The most common thing I hear in the weeks after Easter is, “I ate too much chocolate!” It's something almost all of us have been guilty of a time or two. If you are feeling like you indulged too much this Easter and are concerned about the potential for further chocolate binges, this week’s column is for you. In this article we will talk about the most important ways to reduce chocolate cravings and prevent yourself from becoming sick of chocolate.
Tip 1 – Spread It Out
I am a firm believer in moderation and balance. I believe you can enjoy your treats 10-20% of the time if 80-90% of the time you follow a healthy plan. This is the old 80/20 rule. Most Easter chocolate has an extended shelf life so there is no hurry to gobble it up this week. Take a look at the amount of chocolate you have and plan out when you would like to enjoy it. The best way to enjoy your treats is to spread them out over time. This way you can look forward to a little bit of a treat over a longer period of time, rather than a whole lot of chocolate that will leave you with a belly ache.
Tip 2 – Out of Site, Out of Mind
In conjunction with spreading your consumption of Easter treats out over the next few weeks or months it is often helpful to put the treats away where you do not have easy access to them. The more effort it takes to get a snack the less likely you are to actually go and get it. If you carry your treats in your jacket, purse, car, or leave them in a bowl on the table you are putting temptation too close. Keep the stockpile of chocolate out of your view, out of reach, and they will more likely stay out of your mind. And, if they don’t stay out of your mind, at least the thought of getting a step ladder to get them out of a locked pantry shelf may prevent you from actually going to get them.
Tip 3 – Eat Preventatively
You may be thinking that the first 2 tips sound great but they are essentially ways to address willpower. What about something that may actually help my physiology? The most important way to impact your cravings is by “eating preventatively”. What I mean by this is a strategy of eating through the day that successfully decreases your desire for sweet “pick me ups”.
Eating preventatively involves eating a meal or snack every 2-4 hours. Each of these meals or snacks contains an appropriate amount and type of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This strategy is designed to prevent blood sugar fluctuations that lead to cravings. When your blood sugar drops because you ate too much refined carbohydrates or because it’s been too long since your last meal/snack your body has built in mechanisms to cause cravings for sugar.
Our brains run off of sugar and when our blood sugar goes too low our bodies shift into what is called gluconeogenesis. This literally means to create new sugar, and this new sugar comes from your body’s protein structures like bone, muscle, and connective tissue. Think about the timing of when you crave sugary chocolaty treats. Is it when you’ve just eaten a balanced meal or is it when your blood sugar has dropped due to some sort of less than ideal dietary habit.
Easter and Halloween have a lot in common when it comes to the availability of chocolate and treats. Enjoy the bounty you received this year but do your best to follow these 3 tips so you look back with fond memories to the treats you enjoyed rather than looking back with horror about the stomach aches you endured.
Diabetic neuropathy is a symptom that many people with either Type I or Type II diabetes will face. In fact, roughly half of all diabetics will develop nerve damage causing symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy results as a consequence of damage to nerves caused by periods of high blood sugar. The high blood sugar results in the formation of advanced glycosylated end products (AGEs), which physically damage the nerves. The high blood sugar also decreases circulation, which results in poor healing and recovery in nerves.
Diabetic neuropathy can affect any nerve in the body. It most commonly affects nerves in the periphery of the body first like in the hands, fingers, feet, and toes. However, it also commonly affects nerves in the abdominal organs like the intestines, kidney, and liver. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy largely depend on the nerves affected by the condition. For example, nerve damage to sensory nerves in the foot typically cause numbness and tingling in the foot and toes. Whereas, nerve damage in the intestines may cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or feeling full after relatively small amounts of food.
The diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy typically results from the presence of signs and symptoms of nerve damage for those who also have diabetes. The symptoms may include numbness, tingling, burning pain, indigestion, heartburn, feeling full after small meals, sporadic blood pressure readings, dizziness, and erectile dysfunction, The diagnosis may also be based on tests like reflex testing, nerve conduction velocity testing, or electromyogram.
Just about every physician agrees that the most important treatment for diabetic neuropathy is keeping your blood sugar in a stable and healthy range. This helps prevent further damage to the nerves. Therefore, optimal dietary habits are of the utmost importance. However, what can you do once the nerves have been damaged? Is there a way to regenerate nerves?
Unfortunately, the conventional approach to treating revolves around managing symptoms with medications as opposed to focusing on treatments that may regenerate damaged nerves. Medications like Lyrica, antidepressants, narcotics, and NSAIDs are often prescribed to treat pain caused by diabetic neuropathy. Often other medications are prescribed to deal with the other symptoms. For example, Viagra may be prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction.
