Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Fall Total Health Tip

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I, like so many overscheduled parents, appreciate the “respite” that comes when the kids go back to school. However a feeling of trepidation sets in with the onset of cold and flu season. Starting with Halloween and continuing through the holidays, the deluge of sweets and sugary delights, accompanied by a change in the weather, can send our immune system back on vacation. Patients often ask me what I do at home for myself and my family during this season, so I’ll share some of our personal practices with you so that you too can stay as healthy as possible.

The number one preventive action is to eat a clean, as close-to-the-source diet as possible and specifically, cut out any excess sugar. Four teaspoons of sugar (the amount in 1/2 can of soda) significantly decreases the effectiveness of your immune system for up to four hours. So, if you think about the massive sugar increase that typically begins to happen at this time of year (and many people are on a continual “drip” of sweets) the immune system is in a constant state of stress. Throw in a quick exposure to all of the bugs “shared” in the office and the classroom and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect storm.

The second is an addition to the hackneyed ol’ adage “Wash your hands!”  Washing is very important, but what it comes down to, is not putting those little buggies anywhere near your mucous membranes. Try to become aware of how much you actually touch your face and then train yourself out of the habit. Most people do this hundreds if not thousands of time each day giving those viruses a free ride.  Flu viruses are easily picked up on any hard surface and can be introduced to your system when you handle your food, so it’s important to wash and avoid touching your face.

Third, in my family I don’t like to take any chances so we do some active immune building. One of my favorites for prevention is Echinacea. The root is the part of the plant that contains the most concentrated and effective of the active ingredients responsible for modulating the immune system. To see whether the brand you are buying will be effective, place a bit on your tongue. If your tongue is not tingling or feeling partially numb, chances are that it will not be as effective. I carry a brand of Echinacea in the clinic which is tested for pharmaceutical consistency so I know I’m giving my patients and family the product which is going to get the job done.

As a last note, sometimes, in spite of all our efforts to maintain balance, the bugs do actually get in. If this is the case, Andrographis can significantly reduce the severity and duration of many infections by quickly ramping up your immune system. If I start to feel a tickle in my throat or a little sniffle, I’ll start taking Andrographis tablets right away. As with Echinacea, make sure that it has a significant effect on your tongue to ensure that it contains enough of the active ingredients.

I’d love to hear from you about your health concerns.  I may even address them in an upcoming newletter.   Email me at info@sbtotalhealth.

My greatest wishes to you for a healthy and joyous holiday season.   David

Athletic Nutrition

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Here are some notes from the lecture I gave this morning to Moms in Motion athletes preparing for the Carpinteria Triathalon.  Let me know if you try out these tips and how they work for you!  Best wishes, David

When it comes to athletic performance, there are many general rules and guidelines when it comes to what to eat, quantity and when to eat it. You will find that there are a whole range of practices. Some work for certain individuals and others do not. In sum, it’s a highly individual experience. The key is to play with all the variables. The ultimate test is how you feel. Give yourself enough time to figure out what works for you before race day and when you do, stick with it.

3 Phases of Athletic Nutrition:

Pre Event

Load up on the carbs the day before. This will increase your stores of glycogen in your muscles and liver (which is the fuel that runs your body). Instead of the usual white pasta and bagels, try and stick with whole foods/whole grains. Consider a bowl of steamed Quinoa (full of protein also) or if you don’t like to vary from your bowl of oatmeal, you might want to switch to the Irish steel cut oats. They contain much more fiber and beneficial nutrients than the plain rolled oats do not have. Also be sure that you are really hydrating your body a few days before the race. Shoot for at least the 8 glass rule and I’m sorry, coffee and sodas don’t count.

The morning of the race get up early enough to have a good breakfast and allow it to digest fully. Ideally, for a solid meal, try and leave 2 hours before the race. A liquid meal will require less time. The last thing you want to deal with is a bunch of food churning around in your stomach distracting you while you are trying to focus on your event. I think that the more you can move toward liquid meals the better and the closer you get to the event, the smaller the meal should be. Smoothies fit the bill nicely and you can include protein, carbs and fat. Err on the side of carbs with a little protein to balance it out. One of the better forms of protein to use is whey. It’s easily digestible and has a lot of benefit for the immune system as well. Try and get a raw form if you can. Standard Process (only available through practitioners) makes an excellent whey called Whey Pro. If you want to add some fat, try raw coconut oil. You’ll have to chip it out of the container as it’s solid at room temperature, but it’s an excellent form of fat as it doesn’t require a lot of processing by your body to make it available for energy. It’s also very beneficial for the immune system.

The Event

If your race is an hour or less, you can probably do without hydrating during the event. For more than an hour, many suggest consuming some calories every 45 minutes or so. You want to avoid emptying your glycogen stores, also known as “bonking.” Usually a carbohydrate rich snack will do it. The gels and goos are popular now and it’s probably not too terrible if they are used only once in a while. However, if they are a regular part of your training routine, you might want to try making your own healthier version. I have had clients take a small bag of dates with them which seems to work well, but if you are into the gel idea try making your own. Try blending 2-3 dates (I like medjool because they are so meaty) with a little orange/lemon/lime juice,  a bit of agave, vanilla to taste and some Celtic or Himalayan sea salt. Play with the consistency and then add it to a gel flask. You can also try adding a bit of the coconut oil I mentioned before because of it’s quickly available energy.

Other things that you can play with to see if they help your endurance:

Chia Seeds: Apparently the Mayan translation of Chia is “Strength.” The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico who are known for their 50-100 mile runs are regular consumers of Chia seeds.   They are packed with minerals and essential fatty acids. A drink or gel can be made using Chia, lemon/lime juice, agave and water. They form their own gel as they are very hydrophillic meaning that they readily absorb water.  Some sports medicine specialists advise consuming fluids with low osmolality (a measure of the amount of dissolved solids in the fluid) because it’s easier to absorb the fluid once in the stomach. Again, you can try it during a workout or make a drink of it to be consumed before the workout.

