Benefits of Using a Foam Roller

foam rolling 2

Top Five Benefits

1.       Improved Movement and Flexibility

Performing form rolling exercises before a workout can contribute to better flexibility and range of motion. This is significant because muscles are less likely to be damaged or pulled when foam rolling exercises are a part of the warm up routine.

2.       Injury Prevention

The second benefit is related to the first. Foam rolling performed with stretching can prevent several common injuries. Improper movements that cause injuries are less likely to happen.

3.       Improved Circulation and Blood Flow

Rolling stretches and loosens muscles where blood flow may be somewhat blocked. Better circulation is fundamental to general health and wellbeing because blood carries oxygen through the body.

foam rolling

4.       Reduced Soreness and Recovery Time

Recovery time can be considerably reduced by foam rolling before an intense workout. This applies not only for fitness junkies, but for desk workers as well. If your job entails sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, you are well aware of the soreness at the end of a long work day.

5.       Reduced Stress

Research has shown a correlation with foam rolling and cortisol (stress hormone) reduction.

A Safe and Simple Detox Cleanse (without Starvation)

     Detoxification is something that the body does naturally and the majority of detoxification takes place in the liver. Due to the standard American diet and the proliferation of certain chemicals and pesticides, many people benefit from a cleanse program that gently and slowly supports the process of metabolic detoxification. The problem is a majority of the programs  are either scams, not based on clinical science, dangerous, or all of the above. Some illegitimate programs claim the healthy way to detox is fasting from all food while drinking nothing but lemon water, cayenne, and maple syrup. Not only are those kind of extremely restrictive diets unhealthy, they are especially unsafe for those suffering with diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease. Furthermore they upset the sodium, blood sugar, and potassium levels in the body.

     The cleanse that I promote in my office is one of the few great detox programs that allows you to eat food while you detox and is one hundred percent safe. It’s called The PaleoCleanse Plus. It includes a powder taken twice daily made up of the precise combination of nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, herbs, and extracts that support the detox process. The PaleoCleanse isn’t specifically designed for weight loss, but it can often occur. The fourteen day cleanse requires the elimination of sugar, gluten containing grains, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol from the diet. Patients will also be replacing some meals with the PaleoCleanse shakes, so this lower caloric intake is likely to result in weight loss for many. Each cleanse comes with a food schedule and healthy snack and meal options, so there’s no guesswork involved when it comes to eating. I walk my patients through this process step by step during their consultations.

detoxification cleanse

     The one downside is some patients experience headaches during the first few days of the cleanse, which is due to caffeine and/or sugar withdrawal. The powder is intended to give the body everything it needs to get through this initial discomfort as quickly and painlessly as possible. I advocate my patients with a sweet tooth or a coffee habit to try to cut down on sugar and caffeine consumption for a few days prior to starting the cleanse. As always I will also offer nutritional and lifestyle guidance that will keep the patient’s toxic burden low and make sure their body’s detoxification mechanisms work well for the long haul.

Green Smoothie Recipe

2 or 3 handfuls of kale

3 celery stems

1 cucumber

Ginger Root - the size of half of a pager (kids, ask your parents).

Half a cup of frozen blueberries

Half a cup of unsweetened coconut milk (very important to find “unsweetened” to avoid insulin spikes). Add more if needed to blend thoroughly.

More options:

Having a powerful blender like a Vitamix will make this endeavor a lot easier and faster.

Replace kale with Spinach, bok choy, baby kale, or a mix. I tend to buy whatever is the freshest looking item at the grocery store. I’ve witnessed firsthand the consequences of eating tainted greens.

Replace blueberries with a frozen acai blend packet or other frozen fruit of your choice. I prefer berries because I love the taste, the antioxidants, and lower levels of sugar.

Add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. It will make the smoothie taste awful, but the extra jolt of energy you feel after ingesting it is worth it.

Add 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil (full of beneficial medium chain triglycerides).

Add some ice cubes if you’d like the smoothie freezing cold.

Replace coconut oil with water.

Final option if you’re in a hurry: Purchase the powdered greens drink (called “Greens First”) carried at my office. Grocery shopping, cleaning vegetables, scraping ginger root, blending it all up, and cleaning the blender take a fair amount of time that can be hard to come by.

Final Thoughts:

This recipe will not taste as good as a can of Pepsi or a chocolate milkshake, but the nutritional benefits make this green drink worth gulping down. Fair warning: You will experience a delightful energy boost similar to a cup of coffee, but without any of the jitters. Your body will thank you for it.

Walking: How to Improve Your Health

What exercise doesn’t require a gym membership, an initiation fee, an age requirement, a doctor’s approval, or special clothing? What exercise boils down to the ability to put one foot in front of the other? You guessed it; walking. I was shocked and proud of a patient of mine who showed me his pedometer watch today. It was only 6:00pm and he had already walked 13759 steps (6.89 miles).

 

There are countless proven health benefits associated with walking regularly. Those who make walking a part of their normal routine prevent cardiovascular disease, uphold weight lost after dieting, and lower blood pressure. Not to mention it promotes the opportunity to breathe some fresh air while burning calories. It’s safe for just about any age and any fitness level. It’s especially recommended for those who find running too extreme or painful. If combined with a low calorie diet, walking can stimulate weight loss depending on the intensity.

