Sign up for the
Live Better Letter
Health eNewsletter

[ctct form="484"]

Category: Health News

American Diet Revolution Taking Back Our Health Freedom

 

American Diet Revolution

Taking Back Our Health Freedom 

Josef Arnould, D.C. 

Strength for Life® Health & Fitness Center

 

 

The foods we Americans eat today—and have eaten for the past 60 years—are the primary reason so many of us are battling constantly against the excessive accumulation of body fat. Naively, in the last half of the 20th Century we accepted dietary advice from paid-off researchers, governmental agencies, industries, and medical organizations we assumed were motivated to help us become leaner and healthier and “enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We assumed wrong. Instead of enjoying the freedom of good health, we have become the new American colonists, disabled prematurely by obesity, diabetes, dementia and many other diet-related diseases. To regain our independence, we must revolt actively against foods that make us fat and replace them with foods that restore our strength and vitality. In this article, we present just one example of how nutritional misinformation caused tragic health consequences and one way we can take back our health freedom. 

The most damaging dietary advice of the 20th Century was: “Eat lots of whole healthy grains.” The USDA’s 1992 Holy Food Pyramid[Field] commanded us to eat 7-11 servings of whole grains every day. We followed this advice carefully, increasing our consumption of grain-based foodstuffs by 30%. So what happened? The rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. have increased in every year since. Could eating “whole healthy grains” do this? 

Motivated by an honest application of scientific methodology, a new breed of nutritional researchers has emerged in the 21st Century. They have demonstrated conclusively that foods which cause our blood sugar levels to rise significantly cause our bodies to release insulin, “the fat storage hormone.” Insulin facilitates the transport of excess blood glucose to the liver where it is converted to fat for storage. In addition, insulin prevents the release of other hormones which allow us to burn stored body fat. Therefore, to decrease excess bodyfat, we must avoid all foods that raise our blood sugar levels precipitously. Consider the following example. 

Whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 72, which means a slice of bread will raise one’s blood sugar level faster and higher than the same amount of table sugar, which has a glycemic index of 59. How can a “whole healthy grain” do this?  

One intrinsic component of all wheat-based foodstuffs is Amylopectin A[Field], a highly concentrated carbohydrate responsible for germinating wheat seeds. In the human GI[Field] tract, Amylopectin A is broken down and absorbed rapidly, causing blood sugar levels to rise quickly, triggering the release of insulin. By this pathway, eating even small amounts of wheat-based foodstuffs—breads, bagels, biscuits, crackers, croutons, muffins, et cetera—causes us to store excessive amounts of bodyfat. And this is just one among several detrimental health consequences for us when we eat not just wheat, but all grain-based foodstuffs. Therefore, if we want to regain and maintain excellent health, we must eliminate grains, the fossil fuels of the American diet. 

Today, more than 50% of the calories we consume come from grain-based foodstuffs—wheat, corn, rice, and oats. If we eliminate these toxins from our diets, we must replace their calories with foods that promote better health. What do leading 21st Century researchers tells us are these foods? Their answer, almost unanimously, is: healthful fats. If you are a vegan, this means eating generous amounts of raw seeds and nuts—especially coconuts, and fruits that are rich in fats—such as avocados and olives. If you are an ova-lactivore, you should add ample amounts of eggs and possibly full-fat, lactose-free dairy products—such as butter. If you are an omnivore, you can once again enjoy the fats from animals that are pasture-raised and reared without growth stimulants or antibiotics. 

Each one of us who eliminates grain-based foodstuffs from our diets is enlisting as a soldier in the 21st Century American Diet Revolution. We are throwing the bad dietary advice and the fat-causing foods of the 20th Century into Boston Harbor. We are reasserting our right to health freedom.

 
• August 1, 2017  

Taking Back Our Health Freedom

Cornucopia

 

American Diet Revolution

Taking Back Our Health Freedom

Josef Arnould, D.C.

