Probiotics and weight loss are not generally talked about together. However, probiotics should be at the core of the conversation when it comes to weight loss. In fact, if you are not considering probiotics as part of your weight loss process, there is a high probability that you are still overweight and feeling frustrated. For more than one reason, not accounting for the activity of the probiotics is going to leave you depressed when it comes to your weight. Probiotics are common on store shelves and generally promoted for their benefits to alleviating gut problems and helping the immune system. While they do help in these areas, at the top of the list for what they can support should be weight loss.
Gifts from Probiotics
Micronutrients, or what most people think of as vitamins and minerals, are essential for our metabolism. Most of us like to think in terms of our metabolism working too fast or too slow. “I’m getting fat. My metabolism is slowing down.” Sound like something you have heard before? Probably so. The assumption is that because your metabolism is slow, you are fat. Among the things that can make your metabolism slow are micronutrient deficiencies, specifically as it relates to probiotics, B vitamins. B vitamins help produce energy. If we cannot make energy, weight loss is not going to happen because our fat and carbohydrate burning pathways are not going to work properly. We all know that if you are not burning fat for energy, you are probably carrying it around with you every day.
This is where probiotics and weight loss begin to find some common ground. Probiotics make a large percentage of all of our B vitamins. They don’t just make one of the B vitamins, but all of them. B vitamins spark the metabolism. When you have adequate B vitamin production from your probiotics combined with a Paleo Diet, you cannot help but lose weight. B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B5 maximize the rate at which you burn fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, you are making energy and not storing unwanted body fat.
Get CLA from Probiotics and Weight Loss Becomes SuperCharged
Why can one person lose weight, when another eating the same amount of food cannot? The answer may be in the gut. Conjugated linoleic acid, or simply CLA, is a fat produced by the probiotics. The probiotics don’t actually make fat. Instead they convert the fat linoleic acid to CLA. CLA is a true gift. The benefits are substantial and include reducing body, helping to regulate blood sugar and even helping prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. The important point to know about this is that you don’t get CLA through your diet. You have to depend on the probiotics to produce it. Therefore, if the probiotics are in short supply, so too will be your CLA production.
Bad Bugs, Probiotics and Weight Loss Frustration
The gut is a constant battleground. The bacteria of the gut can be divided into several categories, but two of the categories dominate the scene. These are known as Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes. The more Bacteriodetes one has, generally the healthier they are. More importantly though, they are often far more efficient at burning fat and keeping it off. Think about the F in Firmicutes being for fat. The more Firmicutes dominates the scene of the gut, the more inflamed the body and the more calories you are extracting from food. This means that you are going to be more prone to storing fat. Therefore, if you want to be a more efficient at fat burning, then you need to improve your dominance of Bacteriodetes and limit the activity of Firmicutes. Keep reading to find out how.
Support Your Probiotics and Weight Loss Becomes Easy
Using probiotics and weight loss success are a natural combination if you know how to make probiotics colonies grow. Let me start off by saying that just supplementing probiotics is not going to get you there. But in turn, you are not going to have lasting weight loss success if don’t supplement probiotics. How can I make such a direct comment? It’s easy! If your gut does not have a good balance of probiotics, you are absorbing too many calories from food, you are inflamed and you are not getting the benefit of fat burning nutrients. It’s pretty straightforward actually. A good blend of probiotics that can minimize the number of calories you extract from food and ramp up production of fat burning nutrients is what you are looking for.
But to support the growth of your probiotics requires more than just taking probiotics. Once you take them, you have to give them a hospitable environment to grow in. This requires plants. Plants have two things that probiotics love; fiber and plant nutrients. Think about fiber as forming the nest that probiotics develop in. Plant nutrients stimulate probiotic growth and diversity. Just like a nutritious diet enhances our development, probiotics depend on plant nutrients. Additionally, plant nutrients suppress growth of less desirable bacteria. This ultimately changes the landscape of the gut. When this landscape is established, inflammation is low and the probiotics become a factory of fat burning nutrients. This is where the Paleo Diet comes in. The Paleo Diet emphasizes the intake of as many plants as possible. This allows for higher fiber and the more the better your fat burning. Additionally, the more color, the more plant nutrients you are consuming. This all decreases inflammation and helps you shred the fat. Diet is a key to long term weight loss, but only if you do it right by following the Paleo Diet.
