Posted: March 22, 2018 in Uncategorized


Insulin is absolutely essential to staying alive; unfortunately, the vast majority of us have resistance to this essential hormone, speeding up the aging process and contributing to the development of degenerative diseases. Any meal high in sugar and carbs typically generates a rapid rise in blood glucose. To compensate, our pancreas secretes insulin into our bloodstream, which lowers our blood sugar to keep us from dying. Insulin, however, is also very efficient at lowering blood sugar by turning it into fat. The more we secrete, the fatter we become. If we consistently consume a high-sugar diet, our blood glucose level will be correspondingly high and over the time our body will become desensitized to insulin, requiring more and more of it. Eventually, we become insulin resistant and prone to weight gain, and then full-blown diabetic.

Prediabetes is an elevation in blood glucose between 100-125 mg/dl, at which point it formally becomes Type 2 Diabetes. Over 80 million Indian are prediabetic, and most are unaware of this fact. There are 2 broad expressions of diabetes:

Type 1: Severe autoimmune diabetes: young and otherwise healthy individuals with permanent insulin-deficiency due to autoimmune dysfunction.

Type 2: Severe insulin-deficient/resistant, mild obesity or age related: young, healthy individuals with severely impaired insulin production, includes those with high HbA1C, impaired insulin secretion and moderate insulin resistance, overweight or obese patients whose bodies are still producing insulin but are no longer responding to it and who, while not insulin resistant, display mild symptoms and develop illness at a relatively young age and individuals who develop diabetes late in life and have mild symptoms.

These blood tests will help determine whether one might be prediabetic or diabetic:


Fasting glucose test. A fasting glucose level below 100 mg/dl suggests one isn’t insulin resistant, while a level between 100-125 mg/dl is suggestive of prediabetes, which means one is mildly insulin resistant.


Hemoglobin A1C test. Which measures the average glucose in our blood over time, is done 2-4 times/year. This is a better test than a fasting glucose. An A1C level between 5.7-6.4 is considered prediabetic. Anything over 6.5 is diagnosed as diabetes. The higher the level, the worse our insulin sensitivity is.

Fasting blood insulin test. This is an even better test. A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally, it should be below 3.

PD4   PD5  PD6

The good news is Type 2 diabetes is fully preventable and reversible without drugs. Type 2 diabetes in nearly every case is resolved with altering the eating. Address any indication of insulin resistance and prediabetes, immediately. Some of the important guidelines to lower the risk of diabetes and related chronic diseases are by limiting added sugars to a maximum of 25 grams/day. If one is insulin resistant or diabetic, must reduce his total sugar intake to 15 grams/day until the insulin/leptin resistance has resolved. Also, start intermittent fasting. By limiting net carbs and replace them with higher amounts of high-quality healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, butter, olives, avocado, coconut oil, organic eggs and animal fats, including animal-based omega-3s and by avoiding all processed foods, including processed meats. By exercising regularly and increasing physical movement, with the goal of sitting down less than 3 hours/day. By getting sufficient sleep; we need around 8 hours of sleep/night. This will help normalize our hormonal system as sleep deprivation can have a significant bearing on our insulin sensitivity. By optimizing the vitamin D level, ideally through sensible sun exposure. If using oral vitamin D3 supplementation, ensure to increase the intake of magnesium and vitamin K2 as well, as these nutrients work in tandem. And by optimizing the gut health by regularly eating fermented foods and/or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.



A report describes the miracle cure of performing 30 min of moderate exercise, 5 times a week, as more powerful than many drugs administered for chronic disease prevention and management. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%. However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.


In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels. The obesity epidemic represents only the tip of a much larger iceberg of the adverse health consequences of poor diet. Poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. Up to 40% of those with a normal BMI will harbor metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

Many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise. A very famous Cola company pushes a message that ‘all calories count’; they associate their products with sport, suggesting it is OK to consume their drinks as long as we exercise. However, science tells us this is misleading and wrong. It is where the calories come from that is crucial. Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation.


A analysis of worldwide sugar availability revealed that for every excess 150 calories of sugar, there was an 11-fold increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, in comparison to an identical 150 calories obtained from fat or protein. And this was independent of the person’s weight and physical activity level. The dietary carbohydrate restriction is the single most effective intervention for reducing all the features of the metabolic syndrome and should be the first approach in diabetes management, with benefits occurring even without weight loss.