Strength for Life® Health & Fitness Center

The foods we Americans eat today—and have eaten for the past 60 years—are the primary reason so many of us are battling constantly against the excessive accumulation of bodyfat. Naively, in the last half of the 20th Century we accepted dietary advice from paid-off researchers, governmental agencies, industries, and medical organizations we assumed were motivated to help us become leaner and healthier and “enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We assumed wrong. Instead of enjoying the freedom of good health, we have become the new American colonists, disabled prematurely by obesity, diabetes, dementia and many other diet-related diseases. To regain our independence, we must revolt actively against foods that make us fat and replace them with foods that restore our strength and vitality. In this article, we present just one example of how nutritional misinformation caused tragic health consequences and one way we can take back our health freedom.

The most damaging dietary advice of the 20th Century was: “Eat lots of whole healthy grains.” The USDA’s 1992 Holy Food Pyramid commanded us to eat 7-11 servings of whole grains every day. We followed this advice carefully, increasing our consumption of grain-based foodstuffs by 30%. So what happened? The rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. have increased in every year since. Could eating “whole healthy grains” do this?

Motivated by an honest application of scientific methodology, a new breed of nutritional researchers has emerged in the 21st Century. They have demonstrated conclusively that foods which cause our blood sugar levels to rise significantly cause our bodies to release insulin, “the fat storage hormone.” Insulin facilitates the transport of excess blood glucose to the liver where it is converted to fat for storage. In addition, insulin prevents the release of other hormones which allow us to burn stored body fat. Therefore, to decrease excess body fat, we  must avoid all foods that raise our blood sugar levels precipitously. Consider the following example.

Whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 72, which means a slice of bread will raise one’s blood sugar level faster and higher than the same amount of table sugar, which has a glycemic index of 59. How can a “whole healthy grain” do this?

One intrinsic component of all wheat-based foodstuffs is Amylopectin A, a highly concentrated carbohydrate responsible for germinating wheat seeds. In the human GI tract, Amylopectin A is broken down and absorbed rapidly, causing blood sugar levels to rise quickly, triggering the release of insulin. By this pathway, eating even small amounts of wheat-based foodstuffs—breads, bagels, biscuits, crackers, croutons, muffins, et cetera—causes us to store excessive amounts of body fat. And this is just one among several detrimental health consequences for us when we eat not just wheat, but all grain-based foodstuffs. Therefore, if we want to regain and maintain excellent health, we must eliminate grains, the fossil fuels of the American diet.

Today, more than 50% of the calories we consume come from grain-based foodstuffs—wheat, corn, rice, and oats. If we eliminate these toxins from our diets, we must replace their calories with foods that promote better health. What do leading 21st Century researchers tells us are these foods? Their answer, almost unanimously, is: healthful fats. If you are a vegan, this means eating generous amounts of raw seeds and nuts—especially coconuts, and fruits that are rich in fats—such as avocados and olives. If you are an ova-lactivore, you should add ample amounts of eggs and possibly full-fat, lactose-free dairy products—such as butter. If you are an omnivore, you can once again enjoy the fats from animals that are pasture-raised and reared without growth stimulants or antibiotics.

Each one of us who eliminates grain-based foodstuffs from our diets is enlisting as a soldier in the 21st Century American Diet Revolution. We are throwing the bad dietary advice and the fat-causing foods of the 20th Century into Boston Harbor. We are reasserting our right to health freedom.

• June 13, 2017  

Let Us Face the Music

Let Us Face the Music

 

by Josef Arnould, D.C.

The types of foods we eat today—and have been eating in great quantities for the past 60 years—are, by far, the major reason why so many of us have gained large amounts of unwanted body fat and/or become diabetic during this era. Not questioning it, we accepted dietary advice from paid-off researchers, governmental agencies, and industrial organizations we assumed were motivated primarily to help us become leaner and healthier and to enable us “to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

We assumed wrong.

