Turning Back the Hands of Time: The Paleo Diet

Diets come and diets go, but like an old pair of jeans out of style… if you wait long enough it’s sure to come back. With the Paleo movement sweeping across the nation, the ancient diet followed by early humans is making a comeback. The Paleo Diet, also called Stone Age or Caveman Diet, suggests following a meal plan with foods people were eating millions of years ago. Although there may be health benefits to following the Paleo diet such as possibly losing weight and avoiding hyperglycemia, like any meal plan with restrictions, knowing there is substantial data to support a claim is just as, if not more important. Ask yourself will people’s weight yo yo after “cheating” on their Hunter Gatherer Diet?

Principles of The Paleo Diet

To understand the theory of the Paleo diet, we must first turn back the hands of time. For millions of years, the human diet consisted of only meat, fish, poultry, and the leaves, roots, and fruits of plants. The Paleo diet (short for Paleolithic) is based on the claim that a healthy diet should consist of only the foods that can be hunted, fished and gathered during the Paleolithic era. The basics of the meal plan are that if the cavemen did not eat it, then you shouldn’t either. Proponents of the diet believe that evolution has led us to eat foods our bodies are not adapted to neither process nor digest. Fast-forward to modern day when conditions like obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all time high. Advocates claim that since people in that era rarely had metabolic disturbances, one can now prevent chronic diseases, control blood sugar spikes and lead a healthier life following this diet.

What Can You Eat?

Swearing off refined sugar, dairy, legumes and grains?? To many, the Paleo diet may seem extremely restrictive.  You won’t find any refined sugars, added salt, processed foods and packaged snacks in this meal plan (I agree this can be healthy if whole grains, legumes and dairy were included). While the diet will differ slightly with personal modifications, the general Paleo plan consists of whole, unprocessed foods like lean meat, eggs, seafood, non-starchy vegetables — and some but not a ton of fruit, nuts and seeds. (Since it is encouraged to eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables, keep in mind that following the Paleo diet can be rather expensive for the average person).

Some foods to avoid include the following: grains such as rice, refined carbohydrates like flour and cereals (no oat bran or Kashi), dairy, beans, peanuts, processed meats like hot dogs and chicken nuggets, soda, fruit juice, caffeine, alcohol.

Food for Thought

Although proponents of the diet claim that cavemen did not develop such chronic diseases, there is no evidence to support this claim. While the meal plan does restrict refined sugars and grains (both of which can contribute to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes if eaten in excess while following a sedentary lifestyle), it is important to remember that several diets are founded on the basis that one should include more fruits and veggies, whole and unprocessed foods. I believe it is Dr. Oz who puts patients on vegan diets to reverse diabetes and there are also many books recommending this as well. Keep in mind that the recommendation for a healthy diet also includes whole grains, dairy and legumes. Eliminating certain food groups, as suggested by the Paleo plan draws attention to potential nutrient deficiencies. For example, by avoiding dairy, individuals who follow a Paelo diet may develop osteoporosis if they lived long enough. That’s another question to ask. What was the average lifespan of a caveman? Did they ever get old enough to diagnose weak bones or did they die of malnutrition or by animal attack before osteoporosis set in? Oddly, while reading the meal plan for a Paleo diet, I see shrimp, chicken and beef. Did cave men and women really eat these three proteins in one day? I think it may be fair to say they ate beef one week and venison another. If they ate shrimp one week, they were probably spearing fish the next. Finally, did cave people know how to steam?? There are so many questions that make me think twice about this theory.

Lost In Translation

Don’t miss the message here. Less is more. Less processed, more healthy fats, less to eat and more movement. Any effort to eat foods directly sourced from our earth, to eat only lean free-range grass fed animals, and to cook your own meals is the way to go. Just don’t forget grains such as amaranth and barely, beans such as lentil and dairy such as delicious French Brie. These foods contain macro and micronutrients. I don’t think a French person would ever agree to this diet, yet people love to think the French are savvy with their food philosophy.  Also, I personally don’t think the Paleo diet is America’s answer to our health crisis, but if this concepts helps you to feel good and control your sugar, that is a step in the right direction.

