin resistance has been proposed as the common thread linking the symptoms of MetS 2. In response to diminished sensitivity to circulating insulin, the pancreas produces more and more of this necessary hormone, and the result is high levels of glucose and insulin in the blood. These elevated levels of insulin and glucose are damaging to the body and are associated with a myriad of negative health effects, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus, with its complications of increased susceptibility to infection, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and chronic renal disease3. To help Marilyn, I will need to focus on reversing her insulin resistance and MetS. I will need to provide guidelines to make her body more insulin sensitive.

Several metrics will help me to monitor Marilyn’s progress towards her goals of increasing her insulin sensitivity and getting off her medications. I will try to regulate Marilyn’s measurements toward normal. Her waist circumference should be progressively decreasing to below 35 inches, her fasting glucose toward normal (80-100 mg/100ml), her triglycerides toward normal (70-110 mg/dl), HDL cholesterol increasing toward ≥ 55 mg/dl4, and blood pressure toward normal (120/80 mmHg).

Although there is quite a bit of debate in the literature, simple biochemistry indicates that MetS and insulin resistance are effects of too much sugar in the diet. It makes sense that I would consider recommending changes to Marilyn’s carbohydrate consumption. Lowering the overall glycemic index of carbohydrates in Marilyn’s diet could be successful5, but It would be simpler in practice to reduce Marilyn’s total carbohydrate intake6. Both approaches could be successful in reducing waist circumference and hyperlipidemia. A carbohydrate restricted diet combined with added soluble fiber could increase HDL and decrease LDL levels78.

Within Marilyn’s carbohydrate-restricted diet, I will emphasize that she avoid processed sugars and focus on complex carbohydrates in their whole form. Processed sugars, especially high-fructose corn syrup, have been shown to contribute to MetS by increasing the deposition of fat in the liver9. I will also stress increasing soluble fiber as the literature suggests a benefit to lipid profiles7. After implementing these changes, provided Marilyn can stick to her diet long enough, she should see improvements in her MetS criteria and be able to visit her family doctor for a medication review.

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References

1. Huang PL. A comprehensive definition for metabolic syndrome. Disease Models & Mechanisms. 2009;2(5-6):231-237. doi:10.1242/dmm.001180.

2. Reaven G. 1988 Banting Lecture: role of insulin resistance in human disease. Diabetes 1988; 37: 1595-1607.

3. Hall J. Insulin, Glucagon, and Diabetes Mellitus. In: Hall J. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier, 2011: 939-954.

4. Weatherby D, Ferguson S. Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective. Jacksonville, OR: Bear Mountain Publishing, 2002.

5. Finley CE, Barlow CE. Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110(12):1820-1829. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.09.016.

6. Volek JS, Phinney SD. Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet. Lipids. 2008;44(4):297-309. doi:10.1007/s11745-008-3274-2.

7. Wood RJ, Fernandez ML. Effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet with and without supplemental soluble fiber on plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and other clinical markers of cardiovascular risk. Metabolism. 2007;56(1):58-67. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2006.08.021.

8. Yancy WS, Westman EC. A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet vs Orlistat Plus a Low-Fat Diet for Weight Loss. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2010;170(2):136. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.492.

9. Havel P. Dietary Fructose: Implications for Dysregulation of Energy Homeostasis and Lipid/Carbohydrate Metabolism. Nutrition Reviews 2005; 63(5): 133-157.

A Triad Approach to Stress

Stress

Most people know that stress has a very bad effect on health. When we talk about de-stressing we conjure up images of meditation and yoga and chanting om and things like that. But to really recover from the effects of stress, we have to take what’s called a triad approach to stress. So what is a triad approach?

A triad approach is when we recognize that stress affects the body and is affected by three main sources. Those sources are structural problems, biochemical and nutritional problems, and emotional issues.

To deal with structural problems, we primarily use chiropractic, massage, and exercise, including specific rehabilitation exercises.

To deal with biochemical and nutritional issues, we recognize that stress causes organ dysfunctions and nutritional deficiencies as seen in our general talk on nutrition response testing. Stress specifically robs us of our B vitamins and vitamin C, our minerals especially calcium, magnesium, potassium and iodine; it raises stress hormones that adversely affect the adrenal, thyroid, and liver, and also affects the gastrointestinal tract and digestion, as well as suppressor immune function. All these issues must be dealt with with proper diet and nutritional supplementation.

