Is poor hip mobility affecting your workouts — or maybe impacting other areas of your life? 

Over the past several years, pretty much every facet of our day-to-day lives has shifted. With work, we used to drive to the office where we would walk in and out of the office plus walk more through the day going to meetings, breaks, lunch, etc. Now we have a workday where we might work remote or be in the office, but attend meetings virtually. While some of these changes may actually better (like savings on gas, clothes, meals and having healthier options to eat at home), other changes are less than ideal — like less human interaction and….moving a LOT less.

A sedentary lifestyle involving longer periods of sitting and less activity throughout the day been tied to a slew of major health issues (like obesity and depression) and may also contribute to poor hip mobility.

Why does that matter? It might not seem like a big deal, having grouchy ouchy hips can mess with your life.

For example, when the hips weaken, it limits the pelvis’ natural range of motion which puts more stress on the lower back and hip joint.  This can result in super tight hip flexors (the group of muscles that surround your pelvis, spine, and upper legs). So when your hips don’t (or can’t) move through their full range of motion, BAM, you’ve got poor hip mobility. Tight hips and a sedentary lifestyle (or a sedentary job) can lead to more serious injuries like herniated discs and/or torn cartilage in the hip joint.

Wondering if you have tight hips?

  • Do you have lower back pain or knee issues?
  • Do you get frequent hamstring injuries?
  • Do you fail the ankle over knee test? (When seated, cross left ankle over right knee; if knees are the same height, you probably have decent mobility, but if one is higher than the other, probably not.)
  • Can you perform a “womb” squat? (See if you can hold this position for 30 seconds or longer with thighs below parallel. If not, follow the instructions below to improve mobility and use your elbows to press your knees out.)

If so, tight hips may be the culprit.

To address tight hips, both hip strength and hip mobility are important. To focus hip strength, perform squats, walking lunges, stiff legged deadlifts & Bulgarian split squats.  Most important is to just move – and move often.

To improve hip mobility, try these 3 stretches:

  • 90/90 Stretch
    • Sit on the floor with your right leg out in front of you & bend your right knee 90 degrees so that your thigh extends straight out in front of you & your lower leg extends out to the left.
    • Now bend your left knee to 90 degrees so that your left thigh extends out to your left and your lower leg back behind you.
    • Keeping your back straight (chest out), slowly lean forward until you feel a firm stretch in the front (right) hip and along the side of the right leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds to two min. Breathe slowly. 
    • Repeat on the other side.
  • Womb Squat   
    • Start in a standing position, preferably barefoot or in flat shoes, with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart & toes turned out slightly. Sink your glutes toward the ground while pushing your knees outward. Go as low as you can (the lower you go, the more your knees may want to come in, so use your elbows to press your knees out). You can hold on to a desk or table to support yourself, as needed. Come down far enough that you feel a stretch, but not so far that your heels lift off of the floor. 
    • Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 2 min. Focus on breathing slowly, keep your feet flat and try to avoid coming up on your toes.  
  • Hip Flexor Stretch
    • Start in a half-kneeling position with your right leg forward and bent with your right foot flat on the floor. Your left leg should be bent so that your knee is on the floor beneath your hip. (You can place a towel or pad under your knee, if needed.) Keep your upper body straight, gently tucking in your chin as you squeeze your glutes. Keep your pelvis neutral & avoid tilting it forward. Gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch around the front of your left hip.Reach your arms overhead and lean ever so slightly to the left side for an extra stretch.Hold for 30 to two min. & breathe slowly. 
    • Repeat on the other side.

Stay tuned for continued conversation on this important topic.

Until then, live well, laugh often, stretch & MOVE!

(You can check out my Instagram feed for a 3-part conversation on hip mobility with a demonstration of these stretches mentioned above.)

Don’t we all want a robust, healthy life? I do! To feel and look our best then, it is important to maximize energy production so we feel naturally energetic all day and preserve and maintain lean muscle mass throughout life.

How does inferior energy production occur? It is the result of… (drumroll) … too much stillness.  Inactivity makes you tired. Energy is a renewable resource, so if we don’t get brief explosive intervals and burn calories through other forms of movement and exercise, we have less energy. When we lead an energetic lifestyle, it leads to more energy. Funny how that works. We see this impact with aging and lifespan.

