The Cortisol Connection to Metabolic Overdrive (MO)

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I defined metabolic overdrive (MO),, and listed 5 body organs or systems that are effected: the gut, sex hormones, thyroid, pancreas and adrenal gland. Each week I will tackle a different system to give you a better understanding of what happens when you fall victim to MO. I’ll start with the adrenals.

The adrenal glands are triangular and sit on top of your kidneys. They make stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone). Daily stress (too little sleep, overworking yourself, or exercising too much)  triggers your adrenals to overproduce the hormone cortisol. Eventually the adrenals become fatigued and the ability to make cortisol is lost. As the adrenals lose the ability to overproduce cortisol, MO kicks in.  When cortisol production falls, intense cardio can initiate the breakdown of protein…

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


What is Metabolic Overdrive?

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

Health Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

When health markers are not within the normal range, it is your body’s way of communicating. It is begging for your attention. Your heart, pancreas, thyroid and other organs cannot speak to you directly but they can send you signals that should grab your attention.    

How Healthy is Your Metabolism?

Do you feel tired all the time?

Do you wake frequently at night?

Do you feel hungry between meals, even if you’ve just eaten?

Do you crave candy, soda, coffee or any stimulant especially in the mid afternoon?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you have some of the classic symptoms of a metabolic disadvantage. An underlying medical condition is likely blocking your every attempt to lose weight, improve energy levels or health.


Metabolic overdrive (MO)  is the result of environmental stress and its…

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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

 Image result for artificial sweeteners

Artificial sugar (AS) substitute was created for those who are looking to cut calories for weight loss or cut carbs/sugar to obtain blood sugar control (BSC). It seemed like a simple solution. Eat the same foods replace sugar calories in foods (soda, cookies…) with a sweetener that has no calories and weight loss or BSC should occur. Sounds good and maybe true on paper but when it comes to real life, it may not necessarily be so simple.

Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener made available for mass consumption in the early 1900’s and it is safe to say that it has not done its intended purpose as a weight loss aid. We continue to face a diabesity (obesity and diabetes) epidemic.

A  recent study, , published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that drinking diet soda may contribute to “cardiometabolic risk” factors (obesity, diabetes…

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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Uncategorized


25 Ways to Cut Food Costs

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

A shopping cart filled with bagged groceries l... A shopping cart filled with bagged groceries located in a parking lot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shop ’til you drop is what I always say and the supermarket is no exception to the rule; especially if you can  get a good deal on your weekly food purchases.

Save big when you use these 25 savvy food shopping tips to help you cut grocery costs. These tips are so hot, you just may want to share them with your family and friends.

25 Supermarket Savvy Shopping Tips

1. Get to know your food store(s). Be loyal to any store that provides the best deal. Get better deals on more food by shopping in more than one store.

  • There are foods that maybe less expensive in certain stores all the time.
  • Do they offer store or double coupons?
  • Are there coupons online?

2. Get to know your store managers: The meat dept. may have weekly…

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Posted by on September 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


Probiotics: Beneficial Body Bugs

Credit: Picture used from this fantastic website that has in-depth information on probiotics and gut health,

Recently there has been a lot of attention given to the gut and its central role in health. Eating healthy is obviously a factor but using probiotics is like having military backup to support good gut health and to help boost immunity. The term probiotic is derived from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting” and biotic, meaning “life.”

Body bugs, good and bad,  are part of gut flora that help maintain healthy digestion. They are also an important part of the immune system. Seventy percent of the cells that make up the body’s immune system are found in the gut.

When bad gut bacteria become more prevalent than good bacteria, eat foods that contain prebiotics (Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics and contributes to healthy probiotic bacteria growth) such as asparagus, garlic, artichokes and onion and use an arsenal of probiotics as coverage to help regain good gut bacteria and bring intestinal flora back to balance.

Probiotics function to help:

  • food digestion
  • mineral absorption
  • vitamin B and K production
  • breakdown toxins
  • reduce inflammation
  • support the immune system

There are approximately 400 types of body bugs. Research has shown that different strains of probiotic bacteria are involved in specific aspects of the body’s health, and For example:

  1. Lactobacillus (also known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus blugaricus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus plantarium, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus gasseri) is found in the digestive and urinary tract and aid in treating yeast and urinary tract infections, diarrhea and other bowel issues, such as gas, bloating, and acne.
  • Acidophilus maintains the integrity of the intestinal walls that aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and supports the immune system.
  • Fermentum helps neutralize toxins and promotes a healthy balance of good gut bacteria.
  • Rhamnosus has shown to be effective in reducing occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea.

2. Bifidobacteria (Bifodbacterium bifidum, Bifodbacterium lactis, Bifodbacterium longum, Bifodbacterium breve, Bifodbacterium infantis, Bifodbacterium thermophilum, and Bifodbacterium pseudolongum) found in the colon may be involved in metabolic and oral health and have been found to help with IBS ( irritable bowel disease) , blood sugar, cholesterol and cavities.

