Alter Genetic Predisposition by Simple Lifestyle Changes
In 1953 James Watson, PhD, and Francis Crick, PhD, unveiled their double-helix model of DNA. On the day of their breakthrough, Dr. Watson walked into an English pub and announced they had “found the secret of life.”(1) This discovery was a massive breakthrough in science and in health care. Today we are discovering the secret to health that will allow you to experience the quality that life has to offer. That secret is - "Epigenetics."
"Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors can affect gene expression without altering the actual DNA sequence, and how these changes can be inherited through generations." (2) This means that what you do today, tomorrow, and in the future can alter the expression of your genetic makeup and the genetic makeup of your offspring. How environmental factors influence gene expression brings truth to the old saying, "you are what you eat."
Epigenetics emphasizes the importance of diet, exercise, and a clean environment. It is just as important what you put your body as the air you breathe. It is equally valuable to your body to eat vegetables as it is to decrease exposure to pesticides - eat organic vegetables. It is also essential to manage your negative thoughts - this has also been shown to change the expression of your genes.
The secret to life isn't a secret anymore, it is a well known documented bold faced - fact. And, this is something you can have control of. "Walter Willett, from the Harvard School of Public Health stated, "Genetic and environmental factors, including diet and life-style, both contribute to cardiovascular disease, cancers, and other major causes of mortality, but various lines of evidence indicate that environmental factors are most important. Just imagine having control of the way your genes express themselves.
Now you have a choice. You can choose optimal wellness by taping into what your body needs and providing those needs. Or can you choose sick care by allowing someone else manage your health through medications and the absence of nutrition as a source for disease prevention.
5 Steps to Optimal Wellness
1) Schedule a Chiropractic Appointment. Of course I am going to advice this. Why? The brain and spinal cord control EVERY function in your entire body. Any dysfunction in this can alter health and decrease your chances of obtaining optimal health. Chiropractors restore function to this system allowing your body to function at its optimum. So, that is why it is important to see a Chiropractor.
2) Eat a Well Balanced Meal. What does that mean anyways? Stay tuned for next weeks blog to learn more.
This week you can start by removing sugar/sweets and adding in vegetables and healthy proteins. Sugars will cause drastic spikes in your blood sugar leading you down a path to diabetes. Adding healthy proteins will maintain blood sugar and lead you to a path of Optimal Wellness! It feels so good.
3) Exercise. Do what you love! Movement keeps your body young. Don't settle for a boring routine, because you will not keep it. Discover an activity that you enjoy, so you keep doing it for years to come. Your body will thank you for it too!
4) Replace toxic house hold products with safe products void of chemicals. Start by changing your shampoo and conditioner.
5)Surround yourself with like-minded people who also want to achieve optimal wellness. By engaging with people who support your efforts to maintain a healthy living you increase your chances of sustaining this lifestyle.
Bonus: Find healthy ways that you can distress. If you spell STRESSED backwards you get DESSERTS.
Every one encounters stress, but that doesn't mean we should turn to dessert to deal, it is the way that we handle stress that counts. Start monitoring the way you handle stress and incorporate ways to change. For example, if you have a stash of candy in your desk drawer to manage, replace it with an organic apple. Or, if you tend to yell at innocent victims (ie. spouse), instead take a short walk outside. Getting fresh air will bring much needed oxygen to the brain and tissues to replenish the depleted oxygen stores caused by stress.
You are the master control of your body. You control how it is nourished. You can control your reactions and how you manage stress. By owning your body, you can own your health, and therefore alter your genetic makeup!
Incorporating these positive changes will jump start you towards the path to Optimal Wellness.
1) John Neustadt, ND and Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD. Foundations and Applications of Medical Biochemistry in Clinical Practice
2) Quinn, Sheila (2010-11-30). Textbook of Functional Medicine.
When we hear "food allergy" we think of someone who has a severe, life-threatening reaction to a food intolerance, like peanuts. What most of us don't realize is that an allergy is anything that your body can not digest.
Functional medicine is an alternative approach to health and wellness that allows practitioners to diagnose illnesses before they manifest, and find and treat the root cause of a patient’s condition vs. simply treating their symptoms.
I always like to explain functional medicine like this:
Conventional medicine treats the symptoms of a patient after they’re already suffering from them. It’s like the airbags in a car - designed to help only after something goes wrong.
Functional medicine, though, can act like the rumble strips on the highway. It gives patients the opportunity to course correct and prevent something from going wrong to begin with.
The trouble with only treating symptoms
Functional medicine practitioners analyze blood work, do tissue analysis, urinalysis, hair mineral analysis, saliva hormone panels, DNA testing, and more, to understand the true root cause of a patient’s symptoms. When only a patient’s symptoms are being treated, the treatment itself can often cause other undesirable symptoms.
Hypothyroidism vs. Hashimoto's
I treated a patient who had previously been diagnosed with and was undergoing treatment for hypothyroidism. She presented with cold hands & feet, weight gain, brain fog, and migrating pain - common symptoms for hypothyroidism. But the treatment she had been receiving was causing her to experience extreme fatigue and hair loss in addition to not alleviating her other symptoms.
After an in-depth analysis of various panels, I was able to diagnose an autoimmune issue that was presenting in the thyroid, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which requires an entirely different protocol than hypothyroidism.
The patient was prescribed a 100% personalized treatment plan consisting of whole food supplements and nutrition plan. After diligently following protocol, the patient had more energy, experienced weight loss, no pain, increased energy and slept better than she had in 20 years.