What about muscle? Unfortunately, we (society) have begun to normalize accelerated declines of muscle as a part of aging. It’s NOT normal. The spare tire is a sign of less than stellar metabolic health – not aging. Much of what is considered a result of aging is a byproduct of lifestyle. But, that’s good news because that means we have the power to positively impact our health. We have now learned that lean muscle mass is basically a proxy for good metabolic health.

Bottom line: the more we can focus on improving body composition & increasing energy levels, the better our health AND the more gracefully we will age. (nice side benefit!)

To achieve those two objectives, below are five tips to help:

  1. Reduce or eliminate junk food (processed foods) from the diet.
  2. Emphasize nutrient dense foods.
  3. Move more throughout the day. (Check out my workout tab for Instagram reels offering a variety of 4-minute Tabata style workouts!)
  4. Perform brief, intense workouts.
  5. Practice stress management.

Since many people start the new year with weight loss goals, below is an expansion on the first tip above (#1). 

Pay attention to oils. I’ve talked about industrial seed oils in my reels (along with a quick & easy balsamic dressing recipe), but here’s why paying attention to these oils matters: consuming processed foods WILL lead to sneaky weight gain. Try making use of Extra Virgin First Pressed Domestic olive oil as a priority (or avocado oil, as runner up). Understand “why” & search for the negative impacts of industrial seed oils and READ ingredient labels to see which products contain these nasty oils. BTW, even your favorite restaurant is using the cheap stuff and most (even “healthy”) salad dressings contain damaging oils. Also of interest is that studies show that up to 40% of calories consumed when dining out come from these industrial seed oils – so it’s difficult to avoid!  These poor quality seed oils interfere with your body’s ability to burn stored fat.  Often these ugly oils are paired with processed foods (#1).  When cooking at home, ditch canola oil and try ghee, coconut butter, avocado oil or olive oil. Set aside some time to check out your pantry and fridge and get rid of processed “foods” with these oils. Sadly, our “Standard American Diet” is truly S.A.D.  (Check out the book, “Why We Get Fat” at your local library).

Ditch refined sugars and grains. These are deficient in nutrients and contribute to many health issues by releasing endotoxins from the gut and inhibit energy.  

Watch for foods high in natural plant toxins. These high plant toxin foods often contribute to leaky gut. This concept of avoiding or reducing offensive plants is part of the carnivore movement. I’m not advocating a specific diet, but asking you to be aware of how certain foods make you feel. Since plants cannot run away, they possess their own defense mechanisms for protection.  Pay attention to how you feel after consuming these foods (stems, seeds, roots, etc.) to determine if they bother you, and id so, consider other options to prepare or cook them differently (soak, sprout, ferment, cook) — or if you avoid them all together. (Check out research and information from Paul Saladino, MD & make up your mind.)

Avoid gluten – it’s is a big offender for many people & can increase the risk of leaky gut.

Last, pay attention to how you feel after you eat. You shouldn’t feel anything, really. Not full, not bloated, not tired, nothing. If you do, that food is likely to be one to avoid. At least for a few months before re-introducing it to your diet.

Listen, we are all in this journey of life together. The more we learn, share and apply positive actions to our lives, the better our lives will be.

Friends, live well, laugh often, and be playful.

Lisa

As we reflect on 2022 and set new goals for2023, improving personal wellness is often at the top of the list.  To kick off your new year with health improvement success, consider the tips below to integrate better health into your life.

