Creating the Body You Really Want

Webster’s defines health as, “the condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit; especially: freedom from physical disease or pain.” In just a few short days, gyms across the country will be flooded with people (many of them for only about a month or so) engaging in the annual New Year’s quest of creating a new, happy, healthier-looking body in 2014.

First, let me say that health, wellness, fitness, etc. are all relative terms and depend solely on an individual’s perception. What is healthy to me may not be healthy to you. Further, health and fitness are not the same by any means. If you have no health issues or pain of any kind but cannot get up off of the sofa without grabbing your own head to lift it off the pillow – you are not fit. By the same token, if you can dead lift 600 pounds, run a sub-5 minute mile, and perform 50 consecutive wide grip chin ups on a 4010 tempo, but you have cancer – you are fit, but not healthy.

My personal definition of health is as follows: an individual can be deemed healthy if s/he is capable of living his/her life according to his/her own truths and principles; as well, one must view his/her life as one with meaning and purpose while optimally integrating the elements of mind, body, and spirit. That is my definition and it may or may not be a far cry from what your definition of health is.

What Do People Want?

Being in the health, fitness, and rehabilitation industry since 1999, I have been fortunate to learn a thing or two. One of the things that I have learned is that most potential clients and people in the general population are solely after improving the way they look. In other words, people want to look better naked. It does not matter that they have headaches, chronic sleep deprivation, disc pathologies, blood-sugar problems, joint instabilities, gut dysfunction, parasite infections, blown shoulders, torn knee ligaments, cranio-facial pain, neuropathies, central nervous system problems, etc., etc., they simply want to feel great about what they see when they look into a mirror. I have mentioned in previous posts that I am all for being motivated to make radical body transformations, as most people think that if someone is “fit” that s/he is also healthy and that they must be “fit” in order to be “healthy.” The issue at hand here is whether or not people know what it really takes to make the type of body transformations they seek?

What It Really Takes

When I ask audiences that I speak to what they believe the number one contributing factor to successful body transformation is – I typically get one of two responses: (1) Discipline or (2) Consistency. These are great answers, but in my opinion they only scratch the surface of what it really takes to make a real body transformation successful.

Most feel that in order to create that new body, they have to have a great training routine that they religiously stick to week in and week out. Though this is true, training is only one piece of the body transformation puzzle. Training is definitely important, but along with the training routine, someone requires proper hydration, the correct nutrition and supplementation, adequate rest and recovery, proper stress reduction techniques, and perhaps above all of that – living a lifestyle that is actually conducive to building muscle and losing fat.

Not to make it sound more difficult than it is, but creating a new body is not something you can focus on for a few training sessions in a week, or for a few meals per day.Creating a new body is literally a 24/7 commitment. Why? Because everything you think, say, and do, impacts how your body is going to look. There is no aspect of your life that does not have an effect on what you see in the mirror. I will say that again – there is no aspect of your life that does not have an effect on what you see in the mirror.Therefore, yes – mindset and discipline are important, but we are still on the surface of what it really takes to make real, lasting body transformations.

Discipline is Outdated

If you peel the layers of the onion back a bit, you will find that there actually is no such thing as discipline. Yes, you read that correctly – I said there is no such thing as discipline. Rather, there is only Love. World renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin wrote an article entitled The Myth of Discipline where he explains this concept very eloquently. Basically, it all boils down to what you truly love. Either you are in love with your Self and the new body that you desire, or you love cupcakes, donuts, lattes, etc. more. That’s it. It is really not that complicated. What you love is what you are going to be truly willing to work for.

In my experience, most people love lots of things and the majority of those things are outside of themselves. They struggle with making decisions for themselves because of that. As an example, how many mothers do you know who have completely lost themselves in their role as mother? I know a lot of them. Every decision they make is based on the wants and perceived needs of others (their children, a spouse, family, co-workers, friends, etc.) and this has them sacrificing themselves as a result. They are always at the bottom of their own priority list. This will produce a progressive energy drain on the vital systems of the body leaving the mother with no energy left to invest in her wants and her needs. This kind of behavior can lead to an individual who harbors a tremendous amount of resentment towards Self and others. They want to invest the time and the energy to train and eat properly to create a new body but they “don’t have time because of my kids.” This is usually where I share with them the simple truth that you can only be as good to others as you are to yourself. How can you take a gallon from a 10-ounce cup? The answer is….you can’t. Now, before I get slammed with e-mails from parents – no, I am not a parent, so I have no practical experience to speak of when it comes to children. My lack of parenting experience has no bearing on the fact that you cannot give what you do not have. How effective of a parent can one really be if s/he is tired, irritable, angry, resentful, depressed, never invests in themselves, and is generally unhappy all the time?

So What is the Real Question

What is it that you really love? Ultimately, as my mentor Paul Chek has taught me, self-esteem equals changeability.The more self-esteem, or Self Love someone has, the easier they are capable of making changes, particularly when those changes have them doing things that go against “herd” mentality. The less Self Love someone has the less apt they are to make positive and loving changes for themselves – so they stay in relationships that they hate and keep jobs that make them miserable for years and even decades. That, by any definition, is not healthy. This is an important point that has immense carryover into being able to create a body transformation of any kind.

So when you go to a restaurant and decide to order a steak with grilled vegetables and request that your vegetables not be grilled with some synthetic, genetically modified oil in favor of real butter and you request your steak to be cooked without seasoning so that you can add your self-brought organic Celtic Sea Salt and cracked black pepper to it, while everyone else is ordering fried chicken fingers with mashed potatoes and gravy with extra gravy, French fries, and a diet coke, do you Love your Self enough to not give a rat’s ass about all of the flack that you will likely take from the others at the table? Can you hold to your decision in the midst of ridicule, or will you fold like a tent and give in to the pressure of the “herd.” In accordance with my personal definition of health given in the first paragraph, a “healthy” person can easily “stick to their guns” and will let the “herd” think what they want.

Being honest with who you are and with what you really want is what it will take to transform your body. If your desire to create a new body is backed by Love, nothing can stop you from creating it. Love is the most powerful and transformative energy in the Universe and it dissolves any fears or roadblocks to success. It is a lack of Self Love that has so many people running from diet to diet, seeking the next miracle supplement or fitness gadget that will melt the fat off of their body with “no change in diet or exercise habits” – I love that one (pardon the pun). Bottom line – they do not love themselves enough to make greater loving decisions for themselves.

Always ask the question – “What would love do?” If you are trying to create a new body and you go to the gym and are debating whether to do chin ups or lat pulls downs, what would a loving and compassionate expert tell you to do?Chin ups of course. Front squats or leg extensions? Front squats – without question.

Success Through Selfishness

Caroleen Jones has coined something called the 15% Rule. I am a huge proponent of this rule. She states that 15% of the hours that you spend awake in any given day should belong to yourself. Therefore, if you typically wake up at 6 a.m. and go to sleep around 10 p.m., a little over 2 hours in each day needs to be devoted to your Self and doing things that you love and that will bring you joy. These are to be activities that are to be solely for your benefit and no one else’s. I can share with you how I spend my 15% – in the gym, meditating, and reading/learning. Those are the things that I enjoy that are for me and no one else (though it can certainly be argued that my clients benefit from my learning, but hey, hopefully you get my point).

Personally, I feel that devoting 85% of your time to others and only 15% of your time to things that make you happy does not even qualify as being selfish, but so few of us adhere to the 15% Rule that when we come across someone who actually does – s/he is labeled as selfish. It is only out of a Love for Self that Love for anything else can really manifest. Sadly, many people feel that making themselves a priority is somehow “wrong.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

So How Do You Change Your Body?

