Monthly Archives: February 2014
Why am I always tired?
Fatigue is Rampant
If you are fatigued, you are not by yourself. Fatigue is one of the most common complaints presented to healthcare practitioners. Just look around on the shelves in checkout lines in the grocery stores. They are filled with energy support products. Better yet, visit your local convenient store and look in the cooler. You will see an entire section devoted to energy drinks. Are we all fatigued? Indeed we are.
I often ask my new patients if they experience mid-afternoon fatigue. A surprisingly high number answer that they definitely see a slump in energy in the afternoon. Many times they will go on to tell me about fatigue happening at other times as well. Knowing that I have hit on a key concern that they might not have even realized was a problem, the quote that I often get in response is, “Why am I always tired?” There are many answers that could be given for this question. However for many, the answer starts with the diet.
The Forgotten Effects of Fatigue
I am going to share something with you that most professionals know about, but rarely think about in terms of fatigue. If you feel fatigued on a day to day basis and are asking yourself, “Why am I always tired?”, something that you should know about that is the fatigue that you are feeling is happening in all areas of your body. For example, the brain is not producing energy and your mental function is not 100%. This results in things like brain fog and lack of mental clarity. Another good example would be the cells of the liver, which are needed for detoxification and removal of harmful chemicals from our body, would not be able to work as efficiently.
The Link Between Diet and Fatigue
Are you eating real food? That may seem like an odd question to ask, but unless you are eating a diet of unprocessed foods that have a high nutrient content, your diet is likely part of the problem. The diet is directly related to fatigue. Foremost, conquering fatigue means having a steady source of nutrients that the body can use to produce energy. These include such things as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Diets low in these types of foods leave the body lacking in its ability to function. If you don’t have adequate vitamin and mineral status, you don’t produce energy. The key to producing energy is being able to take living food and convert it to molecules of energy. When you are consuming a diet high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you will produce energy more readily. All of those quick fix solutions you see on the shelves will be a distant memory.
This is not the only way that diet is related to fatigue. Diets high in carbohydrates promote fatigue also. This happens for multiple reasons, but one of the most common reasons non-Paleo diets create fatigue is as a result of the blood sugar roller coaster. Eating more carbohydrates than you need on a daily basis causes highs and lows in blood glucose that prevent the production of consistent energy by the cells. If this pattern continues, it can lead to diabetes. Yet well before the development of diabetes, you will notice lulls in energy.
Are You Fatigued?
Here are a couple of key questions to ask yourself.
1. Do I have less energy on a day to day basis than I did 1 year ago?
2. Am I less productive during the day than I have been in the past?
3. Do I still feel unrefreshed when waking in the morning?
4. Do I have a drop in energy either mid-morning or mid-afternoon?
5. Do I often start my day with a cup of coffee to get me going?
6. Do I routinely consume energy drinks to give me a pick up during the day?
7. If I start reading, do I easily fall asleep?
8. Do I get tired when I drive?
Take the First Step to Battling Fatigue
The first step to beating fatigue is changing your diet. Energy is a product of good bodily function. Just like you are not going to get the best function out of your car with inferior components in it, you are not going to get optimal function out of the body without putting the best foods in. This is where the Paleo Diet fits in. High in nutrients critically needed to support energy production and devoid of non-living foods that rob your body of nutrients, you will soon find that the Paleo Diet will have you feeling like a fine tuned sports car. Moreover, the blood sugar highs and lows that are so commonly a part of fatigue will soon go away and you will find yourself more productive and feeling like your old self again. Now, if you are not sure where to start, the best advice I can give is to have a resource that will provide you with several Paleo options to get you started on the right track. When you do this, you will soon wonder why others aren’t making the change and feeling the same new spark of energy that you have found!
Could Taking Omega 3 Fats Help Reduce Your Cancer Risk?