The Cave versus Industry

In our society, we must recognize, diet is only half the battle. Industrialization has led us to lead a sedentary lifestyle.  Cave people were fit because they moved everyday for survival. We drive and tap our iPhones for success rather than survival. Cave people only ate what was available so that may have been no food or just berries for days. That kept them trim, but was it healthy? Today we have government subsidies for cheap food to prevent people from starving, and in return it has lead us to eat poor quality, processed food. In addition, our minds are brainwashed with marketing and ironically, it is cheaper to buy a super sized soda than that of a smaller soda (ounce for ounce). So if the Paleo helps you to be healthier, by all means be healthier. Just recognize that the restrictions in any diet are questionable and not necessarily supported by science or history. And remember, restrictions lead to binging, so be careful. Diets don’t work in isolation; rather lifestyle changes that are realistic and behaviorally based are the way go!

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: The Scoop You Didn’t Know

Over the past few years, omega-3 fatty acids have received a lot of attention and promotion. Yet when you pick up your supplements at the local pharmacy or health food store, the label includes omega-3’s, omega-6’s omega-9’s and oh my mega confusion! What is the difference between these essential fatty acids and what is this talk about keeping a ratio? This blog will help demystify the omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6 fatty acids confusion. Find out if you need to add omegas to your nutritional intake and which omega.

The Difference Between Omega-3 and Omega-6

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are termed ‘essential fatty acids’ (EFA), since our bodies cannot readily produce these, we must obtain them through foods or supplements.

While there are many types, the three most common omega-3 fatty acids are Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are mainly found in cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines, while ALA is found in plant sources like canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and soybeans. Unlike DHA or EPA, which can be readily absorbed by our bodies, ALA from plant sources like seeds, nuts or vegetable oils are only partially converted (about ten percent) by our bodies into the beneficial forms EPA and then DHA. Studies have shown that the health benefits of EPA and DHA are greater than ALA. Therefore, the goal is to try to get Omega 3 FA’s in the form of DHA and EPA.

Unlike omega-3‘s, omega-6‘s consists of only one type of fatty acid, Linoleic Acid (LA), which is later converted into Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). As opposed to omega-3‘s, getting omega-6‘s from the foods we eat daily, is rather simple. LA is commonly found in seed oils like corn, canola, sunflower and soy — ingredients found in many of the processed foods Americans typically consume in abundance. The better sources of omega-6’s include raw nuts, like pistachios and seeds like chia. Since Americans typically consume much more of the fatty acid omega-6, it is more important for one to focus on including omega-3 fatty acids in their diet or through their supplement. However, for an individual following a low processed food lifestyle such as a paleo, vegan or vegetarian diet, omega-6’s must be included. A great source of an omega-6 fatty acid is the seed known as chia.

Helpful Hint: Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition.

Both Are Beneficial

Omega-3’s have been found to lower the risk factors for heart disease and cancer, as well as have anti-inflammatory properties (whereas some omega-6 can contribute to inflammation). This fatty acid is necessary for brain function, healthy development of nerves and eyesight. Omega-3’s have been linked to the prevention and treatment of several other conditions like arthritis, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis to name a few.

Omega-6’s provide a defense against and can aid in reducing symptoms in diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, allergies and high blood pressure. Studies also show that consuming 5-10 percent of energy from omega-6’s may help decrease the risk of CHD and cardiovascular disease.

Together, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids produce many of the health benefits described above. The catch? Eating them in the right amounts.

As In Most Things, Balance Is Key

In today’s society, the convenience of fast-food and heavily processed snacks makes for a not-so convenient way for us to maintain a balanced consumption of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Most processed foods contain a high amount of omega-6 and data shows that a Western diet may contain too much omega-6 fatty acids. If we recall, some omega-6’s may promote inflammatory properties but too much can result in inflammation. Recent research suggests that this imbalance may contribute to health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and more. One such study shows that while the dietary intake of omega-3:omega-6 ratio should range from 1:1-4 for optimal health, the evolutionary changes in the Western diet has led to an increase in consumption range of 1:10-20. To reach a healthier balance between the two, experts suggest that a lower ratio of omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids is more desirable for reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.

