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You and Marijuana: The Common Ground

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http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/cannabis/

What do you and marijuana (weed, pot, grass, ganga, dope, herb, joint, blunt, cannabis, reefer, mary jane, buds, stinkweed) have in common?

Both the marijuana plant and the human body contain cannabinoid chemicals  that affect well-being. Our bodies have a cannabinoid system (named after the active compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa). This system may work similarly to the traditional eastern philosophy of yin and yang where opposite forces are complimentary and create balance because cannabinoids seem to act as a “bridge” between mind and body, http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system.

The cannabinoid system (CS) which includes natural chemicals (THC, CBD), receptors (CB1 and CB2)  and fat cells work to maintain harmony for health via 4 main routes, through:

  1. presynaptic neuronal (a neuron from the axon terminal of which an electrical impulse is transmitted across a synaptic cleft to the cell body or one or more dendrites of a postsynaptic neuron by the release of a chemical neurotransmitter.) chemical messages responsible for communication between cells that affect organs like the heart, the brain and consciousness, the gut and appetite; how we feel emotion and sense pain, how we sleep, move and even exercise, http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/5/536.full, as it may play a role in “the runners high” and “the body’s response to exercise” due to its relationship with dopamine.
  1. its complex role affecting a cells life in its entirety; maintaining a steady balance in all stages of cellular development (synthesis, degradation and recycling of cellular products).
  1. the endocannabinoid system itself with its intricate involvement in the helping to “bridge” the gap between consciousness and physical health.
  1. neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue) and neuronal plasticity (allows the nerve cells in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in the environment) enabling one to overcome trauma or push past physical limitations for example.

Twenty states have legalized the medical use of marijuana. According to The Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4, there are over 20 medical benefits to smoking pot including:

  • ADD
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Lung capacity
  • Gut function
  • Immune responses
  • Combination drug therapies
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Pain relief
  • PTSD
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chron’s disease
  • Alzheimers’ disease

One of the most important findings for health, it seems, may be that marijuana has been shown to help kill certain types of cancer cells and reduce the size of others, http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402.abstract or just read, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114085629.htm.

In fact the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) holds patents on two drugs in pill form containing cannabinoids that act to stimulate appetite for AIDS patients and help prevent nausea related to cancer treatments. An oil form is also currently under investigation for pediatric epilepsy.

While I do believe that marijuana may help to balance an unhealthy or an “in need of repair” health condition, there can be negative side effects especially if it is overused or abused by someone who does not have this similar “need”.

Smoking too much grass can be addictive and have negative mental health and societal consequences.

Marijuana has potential to be a safe, effective and powerful solution to illness that will aid in fighting against disease and promote the bodies’ own natural healing abilities.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in cancer, health, Marijuana

 

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Why Do I Have Cellulite? Dimples Be Gone!

Women are for the most part extremely hard on themselves. Despite realizing that no one is perfect. Women are relentless at being unhappy with their bodies. Stop it!!!!

Ninety percent of women have cellulite, so it is not a rare sight to see. I am posting “Why Do I Have Cellulite?” written by a colleague, Cassandra Forsythe, PhD, RD. She is the author of two popular nationally publicized books for women, “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”, and “Women’s Health Perfect Body Diet”.

I hope this helps women gain a better understanding of cellulite and changes our perspectives on acceptable body image. It is also my hope that once you read this and do what you can about these “body dimples” whatever the result, set yourself free from the pain, mental anguish and suffering cellulite has caused, move forward and don’t look back.

Cellulite is caused by physical changes in fat cells from gaining weight, hormone fluctuations, what you eat and lack of resistance training. “Lifting heavy weight makes women bulky”…There is nothing farther from the truth. Heavy weight lifting (obviously not when you first start) can help reduce or get rid of cellulite.

This is article is informative and helpful, if you are interested in cellulite and how to get rid of cellulite. Read this to change your life forever, https://www.girlsgonestrong.com/why-do-i-have-cellulite/.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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3 Secrets to Shape Up And Strip Down For The Summer (Secret #3)

Secret #1 was all about what and how to eat. Secret # 2 supplements and Secret#3 is last but certainly not least in importance.  In fact it may be the most important and possibly the first step in taking charge of your goals and shaping up so you can strip down for the summer.

Secret #3

Rule of Thumb: Meditation and relaxation exercises.

Master your mental strength and meditate. This is not a quick fix but practicing relaxation techniques can help harness brainpower and help maintain fat storing hormones. It can be a valuable asset in weight management and overall well being.