  • Set specific goals.  Take goals like “eating healthier” or “losing weight”, for example.  Instead of a general goal, aim for a specific amount of clean protein per meal, eating 3-5 servings of vegetables or fruit a day, or eliminating processed foods. Instead of “losing weight” strive to lift weights (take a yoga or HITT class, etc.) for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week along with walking X times per week for X minutes. Making specific goals can help you stay on track. (See prior post.)  
  • Get good sleep. I have written several blogs about the importance of sleep because it’s SO ESSENTIAL to overall health and well-being. (Check out the most recent post on sleep here.)
  • Establish good stress management routines.  Whether physical or mental, techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help you relax.  Or, consider reorganizing your space to help de-clutter.
  • Make recovery a priority. Seriously. Taking time to rest and repair is as important as your physical activity – especially if you are seeking performance improvements. Try to add a little time to your day (or at the end of your workouts) to roll, stretch, or incorporate some kind of compression or massage therapy and do your body good!
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This is an important one for every aspect of performance, training, weight loss, stress management – you name it. You know the drill here: try to reduce or eliminate processed foods & soft drinks (including so called healthy energy drinks) and incorporate a variety of vegetables and clean proteins into your diet.   
  • Hydrate! Did you know being dehydrated negatively impacts mental and physical performance while proper hydration can help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness? Hydration is a super easy place to start. Consider starting your day with a glass of lemon water and counting your glasses of water to ensure proper hydration.
  • Practice gratitude. Rick Warren (A Purpose Driven Life) reminds us that regardless of where we are in life, we always have our feet on two tracks – one of opportunities and blessings… and the other with challenges or problems to solve. Spend time each day purposefully appreciating the positive “track”.

Doing these things will help you start the new year in a positive direction and set yourself up for success. And remember, it’s easier to establish and stick to new habits with a supportive network. Share your goals and surround yourself with like-minded people.

I wish you the BEST of health, happiness & dreams fulfilled.

Cheers & happy 2023!

Lisa

Heard of it? In case you missed this Tik Tok phenomena during the pandemic, influencer Mia Lind, started the 4-mile walking trend. Essentially, she encouraged participants to focus on the following during a 4-mile walk:

>Specific things you are grateful for

>Goals & dreams (what are your next action steps?)

>How hot you are (body positivity!)

I really liked the concept encouraging a brisk pace (around a 15-minute-ish mile). if you are new to exercising, start with 2 miles at a 20 minute pace and work up to 4 miles a day at faster pace. While walking, try some hills and/or add ight weights and pump your arms. Speed up or take longer strides for 30 steps.

Once you’ve given thanks and reviewed your hopes and dreams, pick an inspiring playlist or podcast. Plan your next steps and co-create your life story. What a great idea.

So….why walk?

Walking is a wonderful way to exercise and can be done most anywhere.

Walking strengthens bones & muscles, increases mobility and has many of the same benefits of running like lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and the effects of diabetes.

Walking slows the biological aging process.

Walking aids sugar and glucose metabolism and reduces body fat.

And, then there are the mental health benefits of reducing stress and anxiety, while improving self confidence and body image.

So how about getting your “hot girl” (or guy) walk on today? Today IS some day.

Carpe diem!

Goal setting can be a positive, powerful practice that sparks enthusiasm and provides clear direction. But, if adapted poorly, goal setting can have a serious downside that may undermine success. Poor goal setting can waste time and make people cynical fostering confusion about where to concentrate actions and energy. To achieve your goals, make them SMART!

Specific- What is your focus? How will you do that? What does that look like?

Measurable – How often will you do this?  What will you track and how?

Action Oriented – What is the behavior you will change?

Realistic- Don’t set yourself up for failure. Try setting smaller goals that lead to a bigger goal.

Timely – How long will it take? Is this a lifestyle change or a temporary goal?

Say for example, you set a goal of “eating better” in 2022. Great idea – we can all do better nutritionally, can’t we? So, what does that look like? How will you know you’ve achieved it if there isn’t some kind of measurement or tracking, specific tactics identified and with a time period of some sort? Ask yourself these questions as you keep “peeling the onion” and you’ll get to a SMART plan.

Let’s try this again.

I want to eat better in 2022.

What does that look like?

I will make sure to include colorful vegetables and/or fruit each day.

If you currently have days of no vegetables, you might start with a goal of eating a minimum of 2-3 vegetables each day. You can track this goal a number of ways. A simple check in calendar will do. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but if you don’t track progress, your chance of success will be diminished because you won’t know what to adjust or how.

Let’s keep peeling the onion…how else would “eating better” look like?

I will eliminate process foods such as bread, pasta, rice, chips, and crackers most days of the week.

That’s better….but, can we tighten that down? If you are eating these kinds of “foods” daily, try starting with 4 days/week with no processed foods or replacing them with healthier alternatives.

Ask yourself again. How else does “eating better” look like?