However, just as important as it is to consume a healthy ratio of the two, it is equally important especially for vegetarians and vegans, to consume enough essential fatty acids as to prevent deficiencies. Remember, as remarkable as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids exhibit in aiding our brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation, sources should be consumed in healthy moderation!

Take Home Message:
Aim for a dietary intake with a ratio of 1 omega-3 FA : 1-4 omega-6 FA.

How to Grow a Pest-Free Organic Garden

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As grocery store produce prices continue to soar, more and more people are looking elsewhere to get pricey organic produce. One way of doing this is by growing your own organic garden. However without proper preparation you can end up spending ample amounts of time and money battling bugs and pests that want your produce just as much as you do. The problem? They can be very efficient at getting what they want. The solution? Planting the right plants to keep your garden as pest free as possible. When you start your organic garden keep these things in mind:

 

 

  1. Plant basil and oregano: Both of these plants have very heavy, potent scents that repel garden pests, making them the perfect addition to an organic vegetable garden. They also are both found frequently in recipes and are usually expensive to buy in small quantities at the store, so having them in your garden will help it remain pest free and will help your wallet from taking a heavy hit in the herb section of the grocery store.
  2. Plant marigolds: If you plan on planting fruit in your garden then beware that flies will flock to the fruit plants and destroy them. Unless, of course, you decide to arm your fruit plants with their own weapons, which can be found in the form of adding marigolds around the plants. These bright flowers will help keep the flies away and add a nice pop of color to your garden.
  3. Plant rue: To keep worms and other leaf-chewing pests at bay plant rue in your garden. Rue is a type of subshrub that is well known for its robust scent, feathery leaves, and yellow flowers. Without proper repellants, leaf-chewing pests can wreak havoc on gardens.
  4. Plant onions and garlic: When planting your vegetable garden consider adding onions and garlic into the rotation as well. Bugs aren’t keen on their powerful scents, and will stay away from these types of plants, keeping your other vegetables safe as well.
  5. Plant citronella:Mosquitos may not eat your plants, but they will eat you as you work out in your garden. If spraying yourself down with bug spray every few hours or lighting citronella candles throughout the day doesn’t seem feasible then plant citronella in your garden to naturally repel mosquitos.

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Growing your own organic garden will help save you tons of money at the grocery store each week if you are able to actually produce the fruits and vegetables without them getting eaten by pesky bugs, caterpillars, snails, and other garden pests first. To counteract them, however, you don’t need harmful chemicals and sprays; you just need to plant the right types of plants in between and around your produce. Use this list as a guide for arming your garden with natural defenses.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to hire a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

The Chia Seed Craze

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Açai berries, wheat grass, flaxseeds, it seems with every year there is a growing list of health food trends. Yet, if you’ve taken a stroll along the beverage aisle or health food section of a natural foods grocery store lately, you may have noticed new products labeled with chia seeds. Raved about for their exceptional nutritional value, chia seeds have gained quite a lot of attention. But what is a chia seed and what makes it so special from the rest of these superfoods?

 

Chia has a long history, where it used to be a staple food for Mayans and Aztecs. It is an edible seed that comes from a plant called Salvia hispanica. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds do not have to be ground for the body to absorb its benefits. It can be eaten whole, ground, raw, and cooked. Chia seeds are not a supplement or replacement, but can be eaten as an addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes fresh and wholesome foods like veggies, fruits, proteins and grains.

What are the health benefits of eating chia seeds?

Chia seeds contain a high level of soluble fiber, which helps slow down digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Just three tablespoons of these seeds can provide 37-44% of the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of fiber per day.

Rich in protein, chia seeds are an ideal food for vegans and vegetarians who may want an alternative to soy products. It provides a complete source of protein, containing all essential amino acids. One ounce, which is about 2 tablespoons, contains 4 grams of protein.

