Why the sun-phobia?

My favorite topic! A peculiarly controversial one.

Many have the belief that the sun is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. I believe this mentality does our collective health a great disservice, and is not only illogical when given the history of life on Earth, is outright harmful.

The sun is necessary for optimal health. There I said it.

Sunlight serves a purpose to our biology. It is an environmental signal that helps our bodies work properly. Ever heard of circadian rhythm? It’s our internal clock that tells our bodies it’s day and night and signals to us when it’s time to do the vital actions we need to live healthy lives. Sunlight in the morning helps regulate our hormones for the entire day, the lack of sunlight in the evening helps us create melatonin which lets us have regenerative sleep. It’s been a major part of our daily lives for all of human history, and remains today, an important part of daily life for most living creatures on this planet. We’re biologically meant to be exposed to the sun for varying amounts of time (darker skin more so than paler skin). 

One of the most well known benefits to getting sunshine on our skin is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a hormone precursor responsible for many health systems in our body. Although vitamin D is important for calcium and phosphorus absorption and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, it’s most impressive function is its role in our immune system.

Many studies show the risk associated with sun avoidance and the importance of vitamin d in regulating immunity. Here are just a few:

A 30 to 50% reduction in risk for developing colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer is found by increasing vitamin d blood levels. For every skin cancer diagnosis due to skin exposure, 55 cancer cases are attributed to lack of sunlight:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4571149/

This study out of Sweden even claims “avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking”
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joim.12496/abstract;jsessionid=841FC83F2827391BC2D3CD1C9E4F53C6.f04t01

And some more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738984/

But simply taking Vitamin D is probably not the answer. There is some concern that supplementation of vitamin d does not provide us the same benefit of the sun or even worse, could have negative impacts to our health (as is the case with many things when we isolate them and take them out of their natural context). And of course, there’s more to sunlight than just vitamin D, and it’s plausible there are factors involved in sunlight that simply can’t be replicated. The sun shines a wide variety of light spectrums on the world. A few of which are known and can be harmful in high doses, but many are vital to the everyday functions of our bodies and our mitochondria. Life was created by the light of the sun, and to think we are meant to avoid it at all costs is naive at best.

Shying away from the sun for a potential (but arguable) deduction in risk for one cancer to deprive our bodies of an essential nutrient and increase our risk of everything else our immune system is responsible for.. is mis-informed.

We don’t want to get sunburned, this is true. So don’t. The sunburn is a signal that your body has had too much of the sun, you don’t want more than your body can handle. But the solution isn’t to avoid the sun at all costs. The solution is responsible sun exposure and when that’s not possible, to:

  • Leave the sun
  • Find shade
  • Cover up
  • Wear a natural sunscreen if you’re out for extended time periods

But for goodness sakes, don’t be afraid of the sun.. go get yourself some vitamin D!!

The problem with sunscreen

This topic really riles people up because it’s assumed that if you think sunscreen isn’t necessary most of the time that you don’t take skin cancer seriously. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I’m all for safe sun exposure.

Humans have evolved under the sun for their entire existence. According to modern theory then, all our ancestors should have had skin cancer. They certainly weren’t using sunscreen and many were out in the open sun for hours on end day after day, year after year. But did they all have skin cancer? No, of course not. It’s far more complicated than that.

Sunscreen should be used to keep us from getting too much exposure to the sun and burning. That does not mean that you should never be exposed to the sun. Sunburning is our bodies telling us to get out of the sun, and wearing sunscreen gets rid of that signaling, making us stay out in the sun longer than what is healthy for our skin. Too little sun, not good. Too much sun, even with sunscreen, not good either.  Sunscreen completely blocks the body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D, so should be used with caution and necessity. 

In MOST situations that people use sunscreen… a simple walk to the park, 20 minutes here or there, most people are not going to burn. That is the exact situation where you WANT to be exposed to the sun. Short bursts of time with little to no risk of burning.

In conclusion:

Life evolved with the sun. To think that the sun provides no positive benefits to the human body goes against all we know about evolution and biology. It regulates our circadian rhythm (which regulates endless processes in our bodies) and provides us with Vitamin D, a nutrient whose lack of presence is linked to countless negative health consequences.

You don’t want skin cancer. You don’t want to burn. Be logical about the situations you use sunscreen and keep it for times it’s genuinely necessary. And cover up before you lather up.

If you must lather up, do choose responsiblity. Here is a list from the Environmental Working Group of safe sunscreens:

http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

 

 

 

9 days of wellness inspirational series
Spread the love:
By |2018-12-19T18:38:35+00:00November 25th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

It’s not about counting calories and point values

It's not about counting calories

You need to change the way you think about food.

It’s not about calories.

It really, really isn’t.