In the last 50 years of the 20th Century, most of the individuals and groups who were advising us held—and those surviving still hold—their own self-interests as paramount. They exploited us. In fact, as several independent researchers of the 21st Century have documented, the financial success for many of these individuals and groups was and is directly proportional to the percentages of us who are obese, diabetic, and/or otherwise disabled by eating foods that make us their dependents, their obedient colonists. These Exploiters have absolutely no financial incentive to see more of us become leaner and healthier. They thrive on the status quo. They continue to spew their propaganda to keep us colonized by obesity, diabetes, and addiction to the foods and drugs from which they profit profusely. Unfortunately, far too many Americans continue to follow the dietary recommendations of the 20th Century. Because the Exploiters smothered us with their corrupt dietary advice so relentlessly for so long, many of us simply cannot let go of that bad advice.

The time is now to face the music, to liberate ourselves from oppression by misinformation and to reclaim our right to health freedom. Several honest researchers of the 21st Century have given us the democratic armaments to do this, to revolt against those who have taken advantage of our trust, our good will, and our passive acceptance of information we should have studied and questioned thoughtfully in the past. If you listen carefully, in the distance you can hear the fife and drum corps beginning their march.

Our first volley of fire in the revolt against colonization by obesity, diabetes, and other diet-induced diseases is to shoot down the most damaging dietary advice myth of the 20th Century—that we should eat large quantities of “whole healthy grains.” How can we even question the truth of this phrase? Were we not advised by the United States Department of Agriculture in their Great Holy Food Pyramid of 1992 to eat 7 to 13 servings of whole grain foods every day? If ever there were a dietary recommendation to gain fat weight, this was—and is today, 25 years later—it.

Let us consider just some of the facts uncovered by the independent researchers of the 21st Century who have dared to speak and write about the reasons behind and the devastating health consequences of  the dietary advice we were given in the last half of the 20th Century. Without raising a peep, most Americans accepted that advice. Obediently, from 1961 to 2001 we increased our consumption of grains by 30%. Coincidentally, during the same period, the rate of obesity in the U.S. rose from 14% to 33%. Did anyone stop to ask why the USDA, a department that develops and protects the interests of the agricultural industries, was given the right and almost exclusive responsibility to advise Americans about the specific foods we should eat? We should have questioned the reliability of that advice then. But, we did not. Now, finally, some of us are beginning to realize we cannot make such a mistake again.

Today, more than 50% of the calories we consume come from grain-based foodstuffs, primarily wheat, corn, rice, and oats. If we are considering dietary causes of obesity, does it not seem logical that we should consider first the foods from which we ingest the most calories? And yet, we have been bludgeoned so frequently for so many years with the mythical phrase “Eating grains is good for us” that we dismiss—without careful consideration—any claim they are detrimental to our health. Many of us have been trying for years to lose unwanted body fat. Despite evidence to the contrary, in the back of our minds, we tell ourselves, “It can’t be the grains, they are good for us.” Or, “Look how many bakeries there are, and how big the bread and cereal aisles are in the supermarkets. It couldn’t be possible that all that food is bad for us.” Or, “Most of the foods I eat come from grains. I could not possibly survive if I stopped eating them entirely.”

It is time for all of us to take our little fingers away from our closed eyelids and remove our thumbs from our ear canals. The sounds of the fife and drum corps are becoming louder. As just one example of how grains can cause us to pack on pounds of fat and to damage our health in many other ways, let us consider the physiological effects on our bodies when we humans eat of just one type of grain—wheat-based foodstuffs.

Whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 72, which is very high, higher than pure white table sugar. Could eating bread increase our risk of developing Type II diabetes? Are there any other potential negative consequences that can occur as a result of eating wheat-based foods? These are just two examples of the types of questions we should be willing to ask of any recommended food.

One intrinsic component of all wheat-based foodstuffs is Amylopectin A, a highly concentrated carbohydrate responsible for germinating wheat seeds. In the human GI tract, Amylopectin A is broken down and absorbed rapidly, causing our blood sugar levels to rise quickly. Any food or substance that escalates blood sugar levels rapidly, triggers the release of the hormone insulin, which removes glucose from the blood stream and attempts to infuse it into our muscle cells and fat cells, if said cells are open to receiving such immigrants. Whatever glucose our cells resist accepting, insulin then directs to the liver, where a process of converting the excess glucose into fat is initiated. In addition to these actions, the release of insulin also inhibits the release of two other hormones, glucagon and leptin, that help us to not overeat and to burn stored body fat for energy. In sum, insulin promotes fat storage and prevents fat cell breakdown. Therefore, any foods that raise our blood sugar levels rapidly cause us to gain body fat. Wheat-based foodstuffs—breads, bagels, biscuits, crackers, croutons, muffins, et cetera—make us fat.