Chia seeds are an great source of omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 fatty acids. As both fatty acids are essential to our health, the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is important.

Do chia seeds really help promote weight loss?

While chia seeds are high in fiber and protein, and can thus help keep you feeling fuller for longer, studies have shown that chia seeds do not actually promote weight loss.

 

If you’re looking to boost your fiber, protein, omega-3 intake, here are 7 delicious ways to incorporate chia seeds into your daily meal:

  • Smoothies
    Blend or stir 2 tablespoons of chia seeds into your smoothies for fiber and crunchy texture.
  • Baked Goods
    Add whole or ground seeds to homemade muffins, breads or pancakes. You can even mix 3/4 tablespoon of chia seeds for every 1/4 cup of water, and you’ve got yourself an egg substitution.
  • Yogurts and Parfaits
    For a nutrient boost, kick your favorite greek or soy yogurts up a notch by sprinkling chia seeds in layers, or sprinkle on top. Not a fan of the texture but still want to reap the benefits? Simply grind the chia seeds before adding it in.
  • Soups, Spreads, and Dressings
    Combined with liquid, chia seeds can act as a natural thickener. Add chia seeds to any liquid recipe, like soups or vinaigrettes and it will help thicken the mixture. For a tasty breakfast spread, add ground chia to peanut butter or almond butter.
  • Meatballs and Burgers
    Grind chia seeds in a blender or coffee grinder before forming your meatballs and burgers and it can transform lean meatballs and burgers into a more nutritious meal.
  • Desserts
    The ability of chia seeds to form a gel-like consistency make it an excellent ingredient for creating rich, yet healthy desserts. One of my favorite recipes is vanilla chia pudding, topped with fresh berries.

The Ban On Soda In Containers:16 oz – Do you know you just guzzled 1.5 bagels??

In response to Laura’s appearance on Fox and Friends, Sunday morning hosted by Dave Briggs. Laura debated Mr. Wilson from Consumer Freedom. Some people are asking if Laura is in favor of  a nanny state. She is not in favor of this and shares her views here:

Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers need to reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemics. In general, people need to eat less and less of highly processed foods, including soda and chips.  America needs to become physically active again. I am not in favor of a nanny state, but the poor health of Americans, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on medical care and the rise in both diabetes type I and II, scream for change.

Individuals must recognize, regardless of the source, added sugar in large doses is similar to drugs, and alcohol. These sugars affect the brain immediately. When someone has high blood sugar they cannot see or think clearly. Our nerves are damaged to the point of losing feeling in our limbs. In addition, our bodies respond to added sugar and sugar by releasing hormones such as insulin that lead to weight gain in the stomach and eventually diabetes.

The American environment is toxic to our health.
Yes, genetics are partly responsible for America’s health crisis, but the environment plays a huge role. Supersized portions, no gym for children in schools and encouraging eating while watching movies sets people up to fail at self care.
Perhaps a better proposal than the ban on soda is to have movie theaters change concessions stands to restaurants. Encouraging mindful eating before or after a movie rather than guzzling a soda during a film could aid in eating less.
Research shows mindless eating while watching movies and tv causes obesity. Do people realize that their 24 oz of soda is equal to a small meal? This small meal is equal to 1.5 bagels.

We are in an obesity and diabetes epidemic.
Again, I do not want a nanny state but the government is partly responsible for these epidemics since they subsidize food such as corn, issue food stamps to buy drinks with added sugars and other processed foods. Did you know Diabetes cost America 218 billion dollars in 2007? Imagine what the cost is now. The soda ban is not a costly proposal for America. Rather, it makes people aware that it is not normal, nor healthy to drink non-nutritional beverages in quantities greater than 16oz. We are in a crisis; Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers to get America eating well and moving more.

Bottom-Line
America must focus on eating foods for fuel – not mindless eating for boredom or stress. The goals should be to eat food that is high in nutrition like beans and berries– not empty calories. Focus on fresh, local food, not processed boxed food for at least 75 percent of your intake if not more. Finally, drink water or Perrier for hydration not soda. And please do not drink sport drinks or sell sport drinks in schools especially if the school doesn’t even offer gym class. Parents need to set boundaries with children, but so does the Food and Drug Administration and the food companies.

