- Neurotoxins to avoid include bad, unhealthy fats and sugar/carbohydrates. We can thank the government since the 60’s for their recommendations that fail to distinguish good fats from unhealthy, oxidized (trans) fats. When bad fats get into blood stream, it produces a host of problems. The good ol’ outdated food pyramid was heavy on carbohydrates. Don’t’ cook with vegetable oils. Instead cook with coconut oil, butter, or ghee. Avoid eating fried foods.
- Include good fats from avocados, nuts, grass fed beef, pastured chicken/eggs, wild caught fish, etc. Omega 3’s fatty acids are the bomb (especially DHA since 1/3 of our brains are made up of this stuff). Taking 4-5 grams a day of omega-3’s that are molecularly distilled (to avoid mercury which is a neurotoxin) is recommended by Dr. Cortright.
- Green tea (ECGCs) are beneficial, as is
- Quercetin, and
- A high sugar diet will cut the rate of brain cell building IN HALF. We live in such a neurotoxic world and most of our brains are functioning well below what is possible. With our bodies lasting longer, why kill brain cells when we can enhance cognitive development so we don’t become a statistic? Right now, 1 in 3 Americans develop Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
- We can enhance brain cell building FIVE times, maybe more, with the right activities (dietary, movement, spiritual).
- Read the book.
Seriously, it is! Plain and simple: sugar is a toxin. Toxins are poisons that can cause disease in a body. There is no question that sugar contributes to cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies estimate that Americans consume more than 150 pounds of this sh– in a year. Holy cow! It’s no wonder that the rate of diseases have increased. Would you believe sugar kills more people than cocaine or heroin? Whatcha think about that, Willis?
Here’s the skinny: not only is sugar “candy for cancer cells” but it also causes inflammation in the body and speeds up aging (gulp). Lower your sugar intake and you improve your health in a multitude of ways.
So how does one take on this aspect of health improvement?
The first step is to become aware of your sugar intake. It is coming to us in various forms: sodas, juices, energy bars, ketchup or marinades, and easily digested processed foods. So unless you are looking to age quickly, put on weight or get sick, then 2016 is a GREAT time to eliminate and/or reduce added sugars in your diet AND the diets of those you love. Become aware and read your labels.
Next, consider ways you can reduce your sugar intake. Write down your ideas— any that come to mind! Maybe it’s one margarita vs. two. Maybe it’s one margarita a month vs. weekly. Maybe it’s no alcohol or sodas at all. Maybe it’s drinking your tea without sugar/honey. Consider all your options and choose some to do right away! Small changes done incrementally and consistently over time will yield big results. Become aware, make a list of ways to reduce sugar, then track it.
Keep a log of your sugar intake. Do you know how much you are consuming daily? Weekly? If there is any area of your life you want to improve, then MEASURE IT! Look at your list of ideas to cut sugar each morning. Being conscious of your desires helps you make smarter choices. Then track your progress and recommit to ideas to improve the next day. Remind yourself of why you are doing this. Rinse and repeat.
Remember, today is “some” day and all progress is good.
Until next time, choose fit, be healthy, and laugh along this crazy, wonderful journey.
- Drink up. (Water…that is!) You’d be surprised at the difference dehydration can make. It’s often mistaken for hunger. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Out of sight, out of mind. You know how there’s a reason for product placement at the grocery store? Do your own “marketing” at home by removing food or snacks not healthy for your family. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Keep a log so you can identify triggers and are realistic about input/output. Most folks overestimate calories burned and underestimate calories consumed. Keep it real.
- Know your limit. Can you indulge a little? Or does one bit turn into the entire bag/box? If the latter is the case, then that means no sugar should pass your lips. So be it. Is it difficult to eat out if you see or smell dessert or French fries? If so, skip it for now. Honor thyself. If you CAN indulge a little, go for it. Enjoy it, savor it, and then add some extra workout time. It’s all good.
- Good fats help resist the sugar urge. As does protein. Eat up.
- Create a bit of crazy. Visualization, that is. If sugar is still tempting you, imagine your sugar free life and the healthy/energetic/lean self you’ll be sporting! SEE it, claim it, then make the choice that aligns with that vision.
- Change your habits…or people around you. We talked about this one before. If you eat mindlessly while watching TV, don’t let yourself watch TV unless you are on the elliptical. Or, avoid that “friend” who eats junk food in front of you daily while you nurture your self goals.
