What Happens to Your Body When You Smoke?

Are there any smokers in the room? Raise your hands and try not to cough (kidding!)

I want to talk directly to you today because I’ve got some information you need to know.

I’m not here to point fingers and make you feel bad or embarrassed for being a smoker. No one likes being addicted to something, and it can happen pretty easily.

What I want to do is tell you what is going on in your body every time you light up a cigarette. You have the right to know what your favorite smokes could be doing to you beyond leaving a bad smell on your clothes, hair and breath.

The short-term impact

Over the short term, smoking causes staining on your teeth and can lead to tooth problems, gum loss and a bad taste in your mouth. The Center for Substance Abuse Research also says that smoking, in the short term, can cause asthma and other respiratory problems, decrease your lung capacity and leave you with a cough that just won’t go away (http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/tobacco.asp).

The long-term game

As time goes on and you continue to light up, the damage toll on your body continues to get worse. You may not even realize it; the more severe health consequences of smoking often don’t start to produce symptoms until some damage has been done, and you may not be able to turn back the clock on that damage, either – even if you quit.

When you smoke, it damages your heart and interferes with how your blood vessels work. The vessels in your heart, for example, can thicken, which means pathways narrow and you’re now at a much higher risk of heart disease than a non-smoker, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart). It also makes your heart beat at a faster pace, boosts your blood pressure and causes your blood to clot, which can impact blood flow to your heart.

You’ve probably already experienced how smoking can mess with your respiratory system, whether it’s that weird cold that keeps coming back or that time you got winded trying to go up the stairs. Your lungs have a protective layer that guards them from the things you inhale, and that layer has small hairs known as “cilia” whose job is to wipe off your lungs, like car window blades clear a windshield. However, when you smoke, your cilia stop working like they should, leaving your lungs unable to clear themselves out correctly. Smoking can also trigger asthma or make it worse and cause respiratory diseases such as COPD and chronic bronchitis.

Regardless of gender, smoking can harm your reproductive system. Other organs may be affected because of the over 7,000 potentially cancer-causing chemicals cigarettes have been known to contain.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it is possible and it is worth it. Don’t be chained to your smokes a second later than you have to – take back control over your health today!

Top 8 Tips to Optimize Your Blood Sugar Level

What’s going on, my fellow pre-diabetics?

I wish I could say I’m just kidding, but for some of you, that’s true!

We all need insulin to keep going, but many people are resistant to this hormone, which makes your body grow older faster than it should, putting you at risk for diabetes and other not-so-great conditions. Every time you eat something high in sugar, carbs and grains, your blood glucose levels shoot up faster than a rocket.

The good news is that this common problem is something you can still fix. Just try these eight tips to optimize your blood sugar levels.

Time your meals better

Compressing your eating window, or intermittent fasting, is a recognized approach to lose weight and reduce your risk of conditions such as diabetes, according to Harvard Health Publishing (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156).

There are many different fasting protocols to choose from. One popular format is eating all meals within a window of six hours, and fasting for the other 18 hours.

Monitor your blood sugar

Pre-diabetes is medically defined as having a blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/d while fasting. With this number in mind, you can start testing your levels over the course of the day to see what is impacting yours.

Watch your blood ketones

A blood ketone test will tell you if you are in nutritional ketosis, a metabolic state during which your body decides to burn fat instead of carbs as its main fuel source. Once you start your fasting routine, you can see how you’re doing in this area, with a blood ketone level above 0.3 millimoles per liter being the goal.

Limit net carbs until further notice

Along with fasting, you’ll need a cyclical ketogenic diet. Here, you will have to radically limit your carbs and replace them with moderate protein amounts and healthy fats. Keep a food diary so know exactly how many total carbs and net carbs you’re eating each day.

Boost healthy fats

A key part of nutritional ketosis is replacing your lost carbs with healthy fats. Industrially processed vegetable oils, which are often in restaurant and processed foods, are out. Healthy fats include organic ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut, olives, avocados, raw nuts, seeds and egg yolks.

Drink clean water

Stay away from sweetened drinks and opt for organic black coffee, tea and purified water. Everybody’s water needs are different, so consider how thirsty you are, the color of your urine–it should be light and not dark in color–and how often you go. Most people who drink enough water urinate seven to eight times daily, according to Medical News Daily (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321461.php).