The Cancer Scare
Cancer is on the rise. Most all of us know someone that has had cancer. It can be the most dreadful thing to hear from a doctor. “You have cancer.” Those three words invoke more fear than almost anything else. The very thought of the reality of those words sends chills up your spine. And if it is you that hears it, all you can think about are all the precious aspects of your life that you may no longer be able to experience or may soon lose. Cancer is without question a scary situation, regardless the type and stage.
Why Are we not Winning the War on Cancer
Cancer is becoming a mainstay word in our society. It comes up more frequently in the healthcare arena than it should. There has long been a war on cancer. In fact, Richard Nixon even signed the National Cancer Act of 1971 to more or less document the initiation of this initiative. In the 40 plus years since that time, little has been done to decrease the incidence of cancer. We are seeing new improvements and better management of the condition. Yet with such advancement, we are failing to address the underlying causes of cancer. This is no different than most other conditions. Traditional medicine ignores the dysfunction that leads to the disease. Why do we wait when we can be proactive? We know the risks, so why not act on them?
The Statistical Paradox
Add to this conundrum the paradox that some say we are winning the battle on cancer. To understand this comment, one must understand the definition of success. Success is defined in some circles as reducing the death rate associated with cancer. This is a noteworthy achievement and one that is appreciated by nearly all that have been diagnosed. However, what we do not see in these number is the case of newly diagnosed cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2011/2012 Update, there were roughly 474 new cases of cancer per 100,000 individuals. In a population of almost 314 million people, that equates to 1,488,360 newly diagnosed cases of cancer in one year. I ask you. Are we winning?
Can Anything Be Done?
With such daunting numbers, it may seem like almost nothing can be done. However, the advantage of having medical science on our side is that researchers have been able to define many contributing factors. This means that we do not have to proceed blindly, but rather can use the information of numerous creditable studies to know where to best support and protect ourselves. One of the least controversial and most well accepted risk reduction techniques is omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3’s Provide Hope
The American Journal of Epidemiology states, “These results suggest that intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of total and cancer-specific mortality.” (Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Feb 3). This furthers the point that risk of death associated with cancer can be reduced. Moreover, there is equal evidence stating that there may be a protective role associated with the consumption of omega 3’s with various types of cancer.
How Omega 3’s Benefit
Omegas 3’s have clearly established themselves as having a role in protection against cancer as well as other aspects of this life-threatening condition. Even in light of the occasional controversial media piece, omega 3’s are one of the most well accepted intervention strategies to protect not only against the ailments of cancer, but multiple other conditions as well. With their well-known role as an anti-inflammatory and immune system modulator, and their difficulty in obtaining adequate levels in most individuals diets, you will be hard pressed to find a better start to your cancer prevention strategy than the incorporation of omega 3’s.
The Caveman Diet is about Real Food Consumption . . . Period!
Have you ever wondered what a caveman ate? To be honest with you, I have not put much thought into it myself. That may seem odd coming from the Paleo Doctor. After all, shouldn’t I be researching this kind of stuff so I can tell you exactly what Paleolithic people indulged in so we can mimic it? The truth is, it never really seemed like it needed a lot of thought. The answer just seemed obvious to me. Cavemen did not have vast options to choose from. Not to say they did not have a large variety of foods. This they did have. However, there was not a huge selection of locations from which to obtain food. The choices were simple. You ate off of the land or you consumed an animal of something that came from an animal.
What kind of foods did they eat?
There seems to be controversy about what the Paleo, or caveman, diet consisted of. Some would suggest that it was higher in protein, assuming that most of the food was animal derived. In contrast, others would lead us down the path implying that our forefathers ingested a higher amount of plant derived foods. The assumption here is that plants were more plentiful and easier to obtain. Thus, they were more readily consumed. As you can see, arguments can be made for both ends of the spectrum. Even today, in cultures that remain less civilized and closer to their ancestral heritage and customs, eating patterns are observed that support both sides. There does not appear a clear message about what the caveman diet should be.