Wait!!! You’re a male with an eating disorder?

By Dr. Tony Wendorf, Guest Blogger

In a culture that values image so much, women may feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way.  Over the last few decades the movement toward valuing “being thin” has progressed at an alarming rate. Eating disorders have also followed suit and increased over the last 10-20 years.

Perhaps society is to blame, or it may just be that we have gotten better at understanding and recognizing what an eating disorder looks like. For years we have placed so much clinical attention on females with eating disorders that we completely ignored similar symptoms in males when, in fact, The Academy of Eating Disorders recently released statistics demonstrating a 10:1 female to male ratio. This gap is only continuing to get closer and closer the more we learn about males with eating disorders.

Typically, men have a later age of onset (21 years old) versus women (18 years old). Men typically do not seek treatment as quickly as females (nearly four years later). When men do seek treatment, their hospital stays are typically almost three full weeks shorter than females. Not surprisingly, we also see that males tend to die sooner after hospitalization than females.

Men diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa—Restricting Type are the most likely to die following treatment. It’s possible that this alarming notion is due to the fact that men are admitted and discharged based on a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), which contributes to quicker fatality. The older the male is for admission, the more likely they are to die sooner than someone who is admitted at a younger age.  And yet another contributing factor is poor social support, which naturally results in the likelihood of death.

Many of the clinical symptoms of an eating disorder are similar, if not identical between males and females.  However, there are a few significant differences. For one, many males with eating disorders have struggled with a history of being premorbidly overweight.  This is not the case with females. Additionally, males do not tend to attempt suicide nearly as frequently as females with eating disorders. Anecdotally speaking, many males with eating disorders are having or have actively dealt with struggles with their sexuality. This may also contribute to body image dissatisfaction and distortion. Lastly, a great number of men with eating disorders struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, which is not currently listed in the DSM-IV-TR, but clearly has a distinct clinical pattern that requires immediate attention—immediate attention that is often not received.

The message is clear. Eating disorders do not discriminate between males and females.  As a professional in the field, there is a greater push to treat men with eating disorders and far more training available to better address this population. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it is highly encouraged that you seek immediate evaluation. I highly recommend the following facilities:

Rogers Memorial Hospital: www.rogershospital.org
800-767-4411

Rosewood Ranch, Center for Eating Disorders: www.rosewoodranch.com
800-845-2211

My contact information:
Dr Tony Wendorf
Licensed Clinical Psychologist #2977-57
Specializing in Recovery for Eating Disorder Individuals
tonywendorf@gmail.com

 

 Author

Dr. Tony Wendorf is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and is a professor in the Masters of Counseling program at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, WI for courses in Multicultural psychotherapy, Psychopathology, and Eating Disorders. Dr Wendorf is a psychologist at The REDI Clinic. Prior to joining the REDI Clinic, Dr. Wendorf completed his Doctoral Residency at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints in Racine. During this time he was part of the consultation-liaison team in the medical hospital, established an eating disorder therapy group, saw eating disorder patients for individual therapy and conducted psychological and neuropsychological evaluations.Dr. Wendorf gained specialty training in treating males with eating disorders during his time at Rogers Memorial Hospital as the primary therapist for the male program in the residential Eating Disorder Center. Additionally, he has specialized training in Maudsley Family Therapy (FBT).

Dr. Wendorf received his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee, his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology and his Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. He is a member of multiple professional organizations including the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), the American Psychological Association (APA), National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and the Wisconsin Psychological Association (WPA).


