heart disease

Transformation Nation

The other day I caught Dr. Oz's show and had mixed feelings because some of the foods he was promoting were not exactly "healthy."

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Dr. Oz.  He's extremely knowledgeable, charismatic and knows the value of alternative healing and even promotes it on his show!  I'm glad he is trying (along with Weight Watchers) to help America lose weight and get healthy.

My only gripe with this particular show was that he was promoting "low fat" items.  To me, this is such an outdated viewpoint on weight-loss, I'm surprised such an educated man would be promoting these foods.

First and foremost, most "low fat" or "fat free items" contain added sugar to make up for the lack of fat.  Recent research has shown that fat doesn't make you fat.  I'll repeat that again.  Fat DOESN'T make you fat---at least it's not the number one offender in making us fat.

Many of us have heard that carbs have 4 calories per gram and fat 9 calories per gram.  Simple math would suggest that fat, with more than double the number of calories would make you fat, but scientists have now found that what is far more important is what our body is doing with these foods.

When carbohydrates enter the body they turn into sugar.  You know that fabulous, out-dated Food Pyramid many of us grew up studying--the one that says 6-11 servings of carbohydrates with pictures of bread, pasta and other grains--- replace those cute pictures with bags of sugar.  That's why we are getting fat!  Many of us followed these guidelines! All that sugar in a sedate--- or even mildly active person--- is going to cause major weight gain because with 6-11 servings of sugar on top of sugary drinks, cakes, and ice cream---and now "low fat" items containing extra sugar, you are now looking a pyramid as wide as many of our pants.

The biology is pretty simple to understand.  Carbs and sugar-laden foods enter the bloodstream faster than Jeff Gordon in the Daytona 500.  The body tries to bring down these sky high blood sugar levels by releasing insulin.  Insulin can only do so much and then the body resorts to storing the sugar in fat cells--- hoping to be able to process it later.  But the steady stream of sugar into the body is practically never ending---so we just keep storing... and storing...and storing.  Thus we find ourselves bigger than a Macy's Day balloon!

Some of you may say, "Amy, but fat clogs your arteries, so we should eat low fat foods!" I'm here to tell you that's another load of baloney.  Recent research has revealed that fat doesn't clog your arteries and give you heart disease.  In fact, it LOWERS your "BAD" cholesterol and raises your "GOOD" cholesterol!  You might need to go back and read that again.  We have been lead to believe that fat and heart disease are directly linked, but they are not.  The truth is, the excessive sugar in our diet is what causes inflammation in our arteries and that leads to heart disease.  In fact, excess sugar is responsible for making the "bad" LDL.

We need fat!  Well, the good fats.  You know, the ones from avocados, nuts, grass-fed butter, fish oil etc. Our brain, immune system, sex hormones, skin and hair are fat dependent--- which makes me wonder if low fat foods are partially responsible for our nation's fertility issues, (think about it, most women are chronically on a diet of low fat foods).

On top of all this---ANY processed food is going to put undo stress on the body.  The body, relatively speaking to the timeline of man, has just begun to try to adapt to processed foods.  We simply have not evolved to be able to handle processed foods optimally.  As Michael Pollan (an expert in the field of nutrition) suggests, stick to the "Five and Under Rule."  Only eat foods with five ingredients or less and you should recognize every single one of them---oh, and so should your grandma.

Dr. Oz should have stuck to promoting whole foods, rather than the processed ones that got us into the obesity epidemic.

For the past 7 months I’ve been doing Keto and modified low carb. The major things I’ve noticed are, an increase in energy, easily waking up in the morning verses struggling to wake up, less cravings for sugar, and an even happier mood.

If you are not sure what Keto is, check out the Keto Summit. I talk about mindset and Keto, and there are lots of interviews with experts in the field of health and nutrition. Here is the link.

*Please remember, I'm not a doctor, or a nutritionist, just an educated person reading the research available to us all.  These are just suggestions based on research and personal biohacking.

Top Ten Ways to Naturally Regulate Your Blood Sugar

Top Ten Ways to Naturally Regulate Your Blood Sugar

With sugar infiltrating most foods it is now necessary to monitor and regulate our blood sugar for optimal health.  Sugar has been linked with diabetes and heart disease--- and now many other diseases!  Excess sugar in the body creates insulin resistance over time--- which causes inflammation in the body.  Inflammation is the root cause of over 80 disease in the body.  Here are some ways you can help shed some pounds, get the thumbs up from your doc and feel better!


1)  Look at the ingredients in your food.  Foods such as peanut butter and bread generally aren’t considered to be foods where you would find sugar, but I have found it listed as the second ingredient!  In Jif peanut butter, it is listed as the first ingredient along with peanuts!


2)  Stay away from processed foods.  Many processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup and other sugars.  Processed foods are considered dead foods.  Choose live foods and you will likely find yourself feeling less tired, less depressed, more energetic and lighter.

3)  Beware of low fat foods.  Foods labeled low fat often contain added sugar to make up for the lack of taste.  Compare brands when you are in the grocery store.  If the same brand of cottage cheese has the same amount of calories in both the low fat and the regular, it has been infused with sugar.  Also, remember that the fat will help in slowing the absorption of naturally occuring sugars.