What about carbohydrate loading for exercise? The rationale for carbohydrate loading are that the body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates and these are essential for more intense exercise. However, recent studies suggest otherwise. The chronic adaptation to a high-fat low-carbohydrate diet induces very high rates of fat oxidation during exercise, sufficient for most exercisers in most forms of exercise without the need for added carbohydrate. Thus fat appears to be the ideal fuel for most exercise it is abundant, does not need replacement or supplementation during exercise, and can fuel the forms of exercise in which most participate. If a high-carbohydrate diet was merely unnecessary for exercise it would be of little threat to public health, however, there are growing concerns that insulin-resistant athletes may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they continue to eat very high-carbohydrate diets for decades since such diets worsen insulin resistance.


Celebrity endorsements of sugary drinks, and the association of junk food and sport, must end. Such marketing increases commercial profit at the cost of population health. Changing the food environment so that individuals’ choices about what to eat default to healthy options will have a far greater impact on population health than counselling or education. Healthy choice must become the easy choice. Health clubs and gyms therefore also need to set an example by removing the sale of sugary drinks and junk food from their premises.



Despite the fact that doing good for others stands to benefit everyone involved, not too many of us volunteer. Volunteer work is unique in that it often involves social, physical and cognitive dimensions, and research has shown that retired seniors who engage in activities that require moderate effort in 2 or more of these dimensions slash their risk of dementia by 47%. It costs us nothing and while giving back to those around us, we’ll reap impressive benefits to our brain.


The brain benefits of volunteering are so great that researchers suggest doctors should start writing their senior patients prescriptions for volunteer work. Volunteering is a pathway through which we can increase brain activity. Volunteering may even lead to increases in volume in brain regions which is involved in memory, as opposed to the declines in volume typically seen with age. One study revealed that men and women who volunteered for 2 years had increases in brain volume of up to 1.6% and 0.54%, respectively, while those in a control group experienced declines in volume.

Exactly how volunteering helps brain health remains to be seen, although it’s been suggested that the social element of helping others, along with the stimulation of learning new things, could be factors. It’s also quite possible that the brain benefits stem, at least in part, from other body wide benefits that volunteering offers. Volunteering can lower our risk of depression and anxiety and even boost our psychological well-being.


Volunteering to help others can even lead to a high, which may occur because doing good releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin in our body while lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol. When researchers tested the buffering role of daily volunteer work on stress levels, it was found that salivary cortisol levels were lower on days when participants volunteered compared to days they did not, offering legitimate stress-buffering effects.


Volunteer programs designed to help others in need may be considered as an intervention strategy for individuals living under stressful conditions. The social interaction, and the stress relief it can provide, is likely one major reason why volunteering has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, as it’s a well-known fact that stress elevates blood pressure. There is strong evidence that having good social connections promotes healthy aging and reduces risk for a number of negative health outcomes.

Volunteering’s many benefits are not limited to one area of the body like our brain or our heart but rather appear to extend body wide. Volunteerism is linked to lower all-cause mortality in older adults, for instance, and additional benefits such as greater life satisfaction, greater self-esteem, increased personal control, fewer depressive symptoms, delaying the onset of functional limitations that predict psychological distress among older adults.


Physical activity is another area where volunteering shines, as many types of volunteer work require moderate physical exertion. People who volunteer have been found to be more physically active than those who do not. Even people with chronic or serious illnesses stand to benefit from volunteering; people suffering from chronic pain had reductions in pain intensity and disability when they volunteered to help others with chronic pain.

In a study, people who volunteered following a heart attack reported reductions in despair and depression, which are linked to an increased risk of mortality, along with a greater sense of purpose. When we volunteer, we not only help our community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher functional ability or lower rates of depression.


It’s unclear exactly how much volunteer work is necessary to reap its physical and mental rewards. However, some findings indicated that volunteering for about 100 hours a year may offer the greatest health advantages. One should choose a cause that matters to him/her and invest as much time as he/she comfortably can. If one starts to feel stressed by the obligation to volunteer, it may be a sign he/she has committed too much time.


