Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fat Is Where It’s At!

You know how to win hearts, break hearts and steal hearts but what do you really know about protecting the health of your heart? One in every three deaths is from heart disease or stroke. That’s 2,200 people dying each and every day from a combination of poor dietary habits and misinformation. Addressing one will fix the other.

First, let me introduce you to the man responsible for the disastrous nutritional course our country has been on for the last sixty years or so, Mr. Ancel Keys. He was a research scientist convinced there was a connection between saturated fat and cholesterol intake and heart disease. He came to a conclusion that we all have taken for granted and to which there is NO scientific evidence and that is a low-fat diet protected against heart disease while a diet high in animal fat led to heart disease. Not so folks!

The real truth is saturated fat provides the building blocks for a variety of hormones, provides a concentrated source of energy, cushions the organs and keeps skin healthy. Saturated fat helps to maintain the stiffness and integrity of cell membranes. Fat is the carrier for the fat soluble vitamins A,E, D, and K as well as other nutrients. Fat protects the liver and enhances the immune system. Our heart prefers saturated fat and the lion’s share of saturated fatty acids are in the brain, which is largely made up of fat and cholesterol.

Speaking of cholesterol, it is a precursor to stress hormones, vital corticosteroids, sex hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is needed to protect the body. You read that right. I said protect. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects your body from free radical damage and tends to be high if thyroid function is low, a protective measure that provides the needed materials to heal tissue and fight infection. Cholesterol and saturated fat have distinct health benefits and support a variety of metabolic processes. Let’s take a look at the real transgressors.

First up is free radical damage. You’ve heard of free radicals. No, not the latest punk rock band or group of extremists. Free radicals are “cellular trash”, unstable and highly reactive oxygen molecules. They “attack” and “steal” from other electrons in order to gain stability, which, if left unchecked, start a dangerous chain reaction of oxidative damage. You’re more familiar with oxidative damage than you think. A freshly cut apple that turns brown or an old car rusting in the junkyard are common examples of oxidation. Free radical sources are both internal and external and include chemicals, tobacco, drugs (recreational and medicinal), stress and of course the pollutants in the air, food and water. Oxidative stress damages culler proteins, DNA and can lead to the second biggest transgressor: inflammation.

What is inflammation? It is the body’s attempt at self-protection from irritation, toxins and foreign invaders and a natural by-product of normal cellular processes.For instance, if you are catching a cold, your immune system switches into gear and triggers a pro-inflammatory response to clear the infection. This is matched by equally anti-inflammatory compounds that move in to start the healing process. It is your body’s natural defense. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body and would not accumulate in blood vessel walls.
Short term inflammation = healing
Long term inflammation = disease

And the biggest contributor to inflammation? SUGAR and S.A.D. That’s right sugar in ALL it’s forms, yes, even organic. As little as two teaspoons can upset your body chemistry. The Standard American Diet with its heavy emphasis on refined grains and processed foods weaken your body tissues and white blood cells. Elevated blood sugar and insulin levels intensifies the production of free radicals that promote and sustain inflammation.

So what can YOU do? Start by ELIMINATING sugar in all its forms as well as all vegetable oils, refined grains and processed foods. EAT a colorful variety of fresh vegetables, cold water fish, especially salmon, lean meat, preferably from grass fed animals and healthy fats-butter, coconut, olive, flax and hemp oils. Snack on fruit, nuts, seeds and olives and limit dairy, which is a common allergen. As far as EXERCISE, author and blog writer Mark Sisson says it best,”Lift heavy things, move frequently at a slow pace and run really fast once in a while”. Like Nike says, whatever form of exercise you choose, JUST DO IT!

Smoking, stress and genetic predispositions are also associated with heart disease and must be addressed but there is a vast array of antioxidants, blood sugar balancing nutrients, herbs, vitamins and minerals that can be used along with quality nutrition to transform the health of your heart.

Make it simple. Eat real food. Get regular exercise. Supplement as needed and don’t smoke. Remember, it’s up to you to do your part to love your heart!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

They Call Me Dr. Tonya

Or at least they will in the future. I took a big step today, dear readers, and enrolled in a Doctor of Naturopathy program. Can I even describe how excited I am? As a perpetual student, this is an idea I’ve been tinkering with for quite a while. My immediate family has fondly referred to me as “Dr. Quinn” for years. (Remember the old television series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?) In fact, whenever my mom or sister calls and prefaces the conversation with “Dr. Quinn?”, I know they have a health related issue.

