Growing Old vs. Aging Gracefully – The Bitterest Pill

If you haven’t figured it out, the bitterest pill to swallow is the truth. The truth is often not what we want to hear so we hide behind convenient lies (just calling them what they are). The truth is, you have ultimate control over whether you age gracefully, experiencing and manifesting health and vitality, or grow old dealing with the consequences of disease and the unwanted baggage that comes with allopathy.

The true sign of health is not longevity, it is the quality of life that counts. If you are not capable of living a life of vibrancy, passion and zeal, are you really living?

The truth is, degenerative disease is at epidemic levels. Earlier detection only goes so far. If you personally don’t have a disease, you likely know someone, family or friend, that does. Diseases have become so common that they are considered normal and rarely given a second thought.

In the first part of this series; “Choices”, I offered that poor health, degenerative conditions, even disease are not a normal state of being. I even offered that health and vitality, is our actual default setting. If you have not read “Choices”, I suggest you start there.

Being healthy is how we are meant to live. Every disease, health complaint, sign or symptom is your body communicating that something is wrong, that Metabolic Chaos™ exists. This Chaos is metabolic deficiencies, weakness and imbalances existing within the tissues, glands and organs that make up the many complex systems drive overall body function.

Your health challenges are the external manifestation of this Metabolic Chaos™!

While you may not want to hear this. . . .

  • Your current state of health is the best your body can do considering the circumstances it’s in
  • Those circumstances are determined by the environment in which you live and the lifestyle choices made within that environment up to this moment in time
  • If you don’t like your current state of health, then you have to change how you interact with people, places and things including yourself
  • You will never “fix” the problem or in this case heal, by continuing with the same thoughts and actions that created them.

As mentioned in the last article, my dad had a heart attack in early February ’17. Complications developed due to his age, history and Metabolic Chaos™. I can’t image what he has been going though, but I am sure it is far beyond the distress I have been experiencing.

Throughout this event I have been doing much soul searching. This has resulted in fortifying a previous commitment, between my wife and I, too not allow ourselves to end up in a similar situation. I don’t care what genetic predispositions may exist. I don’t care what lies and disinformation I continue to hear and be told. I will not become another health statistic. I have a plan that is being executed as I write this. The proof of our success may not be known for decades, but we will succeed. Life is meant to be lived no matter what the age!

I want to shine a light of truth upon the health of America’s citizens. For many reasons, we Americans have an incredibly hard time swallowing the bitter truth pill. We are a sick nation. In spite of the scientific advances made within the health care and medical industries we continue to suffer, when we don’t have to.

Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD)

  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly 801,000 or 1 of every 3 deaths in the US
  • 2,200 Americans die of CVD each day, averaging 1 death every 40 seconds
  • About 92.1 million American adults are living with CVD or the after-effects of stroke.
  • Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause (45.1%) of deaths attributable to CVD followed by Stroke (16.5%), Heart Failure (8.5%), High Blood Pressure (9.1%) Diseases of the Arteries (3.2%) and other CVD.

Heart Disease:

  • Accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the US, killing over 360,000 people a year.
  • About 790,000 people in the US have heart attacks each year. Of those 114,000 will die.
  • The estimated annual incidence of heart attack in the US is 580,000 new attacks and 210,000 recurrent attacks.
  • Average age of the first heart attack is 65.3 years for males and 71.8 years for females.

Strokes:

  • Strokes kill nearly 133,000 people a year
  • Someone in the US has a stroke about once every 40 seconds.
  • Strokes account for 1 of every 20 deaths in the US.
  • Strokes kill someone in the US about every 4 minutes
  • Each year, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Approximately 610,000 of these are first attacks.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the US

What is utterly shameful is that CVD including heart attacks, stroke and heart disease along with every single risk factor is preventable and avoidable. They are all lifestyle diseases. CVD is not genetically determined. A genetic predisposition is not a guarantee of a manifestation, it is just an increased likelihood “if” all the “wrong” variables are present. Those variables are determined by the environment and how you interact with people, places and things including yourself.

Type II Diabetes:

  • The seventh leading cause of death in 2013 and likely very under reported.
  • Has been diagnosed in an estimated 29 million of american adults (roughly 13.0%)
  • An estimated 7.6 million or 3.1% of adults have undiagnosed diabetes
  • About 86 million or 36.8% of adults have pre-diabetes and may or may not realize it.
  • The leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations and adult-onset blindness
  • More than 20% of health care spending is for people with diagnosed diabetes
  • Diabetes complications include heart disease and stroke.

Auto Immune Diseases

  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates up to 23.5 million americans suffer from autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising.
  • Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in women in all age groups up to 64 years of age
  • Commonly used immunosuppressant treatments can lead to devastating long-term side effects. These drugs suppress immune function (throughout the body) decreasing inflammation markers but doing little or nothing to decrease the inflammatory causal factors.
  • A suppressed immune system increases the likelihood of developing all kinds of infections and malignancies which can lead to death.

The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) says that 50 million americans suffer from autoimmune disease. The reason for the discrepancy is that the NIH only includes 24 diseases for which good epidemiology studies were available. Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and expect at least 40 more to have an autoimmune basis.

Unwanted Weight and Obesity:

  • More than 2/3 of adults are considered overweight or obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity
  • About 1/3 of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are considered overweight or obese
  • Obesity related conditions include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer (breast, colon, endometrial and kidney), nonalcoholics fatty liver disease and osteoarthritis
  • Healthcare costs are estimated to be 22% higher for the overweight, 28% higher for obesity and 41% higher in the severely obese.

Cancer:

  • In 2017 there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,000 cancer deaths in the US.
  • Nearly 13% of all cancers in adults ages 20+ will be rare cancers, fewer than 6 cases per 100,000 people per year
  • Every day 1,650 people die from cancer
  • The second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for 1 of every 4 deaths
  • 87% of all cancers in the US are diagnosed in people aged 50 years or older.
  • 41% of men and 38% of women will develop cancer during their lifetime
  • There will be an estimated 10,270 new cancer cases among children 0-14 years of age
  • Childhood cancer incidence rates have increased by 0.6% per year since 1975
    Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in children ages exceeded only by accidents

According to the American Cancer Society, only a small proportion (I could not find a number/percentage) of cancers are strongly hereditary, that is, caused by an inherited genetic alteration. What that means is that just about all cases of cancer are due to the environment in which one lives and the lifestyle choices made within that environment. Or how you interact with people, places and things!

I could continue with more stats that look at mental health, learning disabilities, the use of psychotropic drugs, etc. but I believe you get the idea. While these stats paint a bleak picture of this country’s state of health, they don’t mean you or a loved one, have to become another statistic padding these numbers. You have a choice!

You have a choice as to how you interact with people, places and things including yourself! You can create an internal environment which manifests health, vitality and a passion for experiencing life or you can be just like everyone else, refusing to swallow the bitterest pill in spite of what that pill offers you.