If you are looking for a new aesthetic appeal, you will need to feed the cells of your body thoughts of Love and gratitude, in addition to clean, organic food and clean water, along with a properly designed exercise program, the right amount of sleep, blah, blah, blah. Getting in touch with your Self will also help you find your weight loss solution. You can begin the process of loving your Self in the following ways:

Figuring out what makes you happy. Many of us struggle with this. An easy way to do this is to sit quietly in a room alone and meditate on this question, “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?” Or, “If money were no object, what would I do?” In many cases (but not all) the answer to these questions is usually what will make you happy. Do more of the things that would have you reach that goal and you are on what Taoists call “the way.”

Accept the truth that your decisions and actions have created the body (and Life) that you have today. This is difficult for many because there is nothing more exquisitely pleasant than to place blame on something outside of yourself for the way you look (genetics, thyroid problems, etc.) Caroline Myss, PhD, states that a truly healthy individual is one who can look back on all of their past experiences with gratitude. By that definition, not many of us are truly healthy, but it calls for you to be grateful for your past actions and accept that these actions happened in your past. It all happened for a reason – to teach you a very important lesson and to bring you back into your Self and to help you progress to your next level of development at the appropriate speed. You would be well served not to make decisions based on your past. What is important is what you do with the energy of now.

Next, you must forgive yourself now that you have accepted what has happened. Until you can forgive yourself for your own actions and reactions, there is still a “thing” in your way of achieving that ideal body that you want. This “thing” has energy; it still attracts consciousness and will continue to create a reality until it is resolved. You must decide that your past has no power over you. Today is new, a day for new decisions, new thoughts, and new habits.

Be grateful for the wonderful positive people, circumstances, and objects in your life today. Every night write a list of 10 things for which you are most grateful. You can call this a Grateful Log. Read this first thing when you wake up as a reminder of all that you are grateful for. It is also helpful to find something that you do like about a body part that you desire to change and focus on the love that is there.

Love how you look. Realize first that the body you currently have is the only vehicle you get to navigate this physical journey we call life. Since it is the only one you get, you would be well served to love it now – in its entirety – exactly as it is. Your physical body does not even belong to the “you” that you know. Try this little exercise: Hold your hand up in front of your face. Now ask yourself, whose hand is this? Meditate on your answer for a while and see where it takes you.

The people around you, your spouse or partner, friends and family do not interact with your physical body. They interact with your Soul. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings who are living a physical experience.”

BE SELFISH ENOUGH TO LOVE YOUR SELF! Realize that loving your Self – contrary to popular belief – is the most unselfish thing you can do! As stated earlier, you simply cannot give what you do not have. As you learn to love your Self, you will also serve as a shining example for others to be able to travel that same journey to Self love and release their shame about their own bodies and come to peace within themselves. As Gandhi has stated, you must, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

By having more love for your Self, I have no doubts that you can create whatever kind of body you so desire. So…………..how much Love do you have?

Yours in Health and Happiness,

Brandon J. Alleman

Creating Health

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How many people do you know that have been on a “diet” or a very strict eating plan of some kind?  I know of, and have worked, with many.  Some of these individuals have even been very successful in their efforts.  I have known more than a few clients that have lost 50+ pounds through aggressive exercise routines and strict, regimented eating programs.  The thing is – not a single one of them were ever successful at keeping the weight off permanently.
These individuals have demonstrated a tremendous amount of determination, self-discipline, and willingness to put in the effort to lose the weight – only to end up right back where they started.  As a matter of fact, most of these people end up gaining all of the weight back PLUS at least 8% of the lost amount.  So if you lose 50 pounds, within one year, you are likely to gain back at least 54!  Sound familiar?  Sound frustrating?  Having to go through all of the pain and suffering of endless hours in the gym, probably executing exercise that is not even enjoyable, along with ridiculous strict dieting only to have to start the process all over again.  What is the definition of insanity again?
The situation at hand here is that individuals in the above scenario have learned to be effective dieters, but they have not learned how to be inherently healthy people.   Being able to “diet” does not create health…in fact, it often has the opposite effect.  Throughout the journey of dieting and destructive exercise, these individuals were never taught and certainly never cultivated the attributes of actually Be-ing healthy.  After working with clients with just about every imaginable health issue – and some that are unimaginable – I have observed certain characteristics of successful and truly healthy individuals.  Some of them are listed here:
 
1. Healthy people have a healthy relationship with food.  Healthy people do not view food as an obstacle that they must overcome to achieve a desired look.  They have an appreciation for the food that sustains life supporting biological processes.  They enjoy the food that they eat and recognize that eating good food is a way of nourishing mind, body, and Spirit.  They are conscious of the effect(s) of the foods that they eat on their energy levels, mental clarity, sleep quality, mood, and overall disposition.  They Love food for the opportunity it affords to sustain Life and Live the physical experience.
 
2. Healthy people do not follow the advice of “diet” books and are rarely on “diets”.  Truly healthy people have no need for “gimmick” diets and the so-called “expert” advice of the commercially available “diet” books.  Skipping meals, restricting calories, tapeworms, and feeding tubes from the nose to the stomach are completely foreign concepts that have no hold on their consciousness.  They eat freely of healthy foods as close to the way that Mother Nature herself provides them.  They do not go to extremes when it comes to their nutrition – in fact, they will steer clear of extremes in favor of balance, always.  They eat plenty of food and enjoy doing it.
3. Healthy people accept and Love their body and treat it with respect. The somewhat unpleasant fact here is that most people treat their body with blatant disrespect.  Using their stomach as a garbage can and giving no thought to what effect processed foods, chemicals, GMO’s, etc., have on the only vehicle they have for this Lifetime (not to mention the effect on the planet as a whole).  Truly healthy people have a great appreciation for the vehicle used to navigate the physical journey we call Life.  As such, they respect their bodies by choosing to put good “fuel” into it so that they can offer their best to the world each and every day. 
4. Healthy people do not attempt to compete with anyone – other than themselves.  Healthy people know the truth – there is no point in competing with others when it comes to body shape, size, or anything for that matter.  The only person a healthy individual competes with is themselves.  To better themselves a little each day is the only real concern.  “Keeping up with the Jones’” can be left to everyone else who is a fan of being a slave to the good opinion of other people.  A truly healthy person values their own opinion and makes decisions based their defined Core Values.  
5. Healthy people participate in enjoyable movement.  The locomotor system was designed for movement.  All healthy people move regularly in some way.  That movement may take any number of forms – Tai Chi, Yoga, Weight Training, Pilates, Walking, Sports, hiking, bike riding, Qi Gong, etc., etc.  Movement is Life and healthy people know this.  Having said that, stagnation is not the enemy – it can be quite useful.  Stagnation is an illusion of the Mind to spark the Body to change its repetitive tendencies.  If you are stagnant for long enough, the Body will encourage movement in one way or other.  Engaging in the right amount and type of exercise each day, week, and month is a necessary component of keeping the body healthy.  Movement is needed to pump fluid and energy through the vital organ systems of the body.  All healthy people choose to engage in a form of movement that they enjoy and they use it to establish a more intimate relationship with their body and how they feel. 
6. Healthy people take time for themselves.
Every single person on this planet makes decisions in their Life based on a given set of established/learned priorities.  What people are really saying when they say, “I don’t have time for ——,” is that they do not value ——, therefore they are unwilling to make time for it.  Healthy people value themselves and choose to make themselves a high priority in Life.  As such, you can regularly find them taking time for themselves to enjoy something that is authentically their own.  Some might mistake this for selfishness – it is not.  Taking time for yourself to do something that you truly enjoy is realizing the truth – you only get one Life (that you consciously remember in most cases) and it important to spend a good chunk of it doing things you enjoy.  A general rule of thumb is to dedicate 15% of the time you are awake each day to yourself.
In conclusion – truly healthy people do not take the Body for granted.  They take time every day, in one form or another (food, breath, movement, etc.) to get to know it, understand it, and learn from it.
Truly healthy people Love their Body.

