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Welcome to the LanCo Whole Health Group Blog! We started as a few employees at CNH interested in learning more about nutrition and general well-being. Since our first meeting in January of 2011 our membership has increasingly grown within our local company offices as well as to a number of friends and family outside of our area. We invite you to become a member as well!

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28 February 2011

Nutrition - 28 Feb 2011 - Stress! And a diet review...

Good evening, Team!

Many of you will receive this in the morning - which is a good thing as you should be home by now spending quality time with your families! Thanks to Neseth for taking charge and sending out a quick invite to everyone to come in and watch "The Big Fat Truth about Low Fat Foods." This is a topic with a lot of interest in our group and the opportunity to get together and hear another's journey, research and perspective (not Paleo or Primal) is really a good thing. I highly recommend you taking the time to watch it this week. And just remember - don't be afraid to eat healthy, natural, saturated fats. We've hit this point before but...as long as you are keeping your insulin levels low then your body cannot store it. Eat your fats with a balanced meal or with protein only and you will effectively use it for energy or excrete it - not store it. Let's get used to the fact that eating fats will not make you fat. But eating lots of excess carbs - WILL!

As you know I am traveling this week. As you also know travel is a very stressful situation for most people. This morning was no different. This is the subject of today's...

NUTRITION TIP OF THE DAY: Be chill. Stress is a killer. It is also a stimulant. As well as a fat making machine! Anyone remember hearing mention over the last few weeks about cortisol? Let's re-introduce you. Meet Cortisol - your stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for many functions that affect you every day. It is what charges up your fight or flight response. It also increases muscle tension. She shuts down digestion, yet can increase available energy. Is that enough to get started?

Here's one. Have you ever felt extremely tired in the morning yet you can't shut down at night? Ah, the old night owl. Yup - your cortisol levels are to blame. And really that's the issue. A proper cortisol level chart would show high levels of the hormone at wake up. You should awake naturally with eyes popped open, instantly alert and ready to charge the day. Many of you may have experienced this at times over the years. You wake up to find yourself three steps from the bed and WIDE AWAKE at 3 am. Perfect. That's what SHOULD happen. As your day goes on, your cortisol levels will drop at a constant rate hitting your low at approximately your body's needed bedtime - about 14 to 17 hours later. Usually there is a small crash and bump up of the levels around the mid-day when most people experience the post-lunch lull. By the way, naps are natural. Try to get one every so often. Back to your levels. That low level at night allows your serotonin and melatonin levels to kick in and gently wash your body to sleep for several hours of restoration.

So why can I not get out of bed yet can't get to sleep? Good question. Your cortisol levels are completely out of whack! For starters, the night-time relax in front of a flickering screen with intense images and sounds that require massive brain energy to absorb doesn't help. Neither does the extremely bright (think mid-day summer sun) lights we bathe our homes in once the sun goes down. These are all stressful to to body so it starts to dump cortisol back into the system - shutting down melatonin production and keeping you awake. Of course, that scoop of ice cream and bowl of pasta didn't help much. By the time you do wind down enough - who's laid in bed for HOURS waiting to fall asleep - the body only has a few short hours before you force yourself awake through a screaming alarm clock and another cortisol bath to negate the melatonin in the bloodstream. This takes some time so you feel groggy for quite a while. Want something more effective? Slam your hand in the bedroom door a few times - that'll at least get some adrenaline flowing to help!

Okay - back to seriousness. Listen, do you see where the problem is? What I'm hearing now is - but why is it a fat-making machine? Best question yet. Remember that our body has many ways to get glucose into our system - but only one way to get it out. Lately we've talked about insulin resistance. You should know all about that now. This is where your body will not respond to the insulin that is in your system to remove the glucose in your blood. The cells will no longer open their doors for the insulin to drop off its' precious cargo and the body must then store it. Well, when your body is used to running on carbs almost exclusively the cells do burn through the glucose in their storage vacuoles and call for replacement - especially the brain. BUT WAIT! We're resistant to insulin so now we can't even get the glucose that is already in the system. So here's what the body does: IT MAKES MORE! The brain is screaming for more energy. Since the brain being low on energy is a STRESSFUL EVENT (low energy means death to the brain) it releases CORTISOL by the gallon and the body responds by the next easiest thing it knows how to make glucose from. Gluconeogenesis. It breaks down your precious muscle tissue to make more glucose that it then dumps into the blood stream which is already overfull with glucose that can't go anywhere so it builds up in the liver where it is then added to a glycerol and some fatty acids and sent down the line to be stored for later use. Yeah - you just broke down muscle tissue to make fat. Because you were "stressed." Oh boy. And on top of it - ever notice how you are always eating when stressed? This is due to the dump off of glucose into the system, which is turning down your leptin production. Leptin is our "fed" hormone so we are no longer shutting off the hunger message from the brain which is causing us to - EAT MORE. So here you are, snacking on high-carb snacks because you are craving them due to the brain's need for energy when there is already a ton of energy in the system plus it's making more from your muscles and continuously bathing the system with Cortisol which is furthermore spiking your adrenaline levels and shutting down melatonin production causing you to stay up at night and be tired in the morning. Whew...