Once we have dealt with the structural and biochemical issues of stress, emotional issues tend to be dealt with easier. Everybody knows that if you’re stressed out and anxious, hungry, tired and not sleeping, you’re going to have trouble dealing with emotional issues. But once we deal with structural issues such as pain, and biochemical issues mentioned above, stress becomes much easier to deal with. In fact, I found that not dealing with the structural and biochemical issues makes it so that emotional issues keep on coming up. I mean how are you supposed to feel good if you’re in constant pain? How are you supposed to feel good if you have a neurotransmitter deficiency in your brain is constantly sending out stress signals? These issues must be dealt with first.

The reason behind this can be explained by looking at stress as a subjective experience. This subjective experience of stress causes the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and additionally has an impact on the brain, stimulating brain waves to speed up and cause what is called an acute stress state. This acute stress state causes further neurochemical changes that makes biochemical imbalances worse. To cool down this whole situation you work backwards. You handle the biochemical imbalances which takes stress off the brain. From there the brain wave pattern can change and stress hormones become lessened. This in turn decreases your subjective experience of stress so you can see life differently and as a result, you become freer to act and react differently.

Emotional issues can be broken up into two different areas, external factors, and their internal factors. External factors means things from the outside affecting us; such as job, family life, finances, and social media. Internal factors have to do with our views on things. We also call this autosuggestion. Basically, whether we think we can, or can’t, we are right. Whether we think we are a good person or a bad person, we are right. Whether we think we are deserving or undeserving, we are right. Basically, recognizing negative emotional patterns tends to bring them to light, and releases our pent-up energy from them. Recognizing external issues and internal issues is key. Once we recognize these issues, I usually tell people to develop a daily de-stressing routine. There basically two ways to do this. I find that most people do well with low-level aerobic exercise such as walking, especially while looking around at nature and focusing on the external, and meditation. On another talk I’ll go and more about the specifics of how to meditate for stress reduction. Both these things, low-level intensity exercise such as walking outside, and meditation, will lower stress hormones, so that we feel less stressed, and therefore react in a less stressful manner. People who want to destress, need to incorporate both techniques.

To watch our YouTube video on stress click here!
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5 Things You Can Do to Improve (or in most cases, reverse!) Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be wondering what you can do to help it.  Personally, in our office, when we have put a patient with Type II diabetes on a personalized diet and supplementation program, we’ve seen people dramatically reduce their fasting glucose, H1AC, triglyceride, and cholesterol numbers.  I’m happy to say I’ve heard this sentence many times: “My doctor says I’m not diabetic anymore, and I don’t need meds!”

Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to help yourself if you’ve been diagnosed with type II diabetes (or been told that you’re pre-diabetic).

  1. Cut down the carbs, especially refined carbohydrates such as grains, sugar, and other junk food, but also high carb fruit such as bananas, mangoes, and pineapples. When you’ve been diagnosed as being a type II diabetic, or pre-diabetic, foods such as these will cause your blood sugar to skyrocket, further beating up your blood sugar regulation.  Better to eat low carb fruit such as berries, low carb veggies such as greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, etc (basically avoid high carb veggies such as potatoes and corn), as well as meats, nuts, seeds, and low carb dairy such as cheese, cream, butter, and cottage cheese.  Most of my patients either use a carb counting app on their phones, or keep track of their carbs using a pen and paper (we call it a diet log in our office).  See the link below for a partial list of good foods for type II diabetics. Keep in mind, you should cut down your carbs, but increase your veggies!  Veggies help to regenerate your liver’s function, which is key to blood sugar stabilization.
  2. Eat more fat and protein. Fat causes very little insulin to be released when you eat, protein (especially higher fat protein sources) causes your body to release more more insulin, but not as much as carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is that at least 70% of your calories should come from fat and protein for optimum blood sugar control.
  3. Cut down the snacking. Every time you eat, you stimulate the release of insulin. Therefore, cutting down the number of times you eat per day will give your pancreas and insulin receptors on your cells rest, so that they can heal.
  4. Get moving, especially in the morning on an empty stomach. Exercising first thing in the morning helps to re-sensitize insulin, which is of utmost importance when fighting type 2 diabetes. I like to go for a slow jog of 1-1 ½ miles, but if you have more time, you can walk, do yoga, ride a bike, whatever.  Just get moving, preferably in the morning!
  5. Take your blood sugar at least every day. Usually on a program like this, people’s blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides will plummet, so make sure you’re keeping tabs on this, and communicating with your MD.
  6. Take supplements.  There’s lots of supplements that will help with blood sugar stabilization, so this is not a complete list. These are just the ones that I’ve successfully used in my office:
    1. Glyc-Aide-This is my go-to product from Ulan Nutritional Systems.
    2. Gymnema-This has a long history of helping blood sugar issues. I like the one from MediHerb.
    3. Zinc, chromium and magnesium-All of these have been shown to be deficient in the majority of patients with diabetes type II, so supplementing them helps. I like Standard Process for these supplements.
    4. Other supplements for the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and adrenals-as determined by Nutrition Response Testing.