Realize the truth – you already have a perfect body.  It was created that way.  Simply learn to give the Body what it requires and get yourself out of the way.
You will be amazed at the state of health that is created in the process.

 

Thanks for reading : )

 
Brandon J. Alleman

My Blood Test Says What?!

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I cannot even count how many clients have told me something along these lines, “I have been to the doctor and they have told me that my blood tests are all normal, but I feel that something has to be wrong somewhere.”  Obviously these individuals do not feel well.  In many cases they are dealing with a number of symptoms, some commonly related to one another and others just seem random and out of place.  This all begs the question – why do their lab results not at all reflect the way they feel?  If there was something wrong, the doctor would easily be able to see that, right?  Well, not so fast.  There is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat when it comes to interpreting lab results of any kind.  In some, and quite honestly in many cases, what would otherwise appear to be “normal” values do not actually pan out physiologically in terms of actually being healthy.
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Pathological vs. Functional View
Allopathic / Standard medicine looks at most lab values from a “pathological” perspective.  What this means is that the body is viewed as a “machine” composed of separate parts (tissues, organs, etc.).  The focus is on identifying pathological issues and is highly specialized and predicated on the reduction of symptoms.  This approach also relies on late-stage development of disease as a fundamental marker and as long as you do not have a disease or organic pathology you are considered to be “healthy.”  But is that really true? 
 
In contrast, the “functional” view looks at the body as an interconnected system of systems and seeks to identify areas of imbalance in normal physiology.  The goal of the functional model is to identify the cause, or root, of dysfunction and provide intervention that allows the body to restore optimal physiology.  The view of health is one that is much more than the absence of symptoms or disease.  Rather, an individual is healthy when s/he has optimal physiology, feels great, and views life as having meaning and purpose.   
 
Laboratory Data
What is normal?  So, when you are told by your physician that your blood test is “normal”, what does that actually mean? What perspective is that view taken from? And just who what are “normal” based off of?  The laboratory reference ranges that are used to classify someone as “healthy” are, in fact, averages.  (This was not a new concept to me but was driven home when I went to a course at Metametrix Clinical Labs about 4-5 years ago).  Different labs have different reference ranges. As a matter of fact, the same lab can have different reference ranges for the same lab value (i.e. – potassium) in different states.  What this means is that it is theoretically possible to receive one diagnosis from your lab work and move to another state, have the same blood work run, and receive a completely different diagnosis or no diagnosis at all!   It is not at all uncommon to have a test result come back “normal” from one lab and “out of range” for another lab.  The fact of the matter is that if your lab results fall within a given reference range used by a given lab – what that means is that you are “average” and not necessarily “healthy.”  (Heads up, the “average” person has not been healthy for the last 40 or 50 years)  Each lab, or its lab director, sets the reference range for each particular test value (blood, urine or otherwise) based upon a percentage of people who have taken the test with that given lab.  This is basically using a bell curve to determine what constitutes “normal” which really means “average.”  The more and more people take a given test, and the worse their physiology begins to function, the wider the “normal” (really “average”) reference range becomes.  If all of this seems confusing it’s because…well, it is a real head scratcher!
 
Not that it is ever a good idea to look at a single lab value alone (as that represents a compartmentalized “pathological” approach), but let’s say someone has their fasting insulin levels checked with standard blood work because they are having issues regulating blood sugar. The lab doing the testing uses a reference “normal” range of say 0-20, some use 0-24, and others 0-22.  Either way the range is pretty broad. The individual in question happens to have a fasting insulin level of 14.  Interpreting from the pathological model, this individual is “normal” and “healthy.”  However, it is fairly widely accepted in the “functional” model that many people who are dealing with insulin resistance have fasting insulin levels greater than 10-12.  Again, utilizing functional interpretation, one would also be interested in asking their physician to look at additional markers to assess blood sugar handling issues, such as C-Peptide levels (C-Peptide is a compound made in the pancreas in the same relative rate and timing as insulin, but C-Peptide has a much longer half-life than insulin), A1C, fasting glucose, glucagon, cortisol, adrenaline, thyroid, and other markers that can give insight as to why someone may have blood sugar handling issues. 
 
Hopefully, from this example (and there are endless examples just like this one), it is clear to see how your blood test can be “normal” with respect to a given value, but there can still be a functional issue that needs to be addressed to restore optimal physiology and health.  It may seem like rocket science, but it actually is not.     

By interpreting a blood test from a functional rather than a pathological perspective, the likelihood of getting to the “root” of someone’s health issues increases dramatically.  From there the focus is on FUNCTION and HEALTH as opposed to going after symptoms.      
 
This quote from Dicken Weatherby, N.D. sums up what is stated above very nicely:
 
“Medicine and health care are undergoing a paradigm shift.  We are seeing more and more demand from our patients to look at their complex cases from a holistic rather than a mechanistic or reductionistic perspective.  In order to do this we need to have diagnostic methods that focus on physiological function as a marker of health, rather than merely the presence of pathology or tissue change as a marker for disease.” 
   
– Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective
 
Contact me to learn about my services and Blue Ocean Nutrition & Lifestyle consulting programs.

 

The Economics of Nutrition & Regeneration

Stress is stress to the human body.  Your body does not differentiate one stressor from another.  Whether the stress response is initiated from financial pressures, marital stressors, too much sunlight, poor food choices, etc., the general stress response from the body is the same.  The greater the total load of your stressors place on the body (this is called physiological load), the greater the nutritional demand placed upon your body.  The poorer your nutrition practice happens to be, the greater a nutritional deficit you will accumulate.   Creating health, therefore, is about having enough nutrition in your health “savings account” so that your body can mount an effective stress response and remain with a positive balance (homeostasis).  For most of the general population, the amount of nutritional “debt” that they accumulate over a lifetime leads to chronic, degenerative conditions.  In effect, what people are doing when they eat garbage foods and do not match the nutritional demand that they place on the body, is the equivalent of “deficit spending” in the body.  You are spending nutrition to attempt to regenerate without having any nutrition in the bank – and very soon you are waking up each day with a negative balance in your health account.  In such cases, the creation of health is never allowed to manifest in any real sense.
 
Deficit “Health” Spending
Stressors, regardless of source, affect every cell and every physiological system of your body.  Nowadays, everyone is quick to blame adrenal fatigue for every health related problem they have, particularly if the individual in question has low energy and sleep issues.  While the adrenals do play a role in the body’s general stress response, it is worth mentioning that the real problem is that you have used up all of your nutritional “reserves” and your health “account” is essentially bankrupt.  While this does involve the adrenal glands, the “adrenal fatigue” is likely the result othe issue(s) at hand rather than the cause.   
 
The adrenal glands are one very important component in body’s stress response and the hormones associated with them help to regulate and influence virtually every metabolic process in the body from bone turnover to nervous system repair.  The adrenals are involved with a simplex of other systems, glands and organs of the body, which continually strive to maintain a nutritional debit, or homeostatic balance. The function of the adrenals can become compromised for any number of reasons. For me, the principle reason the adrenals begin to become “fatigued” is because of a lack of nutritional “income” to help the body produce and conserve energy effectively.  Some of the primary stressors, in my experience, of the inability to produce and conserve energy and hindering the body from maintaining physiological balance (homeostasis) are as follows:
  • Being over worked – particularly when one does not truly enjoy the work being done
  • Poor nutrition – not eating enough foods to make effective “deposits” and eating too many foods that create “debt”
  • Poor Sleep Quality (often due to the other factors on this list and choosing poor bed time – after 10:30 p.m.)
  • Too much/Improper exercise – many people who are already “negative” in their health bank account mistakenly think that they will create greater levels of health by exercising themselves nearly to death – this is a grave mistake
  • Overconsumption of sympathetic stimulants such as synthetic sugars, caffeine, and highly processed foods
  • Dehydration
  • Ignoring Respiratory (breathing) Mechanics
How many people do you know in your immediate circle that fit into this clinical picture? If I were to speculate wildly, I would say that most of them fall smack dab in the middle of this scenario.  Unfortunately, with the above practices, these stressors drain the body’s health account and it is only a matter of time before a loss of function, a loss of homeostasis, is the result.  In other words, the individual is now no longer able to effectively adapt and regenerate.  Rather, s/he will now begin tripping lightly down the degeneration pathway. 
 
