Cooking Class with Chef Sheila Polemka

Last night was heaven. 10 of us from Mountain Health Functional Medicine were entertained and fed by Billings’s own Chef Sheila Polemka. She taught great recipes for kale chips, mushroom and squash soup, cauliflower with capers, and a fantastic chicken breast!

Very healthy, very simple, very doable at home.

Thanks Sheila!IMG_0299

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Wine & Hormones in Missoula, MT

Wine & Hormones at the Montana Winery in Missoula, MT on Thursday, 26 May at 7PM

Come join me for a seminar on Bio-Identical Hormones.

Do you –
Experience a low libido? Sex drive is not where you would like it?
Feel run down all the time, having no get up and go?
Having trouble with brain fog, simply not remembering all the little things you used to remember?
Got that belly fat you simply cannot shed?

Then come learn the benefits of Bio-Identical Hormone Optimization. Not only will you feel better, but you will gain added protection from heart disease, strokes, dementia, and osteoporosis.

Join us. It will be a fun night. Call for your reservations – 406-969-6310!

Four Weeks to a New Life

What can occur in four weeks?  The time from one full moon to the next?  A lot can change with your health.  And it really is not so hard to do.

 

Read on about changing what you eat over the next month.  Be ready for the 4th of July, or so.

 

Again, let me know your thoughts.

No Diet, Just Good Food

 

The fat loaf of supposedly healthy whole grain bread is staring at me like a baked temptress, calling out for the soft grass-fed butter to join her in luring me back. It’s just my first day of a new eating regime, and I’m already weak in the knees. It appears I have the discipline of Cookie Monster at Mrs. Fields. Later on in the evening after dinner, I’ll pine for a wedge of dark chocolate and a dram (or three) of single malt, so I have to tell myself “no” a few hours early to prepare my brain and my lips for disappointment.

 

What’s behind all this? Most of what we’re consuming as adults is killing us, at least slowly. Constantly and disproportionately bombarding ourselves with all manner of indulgences leads to both temporary bliss and long-term suffering. The problem isn’t so much that we consume alcohol, sweets, processed foods and simple carbs. It’s that we do it in ridiculous excess, like Takeru Kobayashi at a hot dog eating contest, but without the advantage of a hummingbird-like metabolism.

 

What’s most important is overall health that is realistically maintainable over a longer periods of time, rather than beating up your body with repeated changes month in and month out. In the month of February, I set out on an experiment rather than a diet. I didn’t want to be drastic; I wanted to set a basis on which a healthier nutrition plan could be maintained beyond the initial month. I was inspired by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live, in which he provides in-depth data and justification for eliminating sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods, even meat — and replacing them with high quantities of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Though I wasn’t planning on eliminating meat altogether, I would follow most of his guidelines (and cut down my meat intake).

 

I wanted to cut down on the things that cause chronic inflammation, which studies have found lead to serious illnesses: heart disease, some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. If your daily diet consists of high levels of inflammation-inducing foods like sugar, trans fats in processed and fast foods, refined grains, potatoes, pastries, and processed meats, then it’s high time you took a good look at what’s going into your pie hole.

 

First, let’s explain what I was up against. I’m six-foot-two and a relatively steady 205 to 210 pounds, and have been for the past several years. I work out a few times a week, but nothing approaching Ironman levels. Weight training, running, body weight exercises and HIIT, as well as some yoga and the occasional punishing by Tony Horton’s P90X. I’m neither the most health-conscious person nor the least, but since I got married five years ago, I’ve been better with my nutrition — no longer pulling off damaging stunts like downing full slabs of dry-rubbed barbecue ribs with a pound of fries and a Diet Coke.

 

My first week out, rather than making huge adjustments to all three meals, I started modifying breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. Prior to the experiment, my usual morning started out with a couple of slices of wheat toast, two scrambled eggs and a cup of black coffee. It’s easy and I get fiber and protein with hardly any effort, but consuming fourteen slices of bread in a week just for breakfast seems excessive. I cut out the bread and instead ate homemade oat, quinoa, apple and banana muffins (no wheat) or steel-cut oats with unsweetened soy milk, a handful of blueberries and raw walnuts. And, like every morning, I downed it all with a large cup of dark roast black coffee with no sugar or cream.

