January 29, 2010

Friday Favorite: Omega-3

Omega-3, Omega-6, fatty acids, fish oil… what does all this mean? Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids need to have a balanced ratio in our body. Ideally it is good to have a ratio of 4:1 or less of Omega-6 to Omega-3 acids, but recent studies show that 95% of foods consumed in the U.S. are processed, driving this ratio up to 20:1 or even 50:1 in some people.

Keeping a balanced ratio helps reduce inflammation, and inflammation can lead to a variety of conditions ranging from mild back pain to heart disease and cancer. Eat more green vegetables, grass fed meats, cage-free farm fresh eggs, wild game, fresh fish, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds. Avoid processed foods that have high amounts of Omega-6’s including grain, flour, corn, seeds, seed oils, grain fed meat and eggs, and farmed fish.

Besides healthy eating, supplementing your diet with high quality fish oil is very beneficial. It is important to take a high quality fish oil supplement to be sure it does not contain high levels of mercury.

January 27, 2010

Squash that Nasty Little Bug!

As winter is well on its way you start to hear more and more people say “There is a nasty bug going around.” While it is true that you can catch a cold or flu from someone else… why doesn’t everyone in contact with that person get sick? The people who avoid the "bug" have a stronger immune system and typically take proactive steps for staying healthy during the winter months.

Here are some quick tips to avoid catching that nasty bug going around:
  • Get Vitamin D3 from the sun or a supplement  – have you wondered why warmer countries don’t seem to have a cold and flu season? It is because of the extra sunshine they get in the winter, aka Vitamin D. For those of us who don’t get sunshine daily, it is important to supplement with Vitamin D3.
  • Move, lift weights, run, walk, dance – do whatever you want, just MOVE!
  • Think positive, eliminate negative thoughts.
  • Cut back on or eliminate sugar and grains including pasta, bread and cereal. Be sure to stay away from high fructose corn syrup.
  • Eat more green vegetables.
Our bodies are built for health and they are only sick when there is a stressor on our bodies -- physical, chemical or mental. Ideally, you shouldn’t get sick if you take the stress off your body.

If you get sick often and can’t seem to kick a cold or flu, it is important to reevaluate the stressors in your life. It could be the foods you are eating, the thoughts you are thinking, the exercise that you are (or are not) doing. All of these factors play a role in whether you get sick or not.

January 24, 2010

Partners in Health - Haiti Earthquake Relief

In October 2008, I went to the Dominican Republic on a chiropractic mission trip. There was a group of about 100 of us that worked in the areas around Puerto Plata and adjusted thousands of people.

Many of the people I visited were Haitian people that left their country hoping for a better life in the Dominican. Visiting these villages, I met some of the kindest people, living in third world conditions. I cannot even imagine the conditions they came from in Haiti, or what their country is going through now after the earthquake.

From now until February 7th, 10 percent of all supplements and protein powder sales at Kehres Health Products will go to Partners in Health, a non-profit providing health care to thousands of people in Haiti. Founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, a Massachusetts native and Harvard graduate, PIH has ten hospitals throughout Haiti.

To learn more about PIH, visit www.pih.org.

January 22, 2010

Human Hamster Wheel

With the New Year well on its way gyms have been packed with people trying to fulfill their New Year’s Resolutions.

You can walk into about any gym and you will see people lined up on treadmills, stair steppers, ellipticals, bikes and many other cardiovascular machines doing the same repetitive exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. We have always been told that 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day is very healthy for us. While this type of exercise is absolutely healthier than doing nothing, it isn’t as healthy as it could be.

Our bodies are very smart and have the ability to adapt to exercises that are at the same intensity for a very long time. This is basically your body’s way of putting on the cruise control saving as much energy as possible. This is why you see people on the treadmill for 45 minutes, day after day, and yet they just can’t seem to drop those extra pounds.

Unless you are training for a triathlon, marathon or other long distance races, the best possible thing to do while working out is to simply switch up your workout. Stay away from exercise that’s going to be a repetitive motion at the same speed for a long period of time. Keep your body in suspense and don’t allow it to predict what your next move is going to be. Some ideas include lifting weights with 15 minutes of cardio between sets, burst training (alternating sprints and walking) and trying out new classes at the gym.