So what do we do? Well, eating right is a good start. Let's get the food stuff under control. Don't eat anything two hours before bed if you can help it. Pick a bedtime and stick to it! Shut down the lights and tv an hour before head-down time and read, write, or converse quietly in a gentle light such as a candle. When you wake up - GET UP! If it is 2 AM, so what. Get up do some light activity (make lunch for the day - without turning on the crazy bright kitchen lights!) then drift back to sleep. Biphasic sleep sessions are normal and should be embraced. Have a solid breakfast of protein and fats (8 oz of salmon and a handful of nuts is great here!). Practice deep breathing control several times a day. Lay back at any time and just let the mind drift. Don't meditate or control it in any way - just let it go. A gentle touch from a partner or loved one helps release tension. Do not get mad at traffic or the gate attendant. There will be other flights. Yes, the boss might be upset but they'll get over it. Just let things go. Maybe these other people need to learn how to de-stress too. Teach them. Love deeply. Forgive resolutely. Learn these phrases and repeat them often - "It is what it is." "It is sometimes better to know what not to do." Smile.

You can do it. I know you can. Even I did a pretty good job. I left for Baltimore with 4 hours to spare. And barely made the gate by ten minutes. But I made it. And I will sleep like a champ tonight.

WORKOUT OF THE DAY: Warm-up - 2 rounds of 15 reps, Jumping Jacks, Shoulder Mobility, Walking Lunge, Samson Stretch, Squat Work-out: 30-25-20-15-10 Rep rounds of Pushups, Mountain Climbers, and Leg Lifts.

A diet review is included below. It was sent along by a nutrition tracker I use called "FitDay." Interesting to note that she thinks this type of eating hasn't been studied much. Lean meats, healthy fats, no processed foods? Sounds almost perfectly Paleo. (she does fall a bit short on the 100% whole grain, beans and legumes) Maybe someone should email the author and get them in the loop?

"Always do right. This will amaze some people and will astound the rest. - Mark Twain"

Mind, Body, and Souls - Healthy,


The "Anti-Inflammatory" Diet: What Does It Mean? Should I Do It?

Inflammation is the normal and natural response to body injury; however, unnecessary and chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the body and promote illness. Many times chronic inflammation goes unnoticed for years but eventually may lead to serious illness including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, sleep and mood disorders, arthritis and Alzheimer's. Due to the increase in chronic disease, the anti-inflammatory diet has gained popularity and media attention. In general, the anti-inflammatory diet is similar to the Mediterranean style of eating and is designed to reduce risk of age-related disease and improve overall health.

Dietary Factors Contributing to Inflammation
One of the largest players in the fight against chronic inflammation is excess body weight. The inflammatory state is a vicious cycle starting with infection or illness that produces inflammation, then insulin resistance followed by weight gain and more inflammation. When an individual starts to gain weight, it can become difficult to get the body out of this constant inflammatory pathway. Typically drastic nutrition and exercise changes are needed. The modern diet contributes to inflammation through a variety of body mechanisms that are not completely understood. Eating too many fried foods, processed foods, omega-6 fats, saturated fat, refined sugar and trans fats have all been linked to increased pro-inflammatory chemicals and hormones that cause cell damage.

Foods to Eat
The anti-inflammatory diet promotes well-balanced eating, but for true success it must be a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix. Due to the anti-inflammatory effects, omega-3 fatty acids such as fresh oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed and fortified eggs are the staples. The primary source of fat is extra virgin olive oil. Only lean meats and vegetable proteins (soybeans, tofu, and soy milk) are allowed. With high levels of antioxidants, a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are strongly encouraged along with a variety of nuts, 100% whole grains, beans and legumes. Herbs and spices such as garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, red pepper, cayenne, basil, oregano, paprika and chili peppers play a key role in flavoring foods. An emphasis is placed on organic produce if feasible. As far as beverages, 2-4 servings of green, white and/or oolong tea are recommended and red wine is allowed in moderate amounts (1-2 glasses daily).

Foods to Avoid
The first step in following the anti-inflammatory diet is to eliminate refined, white sugar found in most breads, white potatoes, crackers, chips and other snack foods and sugary beverages. All fast food should be avoided. Label reading should be practiced in order to limit high fructose corn syrup. Foods high in pro-inflammatory fats such as margarine, fatty meats, processed meats, fried foods, regular cheese, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The plan does suggest avoiding all dairy products thus be sure to obtain calcium from other sources or supplements. Sugar and derivatives are not recommended but agave nectar and stevia products are allowed.

Does it Work?
While the anti-inflammatory diet has not been studied extensively, many aspects of the diet have been associated with better health. Research has shown cultures who eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and healthy oils do have lower rates of chronic disease. Keep in mind that the overall pattern of eating, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active are the three most important factors in reducing inflammation. The inclusion or elimination of certain foods and nutrients are important but improvement will be blunted if you do not look at the big picture!

Laura N. Kenny is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian in the state of Indiana. She received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and completed her dietetic internship at Purdue University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree from Central Michigan University. Laura works for the Indiana Obesity Center PC under the supervision of Dr. Keith McEwen. She specializes in both surgical and non-surgical weight loss including nutritional adherence, meal planning, and macro/micro nutrient status. Kenny also promotes healthy eating through various speaking engagements throughout Indianapolis and teaches indoor cycling and Pilates classes in her free time. Since staring her dietetics career, she has worked with a variety of populations and chronic diseases. Each summer Laura volunteers at Camp John Warvel, a camp for children with diabetes. She also enjoys writing, sports, exercise, and reading "hot topics" in nutrition. Laura has a true passion for guiding people to choose healthy nutritional choices for each and every individual lifestyle. To contact Laura, email her at lkenny@ecommunity.com

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