  • Bifidum aids in digestion especially for dairy products.
  • Longum, like  Lactobacillus fermentum, helps neutralize intestinal toxins and functions to help break down carbohydrates while avoiding the production of excess gas.
  1. Saccharomyces boulardii is the yeast probiotic. It helps alleviate symptoms associated with yeast overgrowth in the intestine and vagina, protect against Clostridium difficile (c-diff), treat acne, and minimize the side effects of the treatment for Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that can cause ulcers).
  1. Bacillus Coagulans work by forming spores to help populate the intestine with good bacteria. Results of a recent study show its effectiveness in helping to lower cholesterol including raising the good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering the bad (LDL).
  1. Streptococcus thermophilus produces lactase and may help to prevent  lactose intolerance.

6 & 7. Propionibacterium and Lactobacillus rhamnosus help lower inflammation related to heart disease and CRP (Creactive protein) levels. CRP is a protein measured in your blood. High levels indicate body and heart inflammation.

If you want to watch two amazing videos on what we now are learning about the gut and how it affects us, watch this two-part video: and

Probiotics are not just part of friendly fire that protects health, taking a probiotic may contribute to improved exercise performance.

In a small study (10 male runners) in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (2014 Shing et al., 114: p 93-103) athletes who used a multi-strain probiotic for 4 weeks experienced a significant increase in running stamina,

There are a few noteworthy studies on probiotics and exercise performance. You can read about them here,, so stay tuned on this topic.

My suggestion is that most people would benefit from beneficial bug probiotic supplementation. This is especially true if you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea or any digestive issues.

Use a multi-strain probiotic that contains a minimum of 1 billion bacteria but you can go to much higher amounts. If you have serious medical symptoms, start off with lower amounts, .i.e. take a quarter or half the amount and build up to a higher dose.

Give your immune system a boost with probiotics, you can’t get better back up.

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Probiotic, Uncategorized


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Why Eat Fat? 15 Undeniable Reasons

I am sure you have all heard the reasons as to why you should not eat fat. So I have gathered information and am providing reasons why you should eat fat, and saturated fat at that.

For those who manage eating between 5-20% of calories from healthy veggie, cheese, fruit (avocado)…carbs, eating fat will help catapult anti-aging (via the limitation of advanced gylcated end-products), lower heart disease risk, annihilate diabetes and its complications as well as balance any blood sugar or  hormone issue and burn fat faster. If you elect to eat a lot of carbs for example 60-80% calories as carbs, you should minimize fat and may want to reconsider.

Fat nourishes the body and optimizes many body functions. The benefits of eating healthy natural fats from meat, nuts/seeds, butter, olives etc… include assisting cells, organs, hormones and body systems.

Here’s a quick list of 14 health reasons to eat fat:

  1. The Brain– Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.
  2. Cells– Fatty acids help your cells stay flexible and are responsible for building cell membranes.
  3. The Heart– 60% of your heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
  4. Nerves– Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and helping to send communication signals.
  5. Lungs– Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.
  6. The Eyes– Fat soluble vitamins are essential to eye function.
  7. Digestion– Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients.
  8. Organs– Fats cushion and protect all your internal organs.
  9. Immune System– Fats can aid in reducing inflammation so the immune system remains healthy and functions.
  10. The skin- daily fat consumption can help keep skin moist and prevent wrinkles.
  11. Sex and steroid hormones- are manufactured from fat.
  12. Metabolic hormones-fat will not trigger the release of insulin or counter-regulatory hormonal backlash like carbohydrates and therefore can also help give relief to over- worked organs like the pancreas or liver when large amounts of carbs are consumed.
  13. Satiety-fats keep you full longer by providing a constant level of energy, no need to be hungry.
  14. Fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)- absorption cannot happen or may be limited without fat:
  • Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin  healthy
  • Vitamin D works to strengthen the immune system, helps in muscle function and involved in strengthening bones
  • Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals
  • Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting

The health benefits are undeniable but you cannot ignore the fact that taste (reason #15)  is another important reason to eat fat; sautéed veggies, a rib-eye steak, coconut or the taste of lobster dipped in real butter are reasons enough to eat fat. The other 14 health reasons mentioned above might just be considered an added bonus.

Why eat fat? Because it is healthy and tastes good, why else?

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Get The” F” Into Your Workout: Flexibility Strategies to Keep You Strong

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

Image result for image flexibility

Move it or lose it. Whether you  “exercise” or not,  don’t forget  incorporating the “F”  into your day. “F” is for flexibility. One big problem is that the “F” (flexibility) is often left out of the daily activity or work out equation, this mistake could cost you.

In order to do any movement, activity (low or high intensity) or sport, joints and muscles need to be in well working order. Alignment and “F” are important for range of motion (ROM) and mobility, without them life can get pretty boring because moving at all would be challenging.

Think about it.  If you can’t move, you can’t do even the most simple things like getting in or out of bed (or whatever else you might do while in bed), bend or sit down, pick up, get up or any more complex task you do on a daily basis.

Just like the alignment in…

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Uncategorized