Be an example. Learn to take care of yourself and prove through your health gains that statistics mean nothing when true knowledge and love of self is present.

Imagine what life will be like when we teach our children, from birth, a form of holistic self care which creates healthy, educated, free-thinking individuals who can not only take care of themselves, but also show empathy to truly take care of and support others.

Imagine the possibilities when you can do just about anything you put your mind to, because your mind/body is up to the task and Metabolic Chaos™ has no power over you!

I will end this article as I ended the last, with the addition one question:

  • Do you want to get old or do you want to age gracefully?
  • Are getting old or are you aging gracefully?
  • Are you, or will you be just another statistic?

If you do not proactively learn a holistic model of self-care you will be forced into the medical model (drugs, surgery, chemo and radiation). Is that what you want?

If you are not living the life of quality that you want, you may want to consider a holistic form of self care such as my Awaken Your Health FDN® Functional Health Coaching program.

I am not sure exactly what the next article will cover, but I am sure that you will find it helpful if you open your mind to possibilities and truth. Until then, I offer much love and healing energy your way.

 

Growing Old vs. Aging Gracefully – Choices

Growing old versus aging gracefully is a topic I have been contemplating for some time, but has been on the back burner, until now. Before I explain why, allow me to define the terms of this article.

Growing Old is essentially allowing nature to takes its course with minimal, purposeful intervention, much less the actual execution of a designed plan. You may as well spin the wheel, roll the dice or pick a card to discover your ultimate health outcome. The primary intervention experienced with growing old is typically unplanned, allopathic in nature (medical model of disease/symptom management) and can include a multitude of pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures and even toxic chemo/radiation exposure. While this approach may extend life, it does little or nothing to enhance the quality of that extended life.

Aging Gracefully is taking ownership of one’s health. By ownership I mean purposely becoming educated regarding how the body works so you better understand why it behaves as it does. Then you proactively act upon that knowledge making targeted healthier lifestyle choices. Ownership means investing time, energy and resources now, not later. The benefit of aging gracefully is that quality of life remains high when others suffer and falter. Your ability to adapt to or resolve the effects of stress remains strong. The allopathic role, if enlisted, is only one of a potential handful of practitioners or services working for you, not empowered by you.

It is important you understand that I do believe allopathy serves a purpose. If I am ever in a life or death situation there is nowhere else I want to be than here in America with access to modern medicine.

Allopathy excels in responding to acute health challenges, breaking a leg or having a stroke, etc. Where its effectiveness drops greatly is in preventing such events from occurring in the first place.

Allopathy is about managing disease and symptoms. It can’t heal anything. Drugs suppressing metabolic function don’t heal the body. The surgical removal of tissue, glands and organs, or exposure to the toxic effects of chemotherapy/radiation do not heal the body. While these practices may alleviate or reduce a symptom(s), that is not the same as healing.

Over 90 percent of health challenges are chronic in nature. Chronic or degenerative disorders require time to manifest. At some point, a “tipping point” is reached, where the body can no longer metabolically compensate for imbalances or stressors and an “event” occurs. Or, the symptom(s) reach a point of severity and/or frequency which allows a “diagnosis” to be applied.

Be honest and consider this; if you were diagnosed with cancer this morning, were healthy yesterday? If you have a heart attack tomorrow, does that make you healthy today? Obesity, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, etc., are all degenerative conditions that existed well before the diagnosis was made.

I hope this is making sense and sinking in. The absence of a diagnosis is not the definition of health. Health is not only the absence of disease, it is the body’s ability to prevent the signs/symptoms of disease from happening in the first place and being capable of returning to a state of homeostasis if knocked out of balance.

Health is what you, me, and everyone should be manifesting right now every day. Compromised health should be the anomaly. An actual diagnosis, much less an acute health event (i.e. stroke) should be even less likely, a true rarity. Hospitals and ERs should only be needed for acute traumas such as a car accident.

How can health be our default setting you ask? If it were not, we would have died out as a species millennia ago! A literal program for health exists. This program is written into the DNA of every single one of the 100 trillion+ cells that make up your body. The only thing that can heal you is tapping into and allowing this innate program or wisdom to function as it was designed.

If you cut yourself, if you keep the wound clean and the edges together, it will heal. If you break a bone, and align the edges, the gap is crossed and the bone remodeled. The cells accomplishing this don’t have to be told what to do. They don’t have to watch a video, read a self-help book or partake in a multi-year program. Your cells already know what to do. They just have to be allowed to do it!

You can damage this programming. No one is born with type 2 diabetes, something(s) has to change. It is perfectly natural for blood sugar levels to fluctuate. This is essential for health and survival. There are a multitude of biochemical processes that allow blood sugar to deviate and bring it back into balance. Type 2 diabetes happens when we damage or break that programming. If the program is merely damaged, it can often be corrected through lifestyle. If it is broken, that is another story. Diabetes is a degenerative illness requiring time to manifest.

If we allow this innate wisdom to manifest, you will experience health. The earlier in life you recognize this fact, and more importantly apply this knowledge appropriately, the more likely you will be to experience true health and maintain it for a lifetime.

The more out of metabolically imbalanced your body is, the longer these imbalances exist, the more challenging it is to bring oneself back into homeostasis. But it is possible in most cases.

There is a formula for acquiring health. In overly simple terms, you will experience health if you supply your body everything it needs to heal, while eliminating or reducing every possible blocking factor.

Sounds simple, right? The challenge is that modern society, how most people choose to live, goes against this formula. The “western” lifestyle is loaded with blocking factors which impede healing. Our cells are malnourished by poor foods of convenience and toxic from a polluted environment.

We have been falsely led to believe that getting old is a natural part of life. Any time you hear or interpret any message that even hints to ill-health as normal, it is either a purposeful lie or expressed through ignorance. Often it is both.

As with exercise, there are no bad drugs or bad surgical procedures. But there does exist inappropriately prescribed exercise, drugs and surgery. It is the appropriateness relative to the individual where success or mistakes are made.

I know. What I am saying goes against just about everything you have been told and led to believe is true. Allopathy is not the answer to disease prevention, much less health building. Allopathy is not king, it can be and should be questioned! There exists legitimate options that that are not quackery, deception or schemes.

I’m not saying that quackery, deception and schemes don’t exist, they do. That is where education comes into play. That is where intuition, that innate knowledge and wisdom inside you, speaking its voice needs to be trusted. All occupations, no matter how noble or altruistic they may be presented, can be used for good or evil.

Never believe everything anyone tells you at face value. Yes, it can be hard to look at people, places, things, including yourself and even ideas without allowing emotions to get in the way. Being able to see things for what they truly are is vital to health building and survival in general.