I will start each day with 2 glasses of water, or a glass of water with half a lemon and cayenne pepper, or a cup of tea before diving into coffee.

With this goal, there’s a time component (daily) and a specific action: starting the day with 2 glasses of water.

How else will you see results of eating better?

I will reduce bodyfat around my waist.  

That’s a good one that will increase your lifespan. How can you track that? There are several methods you could choose: use a measuring tape, track body fat percentage using a scale or gym tool, take a picture, or keep trying on that belt that got too snug. Each of these tracking measures could be done weekly.

There are many options to “eat better” that can be achieved with these SMART goals:

  1. I will start my day with 1-2 cups of filtered water with either lemon, greens or reds added.
  2. I will start reading ingredient labels on foods to ensure higher quality and avoid chemicals or poor-quality industrial oils.
  3. I will strive to eliminate processed (high glycemic) foods from my diet at least 4 days a week.
  4. I reduce bedtime snacks from daily to 2-3X/week until my waist is 2” smaller and I will commit to no more than 200 calories per snack.
  5. I will measure my waist (or hips or thighs) once a week to track body fat changes.
  6. I will review my goals daily and share them with my closest friends and family to enlist their support.

Maybe you haven’t been cooking meals at home, so reducing the number of times you eat out could be a goal (& save money!).

Once you’ve set some goals, what next? Surround yourself with like-minded people and share your goals for added support. Small daily changes can lead to sustainable progress. Be kind to yourself. While tracking progress may seem intimidating (or a pain in the a**), remember this: what you focus on is what can change or grow.  When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. Each day is a new opportunity to change and grow.

Also, it’s perfectly acceptable to adjust and changes goals along the way–but, if you aren’t tracking goals, you won’t know what to adjust. Maybe you need to eliminate processed foods 6 days a week because progress was too slow. Maybe you need to add a walk time each day.

Just remember to be kind to yourself. Change doesn’t occur overnight. Remind yourself of the benefits of these improvements. What have you got to GAIN? Longevity? Better sleep? Weight loss? Greater energy? Increased performance?

Turn your resolutions into reality. And make FIT happen!

Friends, moving regularly (& daily) makes us stronger, healthier, smarter, happier, and yes…even better looking! Just check out the many benefits of moving your body below. While we could talk about each one of the bullets separately, my objective is to simply convince you to commit to move more each day.

From head to toe and heart to head, study after study tells us this “all natural” ability to enhance our lives is transformational. Here’s how moving can help:

  • Exercise increases alertness and enhances mood.
  • It improves attention & concentration.
  • It helps us learn and remember.
  • It protects cognitive health. (Alzheimer’s)
  • It helps prevent cognitive decline.
  • Moving boosts energy while lowering stress.
  • It helps keep blood vessels flexible and while preventing blood clots.
  • It helps protect against chronic disease.
  • It helps lower blood pressure. (cardiovascular disease is the #1 leading cause of death!)
  • Moving more reduces heart-disease risk and makes the heart bigger and stronger.
  • It’s good for your bones (think bone density) and helps with muscle mass (which “typically” peaks in your late 20’s – but doesn’t have to).
  • It helps restore and preserve facial health.
  • Building posterior chain strength can help treat and prevent back pain.
  • Staying active is one of the best ways to protect and improve joint health as we age.
  • Mobilizing joints in hands can relieve wrist pain.
  • Strengthen the knees (hint: many issues we consider the result of aging can be prevented by strengthening the entire leg.
  • Speaking of the leg, foot issues are super common…and generally can be attributed to other areas of the body which can be a vicious cycle but…yes, preventable with intentional stretching and movement.
  • Moving keeps everything “moving”. (YES – I’m talking about relieving constipation and improving digestion!)
  • It enhances microbiome.
  • We recover more quickly and get sick less.
  • Movement helps keep inflammation at bay.
  • Reduction of MANY chronic diseases.
  • I mentioned preventing heart disease, but physical activity also can help prevent some cancers by lowering risk of development.
  • Then, there’s the impact on sleep. I love sleep. Sleep is tres importante to our well-being.
  • Physical activity helps our eyes and slows/prevents vision loss.
  • If you are pregnant, yes you guessed it, it helps with many aspects of pregnancy.
  • Consistent exercise can minimize and reverse symptoms of aging.
  • It helps balance our hormones, which can improve our skin, hair, muscles, etc.