Eat more seeds and nuts

Seeds and nuts are not just high in healthy fats; they also have magnesium, which people are often deficient in. If you’re lacking this mineral, it can raise your risk of insulin resistance because it plays a part in your glucose and carb metabolism.

Commit to more exercise

Exercise does many things for your body, including helping it manage blood sugar levels better. Strength training in particular has been shown to help the body regulate glucose and reduce blood sugar level spikes after meals.

Don’t wait until you’re forced to do something about your blood sugar–get optimizing today!

2 Ways To Protect The Brain

No one wants to get older, but it’s a fact of life, folks! There’s no “growing old” gracefully, either. No magic clock is going to wind back and make you feel like a teenager again.

But there is good news, and I’m here to give it to you. You don’t have to just accept the aging of your brain and all the negative things that come with it. Take these two proven steps to keep your mind on the younger side.

Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA might slow the growth of two lesions on the brain that are known indicators of Alzheimer’s disease (https://news.uci.edu/2007/04/17/omega-3-fatty-acid-may-help-prevent-alzheimers-brain-lesions/). In the study, researchers fed a control group of genetically modified mice the equivalent of the modern American diet with a 10:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. Three test groups received a 1:1 ratio, with one group receiving supplemental DHA alone and the two other groups getting DHA along with other omega-6 fatty acids.

At the end of three months, all three groups of mice had lower levels of the two proteins that cause the hallmark lesions, but at the nine-month mark, the mice on the DHA diet were the only ones with lower protein levels. This suggests that DHA is better taken alone than paired with omega-6 fatty acids.

Give your brain a workout

Treat your brain like you would any other muscle and exercise it!

You’ve probably already heard that activities that stimulate your mind can reduce your Alzheimer’s risk, but there’s actual proof this is true.

Researchers from the Chicago-based Rush Memory and Aging Project (https://www.judsonsmartliving.org/blog/lifelong-learning-as-we-age-benefits-both-mind-and-body/) conducted a study involving more than 1,200 seniors, and they found that a boost in cognitive activity by older adults left them 2.6 times less likely than their less cognitively-active counterparts to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Stimulating activities include things as simple as reading the newspaper or a book, playing chess and going to the theater. Even when researchers controlled for current physical and social activity levels, socioeconomic status and past cognitive activity, the benefits older adults receiving just by using their minds held strong.

You don’t have to love the idea of getting older to help keep your mind sharp; simply acknowledging that it will happen and taking the steps needed to protect your brain is enough.

What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Gluten?

What’s up, foodies?

If you’re like me and everyone else, you probably love bread, carbs and all that jazz, even if it’s not good for you. I’m sure you’ve heard enough about carbs to last you two lifetimes, and you probably feel the same way about gluten, but how much do you really know about this protein?

What gluten actually is

Gluten is a protein that has molecules known as gliadin and glutenin that make an elastic-type bond when they are mixed with water. This is why gluten is so often used in foods like cakes and breads, because it provides that spongy texture that bakers are usually after. It is also in many flours, brans and germs, which explains why it shows up in everything from pastas and beers to gravies, dressings and sauces.

While it does great things for baked goods, the same isn’t true for what it does to your body. Research indicates that gluten can cause harm because of some of the complications it can cause.

What gluten does

The major issue with gluten is that it can prevent the proper breakdown and absorption of nutrients from foods, and this happens whether those goods have gluten in them or not. This can prevent you from digesting things correctly since excess gluten can lead to the formation of a “glued” lump in your gut that causes constipation. That undigested gluten prompts your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation (https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/), and can leave you with stomach pain, nausea, constipation or diarrhea.

Over time, eating too much gluten can make the inflammation and damage to your small intestine worse, leaving you short on nutrients you need for your body to work properly. At that point, you become vulnerable to a large variety of conditions, including osteoporosis, anemia and complications with your nervous system and liver, to name just a few.

People can be allergic to gluten, intolerant to gluten, sensitive to gluten or have a condition known as celiac disease. The disease is an autoimmune condition, according to Coeliac UK (https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/coeliac-disease/about-coeliac-disease/gluten-sensitivity/) and not simply a food intolerance or sensitivity.

Gluten can be harmful to many people, and it can be hard to tell which side of the fence you fall on. Eliminating all gluten from your diet can help you determine whether you are suffering from any negative effects when you eat it.