Clearly, probiotics and weight loss are a natural fit. It makes me scratch my head and wonder why so few take advantage of the benefits of probiotics when trying to lose weight. If you are feeling frustrated with your weight loss efforts then know that this can end. Your frustration can be as limited as your probiotics and plant intake are plentiful. Step outside of the box and look to probiotics for weight loss success.
Much has been written and talked about recently with regards to the consumption of grains. Grains, often limited in conversation to wheat and gluten, are viewed differently than they have been in the past. In fact, many companies have jumped on the bandwagon and are now offering gluten-free options. However, the buyer should be leery of these marketing tactics as many of the problems that exist with wheat still exist in these gluten free options.
Wheat and Corn Everywhere
If you walk around the grocery store and pick up a packaged food, you will likely see that it contains wheat or corn in some fashion. Wheat and corn are staple crops in this country. We even nicknamed the central portion of the country the “bread basket”. This agriculture region produces high amounts of grains that have to be utilized in the market place. Otherwise, it would not make sense for the government to continue to subsidize, or support, farming. While I am by no means against the farmer, I am against the business entities that tell the farmers what to do for the goal of making a profit at the expense of the population.
Wheat sneaks its way into things you would not even suspect. For example, flavoring agents used in cooking often contain wheat among the many other spices. Corn is just as bad. Probably the most astonishing thing that has happened with corn is the introduction of high fructose corn syrup. This is one of the most damaging substances in the market place right now as it creates glucose problems and can lead to liver damage. Commercials that have appeared on television suggesting high fructose corn syrup is okay because it comes from corn and corn is a plant. These are ludicrous at best. High fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that can lead to cirrhosis if it persists for a long enough period of time. The biochemistry is simple. High fructose corn syrup is mostly fructose. Fructose needs to be processed through the liver initially, not with insulin. The more fructose you consume, the more you overwhelm its ability to process it. This leads to fructose insensitivity and then on to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Just an example of the propaganda
(You have to wonder about the doctors, dieticians and nutrition experts mentioned)
Even More Problems with Grains
The problems with grains are numerous. They increase inflammation, lead to dysfunction in the immune system, are high in carbohydrates that ultimately promote blood sugar problems, they lack adequate amounts of fiber and the micronutrient content in them is limited. These are just a few of the problems with grains. Moreover, this is not just wheat that I am speaking of, but rather most of what we consider to be grains. However, wheat and corn are especially problematic.
Are Grains Making You Fat?
If you are eating grains, they are likely making you fat. After all, what does the cattle industry do to livestock to fatten it up before sending it to market? They send the cattle to the feedlot where they quickly increase the weight by feeding them predominantly corn. So while you may not be eating at a feedlot, you are consuming the same foods in the standard American Diet which are going to have the same effects of adding fat to the body.
The answer to avoiding becoming fat, and moreover losing weight, is to avoid the standard American diet which is saturated in grains. You are far better off consuming a primal diet, also known as the Paleo Diet, that allows you to consume nutrient dense food that is not going to promote inflammation and result in blood sugar disturbances. Grains as we know them are not the grains of yesteryear. They are a different substance that has been genetically manipulated to increase yield. I will talk more about this in another article. Yet, to avoid these types of foods and move into a pattern of easily losing weight, you must avoid the standard American diet and follow through with the primal diet, aka the Paleo Diet.
Super size it! Give me a size large! I will take a Big Mac, or a Whooper! Just listen to some of the things that are stated as the norm in our society when it comes to food now. All of these statements suggest an increase in the portion size of the food consumed. The more there is the better, correct? Not likely. Along with this increase in food portion size has also been an increase in waist size. Needless to say, if we are going to talk about weight loss, we are not going to be talking about the standard American diet unless we are referring to what not to do.