Honestly, I like to get the 1st 5 steps in place before I recommend supplements.  You can’t “out supplement” the wrong diet, or make up for lack of exercise with supplements.

Give this program a try, and see how you do.  As always, please feel free to leave feedback, or ask questions below.  Thanks for watching.

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3 Types of Excercise

3 Types of Exercises

One of the most common questions I get when consulting with a patient about getting them healthy again is “what type of exercises should I do?”  I usually tell them “the best exercise for you is the one that you will do.”  While that’s the long and short of it, that’s usually not enough of an answer for people, so let’s break this down.

Let’s talk about 3 general types of exercise.

  1. High intensity exercise-30 min/wk,
    1. Pros-
      • raises fat burning hormones
      • builds muscle
      • sensitizes insulin, and
      • burns fat post exercise (post-exercise oxygen consumption).
    2. Cons-
      • raises stress hormones (may be too much for those already under stress or tired)
      • difficult
      • may be injury producing if not done properly (you must do this type of exercise properly!).
    3. Example Exercise Types
      • sprinting (running, cycling, or swimming)
      • certain types of weightlifting
      • Crossfit
  2. Moderate intensity exercises-1 .5-3 hrs./wk
    1. Pros
      • good for “getting in shape”
      • not too difficult
      • usually “fun”(games such as tennis, soccer, and hockey, as well as “leisure” exercise, such as the more difficult types of yoga, jogging, and weightlifting fall into this category)
      • not as high of a risk of injury
      • does not raise stress hormones too much
      • sensitizes insulin
      • builds muscle
      • Burns calories (and potentially fat).
    2. Cons
      • takes 1 ½ to 3 hours per week.
    3. Example Exercise Types
      • Tennis,
      • Soccer
      • Hockey
      • “Leisure” exercise, such as the more difficult types of yoga, jogging, and weightlifting

      3. Low-intensity exercises-5 hrs./wk

      1. Pros-
        • lowered stress hormones to burn fat
        • very gentle, very low risk of injury
        • you don’t need a partner
        • you don’t need to go to the gym
        • inexpensive
      2. Cons-
        • May be limited by weather (walking, jogging, and biking)
        • Not much, if any post-exercise calorie and fat burning
        • You need to do a lot to benefit from it
      3. Example Exercise Types-
        • Walking
        • Jogging
        • Biking
        • Yoga
        • Swimming

There you have it, the three general groups of exercise.  You can mix and match these, in fact, that’s probably the best way to do them.  For example, you could work out with weights for 1 hour, 3 days per week, and take a leisurely walk for a ½ hour each morning to get in your high intensity, moderate intensity, and low-intensity exercise.

Or you could go to a yoga class 3 days per week, for 1 hours per session, and maybe lift weights 2 days per week, for 1 hour per session.  Like I said, the most important thing is that you actually pick an exercise that you will do consistently.

Natural Help for Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. Sheehan’s Natural Help for Type 2 Diabetes

Do you, or a loved one either have Type 2 diabetes, or what is called Pre-Diabetes, aka Syndrome X?

I have a lot of patients coming in with these two disorders, so before I talk about it, I decided to look into exactly what the American Diabetes Association is saying about it.