Remember any exercise is better than no exercise, but if you are looking to get yourself into your best possible shape don’t be a hamster on a wheel!  

January 15, 2010

Vitamin D

You may remember your mom telling you to get outside and get some sun when you were little. And she was right! When UV-B rays from the sun hit your skin, it alters a form of cholesterol turning it into vitamin D3.

It isn’t as easy to get Vitamin D anymore because so many people work inside all day, live in areas of the country that don’t get a lot of sun, wear sunscreen all the time and don’t spend enough time outside. It is estimated that 85% of the American public, and 95% of senior citizens, are Vitamin D deficient. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D is a critical nutrient as deficiency of it has been linked to almost every health condition known from heart disease to cancer to multiple sclerosis. Optimizing your Vitamin D levels is one of the most powerful things you can do naturally to protect your health and boost your immune system.

As different parts of the country get different amounts of sunlight throughout the year, and as everyone’s skin pigment is different, the best rule of thumb is to go outside and get some sun (without suntan lotion as it prevents 95% of Vitamin D production) until your skin turns light pink – not red. In sunny Florida, this may be only ten minutes, but in Michigan in the winter, it could be 45 minutes. And if you don’t get a chance to get outside, you can supplement with Vitamin D3.

Most people need between 2,000 IU to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D a day to achieve beneficial levels. However, the average American only gets approximately 300 IU a day from their diet -- which is why deficiency and disease linked to low Vitamin D levels is so prevalent.

Visit Kehres Health Products to learn more and purchase Vitamin D3.

January 11, 2010

Just Plain Nuts!

Nothing can sabotage healthy eating more than unhealthy snacks. With today’s on the go lifestyle, snacks have become a huge part of our lives. It seems as though half of the average grocery store is made up of these sugary foods.

One of the healthiest snacks that you can take with you is raw nuts. Eat one to four ounces of raw nuts a day (about one handful) for a filling snack that has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease.

Walter Willett M.D., chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests that the most likely cause of reduced heart disease is the fact that nuts are loaded with an amino acid called arginine. Known for protecting the inner lining of arterial walls by making them more pliable, arginine helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Here is one of my favorite trail mix recipes that is easy to make and take with you for a snack on the go:
--3 oz. of raw nuts (fill the palm of your hand)
--1 oz. 70-85% dark chocolate
--1 oz. dried coconut shreds

Typically I buy raw, unsalted nuts from Target, dark chocolate bars are available at most grocery stores and coconut shreds from a health food store.
In small amounts, nuts can be a great weight loss snack. Just be careful not to eat too many as nuts are very calorie-dense. The best raw, unsalted nuts to eat are: macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios, brazil nuts and walnuts. Try to stay away from peanuts due to their inflammatory nature.
Remember to wash your hands after eating nuts as many people have life-threatening nut allergies.

January 6, 2010

The Great Marketing Scam: Don’t be a food zombie

Things have changed immensely since the industrial revolution. The way we eat is no exception. Everywhere you turn there are ads for unhealthy foods -- on the radio, when you turn on the T.V., on the billboards on your drive to work and the unhealthy restaurants all over your town. Most people can agree they are bombarded with unhealthy food ads. . . it’s no wonder people become food zombies and end up eating what the ads told them to eat.

Today, real food seems old fashioned, the food products in the ad have become the new “normal.” When you think about it, how backwards is this whole system? Many people eat “food” that is typically made from chemicals and manufactured in a lab. These products have very little, if any, nutritional value.

What happened from eating a tomato right from the garden, eating meat from happy, grass-fed animals or getting milk right from the cow? If we ignored the advertising that told us that the “Taco Bell diet” or the “Cookie diet” works, or that drinking a can of zero-calorie, chemical-ladden, fake-sugar water was perfectly fine, or that it is better to buy food that has been shipped across the world to a grocery store rather than from your local farmer – we would avoid many of the diseases Americans are stricken with today.

If you have become a food zombie, you need to take good look at your health. It is one of the simpler scams to avoid… just eat real food.