A second intrinsic component of modern wheat, including organic wheat, is Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), a protein which is almost indigestible in the human GI tract.  Significant amounts of this protein accumulate in the small intestine where they putrefy and cause structural damage to the microvillae—the minute, hair-like structures through which nutrients from our foods are absorbed into the blood stream. Incompletely digested WGA damages also the tight junctions—the connective tissue between the cells in the walls of the small intestine. Thus, rotting WGA changes the permeability of the small intestine and allows proteins and other partially digested foods to leak into the bloodstream. This condition is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, which leads inevitably to autoimmune diseases, allergic reactions, addictions, and AGES, Advanced Glycation End Productions. This last disorder is the irreversible accumulation of abnormal proteins in the tissues throughout our bodies, in our brains, our blood vessels, our joints, our eyes. As an example of how detrimental AGES can be, they are found in very high levels on autopsies of the brains of  individuals who, prior to death, were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

A third major intrinsic component of wheat foodstuffs is the protein gluten and one of its most prominent elements, the protein gliadin. If these proteins leak into the bloodstream, as they do in Leaky Gut Syndrome, they cause severe health consequences. Gluten triggers allergic reactions, potentially fatal to individuals who are particularly sensitive to it. Just as seriously, once the protein gliadin gains abnormal access to the bloodstream, it is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and binding with opiate receptors. Gliadin is largely responsible for making wheat-eating so compulsive. Once we eat one bagel, we want to eat another so we can experience the opiate-like pleasure again; and then we want another….

Alpha-Amylase Inhibitors are a fourth intrinsic component of modern wheat. By selective breeding, x-ray and gamma ray exposure, and chemical treatments, etc., agricultural technicians have created strains of wheat that are highly resistant to mold, fungus, insects, and other factors that diminish per-acre yield. Unfortunately, these pest-resistant characteristics of modern wheat make it hyper-allergenic for many human beings. As an example, some athletes may experience WDEIA—Wheat-Derived Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis—a potentially fatal reaction brought on by the combination of wheat consumption and exercise.

Phytates are a fifth intrinsic component of modern wheat and other grains. Phytates are the storage form of phosphorus in the fiber of grains and beans. In the human GI tract, the fiber in wheat binds with two essential minerals, iron and zinc, causing us to excrete these elements rather than to absorb them. How big a deal is this? Worldwide, the third leading cause of disability is anemia, most commonly caused by iron deficiency. We need fiber in our diets for good digestive function. But why not get that fiber from vegetables rather than from mineral-robbing wheat?

The whistles of the fifes and the beats of the drums are even louder now. Members of the marching corps are stomping over the bloated carcass of the tired old “whole-healthy-grain” myth. Grains are the fossil fuels of the human diet. If we consume them, our bodies will run on them, just as we can heat homes by burning coal in an open pit in the basement. The smoke and creosote from the consumption and combustion of grain-based foodstuffs have been choking us for decades, just as surely as they have been stuffing us. The time is now, at last, to release our minds and our bodies from the haze and mirrors of the “whole-healthy-grain” myth.  Through the thick fog of deceit, the music of the 21st Century revolutionary band has come to lead us away from the colonizing dietary myths of the 20th Century.

Admitting that many foods which dominated our diets for more than 60 years are toxic is the first crucial step toward reclaiming our health freedom. Eliminating toxins alone, however, is not enough. Our next step must be to replace the pathogenic foodstuffs in our old diets with foods that supply our bodies with the nutrients we need to perform with excellence all the tasks of our daily lives. Therefore, our new diets will include many traditional foods—such as eggs or butter—which our ancestors ate, but which we were persuaded to avoid during the Big Grain/Big Sugar/Low-fat Era, from 1955 to 2015. In addition, our new diets may include several foods of which many of us many have not been aware previously, such as bone broth or vegetables such as mizuna or dandelion greens.