I’m very happy that the American Diabetes Association is starting to talk about food’s relationship to diabetes, I think if they were a little clearer cut, they would encourage more people to take control of their diabetes to the best of their ability. In my office, I’ve helped at least 90 percent of cases reverse Type 2 diabetes!

In their post, the ADA attempts to answer a few so-called myths about diabetes. I found some of their information confusing.

They answer this “myth,” eating too much sugar causes diabetes, with the following answer:

 “The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Being overweight does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes…These will raise blood glucose and can provide several hundred calories in just one serving!”

After reading this, I’m left wondering, are they saying sugar causes diabetes or not? In my work with diabetics, I’ve found it works best if they cut sugar 100 percent. Why? Let’s illustrate this with another example: It’s also true alcohol alone doesn’t cause alcoholism, but shouldn’t alcoholics avoid it 100 percent?

Here’s a second “myth” the ADA attempts to address: “If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.”

What’s their answer?  “Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrate that count in your meal plan.

Wondering how much carbohydrates you can have? The amount of carbohydrates you need will vary based on many factors. You and your healthcare team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carbs to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.”

Soooo…sounds to me like they’re saying you should only have a small amount of starchy foods.  Why do they start off saying it’s a myth, and then say the opposite?

Starchy foods break down into sugar- plain and simple. Doesn’t the fact that you have diabetes indicate you should only be eating very small servings of starches, if at all?

For the record, I do agree with greatly reducing or eliminating starchy foods while you work on reversing Type 2 diabetes.

That brings me to a major point on their website I don’t agree with, and that’s this one: “There’s no cure for diabetes.”  While this is true for a small minority of people, a good many people can reverse Type 2 diabetes with proper diet, exercise, supplementation, and intermittent fasting.

In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to suggest a diet designed to minimize blood sugar fluctuations, cut down insulin secretions, and re-sensitize your body to insulin.  This diet helps support most, if not all, hormone imbalances that accompany Type 2 Diabetes. It decreases stress hormones such as cortisol by minimizing blood sugar swings.  It also helps balance testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone by minimizing estrogen production.

This is a low carb, high veggie, moderately low protein diet that helps to support weakened blood sugar controlling organs.  We have seen people reverse their diabetes by cutting sugar and carbohydrates and supporting the digestive organs as determined by a Nutrition Response Testing® program. For example, there may be a deficiency of enzymes or B vitamins in diabetes, and these deficiencies are caused by eating TOO MUCH SUGAR!

For cases of borderline Type 2 diabetes, or newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, switching to a diet of protein, veggies, nuts, seeds, oils, and a little fruit, along with the correct supplement regiment as determined by Nutrition Response Testing rolls back diabetes over 90% of the time.

So what does a meal and exercise plan look like?

  1. Minimize the times you eat to 2-3x/day. Every time you eat, you secrete insulin. Seems like the intermittent fasters got it right!  A lot of my patients will skip breakfast or lunch to minimize insulin surges.
  2. Considering sugars and carbohydrates cause the secretion of insulin, keep carbs low. You don’t want to eliminate them though because carbs from non-starchy vegetables help to cleanse your liver, colon, kidneys, and skin.  They also provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals.  So eat lots of non-starchy vegetables at each meal, such as kale, all types of lettuce, peppers, broccoli, you get the idea.  About 3 cups of non-starchy veggies for each and every meal is right for most people.  I tell my diabetic patients to just stay away from grain and starches (even a little bit is often too much for them), and to stick with berries other than cherries if they want to eat fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
  3. Eat enough protein, but don’t go overboard. Protein also causes the secretion of insulin, but you need this to stoke your metabolism (protein intake increases calories burned to a certain degree), retain muscle mass, and satisfy your hunger.  About four to six ounces per meal seems to work best for my patients, depending on their size, metabolism, and activity level.  Any kind of protein seems to work well, such as fish, chicken, beef, or even eggs.  I don’t usually recommend dairy as a main source of protein as it can be a food sensitivity for some people. I do tell people that if they add a little cheese or cottage cheese to what they eat, it will not spike their insulin levels, and will add a little variety to their food.  I’m not totally overbearing!
  4. Eat plenty of fat. Fat does not cause the release of insulin, so enjoy nuts, seeds, and oils with each meal. I usually recommend at least one fat per meal, but you could try more if it tickles your fancy.  Good ones to try are avocado, coconut oil, and all kinds of nuts, seeds, butters, and so forth.  Butter, cream, and cheese also have plenty of fat, so these are fine too.
  5. Get a calorie counting app, but not specifically to count calories. Calorie counting apps, such as My Fitness Pal will tell you how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you are eating.  It also tells you other important data, like how much potassium, vitamin C, and fiber you are eating.  Just make sure to adjust the macronutrient settings to something like 30% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 40% fat.  You can go higher on the fat and protein, and lower on the carbs, but I find that these are pretty safe numbers.  If you can achieve these numbers each day while adhering to the above 4 steps, you’re definitely seeing improvement in your blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
  6. Start moving! People who have  Type 2 diabetes, or are prediabetic always have inflammation and high-stress hormonal levels.  Walking is the perfect exercise for them.  It decreases stress hormones, sensitizes insulin, and burns calories.  It also gets your body used to exercise, more “in shape” so that you can exercise more vigorously later if you feel like it.  I recommend one hour per day for my clients.  It’s even better done 1st thing in the morning on an empty stomach, as it will increase your insulin sensitivity, and really increase your body’s output of growth hormone (the master healing hormone of the body).