The Problems with the Standard American Diet
There are so many problems with the standard American diet that it is almost difficult to find a starting point. Foremost, let’s take a look at what we call food. Food should have sufficient nutrient content and health promoting qualities. This makes sense. We consume food to nourish our bodies. Most of what the average American diet is made up of does not meet these criteria. Foods that are refined, boxed and packaged do not have life sustaining qualities about them. Rather, they have been stripped of these qualities. Therefore, if you are eating a substance that does not provide you with nutrients and health promoting qualities, how can you expect to promote health? You cannot. In short, this food is taking the life from you to help process and metabolize it. You are literally losing more nutrients to try to process this food in your body than you are deriving from it.
The Correlation between the Standard American Diet and Weight Gain
Weight gain does not happen without explanation. It is a culmination of things that collide to create a state of dysfunction in the body. Weight gain is the symptom. The dysfunction is the problem that needs to be addressed. To do so, means that you have to start with the standard American diet. If this is not the central focus, weight loss will not take place. The standard American diet promotes weight gain because we are literally starving ourselves of the nutrients that we need to create an optimal metabolism to burn fat. Fat burning does not happen with the standard American diet due to the fact that the foods included as a part of it create hormone dysfunction, highlighted by blood sugar problems, result in multiple nutrient deficiencies that often go uncorrected, and lead to a severe state of inflammation that is at the root of nearly every chronic disease.
How to Accelerate Weight Loss
Just as weight gain does not happen by accident, weight loss only takes place with the right actions. Most importantly this means dumping your dietary habits that are part of the standard American diet and following a primal caveman diet as part of the paleo lifestyle. The primal caveman diet, what many think of as the paleo diet, is almost the opposite of the average American diet. It is full of high quality nutrients that help charge our metabolism and reduce inflammation. This reduction in inflammation coupled with the inherent hormone balancing effects that the primal caveman diet offers makes it the optimal choice to promote weight loss.
The protocol to weight loss is simple. It begins and ends with abandoning the ideas that have become commonly accepted as to what makes up a reasonable diet (and I use the term reasonable very loosely here!) and transitioning into the paleo diet as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, aka, the Paleo lifestyle.
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!
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!
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!
It’s not about protein, it’s about balance
Despite what you may think, I’m not the guy that’s going to tell you to eat lots and lots of protein. Protein is definitely necessary though, protein is an essential part of the diet. But, it does not make any other aspect of the diet less important. The bulk of your diet should be plants and healthy fats, but also include protein. What I am suggesting is that if you don’t eat a balanced diet, with plants fats and proteins, you will most certainly have metabolic dysfunction.
They are just rumors
Almost everyone has heard all the negatives about protein especially red meats. And because of that many people do not want to eat it on a regular basis. One of the comments you will hear most is that red meat is high in fat, and that somehow the consumption of fat also makes you fat.. You will also hear that the regular consumption of red meat can cause chronic disease and osteoporosis. And if you dig hard enough you will find someone preaching that you can get kidney damage when you eat too much red meat. And of course there is some medical evidence of this to a certain degree, but you aren’t hearing the full story. What these people are implying is that all proteins are the same and if you eat enough of it you should expect these negative consequences.
Grass fed, organic only
The first point I need to differentiate with you here is that not all meats are the same. Even some of the scientific studies are now finally differentiating meat sources. A cow raised in a pasture allowed to graze freely on grasses is much different than a cow raised for market that gets pumped full of corn at a feed lot. The cow raised on grasses has a meat composition that is higher in healthy fats, free of harmful antibiotics and hormones, and devoid of potential triggers for the immune system. In comparison, the cows grown on feed lots turn out to be “heifers”, speaking figuratively of course. They are fatter, less healthy and have excess hormones. Thus, choosing a grass fed source of meat is superior. Moreover, if you view food through the prism of the Paleo Diet, the only source of meat is grass fed. Inherently if you are living off of the land, there is not another option. So having established where our meat should come from and that it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, let’s talk about the importance of protein. Don’t buy into the notion that you are better off eating only plants. Yes, most of the diet should come from plants. I will even pose that some a very small segment of the population does better with limited protein from meat. Yet, this is the exception rather than the rule.