“The Succinct, Strength for Life®, Every-Single-Day, Eating-for-Well-Being Guide” is attached below. It has been created as an abbreviated way to help all of us begin to determine which types of foods we should add to our diets and which types of foods we should avoid. As you study the guide, however, please keep in mind that this is an attempt to summarize an ideal diet, based upon the recommendations of the leading independent nutritional researchers of the 21st Century. We do not have to begin immediately to eat every food in Section A, the Essentials, to achieve better health. Likewise, at first, most of us may not be able to able to avoid completely every toxic foodstuff in Section C, the Toxins. In other words, do not try to implement instantaneously all the changes recommended in the Guide. Instead, transform your eating habits incrementally. In the first week, choose one food in Section A that you have not been eating and try adding it to your diet. During the next week, select one class of toxic foods from Section C—such as wheat-based foodstuffs— and eliminate that type of food from your diet. If you introduce new foods into your diet in this manner, your gastrointestinal system will have ample time to adjust gradually.  Removing toxic foods that disrupt your GI tract will also contribute to a smooth transition to a calmer and more pleasing state of digestive health. Gradually, you will develop your own guide to the foods that help you achieve maximal personal health freedom. You will have replaced the chaos and cacophony of 20th Century dietary misinformation with personal nutritional harmony that you will swear must have been orchestrated by Mozart.

The Succinct, Strength for Life®,

 Every-Single-Day, Eating-for-Well-Being Guide

 

What We Must Eat and Drink: the Essentials

Eat 7-10 servings of fresh, organic vegetables, including:

a. a large salad with raw, leafy green, and brightly colored vegetables;

b. at least one full cup of lightly cooked vegetables and/or soup;

c. at least two ounces of fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut.

 

Eat several servings of organic and/or pastured-raised fats, including:

a. at least two tablespoons each of coconut and olive oils; and

b. at least 2-4 ounces of raw seeds, nuts, and/or avocado; or

c. 1-2 tablespoons of butter on veggies or heavy cream in coffee/tea.

 

Eat 2-4 small/moderate portions of organic/pasture-raised proteins, such as:

a. two to three eggs, if you are an ova-lactivore or omnivore;

b. several servings of raw nuts and seeds, more if you are a vegan;

c. one serving of bone, meat, or fish protein, if you are an omnivore.

 

Drink at least three pints of pure water—one pint between all meals.

Drink at least two servings nutritional beverages, such as:

a. 1-2 cups of bone broth, if you are an omnivore; or

b. 1-2 cups of a high-mineral vegetable broth or drink;

c. 8-16 ounces of a nutritional smoothie, especially post-exercise;

d. home-made vegetable-rich and/or bone-broth-based        

What We May Eat or Drink: the Optionals

1-2 servings of a low-sugar fruit, such as berries, or ½ of a small apple;

1-2 cups coffee, tea, or kombucha; and 3-6 ounces of organic red wine;

1-4 ounces of pasture-raised cheese, sour cream, or whole-milk yogurt;

1-2 ounces of an organic chocolate bar, at least 80% cacao and low-sugar;

2-4 ounces of cooked quinoa, fermented organic soy, or baked sweet potato,

  and, once per week, a “goof” (e.g., ice cream at your favorite parlor).   

What We Must Eliminate: the Toxins

All processed, non-organic, synthetically sweetened, flavored, colored, and preserved, or genetically modified foods, including but not limited to:

      a.any industrial foodstuffs derived from plants treated with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers;  

      b. any foods from animals treated with anti-biotics or growth stimulants, or fed chemically raised grains or other toxins;

All grain-based foodstuffs, including: breads, pasta, cereals, oatmeal, bagels, granola, crackers, cookies, pizza, muffins, scones, pies, cakes;

All sugar-intense or artificially sweetened:  beverages—such as, fruit juices, soda, and sweetened teas, coffees, or sports drinks; or solid foods—such as, candies, cookies, pastries, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, or foodstuffs sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and facsimiles;

All high-starch pseudo-vegetable foods, such as: corn, potatoes, chips, most beans, French fries, popcorn, and other industrial snack “foods”.