Volunteering should leave us feeling good about our accomplishments and excited to continue our contribution. Ideally, for the greatest health, mental and emotional gains, especially as they pertain to our brain, seek out volunteer opportunities that provide opportunity for social connection and mental stimulation, and which help us to feel a sense of purpose, such as tutoring. On the other hand, volunteer work that requires more physical activity, such as gardening, can increase our weekly activity, offering another set of benefits. We must keep a positive attitude and volunteer for the right reasons. The motives for volunteering matter, and people who volunteer for selfless reasons enjoy increased longevity, whereas those who do so for more selfish reasons do not.




Posted: March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


Heartburn, which is a symptom of acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid moves up into the digestive tract. It can bring a lot of discomfort and may also come with other symptoms, such as sore throat, long-term cough and voice hoarseness. The chronic heartburn can be addressed with simple home remedies, by avoiding the pharmaceutical interventions. Some effective methods are:


Apple Cider Vinegar: Because acid reflux actually occurs due to having very small amounts of acid in the stomach, ACV may actually help keep it from occurring.


Use baking soda/sodium bicarbonate. While this is not recommended as a regular solution, it may come in handy whenever there is an extreme pain due to heartburn. This will help neutralize stomach acid and ease the burning sensation heartburn brings.


Sip on Aloe Vera juice. Drinking half a cup of Aloe Vera juice before mealtimes may ease heartburn, as it actually helps reduce inflammation.

Fresh Ginger Root Tea. Drink a cup of ginger tea at least 20 minutes before eating. Ginger has a gastro protective effect and is anti-inflammatory.


Fennel. This crunchy vegetable may help improve stomach function, thus making it ideal for people with acid reflux. Try mixing it in vegetable salads or snack on it raw.

Papaya. The enzyme papain may help break down carbohydrates and protein, promoting better digestion.


Fermented foods. These will help reseed the gut with good bacteria, to help balance the bowel flora and aid in good digestion. A high-quality probiotic supplement is also a viable option.


Some of the best nutrients for relieving heartburn are:

Glutamine- This amino acid, found in many animal food products, as well as some fruits and vegetables, may actually heal the gastrointestinal damage.

Folic acid and other B vitamins: Getting enough of these nutrients may help reduce the chances of getting acid reflux. Sources are asparagus, liver, spinach etc.

Vitamin D: Optimizing the levels of this crucial nutrient via sun exposure can help improve the production of over 200 antimicrobial peptides that may help eliminate infections.

Some lifestyle tips to help get rid of heartburn:

Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds can place pressure on the stomach, causing more acid to forcefully move into the digestive tract.

If possible, avoid taking unnecessary medications. Some over-the-counter and prescription medications (antidepressants, anxiety medications, blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, osteoporosis drugs, pain relievers) can trigger heartburn.

Stay upright, especially after meals. This will help prevent digestive acids from moving up and out of the stomach.

Sleep on the left side. This causes acid to pool farther away from the esophageal sphincter, reducing the risk of it going back up.

Quit smoking. When we smoke, it causes acid to reflux and also affect stomach acid production.

While most people think that reflux occurs because of an overproduction in stomach acid, it’s actually the contrary; it’s low amounts of stomach acid that leads to this problem. It’s only in rare cases when heartburn occurs because of excessive stomach acid.

Heartburn can be a bothersome and painful condition, but resorting to pharmaceutical interventions is not a viable solution. Rather, we must restore the natural gastric balance and function of the gut. Making real, wholesome food a top priority is the best way to address gut health as processed foods contain sugar that can alter the microbiome, hence promoting overgrowth of harmful microbes. By being more proactive in eating a healthy diet, we may be able to alleviate this condition.



Balance Life

Posted: March 5, 2018 in Uncategorized


Researchers suggest 8-9 hours/day to be the ideal work to ensure, maintain life balance and good health. How often do we stop to consider the effects those extra hours are likely having on our health and well-being?

While longer work hours are not necessarily bad and do not have a uniformly negative impact on our mental health, there is a distinct tipping point when the hours worked do begin to affect our mental health.


A research Cardiology suggests it might actually be possible to work our heart out. People who worked more than 50 hours a week were 40% more likely than those working a normal workweek, to develop an irregular heartbeat/atrial fibrillation (AFib). Another very important factor to consider with atrial fibrillation, is exposure to EMF, just as cell phones, Wi-Fi, portable phones and sleeping in a bedroom that has the electrical power turned on to it. The heart has a high density of voltage gated calcium channels and is highly susceptible to EMF and one of the primary symptoms are cardiac arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.

