Top 5 Health Revelations of 2014

 In Mind and spirit, Nutrition information

I truly do my best to stay up on the latest research and findings relating to whole health. There is a good amount of conflicting information out there, which can be very confusing to consumers and the general public. Overall, It is important to listen to your body, mind and spirit and nurture them. There is no one size fits all prescription for health. However, the below findings can be applied to everyone. I urge you to review these, review your personal needs, and make 2015 the “Year of Reconnecting to YOU”. “Health Care starts with Self Care” is my 2015 motto…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Top 5 Health Revelations of 2014:

  • SUGAR is the “recreational drug of choice” (Dr. Mark Hyman) for Americans and we are abusing this drug to the detriment of our health.   This year a wonderful documentary filled with Integrative and whole health gurus like Dr. Mark Hyman, Micheal Pollan, Mark Bitterman, Dr. David Katz and other researchers and experts came together under the direction of Katie Couric to create the movie, “FED UP”.   In it, the evils of sugar and the food industry are revealed. Sugar is linked to many diseases and hormonal disturbances such as Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Cancers and even Alzheimer’s (Dr. Perlmutter and Grain Brain) and Heart Disease. Sugar is hidden in many foods, especially “low fat foods” and it is the only ingredient in a food NOT required to show the percentage of calories in that food.        SO…. 2015 RESOLUTION: Cut your sugar intake by half, reading labels, reducing intake of processed foods and eating mindfully.
  • Let FAT be your friend again.   There has been a lot of buzz this year, starting with the Spring TIME magazine cover “Butter is back”, touting butter and high fat dairy as being “good for you”. The big study challenging fat’s links to Coronary Artery Disease and the benefits of a “low Carb” vs. “low fat” diet was the 2014 study by Dr. Lydia Bazzanno et al. from Tulane University School of Public Health, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This topic has been studied/reviewed/debated by experts such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman and several others. What is the general consensus or take home message? Low fat foods that the general public eats are laden with sugar and can be disease exacerbating. Diets higher in fat, mostly healthy fats like olive oils, fish, avocado, coconut oil and nuts and seeds, have been shown to have a more positive impact on insulin stability, calorie control and weight management as well as better overall health. Low fat dieters tended to eat more refined and higher sugar foods leading to weight gain/fluctuations and poorer overall health. Although saturated fats are found to be less harmful on arteries and Cholesterol than once thought, Dr. David Katz, author of Disease Proof, cautions that several recent studies show that regular consumption of saturated fats like red meat, be it lean or fatty, can promote hardening of the arteries and has been linked to some cancers. Bottom line… eating butter in moderation and full fat dairy is ok as it has less sugar than low fat, but in moderation if you lead a healthy lifestyle. Eat a diet rich in Omega -3, like the above mentioned, with a small amount of Omega-6, and continue to watch and moderate the saturated fats.   SO… 2015 Resolution: Add more healthy fats to your daily diet.
  • Gluten and Grains… to eat or not to eat- that is the big question. This has been one of the biggest topics this year with the Paleo Diet push and books like Dr. David Perlmutter’s Grain Brain and Dr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly, all touting grains and gluten as being the root cause of many ailments and disease.   The general premise is that Gluten, a protein found in many wheat and wheat related products, given it’s propensity to be genetically modified, can wreak havoc with the gastrointestinal and immune system. Studies have found that whole grains, not to be confused with processed grains like pasta, bread and crackers, are vital parts of an anti inflammatory, heart health diet. However, American’s, in general, consume too many grains/ carbs- mostly of the processed variety. The claims that “carbs are our silent killers” or that carbs are “bad” are too generalized and misleading as fruits and vegetable are carbs. The bottom line is that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetable (mostly vegetables), with a small amount of whole grain such as brown or wild rice, whole oats, quinoa, spelt or amaranth, (all of which are high in iron, zinc, protein and B vitamins) with an optional side of meat is the most health promoting diet.         So… 2015 Resolution: Cut out processed grains and have whole grains as a side for a meal or two daily. Keep snacks fruit/veggie and protein.
  • Cut down on the long run and take a HIIT. The buzz the past year-two years has been what is better, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for 20 minutes or less or Cardio for 40 min or more? The verdict… both have health and body benefits, but HIIT provides greater E.P.O.C or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption, which translates to calorie burn/metabolism boost. The HIIT also is less time consuming, with a max of 20 minutes, and can be less taxing on the skeletal system. The bottom line is that researchers recommend incorporating HIITs into your workout regime along with a few longer cardio sessions. Balance your exercises with less being sometimes more. Getting your heart rate up between 80-90% HR max, as in an interval workout, has been shown to boost brain function or cognitive performance. (Read, Spark, by John Ratey). SO…2015 Resolution: Take 2-3 HIITs a week and 1-2 cardio outside for optimal health and wellbeing! CREATE time…15-20 min!
  • Awareness and accountability will lead to better health. Mindfulness and meditation, which is intentional, nonjudgmental awareness of moment-to- moment experiences, promotes being present in your life and thereby being accountable for your choices/actions and how they impact your wellbeing and health. According to Dr. Dan Siegel, mindful awareness practices include Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, chanting and mindfulness meditation. All of these are shown to boost the immune system, alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety, and improve the body’s ability to heal. In addition, they are ways in which you can slow down, be in the moment and connect to self, connect to your body and check in with its’ needs. This is, in my opinion, the best form of self-care and self healing there is.  SO… 2015 Resolution: Practice mindful meditation (breathing/being present in the moment without judgment) daily for 5-30 Minutes, starting with 5 minutes. Incorporate Yoga, Tai Chi or qigong in your Daily or weekly plan. Practice slowing down and being in the moment.

Here are a few sites to try Yoga, AM and/or PM. Although going to a class and being a part of a community is best, this is a great intro. Enjoy!

Some mindful meditations….– Jon Kabat Zinn Mindscape Guided Meditation

We are here to help support you on your journey to better health and to finding YOU. HAPPY NEW Y

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