When it comes to your health, be open-minded to possibilities and new ideas. But also be skeptical. Skeptical of false promises, misleading information, distracting marketing and deceptive intentions. An imbalance between the two can and often leads to disappointment, frustration and disgust at self and others. You are too important. You have better things to do with your time, energy and resources.

You have read this far and I have yet to answer the first question. Why am I writing this, now? In early February ’17 my dad had a heart attack. I am writing this, while watching him sleep in a rehab facility.

I am incredibly grateful that he is alive. I thank allopathy for that. Now we are concerned about his quality of life which has suffered greatly. In some ways he is in worse shape than he was prior to the heart attack. Where is allopathy now?

I am writing this for two reasons. First, I have an awful lot of thoughts running through my head as you can imagine, and they demand to be released. Second, I truly believe that what I offer here, my experience, can benefit you.

So I will finish this article offering two questions:

Do you want to get old or do you want to age gracefully?
Are getting old or are you aging gracefully?

If you do not proactively learn a holistic model of self-care you will be forced into the medical model (drugs, surgery, chemo and radiation). Is that what you want?

If you are not living the life of quality that you want, you may want to consider a holistic form of self care such as my Awaken Your Health FDN® Functional Health Coaching program. I have more thoughts to offer, this is just a good place to stop. See you in my follow-up.

Is Play Missing from Your Health Quest?

play-jpg-smWe can learn a lot from children.They naturally express great imagination and creativity. And their innocence is a breath of fresh air. Watching children without modern society’s filters and programming is a wonder to behold (there’s a reason kids say the darndest things).

One lesson I try to get across to clients is that if you work hard, you have to rest hard and still find time to play.

The work hard, rest hard part should be obvious. It relates to energy balance and recovery. When you work hard you are expending energy. When you rest you are recharging those batteries. Working hard is challenging and stressful to the body. It is while we are resting, while sleeping that the body repairs, rebuilds and grows.

Why play? Play is important because it involves creativity and imagination. Both are right brain activities and we live in a left brain dominant society.

Spending our lives in the left brain is distressing and throws us out of balance. Chronic stress, regardless of its source is a major driving factor behind Metabolic Chaos™ or the loss of metabolic efficiency and function. All those sign and symptoms of compromised health are external manifestations of Metabolic Chaos™

Anything you can do to decrease stress is vital to building health and vitality. Play does that. You won’t find miserable upset children playing in the back yard or at the park.
What I suggest is you think about the way you played as a child, what did you do and how did it make you feel? What emotions did you experience? Most likely you felt good regardless of what you were doing, otherwise you wouldn’t do it.

I am not suggesting you go back and start acting as if you are six years old, but you can learn from your past to improve your present and in turn change your future.

As a kid, I enjoyed playing in the dirt and building things. So how do I manifest that today? I still play in the dirt, except now, instead of Tonka trucks, army men and matchbox cars I play with rocks and stones. Building retaining walls, patios and walkways allows me to be creative. It allows me to experience moments of Zen that bring me joy. As a bonus it requires physical activity, which most of America does not get enough of.

To be honest, I don’t “enjoy” exercise. But I do “enjoy” playing. How I exercise is specifically designed to allow me to express myself through play while inflicting as little physical distress to my body as possible. After all, those rocks and stones can get heavy.

As kid I always enjoyed exploring, whether it was on a bike or wandering wooded areas (this was before suburban sprawl became a national past-time). I still enjoy exploring today. Except now it’s on a slightly larger scale.

pics-jpgMy wife and I enjoy road trips. Starting in 2015, rather than take a traditional week’s vacation that fit within our work schedule, we chose to do it our way. Over the past two trips we have spent over a month exploring Newfoundland and Nova Scotia driving over 8,000 miles. We have met wonderful kind souls, eaten ridiculously fresh and tasty seafood, viewed incredible vistas and hiked amazing terrain. We have gained a new appreciation for life and what this reality we are experiencing is all about.

How we choose to play is unique to each of us. I would never suggest you do what I do. All I ask is you try new things or re-invent/modify old things.

You may be thinking, that you can’t, or you shouldn’t, that there are other things I have to do. All I can say is STOP! Stop that train of thought. That is not you speaking, that is social programming speaking.

We are human beings, not human “doings”. Our career choices don’t define who we are.
Trust me, play is essential for health. We are meant to “be” and part of the act of “being” is experiencing life within this physical existence. We should be actively participating in life not observing it from a climate controlled environment, or looking at pretty images on the big screen tv or through the latest virtual reality technology.

Trust me, playing is an essential part of being healthy.

One, it is hard to be stressed when you play, otherwise you aren’t playing. Try it, prove me wrong.

Second, our fast paced modern lifestyle is incredibly left brain dominant. The right brain is all about imagination, creativity and artistic ability. The right brain is open-minded, holistic in scope with an emphasis on possibilities, intuition and abstract perception. These attributes are in direct opposition to just about everything we are taught and led to believe are appropriate to being a productive responsible adult.

Third, play keeps us young. Young of body, mind and soul.

Most Americans don’t play. And if you are honest as you look around, you see an awful lot of of unhealthy, unhappy and uninspired people attempting to act alive.

Start off with simple forms of play. If you don’t know where to begin. get down on the floor and watch your children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews play. See things from their perspective. Dance, sing, roll around, run, skip, climb, jump (jump in a puddle, really its fun and you won’t melt, I promise). Grab some crayons or pencils and take up adult coloring (yes it’s actually a thing, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines). Learn to play a musical instrument or dust yours off. The options are endless.

Think about the fun you had as a child with nothing more than your imagination and a big box. That box became anything you wanted and it was fun.

Whatever you do, do something and enjoy it. Allow the memories and feelings wash over you. It is well worth the effort. You can play and have fun yet still remain a functioning respectable adult. I fact, I bet you will become an even better adult through play. And think what you can teach and experience with your children. So get out there!!

Closing Thoughts: As important as play is, it’s only one of a handful of tools at your disposal that can help you build health & vitality and embrace life, naturally. If you believe you are doing the “right” things, but not making the progress you expect, contact me. We can set up a consultation and discuss how my Awaken Your Health programs can get you much closer to your goals. Until then, go have fun! Play and get back in contact with your inner child! You deserve it.

You Have A Choice

u-have-a-choice-cover-jpgNo one gets healthy accidentally! Everyone makes choices. Everyday, you interact with people, places and things including yourself. It is those choices you make in those interactions which dictate your state of health.

Do your choices lead to health, vitality, energy and a passion for life or do those choices force you to settle for less?

Do you want to settle for less? You don’t have to, nor should you. I’m going to let you in on a few secrets. Secrets related to creating health.

True health is a birth rite. It is a rite everyone of us, including yourself was born with. Unfortunately, many of us have given it away, subconsciously, unknowingly thrown it away.