Fasting Prevents and Halts Diabetes

You’ve probably seen people talking about fasting everywhere, but I have to admit, there’s a lot of conflicting info out there. As with a lot of things, the truth is somewhere in the middle: fasting isn’t a cure-all, but it does have some truly remarkable possibilities.

What if I told you that fasting may just be a way to stop diabetes from ever happening and even reverse it in some people? You may be thinking, “Hey, no way that’s true,” but I’m here to tell you that it is, and I’ve brought the research to prove it!

Although fasting can be a challenge and may sound daunting at first, this time-tested practice helps the body remove harmful substances and may just be the key to winning the fight against diabetes.

Improving insulin sensitivity with fasting

Many studies have found that fasting might boost sensitivity to insulin, support weight management when combined with exercise, and even possibly reverse diabetes. One such study was recently presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week professional conference (https://ddw.org/attendee-planning/online-planner).

Based on the fasting practices for prayer that Muslims follow during Ramadan, this study followed 14 people in good health who regularly fasted for 15 hours per day (from dawn to dusk) over a 30-day period. Blood samples were taken from the participants before they began the religious fast and at the end of the final week of fasting, and an additional blood sample was taken one week after their fasts ended.

The researchers found that the 30-day fast had raised the participants’ levels of tropomyosin (TPM) proteins, which boost insulin resistance and lessen the negative effects of a high-sugar diet. Increased levels of TPM 1, 3 and 4 were present in the participants’ blood samples. TPM 3 in particular plays a central role in boosting insulin sensitivity, which results in better control over blood glucose levels.

The research team was led by Dr. Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, a professor at Houston’s Baylor College, who added that feeding and fasting can have a significant effect on how the body creates and uses the proteins needed for lowering insulin resistance and maintaining a healthy weight.

Fasting might promote the growth of pancreatic beta cells

Established research scientist James DiNicolantonio explored the outcomes of several studies in the Open Heart medical journal (https://openheart.bmj.com/content/openhrt/6/1/e001028.full.pdf?ct), all of which found that repeated fasting episodes may trigger the growth of pancreatic beta cells in mouse-model experiments. The growth comes from an increased expression of a protein that is part of the process that leads to the pancreatic beta cells responsible for producing insulin.

In the animal studies, the boost in these cells also came with an improvement in blood sugar control. In Type 1 diabetes, these beta cells are nearly destroyed, something that also happens in the latter stages of severe Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s possible this could lead to a way to reverse Type 2 diabetes, according to DiNicolantonio. The research scientist recommends practicing a diabetes-preventive lifestyle, with intermittent fasting a good option for those who don’t respond.

Avoiding breakfast before exercising might boost weight management efforts

Do you ever get flak from family members for skipping breakfast? If so, listen up. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the effects of a person skipping breakfast before working out in the morning (https://academic.oup.com/jn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jn/nxz018/5440571?redirectedFrom=fulltext). In this study, 12 fit and active young men ate a breakfast of milk and oats followed by resting during one stage, ate the same breakfast and worked out for 60 minutes in the next stage, and then fasted overnight and worked out the next morning before they ate in the third stage.

The researchers in this study found that the men who fasted before exercise ate 400 fewer calories throughout the day when compared to those who ate and rested or ate and exercised. Javier Gonzalez of the University of Bath, who led the study, theorized that working out on an empty stomach may lead to a calorie deficit and not overeating. Since obesity is often a factor in diabetes, effective weight management is part of the program for preventing it.

It’s time to take control of your health and start living life the way you were meant to. While a lot of people all over the world have diabetes, you don’t have to develop it! Start acting now to get back to your best self, with fasting as a key to open that locked door.

You Are Able

Behavioral Health - You are able

When I speak to people about their health and lifestyle so many times it seems like there is a sense of hopelessness. For example, if they get diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure and they believe they will have to be on a certain protocol for a lifetime. It is time that we realize that we are able. Able to overcome. Able to rise above. Able to reverse the life situation that have found ourselves in. It all begins with …

Knowing that you were made for more. We tend to let the circumstance of our life determine the quality of our life. You are where you are because of your choices, and a little bit of genetics. That’s the great news. So here I want to give you permission. This is to know that you are well able to live the kind of life that you want and deserve. It simply comes down to your choices. If you are overweight, make new choices. If you have high blood pressure, then make new choices. If you have diabetes, then make new choices.