The Weight of the Nation

Did you know that 1 out of 5 of kids drinks three or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day, accounting for an extra meal? With Mayor Bloomberg proposing a ban in New York City over sugary drinks and the Disney channel banning junk food advertisements, it’s no secret that America is facing an obesity epidemic. Along with childhood obesity rates on the rise, chronic heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes have also increased over the past few years. Type 2 Diabetes, which  was once primarily diagnosed in old age, is now a common medical concern in children. While obesity-health related problems have been a looming crisis for quite some time, recently HBO launched a documentary, drawing quite a lot of attention to  the nation’s obesity crisis. The Weight of the Nation: Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic, is a four part series focusing on consequences, choices, children in crisis, and challenges. To those who believe that the root of childhood obesity stems from a lack of parental responsibility in educating their children or a lack of exercise, Weight of the Nation presents viewers with an all-around perspective on the complexity of the issue.

Obesity is very complex and the documentary does a good job highlighting the many factors that contribute to the issue like poverty, genetics, food culture, personal responsibility, environment, issues of diet and lack of exercise. Issues with childhood obesity are caused in part by a lack of nutrition education, over-processed school food lunches, the overwhelming access to nutrient-poor foods conveniently located everywhere you go, and how video games and electronics have replaced outdoor and sport activities as a means for childhood entertainment. If the weight epidemic is not addressed,  Americans will eventually wind up paying even more for the cost of treating obesity-related illness. As obesity contributes to 5 of the 10 leading causes of death in America, it has added a whopping $150 billion to health costs now and according to the documentary, may hit or exceed $300 billion by 2018.

While the various factors that make solving the obesity epidemic seem nearly impossible, the biggest take-away from the series is that the nation’s weight crisis can be reversed. While some critics point out that the series is “too blunt” or “too graphic,” The Weight of the Nation is a wake-up call, drawing awareness to the depth of the problem and most importantly, a chance for us to fix it. Whether it’s taking the stairs or walking to work, change begins with the individual and we can start by integrating physical activity into our daily lives. In fact, the documentary points out that losing as little as 5% of your weight can improve your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and also lowers diabetes risk by nearly 60% in people with pre-diabetes. The show’s statistics, backed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the Institute of Medicine among others, shows hope that even small improvements can make a difference.

 

 

 

What Is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt Therapy is a growth-oriented approach to working with people that emphasizes context and relationship. The Gestalt approach embraces a person’s physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal and spiritual experience. Each of these interconnected aspects of living is considered inseparable from a person’s environment, history and culture.

A Psychotherapeutic Approach

 

Gestalt therapy seeks to develop awareness, support creative choice and encourage responsibility in a person’s effort to realize and effective, meaningful and fulfilling life. From a Gestalt perspective a well-lived life is grounded in a person’s awareness of how they live their life and conduct their relationships in the present.

 

The Gestalt practitioner works to create a relationship with a client that is respectful and attuned. The immediacy of the emerging dialogue creates a space in which the client feels recognized and affirmed by the therapist. A delicate balance of support and challenge is used when addressing the client’s hopes and concerns.

The Gestalt approach places more emphasis on describing and understanding the unique experience of a client rather than interpreting and generalizing about the client’s experience. The use of creative experimentation involves the therapist and client co-creating new ways for the client to be in the world with greater satisfaction.

The Epidemic of Diabetes

Hydrate with water, not soda

Regardless of weight and age, America is heading towards a Diabetes epidemic. Americans must change their lifestyles by moving more, and eating less.

Diabetes does not discriminate based on overall weight. America needs to focus on decreasing belly fat, specifically, eating less processed food and moving more.

 

Based on the study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes is increasing in our teen population. There was a 14% increase in prediabetes and diabetes in a ten year period. In 1999 – 2000, there was a 9% incidence of prediabetes and diabetes in teenagers between ages 12- 19. In 2007- 2008, there was a 23 % incidence of prediabetes and diabetes. This is more than two fold. However, the study also revealed this was regardless of weight. Across the weight spectrum, all teens had an increase in the incidence of Diabetes. In my mind, this is a Diabetes Epidemic not an obesity epidemic.

Obesity did not increase in our youth during this ten year period from 1999 – to 2008. One study from the NHANES reports an actual decrease in teen obesity, despite an increase in prediabetes and diabetes. Also, half of the participants in the study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which means everyone needs intervention.