Listen…sitting or being sedentary is so dangerous to our health that it’s now considered the new “smoking”.  Yep, it’s that bad.

Won’t you join me in with taking the prescription of this magic “pill”…something so powerful that it influences our longevity, biology, and physiology? TODAY is a great day to start or re-commit.

So come on, get your glow on. Get gorgeous. And get going.

What have you got to gain?

The proverbial “fountain of youth”…sought by many and assumed to be so elusive. But….is it?

The truth is, much of we have come to believe as “age related decline” is not age related, but rather LIFESTYLE related –AND we can do something about each of these factors.  Boiling multiple studies down to a nutshell, we’ve learned there are six primary lifestyle factors were repeatedly identified:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Managing stress
  • Building social connections
  • Avoiding toxins, and
  • Diet

In other words, what you put into your body (or don’t), movement, socializing and sleep will impact how long you live and the quality of your life.

I’ve written about sleep before (see prior blogs) – but by now, most of you are aware of the factors that can impact a good night’s sleep. However you may not have bought into what a key role sleep plays in health, mind function, energy, and inflammation…and how it aids the other 5 longevity factors listed above.

If aging well and FEELING GOOD are important to you, prioritize sleep and then focus on the other factors. Here are a few ideas to help improve your sleep habits:

1. Establish a bedtime routine: (warm shower or bath)

  • Journal. (writing down thoughts, worries or to-dos will get them out of your head)
  • Read a book.
  • Meditate. (I have to say I love a guided meditation to fall asleep to or ocean sounds..)

2. Check out your sleep environment:

  • 60-67 degrees is ideal.
  • Are loud sounds blocked out? (a white noise machine may help)
  • Black out shades are great for keeping light from coming in.

3. We can’t omit the blue light conversation. (phone, TV, tablet, computer)

  • Sorry, but it’s true…blue light can be super disruptive. It’s best to shut screens down 2 hours BEFORE bed.

4. Become aware of when you last eat or drink.

  • You know that saying, “Eat with the sun, sleep with the moon”? It’s a good rule to follow. If you go to bed by 10, you’ll want to have dinner by 6 or 7.
  • Watch fluids …you know why.
  • That includes alcohol. Without exception, alcohol negatively impacts sleep. Cut off alcohol about the same time as dinner and limit consumption.

5. A good night’s sleep begins with bright sun light early in the day. This will keep your body’s circadian rhythm in sync and turn off melatonin.

6. Exercise or be active – just not right before bedtime!

So there you go. Feeling your best and aging well are mostly in your hands. Take a couple ideas and start incorporating them into your life because today is “some” day. Carpe diem & sleep well my friends, sleep well.

”Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” –  Thomas Dekker

Over time, we’ve moved to a life of convenience with more and more meals eaten out or ordered in…and now since Covid-19, food service deliveries have really ramped up. Generally, eating a home-cooked meal is the healthiest option, however with a few intentional strategies, you can still stick to your health goals even when the meal isn’t prepared at home. 

First, remember “portion distortion”…while calories are not created equal, most restaurants provide meals that, calorie-wise, could feed a small army. Fortunately, most restaurants offer calorie counts for their menu items (and if not, a quick search on the web can get your pretty darn close). Try to aim for 600-700 calories or less. And, keep an eye on “add-ons”. But please, don’t let the restaurant dictate what a true “serving” is or the proper balance of protein and veggies. Instead of eating a “multi-serving” meal, try splitting your meal with a dinner partner – or immediately put half of it in a to-go container and save the other half for the next day.

Choose your restaurant wisely. Spend a few minutes looking over restaurants that have healthier options like assorted vegetables (not fried), lower sodium, avoidance of seed oils, and other healthy protein options like fish, nuts, legumes. For your protein, look for food items that are broiled, baked or grilled vs. fried.

Upgrade! If you are eating rice, opt for brown rice if you can. Reduce the carbs as needed. One of my favorite salads comes with brown rice and I ask the restaurant to cut the amount of rice by 2/3 and increase the kale by the same. Can you ask for more veggies? Is there a gluten free bread option? 