I don’t what to discuss the why or how. That’s another topic. What I want to offer is insight into how you can get it back and never again let it go.

True health takes place at the cellular level. I say this because this is the lowest level within the biological levels of organization that we have any degree of control over. Yes, it’s time for a bit of biology and chemistry, just a little. I promise. It’s important.

At a base level, we consist of atoms (elements or chemicals), material on the periodic table, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc.

The next level up are combinations of atoms bound together forming molecules. Examples include water (hydrogen and oxygen) or glucose (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen), even cholesterol and testosterone, all molecules.

If you combine molecules you create macromolecules. Macromolecules include triglycerides (3 fatty acid molecules bound to a glycerol molecule). Multiple amino acid molecules combined create protein.

When we combine macromolecules we can have a cell. A cell is the first structure in the level of organization containing all the components needed to create, sustain and reproduce life.

If you take a bunch of cells you can create tissue of which there are only four kinds (Epithelial, Connective, Muscle and Neural).

Combine the appropriate tissues and you create a gland or organ.

Take a number of glands and organs which have similar functions and you create one of many complex systems such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems.

If you have the right combination of systems working together you have a fully functional organism such as yourself.

It’s incredibly amazing really, when you understand what is involved to create a living, breathing human being. The biology and chemistry involved in the inner workings of a cell are mind boggling to say the least.

We are so complex yet at the same time we are governed by some pretty basic and simple rules. Unfortunately, these rules have generally been ignored, misunderstood, even thought as too simple to have any true health impact.

If you recall, I said earlier that health happens at the cellular level. Every cell, every one of the 100 trillion + cells in your body contain a program. A program of instructions which direct and ensure the viability and function of that cell. This program is literally built into the DNA.

This program, at a cellular level, is designed to manifest true health, optimal function, 100% efficiency. This level of function is in fact our normal state of function. A health challenge, regardless of how common it may be is not normal.

sick-society-jpg
If you have a bunch of cells, functioning normally, then the tissue that those cells make up will function normally.

The glands and organs that efficient tissue makes up will also perform normally.

The complex systems made up of those normal glands and organs will perform their function normally.

If all the systems of the body are working as they were designed then the entire organism will function normally manifesting health.

Anything less than health, vibrancy, energy and function is a sign that cellar dysfunction or deficiency exists. The only question then is what is driving this level of dysfunction, or as I call it, Metabolic Chaos™?

The signs/symptoms, challenges, disease or diagnosis are not the problem. They are the outward manifestation of the true problem, that being Metabolic Chaos™ or cellular dysfunction.

The allopathic or medical model excels at managing symptoms (relief care) by suppressing unwanted function. This is done largely through prescription drugs. Less used but just as impractical is chemotherapy or radiation treatments. When these methods of managing symptoms fail, there exists the most extreme form of relief care; surgery or the removal of the offending tissue, gland or organ. Unfortunately, you can’t heal that which no longer exists and you have to deal with the repercussions of that lost level of function.

While signs and symptoms offer insight, they are merely the messenger, the teacher attempting to communicate with the host that imbalances exist at the cellular level.

If you supply your cells with everything they need to function, and eliminate or reduce everything that interferes with that level of function, and allow some time, your cells will more effectively execute their health program. There is nothing more required; no self help books, no how-to videos or DIY guides. Your cells already know. They are merely waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves.

Think of it another way. Your cells are doing the best they can considering the circumstances they have been placed in.

Or, your current state of health is the result of all the experiences, choices and decisions you have made throughout your life up to this moment in time.

Does that make sense, does it ring true if you really listen to your body’s innate wisdom? Or does this sound too easy? It has to be more complex than that, doesn’t it?

Earlier, I mentioned choices, that is, how you interact with people, places and things including yourself. This is the key to success, when you have the right perspective.

Are your life choices manifesting true health, or are they manifesting poor health? Are your choices based upon your core values and what your innate wisdom needs and is asking for? Or, are you living according to the dictates of modern society in spite of what your inner voice is communicating?

Lets get back to those important cells. The root cause of cellular dysfunction, manifesting as unwanted health challenges, is typically the results of two major stressors; malnutrition and toxins (heavy metals, environmental pollutants, chemicals etc.).

Malnutrition: Every cell requires specific and varied nutrients, essentially molecules and macromolecules to drive metabolism. These nutrients are derived from the food you eat on a daily basis. As Bill Wolcott, the creator of Metabolic Typing® has so clearly pointed out, if you supply your cells with their unique genetically determined nutritional requirements then you will experience the results of healthy functional cells. There is nothing you can do that will compensate for, or is more important than, feeding your cells what they need. The only question then is what genetically determined nutritional requirements do your cells require?

For a better understanding of the science of Metabolic Typing® you can watch a three-part video series I put together for my Eating Makeover program called The Perfect Diet (http://wp.me/P3hWct-al)

Toxins: Toxins are fun in that toxins have a few nefarious abilities. First, toxins have the ability to displace nutrition. They can interfere with getting nutrients from your food to the interior of your cells. They can negatively impact this process at many levels including digestion, absorption, transportation, assimilation and finally oxidation or intracellular utilization. Additionally, toxins can be carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting and mutagenic in nature. These qualities are very disruptive further amplifying Metabolic Chaos™.

Considering how toxic the environment is, literally and figuratively, eliminating toxin exposure is virtually impossible. Reducing exposure is within your grasp and so is strengthening your body’s natural defensive mechanism, the three detoxification pathways.

At this stage you should see how health is built from the ground up, the inside out. This is in opposition to everything we have been taught, told and led to believe. This wrong perspective would explain why poor health and chronic diseases are at epidemic levels and getting worse. We are looking at the problem with the wrong set of eyes.

If one wants to attain health, vitality, energy and embrace life, the focus has to be on supporting cellular function. That being said, if you find yourself in a life or death situation, you have to use everything at your disposal including modern science and medical advances to remain alive. After all, if your dead everything else is irrelevant.

When I work with clients within the framework of my Awaken Your Health programs, the goal is restoring cellular function. Bill Wolcott created a formula to explain this process:

health-vs-disease

This formula appears simple, almost too simple. Can it be as easy as “give the body what it needs and reduce or eliminate everything it doesn’t, then let nature do the rest?”

Yes, it’s that simple!

How then do you know what any given individual needs and doesn’t need? There are many variables. Everyone is as unique in there own biochemical metabolic processes as they are in their fingerprints. While we all have the same parts how efficient or inefficient they work alone and together can vary wildly. Everyone has lived a life making choices individual to them and we each have our own unique genetic predispositions.

While it is true, there never was and never will be another human being just like you, there are many effective tools at your disposal. While you can repair some problems with a hammer, you can’t fix every problem with a hammer regardless of how hard you hit it.