Yes, if you overeat you will likely gain weight, and in that sense, calories matter. You can’t eat 4000 calories a day and expect to lose weight. Calories matter, but a calorie isn’t a calorie.

Your body doesn’t treat calories the same. How that calorie is burned and used by your body varies tremendously. For instance, in this study, your body expended 50% LESS energy to digest junk food.

What does that mean?

That your body burns MORE energy (aka calories) when you give it REAL FOOD. So 2000 calories on a whole food diet is much more likely to help you lose weight than 2000 calories on a processed food diet.

Crazy, huh?

This is why… It’s not about calories.

In addition… the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients in that calorie matter. There’s so much potential in the food we eat.

Our food is our FUEL. Our NOURISHMENT.

What you put into your body determines how you feel day in and day out. It impacts your immune system and helps influence whether you’re going to catch that cold going around or how long it lasts.

AND over time, how you fuel your body has a significant effect on your risk of chronic disease.

By removing processed food, added sugars, vegetable oils and focusing on high quality nutrient dense food… you reduce inflammation, improve your immune system, ensure adequate nutrition, give your body what it needs to repair itself, improve gut health and sleep better.

That’s awesome, right?

That’s why the number one priority for a healthful diet should be removing processed food. Although eating nutrient dense food is crucial… It’s more important what you take off your plate than put on it. That’s what’s weighing you down the most. If you remove processed food, all that’s left is real food. And sure, there’s a lot of debate on what real food is and a large spectrum on quality… but let’s get to that another time.

Processed food isn’t food at all, it’s food like product.

It’s made in a lab with some fancy technology that depletes it of any nutritional value. Those nutrients you see on the label? They are likely added back in and manufactured from petroleum or in some fashion equally as off putting.

Those ingredients you can’t pronounce?

Sure, on a one off basis, not a big deal. They aren’t going to kill you (quickly anyway). But when you take meal after meal, day after day, year after year of random chemicals, working in synergistic fashion, it becomes a problem.

It’s a very slow poison, but a poison indeed.

Poison: a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.

Yep, that’s it. Poison!

Let’s stop counting calories and start counting chemicals.

Evolution hasn’t equipped us for highly processed foods stripped of nutrition, high sugar foods, trans fats, food dyes, preservatives, artificial fillers and empty calories.

By instead fueling yourself with real food, you will be in a much better position to thrive. Isn’t that what we all want?

Unfortunately in today’s mainstream nutritional advice, it’s not always so simple. What constitutes “real food”. What is nutritious? This isn’t always clear.

There’s a lot of bad advice out there.

Vegetable oils for heart health. Healthy whole grains. Stay away from saturated fats.

These are myths perpetuated by industry interests. Poor nutritional advice is just one of many things we have to overcome to achieve optimal health.

“Industry-sponsored nutrition research, like that of research sponsored by the tobacco, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, almost invariably produces results that confirm the benefits or lack of harm of the sponsor’s products, even when independently sponsored research comes to opposite conclusions.”
-Marion Nestle

On the Paleo front, we are revolutionizing health. More and more research, recent and mostly independently funded, is proving conventional wisdom wrong. (Like this meta analysis of 135000 people that showed a correlation between high fat diets and lower risk of mortality).

Food has an incredible power to heal… the problem is that most people don’t know that (or don’t believe it). It’s ingrained in our minds that if we have diabetes, or heart disease, or a number of other chronic conditions that our fate is set in stone.

This is not true.

Food and accompanying lifestyle changes can’t heal everything (sometimes life is just plain bad luck), but we have so much more power than most realize.

Let’s change the way we think about food and treat it as the FUEL it is.

FREE Mini-Course_The Paleo Mindset

Spread the love:
By |2018-05-28T11:16:16+00:00May 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Eating healthy is the highest form of self-respect

How much is your health worth?

Ever heard the mantra, health is wealth? It’s so true. I mean without health, what would we have?

Health is what lets us get up each morning and do the things we need to do, it’s what lets us go out with friends, it’s what lets us take a walk outside and enjoy nature.

For many, you don’t really understand how important health is until you don’t have it. No one wants to be a pessimist and think about a life where they aren’t able to do the everyday things they love to do.

And I’m all about positivity. I really am.

But I still think it’s important to recognize that our health could be fleeting and that we have one body and one life to live.

And that’s what brings me to one of the most important things you can do for your health.

SELF-LOVE.

There are many ways to love yourself but taking care of your body is the highest form of self-respect.

Let’s give our bodies the respect they deserve

Eating real food is self-love
Reducing toxins is self-love
Exercising is self-love
Managing stress is self-love
Improving sleep is self-love
Spending time outside is self-love

Be kind to your body.

Taking care of yourself is the epitome of SELF LOVE.