Let me tell you what they didn’t eat
If at this point you are starting to feel confused about which direction to take with your diet don’t. In fact, we have yet to point out the one fact that will make implementing the Paleo diet a cinch! Let’s revisit our caveman in their environment. Rather, let’s examine our forefathers across many different cultures. The one consistency among all such individuals is they lived off of what they had access to. Regardless of where they were from, that meant they ate what they could pick or gather and catch or kill. Thus, it had to be real food. It was not processed, nor preserved. It was in the natural state that God provided it. Thus, the common thread in caveman diet is not that it is high in protein, low carb, or based on plants. No! The single most important fact to take away from the Paleo diet is that it is the consumption of real food.
Dead food means devoid of nutrients, live means full of nutrients
Eating real (live) food means your are providing the body with the most perfect fuel source that you could offer it. The body functions at its best when it is given the right nutrients without the interference of damaging and quite frankly, dead foods. Would a caveman have eaten a food with no life to it? Absolutely not! In fact, such things did not even exist. There was no necessity to go out of ones way to consume healthy food. All food was healthy. Ironically, chronic disease did not exist either. I say all of this to simply say, don’t get bogged down in the argument of what constitutes the caveman’s diet. High protein, high fat and high plant could all be part of the caveman’s diet. It really just depends on the place of origin. Moreover, the body can function well on just about any of these dietary regimens within reason.If you need healthy Paleo ideas, you can always get a Paleo Cookbook for a good Paleo recipe. For yourself, make life easy and just eat real food.
Exercise is Part of the Paleolifestyle, Regardless of Age (by Mark Sherwood)
As I travel around the world, I have become somewhat of a people watcher. Obviously my passion for physical wellness and my compassion for those who struggle with weight issues has become a part of the lens through which I often view people. Though my blogs are intended to reach the masses, this one is specifically geared towards parents and those who wish to be someday.
Let me begin by describing a heartbreaking scene. I am sitting in an LAX terminal as I observe a father and mother walking towards me accompanied by their children. I estimate the parents’ age to be in their 40s with their two girls’ ages to be in their 20s. They all were visibly showing discomfort as they walked. Additionally, all four were at least 150 pounds overweight. The daughters were even larger than their mother. I must admit a deep sense of sadness I felt as I thought about what I was really seeing. It was much more than just a severely obese family. It was a family that undoubtedly will have to deal with the enhanced risk of disease and death at a much earlier age than should be expected. I thought about these daughters one day having children. I even wondered what others may be thinking. Do we really treat ‘those people’ different? Will they have to purchase two seats on the airplane? I thought about when/how this generational pattern of ‘un-wellness’ began. When will it end? Will it ever?
Let’s face some statistical truths. Today, nearly 4 in 10 Americans are obese. Predictions are dire with the obesity rate rising in teens and preteens. Someone has to step up and break the cycle of generational ‘un-wellness.’ Parents (and those who wish to be), YOU ARE THE ONES called to step up and break this dangerous cycle. Do something now in regard to changing your life, extending the quantity of your life, enhancing the quality of your life, and starting a generation-changing pattern of wellness. Here are some things you can begin right now:
- Get a wellness check-up with a doctor that knows functional medicine.
- Start a walking / exercise program and progress slowly, but consistently.
- Gradually change your nutritional habits by adding more natural foods and vegetables. The Paleo Diet is a good place to start.
- Drink more water making it your main liquid intake.
- Seek the advice/services of a trusted wellness professional who lives out what he/she teaches
- Don’t take shortcuts or fall for quick fix gimmicks.
This subject, I realize, can be very personal and very emotional. However, when we are speaking about generations, we are speaking about a very real subject that affects OUR REAL FUTURE.