All foods containing industrial, high Omega-6, pseudo-vegetable oils, such as: corn, soybean, cottonseed, canola, peanut, safflower, sunflower, etc.

As much as possible, any foods or drinks that cause GI distress, such as gas or bloating, or are sold in metal cans, plastic bags, or plastic containers.

 

• April 21, 2017  

Don’t Just Do It. Feel It!

Strength Training Tips 2017

Don’t Just Do It. Feel It!

By now, everyone—except the densest of politicians—understands that engaging ourselves in strength training is essential, if we wish to reach our individual potentials to be healthy and active for as long in life as possible. Every year, more and more adults begin strength training programs, especially in January. And while many of us succeed so well in our first few months that we continue to do it year after year, a much greater number of us begin to feel our progress level off after a few months. We drop out of strength training by late spring.

Why do so many of us give up on strength training when we know it offers so many health benefits? Is it too difficult? Too painful? After more than 50 years of observing people perform strength   training exercises, I believe there is one primary reason why some people quit strength training so easily and so quickly. They never take the critical step up from a beginner’s level—ju185st doing an exercise—to the next higher stage of training—really concentrating upon what is going on in your body as you experience each repetition of every exercise.

Just doing an exercise is a mechanical activity. With a certain amount of weight as resistance, you count until you complete a predetermined number of repetitions, say 15. When you finish repetition number 15, you say to yourself, “Glad that is over. On to the next set.” You did your job. You followed the formula in your training plan. Your focus was on doing a certain quantity of work and you did it.

In the beginning stages of strength training, “Just do it!” works. Your body responds to new forms of exertion by growing more muscle and bone tissue. If you are eating intelligently, you become leaner as well. However, within a few months—if you do not progress beyond this very limited mechanical stage of strength training—you will become frustrated. Soon, in most exercises, you will be unable to increase the resistances you use or the number of repetitions you can complete. You will feel as though you are stagnating. Guess what? You are stagnating. Even though you know you are healthier and more energetic than when you began, if you do not progress beyond the mechanical stage, you will give up strength training.

So how do you go beyond the mechanical, “Just do it,” level of training? Quite simply, you change your mental focus radically. You cease to think about moving a piece of equipment or lifting a certain amount of weight for a certain number of repetitions. Whatever apparatus you are pushing, pulling, or lifting disappears. You transcend the mechanical aspects of the physical event in which you are participating. Instead of thinking primarily about how many repetitions of an exercise you are performing, you picture in your mind the fibers of the target muscle group in that exercise as they lengthen slowly and completely and then contract completely and powerfully. If you really concentrate, you can strip away the skin covering those muscles and visualize your tendons as they pull on the bone and see your red muscle fibers as you squeeze them into a full contraction and then lengthen them into a full stretch. You are internalizing your exercise experience. What could be a repetitious mechanical event becomes an intimate and exciting form of communication between your mind and the regions of your body that you are stimulating.

So, if you are not counting repetitions, how many should you do? Who knows? Just continue to perform very slow, graceful, controlled repetitions until your brain tells you that you have challenged yourself vigorously, but also, that it might be risky to try to do more. In other words, do not stop at some predetermined quantity of repetitions; rather, continue to do focused repetitions until the feeling in your body is so exciting that your brain tells you it is not safe to try more.

When you endeavor to internalize every millimeter of movement of every repetition of every exercise, you may not actually complete as many repetitions as you would have by just counting off 15 predetermined ones. When you internalize your strength training endeavors, you produce much more powerful contractions, which means you fatigue the target muscles more quickly, that is, with fewer repetitions than in mechanical training. In short, internalization produces a much higher quality of exercise stimulation, one which will help you to grow much stronger than you would with externalized training. But there is something even more beneficial about internalized training. When you focus your mind as intently as possible upon the muscle groups you are challenging, you will find your training experience to be unbelievably exhilarating, so exciting that you will never quit. Just feel it! Wow!