If the nutritional “income” does not match the nutritional demand placed on the body, the body will begin to use its nutritional “reserves” to attempt to match the demand.  But where do we keep these nutritional reserves?  Simply put…in our own cells, tissues, organs, etc.  As this situation continues, catabolic degeneration has disastrous consequences for the health of the entire body.  Namely, it produces illness and disease.
 
Physiological Economic Rebound
To quote Ray Peat, PhD, “The ideal therapy is one which restores the cellular energy thoroughly, so the organism regains its full capacity to adapt, and seeks appropriate stimulation.”  This is perhaps my favorite quote when applied to nutritional science.  Since the cell is the basic, fundamental unit of Life, it makes sense to me that restoring the cell’s ability to produce energy to match the energy demand (stressors) placed on the body day in and day out is the way to go in terms of rehabilitating one’s health bank account.  When a person’s nutritional/health bank account has been overdrawn, and they have been operating on deficit spending (degeneration) for some time, you must support the entire organism, from the cell level up, the entire person, body, mind, spirit, in order to effectively pay back your nutritional debt plus the interest.  In other words, it goes WAY beyond the adrenal glands. 
 
It must be remembered that creating an environment favorable for this “rebound” to occur does take time and attention to Self.  It is foolish to think that any individual will wipe out all debt accumulated throughout a lifetime in just a few months.  There is no such thing as winning the nutritional “lottery” and suddenly paying back all debt in a short period of time.  That is simply not how the body works.  Erasing a lifetime of “debt” is a long-term process and really never ends.  When given what it needs, however, the human body does demonstrate a remarkable capacity for regeneration.  There is evidence that suggests that within as little as 24 hours after consuming a meal, the body is using the nutrition from that meal to begin replacing and repairing cells.  Research also suggests that the body can regenerate any living tissue within a 1-2 year period of time, again, provided it is given what it needs in terms of nutritional “deposits” and nutritional “debts” are avoided.  
 
Towards New Health
Making such “deposits” always requires change.  That is just the reality of the situation.  Change is a necessary component to creating new levels of health and vitality.  One has to decide to embrace these changes in order to foster effective transformation and healing, or simply continue to do things as they have always done them and experience a downward spiral of health issues and degeneration.  That is just the bottom line (and not because Stone Cold said so!)
 
Change is very frightening for so many people because it requires that an individual begins to get closer to Self and what his/her Core Values actually are.  This is scary because, in my experience, few of us actually know anything real about our Self and what we truly want to use our Life’s energy for.  I know I had no idea until I went through this entire process for myself.  Long story short, I was a very sick kid – constantly sick with sinus issues to GI problems, etc.  I decided when I was about 15 years old that I did not want to continue to live that way as an adult and I began making radical changes to my diet, exercise, and thought processes.  I also decided that I wanted to share what I would learn along the way with anyone willing to listen.  I have done so ever since.   
 
Along the journey towards new health, you will likely encounter LOTS of people who are likely to ridicule and “poo-poo” the changes that you will need to make.  Nearly everyone will  critique the changes you will make from their own unique perspective of reality.  Many of them will be within your own family.  As Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness tells his son, “You have a dream, you have to protect it……people can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it.  If you want something, go get it.”  This is where “knowing your why” and communicating with Self come in very handy.  Making your changes from a place of Self Love is an essential tool for overcoming the doubts and ridicule of the naysayers.  I have written about this in a previous post entitled How Much Love Do You Have?    Learn to listen to the voice of Self and your choices will become crystal clear and the mindless chatter of outsiders will become silent.
 
I have dedicated a large portion of my life towards educating people on the how’s, what’s, and when’s of effective nutritional and lifestyle changes that are required to create optimal health and wellness.  If you are willing to operate from a position of Self Love and embrace the journey of creating optimal health, climbing out of nutritional/health “debt” and achieving boundless nutritional wealth is well within your grasp….IF, you really want it! 
 
Recommended Reading & Study:
     1.     Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/BodyGuide by Deepak Chopra, M.D.
     2.     Creating Health: How to Wake Up the Body’s Intelligence by Deepak Chopra, M.D.
     3.     Generative Energy by Ray Peat, PhD.

The Happy Medical Carousel

I have been a coach, trainer, and consultant in the health, rehabilitation, and fitness arena for over 14 years now.  In that time, I have seen thousands of clients who have spent a considerable amount of time (and money) on what I call the “medical merry-go-round.”  My average client has seen no less than a handful of physicians, from conventional to alternative of every type, for the same problem.  Many receive dual diagnoses and most are offered very few answers and left wondering where to turn next for viable solutions.  A guy like me is often a “last resort.”  Clients will say things like, “Well, honestly, I have tried everything else I can think of so what can you offer me.”  From my perspective, this is actually set up by design.  This “tail chasing” scenario is exactly what our current medical model was designed to produce, and from that perspective – it works like a charm!

 
A Quick Side Story
About 10 years ago I had a client who was dealing with debilitating low back pain tell me that he received 32 ESI’s (epidural steroid injections) in his spine over a 5 year span (and he was telling the truth) along with more than a few rounds of physical therapy at the recommendation of his doctor.  I asked him a simply question, “How many times would it take for you to take your car to the same mechanic for the same problem before your confidence in the mechanic would go down the toilet?”  His response was, “No more than 2.”  My next question, “So why treat your body with less respect than you have for your car?”  His response, “Because my doctor told me to.”  It was in this moment when I began to fully realize the power this system had over the psyche of the average person.  Incidentally, using an unconventional approach, he was able to overcome his issues within about 4-5 months of manual therapy and corrective exercise.          
 
Awakening Awareness…Sort Of
Some people are being made aware of the corruption in government, the corruption in the medical establishment, the fallacy of pharmacology, the massive conflicts of interest between the FDA, food and agricultural giants like Monsanto, the CDC, the NIH, the EPA and most every other government agency that claims to be dedicated to enhancing the human condition and protecting your health.  And it is about time!  Allopathic medicine’s approach to health and its chasing of symptoms is a mindless and endless, egregious abyss, leading one to stay on a “merry-go-round” of unending medical tests (some often repeated for no reason), endless and expensive drug use – all in the name of profit and the promotion of seemingly endless human suffering.   It is a fantastic system designed for a single purpose – generating profit no matter the cost to the individual – even it if costs them their very lives!  In fact, the system depends on sort of a protracted, slow-suicide committed on the part of the participants/patients.  Let’s just call a spade a spade: the current system is NOT one of health care, rather one of disease maintenance.  You see there is no real money in teaching people to care for themselves and the planet as a whole.  Where is THAT class in school or college?  There is also no real money in dead people – because dead people cannot work endless hours for the system at a job they absolutely hate so they can make money to pay for the drugs (and other things) they don’t need.  No, no – the money is in people who are alive…sort of.
 
But here’s the bitch of it all: this is exactly what most people want. The hell I say?  Who would willingly want to participate in such a ridiculous and preposterous sham?  The answer – Most people.  You see, there is nothing more exquisitely pleasant than to be able to place the blame or responsibility, particularly when it comes to one’s health, on someone or something else.  Big pharma and big medicine are aware of this.  People want someone, like a doctor, to tell them what to do without having to actually do any critical thinking of their own to arrive at any real, logical conclusion.  They want the answers made and given to them by an authority figure of some kind.  Just look at the way drugs are marketed these days.  The ads are designed to place one in a perpetual state of fear.  When scared nearly to death, a person is likely to do just about anything in an attempt to re-establish a sense of safety, security, and survival – no matter the cost.  This significantly decreases the likelihood that the individual in question will make rational and logical decisions.    
 