Other good choices for decreasing stress hormones are yoga, qi gong, and tai chi.  If relaxation is not your style, you can lift weights, run, swim, play sports or whatever floats your boat.  Just remember, the harder you exercise, the less you should do of that exercise (You can always mix difficult levels of exercise-I lift 3 days per week, and walk about 3-5 hours per week).  The rule of thumb is this (you can mix and match these):

  1.      5 hours per week of gentle exercises, such as walking, yoga, tai chi, etc.
  2.      3 hours per week of moderate exercises, such as jogging, swimming, weightlifting, etc.
  3.      ½ hour (or less!) of high-intensity interval training.

There you have it, the exact diet and exercise plan I use every day in my office with my Diabetes patients.  Feel free to leave comments down below. And as always, go here to see how you can get your very own personalized Nutrition Response Testing®  evaluation!

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Sleep

10 Forgotten Things to Help Sleep

Previously, I wrote about how to help your sleep naturally. However, I forgot to include some easy, almost common sense cures!  Here they are:

  1. Cut your caffeine. It’s estimated that 50% of the population is sensitive to caffeine, often without knowing it. Try cutting caffeine (especially coffee) after 12pm.  If you’re like me, and you love an afternoon cup of coffee, substitute green tea, or herbal tea (mint teas especially, since they are relaxing).  Green tea has a small amount of caffeine, but doesn’t seem to affect sleep like coffee.  If you think you’re extra sensitive to caffeine, try cutting it out altogether.
  2. Cut down artificial light. Melatonin is the primary sleep hormone. Artificial light, especially blue light,  disrupts its production in your brain.  Computers, phones, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and televisions are particularly bad. You can do two things about this:  turn off those sources of artificial light when it gets dark or get blue light blocking glasses to wear once it gets dark outside.  Uvex and Solar Shield are two popular, inexpensive brands.  This really helps, plus you’ll look cool while wearing them!
  3. Try eating more carbs at dinner. The pineal gland makes melatonin out of tryptophan. As a result, this gland controls the body’s circadian rhythm.  Carbs increase tryptophan’s access to the pineal gland. I recommend eating carbs like fruit and root vegetables(such as sweet potatoes), not grains and processed sugars (both of which aggravate autoimmune conditions and other health concerns in the body). 30-40 grams of carbs should do it.
  4. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Even small amounts of light disrupt sleep patterns and melatonin production. Try using black out shades.
  5. Keep your bedroom cool. During sleep, your core temperature drops. Encourage this by keeping your bedroom below 68 degrees.
  6. Try to actively relax during the day. Stress hormones discourage sleep. Relaxation lowers overall stress hormone levels in the body.  Just 15 minutes of yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or some other relaxation technique helps immensely.  I like to practice deep breathing every afternoon for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Get outside during peak sun hours, even in the winter! Natural light helps reset your circadian rhythm. Try and get outside every day.
  8. Exercise during the day. Exercise lowers stress hormones at night, encouraging sleep.
  9. Keep a to-do list. Write everything you have to do the next day in a journal, notepad or whatever. Writing it down helps to get it out of your head so that you can sleep better.
  10. Keep a grateful log. Write down 3 things you are grateful for. I also find it helpful to write down the things  I got to do that day that I enjoyed.  Emphasizing the positive really helps change your mindset long-term.