Wheat germ oil is another product worth trying. The oil is rich in a compound called octosonol which can help with muscle strength and endurance as well as lead to faster and stronger muscle contractions.  I know some cyclists who will pop a few gel caps of wheat germ oil during rides when they begin to feel the muscular fatigue and they claim it really helps.

I am not a big fan of sports drink as I prefer to make my own, but one thing that I add to my water bottle is a squirt of pre-ionized trace minerals. The pre-ionization removes an extra biochemical step from your body’s “to-do” list, making them really easy to absorb and giving you a slight nutritional edge. I use a brand called “Spectra Min” which are made by the Energetix company (available through my office).


Once you have finished the event, it’s time to recover and rebuild your body. There is considerable breakdown and stress that your body undergoes during endurance events as well as during training. The faster your body is able to repair itself, the quicker you will improve.  So the key is providing plenty of nutrient rich raw materials for the rebuilding process as soon as possible. One of the first things to concentrate on is providing quick protein. Most serious athletes suggest that a good protein supplement be consumed within 20 minutes of finishing a workout/training session in order to maximize the repair process.  I default to the protein smoothie with fruit, whey protein and some coconut or flax oil added to round it out.  With all the added respiration that occurs during exercise, a lot of oxidation occurs in the body.  Eating anti-oxidant rich foods such as berries, citrus, broccoli, tomatoes and garlic is very important. Organic foods tend to have higher nutrient content than commercial produce so if you are taking the time to prepare good food you might want to think about going organic. Lastly, don’t forget to adequately rehydrate your body. As a general rule, drink (better in small sips) at least 2-3 cups of water for every pound of weight that is lost during an event.

To your great health and success!

Food Labels – The Real Scoop

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

For those of you who missed David’s lecture on Reading Labels, here are the notes.  We are planning to repeat this lecture due to popular demand.  In the meantime…

Total Health Series – Reading Food Labels

Food processing and chemical additives have been created to increase the shelf life of food. This technology is great for business, but in most cases it is detrimental to your long term health and longevity. You are in control of what you consume.  Here are some guidelines when shopping for foods for you and your family.

  1. As a basic rule of thumb, consume real, whole food with as little processing as possible.  This will contain the greatest amount of nutrient in which to support your health and vitality.
  2. If it lasts more than week or two sitting out on your countertop without spoiling, you probably don’t want to eat it.
  3. Just because a company says it is good for you doesn’t make it so.
  4. Be extremely wary of foods that say, “low fat,” “sugar free,” “natural.”
  5. Funky fats: Many packaged foods contain fats/oils that are heated to high temperature. These heated fats can create major free radicals, cardiovascular problems and cancer promoting effects on the body. Be especially aware of any hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils. These have been transformed to extend shelf life without becoming rancid, however they are very dangerous for the body.
  6. Carbohydrate: Watch out for anything that contains white flour or “enriched” in the first 4-5 ingredients.  Look for “Whole Grain” ingredients as the first ingredient in any grain based product.

Avoid refined sugar and artificial sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup,  sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, turbinado brown, sugar,  dextrin, maltodextrin, invert sugar, caramel, agave syrup.  Caution wth Fruit Juice Concentrate. It is usually sugar refined from fruit.

Better sources: (in small amts only) local raw honey, pure maple syrup, fresh or  dried fruits, date sugar, brown rice syrup, fig sugar, blackstrap molasses, stevia

  1. Watch out for preservatives in cured meats such as nitrates/nitrites: These are carcinogenic. Generally if you can’t pronounce it, or it doesn’t sound like food, it was probably synthesized in a laboratory rather than coming from mother nature.
  2. Be careful with synthetic flavorings: MSG is not just used in Chinese food. It goes by other names such as: hydrolized vegetable protein, vegetable protein extract, autolyzed plant protein, sodium  caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast.
  3. Often a product will say it’s organic, but the whole product will not necessarily be organic.  Look at each ingredient.

David Gaynes    Total Health    805-682-6492

Orange-Ginger Vegetables

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This is another quick easy and tasty vegetable recipe. You may use any quantity of veggies you like. For a family of four I generally cut up a large head of broccoli, one whole onion (cut into rings) and about 1/3 of a cabbage. Throw them into a skillet or pot. Add 3/4 cup of orange juice, approximately 2 Tbsp of Bragg`s Amino Acids and either fresh or powdered ginger to taste. Mix it all up and let it steam until done. When finished toss it all together so that the juices mix with the vegetables.

1 large head broccoli cut lengthwise with stalks

1/3 head of cabbage

1 onion cut into rings

2 Tbsp of Bragg`s Amino Acids

1 Tbsp of chopped fresh ginger or powdered ginger.

Kale Chips

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This simple little delight can almost take the place of a bag of potato chips. Once you start munching on these you won`t be able to stop until they are all gone. And, unlike a bag of potato chips, these things are seriously good for you.

The recipe goes like this:

–  1 bunch kale (washed and dried)

–   Whatever type of seasoning you like. (Can it be easier than that?)

If the center stems are large, remove them. Cut the remaining kale into bite size pieces. Toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil until the leaves are coated. Sprinkle with any of the following: Sea salt, pepper, cayenne, apple cider vinegar (about 1 tsp) or garlic powder. Spread the leaves out on a cookie sheet so that they are not overlapping. It is better if you can bake them for a longer time at a lower temperature. I use a convection oven at 180 degrees until they are really crispy. They should crunch like a potato chip… almost melting in your mouth. In my oven this takes a couple of hours, but in a standard oven it could take up to three hours.