To facilitate this process of understanding I use specific functional lab tests. Functional labs and the interpretation of those labs relative to you, the individual presenting those results and symptoms is where I gain insight into the state of function at the tissue, gland, organ, system and even cellular levels.

Everything I do within my Awaken Your Health programs is designed and clinically proven to support the body positively impacting cellular function. Improve cellular function, allow for time and the body can heal itself.

While a significant portion of the population can heal themselves of most common symptoms and complaints, even of a full blown diagnosis, some people are too damaged at the cellular level to make a full recovery. Even then, we can still improve function and see an enhancement in overall quality of life.

The principles coached are rather simple. Remember the acronym D.R.E.S.S.:

Diet (eating)
Rest (sleeping)
Exercise (movement)
Stress Reduction
Supplementation (targeted use)

My clients get the results they do by altering not only the environment they live in, but more importantly, how they interact with people, places and things including themselves within the framework of the D.R.E.S.S. for Health Success® Lifestyle Grounding Program.

Think about it this way. If you do nothing different in how you interact with life, is it realistic to expect the outcome to be any different than it currently is, or that the direction you are heading should deviate from its present course? Of course not.

If you’re not assessing you’re guessing, and I don’t guess! There are specific reasons for, and realistic outcomes expected from the protocols I recommend. I turn over every rock, digging below the surface as deep as required, taking advantage of every healing opportunity that presents itself.

All I ask of my clients is to be as enthused, motivated and committed to rebuilding their health as I am. I’ll bend over backwards to help you reach your goals. Realistically, you have to do the work. You have to change how you interact with people, places and things including yourself. I can’t do it for you.

The proof is in the results. I have healed myself and have helped many others do the same. Give me six months and you can change your future.

Why You Need A Farmer

2009-dept-agricultureYou may believe that malnourishment is highly unlikely in the U.S. considering how readily available “food” is. But you would be wrong as the chart from the Department of Agriculture clearly shows.

Would you be as surprised that this is far from being a “new” problem? This is from the 2nd Session of the 74th USA Congressional Record (1936):

“Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats today are not what they were a few generations ago. It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, and shorten our lives.”

There are a few key points to be mindful of:

  • This was 1936 and the country was still dealing with the repercussions of the Great Depression. So it is not that surprising that the majority of the population was malnourished.
  • What is relevant is that in 1936 the foods, fruit, vegetables and animal products were themselves scientifically proven to be less nutrient dense than previous generations. This is a trend which continues to this day.
  • Lastly, that nutritional deficiencies were known then to contribute to poor health; sickness, suffering and shorter lifespans.

What are today’s implications?

  • Is it surprising to find that for the first time in modern history, the lifespan of children born today is expected to be less than their parents?
  • Is it mildly bizarre that the U.S. Farm Bill continues to subsidize nutrient deficient processed food, driving down the price of garbage relative to real whole food? To make up for this deficiency, most of the processed foods are fortified with bio-unavailable, poorly absorbable synthetic micronutrients and then marketed to us as being healthy.
  • Even the organic foods found in the grocery store are mostly nutrient deficient due to the mass production, assembly line approach to processing and packaging. The more marketing that any “food” product has the less likely it is to be health building.

The challenge I see is that most of America has lost sight of not only what real food is, but where it comes from. We have been led to think in terms of price and convenience rather than consider if it will sustain life much less build health. And what we have been told is good for us is often wrong, for at least most and in some cases the entire population.

What can you do? Most of us don’t have the property, time or knowledge to grow, much less raise our own food. That is okay. What you can do, is support local, small, family run farmers.

Pastured Free-Range vs Factory Farmed

Pastured Free-Range vs Factory Farmed

You may be wondering why are small farmers often better.

  • A small farmer’s livelihood depends upon satisfied customers. They develop a relationship with their customers.
  • They can’t and often won’t scale up their production if it requires that they cut corners. Real farmers care about what they produce and are very proud of the end product.
  • Real farmers know the health of the soil their fruits/vegetable are grown in. They intimately know the health of the salad bar of greens the animals and poultry are feeding upon.
  • They have a vested interest in the process from beginning to end, which is reaching your plate.

Everyone should have a farmer. Everyone can have a farmer. A farmer that they can rely on to acquire real whole food. That is what I have done. In fact I have set up a deal where I’m a drop-off site coordinator for a local Amish farmer. I get real whole food delivered every week for myself and members.

The food is amazing, I can literally live off of what is available year round. Even better, the prices are comparable if not better considering the quality. You won’t find this food in any grocery store, even the high end grocery stores which are more hype than anything else. The only thing comparable is your local farmer’s market and even then the variety is often lacking.

If you are in the Phoenixville area and are interested in real whole farm food, contact me. If you are not local, but wish to find yourself a farmer. Check out these two resources www.eatwild.com and www.localharvest.org.

Here are a few previous blog posts which investigate why food and how it is raised/grown matters:

Lifestyle Matters

Chickens, Health & Lifestyle

 

I will leave you with this final thought.

“You can’t get health from unhealthy food!”

You Have Permission

have-to-rest-memeI’m not going to tell you that you have to slow down and rest, but I do give you permission to do so. It’s okay. There’s a huge difference between being lazy and resting, recovering & repairing.

Read it, don’t look away, in fact I ask you, no, I implore you . . . . look at it. . . . read it . . . . think about it . . . . and read it again. Maybe you can print it out and place it on your fridge or other high traffic area.

It’s okay to slow down, to stop the madness and get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. You may believe it’s good to be busy and occupied all the time. That’s a fallacy, a distraction, a lie perpetrated by the ‘Man’. There’s much more to life than birth, school, debt, work, more debt and death!

Consistent hard work isn’t the issue. I’m not suggesting you stop everything and be lazy. But burning the candle at both ends, forsaking health and well-being to keep up with the Jones’s, or for any justification is not always; necessary, right or worth it in the long run.

Our modern lifestyle, how we’ve been told and taught to live, the messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis can be and often are out of alignment with what’s needed for true health, vitality, energy and purpose.

How you interact with people, places and things, especially yourselves can be and often is, incredibly stressful. If your ability to resolve or adapt to the effects of stress is compromised, your ability to be healthy is compromised regardless of your intentions.

Don’t buy it? Consider that in what’s considered “third world” countries, the top diseases are not what you expect: not cholera, typhoid or TB. Rather they are very common “western” ailments; type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. These are modern diseases, the result of our modern environment and modern lifestyle choices. These countries have been led to believe it is best to become like us, and they have!

You may believe that modern science will compensate. If our technological advances are so great and impressive, then why’s the state of health within this country so awful? Why is the lifespan of those born this century expected to be less than their parents? Patterns and trends mean something. They may not be what we want to hear, but it’s often true nonetheless.