There is a lot of scientific evidence showing that shift work and long hours of work are associated with significant health and safety risks. Scientists believe these risks occur due to disruptions in sleep and circadian rhythms associated with these demanding schedules and strains on social life.

Tips to help create a more balanced life are:


Create a support network: Loneliness can be a major source of stress, so it is important that we connect personally with people around us. If our work environment is filled with difficult people, we’ll need to create a support network outside of our job. Even a quick chat while we are sitting in a waiting room or standing in line at the grocery store can help us feel connected to the world around us. We might also consider attending community events, meeting friends for coffee, taking a class or volunteering. While we may think we are connected to others through email, social media and texting, that type of connection is not the same as personal, face-to-face contact.

Learn to say “NO”: Sometimes the stress and strain on our life comes from our inability or unwillingness to set boundaries and limits. If we were raised to say “yes” to almost everything that comes along because this is the only way we think people will like or accept us, it’s time to rethink the powerful word “no.” Especially if we feel we are continually busy, racing from one activity or commitment to the next, all day long, from the time we get up until we fall into bed at night, we are a prime candidate for change.

Look inward: Because we can’t separate our physical health from our emotional well-being, it is important we take time on a regular basis to look inward. Every feeling we have affects some part of our body, so it is important to notice and address the feelings that come up in the context of our everyday circumstances and relationships. When left unchecked, negative feelings and the emotional stress can wreak havoc on our health. This is true even if we are doing everything else, diet, exercise and sleep, for instance, “right.” Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and yoga, meditation and prayers are very helpful.

Nurture ourselves: If we live a hectic, fast-paced life, the idea of nurturing and caring for ourselves may be a foreign concept. For example, we might choose to prepare one of our favourite meals, get a massage, go for a bike ride, listen to music, doing peak fitness, reading a book, walking on the beach, spend time with a friend or take an exercise class.

Prioritize activities: Being frequently late or constantly feeling hurried are significant stressors, making it important for us to carefully prioritize our activities. By focusing on the aspects of our day that are truly “must do” activities, we put our energy and time where they will garner the most positive effects. Prioritizing helps to identify possible responsibilities and tasks that can be delegated. It gives us permission to temporarily set aside any task standing between us and some much-needed self-care. By making lists of our important activities, we can more easily schedule them into our day and time them conveniently and efficiently.


Life is short. Time flies. We need to take active steps every day to balance the needs and expectations of our job with our life outside work and the people in it. Even if we cannot imagine working as few as 8-9 hours/day, any reduction at all will be an improvement. Particularly if we are working upward of 60 hours a week, it will be nearly impossible to optimize our health until we find a way to cut back our work hours and re-balance our life.

Let’s start today. We won’t regret it.


Plant Based Proteins

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Uncategorized


What do we expect from a protein powder other than a tasty snack?

Perhaps we want to help build some of the muscle mass we’ve lost naturally as we’ve aged, or want to continue adding muscle. Whatever our goal, when we select a quality protein powder we can help maintain and promote healthy muscle mass and body composition and support normal immune function.

What factors contribute to protein powder quality?

It all comes down to amino acids, namely the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine, especially for muscle building. Many people believe plant proteins aren’t as complete, or as effective, as animal proteins, especially when it comes to maintaining and building muscle mass.

All proteins are comprised of amino acids, considered the building blocks of life. Our muscles, skin, hair, tendons, and cartilage are all made of amino acids. Protein also helps form our enzymes, hormones, and replacement tissues and cells. Our body can make all but 9 (essential) of about 20 amino acids in the human body, i.e. histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

So, as long as a protein, either plant or animal, contains all 9 essential amino acids, it’s considered a complete protein. Some people can actually develop an allergy to certain proteins if they are consumed daily and that typically happens with protein powders containing animal proteins like egg and dairy, but it can occur with soy protein. We may mix protein sources so we’re not consuming the same one on a daily basis. When choosing a high-quality plant-based protein, there can be dramatic differences in nutritional values. Avoid unfermented soy which includes fresh, green, or whole, dry soybeans, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy flour, soy-milk, and tofu and ultra-processed soy protein isolates.