Watch liquid sugar. In other words, sip smarter. Soft drinks/juices are not your friend (even if “sugar free”) – but that’s a topic for another day. Water (carbonated or not) or unsweetened tea are better options. There are plenty of ways to add a little flavor — my favorite is half a squeezed lemon, but any kind of fresh or frozen fruit are nice.

While we are on the subject of liquid sugar, we can throw mixed or frozen drinks (alcohol) into this section, too. Our bodies just don’t need excess energy (calories), so what will they do when we bring in more than we need? Store it! And trust me when I tell you, “You cannot out-train a bad diet”! It’s just better to make balanced choices.

Sidesare they really necessary? Can you swap them out with vegetables – or do you even really need them depending on your entree? Much of the time, sides are just more nutrition deficient calories.

Maybe cook a “little”. This is something we often incorporate at home. I’ve found with meal deliveries, vegetables may not fare well or are limited –or maybe the side has cheese or sauce we didn’t want (like one using canola oil). So, we keep a couple zucchinis, spinach, carrots or broccoli around that we can easily sauté or roast seasoned just to our liking. Or, maybe we’ll mash a bit of avocado with Landry’s seasoning. (If you haven’t experienced this delight, TRY IT!!)

My friends, I am right there with you on needing a break from cooking after a long work day, but eating out doesn’t have to derail your health goals. Just become a little more intentional around where you go and the selections you make. And, ENJOY it!

Question: IF there was a PILL that enhanced nearly every bodily function when taken and NOT taking it would negatively impact your body, would you be interested in that pill?

Most of the diet/health/wellness books offer a list of the most important things to do to put yourself on the path to better health and wellness. What do ALL these books have in common? They emphasize is sleep!

Okay, there may not be a magic pill (if there was, we would all be addicted) but improving your quality of sleep is guaranteed to not only improve your day and your body, but put you on a better path to overall health.

What you need to know:

• A quality good night’s sleep is more important than the quantity of sleep each night.

• Sleep quality declines with age (usually, but doesn’t have to).

• There are steps you can take to increase sleep quality, feel better, improve health, and increase daily energy.

The truth is there is no exact number of hours to recommend because sleep duration need is highly individual, with most people feeling their best with 7-8 hours a night.

Sleep efficiency, on the other hand, is a better measure.

To achieve sleep efficiency, the goal is 90% (or better) of actual sleeping each night. In other words, less than 10% of the time in bed should be tossing/turning or waking up. If that’s not occurring, try exercising more. (Which btw, is my FAVORITE recommendation for most health related issues!) Sleep apps and/or trackers are a great way to get an idea of sleep efficiency using your phone, activity trackers/watches or an oura ring.

If you are tracking sleep, the deep sleep phase is tres importante! While it doesn’t last long, this is when cell and cognitive repair take place. Memory is directly tied to this phase. If you’re in your 20’s, an hour and a half is good. As you age, this phase lessens to a half hour – but there ARE things you can do to lengthen it.

For example, for any fellow “monkey-brain” friends, try meditation or yoga, start a gratitude practice, journal to “dump the day”, try a weighted blanket, educate yourself about adaptogens (to help with stress hormones) or diet/lifestyle improvements you can try (like exercise!), consider magnesium/ melatonin/GABA (Btw, OTC or prescription meds can wreak havoc on your brain/mortality!) Other options might include making your room REALLY dark, eliminate blue screen (or at least wear glasses) but turn off devices several hours before nodding off. Last, work on getting into a sleep routine that occurs the same time each night.

How quickly you fall asleep could be another indicator or sleep inadequacy. A lot of folks think if you fall asleep within 5 minutes, that’s a good thing. It could mean you have an A-1 nightly routine so well-honed that you fall asleep right away.  But, it is likely to indicate you are sleep deprived.  On the other hand, if it’s taking more than half an hour to drift off, that may suggest a form of insomnia.

And then, there’s REM sleep which interestingly involves brain activity that is integral to learning and continual brain development. The recommended time for REM sleep is about 20% of your sleep time for optimal wellness.

If you have more than 5 awakenings, there’s a good chance your REM or deep sleep is getting interrupted. You may want to make sure you don’t have sleep apnea.