  • In 2016, American healthcare made up roughly 18% of GDP. This is the highest percentage of any country. The average is 6%
  • 65% of American adults are overweight or obese
  • Over 36% (78+ million) American adults and over 17% (12.5+ million) of American children are considered obese
  • NIH (National Institute of Health) estimates up to 23.5 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease and the number is climbing
  • Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer
  • 26 million Americans have diabetes
  • 7 million Americans have diabetes and don’t realize it
  • 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic and may or may not realize it
  • 1 in 3 children born in 2000 are likely to become diabetic
  • 1 of every 2 black or hispanic children born in 2000 are likely to become diabetic
  • According to the American Cancer Society the risk of developing cancer for men is 43.31% and 37.81% for women
  • The risk of dying from cancer is 22.83% for men and 19.26% for women

Do you really think any one of the people falling into these statistics are better off adding more to their plate, pushing themselves harder, continuing to practice the same thoughts, actions and behaviors that have gotten them to this point? Is that not the definition of insanity?

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?

All your symptoms, complaints, health challenges and even diseases are caused by Metabolic Chaos™, or in simple terms, a loss of metabolic function/efficiency.

What drives Metabolic Chaos™ you may wonder? It’s your body’s ability or inability to resolve or adapt to the effects of stress (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, environmental and physiological/bio-chemical). Chronic stress alters biochemistry at a cellular level and disrupted biochemistry impacts your ability to handle stress. It’s a negative feedback loop.

THE TRUTH

resting-bear-meme-jpgYou are not a machine! Your biology is governed by cycles, waves and rhythms. Do you realize these patterns exist? Do you support and allow them to manifest naturally?

It makes sense that when you have periods of energy expenditure, it has to be followed by periods of rest and recovery.

We are designed for sprints followed by rest, not marathons or sustained constant daily output 24/7.

If you push too hard, too far, too fast, something will break. It is not a matter of if, but when and how will it manifest.

SIGNS YOU’RE NOT IN TRUE CONTROL

  • Feeling as if life is spiraling out of control
  • A belief that if you slow down, you will fall behind
  • Being unable to sit still and quietly
  • Skipping meals and/or breaks to continue working
  • Frequently getting sick and illnesses tend to linger and hang on
  • Dealing with any of the seven most common symptoms: headaches, tiredness/fatigue, insomnia/sleeplessness, allergies/sinus issues, mental fragility, muscle/joint tension/pain, and digestive complaints. While common they’re not normal. They are an early warning system
  • Self-medicating with stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and chocolate to get through the day
  • Self-medicating with alcohol or recreational drugs to calm, numb or slow the body down at the end of the day
  • Feeling triggered emotionally or getting defensive reading this post

WHAT CAN I DO?

Acknowledge that imbalances exist within your lifestyle. That is, how you interact with people, places and things especially yourself.

Recognizing these imbalances requires an ability to turn off the auto-pilot program reacting to life. You need to stop, take a few breaths and look at the present situation honestly so you can decide how to respond in a more appropriate manner. In essence, practice mindfulness.

gearge-meme-jpgOnce you stop reacting and begin responding it’s important to know what options exist, what variables to alter, and what is optimal for you. Doing the exact opposite rarely, if ever, is the right choice. While it may have worked for George Costanza, that was only a TV (teLIEvision) show.

SUGGESTED OFFERINGS

Listen to your body. Cultivate communication with your innate inner wisdom. Your body can’t lie, it has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Your mind, or ego, loves to play mental hopscotch and will do everything within its power to justify away reality.

“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
– Ayn Rand

Your health challenges are your teachers. They are trying to teach you a valuable lesson, something is wrong, something is out of balance. Are you listening? Are you having a conversation or are you arguing and debating the facts?

Live by your core values. Choices made out of alignment with your core values are distressing (FACT)! You decide how to run your life. Society will if you won’t. Don’t allow others to decide what is right or wrong for you.

Learn to say “No”. The power of “yes” means nothing until you can say “No”! This is particularly challenging for many, especially women. Society has done a successful job with head games. It is unfortunate and harmful.

Understand what it means to cultivate health, vitality and energy. You can start with foundational principles outlined in my D.R.E.S.S. for Health Success® Lifestyle Grounding Program:

  • Diet (Eating): Eat real whole food appropriate for your unique biochemical nutritional requirements – Metabolic Typing®, Stay away from the wrong foods especially inflammatory foods.
  • Rest (Sleeping): Get quality sleep and adequate amounts (7-9 hours). Take time out of your day to rest before you feel depleted. You heal when you sleep.
  • Exercise (Movement): Move appropriately relative to your abilities. Don’t move beyond your body’s ability to recover. Over-exercising can be just as bad if not worse than being sedentary. Take a walk. There’s almost nothing that a relaxing walk can’t help.
  • Stress Reduction: HIDDEN internal stressors have serious health consequences. Assess, don’t guess! Functional lab testing gains insight into the multitude of metabolic pathways. Support healing, repair and recovery by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. Don’t forget to laugh and play!
  • Supplements: If you are doing the above well, then targeted supplements can amplify their effectiveness. At the same time, supplements won’t compensate for poor lifestyle choices. They may postpone the inevitable, but not prevent it.

Consider this quote from the first Chinese medical text. You are your own doctor!

“The superior doctor prevents sickness; the mediocre doctor attends
to impending sickness; the inferior doctor treats actual sickness.”

If you believe you are doing everything right, yet still not making progress that’s realistically expected, maybe you need to dig deeper and get a fresh perspective. I offer that with my Awaken Your Health services:

  1. FDN® Functional Health Coaching – 12 and 26 week programs where we dig deep with functional lab work. I don’t treat the symptoms or the labs. I treat the individual manifesting the symptoms and lab results.
  2. Eating Makeover, an 8-week program using the science of Metabolic Typing® and Real Food to maximize cellular function. If there is only one variable you change, it’s eating. Malnourished cells can’t function effectively, the body is compromised from the inside out.
  3. Corrective and Functional Personal Training. We were designed to move. We function better when we move efficiently and appropriately. Train smarter, not harder!

There are many tools at your disposal to turn challenges into opportunities. The most important and strongest tool at your disposal is the fact that your body wants to be healthy, vibrant and full of energy. Programming exists within every single one of your 100 trillion plus cells. Offer those cells what they need to repair, recover, heal and grow while eliminating or reducing anything that impedes this process. You body will take care of the rest!

This approach has worked for me and for others just like you. If you would like me to be part of your health team, contact me. We can schedule a consultation. I am available in-person or remotely anywhere within the U.S.

Awaken Your Health Workshop

awaken-header-jpg

Ask yourself; is it time, are you ready to Awaken Your Health? If you are interested in gaining a new understanding of how you can Build Health & Vitality, and Embrace Life, Naturally, you may want to consider attending my “Awaken Your Health” 4-part workshop.