So what is the intervention? It depends on who you ask but the many agree America must move more, eat less processed food, and practice stress relief. America is eating too much and not moving enough. We are a culture of convenience. People need to eat because they are hungry rather than bored. We need to eliminate highly processed food such as chips and soda. We need to feel full with fiber and drink for hydration. Simple solutions are to replace chips with fiber rich berries and soda with bubbly water like Perrier. Ideally, we need to decrease insulin resistance and belly bulge (aka abdominal obesity).

The study admits to flaws. One of the flaws is the tool BMI – Body Mass Index. This measurement tool uses overall weight and height, not accounting for muscle mass and frame. Football players are considered obese when using BMI. A better tool to assess for obesity, belly fat, insulin resistance and or risk for diabetes would be the waist to height ratio. This tool would not qualify the typical football player as obese.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with the HLN audience. Click here to see the clip.

 

May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999−2008. Pediatrics. 2012;peds.2011-1082.

The Truth Behind Coffee

The Truth Behind Coffee

For many, there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to start the day. As one of the most widely consumed
beverages in the world, it has long been debated that consuming coffee can lead to health problems.
These misconceptions can often lead to confusion about whether one can enjoy coffee as part of
a healthy diet. As an avid coffee drinker myself, with all the misconceptions about coffee, it is
necessary to dispel the misconceptions, and discover the truth behind coffee.

What are 3 of the most common misconceptions about coffee and health?

There is a misconception that coffee causes heart disease, should be omitted during pregnancy
and may influence the development of breast cancer. However, recent research reveals that
despite coffee consumption being associated with increased blood pressure and plasma
homocysteine levels, it is not directly related to heart disease. As for omitting coffee during
pregnancy, although women are often advised to follow this by their obstetrician or gynecologist,
studies show that coffee intake equal to 3 cups or 300 mg coffee daily does not increase risk for
impaired fetal growth. Moreover, according to the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and
Health Study, there is no correlation between coffee intake and increased breast cancer risk. In
fact, coffee may even help to prevent breast cancer. While there may be minimal associations and
even benefits to drinking coffee, it is not recommended to start drinking coffee, if you don’t
already.

Can drinking too much coffee cause heart problems?

Recent research reports coffee drinkers are not at a greater risk for heart disease. While a mild
stimulant in coffee, caffeine, has been shown to increase heart rate, blood pressure, homocysteine
levels, and cholesterol levels, most people do not experience heart problems from drinking coffee—
even if they consume up to 6 cups daily. If you have heart disease or heart problems, it is best to
consult your doctor about drinking coffee.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to what is being added to the coffee; whether it is
whole milk, sugar or even whip cream. Remember, in this day and age specialty coffee drinks are
extremely popular and research studies black coffee, not Frappuccino’s.

What are the top 5 benefits of drinking coffee?

An increase in coffee consumption is typically associated with a lowered risk of Diabetes Type II,
but does not prevent Diabetes Type II. Research also suggests coffee consumption may help prevent
Parkinson’s disease, liver disease (cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma), reduce the risk of
Alzheimer’s disease, and improve endurance performance in physical activities such as cycling and
running.

Is there such a thing as drinking too much coffee?

Typically, I educate my clients to keep their intake at 2 or less cups a day. More than 2 cups of coffee
can be counter-productive during a fitness workout. Recent studies indicate that there have been
no harmful effects with intakes at 4 cups equivalent. For adults consuming moderate amounts
of coffee (3-4 cups/d providing 300-400 mg/d of caffeine), there is little evidence of health risks
and some evidence of health benefits. In addition, currently available evidence suggests that it
may be prudent for pregnant women to limit coffee to 3 cups/day ( prevent any increased probability of spontaneous abortion or impaired fetal growth. People with
hypertension, children, adolescents, and the elderly, may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects
of caffeine.

Do the benefits differ between decaf and regular coffee?

In terms of Diabetes, other than the difference of 2-4 mg caffeine between regular and decaf,
there are no beneficial differences between the two. Surprisingly however, decaf coffee has been
associated with acid reflux and gastric ulcers.