Choices determine lifestyle. Period. There is no form of medicine that can touch the power to choose.

So realize that you are able. You are able to shift your life, create a new course, and live life on your terms. So how do you do it?

1.Believe

I need you to start believing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asa_Andrew (in you again. You have to forget the past. The past is gone. You must focus on today. Today is where all the influence and power is.

2.Look

You must have a vision for where you want to go, who you want to become, the kind of health that you want to have. You must see it.

3.Live

Execution is what separates winners and losers. If you want to win with your health and your life, then you must follow through, do the work, and get it done.

I can tell you that it doesn’t matter how tough life has been, you can always turn it around. There is a purpose for your life. The key is to step up, define it, believe it, see it, and live it.

Improving Joint Health

Joint Health - Improving Joint Health

If you really want to know how to make someone age faster, then take away their mobility. Our ability to move and get around effectively a key to our independence and living life on our terms. One area that challenges this is arthritis and joint pain. When someone gets these aches and pains, it starts to hinder their mobility and ability to thrive. Getting arthritis and joint pain is not just because you are older, it has to do with inflammation within the body.

Our mobility can be compromised in several different ways. The beginning stage to any health challenge starts in the mind and with stress. That is where it begins. You show me someone with Fibromyalgia, arthritis, and chronic pain, and I will show you someone with emotional stress that has been suppressed and not handled effectively. And that is just one example. So what can you do if you have joint pain and can’t move like you used to? 

Move anyway.

Yes that is true. Getting the body moving is an absolute essential to overcoming the lack of mobility. Even if you are having some pain, find an activity that will put you in some level of movement. Swimming, for example, is a great way to increase flexibility and get the body moving to increase mobility. 

I have to push you on this point. If you are having pain, then look at your life. Body pain is usually a reflection of emotional pain. The two go hand in hand. It might be time to talk with someone. It might be time to ask for help and that’s ok. The key to remember is that time is not your friend when it comes to your health. Here are some basic steps to maintain great mobility. 

1. Clean up your emotional life. 

2. Clean up your eating. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods. 

3. Add some exercise. Get moving every day 

4. Watch Your Thoughts. They will determine everything. 

And watch how your body can recover and respond. Don’t let life and circumstances take away your mobility and quality of life. You can get it back.

The Heart of The Matter

Heart Health - The Heart of The Matter

When it comes to our health we look at multiple areas. We look at body fat, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, basic lab work, etc. But what is health, really? Webster’s defines health as the “absence of disease.” Is that really what it’s all about? Just hoping and waiting that we don’t get sick? I didn’t sign up for that one. That’s too pessimistic for me. Great health is about thriving. Great health is about thriving. It is about living to your potential.

Great health is the heart of the matter for many people. It is for me. The key is to have great health so you can have an amazing life. I get so tired of seeing people I care about not caring about their health. Here is a classic scenario. 

A person has a terrible diet. They eat whatever they want in their 20’s and 30’s. Then they hit their 40’s and things start to break down. Then they have a heart attack, a slight scare. They get a stent and get put on four precautionary heart meds for a year. Now they freak out and start eating healthy, almost perfect. They exercise, lose the weight, and then start to feel better. Then they come off the meds. The amazing part of this story is how they get back into their old lifestyle habits. Why? Patterns. People tend to want to be in their own patterns. Also lifestyle habits are exactly that, habits. How do you win? 

It comes down to your WHY. 

What is your Why? For real. What is your why? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you work? Why do you do what you do every day? Why do you choose to eat junk instead of healthy when you have a wife and three kids that depend on you. Why do you sleep in instead of exercising… 

Why? 

It’s time to make some new decisions. It’s time to beef up your Why. Your Why is not strong enough. Love must be stronger that your learned behavior. The love you have for others. It’s time to own up. It’s time to own up that you are not making the best decisions for your health. And that is OK. Because today can be first day that you really start caring about your own Why. You can start with today. That is what it takes to have great health. To start empowering your health

Eating broccoli, beans, and berries is not difficult. That is actually the easy part. Having a strong enough Why is the key. 

Let me know in the comments below what your Why is. 

Take the first step.