Creating abundant health has very little to do with anything that allopathic medicine has to offer.  Now, don’t get things twisted here.  I would personally say that in terms of emergency medicine and triage care, allopathic and western medicine has the best of things to offer.  If I were to lacerate my femoral artery in a car accident; I do not want to be taken to a Holistic Health Practitioner, Naturopath, or an Acupuncture treatment – get me to a vascular surgeon FAST.  But for anything chronic in nature, allopathic medicine falls way short.  Creating health has nothing to do with the treatment or elimination of symptoms.  Clear example: a person has high cholesterol.  They are prescribed a statin drug.  The individual takes the drug as told.  Cholesterol levels normalize.  What happens when the drug is discontinued?  In 96% of cases, cholesterol will go back up!  The way I interpret that is that the drug simply masked the symptom or branch of the problem, while the underlying problem (root) is still there.  While on the drug, the symptom (high cholesterol) is gone, but does this mean that we have created a greater state of health and well-being.  No, it does not. 
 
A Creative Journey
The creation of health is exactly that….a creation.  It is not something that comes in a bag, a box, or even in a pill.  It is a constant, never-ending journey of improving the way you breathe, drink, eat, sleep, move and think – and that last one is a doozey!  True health, health on a holistic scale (mind, body, and spirit) requires an awareness of the innate wisdom of the body and recognizing Self, rather than an external source, as an authority on what is right for you and your body.  This, of course, is on the opposite end of the spectrum from what the current allopathic/western model of medicine is putting forth. 
 
A typical physician is in a very powerful position of authority over the vast majority of his/her patients.  In many instances, the Parent-Child Archetypal pattern of this relationship seriously clouds the judgment and decision making skills of the patient.  This can easily lead to a scenario like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post.    
 
Statistics over the last 10-13 years indicate that the United States spends the greatest percentage of its GDP on “Healthcare” than any other industrialized nation, yet the U.S. ranks between 17th and 39th in all major health categories.  We are conditioned to believe that because this is America, we are the best.  Unfortunately, that is a complete fallacy where health and/or “healthcare” is concerned.  25% of the population is either diabetic or sitting on it’s doorstep.  85% of all people are taking at least one prescription drug (this includes children).  14% of adults between the ages of 45-64 are Diabetic.  One in two will end up with cancer at some point in their lifetime.  22% of women between the ages of 45-64 are taking antidepressant drugs.  In the middle of the last decade, antidepressant med usage has more than QUADRUPLED in every age group of women compared to previous stats during 1988-2004.  Approximately 90% of the population is dealing with increased oxidative stress (stress at the cell level).  And perhaps the worst statistic of them all – between 2007 and 2008 nearly 20% of children between the ages of 6-11 are obese.  These are the individuals who will be tasked with leading the world in future generations and they are sick and diseased by the time they are out of grade school!  I can assure you this number has not improved in the last 5 years.  And people still have the nerve to call this system “healthcare”?  Are you kidding me?
 
It is very clear that the current model of “healthcare” is not related to health in any way. Physicians in the medical “merry-go-round” are not trained to help you create a better state of health.  Rather, they are trained in the treatment of symptoms, disease care, and the use of drugs, surgery and pathological diagnostics.  (And yes, that can and does have a place.)  The “modus operandi” is…symptoms, diagnosis, and then treatment, which is likely to be a prescription drug of some kind, a surgical procedure, or referral for additional testing –which may not actually be necessary.  
 
A Radical Alternative
What would happen if we began educating people about what it really takes to create a happy, healthy body from a very young age?  What if we could arm ourselves with enough information about health and how the body actually works so that we might not ever need to see a physician?  What if the importance of breath and movement were taught early in life?  What if we were all taught at least the basics of how to actually till the Earth to produce nutritious foodstuff?  What if proper movement and development of the locomotor system were taught and implemented from infancy?  What if we were to emphasize personal and spiritual evolution over external competition?  What if children were taught how to care for the body-mind instead of being placed in front of a television that programs them for disease and illness (simply observe the majority of television commercials on a children’s channel).  I realize that all of that seems a bit radical, and I am not suggesting that we do away with Western medicine – what I am suggesting is that before we subject ourselves to a battery of tests and unnecessary drug use, why not learn to do the things required of a happy, healthy body to begin with.  Then and only then, if those methods prove unsuccessful, do we seek out the council of someone trained in pathology and symptom treatment.
 
Of course, people are going to blast me – I have grown used to that – for suggesting such a bombastic idea.  Admittedly, this mentality is likely only to be embraced by but a few who are willing to step off of the medical “merry-go-round” and actually take responsibility for everything s/he creates in their Life.  Being truly healthy is about taking ownership of your Self.  The ability to replace the need for a primary care physician is not even a remote possibility if we are unwilling to examine the thought processes around health with which we have been conditioned / programmed.  To create abundant health, there must be an intense, INTRINSIC desire for change and transformation, as well as an innate desire to learn about what health really is and what it takes to create it.
 
Sources / Recommended Reading & Study:
1.      Biologists in Search of Material: An Interim Report on the Work of the Pioneer Health Centre Peckham
2.      The Medical Mafia: How to Get Out of It Alive and Take Back Our Health and Wealth by Guylaine Lanctot
3.      Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDlH9sV0lHU
4.      The Creation of Health by Caroline Myss, PhD
5.      Medical Intuition: Your Awakening to Wholeness by C. Norm Shealy, M.D., PhD

My Case Against ALL Diets

Pretty much all diets are worthless.  There, it has been said.  Now take a moment and re-read the previous two sentences.  If one were to actually look at all of the commercially available diets out there, over 600 diets and counting, it is easy to see that all of these approaches sacrifice long-term health for a perceived short-term benefit (weight loss, “cleansing,” etc.).  This is no way to foster health and well being.  In fact, the “diet” industry may be one of the most destructive forces opposing the creation of health today.  Many of these diets call for calorie restriction of some kind for at least a short period of time. 
 
Consider this when using the ever-popular calorie cutting model to achieve your weight loss goals, which by the way, has little or nothing to do with actual health:  Within 24 hours of going on a low calorie diet, which is defined as eating less than 1800-2000 calories per day (according to the World Health Organization), you immediately deplete your brain chemistry and have been shown to increase fat storing (lipogenic) enzymes in the body.  This is particularly important for females who already have 3 times the amount of fat storing (lipolytic) enzymes as fat burning ones.  Any changes in brain chemistry will lead to cravings. Low calorie dieting is especially damaging for anyone with a history of depression, anxiety, eating disorders or alcoholism.  Remember, all of this occurs after a single day.  Why set yourself up for failure by depleting your brain chemistry?  Anyone with a history of chronic yo-yo dieting or long-term use of most medications is most certainly going to have severe issues with their physiology, including but not limited to, altered energy production, nutritional deficiencies, and so on.
 
Let me also state for the record that I am not making fun of or attacking the individuals that adhere to any given “diet” – Paleo, vegan, Blood Type, or otherwise.  As you will see, I am equally unimpressed with any of the mainstream, fad approaches to nutrition.  What would be most beneficial to humanity at this point, where food is concerned, is a total shift in consciousness around the terms “health” and “healthy” and what those words actually mean.  What is under scrutiny here is the very concept of a gimmick approach to nutrition and health as a whole.    
 