Protein = Amino Acids
Protein broken down into Amino acids is a very vital part of our biochemistry. The Paleo Diet, a diet that helps restore metabolic function, can only do so with adequate protein. Adequate protein insures that the biochemical processes in our body that depend on the amino acids that come from protein are supplied. To make this more tangible, let me give you just a handful of the uses of dietary protein and why it is so important.
We need protein to function
Your gastrointestinal tract is arguably the most important system in the body. Protein fuels the regeneration of the gastrointestinal tract, a process that happens daily. You may think this is counter intuitive as some will say that excess protein causes constipation. It does, when not part of a balanced diet. Let’s not digress on that point though. Not only does the gastrointestinal tract need proteins, but so does nearly every tissue in your body. We are protein based structures. Several of our neurotransmitters and hormones are derived from proteins such as serotonin and thyroxine (thyroid hormone). Protein helps make us efficient. It is integral to energy production and metabolic rate. This happens not just through hormones like thyroxine that come from proteins, but also as a virtue of just consuming the Paleo Diet. The right selection of foods increases metabolic rate. The fact is that I am just scratching the surface of all of the uses of protein and why it is absolutely critical that you consume regular amounts.
Arguing against the merits of protein and suggesting that the diet should contain limited amounts of it neglects basic biochemistry. In fairness, the diet should be mostly plant based, but there should also be adequate consideration given to protein consumption as part of a Paleo Diet. So ease your mind. Rather than feel guilty about the consumption of protein, take pleasure in it and know that you are giving your body what it needs.
Why is everyone talking about the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet continues to gain more and more traction. I have noticed a recent upsurge in the number of internet articles discussing the Paleo Diet. Moreover, several news outlets are now reviewing the Paleo Diet with some touting the pros while others harp on the cons. How can one diet have so many different critiques of it, with seemingly very few of them agreeing? And more over, why is the Paleo Diet receiving so much attention of recent as compared to the past.
The Paleo Diet is not a new diet
Let’s handle this last question first. In short, the Paleo Diet works. Otherwise it would have dissipated from the files of many nutritionists long ago and been buried as nutritional folklore. Some still think of it this way, but the time has come for the resurgence of the eating patterns that have mankind to flourish for the last several thousand years. This rejuvenation has developed a following. The Paleo Diet is the science of eating before there was science to know how to best eat. In the last three decades, researchers have been studying the effects of the Paleo Diet and often the outcomes of these studies portray it in a positive manner.
The Paleo Diet doesn’t follow a protocol like other diets
In contrast however, the Paleo Diet has been the subject of some negative attention. Some note that it is high in protein and that this is detrimental to our health. Yet others worry about the inclusion of such high amount of fats and the possible increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Are these concerns justified? It is really difficult to answer these questions in the context of the Paleo Diet as no one has a consistent definition of what the Paleo Diet is. Almost every popular diet out there has a specific protocol. For example, take Atkins. Atkins cuts out carbohydrates for a short duration and then slowly brings them back in. Weight Watchers is another good example. You know that you will be allowed a certain amount of points to eat each day and different foods contain different point values. But there is no consistency among the literature focused on the Paleo Diet.
The Paleo Diet isn’t a diet
The Paleo Diet is a diet unlike any other out there. This is the reason that there is so much confusion. The confusion in fact is not derived from the complexity of the diet, but rather from its simplicity. Foremost, the Paleo Diet is not a diet. The word diet as it is traditionally used implies that there is an end to a specific way of eating once a goal has been achieved, often weight loss. Rather, the Paleo Diet is an eating pattern. It is a way of eating that you adopt as your lifestyle. Paleo Lifestyle if you will. This means that the changes that you make are ones that you would adhere to the rest of your life. At this point, you should ask, what is so different about eating Paleo that would make me want to consume it for the rest of my life? Simply, the Paleo Diet is the consumption of real food in its most natural state. It is nothing more, nothing less. Yet, as we humans often do, we tend to make things complicated and begin adding rules and do and don’t lists.
Paleo confusion cleared
It is this simplicity of eating food in its natural state that allows for different variations of the Paleo Diet. To illustrate this difference, a vegan can be Paleo so long as they are eating vegetables and fruits in their whole state. An Inuit can also be Paleo eating their native diet of most high fat and protein because it is still in its most natural state. You can see with such extreme differences still being able to fall under the category of Paleo that this would allow many variations to originate. Moreover, it allows many opinions to creep in as to what is the best version of the Paleo Diet.
