How To Defeat The Stress Cycle This Coming New Year?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
It’s that time of the year again where everyone is trying to conquer their New Year’s resolution. These resolutions range from:
- Losing weight
- Improving health
- Increasing energy
- Enhancing relationships
- More free time with family and friends
- Developing an exercise routine
On average, only about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution. If you are one of those people that want to be part of the 8% and improve their health in this coming year, then this article is perfect for you.
The “Stress Bucket”
Below is a picture I created called “the stress bucket.” This picture depicts how the cycle of stress accumulates over time and slowly starts to deteriorate your health. All of stress sum-mates (adds up) from all different areas of your life. It’s easy to see how a little bit of stress over a lot of different areas can add up in your stress bucket. Stress tends to accumulate in the following categories: physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress. Below are an example of a few common stressors that tend to affect the average person: If stress goes ignored your health will inevitably break down as you can see in the viscous cycle below.
This is the typical experience a medical doctor encounters with their average patient:
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are notorious for causing mineral and vitamin deficiencies and putting an increased burden on the liver and kidneys. Many of these medications are also notorious for having side effects, as these side effects occur patients tend to go back to their doctors who prescribed more medications for the original side effects. As you can see in the picture above, this tends to be a vicious cycle where the root of the problem is never addressed and the stress in our stress bucket continues to overflow causing more and more symptoms eventually leading to disease.
There are many household chemicals including cleaners detergents soaps and personal care products that are loaded with toxins. One of the simplest things you can do to remove your toxic burden is to find safer household and personal hygiene products such as the soaps you use to clean your dishes, the sprays you used to clean your counter-tops and improving the quality of soaps and skincare you use on your body. Using the website www.EWG.org, is a great reference to refer to see if the personal care products you are using on your skin and hair are toxic. Your body absorbs more toxins and chemicals from your skin so the last thing you want to be doing is adding more chemicals to an already overburdened body.
The root cause of many health issues actually stem at an emotional level. People that are dealing with toxic relationships bad bosses, being surrounded by energy zombies and difficulty with children can have a tremendous weakening effect on the immune system. When the immune system is weak, our body’s natural force fields are lowered, this increases our chance of encountering an infection which can further weaken our adrenals and our immune system making us prone to a whole host of health issues down the road. Using simple techniques such as EFT or the body code can be very helpful to neutralizing these emotions at an energetic level. Feel free to Google these techniques for more information on them.
Many people’s diets actually consists of food that is toxic such as gluten, dairy products, legumes and refined sugar. These foods tend to be genetically modified loaded and loaded with pesticides and other chemicals that burden our detoxification systems. These foods are also known to be very inflammatory and can cause leaky gut issues as well. Especially when dealing with grains, these foods are very nutrient poor and actually rob nutrients from our body.
According to the World Health Organization, one of the biggest sources of heavy metals actually comes from our mercury amalgam fillings. Some people may know these referred as silver fillings but they are actually over 50% mercury. The next common source we see is from vaccines, mainly the flu vaccines. These vaccines are recommended on a yearly basis and if you look at the ingredient label on the back of the vaccines insert (ask the pharmacist for it) you’ll see it contain about 50 µg of thimerosal. Thimerosal is a preservative consisting of 50% ethyl mercury, one of the most toxic Mercury substances known to man. If you are trying to avoid getting sick this winter season there are many other natural alternatives that can boost and enhance your immune system without adding a significant toxic burden to your detoxification system. Please see previous blog post titled, “What to do when you get sick.”
Below is a great picture showing our body’s ability to adapt to stress. One interesting thing to note is that many people don’t go and see their doctor until phase 3. At this point, the symptoms have been going on for years and prescribing a medication does not do anything to help our body adapt. Medications usually work by blocking and or suppressing physiologic pathways while doing nothing to up-regulate the body’s ability to adapt to stress and express optimal health.
To really address the underlying cause of why your body isn’t adapting properly is to go back and look in your stress bucket and see what areas of stress are starting to add up. As you start pulling the right stressors out of your stress bucket and supporting your diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise your body will start to regain its ability to adapt. Many people need help to find out where to start and this is where it’s great to find a skilled functional medicine doctor who can figure out the best place to start while creating an individualized program for you.
Simple solutions to reduce your toxic load and help your body adapt to stress:
1. Eat whole foods
Organic, non-genetically modified, free range ideally fresh should be the staple of your diet. Buying things in bulk help reduce the price and buying vegetables frozen can be very helpful as well. It’s very important you make your health a priority and this is the first place to start.
2. Get a good water filter
Please see my partner page for excellent recommendations on some of the best filters out there. You can easily start with an affordable car top filter they can pull out pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals. This really does a lot to help decrease your toxic burden. Look here for an easy solution…
3. Indoor air tends to be very toxic
Getting high quality air filter can also help reduce your toxic burden. Look here for an easy solution.