It seems like I can hardly go a single day without someone asking me about my thoughts on the “Paleo” diet, or the “Dukan” diet, or the “Hollywood Cookie Diet,” etc.  Every presentation I give where I speak about any nutritional or health related topic, as soon as the floor opens for questions I know what the first one will be, “Do you like the “Paleo” diet?,” or “Is the “Gluten Free” diet as good as they say it is?”  “What about the Blood Type diet – does that work?” 
 
Spin, Spin, and More Spin
Every diet book or approach out there is bound to have some spin on it.  All of the authors are very cleaver at marketing their approach as the latest and greatest thing since sliced bread (I personally think sliced bread is not necessarily a good thing, but you get the idea).  A more than clear example of this is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.  First off, if memory serves me correctly the actual study was titled “Mortality, Biochemistry, Diet, and Lifestyle in Rural China” and was about 890 pages worth of observation and documentation.  However, in the book The China Study, Campbell chose only to reveal, out of the 100,000 statistical associations documented, the ones that were in line with and supported his vegan beliefs.  I am not picking on The China Study (okay maybe I am just a little) but this kind of thing happens everywhere you look where supposed ‘research’ is concerned – especially the popular stuff that makes it to your television, news stand, book store, or favorite day-time talk show.  You might find it interesting to know that wheat flour actually had a higher correlation to heart disease than red meat did based on the ‘China Study.’  Where was that in the book?  I must have missed that chapter.  The same thing can be said for the recent observational study from Harvard in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrating a correlation between red meat and early death.  They forgot to mention a host of other factors and left out the part that showed that those with the highest cholesterol levels actually lived longer than those with lower cholesterol levels (by far not the first study to document such a thing) – but hey, who is going to come out and say that, right! 
 
In addition, just about every dietary strategy tends to be modified to fit some gimmicky way of eating (as if the diet itself was not gimmicky enough).  Paleo is a great example.   I have worked with vegetarian Paleos, raw food Paleos, fruititarian Paleos, sugar-free Paleos, Monday-through-Friday Paleos, face-East-50%-of-the-time Paleos, and on and on the list goes.  It’s sort of annoying to be honest with you.  Everyone is putting some sort of spin on the Paleo approach, and many other so-called “healthy” nutritional approaches to try to create their own cult following or cash in on the dieting frenzy of today.  For me…all of this nonsense begs one question; “What is the optimal objective of any approach to diet/nutrition?”, “Paleo” or otherwise, and, an even better question, “Is it really healthy?”
 
 
A Slight Throwback
Back in the day, particularly say prior to the Second World War, there were actually large groups of people who managed to survive without gimmicky diet approaches and live very healthy, free from modern disease, etc., by simply eating whole, real food.  I know, that sounds ridiculous, right?  Long before fad diets, like the Paleo approach, people ate foods free from chemicals, fertilizers, fillers, stabilizers, emulsifiers, colorings, additives, preservatives, and dyes.  Imagine that.  This of course was before commercial agriculture and food giants decided to take over the food supply.  People did seemingly unthinkable things like eating animals that were raised appropriately off of a diet of grass, drank raw milk (oh the horror!), and regularly consumed fresh fruits and vegetables often grown locally, if not right in the back yard!   
 
If one were so inclined to study the research of people like Weston A. Price, DDS, Francis M. Pottenger, M.D., Major General Sir Robert McCarrison, M.D. – and there are MANY others, one could easily determine what the creation of health looks like.  Price studied some of the healthiest populations all over the world in the 1930’s – 14 different cultures if I remember correctly.  In all cases, the tribes were incredibly healthy and free from chronic, degenerative disease of any kind.  Many of them had no native word for “cancer.”  These people just knew how to be healthy.  Pottenger and McCarrison extensively studied the effects of food on health and disease with tremendous precision (Pottenger used cats and McCarrison used rats respectively).  A quick glance at the Peckham Experiment and also the work of Lady Eve Balfour (the Haughley Experiment) will clearly demonstrate what happens when real food is the primary energy source in one’s “diet.”  The healthiest populations on the planet did not require a University dietetics degree to know what to eat, no schooling on how to farm land appropriately, etc.  Being healthy was just the way of Life.
 
Fast forward to today – things are a bit….different.  We have added over 10,000 man-made chemicals to our food supply in the last 100 years, many of which have never been tested for safety in any quantity.   Humanity has sat idly by while the ecosystem and soil that provides the very fabric of health and Life is raped by big Agriculture and Food Giants like Monsanto. If you think I am “off my rocker” I would invite you to read the books listed below in the Recommended Reading list and then formulate a more informed opinion.     
 
Along with the industrialization of agriculture came “bought and paid for,” made-up, garbage science that told people to stop consuming the foods which have been eaten for thousands of years by the healthiest populations on the planet (i.e.- saturated fats), and start consuming foods that were never meant to be eaten by any intelligent animal – synthetic fats in the form of hydrogenated vegetable oils (there are countless other examples here, but you get the idea).  As a society, we no longer eat real food.  Rather, we eat a bunch of things that masquerade as food that are calorically dense and completely devoid of any real nutrition.  Day after day passes by as the average person continues to use his/her stomach as a garbage can.  The results?  We spend the greatest percentage of GDP amongst industrialized nations on so-called “health care”… AND we are fatter, sicker, and more diseased than ever before in human history – period.   
 
 
Redefining What is Healthy
For me, perhaps the greatest thing the “Paleo” or “Primal” approaches have done is to actually attempt to get people to think about how we made it this far throughout the course of human evolution.  It has people wondering just what did we eat “back in the day” and how does that compare to the way we eat today.  This is a huge contribution and offering of these systems.  But, does that make it, or any other gimmick approach to nutrition, healthy per se?
 
The way that I personally define health – in the case of food – is to determine whether a given food actually supports human physiology.  By human physiology, I mean –does the food you are eating support cellular energy production (efficient oxidative metabolism), and does it favor the body’s regenerative processes over inflammation and degeneration?  The cell is the fundamental unit of Life, so, the question of health really comes down to supporting effective and efficient oxidative metabolism at the cell level (cellular respiration).  As Ray Peat, PhD, has stated, “The ideal therapy is one which restores the cellular energy thoroughly, so the organism regains its full capacity to adapt, and seeks appropriate stimulation.”  Applying this statement would contribute significantly to a much needed shift in human consciousness around food and health in general.   
 
In order for an individual to create such an internal environment which favors the creation of health, that individual will have to call into question just about all of their inherited beliefs about what food and health is really about – regardless of what the latest dietary trend might be saying.  Going “Paleo” or “Dukan” or “Skinny Bitch” may indeed represent something healthier than what you were doing (like living off a steady diet of candy, soda, coffee, and string cheese), but that in and of itself does not make something inherently healthy in any real sense of the term.  When I have a client tell me that s/he has been eating “insert gimmick approach here” for the last X number of months or years, I always say the same thing, “Let me see your food logs and what you currently do on a day-to-day basis and we will go from there.”  I say this because in my experience every single person has, in one way or another, placed their own “spin” on what the “gimmick” was originally intended to be.  The result is, typically, an individual with a super stressed physiology and a very damaged metabolism.  Just because a food item fits into a certain model or “diet” approach does not make it healthy.  Further, just because a food is edible does not mean that we, as human beings, have any business eating it on a regular basis.   We should look at the cell and its ability to produce energy efficiently as a guide for health and nutrition, not “so-and-so’s” latest book or what the Hollywood Stars are doing. 
 
Conclusion
Call it what you want but it should not need to be called anything – to place a name on what you are doing nutritionally is a faulty process unto itself.  In actuality, there is no name for any given diet.  The word diet itself should be completely stricken from our vocabulary at this point.  It is such a poverty stricken word that has far too many negative associations.  For many, it creates or adds to poor self-esteem and self-concept issues.  What DOES exist is simply the individual’s relationship to his/her food, and the knowledge that person has or does not have about how a given food item affects his or her physiology on a moment to moment, short term, and long term basis – to foster health and regeneration or propagate degeneration and disease.  There are very simple and effective methods to determine if what you are eating is beneficial or detrimental to your physiology.  Armed with nothing more than a thermometer and some pretty simple blood labs, you can easily determine the health benefit of any eating strategy over the course of time.  My experience has been that anyone utilizing any of the current diet gimmicks available today, no matter how well-intended their efforts may be, is not doing their physiology / metabolism any favors in the long run.    
 