Not all functional medicine is created equal
Once I’m able to diagnose the root cause of a patient’s symptoms, I prescribe a personalized treatment plan of whole food supplements and nutrition recommendations, which, when followed diligently, produces the best results for my patients.
Other practitioners may prescribe synthetic supplements or other pills, but these types of substances are not able to be properly absorbed by the body and can create a harmful buildup in the body over time.
The amount of follow-up involved in functional medicine varies widely and depends on the patient’s condition and desired health goals.
Once I prescribe a patient’s treatment plan, I follow up, requesting labs and other panels at various increments, from anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. Everyone reacts differently to treatment. This follow-up is critical and effective because it allows me to see what’s working and tweak what’s not. This personalized attention to my patients’ treatment and protocol has provided them with some incredible results.
Ready to try functional medicine for yourself?
If you’ve been to other doctors or practitioners to get relief from symptoms you’ve been experiencing, only to be told that according to your labs, there’s nothing wrong...
If your gut is (literally or figuratively!) telling you that something “just isn’t right”, and you’re looking for a doctor who will work to find the root cause of your symptoms…
Click over to our Functional Medicine page to view our Initial Treatment offering, as well as our ongoing Treatment Plan Bundles, and schedule your appointment today.
Light is one of those elements in our environment that’s easy to take for granted. It’s always around us but we seldom think about it. With many of us spending more and more time indoors, and especially during the winter months when the days are short, we’re not getting enough light, or better, we’re not getting enough of the right kind of light.
Tips And Tricks For Eating Healthy While Traveling
A lot of my patients have told me about their travel plans in the New Year. One of the biggest complaints I hear from them is how difficult they find it to stay on track with healthy eating while traveling.
So many people view getting out of town as free rein to eat whatever they want. And while it may not be the end of the world to indulge for a meal or two, consuming mass quantities of processed foods, carbohydrates, and alcohol at every single meal will have you feeling a lot more than just homesick.
Indulging in too much processed food, carbohydrates, and alcohol can cause inflammation, high blood pressure, and constipation. These symptoms are bad enough to deal with when you’re in the comfort of your own home, but if they hit while you’re away, you may have a recipe for disaster.
Plan ahead to stay on track.
If you’re driving to your destination then you really don’t have an excuse not to eat healthy foods. Without the constraints of air travel rules and regulations and without suitcase space being at a premium, you can pack a cooler for the road and stock the fridge when you reach your destination.
Pack up lots of your favorite kombucha and green juice.
Kombucha is fermented, which means it’s loaded with probiotics that help with inflammation and digestion. It also contains vitamin B and iron which may enhance oxygen flow by increasing hemoglobin in the blood, giving you an energy boost (and one that would be preferable over consuming more coffee!).
Green juices are great for supporting your immune system while traveling. They’re loaded with nutrients and provide a healthy dose of vitamin C.
If air travel is on the itinerary, you may not be able to take kombucha and green juice but you can pack a shaker and shake or smoothie powder (this one is my favorite and the sample sizes are perfect to take along on your travels). Fill the shaker with water once you’re through security and mix up a healthy shake whenever you need it.
Healthy snacks for air or car travel
If you’re craving something crunchy, don’t be tempted by the convenience and allure of vending machine Cheetos or peanut butter crackers!
Opt for nut chips or organic rice cakes instead. (Adding a little almond butter to organic rice cakes is one of my favorite satisfying snacks!)
And before leaving home, head to your nearest health food store (or order online) and stock up on raw, organic nuts and seeds - but make sure they have nothing on them! Flavored or salted nuts are usually processed with hydrogenated oils which contain trans fats that can lead to arterial plaque buildup, among other things.
Dates are a fantastic, whole food alternative to any of the processed, sugar-laden snack you might reach for. Plus, they’re high in fiber and antioxidants and are just as sweet as any candy.
My family is also a big fan of Granny Smith apples dipped in raw, organic cashew butter, and since it’s not something we usually eat at home, it feels like a treat. Granny Smith apples are the lowest glycemic index apple which will help when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable.
Grab a bag of cut carrots and your favorite hummus for a satisfying snack on the go. Hummus is a great, protein-packed alternative to other unhealthy dips. Made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon, it’s loaded with healthy fat and fiber.
Olives are another great snack. They’re easily portable if you’re out and about and are a great source of heart-healthy fat and antioxidants. My family loves these handy travel pack olives.
Once you’ve reached your destination
Whether you’re a guest in someone’s home or staying in a hotel, feel NO SHAME for maintaining your healthy diet while traveling! Prioritizing your health is something you should be proud of!
Drinking hot water and tea are great ways to help those toxins flush out and help soothe your digestive tract, especially when enjoyed first thing in the morning. Plus, you can find hot water anywhere!
A good rule of thumb for healthy eating whether you’re traveling or not is to opt out of carbs and processed foods and opt in to whole foods.
This can feel tricky, especially if you’re staying in someone else’s home, but one of my favorite things to do in this situation is offer to help prepare a dish. “I make amazing brussels sprouts” or “I have this great salad recipe” allow you to be a wonderful, helpful house guest while also reaping the benefits in the form of having at least one, healthy, whole foods dish to enjoy. And even if you’re just a guest at someone’s home for dinner, I always let the host know that I’m bringing a salad to pass for this very same reason!
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the change in routine, different foods, and different environmental factors can cause constipation. If that happens, I highly recommend taking a plant-based, multiform magnesium supplement daily, and increasing the dose if you still can’t go.
Eating healthy foods can be more challenging when you’re away from home, but with a little planning, “I can’t eat healthy when I travel” is no longer a valid argument. Take a vacation from work and the everyday stressors in your life, but don’t take a vacation from healthy eating.