- Lead the way. Influence your friends and be the change you want to be. Cook healthy, commit to exercise. Healthy habits beget other healthy habits.
- Commit publically. With your friends, family, online. Ask to be held accountable. It works!
- Take a nap! This is a goal every weekend (for me). It doesn’t always occur, but when it does, it’s soooo sweet! I find I want sugar when I’m tired. Not to mention I get a little bit grumpy when I’m in need of more zzzz’s.
- Learn to recognize when your behavior is being negatively shaped. (a journal can help here)
- Develop the ability to deliberately make better choices under pressure.
- Engage in opportunities to gently nudge your network in healthier directions.
- 57 % when one of your friends is obese
- 40 % chance if it’s one of your siblings, and
- 37 % if it’s your spouse.
But hey, before you start looking around…remember the flip side. Because health and behavior are linked so closely, that means that any health state connected to habitual behaviors is communicable. (Big sigh, right?!) Even more good news: social connections can also improve your health. Think about how effective support groups are, right? People who hang around others who think positively also tend to think positively. You can lose weight, gain energy, and get fit together just as easily.
- MOVE your body. As much as you can, as often as you can, in the manner that suits you most. We talked about sitting being the new “smoking” hazard, so get moving– as often and frequently as possible.
- Don’t drink your calories. A fifth of what we consume (calorie wise) comes from beverages…and most are loaded with sugar and empty calories. (And yes, I am also talking about alcoholic beverages.) Cut back! Unless of course, your “beverage” is whey protein shake—which is great post workout or as a meal replacement, in a pinch.
- Get more sleep. Sounds easy, right? The reality is we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t need more sleep because we can survive on less. We don’t THRIVE on less, however, and performance and mental tests tells us otherwise. Sleep aids recovery, balances hormones, helps with weight loss, improves mood and more.
- Watch “portion distortion”. Counting calories may not be your thing, but phone apps sure make it easy. What we have learned is that most people underestimate caloric intake and overestimate energy expenditure. Plus, most restaurants provide inflated serving sizes. Split a meal with a friend or take half home. Don’t be fooled by correlating empty, excessive calories as “value”.
- Cheat foods are ok. Alright, even saying “cheat” or labeling foods as “good” or “bad” is not really a good thing to do. Consider colorful, real foods vs. processed, but instead of striving for perfection, strive for “good enough”. Or, try what I refer to as the “Catholic school girl diet”: eat like an angel 6 days a week and on the 7th day, make the devil blush! In other words, it’s ok to indulge a little. Just don’t let it derail you and keep it as an exception and not the rule. Remember, consistency is king.
- Go heavy. Lifting weights, that is. Sorry ladies, you will NOT build huge muscles. And regardless of your age, everyone needs to lift heavy and combat muscle decline. Decreasing muscle mass equates to body fat increases AND a slower metabolism. Lift heavy and fire up your metabolically active tissue. NOW.
- Variety is the spice of life. Mix up your workouts and you’ll get more out of them.
- Find like-minded peeps. Community is important and like-minded people provide motivation, mentoring and help keep you accountable. I feel so fortunate for the fitness friends I’ve trained & learned from over the years.
- Adkins really did have it right. I’m not advocating a specific diet. Honestly, the best plan out there was laid out in the Old Testament. Real food, plain and simple. BUT, if you integrate a practice of carb swapping knocking out pastas and breads, it’s one of the easier ways to help you lose weight as many folks are sensitive to carbs. My fiancé and I are all over cauliflower options in lieu of pasta, potatoes, or bread. (Check out the recipe section of my blog for ideas.)
- And about that Adkins….eat more fat. Yes, she said that. As much as 35% of your daily calories can be a mix of nuts, avocados, or healthy oils. It’s the TRANS fats you want to avoid like the plague.
- You really can work out anywhere. Your body can provide great workouts. A jump rope is $10. Squat, climb stairs, step up, jump rope, do jumping jacks or push ups (from knees or feet), etc. A gym is not required.
- Multi-function exercises work your body better and can aid fat loss. Consider a dumbbell squat to should press. Or, a deadlift to back row.
- Regarding food, adding solid protein at each meal or snack will help keep you full and keep your metabolism going.
- Hydrate. Dehydration can make you think you are hungry, impede performance, and affect your mood (plus a whole lot of other things). Water or tea help control your appetite and tea has so many wonderful benefits (see earlier blog). Drink water, drink tea, try some of the drinks I shared in my past blog, but HYDRATE, often.