 

Week 1 felt like a mild depression, not because I had anything to be depressed about, but because my system didn’t take to the suddenness of the new routine well — it’s one thing to cut back on one ancillary item like a glass of wine at dinner, but three major “food groups” made for a bit of an onslaught. We are quite emotionally tied to food, and I felt that. All that first week, around 2:30 pm, I would crave something carb-loaded. My mood by 3:00 p.m. was crabby and irritable. I wasn’t exactly surprised by the change, but that didn’t help much. I’d grab a handful of baby carrots and try to get back to work.

 

After seven days went by, along with six pounds and two percent body fat, my mood lightened. What was once a chore just a couple of days ago started to feel like an actual means to an end. And it wasn’t just about the weight loss. I started out far less focused on weight and more on overall well-being, and things had already changed.

 

Halfway through week 2, I felt downright crisp. Mornings were more focused since I had rested well the night before. My workouts felt more productive, and recovery actually started to feel easier. Sleep was now much deeper, and I awoke far less often through the night. I was excited about my new nutritional regimen and I felt like a guy getting out of several years stuck in a lousy relationship that I didn’t have the resolve to end.

http://gearpatrol.com/2015/06/05/28-days-of-eating-right/

Genetics is the Gun …

Genetics is the gun, the environment is the trigger.

 

Just because you have certain genes inherited from the family tree, this does not make it certain “X” will happen to you.  The expression of our genetic makeup can be influenced by many factors.

 

What factors?  Well, diet and life style are two of the biggest.

 

Read on.

 

 

While you may have a family history of obesity, diabetes, heart disease or even cancer, studies on how environmental factors influence and regulate gene activity— epigenetics— suggest day-to-day choices can defy supposed genetic predispositions and fight disease.

In 2000, a groundbreaking experiment at Duke University showed the large role that nutrition plays in gene expression. Mice that carried the agouti gene were diabetic, obese, yellow-haired, and at a high risk of developing cancer. But when they were fed a diet of methyl-rich foods— those high in B-vitamins and folic acid— before and during pregnancy, their offspring were thin and brown, with the agouti gene effectively repressed.

The agouti mice experiment shows that what you eat can increase or decrease the likeliness of your children suffering from certain diseases and conditions through a process called DNA methylation. Methylation determines which genes are expressed and is crucial in modifying the activity of bad genes. An example comes from a study published by the Annals of Oncology, where it was found that high concentrations of methyl donors (the compounds that make methylation possible) in blood plasma resulted in a decreased risk of contracting cancer.

In addition to diet, research suggests stress can also impact DNA methylation. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can actually cause changes in your brain and behavior that eventually influence how your future children and grandchildren will handle stressful and social situations. Having an understanding of how nutrition and stress affect DNA may actually help prevent your family from falling victim to diseases that have plagued it for generations.

Here are a few ways to optimize the benefits of epigenetics and methylation:

Eat beans and dark greens

Methylation can’t happen without methyl, and folic acid is full of it. If you’re a mom-to-be, you want to eat foods high in folic acid like beans and dark leafy vegetables. Remember, what you eat now will affect the health of your child, as shown in this study published in Diabetes, which looked at the weight of 300 children at birth and then during childhood. Regardless of their mothers’ weight, the study showed that her diet directly affected the weight of her child.

Have some lean animal protein each day

Vitamin B6 and B12 are also essential for methylation, and lean animal products, like chicken, turkey and fish, are great sources of these vitamins. Make sure you’re having at least one to two servings per day, consisting of three to four ounces.

Track Your HRV

Because stress plays a role in which of your genes will express themselves, monitoring it is key. A way to do this is with heart rate variability (HRV) training. HRV measures the intervals between your heartbeats, and if you have a low HRV, it means your heartbeats lack variability— and you likely don’t get enough rest and relaxation time or physical activity, as these would cause your heart rate patterns to change. Low HRV is associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and heart disease. Like most things in the world, there’s an app for this! Using a heart rate monitor— either chest strap or finger sensor— that’s compatible with a smartphone app, such as Inner Balance (which I love), iThlete and SweetBeat, you can track your HRV and change your daily habits accordingly.