Starting an exercise routine can be a great start. I recommend making a commitment that you know you can stick to such as working out three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes versus being overly ambitious and trying to work out every day for an hour. People that are very overly ambitious and can’t stick to their plan, tend to fold and stop altogether. You’re much better off setting a very easily achievable goal and once you’ve maintained it for a month then gradually increase your commitment.
Healthy Digestion! How Much Fat and Protein Should I Be Eating?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
How much fat do I need?
Your body has specific feedback loops that are intimately tied with satiety (feeling full). It’s interesting to know that fat and protein produce specific neurochemicals that make you feel full. Some of these neurochemicals are known as peptide YY, adiponectin, leptin, Ghrelin and CCK. These chemicals have an intimate feedback loop to the appetite centers of our brain. If you eat too many of these foods you will start to feel nauseous.
If you think back to some of the famous Pringles commercials of the 1990’s where they would say, “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” Or just think back to your college days, how many times do you remember eating a whole pizza to yourself ? It’s very easy to eat foods in excess that don’t produce a neurochemical signal to your brain telling you you’re full. The food industry knows this, and that is one of the reasons why they’ve taken most fats out of the food and added refined sugar and artificial sweeteners in their place. it’s wrong to even refer to these items as food, as Michael Pollan poetically puts it, they are more like “Edible food like substances.”
When you wake up in the middle of the night craving something; do you find your self craving a grass fed steak with asparagus? Or are you craving some potato chips and Häagen-Dazs ice cream? You’ll find the underlying denominator in all these cravings is refined sugar and high glycemic carbohydrates.
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How much protein do I need?
My personal recommendations are 0.5 to 1 g per pound of body weight. Many people convolute this formula using kilogram conversions and refer to lean body mass, in my opinion this just makes it more confusing. In general the recommendations above are adequate and nearly everyone can calculate their needs within just a few seconds.
Therefore a 200 pound man would need anywhere between 100 g of protein to 200 g protein depending on activity level and particular goals. If this person were training and trying to increase their muscle mass I would recommend staying at the 1 g side.
Strength coaches such as Charles Poliquinn even go as far to recommend 2 g per pound of body-weight. For your average everyday person 0.7 grams per pound is a safe starting place, you’ll find it’s probably far more than what you’re eating currently.
The only individuals that need to worry about their protein consumption are people who have kidney damage or kidney disease. Proteins do not create kidney damage on a healthy kidney, but if your kidney is already impaired, the extra glomular filtration may be to much for the kidney to handle. Adding extra fats into your diet have a net neutral effect and can be a good alternative if you have kidney damage.
Many people ask about the acid load of protein. As long as you eat enough high quality vegetable and fruit emphasis on the vegetables, the alkalinity created from the vegetables will be more than enough to balance out the acidity of the meat proteins. The most acidic proteins are soy, grains, casein and egg whites; all other whole animal proteins provide an adequate amount of phosporus which will help neutralize it from it’s calcium leaching effects.
I recommend starting off your day with the first 30 to 60 minutes consuming at least 30 g of protein. Below are different food choices and their protein amount per 4 ounces. FYI the palm of your hand is about 3 ounces, so something slightly bigger than your palm is a good estimate.
Beef- 32 gms. Lamb- 30.2 gms.
Turkey- 32.6 gms. Chicken- 33.8 gms.
Calf liver- 24.5 gms. Venison- 34.3 gms.
Salmon- 29 gms. Scallops- 23 gms.
Shrimp- 23.7 gms. Cod- 26 gms.
Tuna – 34 gms. Sardines- 22.7 gms.
*Tofu- 9.2 gms. Egg- (1) 6 gms.
*Lentils- 1cup 17.9 gms. *Dried peas- ½ cup 6 gms
*Cottage cheese- ½ cup 14 gms. *Yogurt- 1 cup 12.9 gms.
*Kidney Bean- 1 cup 15.4 gms. *Pinto Beans- 1 cup 14 gms.
*Lima Beans- 1 cup 14.7 gms. *Black Beans- 1 cup 15.2 gms.
*Garbanzo- 1 cup 14.5 gms. *Navy Bean-1 cup 15.8 gms.
Walnuts- ¼ cup 3.81 gms. Almonds- ¼ cup 7.62 gms.
Cashews- ¼ cup 5.24 gms. Almond Butter- 2 TBSP. 7 gms.
Cashew Butter- 2 TBSP 5 gms.
*Please keep in mind that beans are two thirds starch. So for every 1 g of protein you get from beans (legumes) you end up consuming 2 g of starchy carbohydrate. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t like legumes or beans as a quality protein source. I also don’t recommend getting your protein from dairy sources like cottage cheese and yogurt. The casein proteins in these foods can create inflammation and stress the immune system. These dairy foods in their raw form are far superior to their pasteurized, homogenize and refined alternatives.
What do I do if eating all this protein and fat is causing me digestive problems?