Daily stress and lack of sleep has a domino effect on your hormones starting with adrenaline. As stress causes adrenaline to mount it creates a cascade of 3 weight loss resistant hormones:

  • Growth hormone (GH): less GH negatively shifts the fat to lean body mass ratio
  • Cortisol: more cortisol increases blood sugar (by breaking down muscle and using it to create fat) and insulin levels.
  • Leptin and Ghrelin: Leptin is a satiety signal. Stress and little sleep lowers leptin and raises ghrelin which increases appetite and facilitates belly fat storage. The University of Chicago in Illinois and Stanford University in California completed a study showing participants actually “increased their desire for high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods by 45%”, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-while-sleeping?page=2 when leptin was lower.

These stress hormones take a direct toll on the physical aspect of weight but body stress also wears you down emotionally and mentally, especially if food (the lack of or excess use) is used as an emotional weapon. Food appeases physical hunger. If you have used it in any other capacity,  you may have noticed it never works but it does start a vicious cycle of bad habits (for example, using food to “provide energy”  instead of sleeping or placate feelings of sadness or anxiety).  Eating for emotional support is a lose lose situation.

Lowering stress, increasing relaxation and maximizing sleep (Dr. Kirk Parsley , http://sigmanutrition.com/episode61/?utm_content=buffer98823&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer ) are powerful tools that are not always obvious when considering weight loss.

While there are no randomized control trials to support a direct relation between meditation and weight loss to date, researchers at Harvard conducted an 8 week study with participants using meditation on average 30 minutes a day, http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/. The results showed that meditation is not just an emotional tool to lower stress but it actually changes the brain.  There was a correlation between “reported reductions in stress and decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala (a region of the brain), which is known to play an important role in lessening anxiety and stress”.

If you are interested in meditation for weight loss specifically, you may want to watch this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIeirj4UFxI or dig a little deeper with Kathleen Spadero’s book entitled, Weight Loss: Exploring Self-Regulation Through Mindfulness Meditation. https://books.google.com/books?id=Rb9TahT0I9wC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Kathleen+C.+Spadaro%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l3AoVbeEAcKYyASShYHYDw&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

A little meditation can go a long way. If you are a stress eater, knowing what to eat is not good enough, think about what this means: stress control =controlled eating.  You can control the mindless urge to eat when you operate on a different level of awareness.  Teach yourself to make choices  rather than eat frivolously.

Practicing mental techniques is like building muscles. The more you use meditation the more powerful it becomes.

With a little more than  2 months until summer, try gearing up with these 3 secrets. You will shape up and be able to strip down for summer and the rest of your life in no time.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in meditation, weight loss

 

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3 Secrets to Shape Up And Strip Down For The Summer (Secret #2)

photo: www.beautifultothecore.com

So you are eating right and exercising, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/3-secrets-to-shape-up-and-strip-down-for-the-summer-2/, now I will reveal the second secret to shaping up so you can strip down for the summer.

Secret # 2

Rule of Thumb: Incorporate supplements that will supercharge your weight loss efforts.

Synergize! Boost nutrition and exercise by supplementing your intake with nutrients that can help kick cravings to the curb and help burn fat.  Work with an expert who can help you identify what may specifically work for you.

Consider supplements and foods that actually work to help you achieve your “shape up”.  Try adding these in place of empty or sugar laden calories.

Kick cravings to the curb

L-Glutamine can help obliterate cravings. It is an amino acid so take it on an empty stomach or before a work out. Try 2-3 grams after an exercise routine to help boost fat loss or 30 minutes before cravings take over.

Probiotics taken on an empty stomach can help harness bacteria that cause cravings, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=probioticcravings. Purchase a product with a broad range of cultures and at least one billion colony forming units.

Coconut oil contains 60% of its fat as medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT have been found to help reduce food intake, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25074387 and promote calorie burning, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8654328. So it actually belongs on both the kickcravings to the curb and drop fat lists.  Here’s a little info on how it works: http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/. Try 1-6 (2 Tbsp. 3x/day) Tablespoons/day based on your level of hunger.

Drop fat and Strip Down

Whey protein used as a meal or snack replacement contributed to significant weight and fat loss (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24724774/) and helps maintain lean body mass, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25644344, better than soy protein or carbs (which were found to inhibit fat burning). Consume 20-60 grams of whey/day based on activity level, size, etc…,.

Capsaicin is an active component in chilli peppers. Using 2.56 mg capsaicin supplements per meal was shown to burn fat especially in the belly, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23844093, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22634197.

L-carnitine is an amino acid that should be taken on an empty stomach, 1-2 g/day. It transports fat to the mitochondria so that it is burned and is involved in energy optimization, http://www.nutritionexpress.com/article+index/protein/showarticle.aspx?id=1487. In addition to fat loss, L-carnitine seems to be helpful with post work out exercise recovery as it delivers oxygen to the muscles and aids in muscle repair including the heart muscle. L-carnitine is naturally found in meat.