While you may have a family history of obesity, diabetes, heart disease or even cancer, studies on how environmental factors influence and regulate gene activity— epigenetics— suggest day-to-day choices can defy supposed genetic predispositions and fight disease.

In 2000, a groundbreaking experiment at Duke University showed the large role that nutrition plays in gene expression. Mice that carried the agouti gene were diabetic, obese, yellow-haired, and at a high risk of developing cancer. But when they were fed a diet of methyl-rich foods— those high in B-vitamins and folic acid— before and during pregnancy, their offspring were thin and brown, with the agouti gene effectively repressed.

The agouti mice experiment shows that what you eat can increase or decrease the likeliness of your children suffering from certain diseases and conditions through a process called DNA methylation. Methylation determines which genes are expressed and is crucial in modifying the activity of bad genes. An example comes from a study published by the Annals of Oncology, where it was found that high concentrations of methyl donors (the compounds that make methylation possible) in blood plasma resulted in a decreased risk of contracting cancer.

In addition to diet, research suggests stress can also impact DNA methylation. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can actually cause changes in your brain and behavior that eventually influence how your future children and grandchildren will handle stressful and social situations. Having an understanding of how nutrition and stress affect DNA may actually help prevent your family from falling victim to diseases that have plagued it for generations.

Here are a few ways to optimize the benefits of epigenetics and methylation:

Eat beans and dark greens

Methylation can’t happen without methyl, and folic acid is full of it. If you’re a mom-to-be, you want to eat foods high in folic acid like beans and dark leafy vegetables. Remember, what you eat now will affect the health of your child, as shown in this study published in Diabetes, which looked at the weight of 300 children at birth and then during childhood. Regardless of their mothers’ weight, the study showed that her diet directly affected the weight of her child.

Have some lean animal protein each day

Vitamin B6 and B12 are also essential for methylation, and lean animal products, like chicken, turkey and fish, are great sources of these vitamins. Make sure you’re having at least one to two servings per day, consisting of three to four ounces.

Track Your HRV

Because stress plays a role in which of your genes will express themselves, monitoring it is key. A way to do this is with heart rate variability (HRV) training. HRV measures the intervals between your heartbeats, and if you have a low HRV, it means your heartbeats lack variability— and you likely don’t get enough rest and relaxation time or physical activity, as these would cause your heart rate patterns to change. Low HRV is associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and heart disease. Like most things in the world, there’s an app for this! Using a heart rate monitor— either chest strap or finger sensor— that’s compatible with a smartphone app, such as Inner Balance (which I love), iThlete and SweetBeat, you can track your HRV and change your daily habits accordingly.

While you may have a family history of obesity, diabetes, heart disease or even cancer, studies on how environmental factors influence and regulate gene activity— epigenetics— suggest day-to-day choices can defy supposed genetic predispositions and fight disease.

In 2000, a groundbreaking experiment at Duke University showed the large role that nutrition plays in gene expression. Mice that carried the agouti gene were diabetic, obese, yellow-haired, and at a high risk of developing cancer. But when they were fed a diet of methyl-rich foods— those high in B-vitamins and folic acid— before and during pregnancy, their offspring were thin and brown, with the agouti gene effectively repressed.

The agouti mice experiment shows that what you eat can increase or decrease the likeliness of your children suffering from certain diseases and conditions through a process called DNA methylation. Methylation determines which genes are expressed and is crucial in modifying the activity of bad genes. An example comes from a study published by the Annals of Oncology, where it was found that high concentrations of methyl donors (the compounds that make methylation possible) in blood plasma resulted in a decreased risk of contracting cancer.

In addition to diet, research suggests stress can also impact DNA methylation. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can actually cause changes in your brain and behavior that eventually influence how your future children and grandchildren will handle stressful and social situations. Having an understanding of how nutrition and stress affect DNA may actually help prevent your family from falling victim to diseases that have plagued it for generations.