Try these out.  I confess I don’t do them all, just he ones that are easiest for me to do.  You can do the same.  Just keep trying each one on the list until you sleep like a baby.  If you still have trouble, see the first article that I wrote on sleep.

5 Reasons You’re Sick

Sickness and health are big topics in today’s discourse. If you want to be healthy, wouldn’t it be good to find out what makes people healthy, and do that? Wouldn’t is also be good to find out what makes people sick, and avoid or handle those things? In this blog I am going to address what the root causes of sickness are, so you can avoid them and get yourself on the road to health.

Have you ever asked your conventional medical practitioner “why?” If you have, you know it can be a frustrating experience. I had recurring chronic infections in my early 20’s. During this time, I asked several doctors why this was happening to me. They had literally no answer. They wouldn’t even address the question. Instead, it was, “here, just take this. This is what you take for what you’ve got.” Well, what I had just kept coming back, even after I took the meds.

And I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to fix my problem, and I wanted to know why. It wasn’t until I met Keith Sheehan that anyone even started to answer that question.

Sickness – disease – ill-health – feeling crappy — these don’t just fall out of the sky and hit you in the head. Our natural state is radiant health. So what is going wrong? Here is a list of 5 causes of sickness. From these you can find the real reason for your sickness and health. Then once you find the real reason, take some action to change it!

  1. In general, our diets suck. Or, even if your diet doesn’t suck right now, it did suck for a large chunk of your life. Sickness and health depend primarily on our diet. For example, I was a vegetarian for twenty years and ate mostly bagels, tofu and cake. Sorry, not enough nutrition in those foods to really lay the foundation for health. What we eat keeps us alive, but how well we eat (or ate) determines how well we live.
  2. Even when we do start to improve our diet, we are still eating the wrong diet for us. I thought going vegetarian would be healthier than eating meat. So I was working on eating better, according to the information I had at the time. But the veg diet just wasn’t right for me, as chronic skin problems, hormonal issues and fatigue were cropping up. I had to become more flexible mentally in order to adopt the correct approach for me.
  3. Even when we do start to eat the right diet for us, the soil is depleted and we’re just not getting the nutrition we should from all that good food. Vegetables, fruits, meats, fish – the nutritive content just ain’t what it used to be! According to this article – as yields have gone up, nutritional content of foods has gone down. Like a quality vs. quantity thing.
  4. We’re not taking the right supplements. I have seen several folks just recently who would not start to get better on a program with me until they cut out taking the supplements that were blocking their healing process. It sounds weird, I know. All supplements were not created equal. So I recommend seeking out the proper guidance on what specific nutrient support to take. Because we do need to fill in the gaps that we’re not getting in our diets.
  5. We don’t exercise. Hello? Physical activity, anyone? According to this article, only 20% of us are getting enough exercise. No wonder we’re generally depressed, overweight, tired, and stressed. Exercise is a medicine that will end those problems.
  6. Six? There are six reasons for poor health? Well, mostly there is only one reason. See reason #1. But I’m reserving #6 for stresses and toxins that may be keeping you sick that you will need a professional to locate and identify. You may not be able to do much about #6 right at this point, but you can sure do something about numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5! So get to it!

And even when the pieces of the puzzle are finally in place – proper diet, nutritional supplementation and exercise – then your body will take time to heal. It won’t happen overnight! But there is hope. And we can help! Call our office today to get yourself on the road to better health.

And I’m reporting my food to you.

This morning I had: coffee with butter and cinnamon, cashews, ground beef with onions, sweet potatoes and curry powder

At 12:00 PM I had: Greek Salad with some tuna salad on top. I skipped the dressing but used the juice from inside the bright green (banana)? peppers. Unsweetened iced tea with lemon.

1:30 PM: another cup of coffee. I’ve started using 1/2 caf (mixing full caf with decaf)

3:00 PM: a SP berry bar

I haven’t had supper yet, but I’m likely to have another salad and wings at DipCo. Sauce on the side! And perhaps one alcoholic beverage. But also maybe not. I haven’t decided yet.

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