I have partnered up with David Aquilante, a Mindfulness Meditation and Stress Reduction Teacher. You can learn more about David at www.DavidAquilante.com. Starting on Saturday November 26th from 5-7pm, and running for four consecutive weeks, we will be offering this workshop at Zen-Village Wellness in Phoenixville (www.Zen-Village.com). Raquel Lyles, the owner is successfully creating something healthy and holistic within the borough of Phoenixville.

November 26: Stress, Hormones and Health (what your doctor may not be telling you about your health challenges)

  • How seen and unseen stressors affect our body and health
  • How hormone imbalances relate to insomnia, fatigue, mental fragility, digestive complaints, low libido, unwanted weight and more
  • How Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplements help build and maintain optimal health
  • How balancing hormones can be both safe and effective

December 3: Breaking Through Stress Barriers (resolve and/or adapt to the effects of stress)

  • How to define and differentiate tension, stress and trauma
  • How the Fight, Flight or Freeze Stress Response is vital to health and survival
  • How to take advantage of Stressor healing opportunities
  • How breathing and presence is foundational to combating stress and building health

December 10: Detoxify and Thrive (detoxification is vital to health in the 21st Century)

  • The role of detoxification in a world of 24/7 toxin exposure
  • The effects of and common causes of faulty detoxification
  • How to optimize all three phases of detoxification
  • How to positively influence the health of future generations
  • The advantages and disadvantages of fasting, cleanses and detox protocols

*As an added bonus we will have Lisa Straub of www.EnchantedEssences.com discuss healthy alternatives for personal care products.

December 17: Movement as Medicine (move smart to stimulate and accelerate health building)

  • Build energy and vitality
  • Enhance digestion and detoxification
  • Reduce common disease indicators and support body/mind balance
  • Working-in versus Working-out
  • Why the Primal Patterns® are important
  • Learn health building movements

To sign up and guarantee your seat you can visit www.Zen-Village.com and click on the “Services” link then click on “Select Item” to find the Awaken Your Health workshop.

Each workshop is $20 which is a ridiculously small price considering the information provided. If you sign up for all four workshops you will save 20% and only pay $60.

Consider this an excellent motivator for entering the new year with a bang!

Butter vs. Margarine

Let’s call this comparison something more accurate. How about Food vs. Non-Food! In spite of all the marketing that promotes margarine and even vegetable shortening not only as food but as a healthy choice or option, the reality is that margarine is not a food at all, In fact, it can’t build health much less sustain life.

The images tell you everything you need to know. I will only add a few pieces of information.

butter-vs-margarine-made-memeWe can start with How They Are Made (click on image). First off, butter can easily be made at home with basic kitchen appliances. The most difficult aspect is in the acquisition of raw heavy cream. It is not a difficult process, if you know where to look. I will admit some states are more backwards (difficult) than others. If you are not sure about your state, I suggest visiting www.RealMilk.com. Raw milk is a better starting material due to it being a live whole food. Pasteurized still works, the end product just won’t be as good for you.

Now lets look at margarine, the difference is dramatic. Not only are there many more steps in the process, but these steps require a manufacturing plant. You can’t do this at home. In addition, you are dealing with rancid, oxidized oils, harmful toxic chemicals and cleaners. Why go through the trouble when you can have the real thing?

butter-vs-margarine-nutrients-memeIf that did not shed some light on the issue, maybe this next image will; Nourishing Nutrient Density. Butter is a real whole food and contains a plethora of nutrients that can greatly enhance and support health. The science backs up the benefits of vitamin K2, CLA, Butyric and Lauric acid, naturally occurring Omega-3s, etc.

To maximize nutrient density, butter made from raw milk is ideal and that raw milk would have come from healthy cows eating from a salad bar of grasses on pasture. Raw butter is harder to find, but not impossible. It helps to know your farmer. You may be surprised by how many options are available. There are also very good grass fed pasteurized butters at typical grocery retailers. You will have to read labels, but I am sure you already do that for other products.

Considering what is in butter, why would you not want to take part in its golden-yellow goodness? There is one exception. If you have a food sensitivity to dairy, then butter may not be such a good idea. If you have a dairy issue, you have a gut issue, and that should be where you are focusing your energy.

Back to Margarine. The only nutrients it contains are really those added at the end of the process. The methods involved to make margarine are so harsh and destructive you don’t have much goodness to work with. Like fortified bread where the manufacturer adds specific nutrients (vitamins and minerals), many margarine manufacturers do the same thing, except in this case it is not mandated by law it is merely to take advantage of marketing to differentiate themselves from other similar products. You can be sure that whatever is added is synthetically created, not naturally occurring.

Considering what you now know, you can make a better choice from a more educated position and take one more step in building healthy, vitality and in turn embracing life!

The Guide to Cooking Oils/Fats

cooking-oils-meme-smallIt is hard to cook food without fat and it is even less enjoyable from a taste perspective. Not all fats/oils are the same. They each have their own unique qualities, and if understood and applied appropriately they will not only add to the taste of the food, but make the cooking process go more smoothly and help build health. Click on the image and better understand what oils/fats should be in your kitchen and when to use them.

Fats fall into three categories, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated Fat: All available carbon bonds are occupied by a hydrogen atom. This makes them saturated and very stable. They do not normally go rancid unless heated at very high temperatures. Being saturated they pack together easily and are solid or semisolid at room temperature. Saturated fats are found mostly in animals and tropical oils.

Monounsaturated: This fat is missing two hydrogen atoms because two carbon atoms being double bonded together. This double bonding produces a kink at the area of the double bond. They still pack together, though not as easily as saturated fats so they send to be a liquid at room temperature. Like saturated fat, they are relatively stable. Monounsaturated fats are most commonly found as oleic acid, the main component of olive oil as well as oils from many nuts including almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados. They don’t go rancid easily and can be used in cooking at lower temperatures and/or for shorter duration. These oils tend to go rancid due to exposure to high heat, oxygen and sunlight. This is why high quality olive oil is found in dark glass bottles or metal. Most people enjoy posted nuts. Consider that they have been heated often to high enough temperatures to damage the fat. There is no need to consume large quantities of monounsaturated fats as the body can make monounsaturated fat from saturated fat and uses them in many ways.

Polyunsaturated: This fat has two or more pairs of double bonds. These additional bonds results in a chain with many kinks so that they do not pack tightly and are always a liquid even when refrigerated. Polyunsaturated fats with two double bonds are called omega-6 (linoleic) and with three double bonds called omega-3s (linolenic). Your body can’t make these fatty acids, so they are referred to as “essential.” Essential fatty acids must be obtained from the food we eat. The multiple double bonds make these fats highly reactive. They go rancid easily, especially omega-3s and must be treated with care. These should never be heated or used in cooking.