For those of you who don’t know, a naturopathic doctor works by identifying and removing obstacles that impede optimal health. ND’s do this using a variety methods, facilitating the body’s inherent ability to heal. This includes but is not limited to: dietary recommendations, supplemental nutrients, exercise, herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies and other “unconventional” tools. Currently, as a Nutritional Health Coach, I can only educate people on how food and supplements support the health of the body. As a naturopathic doctor, I will be able to do so much more. Since mainstream medical treatment is the third leading cause of death, the focus in naturopathy is on proactive prevention rather than disease management. The naturopath takes the whole person- physically, emotionally, spiritually, into account and tries to get to the root of illness, not just manage symptoms. I’m especially excited because with “Obamacare” looming around the corner, more and more people will be looking for a better alternative. Soon enough, that alternative will be me!

Wish me luck, I’m diving in!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Detoxification vs. Cleansing: What’s the Difference?

Renewal, growth and hope are abundant with the coming of spring. It’s a time of thorough cleaning, ridding your house and yard of the grime, dirt and old junk that has been collecting through the winter. Well, just like your house, your body is exposed to a barrage of dirt and grime in the form of pesticides, synthetic additives, environmental pollution, processed food, vaccines, chlorinated-fluoridated-and-who-knows-what-else water, heavy metals and so much more. Don’t you owe it to yourself to rid your body of these health depleting toxins?

Let’s first talk about the differences between “detoxing” and “cleansing”. Detoxification is something the body does naturally, neutralizing and eliminating toxins from the body. The heart of detoxification are the six channels of elimination. Namely, the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, lymph and skin. Detoxification occurs in two phases. Phase I modifies a toxin directly and sends it to Phase II, where chemical groups are added, transforming them into harmless substances that can be easily excreted. Picture it like this. Say you have a bunch of garbage piling up in the kitchen (phase I). You then bag it all up and take it to the curb for the garbage collector to haul away (phase II). Seems easy enough, right? It is if your liver is in good health. The liver, when working properly, clears 99% of the bacteria and other toxic substances from the bloodstream before allowing it to circulate back through the body.

Cleansing, on the other hand, refers to the numerous tools and therapies available that help clear out stored waste and restore balance to the gastrointestinal tract as well as the rest of the body. The goal in cleansing is to release the poison stored in your cells in a manner that your organs can safely keep up. Releasing too many stored toxins at once may put a strain on an overworked system resulting in what is referred to as a “healing crisis”. Symptoms can include but are not limited to headaches, gas, skin breakouts, etc. Cleansing can make sick people sicker so it is imperative that you choose a program that’s best for you. Check with your health care practitioner before embarking on any program, as cleansing may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions.

Detoxifying the body is a nutrient driven process and water fasting is generally not advised. The greater the toxic load, the higher the need for macro and micro nutrients. The documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, has recently made juicing the most popular way to purge the gunk as well as increase energy and lose weight. Although juicing supports the body with live enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, keep in mind that strictly juicing lacks protein, essential fatty acids and fiber. For most people, a raw foods or whole foods cleanse is the perfect place to start. Simply reducing your exposure to hormone-laden dairy, factory-farmed meats, pesticide-laced produce as well as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can give the body the chance it needs to eliminate years of toxic buildup.

Since the average person has at least 116 synthetic compounds in their body, reducing the toxic burden is so much more than just the food you eat. Toxins disguise themselves in air fresheners, cleaning and body care products, furniture, perfumes and 1,000’s of other places. Simply put, if you can’t eat it, don’t put in on your skin or clean your house with it. Remember too, as you’re purging the impurities from your body, take some time to address emotional and spiritual cleansing techniques as well. Yoga, meditation, infrared sauna, massage, reflexology, acupuncture and other forms of healing are highly recommended. This is vital to restoring the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Whatever path or program you choose to preserve and improve your health, a more natural, less toxic life will benefit you AND the planet!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Spring Cleaning: Ridding Yourself of Toxic People

Seven days. Just seven more days until we claim ALL of our house back. You may have noticed that my weekly blog hasn’t been so weekly. In fact, it hasn’t even been monthly. Back in January, my husband and I moved from our tiny, cozy apartment into a gigantic 3,000 square foot house situated on almost three acres. Along with Trent, who’s 15 and already lives with us, we invited our almost 20 year old daughter and her on-again-off-again “boyfriend” to move in as well. My husband and I thought this was a great idea as they would have their own space, be able to save some money, and if they “broke up” at least she would be home and he would have to go.

Well. Here we are two months later and we are counting down the days until they move back out. I love her to death, him not so much. I was willing to put how I felt about him aside and come from a place of understanding and compassion because it seemed the right thing to do. That lasted five minutes. I won’t bore you with the myriad of reasons why I can’t even tolerate being in the same room with this kid. But I do know this. Having tension and negative energy permeating my home has taken its toll on ALL of the occupants, even my pets! I am not a hater and I refuse to let the immature actions of someone I don’t care to know make me into one.

Negative energy, people, relationships can all have an effect on your health just as much as crappy food and sitting around the house watching television. Today’s moral? Rid yourself of anyone in your life who does not encourage, support or add anything positive to your life. The sooner the better. For us? Just seven more days…

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya