Monday, February 15, 2010

Special Report: Part 2


Yeah. For now. Have you heard the old adage, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”? Well, if you really think that sleeping is that much of a waste of time, you may meet your death much sooner than you might expect. Sleep is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things that we need. And we need a lot of it. Most people do not get eight hours of sleep a night. We are asking that you try to get NINE. The ONLY time when your body can completely cleanse and repair itself is when you are sleeping.

When we are exposed to light (natural and artificial), our bodies produce a stress hormone called cortisol. It is also produced when we are exposed to any kind of distress (bad) or eustress (good) such as emotional and mental stress (work related, family, relationship, etc.) and physical stress (like exercising). With all of this overstimulation from light and stress there is a subsequent overproduction of cortisol, which leaves us in a perpetually inflamed, tired, and unbalanced state. When your cortisol is up, melatonin cannot turn on and that means you will not truly be resting, even if you are asleep.

Think about it for a minute. Back in the day before there was artificial light, we were awake with the sun and asleep with the moon. It is our natural rhythm to have energy when it is light out and to be tired when darkness falls. With the incredible invention of electricity (which obviously has a great many benefits) we gradually started shifting away from our natural sleep-wake rhythms. If you are wondering whether that means we should be sleeping for 12-14 hours in the winter… Well, yes, we should. Many animals hibernate in the winter months. A similar decrease in waking activity may have also been the case for our Paleolithic ancestors. In the summer time we naturally have more energy with the longer days. We are more active and we can eat more. In the winter it is natural for us to exercise and eat less, taking advantage of the darkness to rest and conserve energy for when the spring and summer come around again. Ever notice how you are a little less motivated to work out or go out in the winter? That’s not just you being moody- it is programmed into your cells.
The problem now is, we don’t sleep more and eat less in the winter and sleep less and eat more in the summer. We pretty much sleep less and eat more all year round, and this seriously messes with our entire bodies on a physiological level. Not to mention we don’t stay up and eat healthy food, we stay up and eat processed, carb-heavy food. When you habitually don’t sleep enough and eat too many carbs, you are on a fast track to some serious problems. Unfortunately, this way of living can lead to not so uncommon health problems such as high cholesterol, hypertension, type II Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. This lifestyle causes your immune system to be a flimsy paper-thin barrier as opposed to the strong brick wall it should be, making you infinitely more susceptible to all sorts of disease. And I’m not just talking about your seasonal cold or flu. Another one of the main things that happen when you don’t sleep enough and are spending too much time in the light is that the cells in the lining of your heart DIE. In other words, when you skimp on sleep, you are weakening your heart. A weak heart leads to heart failure.

Since sleeping 12-14 hours a night in the winter is almost impossible with the structure of our lives, we suggest that you make a very concerted effort to get nine hours of sleep a night in a completely dark room. Do whatever you have to do to keep the room dark even if you sleep past sunrise. Put heavy drapes on the windows and cover up the illuminated clocks. Getting a lot of good quality sleep is absolutely imperative to preventing disease and living a long and health life.

If you are wondering whether this “taboo” concept that we are the same as our Paleolithic ancestors is correct or not, a valid question to ask yourself is: why is there no cancer, heart disease, or obesity in nature? Also, why do only humans and their pets get these sorts of diseases? High cholesterol, hypertension, type II Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer are all MAN-MADE. We are killing ourselves.

*An authoritative book on the subject of sleep is, Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby, Ph.D. If nothing else, this book will make you think twice about staying up in front of the television late at night.