Please take these few words seriously and pass them on to those you know who need to hear this. It is coming from someone who really cares. This may be uncomfortable and toe-crunching to talk about, but it is badly needed across our world. This is not an advertisement for my services, but because of my passion, I will help as a trusted wellness professional. I threw that out there to eliminate an excuse (e.g. no person cares or is willing to help) people often use. Friends, excuses will get us nowhere. This time, this day, this hour is the time for parents (and those who wish to be) to stop making excuses and passing the buck. I challenge you to make the commitment to be THE ONE to begin a pattern of generational wellness in your family.
Here’s to being 4EverFit!
The Key to Making the First Step into Exercise Successful (by Mark Sherwood)
A Solid First Step
“I need to start exercising; I know that!” I hear these words literally every place I speak. It seems that even though many people are aware of the problem (i.e. obesity, sedentary habits, poor nutrition, and poor health are all on the rise), few take the steps necessary for correction. I really believe that most reasons for not taking those steps are found somewhere between internal feelings of overwhelm, fears of failure, and uncertainty about where exactly to begin.
The first step is the most important. This step must be certain, sure, and solid. It cannot have question and must succeed. With 360 degrees of option in that first step, there are many choices of direction, but only a very few will get you going the right direction.
Ok, so here is a simple breakdown of a solid first step – 4 simple guidelines everyone can do at a price everyone can afford:
- Purchase a quality nutrition guideline. I recommend Paleo Transitions by Dr. Hill.
- Make gradual changes to your diet. Start small by adding one quality (paleo) meal daily along with adding two servings of vegetables per day at least 5 days per week. Don’t start worrying about taking things away just yet.
- Drink more water. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2 and drink at least that many ounces of water daily.
- Begin a simple, structured, low-resistance strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular program at home. Don’t try to visit a gym just yet. I recommend my 4E Fitness BASIC and INTERMEDIATE DVD programs. You can even do the ADVANCED if you have been consistently exercising. They are affordable and very effective with amazing flexibility on when/where they can be used. Just pop them in a laptop or DVD player and follow along. A simple walking program is included.
For at least 6 months, follow these 4 simple guidelines that encompass the all important ‘first step.’ You will have made that first step successful, solid, and sure. It will be time well spent and money well invested. It will change your life for the better. This is a price you cannot afford ‘not’ to pay. Your health is extremely important! Don’t wait! Take that first step now – not tomorrow – but now!
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we do have the chance to make the most of NOW. As you read this article, please know that I believe in you, and I believe that this first step (described above) is a step in which you will be successful.
Here’s to being 4ever fit!
Maintaining a Paleo Lifestyle Beyond the New Year with Exercise (by Mark Sherwood)
Stepping Into Freedom
When New Year rolls around annually, I see and hear the buzz around new beginnings in the area of wellness. I hear statements like, “I am really going to clean up my eating…this year will be different…now is a great time to get fit…this year is my year.” You and I have heard or said each of these.
The very fact you have read so far in this article speaks volumes about your strong desire to change. This, in itself, should greatly encourage you. Hopefully you have decided to open the window to a new type of life through your adoption of the Paleolithic (Paleo) lifestyle. The idea living this life is living life in the way we were originally created. Dr. Hill’s cookbook, Paleo Transitions, yields great returns and ease in eating with this style. I endorse it fully and utilize it often.
Once you begin to eat in the way our created body intends, you will begin to feel much better, rest better, and function better. You will also begin to have a stronger desire to move more and better (i.e. exercise). You and I both know nutrition + exercise = wellness. Oftentimes, however, I see people who reach this point make critically wrong decisions. They start too fast doing too much. Remember, you and I are talking about a permanent lifestyle (paleo lifestyle) change. Too fast and too much leads to injuries, failure, and depression. I am all about success and keeping you on the road to wellness through the remainder of your days on planet earth.
In my next blog, I will show you how to take a ‘solid first step’ in incorporating activity into this new found purpose in your life. If you will follow my instructions, you will not only taste success; you will live it.
Here’s to being 4EverFit!