Getting The Body That You Want

Diet and Weight Loss - Getting The Body That You Want

So we are moving into the holidays and all I hear is how the extra 10-15 pounds is inevitable. With all of the parties, family gatherings, and work events there will be unhealthy options everywhere. Is that really the excuse? Really? I have news for you. It’s not. It’s the same excuse that people use that say, “I will start Monday”. That’s all it is. Its an excuse. And I would tell you that it’s more than an excuse, it’s a habit and a constant way of thinking. For you to have the body and health that you are looking for, the transformation has to happen in your mindset. That is the key. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what your greatest health challenge might be, you can get the body that you want and have amazing health, if you want it…and are willing to drop the excuses. It will take work. It will take discipline. My hope for you is that it won’t take an immense amount of fear from a new diagnosis like diabetes or high blood pressure to snap you into shape. Your mindset and the way you think will determine everything. So let’s look at some of the basic of what you must begin as you shift your mindset to get the body that you desire. 

1.Make A Decision
This is the key. You must decide. You must commit. This is not to start Monday. This is everyday. You must want it as bad as the air you breathe. When you are willing to do what it takes, you will achieve it

2.Eat The Right Foods
Ok there are many areas that are essential for your success. However, your eating habits will determine the bulk of your ultimate success. If man made it, then don’t eat it on a regular basis. It’s really simple. You must know the exact amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates for your body type. Our coaching system called Healthy University will teach you just how to do this. 

3.Move Every Day
You have to move. It’s not optional. Even if all of your joints hurt, find a way. Get into a pool. If you are just lazy, then get off your butt and care enough about the body God gave you. If you live too far from a gym, then stop making excuses and go walk outside every day. If it’s snowing uphill both ways, put a jacket on and some boots. Go make it happen. Your body was designed to move a lot. If you stop and sit all day. You will die earlier than you should. No one like to talk about it, but it’s in the research. 

4.Don’t Neglect Rest
Sleep is vital for your great health. It’s also vital for the body that you want. Research shows us that we need between 6-8 hours of sleep per night to repair and regenerate. If your sleep is poor, and is interrupted often, it will cause the hormones to drop and keep you from dropping body fat and reaching your potential for empowering your health

5.Know Your Numbers
Staying on top of your lab work is essential. Checking the regular lab work with your primary care is important yearly. This will make sure that you don’t have any of the typical chronic medical issues that could pop up like diabetes, kidney issues, cholesterol, thyroid, and basic blood conditions. However, it is essential for you to check you labs for specific nutritional imbalances that might be present. Health challenges don’t show up overnight, they happen over a decade usually. The more you stay on top of your numbers, the more you will stay ahead of the game. 

To achieve the body that you want comes down to some of the basics, it also comes down to making great decisions every day. 

Health does not come from good luck or your genetics, Health is a choice, and you make it every day.

The Power of Gratitude

Behavioral Health - The Power of Gratitude

We focus on the Thanksgiving season as a time to be with family. To get together with those we love and spend time catching up, sharing old memories, and creating new ones. The biggest part of the holiday season as we kick off with Thanksgiving is our sense of being grateful. If you follow much on social media these days, gratitude seems to be a buzz word. When it comes to our health, our mindset will determine more than just about anything else when it comes to how healthy our body is. The reason is simply because when you are thankful, and grateful, then it is impossible to be angry, discouraged, or sad. Research tells us that when we are grateful, that every cell in our body is functioning at a higher level. So what does it take to be grateful? It takes you making a decision to be grateful. So the question really is… 

Are you grateful? No I mean really grateful for what you have been given? 

Are you grateful for your health? Or are you consumed with how you look or the 5 extra pounds that you need to lose? Really? Be grateful. 

Are you grateful for the people in your life? Or are you focused on how they are not meeting your expectations? One day there will be a Thanksgiving without that person…Be grateful. 

Are you grateful for the money, job, pension, retirement, home, etc that you have? Or are you watching TV and social media coveting what everyone else has? …Be grateful. 

Are you grateful for the years of life that you have been given? Or are you looking at older people wanting to hurry up, or looking at younger people wishing you had your days back? Enjoy where you are and be grateful. 
Giving thanks is a personal decision that we all make every single day of our lives. Thankfulness is an attitude and will set you up for having an amazingly healthy life. If you look at any statistic, you will find that those who are grateful, thankful, and mindful of what they have been given, lead the healthiest, most fulfilling lives. 

Will that be you? 

Make the decision. You choose…