One Paleo diet does not fit all
As a practicing doctor, I like to refer to the science when available to aid in the decision making process about the right version of the Paleo Diet. This is easily done with a working knowledge of the medical literature as well as proven lab tests that aid in providing a better understanding of the underlying biochemistry that a person has. Some foods that are ideal for one may be completely detrimental for another, but yet both fall under the context of Paleo.
Where to Start?
The right starting point differs for everyone, but there are certainly some commonalities that one would want to acknowledge when considering a transition to the Paleo Lifestyle. The consumption of foods as close to their natural state is always superior to the ingestion of refined foods. Refined foods are devoid of nutrients and living qualities, whereas foods in their natural state provide these living qualities as well as nutrients and other cofactors that aid in the prevention of disease and promotion of wellness. You will not go wrong with eating living foods. These foods can be cooked in different ways, eaten raw, mixed with other foods, eaten fresh or frozen. The bottom line is that you are placing a nourishing food in your body. If you can do that, you can easily adhere to the Paleo Diet.
Diet is the core concept of health.
There are a lot of topics that I discuss with my patients but one of those topics I bring up most often. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I was driving them crazy with how much I discuss it. But it’s important, I keep bringing it up because it is for their benefit, their health. I feel it’s important they know. It would be on me if they don’t know, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I weren’t telling them and reminding them. It is the core of their makeup and it determines how they feel and function on a daily basis. I am referring to none other than diet, the core concept of health. And when I say diet I don’t mean diet as in lose some weight diet, but rather diet as in the things you eat on a daily basis, your daily diet.
The Paleo diet and the media.
Recently I’m sure you have heard some things about the Paleo diet in the media. The thing that bothers me about that is that the Paleo Diet is being portrayed as a “diet” and being lumped together with Atkins, the sprinkles, Weight Watchers etc. Although those diets may or may not be effective, the Paleo Diet is not a diet. You don’t start eating Paleo to lose weight (although it is a nice side effect). The Paleo Diet is a diet as in a way of eating for the rest of your life. I often refer to the Paleo Diet as the Paleo Lifestyle, because that is what it is, it’s a lifestyle, it’s permanent. So while I do appreciate all of the attention the Paleo Diet is getting lately in the media, when seeing or hearing anything about it, keep in mind, it’s not a diet, it’s a way of eating and living.
The Paleo Diet
You may say to yourself, “this guy is on a crusade with this diet talk.” The truth is that I am really not. I am not the “banner carrier” for any particular movement or diet. I am a promoter of truth and like it or not, the Paleo Diet is truth. When I say that it is truth, what I am in fact saying is that the Paleo Diet is the closest dietary pattern that aligns with how our body functions. Routine consumption of the Paleo Diet is able to be maintained indefinitely without concern for any ill effects to health or difficulties in maintaining it. In fact, it does just the opposite. Those that transition to the Paleo diet see great improvements in their health as well as find it easy to maintain.
The Paleo diet and the media.
Recently I’m sure you have heard some things about the Paleo diet in the media. The thing that bothers me about that is that the Paleo Diet is being portrayed as a diet it is being lumped together with Atkins, the sprinkles, Weight Watchers etc. The Paleo Diet is not a diet, you don’t start eating Paleo to lose weight (although it is a nice side effect). The Paleo Diet is a diet as in a way of eating for the rest of your life. I often refer to the Paleo Diet as the Paleo Lifestyle, because that is what it is, it’s a lifestyle, it’s permanent. So while I do appreciate all of the attention the Paleo Diet is getting, when seeing or hearing anything about it, keep in mind, it’s not a diet, it’s a way of eating and living.
This is why the Paleo Diet is such a natural fit for functional medicine. The focus of functional medicine is restoring the normal function of the body with precursors that it needs. Nothing is more central to this idea than diet. Eat the wrong foods and your diet works against you damaging your health. However, if you eat the right foods, your body maintains its function and you stay youthful and vibrant.