We have an ability to make positive changes towards our health. That means WE have at least some control of our destinies.

Did you know that those positive changes can reduce your risk of disease and help you live a more optimal life?

We are the CEOs of our health.

With the right motivation and right attitude, we CAN take charge of our health. We can put the puzzle pieces together. We can connect the necessary dots.

Of course, it’s not always so simple. This health transformation stuff is hard! Which leads me to my next big takeaway:

PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

We’re a work in progress. I’m a health coach and I don’t always do the things I preach (yeah.. I’m human). I struggle sometimes. I make mistakes. I don’t make all the right decisions.

But I get right back up. I keep truckin. I make progress.

Our choices day in and day out matter. But they aren’t everything. One poor choice here or there is probably not going to make or break your health.

It’s about making better choices overall and not burdening ourselves or feeling ashamed for the occasional mishaps.

When we love ourselves and give our bodies the respect they deserve… we also forgive. We all have our own paces, our own struggles.

Tomorrow is always a new day.

Unfortunately, sometimes our struggles aren’t about our choices, they are about the people close to us. Not everyone is going to understand why you make the choices you make. Sometimes, friends and family are outright hostile.

So not only do we need to learn to self-love and take charge, we need to learn to have a “screw em” attitude. You’re doing the right thing for your health and you should never feel ashamed for that.

We need to have confidence and glory for our decision to take charge of our health. And self-love. Lots of self-love.

Until tomorrow.

Spread the love:
By |2018-03-20T15:23:04+00:00March 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Improving gut health with resistant starch

Your microbiome is integral to your health and contributes to immune system development, nutrient bio-availability, and protection from infection. Your bacterial population is heavily influenced by your diet and is an important place to start your gut healing journey. The average Western diet is heavy in typical starches that are rapidly digested and absorbed into the body as glucose. This reaction triggers insulin secretion and over time can contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

But, not all starch is created equal. Resistant starch has become a buzzword in the gut health community due to its potential for gut healing. After all, good health starts in the gut!

SO, WHAT IS RESISTANT STARCH?

Most people are familiar with probiotics, which have a variety of benefits towards gut health. But, did you know that those probiotics need to be fed themselves? That’s where prebiotics come in.

Resistant starch is a prebiotic that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. The starch is “resistant” to digestion and is therefore able to pass the upper digestive tract and reach the lower intestines. Once in the colon, the starch feeds the good bacteria and crowds out the bad. In addition, resistant starch helps increase the production of short chain fatty acids which lowers the pH of your gut. This makes your gut less hospitable to unwelcome pathogens and bad bacteria. As it resists digestion, it does not spike insulin and promotes blood sugar balance. Resistant starch is an excellent tool for improving gut health.

Some believe it’s actually more beneficial than taking probiotics, because this lets your body do the work itself. Instead of providing the good bacteria, you are feeding your existing good bacteria so they can replicate as needed, facilitating the production of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Resistant starch and its related metabolites formed in the gut have important biological effects.

BENEFITS OF RESISTANT STARCH

  • Reduction of colon cancer precursors, ultimately lowering risk of colon cancer
  • Regulation of macronutrient metabolism, helping your body regulate naturally
  • Better regulation of hormones in the body
  • Increased absorption of minerals and nutrients
  • Decreased absorption of harmful toxins
  • Increase of beneficial bacteria in the gut
  • Increase satiety (eating less overall) and therefore a potential for weight loss
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Improved insulin sensitivity which decreases risk of insulin related disorders
  • Optimizes triglyceride and cholesterol levels

See the studies here and here.

WHERE CAN I FIND RESISTANT STARCH?

Resistant starch is found in unripe starches and is also formed by the cooking and cooling of certain starches. Some of the best sources are cooked and cooled potatoes, rice, and beans. In addition, green bananas and green plantains are great sources. Finally, it can be found in raw potato starch (such as Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch) and taken as a supplement.

ARE THERE ANY CAUTIONS TO TAKE?

Yes, you should start slowly and pay attention to your body. As with any change in gut flora, you may experience adverse detox related symptoms.

In addition, if you take the supplement route (such as potato starch being added to your water) you need to be sure to maintain a high fiber diet. There can be consequences of supplementing with an isolated starch, rather than eating it in a whole food form. Potato starch is commonly recommended as an easy alternative for acquiring resistant starch. But be weary, whole food is always better!

As always, it is recommended to consult a qualified healthcare provider before making any changes to diet or supplementation.

Promote your overall health by optimizing your gut flora with resistant starch! Feed the good and get rid of the bad! Remember, health starts in the gut!

Spread the love:
By |2018-01-26T16:08:29+00:00January 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments

5 tips to succeed on your journey to better health

journey to better health

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a health revolution. Let’s begin with some tips to help you achieve better health now and in the future.