4)  Count your carbohydrates.  It seems obvious to watch your intake of sugars, but most people don’t realize carbohydrates turn into sugars in the body.  Limiting the amount of carbs you consume per meal to roughly 15 grams (7 grams per snack), helps to keep your blood sugar from spiking and making you feel hungry shortly after eating.

5)  Calculate the amount of added sugar in your food.  Most women should not have more than 100 calories (150 for men) from added sugar a day, which translates to roughly 6.5 tsps of sugar (9.5 tsps for men).  To get the amount of sugar or calories in your food, multiply the grams of sugar by 4 to get the calories from sugar, or divide the grams of sugar by 4 to get teaspoons of sugar.

6)  Drink Aloe Vera juice and gel.  You only need a few ounces a day to help regulate your blood sugar.  As a bonus, you will also boost your immune system and reduce your risk of colon cancer.

7)  Get 6+ hours of sleep.  People who sleep 6 hours or less have an increased risk of developing diabetes.  People who sleep less generally consume more calories during the day because they have higher levels of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the appetite inhibitor leptin in their blood.

8)  Get moving!  Working out will help burn excess calories and fat, but it will also help you get a deeper sleep which will help keep your ghrelin and leptin hormones at optimal levels lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

9)  Supplement your diet with Cinnamon, Manganese and Chromium.  Cinnamon is a popular Chinese Medicine herb used to treat blood sugar.  Manganese and Chromium are crucial for blood sugar regulation because manganese is involved in the metabolism of glucose (sugar) and chromium is necessary for carbohydrate and fat metabolism.  Health food stores often have suggestions for blood sugar regulating brands.  I like Glucose Optimizer by Jarrow Formulas.  I noticed a significant difference in how hungry I felt between meals.  

10)  Try taking 150 mg of African Mango fruit extract twice a day.  Not only does this supplement curb your hunger by telling your brain you are full, it also helps regulate blood sugar!

*Please note I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist.  I read the information that is available to us all.  This is my informed opinion.

Chasin' the Sky

"During meditation your metabolism and your breath rate go down to a level of rest, twice that of deep sleep." ~ Mike Love

Meditation.  There.  I said it.  It seems like a dirty word-- doesn’t it?  I know when I first started meditating I was wondering how I would calm my mind.  It use to take me about an hour and a half to fall asleep, now--about 11 seconds.

Realizing your mind is something you can control is a daunting yet powerful concept.  Many of us are not up to the challenge.  Many of us don’t have time, can’t do it, and we don’t know how to do it.  But!  Meditation creates time!

Research has shown meditators, on average, regardless of age, visit the doctor half as often as the average American!  Meditators also had 87.3% fewer admissions to the hospital for heart disease, and 55.4 % fewer admissions for benign and malignant tumors of all types--the two leading causes of death in Americans!  You can’t get results like these from prescription drugs!

Meditation specifically aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol--which helps avoid a heart attack and stroke.  According to insurance companies, blood pressure levels prove to be a good indicator of life expectancy.  An average American with normal blood pressure is expected to live 16 years longer than one with moderate blood pressure.  Meditation has proven to help people drop from moderate blood pressure to normal blood pressure--giving the gift of a longer life!  Incredible! (Perfect Health, Deepak Chopra, pg. 164-167)

That’s not all!  Mediation aids in weight loss, brain function, immune function and reversal of the aging process!  Plus its been shown to help you find your life’s purpose!

Many wonder how long do you need to meditate a day?  Well, Dr. Oz believes all it takes is 7 mins a day to receive the benefits of meditation. Making the commitment to meditate is the most important step in receiving the benefits.  I can pretty much guarantee that once you dedicate the time, you will want to do it more.  It just feels soooooo good.  The inner peace is wonderful.  After mediation I feel calm, content, and happy--all pretty great feelings.

Many people don’t know how to meditate, and that’s ok.  Meditation is about working with your brain waves.  When doing an activity we are really familiar with we go into “auto-pilot.”  Running, brushing our teeth, and driving a car long distances are all examples of this.  Parts of the brain slip into Theta waves during these activities.  Maintaining Theta waves is the goal in meditation.

A beginner meditator should find calming music, focus on breathing (the out breath is particularly relaxing), and be gentle with yourself.  Meditation isn’t easy.  Just as you would train your mind to play a sport, the piano, or learn a language, you need to develop the neural pathways for meditation too.  The more you practice anything, the better you get at it because you are reinforcing the neural pathways (the connections that send information around the brain and through the body).

If you can’t stop the one million thoughts from bombarding your brain it’s ok.  In time, you will learn to set these thoughts aside. This method is described as non-directive meditation because you are developing the ability to “tolerate the spontaneous wandering of the mind without getting too much involved”--meaning you don’t have to make the mind blank! You just need to learn how to let thoughts “pass effortlessly” (Brain Waves and Meditation, ScienceDaily Mar. 31, 2010).

While "meditation is painful in the beginning... it bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end” and worth the try (Swami Sivananda).