Eat Brussels Sprouts Even If You Despise Them

I know it’s not the most loved vegetable in the world, but brussels sprouts have health benefits that make them well worth adding to your diet. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are very nutrient dense. Brussels sprouts have a good amount of antioxidants, folic acid, protein, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. My recipe below has great anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

First cut the stocks off of the ends of the brussels sprouts. You can also chop the brussels sprouts in half if you would like to cook them quickly on a pan. Put the brussels sprouts in a large gallon ziplock bag and add garlic, onions, fresh thyme, and olive oil. Then zip the bag tightly and shake until everything is evenly covered. Let the bag sit for 10 or 15 minutes, so the brussels sprouts to absorb the herbs. Cook them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I suggest turning them over at the halfway point to cook them evenly. Using a layer of parchment paper will save a lot of time later when you're cleaning the baking sheet.

This recipe can be improved with a combination of cayenne, turmeric, ginger, mustard seed, basil, and of course salt. If you’ve had brussels sprouts in the past that you thought tasted disgusting, I highly recommend trying this recipe. You may change your opinion about this vegetable. 

Another tip: It’s a lot faster and easier to make this recipe if you have someone to be your “sous-chef.” You could probably even get your kids involved pulling apart the garlic cloves and pulling fresh thyme off of the stems.

Creatine + Coffee: A Great Way to Stay Energized Throughout the Day

I keep my office open late into the evening because it’s the best way I can help patients who work 9 to 5 jobs. Sometimes I need an energy boost following my midday workout that will keep me going strong on those long work days. My favorite energy drink isn’t something like Redbull or 5 Hour Energy. Those drinks have an ingredient list of chemicals a mile long and they taste like battery acid. My preferred choice is coffee and creatine.

Creatine is a muscle building supplement that boosts the natural creatine stores in the body. Many weightlifters take it because it improves and helps recover from high-intensity exercise. Clinical research proves these results as well as showing evidence for improved brain function. People who regularly eat a lot of fish and meat may already have enough creatine in their cells. Supplementation can have extraordinarily noticeable results for vegetarians and those who aren’t big meat eaters. As always, look for quality name brands. Buying creatine in giant 4 pound drums from places like Costco is a bad idea because those knockoff brands are often have useless additives.

Adding some cinnamon to my recipe stabilizes blood sugar and of course makes the drink even tastier. Coconut oil gives provides the body some healthy fats and makes the drink more filling. It's important to also drink enough water throughout the day because creatine and coffee can cause some dehydration. Caffeine tries to flush the water out of the body while creatine tries to retain it. This interaction can leave you feeling dehydrated if you’re not drinking water.

There are several additional health benefits to drinking coffee. To learn more please check out my youtube video on the topic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glvL6eESBVo

Low Carb High Protein Breakfasts

We’ve all probably heard how “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Breakfast is certainly important, but specifically a high protein breakfast is very significant. A healthy high protein meal is the best way to start your day because it increases a chemical in the brain that affects food reward. It influences the neurotransmitters that control hunger, brain function, and overall energy levels. Just consuming twenty to thirty-five grams of protein in the morning is the key to feeling satiated and stop cravings for junk food throughout the day. Protein causes a very gradual and sustained rise in blood sugar, unlike a high spike like you would get from a processed high carbohydrate Westernized breakfast foods like Pop Tarts, waffles, and sugary cereals. This gradual rise is what you want to have each day because it will produce a consistent nutrient supply to your brain and muscles.

A healthy high protein breakfast can be made at home quickly and effortlessly. Eggs, turkey bacon, mozzarella cheese, chicken breast, and guacamole are some of my preferred choices. I tend to hard-boil eggs while cooking chicken breasts after work to save time in the morning. Don’t be afraid of having some fat with your protein. Fat will keep you full and not be responsible for making you fat like the processed grains in breakfast breads muffins. If you don’t want to eat an animal protein, you can have a whey protein shake with peanut butter. There are multiple flavors and you can add various nuts, almond butter, or sunflower butter to improve the consistency. As always, check out all of our low-carb, high protein, and healthy fat options. So here you have it, another reason not to skip breakfast. 

Election 2016: Reduce Stress and Anxiety with Nutrition

Why is it when we’re sad or stressed we tend to reach for cookies or a pint of ice-cream instead of tofu or a bowl of kale? Consuming sugar and fat feel like they provide emotional support because high sugar, high carb foods release a blast of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter. This triggers a response in the brain similar to taking an opiate. Even though this might temporarily improve your mood in the short term, the long term consequences include weight gain, energy crashes, candida overgrowth, and lower serotonin levels.

So the question is “how can I improve my mood without a quick rush of sugar and fat?” The answer is very simple: consume Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fats. B12 plays an important role in energy production and hormones affecting your mood. The easiest solution is supplementing with a B12 or B-complex vitamin. I often take a sublingual B12 supplement to feel the positive effects quickly. B12 is also readily available in food like grass fed beef, eggs, salmon, and raw dairy. It’s highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians to supplement with B12 as their diets alone will not provide enough.

Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation and improve overall brain function. Study after study prove that it has a positive effect on reducing depression. The easiest way to get more omega 3 fats into your system is taking a fish oil supplement. I recommend carefully reading the label and choosing a brand like Carlson’s or Green’s First for the most positive results. Costco and Walmart budget brands are known to include several fillers and additives with little to no nutritional benefit. I also recommend at least once a week consuming oily wild-caught (not farm raised) fish.