If you take medications for HIV/AIDS, or heart disease (Doxorubicin) carnitine may be helpful but there are contraindications with valproic acid, accutaine and some other meds including thyroid.

If you have a medical condition, speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Seventy-six  days until summer! Get your shape up and strip down for the hot weather ahead, blast your fat! Eating right, exercise and using supplements to accelerate weight loss for the summer season will get you where you want to be. What are you waiting for? Lose it!

The third and last piece of the shape up, strip down puzzle is coming next week. Put them (the secrets) all together and what do you have? Follow me and you will see…

 
 

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3 Secrets to Shape Up And Strip Down For The Summer

weight training

weight training (Photo credit: midwestnerd)

Ready or not here it comes! Bathing suit season will be here before you know it. Whether your goal is to take off 5 pounds or 50 pounds before shedding the winter coat for a bathing suit, I have 3 secrets to share that will help get you there.

Secret #1 

Rule of Thumb: Nutrition and Exercise Together Forever

The impact of exercise on weight loss has been thought to lie in the area of weight maintenance because in order to lose weight it is difficult to burn 3500 calories, or 1 pound, in a week. Some research has shown that exercising in the morning before eating burns three times as many calories because your glycogen stores are lower after an overnight fast. Truthfully, you can have this advantage at any time of the day when you follow a low carb ketogenic diet. When doing a ketogenic diet, you burn fat and not glucose, all day long. So if this is true for you, you can burn those extra calories at any time of the day. Interestingly enough, the results from a study by Jabekk PT et al. entitled “Resistance training in overweight women on a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat,” shows that the combination of resistance training, not cardiovascular exercise, with a high fat, low carbohydrate ketogenic or lower calorie diet helps to fuel fat loss and preserve lean body mass, http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/17. This new insight can be used to provide additional and more powerful tools to help reach weight loss goals for the summer.

Attack weight loss with a double edge sword; use a healthy diet and strength training to work together to melt body fat. The rationale behind this seems to be that different metabolic catalysts, such as hormonal regulation of fat breakdown, are at work and seem to aid in weight/fat loss more so than using exercise as part of the “calorie equation”. The researchers believe, “that carbohydrate restriction in combination with resistance exercise in particular, offers an advantage over both low-fat diets with exercise and low carbohydrate diets without exercise, in improving body composition”.

There are less than 3 months until summer (82 days). So you may want to maximize your weight loss with resistance training and a ketogenic diet!  Wanna follow a ketogenic diet and have no idea what it is? I have the site for you, http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ or check out my book, “The Stubborn fat Fix”,  http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X. You do not have to belong to a gym to engage in resistance exercise. Check out these 10 training exercises to get started quickly, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/articles/2009/04/10/10-forms-of-resistance-training-that-strengthen-your-muscles?page=3, and even in the comfort of your own home.

What is important to keep in mind is the fact that for those who do exercise, weight loss may be observed as inches lost (you are smaller) before weight loss shows on the scale. Focus on how cloths fit, use the scale as a secondary measure of weight loss. Also, if you lose weight in your face first, do not expect your cloths to fit differently initially. Look in the mirror to see your success. Stick with it and the changes in the size of your cloths will soon follow. Two more secrets for you, join me next week!

 

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Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners

 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, http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fjgs.13376?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED_NO_CUSTOMER , published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that drinking diet soda may contribute to “cardiometabolic risk” factors (obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance etc..). The authors concluded that there is an association between drinking more diet soda and gaining more belly fat.

Belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and much more. But, if this is not enough to make you drop the diet soda right out of your hand then take a look at these:

·         “Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-Term Weight Gain” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18535548

·         “Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body’s Ability To Count Calories” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm

  • “Consumption of Artificially and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Incident Type 2 Diabetes in the Etude Epidemiologique Aupres Des Femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364017

These discuss the other ingredients in diet soda if you are interested:

One explanation for the association between AS and weight and health is due to its sweetness. Normally, consuming sugar would trigger a signal communicating that with sweetness comes calories and then satiety. AS are 200-8,000 times the sweetness of natural sugar  but there are no accompanying calories with the sweetness. The body is confused, it expects calories but is not getting them and therefore appetite increases as the body wants the calories it is not getting from the AS. Increases in appetite increases the likelihood of  eating more.

Another reason is that the brain’s “reward system” dictates an individual’s response (motivation, drive, incentive)  to a particular “reward” (food, sex, drugs, medication). The intensity of the AS engages the reward system at greater than 200 times that of natural sweetness creating an addictive response to these foods containing AS.