No two foods are identical in their amino acid makeup. A food protein might be strong in 1 or 2 amino acids and low, or weak, in another. When we combine 2 or more food proteins, their amino acids can complement one another and form a complete food protein.


Pea Protein is a vegetable protein source rich in essential amino acids, made from yellow split peas, non-hydrolysed Pea Protein is easily digestible and absorbable, free of soy, gluten and lactose and well-tolerated by most individuals. Its amino acid line-up is surprisingly comparable to the best animal protein sources. Its high biological value makes it helpful to restore muscle mass after a strenuous workout. Pea Protein is nutritious, delivering a substantial supply of beneficial amino acids and large amounts of essential amino acids isoleucine, valine, arginine, and lysine. Contrary to what we might expect from whole yellow peas, Pea Protein does not contain any carbohydrates, making it a great choice for helping to maintain body composition.


One of the original super-foods and a highly prized, Chia is valued for the energy, vigor and staying power it offered this ancient civilization’s warriors. Chia Seeds contain 18 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids. When chia seeds are milled, they remain gluten-free and take on a delightfully nutty taste. And they contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid. The natural food sources of ALA may help support heart health, and help counteract less-than-desirable effects of excess linoleic acid (LA).


One of the newest vegan protein powders on the market today is also one from an unlikely source: Potatoes. Concentrated from fresh potatoes, Potato Protein is extracted by a specialized technology and is surprisingly valuable as it contains 90-95% amino acids, highly bio-available, highly digestible and fast absorbing, contains more BCAAs than whey, has a higher biological value than casein and equals to eggs, low allergenic potential, and nitrogen content is remarkably close to animal protein. Potato Protein contains more essential amino acids than any other protein powder! With its high BCAA and essential amino acid content, Potato Protein is the perfect vegan protein for building lean muscle and aiding recovery after exertion.



Posted: February 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


Stress does not act as a singular force on our body but gradually building in size and speed until it’s virtually impossible to control, influencing everything from our mood and brain function to our heart health and risk of both acute illness and chronic disease, including cancer.


When we become stressed, our blood sugar levels are affected as well. Our body enters fight/flight mode, glucose is released in order to give our muscles the energy needed to run and escape whatever is threatening us and the threat is more mental than physical. Our body must produce more insulin to keep our blood sugar levels in check, and when we’re stressed out, our blood sugar levels will probably stay elevated much longer than they would otherwise, ultimately promoting weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.


Excess stress may have detrimental effects on our overall health. The longer our blood sugar stays elevated, the more insulin our body will produce. When our cells become resistant to insulin, glucose (sugar) stays in our blood, raising our blood sugar levels and ultimately leading to the malfunction of leptin signaling. The function of leptin is to tell our brain we have enough fat stored, have eaten enough and to burn calories at a normal rate. Leptin is involved in our immune system, fertility and regulating how much energy we burn. Anything that causes our blood sugar levels to stay higher longer than necessary is something we should strive to avoid, and stress is high up on that list.


If one is diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, stress hormones can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, as well as encourage less-than-healthy lifestyle choices that further add to the risk. Stress may play a role in the onset of diabetes, it can have a deleterious effect on glycemic control and can affect lifestyle, which is why it’s so important to tend to our emotional health in order to protect our physical condition. If one is under stress and the blood sugar levels are high, it can make one feel nervous or tired or make it difficult to think clearly. Further, people with diabetes who have psychiatric disorders as well are more likely to have poor control of their blood sugar levels.


The stress-induced pattern of rising insulin levels and decreasing blood sugar can prompt us to feel hunger pains and crave high-carb comfort foods, leading to weight gain. Stress can make it harder for us to sleep at night, another harbinger of weight gain. Like stress, lack of sleep also disrupts important hormones like ghrelin and leptin and metabolic function.


A diet based on real, whole foods, including fermented foods to optimize our gut flora, supports positive mood and optimal mental health, while helping us to bounce back from stress. For example, dark chocolate, berries, organic black coffee, animal-based omega-3 fats and turmeric tend to boost our mood, whereas sugar, wheat/gluten and processed foods have been linked to poor mood. What we eat can influence our blood sugar levels for better or worse.


Diet and getting proper sleep are crucial for controlling both stress and blood sugar levels, but beyond this exercise is another factor that can’t be ignored. Mind-body exercises, such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, may be particularly beneficial in warding off stress.