 
Brandon J. Alleman has a private nutritional consulting practice. He works with clients locally, nationally, and internationally. Please contact him today to learn about his nutritional consulting services and programs that are offered to engaged members and clients only.
 
 
Recommended Reading & Study: 
      1.      Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price
      2.      www.westonaprice.org and www.ppnf.org
      3.      Empty Harvest by Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson
      4.      The Textbook of Medical Physiology by Arthur C. Guyton, M.D.
      5.      Human Physiology and Mechanisms of Disease, 6e by Arthur C. Guyton, M.D.
      6.      Endocrine Physiology by Constance Martin, PhD
      7.      Beating the Food Giants by Paul A. Stitt

      8.    Biologists in Search of Material: Findings of the Pioneer Health Centre Peckham (Peckham Experiment)

Food Cravings – What’s Really Going On

How many people do you know that experience food cravings?  What types of cravings do you experience on a regular basis? Sugar, salt, ice cream, breads, cheese cake (had to throw that in there)…
Now, do not get things twisted from the start …the occasional craving – say once per month – is nothing to be all that concerned about in my eyes.  It is when these cravings become habitual and recurring (say weekly or even daily for some) that there is any issue.  It is also important to be able to distinguish a craving from a want.
While most of us crave foods with some regularity, very few understand all of the mechanisms behind these cravings and what physiologically can lead to these cravings. Understanding this may assist you in curbing your cravings, so here we go.In my experience, eliminating food cravings is simply a matter of effectively regulating your blood sugar throughout the day and night.  Now, since there is scarcely any process in the body that does not affect blood sugar in some way, here are some of the most common reasons I see that clients are experiencing food cravings (in no particular order, and please note that this is NOT a complete list by any stretch of the imagination):

1. Poor Food Choices, Ratios, and Meal Frequency:
This is not just simply based on the consumption of poor quality foods containing synthetic forms of sugar and cocktails of other chemical poisons.  Of course, terrible foods will result in blood sugar levels that are riding the proverbial roller coaster throughout a given day.  This is pretty well-known even to the uninformed reader.
Often poor blood sugar control is blamed on eating foods that are “high glycemic.”  This, in my opinion is incredibly short-sighted (and quite honestly, really gets under my skin at this point).  As I see it, it has more to do with poor food combination and macronutrient ratios rather than simply blaming everything on a “high glycemic” foodstuff.  Consuming a “high glycemic” food, such as a white potato (GI of around 98 depending on who you read) alone, to the exclusion of proteins and fats can and will certainly lead to a blood sugar control issue.  Blood sugar will no doubt spike, then fall, and you will soon be riding the insulin-cortisol see-saw.  However, consuming that potato with say some buffalo, a little bone broth, and some real butter, the blood sugar roller coaster can be totally avoided.  The amounts of those foods that should be eaten in a given meal are of course, individual specific.  My point is that blood sugar control issues are not always about poor food choices.  Certainly, stuffing your face with things that an intelligent animal would not eat will lead to blood sugar issues.  Having said that, making statements like “potatoes are bad because they are ‘high glycemic’ and will mess up your blood sugar,” must be placed into context.  What else is consumed with the potato?  How much potato (and feel free to insert your “high glycemic” carbohydrate of choice here) is consumed in relation to proteins and fats?  These are factors that must be considered before we hastily throw out tons of beneficial foods unnecessarily solely based on a “high” Glycemic Index.  On a side note, the GI is pretty much worthless anyway.  What is likely more important is the Insulin Index and overall Glycemic Load of a given food (rate of appearance and rate of disappearance of glucose from the blood stream).
As well, the other issue that tends to go hand and hand with macronutrient combining is meal frequency.  This is a HUGE problem for the vast majority of clients I have ever coached and consulted.  Eating smaller, more frequent meals is a much better option if you are trying to rid yourself of food cravings.  Again, macronutrient combining is critical in this process as well because eating smaller, more frequent meals that have the wrong ratio of macronutrients for your physiology will not help much, if at all.
 
2. Chemical dependency:
Let’s say that someone decides to repeatedly “treat” themselves with a bowl of Neapolitan ice cream.  Unless the ice cream is made at home, from scratch, with no artificial ingredients, the ice cream is going to be loaded with all sorts of chemicals and several dyes.  These chemicals require specialized enzymes for detoxification, which the liver will manufacture in response to their consumption.  If this behavior continues for as little as 7 days, the liver can become accustomed to the production of these specialized enzymes needed for the detoxification of Neapolitan ice cream. Believe it or not, if the ice cream is consumed at roughly the same time each day, the timing of the enzyme production can be entrained into the liver!  So, when that day comes and you decide to stop eating your Neapolitan ice cream (probably after becoming a little soggier around the midsection), your liver can start to produce the specialized enzymes it has become accustomed to producing and send a signal to the brain that says, “Hey, where the hell is my Neapolitan ice cream!?”  This will lead to a craving.  There are many connections and mechanisms that involve the gut, liver, and the brain that can lead to food cravings.  One can refer to the work of physician, allergist, and researcher Theron Randolph for much greater detail on this topic and others.
3. Poor Liver Function:
Many people are unaware of the role that the liver plays in regulating blood sugar; they simply assume that the liver is only an organ of detoxification.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As we discussed in number 1 above, poor blood sugar regulation is a primary source of cravings.  The physiological fact here is that the liver receives much of its blood supply directly from the GI tract.  This occurs through the portal vessels which drain the small intestine (a primary site for glucose absorption) and other related visceral organs.  After consuming a meal, particularly if the meal is rich in carbohydrate, the blood will reach the liver before it enters general circulation.  In this capacity, the liver functions to “buffer” blood sugar levels to prevent them from being overly excessive following any given meal.
The liver can take this influx of glucose and convert it into glycogen (the storage form) and store it for later need if blood glucose concentration were to drop below normal.  When blood glucose levels begin to drop, say because of going too long in between meals, the liver glycogen goes through a couple of conversions to form free glucose which is released into the blood to bring blood glucose concentrations up to an optimal level.  It is important to keep in mind that this process requires vitamin B6 (estrogen is a B6 waster) as well, so deficiencies in this vitamin can also lead to blood sugar handling issues.
The issue is that for many people, the liver does not do a very good job of storing glycogen, again, typically due to poor food choices, poor macronutrient ratios, and less than optimal meal frequency.  When this is the case, the “buffer” effect of the liver on elevated blood sugar levels is compromised and blood sugar concentrations will rise to a greater degree following meals.  A spike in blood sugar will lead to increased serum levels of insulin and many other hormones that insulin is known to synergize with.  Here again, the individual in question is likely to suffer from dysglycemia – possibly presenting with the symptoms of hyper and hypoglycemia at the exact same time.  For more information on the role of the liver in blood sugar control, you are invited to look at Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology and Constance Martin. PhD’s, book Textbook of Endocrine Physiology.
4. Poor Saturated to Unsaturated Fat Ratio in the Diet:
The primary issue here is the prevalence of poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs) in one’s diet, and quite frankly, the lack of high-quality saturated fats.  Unsaturated fats in the form of PUFAs actually prevent glucose from entering a cell to be utilized for energy production.  This can, and does, lead to all sorts of energy production and blood sugar control issues.  As well, PUFAs have been shown to damage the beta cells of the pancreas, which can further lead to blood sugar handling issues.  Over consuming grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and many above-ground vegetables often create more problems than they solve, as these foods have unfavorable saturated to unsaturated fat ratios.  PUFAs also hyperstimulate the beta cells of the pancreas thus increasing insulin and can lower blood glucose levels which can exacerbate existing blood sugar control issues and lead to more cravings.  PUFAs also favor the biological actions of estrogen by freeing estrogen from sex-hormone binding globulins (SHBGs), and wastes glucose in the body – again, leading to blood sugar control issues, amongst many other things.  The good news is that high quality saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil can help detoxify PUFAs in the body and improve energy production.  For a more comprehensive review of the detrimental aspects of PUFAs and unsaturated fats on human physiology, you are invited to spend a few years reviewing the work of PJ Randle, Ray Peat, PhD, etc.  As well, The Metabolic Blueprint Program from East West Healing & Performance does a masterful job of condensing this information into easy and understandable terms.
5. Poor Thyroid Function
The thyroid is the master gland of metabolism.  While nothing works in isolation in the human body, I place a huge emphasis on restoring optimal thyroid function for anyone suffering from chronic food cravings (or any other health ailment for that matter).  Thyroid, namely T3, is necessary for optimal cellular respiration and the optimal utilization of glucose at the cell level.  This is also crucial for maintaining optimal blood sugar levels and avoiding food cravings.  The thyroid activates over 100 different cellular enzymes impacting a number of cellular functions.  Pretty much every metabolic process in the body is impacted in some way, shape, form, or fashion, by the thyroid and its hormones (T2, T3, T4, and rT3).  The thyroid regulates the utilization of the body’s primary fuel source – glucose.  Therefore, anything affecting the thyroid gland’s ability to function optimally, will impact glucose utilization.  Altered glucose utilization will lead to activation of the stress response, altered blood sugar levels, and an increased likelihood of food cravings (amongst other things).
Interestingly enough, numbers 1-4 above can all have a negative impact on the function of the thyroid, further contributing to dysglycemia and an increased proclivity for food cravings.  Additional factors that will negatively affect the thyroid, create blood sugar disturbances, and contribute to food cravings include but are not limited to:
 