Special Report: Part 1

The Three Biggest Mistakes When in Comes to Weight Loss, Health and Fitness

MISTAKE #1: FAT IS BAD (particularly animal fat)

We’ve come a long way. Gone are the days of spears and fires, they have long since been replaced with cellophane and microwaves. We have shifted into an age of convenience and speed when it comes to what we eat, but despite what the television commercials tell you and what the FDA approves, this is not a positive shift. Even something as fundamental to our survival as eating, has been completely altered and mutated into something that is now killing us as a species. Two million years ago we didn’t have refrigerators, we didn’t have microwaves, and we most certainly did not have grocery stores, let alone fast food chains. We hunted and gathered. Our job was to find food. Chasing animals and foraging for nuts and berries all day was something that was imbedded into our natural instincts; in fact, it still is (but I will get to that in the Exercise section). Today we have an overabundance of nutrient-deficient, genetically modified, processed, and straight up synthetic foods. We are told that fat is the root of all evil and illness and that you should NEVER eat animal fats, and that “fat-free” is healthy. We are encouraged to eat a predominately carbohydrate diet because you have to replace the fat with something (like sugar) to make food taste good. People, listen up! THIS IS BACKWARDS. We NEED fat and we need animal fat. Do you think your Paleolithic brother or sister turned their nose up to the fatty part of an animal for fear of raising their cholesterol? NO. You see, back before we started to over-analyze everything and make up solutions that turn into bigger problems, we were intuitive and instinctual. We ate the fat because our bodies craved it, and our bodies craved it because we NEEDED it. We are no different today. What if I were to tell you that the cause of high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity was not fat? Would you believe me if I told you the culprit is a high-carb diet and not enough meat and fat? Well, it’s true. Here are bariatric Dr. Michael Eades’ seven reasons why you should eat more saturated fat (which I have extrapolated from author Tim Ferris’ blog).

1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors
Though you may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper, online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a)—pronounced “lipoprotein little a” and abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Bet you didn’t hear that on the nightly news. Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.

2) Stronger bones
In middle age, as bone mass begins to decline, an important goal (particularly for women) is to build strong bones. You can’t turn on the television without being told you need calcium for your bones, but do you recall ever hearing that saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone? According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason. That’s a far cry from the 7 to 10 percent suggested by mainstream institutions. If her reasoning is sound—and we believe it is— is it any wonder that the vast majority of women told to avoid saturated fat and to selectively use vegetable oils instead would begin to lose bone mass, develop osteoporosis, and get put on expensive prescription medications plus calcium to try to recover the loss in middle age?

3) Improved liver health
Adding saturated fat to the diet has been shown in medical research to encourage the liver cells to dump their fat content. Clearing fat from the liver is the critical first step to calling a halt to middle-body fat storage. Additionally, saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from the toxic insults of alcohol and medications, including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, and even to reverse the damage once it has occurred. Since the liver is the lynchpin of a healthy metabolism, anything that is good for the liver is good for getting rid of fat in the middle. Polyunsaturated vegetable fats do not offer this protection.

4) Healthy lungs
For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of what’s called lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially causes breathing difficulties. Absence of the correct amount and composition of this material leads to collapse of the airspaces and respiratory distress. It’s what’s missing in the lungs of premature infants who develop the breathing disorder called infant respiratory distress syndrome. Some researchers feel that the wholesale substitution of partially hydrogenated (trans) fats for naturally saturated fats in commercially prepared foods may be playing a role in the rise of asthma among children. Fortunately, the heyday of trans fats is ending and their use is on the decline. Unfortunately, however, the unreasoning fear of saturated fat leads many people to replace trans fats with an overabundance of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which may prove just as unhealthful.

5) Healthy brain
You will likely be astounded to learn that your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. Though many people are now familiar with the importance of the highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA and DHA) for normal brain and nerve function, the lion’s share of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

6) Proper nerve signaling
Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence the metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin. And just any old fat won’t do. Without the correct signals to tell the organs and glands what to do, the job doesn’t get done or gets done improperly.

7) Strong immune system
Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Human breast milk is quite rich in myristic and lauric acid, which have potent germ-killing ability. But the importance of the fats lives on beyond infancy; we need dietary replenishment of them throughout adulthood, middle age, and into seniority to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells as well as infectious invaders.

So there you have it. If you are interested in finding out more about their research, check out Dr. Michael Eades and his wife Dr. Mary Dan Eades’ latest book, The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle: The Simple Plan to Flatten Your Belly Fast! Not only do they address weight loss, but also optimal health.