Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tips for High Energy Nutrition

Perhaps one of the most common desires I hear amongst those interested in better nutrition is “how can I have more energy?” Rather than recommend an energy drink with or without caffeine, or an exotic supplement that may or may not rev up your engine – here are five seldom discussed tips that may very well help you feel the power. Try them out for yourself.

1. Eat to the point of energy

This is a great nutritional strategy for increasing your vitality without necessarily changing anything you eat. It really works. Most people eat until they’re filled with food. If I’m filled with food, then that surely means I’m full. But with this technique, rather than eat till you’re filled with food, you eat until you feel filled with energy. The yogis of old postulated that there’s a point in any meal where, if you stopped eating at that point, you’d walk away from the table with more energy. It takes a little practice – you’re looking for that point in the meal when you’d finish your meal still feeling a little hungry, but the kind of hungry that can easily be translated into a hunger to do the next thing. When we have just the right amount of something it can make us feel real good. But too much of that same thing can push us over the edge and drain our energy (even time with relatives, vodka, tickling, bad jokes, and any good buffet line...).

2. Assimilate the beautiful

One of the key physiochemical goals of the process of nutrition is assimilating what the body needs. The whole of our biology is designed to this end: to absorb from the environment that which perpetuates life. In nutrition books and you’ll learn about all the vitamins minerals and ancillary nutrients that the human body requires. But here’s the challenge: we are more than just a mere biological machine that munches on food for fuel. We need life. We need love. We need intimacy. We need relationships. We need meaning. And we need beauty. You won’t read about the nutritional value of beauty in textbooks, but don’t let that absence you. Our eyes are constantly scanning the environment for input. Our ears do the same. Our 5 senses are hungry to drink in the beauty of the world – art, music, touch, color, proportions, faces, symmetry, texture, novelty, trees, sunsets, and the fantastic richness that passes before us each day. The more we can recognize and acknowledge the beauty in our lives, the more fulfilled we become – and the less disordered our eating will be. When we fail to assimilate the beauty that the world is giving us, we get hungry for the wrong things. Beauty is a food, it’s very low calorie, and it’s everywhere. Start eating & enjoying!

3. Make your life more sugary

Of course we like sweets - evolution has designed us that way. You have more sweet taste buds firing their little nervous system signals to the brain than any other kind of taste bud. Our same intelligence doesn’t mind titillating us with things pleasurable, and with foods that sweeten the deal. Imagine if we lived on a planet where everything tastes bitter or bland? Here’s a metaphysical principle about the body: it exists on a continuum. Yes, our biology recognizes sweetness – but so does our heart and soul. It’s easy to use too much sugar as a substitute for a life that’s not quite as sweet as it should be. If you want more energy then, and you want to let go of some of the metabolic fatigue caused by too much sugar in the diet, then make your life more sugary. Notice the sweetness that’s already there. Notice the love, the people, the smiles, and the goodness. Now add a little more honey to everything that you give to the world. Be the sweetness you desire.

4. Be hungry

I’ve realized that if I truly want to have more energy, I need to get better at being human, and to hone some of the intricacies that make me more efficient. To this end, it seems that when we’re well fed, we can do more. Then again, if we’re too full, little gets done. So here’s my nutritional recommendation for having more energy that may seem a little paradoxical: be hungry. Be hungry for life. Be hungry for the truth. Be hungry to track down your purpose and your destiny. Be hungry to give your gift to others. Be hungry for a better world. As you become more aware of your hunger for life, your hunger for food finds its proper and natural place. You stop fearing your hunger because you’ve actually learned how to welcome it and honor it. When we reduce the larger meaning of hunger to the mere desire for food, a problematic relationship with food is predictable. Hunger gives us energy. The desire to be fed with a full and complete life ignites a fire in us that can light up the world. Such a hunger is really hot.