Of course, you cannot discount the “cheater” instinct. When you think you are consuming less calories by eating foods with AS, you may just choose to eat more because you think you can get away with it.

Despite these findings, “The global market for Artificial Sweeteners is projected to reach US$1.7 billion by the year 2018, primarily stimulated by widespread weight reduction efforts, development of low sugar food for diabetic and diet conscious consumers, growing preference for diet beverages, rising concerns over dental caries and the growing need to reduce risk associated with volatility in sugar prices,”  http://www.prweb.com/releases/artificial_sweeteners/sucralose_aspartame/prweb10121807.htm.

Get the message these science studies are sending. Artificial sweeteners are chemistry experiments that may have been a good initial idea but as a test with years of human guinea pigs it seems AS add risk to your weight and health.

Steer clear of AS. There are better, less addictive, healthier ways to lose weight and control blood sugar.

 
 

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“Kids Eat Right” is Wrong!

Image result for kids eat right kraft

Raise your hand if you see the irony and blatant hypocrisy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) lending their “Kids Eat Right” logo for Kraft to slap on the label of their processed cheese singles “product”.  You may have seen the buzz this week, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO-0UAHYX_8.

Last week new research shed light on what happens when you implicitly trust big pharma. My blog focused on the popularity of statins and how current research may explain why they (one of the most popular categories of cholesterol lowering medications) should NOT be so popular, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/a-statin-standoff-or-much-more/.

This week it is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has crossed the line and this is not the first time.  The AND is an organization that proclaims its mission is to empower members to be food and nutrition leaders” and its vision to “optimize the nation’s health through food and nutrition”. I personally and professionally see so many things wrong with these positions when they team up (accept monetary funding) with companies { Abbott Nutrition (Ensure, Glucerna and many more unhealthy products), The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Unilever} including Kraft cheese singles, that do not reflect the groups health mission.

I believe real cheese should be part of a healthy diet. Yet I would be questioned and likely ostracized by AND about the type of fat (saturated; http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/dietary-fatty-acids-for-healthy-adults) and sodium (http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/press-releases/positions-and-issues/decrease-in-sodium-intake-supported) content of my recommendations. You may already have heard their message or position on low fat diary and other fat foods:

  • “The Academy recommends a food-based approach through a diet that includes regular consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.”
  • “Reduce excessive sodium consumption by setting federal standards for the amount of salt that food manufacturers…can add to their products, since the vast majority of people’s sodium intake comes from salt that companies put in prepared meals and processed foods. The goal is to make it easier for consumers to eat lower, healthier amounts of salt.”

AND publically announces, “Government agencies, health professionals and the food industry need to work together to help consumers reduce their sodium intake. ADA offers ideas for lowering salt consumption:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, most of which contain little sodium.
  • Check food labels for terms like low sodium, very low sodium or sodium free.

Shame on you AND! Kraft Singles is a cheese “product” and not even real cheese, http://blog.fooducate.com/2012/04/25/is-this-cheese-kraft-singles-cheese-miniseries-part-3-3/.” It cannot be called cheese because less than 51% of it is actually cheese. The rest is composed of other ingredients.”

What this group is doing is sending inconsistent public messages. The public health epidemics of obesity, diabetes and many more medical conditions that plague us rest on your shoulders as  consumers are mislead to believe that the bold, colorful, eye-catching “Kids Eat Right” logo on a packaged unhealthy food goes against everything you believe.

The Eat Right Kids logo is not on a low sodium product. It is not on a fresh vegetable (Kale is naturally low in fat, has 100 mg calcium/cup and is loaded with vitamins/minerals and fiber) or a food known to be low in fat, let alone saturated fat.

Kraft says the logo “identifies the brand as a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right.” NO IT DOES NOT. Nowhere does it make claim to “support the Kids Eat Right program”.

Kari Ryan, Kraft’s director of nutrition, science, and regulatory affairs,  “is singing the calcium content is high in cheese and this is healthy for you message”.

It is no wonder this country is in such a “health mess”. AND public marketing and outreach is as big as the ginormous budget it gets from advertisers. “Advertising with the Academy is a great way for organizations to target a diverse audience of members who are the world’s acknowledged leaders in providing food- and nutrition-related health information and services.”

Registered dietitians have complained about the disreputable behavior with little success, https://www.facebook.com/DietitiansForProfessionalIntegrity/posts/766631846740026.

So I ask you to raise your hands if you are tired of being taken by food and pharma companies. Take a stand on this unethical and, in my opinion, criminal behavior by the AND party players. Be an educated consumer and make food purchases and health choices wisely.

 

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