Here are a few ways to optimize the benefits of epigenetics and methylation:

Eat beans and dark greens

Methylation can’t happen without methyl, and folic acid is full of it. If you’re a mom-to-be, you want to eat foods high in folic acid like beans and dark leafy vegetables. Remember, what you eat now will affect the health of your child, as shown in this study published in Diabetes, which looked at the weight of 300 children at birth and then during childhood. Regardless of their mothers’ weight, the study showed that her diet directly affected the weight of her child.

Have some lean animal protein each day

Vitamin B6 and B12 are also essential for methylation, and lean animal products, like chicken, turkey and fish, are great sources of these vitamins. Make sure you’re having at least one to two servings per day, consisting of three to four ounces.

Track Your HRV

Because stress plays a role in which of your genes will express themselves, monitoring it is key. A way to do this is with heart rate variability (HRV) training. HRV measures the intervals between your heartbeats, and if you have a low HRV, it means your heartbeats lack variability— and you likely don’t get enough rest and relaxation time or physical activity, as these would cause your heart rate patterns to change. Low HRV is associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and heart disease. Like most things in the world, there’s an app for this! Using a heart rate monitor— either chest strap or finger sensor— that’s compatible with a smartphone app, such as Inner Balance (which I love), iThlete and SweetBeat, you can track your HRV and change your daily habits accordingly.

There’s More to Diabetes…

Treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications does not alway require the use of prescription medications.  There is so much that diet and supplements from the health food store can do without the costs and side effects of prescription medications.

 

Simply read below.  Give your comments and questions, please.

 

 

A new study published in Nutrition & Diabetes shows that a low-fat, plant-based diet may hold promise in treating diabetic neuropathy associated with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can manifest as pain or numbness in the fingers, toes, and/or feet. By lowering total fat intake, while focusing on plant-based foods, you can expect to see blood sugar levels stabilize as a result of increased insulin sensitivity—allowing cells to get the fuel they need to function.

The good news is the dietary prescription is easy to follow, whether you have type 2 diabetes or are simply looking for ways to kickstart weight loss and overall health. The participants in this 20-week study lost 14 pounds, lowered blood pressure, and improved total cholesterol levels.

Here is a five-step plan you can use to get started:

The first step to transition to a plant-based diet is to purge your fridge of animal-based foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. This includes yogurt, milk, cheese, most salad dressings, and mayonnaise. By taking out the animal products, you eliminate dietary cholesterol and decrease your total fat intake, which can interfere with glucose metabolism. Eliminating these foods from the diet frees up space in your kitchen for your healthful plant-based picks, fresh herbs, and bold spices.

In addition to purging animal products, make sure to take inventory of other unhealthy, high-fat foods in your pantry: oils, pastries, creamy salad dressings, and fried foods.  Choose small to moderate servings of healthy fats that have fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as avocados, nuts, and seeds. Use them to “season” foods such as salads, soups, stews, breakfast dishes, and more instead of making them the main event at all your meals.

Stock your refrigerator with these four food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. High-fiber foods will fill you up without filling you out. Plus, they deliver an instant boost to your antioxidant intake, providing you with an abundance of essential nutrients your body needs for optimal health and increased longevity.  Aim for 40 grams of fiber a day from plant-based foods.

The glycemic index gives you an extra bonus. It identifies foods that increase blood sugar rapidly and allows you to favor foods that stabilize it. High-glycemic index foods to avoid include sugar, white potatoes, white and wheat bread, and most refined cereals. Low-glycemic index foods to favor include leafy greens, brown or wild rice, oats, pumpernickel or rye, quinoa, some fruits such as berries, sweet potatoes, barley, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and most vegetables.

Make sure to supplement your plant-based diet with vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 supplement is your best bet for a consistent source of this important vitamin needed for optimal health.

Family Health: the Mealtime

How to improve your family’s health?  Start with something simple, such as eating together.  This is such an important ritual that is often forgotten.

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