Hydrogenated: While not technically a fat category, we do have to mention it. Hydrogenated oils are polyunsaturates that have gone through a highly destructive, harmful and unhealthy process in order to make them solid or act as a saturated fat. From a cooking perspective, hydrogenated oils are mostly commonly found in margarine and shortening. To be honest, use butter or lard respectively. Not only are they better for you, they taste better and result in a much more enjoyable end product, especially when baking. I will follow this blog with one that compares butter to margarine, not only in how they are made but also the nutritional content.

Regardless of origin, all fats and oils are some combination of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated linoleic or linolenic acid (fat). In general, animal fats such as butter, lard and tallow contain about 40-60% saturated fat. Vegetable oils from northern climates are mostly polyunsaturated. Vegetable oils from the tropics are highly saturated. Coconut oil for instance is 92% saturated and while it is a liquid at room temperature, it is as hard as butter when refrigerated. Tropical oils need to be more saturated to help maintain plant leaf stiffness.

In the politically correct word in which we live we have been told for most of our lives that polyunsaturated oils are good for us and that saturated fats cause cancer and heart disease. This dis-information has had a profound impact on western eating habits and not for the better. In the early 1900’s most of the fats consumed were either saturated or monounsaturated, primarily butter, lard, tallow and some coconut with a very small amount coming from olive oil. Today, most fats are polyunsaturated, primarily from vegetable oils derived from GMO crops including soy, corn, cottonseed and canola.

This overconsumption of polyunsaturated oils has not only created a significant imbalance in the omega-6:omega-3 ratio but also contributes to a large number of diseases including cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, damage to the liver, lungs, reproductive organs, digestive system, weight gain and even cognitive learning/function.

I hope it is obvious that while fat is often lumped into good versus bad, the truth is much deeper than that but not really very complex.

Chaga Tea Health Benefits

chaga-imageHerbal teas are very popular and if you drink a quality product they have medicinal properties. Relatively unknown in the states is Chaga tea. Chaga is not a plant, it is a fungus (Ononotus obliquus) that grows on birch trees in cold regions such as Siberia, northern Canada and Alaska.

Traditional Uses:

Throughout much of Europe and Asia, Chaga has been hailed as a “gift of God” due to its restorative powers. Traditionally, Chaga has been consumed by indigenous Siberians to prevent the onset of degenerative disease, to boost physical stamina and attain long life.

An interesting comparison is between the Inuit and Siberians who lived in relatively similar climates. The Inuit did not use Chaga and on average their lifespan was only 40-50 years. The Siberian tribes that consumed Chaga routinely lived to 90 to 110 years. Coincidence?

In Russia and other parts of Europe, Chaga is considered a cancer cure. The Ojibwa of northern Canada regarded it as a cure for tumors. In Korea it is used to fight stress and regulate energy. In Europe it has been used to fight inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema along with bronchitis and lung disease.

What is So Special About Chaga?

SOD: Chaga is known for its high content of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that functions as a powerful antioxidant. SOD performs a vital antiaging function by neutralizing free radicals preventing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a slow chronic killer that while a natural part of cellular function often gets out of hand with our modern lifestyle. Oxidative stress is one of the functional markers I test when working with clients.

The best way to increase SOD levels is with food, as supplements containing the enzyme are often difficult to absorb. Good sources of SOD include peas, dark leafy greens, nutritional yeast, wheat germ, beef heart and raw liver. While nearly all muscrooms are rich in SOD, Chaga has the highest concentration. It is 50 times higher in this enzyme than reishi. Chaga is also rich with vitamins including vitamin K, D and several B vitamins. Its mineral content includes calcium, iron and manganese all very bioavailable.

Immune Defense: Chaga has natural antimicrobial properties allowing it to effectively combat numerous bacteria, fungi, viruses and even some parasitic worms. The polysacharrides are useful in promoting the production of white blood cells. Chaga helps many facets of the immune system, not only against pathogens but also for its anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties. Chaga also has a number of phytosterols. These cholesterol-like substances can serve as precursors to cholesterol supporting cell membrane stabilization, healthy hormone production and other vital functions.

Anti-Cancer: Possibly its most impressive property is its effect on cancer. Chaga contains betulinic acid which has the ability to induce apoptotic cell death in cancer cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658785/.

What About Clinical Studies? Around 900 clinical trials have been performed with regards to SOD’s health benefits. Cancer patients undergoing radiation who were given SOD in a form that could be absorbed had better rates of survival, less toxicity, less scarring and better wound healing. Hear is a link to one study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/.

chaga-teaIs the Chaga source Important? Absolutely yes! The properties of Chaga are enhanced if it is encased in birch bark when harvested. We mentioned the Betulin and betulinic acid. This is metabolized from the birch bark itself upon which the Chaga grows. There appears to be a symbiotic relationship between the birch tree itself and the Chaga.

There has been discussions between which is best, Siberian or Canadian Chaga. It has been found that the older the Chaga, the higher the levels of SOD. To get old Chaga, you need old birch trees, and parts of Canada, have many 200-300 year old birch trees.

Ideally, what you are looking for is old chaga coming from Canada that was harvested from live trees with the birch bark intact. Chaga that fits this mold is not that difficult to find. In fact I have found two sources that I recommend and actually consume. My first introduction to Chaga was when I visited Newfoundland in 2015. I came upon Chaga tea from a small retailer. The brand is Chaga On The Rock. Most recently I happened upon Fiddle Head Heaven based in New Brunswick. They appear to be doing everything right with regards to harvesting and packaging. Just had a pound of Chaga shipped to me. The shipping price was very reasonable and expedient considering it had to cross the border.

How Do I Prepare Chaga? To optimize the benefits I suggest placing a gallon of filtered water in a non-reactive pot on the stove at the lowest temperature possible. You don’t want to bring the temperature above 125-135 degrees. Place a quarter cup of ground Chaga into a disposable paper tea bag or tea ball and steep for 5-6 hours.

The tea can be drunk warm or cold. If placed in the fridge, use glass bottles for storage. You can add lemon, honey, cinnamon or cloves or even mint. I prefer mine straight, nothing added. It has a bit of an earthy taste but nothing unpleasant. The key is that you actually drink it and I suggest 4 cups per day. More won’t hurt.

What Can I Expect? That is a difficult question, here’s why. The degree that Chaga or any variable you change or add works ,depends upon the degree that the variable impacts an aspect of your dysfunctional metabolism (Metabolic Chaos™) that is directly or indirectly related to your particular health challenge(s). This is why one individual responds very favorably to a protocol while another may notice nothing. Considering the possible health properties Chaga contains, I feel it is well worth adding to your regimen. Even better, it’s not expensive. A one pound bag of ground Chaga should last about 3 months if you consume 4 cups daily.

If you give it a try, let me know what you think. If you are dealing with any serious health challenges or conditions you may want to check with your health practitioner first. Not so much because of risk but so they know what you are doing that makes you feel better.