a. Hormonal Imbalance
Anyone with thyroid issues will have hormonal imbalance and vice versa.  Typically this is the result of estrogen dominance and/or progesterone deficiencies.  Estrogen can affect the binding sites of T4 and make them unavailable to T3, thus lowering T3 concentrations.  Interestingly, thyroid is necessary for the liver to be able to effectively detoxify estrogen.  Thus, when one is estrogen dominant/progesterone deficient, estrogen not only inhibits optimal thyroid function but it is at one and the same time allowed to accumulate due to the liver’s handicapped ability to detoxify it.  This is a viscous cycle that creates lots of energy production and hormonal problems long-term.
 
b. Protein Deficiency
The liver also requires protein to detoxify estrogen.  Without adequate amounts, estrogen will be allowed to accumulate, down-regulate thyroid function, and you are on the merry-go-round again…getting dizzy yet?
 
c.  Fasting
It is no surprise that during fasted states the body will resort to breaking down musculoskeletal tissue for energy production (once the liver’s glycogen stores are used up, of course).  Some amino acids that are released during tissue catabolism – tryptophan, cysteine, and methionine) have thyroid suppressing properties in excess.
 
d. Nutritional Deficiency
The thyroid depends on many nutrients for optimal function and conversion of its hormones – zinc, copper, vitamin A, B2, B6, and vitamin C, magnesium, iodine, selenium, glucose and manganese deficiencies will decrease thyroid function in one way or another.
 
e. Endotoxicity
Endotoxin, or LPS as it is clinically known (think of it as the fecal matter of certain gut bacteria, I know….sexy, right?), can increase estrogen in the body of both males and females by up to 5x’s, thereby magnifying the thyroid suppressing and glucose wasting properties of estrogen.  Endotoxin is also implicated in many auto-immune conditions, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
f.  Poor GI Health and Function
According to some experts, up to 10-20% of thyroid hormone conversion depends on optimal microfloral balance in the gut.  Disturbed floral balance decreases thyroid function.  As well, dysfunctional digestion, malabsorption, and increased intestinal mucosa permeability (leaky gut) issues, create hormonal cascades that ultimately hamper blood sugar regulation, immune function, as well as endocrine health and balance.
6. Possible Fungal and/or Parasitic Infection
In addition to negatively impacting digestion, absorption, etc. (see “f” above), these “bugs” can easily create cravings for all sorts of foodstuffs, typically the foods that are of poor quality and loaded with synthetic sugars.  There are many theories about how to eliminate these “bugs” if one has been diagnosed with such an infection.  Drugs, herbs, special diets, etc. have all been written about extensively by a great number of experts.  Details are beyond the scope of this article, but perhaps a future article can be done specifically on this topic.
As you can see, food cravings go way beyond eating too many “high glycemic” carbohydrates.  Does that play a role?  It certainly can, but to be honest, I am tired of seeing everyone say, write, blog, post, etc. about the “evils” of “high glycemic” carbohydrates and sugar without supplying context for their statements.
So…to get off the blood sugar roller coaster and food craving cycle, what should you do?
 
 
1.    Increase Your Meal Frequency
I would recommend starting with improving your meal frequency.  A general rule of thumb (and I am typically against giving those) is to do your very best not to go longer than 4 hours without eating.  Even a well balanced meal proportioned for an individual’s physiology will typically only maintain healthy blood sugar levels for around 4 hours. Some people must eat much more frequently than that.  Meal frequency, like everything else in the nutritional world, is very much individual specific.
                
2.  Improve Macronutrient Proportions
This takes time and a lot of attention to detail.  Learn to proportion the “right” foods for your physiology to sustain optimal blood sugar regulation to avoid cravings due to severe blood sugar swings.  Be sure to always have carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at all meals and snacks.
           
3.  Eliminate foods that are difficult to digest
Grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and many fibrous vegetables (unless cooked very thoroughly) are best avoided if you suffer from regular food cravings in my experience.
4.  Increase your intake of easy to digest foods
Tropical fruits, root vegetables, broths, etc.  Some people have a lot of trouble with protein digestion and putrification.  The use of bone and meat broths, as well as gelatin can come in very handy here.
5.  Breathe Deeply
For those with digestive difficulty, in addition to the above, I would recommend taking no less than 5 minutes prior to every meal and focus solely on deep diaphragmatic (belly) breathing.  This can put you in a more peaceful place before you eat and ease the load on the digestive system.
Of course, I recommend that anyone suffering from acute or chronic food cravings look into my Food First Program.  In this program, I teach my clients how to effectively and efficiently create a nutrition plan that works for their physiology and optimizes their metabolism.  This is solely based on the individual in question and the metabolic demands placed on his/her body daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Everything in this article and MUCH more is considered and the client is educated on how to effectively use FOOD to create the highest quality state of health that it attainable.
Thank you so much for reading this article.  It is my hope that you found at least one useful piece of information in it.  As always, take what is useful and discard the rest.  Questions, comments, social media “Likes” and “Shares” are always appreciated.
Recommended Reading/Study:
       1.  Anything and Everything written by Ray Peat, PhD – newsletters,                   articles, books, and interviews (www.raypeat.com)
       2.  Guyton’s textbook of Medical Physiology, 7th Edition – just happens to             be the edition that I have in my library – I am sure they are all great
       3.  Textbook of Endocrine Physiology by Constance Martin, PhD
       4.  Hope for Hypoglycemia by Broda O. Barnes, M.D., PhD
       5.  Hypothyroidism: An Unsuspected Illness by Broda O. Barnes, Md. PhD
       6.  The Metabolic Blueprint Program (www.eastwesthealing.com)
       7.  Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms when My Lab Tests are Normal             by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS

8.  The work of Dr. John Lee, M.D.