Fortunately, there is a treatment that can help regenerate nerves that have been damaged by the processes of diabetic neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid is an amino acid that can be used intravenously to regenerate nerves. You may recognize alpha lipoic acid from your multivitamin or antioxidant supplement. In recent years it has shown to be a very valuable antioxidant nutrient and has many benefits in the body by reducing oxidative stress. However, it can be used intravenously for the purpose of nerve regeneration to treat diabetic neuropathy.
Several clinical trials have shown intravenous alpha lipoic acid (IV ALA) to have a significant regenerative capacity to nerves affected by diabetic neuropathy. Many studies show IV ALA to have both a short term and long term positive outcome with a variety symptoms resulting from diabetic neuropathy.
I typically use intravenous alpha lipoic acid in dosages of 600-1800mg 1-3 times per week for 10-20 sessions and then decrease the frequency according to the patient’s response. Many Naturopathic physicians and Medical doctors in North America are licensed and trained to use IV ALA to treat diabetic neuropathy. If you are suffering from the consequences of diabetic neuropathy I would encourage you to discuss your case with a physician who offers IV ALA to see if you may be benefit treatment.
A patient recently emailed a question about food combining to me. He recently purchased a food processor and started making various types of smoothies. As he was looking for different recipes and background information on smoothies he stumbled upon the idea that combining fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats may not always be the best idea. He wanted to know if he should mix any or all of these nutrients in his shakes.
Food combining is the concept of avoiding difficult food combinations in order to ease the work of your digestive system. Different foods will be broken down in the stomach and intestines at various rates. For some people at certain points in life it is a good idea to avoid combining foods with different digestion rates. Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramps can all be signs of indigestion from poor food combinations.
Food combining is more of an issue with fruits and other carbohydrates like bread/pasta or proteins like meat when you are eating meals. Fruits move through the stomach in 20-30 minutes while most carbs and proteins move through in 30-60 minutes. This can cause various digestive symptoms for some people. This is why many people will feel better if they avoid fruit with meals and avoid combining meats with starches.
When it comes to smoothies however, fruits, veggies, protein powder, essential fatty acids and seeds blended together should move through the stomach and into the intestines for digestion and absorption in about the same amount of time. For most people, there shouldn't be a problem with smoothies because everything is pre-digested from the blending. It's good to mix fruit, veggies, protein powder, flax seeds in the smoothie to create a balanced meal/snack.
To learn more about Dr. Brent Barlow or to schedule a consultation contact him at [email protected] or 250-448-5610.
April is a very popular time for people to start a detoxification program. With the winter weather behind us and the summer season just around the corner, now is a good time to cleanse the body. In this article we will look at the ins and outs of detoxification and learn about the most important aspects of a successful detox program.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification can be defined as the removal of the unwanted from the body. The unwanted or toxic substances can be from the external environment, internal environment of the body, or in the mental-emotional system.
External toxins include chemicals like pesticides, food additives, plastics, heavy metals, BPA, Parabins, Phalates, and other molecules from industrial products. Internal toxins include metabolic waste products naturally produced in the body that need to be removed. These include substances like lactic acid, uric acid, carbon dioxide, and free radicals. Mental-emotional toxins include thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions that no longer serve us benefit and create dis-ease within the body.
Toxins act as obstacles to optimal health by creating increased work for the body and preventing optimal cellular metabolism. For example, mercury actually displaces minerals like magnesium within several enzymes and thus prevents proper cellular energy production. Toxins are primarily stored in fat and organ tissue and disrupt hormone, neurotransmitter, and energy production and often lead weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
How Do We Detoxify?
The body is constantly detoxifying on a millisecond by millisecond basis at a cellular level. These cellular toxins are pumped into the extracellular environment where they are picked up by white blood cells. They then travel through the lymphatic system, venous system, and arteries to the organs of elimination like the liver, kidneys, lungs, bowels, skin, and mucus membranes for removal from the body.
What are the Most Important Aspects of Detoxification?
A successful detoxification program should decrease exposure to toxins, support all of the organs of elimination, and promote optimal nutrition throughout. Unfortunately, many cleanses and detox programs focus primarily on herbal laxatives and neglect many of the organs of elimination and optimal nutrition.
A successful detox program should also be tailored to the individual characteristics of each person. This should take into account the goals of the individual, sources of exposure, types of toxins acquired, and the health status of the individual organs of elimination. For example, a mechanic who has been exposed to petrochemicals on their skin and through their lungs will require a different approach than an office worker who has recently started a weight loss program.
What is Dr. Barlow’s Approach?
My approach focuses on individualized detoxification programs designed to decrease toxin exposure, support the organs of elimination, and promote optimal nutrition. I utilize advanced natural therapies like biotherapeutic drainage, intravenous nutrient infusions, neural therapy, exercise programs, acupuncture, and oral supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and botanical medicines. For more information on my detoxification programs you can contact me at the Kelowna Wellness Clinic at 250-448-5610 or visit my website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com
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