• January 16, 2017  

Stronger After 65?

Of all human milestones, age 65 is the most ominous. At 18 we vote, at 21 purchase alcohol legally. On 30th, 40th, and 50th birthdays, family and friends rib us for a few days. But at 65 we are recognized relentlessly as elders: by Medicare; at restaurants and movie theaters; by eager retirement villages and legions of advertisers. We cannot ignore the avalanche of attention or that magical word “retirement,” creating visions of Mediterranean cruises, Caribbean beaches, golf, and butterflies. Inner voices tell us to slow down, quit work, and assume a life of physical ease.

Although retiring from one’s occupation at 65 can be healthy, retiring from—or merely reducing—daily physical exertion is not. To enjoy ongoing health, we must exert ourselves vigorously every day throughout life; there is no biological age of retirement. Actually, after 65 we need to be—not less—but more active physically than earlier. Why? At 20, we all begin losing muscle cells, a process that accelerates gradually throughout adulthood. If we remain active physically during our 20s and 30s, we may scarcely notice. However, if our physical activity declines during this period, we experience a gradual loss of strength and health. Between 25 and 55, the average American loses 15 pounds of muscle and bone. After 55, these rates of loss accelerate, causing not only bone demineralization—osteopenia then osteoporosis—but also sarcopenia, smaller and weaker muscles. In addition to disabling us from many of our usual physical activities, sarcopenia causes obesity, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and leads directly to the premature loss of personal independence. Sooner than we should, we lose the ability to walk, do house and yard work, even to clothe and bathe ourselves.

Fortunately, we have another choice. In a 1980s study, Tufts researchers demonstrated that people of any age who perform progressive strength training exercises achieve sarcotrophy, an increase in the size of their remaining muscle cells. These researchers tested nursing home residents, aged 88 to 96, for walking speed, body fat, muscle strength, etc., put them through a four-month strength training program, then retested. Amazingly, these trainees could now walk twice as fast as before and their blood pressures and body fat percentages were lower. Pre-and post-MRIs of their thighs demonstrated large increases in muscle size and decreases in fat, thus proving we can, at any age, increase our muscle mass through organized strength training.

Does this mean we can all have bigger muscles, lift more weight, and be stronger after 65 than when we were 25?

The answer to this question lives in the word “stronger”, a comparative adjective implying that someone or something is stronger than another. Yes, each of us can compare ourselves to who we were 40 years ago. We could also ask the same question regarding other physical qualities of life. Is our vision better at 65 than it was at 25? Can we run faster? Jump higher? It is doubtful anyone can answer these questions affirmatively. The same is true for the human health quality of strength. If juxtaposing ages 65 to 25 is our basis of comparison, the answer is “no.” However, there is a much more important way to answer the question, “Can we be stronger after 65?” Instead of comparing ourselves to who we were 40 years ago, let us look forward, which is much more relevant to our current and future health.

If on our 65th birthday each of us vows to become stronger and healthier by participating faithfully in a well-organized strength training program for one year, we have a new basis for comparison. 365 days later, we can compare the strength of the renewed person we have become at age 66 to the weaker person we would have become if we had not trained. Not only will we be much stronger than the 66- year-old slacker version of us who did not train, we will be stronger even than the person we were at 65. Thus, by this comparison we definitely can be stronger after 65. And the longer in life we train consistently, the stronger we will be relative to the non-trainee we would have become.

Imagine we are on a bus filled with hikers, aged 9 to 95, traveling toward a mountain range for an all-day climb. Disembarking at the base of the mountain, in bright October sunlight and invigorated by the smell of spruce, we exchange stories as we begin our ascent. We feel strength in our calves and the rise and fall of our rib cages as we inhale and exhale vigorously. As our spirits rise, as we treasure the vitality strength training has afforded us, we are reminded, once again, of how and why we can and should be stronger after 75….