1. It’s not about losing weight, but gaining health. Stop dieting, and start lifestyling

Losing weight is a poor motivator because it’s superficial and assumes that there are no other reasons why one would “diet.”

It sets you up to GIVE UP.

You should be eating healthy and making lifestyle changes to GAIN health not lose weight (don’t worry, it’s usually an added much appreciated byproduct).

You want to put things into your body that bring wellness, reduce disease risk, and make you feel vibrant. When you change your line of thinking towards wellness your motivations change. It’s easier to be motivated by the whole picture than simply a part of it. Dieting misses the mark entirely. You can “diet” and lose weight drinking slimfast shakes and taking pills all day but are you GAINING health? No where close.

2. You need to change the way you think about food

It’s not about calories, it just isn’t. Yes, if you overeat you will likely gain weight but your body doesn’t treat calories the same. How that calorie is burned and used by your body matters. Whether that calorie is from an avocado or a Twix matters. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients in that calorie matter.

Food is nourishment

Food is fuel

What you put into your body determines how you feel, it affects your immune system, and has a significant effect on your risk of chronic disease. Stop thinking “I need x amount of calories a day” and start thinking about upgrading the fuel that powers YOU.

Food should come from the earth and not a laboratory

You should eat FOOD, not food-like product.

3. You need to understand your place in the world as a human

We live in modern times but we are still animals, we are the same animals (give or take a little) from 10s of thousands of years ago. When you think in evolutionary terms and what makes sense from that perspective, everything comes together. Does it make sense that I get my nutrition to fuel my body from a Twinkie made in a lab 2 years ago? Of course not.

We live in modern times and are constantly bombarded by a world we were not designed to live in. Our genes don’t adapt that fast and if we want good health we need to treat our bodies and our environment in a way they understand. Our biology expects nourishment.

I was incapable of creating “the bigger picture” in health and wellness until I understood this. I needed to think logically about our place on earth as human beings, how we’ve evolved and what makes sense from an ancestral perspective. Often times what is making us sick is simply a mismatch between our genetics and our modern world.

4. Get rid of your preconceived notions of what is healthy and what is not

There are so many misconceptions about health that it’s hard to filter through it all. Let’s discuss just a few of them:

Fat is necessary for optimal health.

Forget what the American Heart Association says or any other mainstream nonsense you hear.

Fat is back

Leading back to the evolutionary perspective… We evolved into advanced human beings because of fat (largely from animal products – sorry vegans). Historically and in most traditional societies, they eat nose to tail, meaning they eat the whole animal not just the lean muscle meat. Just think of a comic book of neanderthals being told that the fat wasn’t good for them and they should just go back to “gathering.” I mean it’d be a joke, right? How can something that has literally made us who we are suddenly be bad for us?

It’s the confounding variables. Is fat from an animal shoved into a small space, put on a diet of soy and corn and injected with antibiotics and hormones bad for us? ABSOLUTELY.

It’s all about the quality!

Corn, peanut, soy, canola oils and other vegetable oils require advanced chemical processes to make, are very high in inflammatory omega 6, typically produced with high levels of pesticides, usually genetically modified and contribute to a whole host of health problems.

“Nothing like petroleum produced, overheated, oxidized, and chemically deodorized salad dressing for dinner…. yum.” – Wellness Mama

It’s not heart healthy. It’s not real food. Your brain needs fat. Real, good quality, ethically sourced FAT.

Next culprit? The much lauded whole wheat. Let’s take a look at the label of a common brand of whole wheat bread:

Whole Wheat flour is the first ingredient, ok, not so bad. Next item? Water doesn’t count but it does make it seem like sugar is further down the list huh? Here’s where it gets fun. WTF is this stuff? Yes, just because it’s a chemical doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. But this stuff ISN’T food.

It’s food like product

It sure doesn’t deserve the top spot as one of the healthiest foods out there?

On top of that, wheat just isn’t what it used to be. In the United States, it’s nothing more than highly processed food, heavily sprayed with pesticides. Mmm glyphosate!

These preconceived notions, and many more, are hindering our health. Let’s get back to real food.

5. Health is more than food

Reducing overall toxin exposures, exercising smarter (not necessarily more), enjoying relationships, having purpose, sleeping well, reducing stress, getting proper sunshine, and spending time in nature all pave the way towards optimal health.

We also need to focus on “health care” and disease prevention that seeks to fix the root cause of ailments instead of relying on “sick care” that puts a bandaid on our problems.

Take back your health. It’s in your hands now, so let’s get started.

 

Spread the love:
By |2018-01-26T16:07:06+00:00November 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|7 Comments

There's more to health than calorie counting and point values. Let's take our health to the next level!

I hate spam too. Your email is safe with me.

Thank you!