5. Don’t just eat food, be food

The study of nutrition is all about what you eat. It’s about the chemical makeup of your food and the science of how you digest it. We are the eaters, and food is what we eat. But if you take a look around you, you may notice that everything is food for everything else. The world is constantly feeding upon itself. Plants eat the soil, animals eat the plants, animals eat animals, humans eat all sorts of things, and eventually each one of us will likely find ourselves buried in the earth, with our lovely remains being the meal for all sorts of microscopic critters. But I think life is even more profound. What if you considered your entire life as the meal? Dinner is served, and your entire existence is the main course. Let the world consume you, eat you, digest you, and feast upon all the contributions large and small that you came here to make. In this way, you’ll be perfectly digested, assimilated, and a useful nutritional contribution to the world body. By giving energy, we receive it right back. Your life is a like a superfood for the larger life that created you. So if you want to receive superior nutrition, be superior nutrition.  
~excerpted from Marc David

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Four "Superfoods" that are Actually Best Avoided...

From Dr. Mercola......

I believe these may have more harmful than beneficial effects for most people:
  1. Beans. The primary concern with beans is that they are relatively high in carbohydrates and are loaded with lectins that are incompatible with many people. Beans are also high in phytic acid which is a potent mineral chelator. If you are going to use beans they need to be soaked for 24 hours or longer and frequently changing the water. They are not perniciously deadly foods, but they in no way qualify as a superfood. 
  2. Low-fat yogurt: Not only is the low-fat ideology completely false, low-fat yogurt is also pasteurized and typically loaded with added fructose. Taken together, these three factors put commercial low-fat yogurt squarely on my list of items to avoid.
  3. To reap the benefits that real yogurt can provide, opt for homemade fermented yogurt, using either raw, ideally pastured organic raw milk, full fat organic milk (not low fat or skim). Or simply look at the label to ensure you are choosing FULL FAT YOGURT (Fage, or Greek).
  4. Soy: If you were to carefully review the thousands of studies published on soy, I  believe you would reach the same conclusion as I have — which is, the risks of consuming unfermented soy products far outweigh any possible benefits. Furthermore, genetically engineered soy pose additional health hazards over and beyond the damage caused by unfermented soy itself. The only type of soy I recommend is traditionally fermented organic soy products
  5. Dried fruits: While whole fruits are excellent sources of nutrients and antioxidants if consumed in moderation, they also tend to be high in fructose, and dried fruits even more so. If you are in the minority of people who are not struggling with insulin resistance, then small amounts of dried fruit would probably be fine, but if you have type 2 diabetes, are pre-diabetic, obese, hypertensive, or have symptoms of heart disease, you're better off avoiding dried fruits until your weight and insulin levels have normalized

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Impact of Genetics and Environment on Weight Loss Resistance

 — JJ Virgin, Ph.D., CNS, CHFI

Seventy percent of the population is now overweight or obese with the majority of this population falling into the obese category. One in five American children are now obese. Of the remaining population roughly 50% are thin outside, fat inside (TOFI). The recidivism rate of dieting exceeds 50%. It is well documented that genetics accounts for 40-70% of a person’s predisposition to obesity. Recent research conducted at Stanford University showed that when subjects were put on a diet identified as appropriate to their genotype, they lost an average of over 2.5 times more weight than individuals on diets that were not appropriate. Clearly the outdated “one sizes fits all” weight loss model based on caloric restriction and aerobic exercise is not working and may in fact be exacerbating the crisis by damaging both metabolism and psyche further. The current weight loss model fails because it doesn’t look for the cause of the problem and assumes that it is simply one of overconsumption and low energy output, without taking into account genetic and hormonal factors that could shift the metabolic requirements and impair the body’s ability to burn off fat weight while holding onto or increasing lean mass. Over the past two decades I have identified seven different modifiable factors that can slow down or stop fat loss despite the patient’s best efforts of eating healthy balanced meals, repleting core nutrient deficiencies and doing cross training exercise consistently. These factors include chronic stress, poor sleep, gastrointestinal disturbances (impaired digestion, IgG food sensitivities and gut bacterial/yeast overgrowth), elevated toxic burden, sex hormone imbalances, thyroid fatigue and insulin resistance. There are also genetic factors at play including heritable risk of obesity, increased ability to regain lost weight, decreased metabolism, taste preferences and eating behavior traits, especially related to hunger and satiety. Fortunately, one’s genes don’t have to dictate one’s destiny. Once genetic susceptibilities are indentified, a targeted diet and lifestyle intervention plan can be put in place to ensure a higher likelihood of weight loss and long term weight management success.

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