Josef Arnould, D.C.

 

Download This Article

• June 7, 2016  

Greens, Grains, Your Microbiome, and Body Fat

By Josef Arnould, D.C. STRENGTH FoR LIFE® HEALTH & FITNESS CENTER

 

The most exciting field of study in nutrition over the past ten years concerns the microbiome, vast populations of microorganisms living inside and on the outside of our bodies. Researchers are beginning to understand the extent to which our health depends upon the health of microbes dwelling in and upon us and that the types of foods we ingest have profound effects upon the health of these microorganisms. Foods that stimulate beneficial bacteria to flourish in the gastrointestinal system strengthen the immune system, improve mental function, reduce chronic inflammatory diseases, help reduce body fat, and have many other healthful effects. Conversely, foods that damage tissue of the gastrointestinal tract, raise blood sugar levels, or stimulate detrimental bacteria to proliferate, weaken the immune system, increase risks for chronic inflammatory diseases, and cause excessive body fat accumulation.

A brief review of the effects of foods upon two common types of bacteria in our microbial armies illustrates why the standard american diet, high in processed foods—especially grain-based foodstuffs—causes us to become obese. Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes constitute 90% of the bacteria populating the human gut. Acting on foods we eat, Firmicutes extract many more calories per gram than do Bacteriodetes. Scientists compare ratios of bacteria in different groups of people with markedly different diets by analyzing the composition of their feces. People with microbiomes dominated by Firmicutes have much higher rates of obesity and diabetes than those with GI tracts dominated by Bacteriodetes.

 

How do we apply this research to our everyday lives?
Simple: feed our troops well; eat foods that nourish beneficial microbes in our gut; avoid foods that damage our GI tract, allow harmful microbes to proliferate, or cause us to store excessive body fat. In short, become internal environmentalists. It would be hypocritical to pledge collectively, as international citizens, to take care of our external environment—to stop polluting skies, oceans, and forests—but, simultaneously, to continue pouring toxic foods down our throats, foods that contaminate our internal environments, especially our microbiomes.
To feed our microbial troops well, we should first of all become Vegetabletarians, eaters of abundant amounts of vegetables. Whether we eat animal products or not, at every meal we should eat vegetables in some form. Most vegetables have a low glycemic index and, therefore, do not cause an insulin reaction, the hormonal trigger for storing body fat. A salad of raw vegetables, especially scallions, garlic, and dandelion greens, supplies our microbial troops with prebiotics, the type of fiber that our beneficial microbial defenders love to digest. Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, are probiotics, that is, contain large amounts of the microbes themselves. By eating fermented vegetables, we are sending
in reinforcement troops to keep our armies strong. Steamed or sautéed vegetables or soups contain some nutrients that are more easily digested and assimilated than raw vegetables. Vegetables make our microbiomes happy and make us healthy. To protect our microbial soldiers, we must avoid foods that damage the cells of the GI tract, that raise blood sugar levels, that we cannot digest completely, or that allow pathogenic bacteria to proliferate. Lunchmeat and fast-food burgers might come to mind first. However, grain-based foodstuffs are the most important irritants to our microbiomes. More than 50% of the calories consumed in the U.S. are from grains, the seeds of grass. We cannot eat grass seeds at all unless they are highly processed—bread, bagels, crackers, etc. All grains have high glycemic indexes, raise blood sugar levels, trigger insulin secretion and fat storage, damage the cell walls of the small intestine, and inflame our nervous and cardiovascular systems. We can burn them for energy in our bodies, but they leave severely toxic residual cellular debris, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs)— similar to creosote from a wood stove. Grains are the fossil fuels of the American diet.

To summarize what nutritional research now tells us: Eat Greens Not Grains. The best thing each of us can do to become leaner and healthier is to gradually replace grain-based foodstuffs in our diets with raw, fermented, and cooked greens. The American Diet Revolution has begun.

 

Download This Article

• June 3, 2016  
Strength For Life

Strength For Life