Your stomachs main job is to digest protein. It does this by producing HCl and pepsin which help decrease the pH in your stomach. As the acidity in the stomach decreases, this provides a more favorable environment to help break down protein. As the acidic chyme (pre-broken down protein and food in the stomach) are released into the small intestine, this signals a release of bile from the gallbladder and pancreatic enzymes from the pancreas. The bile from the gallbladder is an emulsifying agent which helps break down this newly entered fat in the small intestine. If the chyme from the stomach is not acidic it will not trigger a release of bile when it enters the small intestine.
As you can see there’s an intricate domino effect occurring in our digestion processes. Healthy digestion in the stomach is the first domino that needs to fall. This domino then triggers healthy digestion in the small intestine. The next domino that falls is healthy absorption of these broken down nutrients in the small intestine and healthy bacterial fermentation and re-absorption of electrolytes in the large intestine. if one Domino doesn’t fall they can mess up the whole chain!
If you have a digestive problem the first thing I would recommend is supporting your body with hydrochloric acid, enzymes, pancreatic support and bile salts. This greatly aids in your body’s digestive abilities, which helps you to break down, utilize and assimilate all of the great food your putting your body. if your digestion is impaired it’s common to have bloating, gas, stomach burning or Gerd, belching, nausea and skin problems.
Some individuals have a gastrointestinal infection ranging from a parasite, bacteria (H-Pylori is a common one), fungus or viruses. it’s important to mention that everyone is entitled to having more than one infection, the more infections you have, the longer the recovery time.
If adding in digestive support doesn’t do the trick you should be screened for an infection either way. The goal isn’t to use natural supplements to cover up symptoms, the goal is to get to the underlying cause of the problem.
The last thing you want to do is use any type of proton pump inhibitors or acid blockers to fix the problem. This may help some of the symptoms in the beginning, but in the long run you are opening yourself up to major problems!
If you need help figuring out your diet and getting your digestion back on track, feel free and schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking here. This will at least give you the opportunity figure out the next steps you need to take to help improve your health!
Why The Weight Won’t Come Off?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
There are many people out there who are on a gradual course of adding 1-2 pounds of weight every year, with no real end in site. When you’re in your early 20’s the average persons metabolism is in good shape but as they enter their 30’s and 40’s the bad habits of their teens and 20’s starts to catch up with them. Just like compound interest works in your favor when it comes to investing and saving, the compounding off bad health habits will affect our metabolism negatively as well.
The underlying cause of abnormal weight gain is a sluggish metabolism. So over time your body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy becomes impaired and metabolically our body tends to burn carbohydrate for fuel instead. So if a sluggish metabolism causes weight gain, then the so called “cure” would be to address the underlying factors that have weaken our metabolism slowly over time.
A strong underlying factor that affects metabolic activity is toxin exposure and it’s effect on our hormonal system. It has been shown the thyroid and adrenal glands work together to help regulate metabolism and energy. When the body is exposed to excess toxins the adrenal glands becomes stressed and an increase in adrenaline and cortisol is secreted to help buffer the inflammation and stress. Excess cortisol over the long term will eventually results in fatigue, belly fat, and decreased muscle mass. And as you notice many people are walking around carrying the majority of their excess weight around the hips and tummy with very little muscle to show for it.
There are many other interconnected causes of weight gain as you can so by the graphic below, but the focus of today’s post is mainly on the thyroid, adrenal and toxin connection.
The bottom picture demonstrates the connection between toxins and an increase fat mass. It was apparent that people with the most fat mass had the highest level of organochlorines. Organochlorines are the chemicals used commonly in pesticides and herbicides. These chemical are used in conventional and GMO produce as well. These organochlorine compounds are know to mimic estrogen and excess estrogen helps promote fat growth as well as tumor growth and cancer.
It’s also interesting to note that one of the proposed mechanisms how these pesticides increase weight gain is through decreasing our active thyroid hormones, T3, which helps keep our metabolism active. As you see in the graphic below, as T3 function reduces, this increase the chance of weight gain in the future.
Mycotoxins are toxins produced from fungus and commonly cause abnormal weight gain and infertility. Mycotoxins like zearalenone are compounded into pellets and placed into cattle’s ears to increase weight gain before going to slaughter. The interesting thing about zearalenone is farmers can decrease the cows feed and weight gain still occurs. How many people do you know who continue to cut calories and still can’t lose weight? If so, mycotoxins could play a role.
Did you know fungal overgrowth in our intestine can also secrete mycotoxins as well? I personally lost 15 pounds by going on an anti-fungal protocol as well as cutting peanuts out of my diet, too. The amazing thing with this weight loss story was there was no real fundamental change in the diet or the amount of calories either.
Avoiding common mycotoxins that was see in grains, organochlorines, peanuts and conventional coffee can be a great way to super charge your metabolism and help you lose weight effortlessly.