So yes, sleep is important. It is, quite simply, one of the easiest and most powerful ways we can improve our health and longevity by helping our brains function better, helping our muscles recover faster, and yes…increase fast loss (covered in an earlier blog post).  Opt for quality over quantity.

Who doesn’t want to live longer and BETTER?

Guys, here’s a sobering fact: Americans are experiencing a shift…life expectancy has begun to decline. I’m talking men AND women. And, not because of genetic changes…but due to our lifestyles — what we eat (or what we don’t eat which can be just as important), what we are exposed to, the quality of our sleep, etc.
 
You might ask, “With so many lifestyle choices, where does one begin?” My humble vote is to start with the gut.  Why? Well, for starters, healthy gut bacteria:
 
  • Regulates digestion & metabolism
  • Impacts our body’s immune system
  • Blocks harmful microbes
  • Extracts & make vitamins &  other nutrients from ingested food
  • Produces anti-microbial chemicals to fight off pathogens
  • Builds & maintains our gut wall to protect us from outside invaders
  • Plays a  CRUCIAL role with brain health  
  •  
So now that we know the “why gut” — where do we go from here? Let’s first consider food and nutritional intake. The reason is because the wrong dietary/foods will impact the integrity of our gut lining and that increases inflammation in the body. This is important because there is a correlation of inflammatory markers with most common diseases like coronary heart disease, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, autism, diabetes, and cancers. This, my friends, makes our gut bacteria is tres importante! 
 
Knowing which foods contribute to bodily inflammation can be done with a food sensitivity test. Or, you can keep a journal noting what you eat and how you feel afterwards. You can get a pretty darn good indication of offending foods from a food journal.
 
Going one step further with some type of inflammatory testing is a GREAT idea especially if you are on medications for a chronic condition or battling (or have battled) one of the diseases above. There are a couple basic lab tests for inflammation including determining C – reactive protein, TMAO (trimethylamine oxide), or TNF (tumor necrosis factor) levels. Please…find out if you have inflammation and FIX IT! If you think you shouldn’t look at these markers until you are middle age, think again.
 
Don’t wait to test because studies have shown those people with inflammatory levels in their 30’s/40’s have the worst memories 24 years later (and brain shrinkage). David Perlmutter, the author or Grain Brain (newly updated, btw), suggests we fix the roof when the sun is shining. My younger adult friends, this means you. Pregnant women, this means you. My middle aged peers….THIS MEANS YOU.
 
Not motivated yet? There was another study done correlating the size of one’s belly and the risk for dementia. This test spanned 36 years. You guessed it, there was a DIRECT correlation.  Another easy test to help here is to determine oxidation of LDL with a glycated hemoglobin test (or A1C). The higher the A1C, the greater the brain shrinkage (seriously).
 
Please don’t buy into the pharmaceutical companies making money off of Alzheimer’s drugs (which are mostly ineffective and cause people to decline faster) when the natural solution is right in front of us. Yes my friends, we have to be intentional. And yes, we will have to let go of artificial and way-over-sized portioned conveniences of eating out frequently, but isn’t the payoff worth it?  BTW, the SAME efforts to improve brain function and improve gut health will (drum roll) improve your overall health and help you lose unneeded fat.
 
My short list for improving your diet is this:
 
    • Eliminate gluten & processed flour foods
    • Reduce consumption of inflammatory red meat and other inflammatory proteins (btw there are more than a few studies relating to the consumption of red meat and colorectal cancer…) 
    • Eat LESS protein – and when you do, make sure it’s clean (antibiotic /hormone free) like wild fish or some hormone /free range eggs) 
    • Increase diversity of high fiber vegetables
Next, I recommend reading the new Grain Brain book by David Perlmutter or Dave Asprey’s Game Changers for specific recommendations relating to resting insulin, vitamin D levels, hemoglobin A1C levels, fasting blood sugar, the amount of exercise, the amount/quality of sleep, etc.
 
YOU are worth the education and investment of time to learn what’s best for you (and your loved ones). AT the very least, search for podcasts with key words and these authors’ names and learn while you drive. 
 
What have you got to GAIN? (Check my past posts if you’re still not sure!)
 
Until next time. Love yourself. Hug a person or a pet. Get outside. Laugh.
 

Lisa  

P.S. Want some more goodness on this subject?