The best foundation is getting the right nutrients
When working with my patients initially, I am placing significant emphasis on getting the right nutrients in them and modifying their diet to meet their needs. This is a core concept in functional medicine. After all, if my patients are not starting off with a good foundation, how can they expect to get better? That foundation centers on the Paleo Diet. It provides the basis from which everything else can improve. Once the foundation is established, healing can take place.
Traditional medicine overlooks diet.
Functional medicine is a far different mindset than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine has long neglected the concept of food being core to healthcare. You can see this in the way that it is practiced daily. In routine clinical care, food is not a part of the treatment model. At best, mention is given to changing the diet with little instruction as to what that actually is. I see patients coming into my clinic having realized that their diet is central to their health and needs to change, but not having an idea of where to start.
After years of medical evolution, here those of us that are on the cutting edge of healthcare find ourselves having come full circle using the best medical technology to reinforce the basics such as diet.
“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
“An old-fashioned vegetable soup, without any enhancement, is a more powerful anti carcinogen than any known medicine.”
– James Duke M.D.(U.S.D.A.)
The new wave of medicine
I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of Functional Medicine. It’s quickly on the rise and becoming the preferred method for healthcare by more and more people. I have been practicing Functional Medicine for over 10 years now, and I am happy to say that all the attention it is finally getting is very well deserved. Finally people are starting to realize that treating the underlying problem, what is causing your symptoms, is better and more logical than just slapping a “band aid” on the problem. Functional medicine is the new wave of medicine, and it’s not just for internal issues but also for muscle and joint issues as well.
Time for change
Let me introduce you to the concept of functional medicine just in case you are not familiar with it. The concept is so simple it is hard to believe everyone does not think this way in healthcare. I bet if you ask a hundred people on the streets here in the Houston area, not one of them would know what you are talking about. How can that be? How is it that there is a changing paradigm in healthcare happening around you and you don’t know about it? It is not your fault, but rather ingrained models of healthcare that are ready for a change. You can imagine in a city with a medical center as well recognized as Houston, change might come slow.
What is Functional medicine?
Functional medicine is the idea of providing the body the constituents that it needs to allow it to function as God intended it to. When the necessary precursors are given to the body, the biological systems will work as they should. Such constituents might be as simple as antioxidants and minerals, but nonetheless they are what is required for normal physiologic function. The end result is that allowing the systems of the body to carry out their role provides a restoration of function. When function is restored, the symptoms that manifested are alleviated.
Medicine is usually just a band aid.
Functional medicine is a different mindset than traditional medicine. Patient symptoms and complaints drive the majority of healthcare. The burden on the healthcare system is not derived from acute injuries, but from chronic conditions. Chronic ailments are a manifestation of a change in function of the body. With this change come symptoms. Classic approaches to symptoms have revolved around masking the symptoms with medication or the use of surgery to remove the offending problem. These approaches to medicine, while necessary in some case, don’t often address the underlying issue.
Functional medicine gets to the root of the symptom. The underlying cause.
In contrast, functional medicine looks at the symptom in a much different manner. The symptom is the alarm. Something is wrong and action needs to be taken. When patients present with a symptom, as a practicing functional medicine doctor, I begin to ask why. Why does a person have joint pain? I may determine that it is due to dysfunctional muscles that need support. Why are the cholesterol levels going up? A possible explanation for my patient might be that their stress is on the rise causing an increased demand for cholesterol to support hormone production.
Functional medicine is the way healthcare should be.
Having decided to become a functional medicine doctor means that I have also decided to think out side of the box. It’s in my nature. I just have to know and determine why. Rather than being restricted and limited to the algorithms of traditional healthcare, I decided to brand myself as a doctor my patients can trust and rely on to get to the root of the problem, one that will take the time to look at the whole picture and listen carefully to what patients are telling me. I also spend a lot of time with each patient usually 45 minutes to an hour. It’s important to hear what patients are saying to me so that I can accurately test them, assess their needs them and design a comprehensive protocol that specifically fits their needs. One size does not fit all. So you see, the movement has already begun. Functional medicine, is being backed by more and more research, and will become increasingly established as part of the medical system, even in cities with medical traditions such as Houston.