Category Archives for Weight Loss

Visceral Fat is NOT Dangerous

visceral fat is not dangerous

Yes, you read that right.

And yes, I have repeatedly written to you about how dangerous and disease promoting visceral fat is to our health and quality of life. And now, today, I have to modify that stance.

Let me first start by making an apology. In this learning process, trying to make sense of some very complicated physiology and pathologies that are plaguing the American public, there are new discoveries and perspectives that change along the way. That can be frustrating, I get it. It is frustrating for me too. I do not like having to change my position or edit my protocols and programs due to new information but I feel I must. I want the best for myself and my family. I want the best most accurate and effective understanding of what is really going on in this body of mine so that I can make the best, educated, informed decision on how to best engage in this crazy world of ours so I can live as healthy, happy, and stress resilient a life that I possibly can and pass that knowledge on to my children. Hence, I course correct often, and this is one of those moments, I hope you understand.

Often I have described visceral fat as the fat that accumulates in our gut, in the abdomen, under and behind the fat that lines our waist. In doing so I usually grouped together the fat that accumulates around the organs in our trunk with the fat that accumulates within the organs in the same area. Yes, there is fat in both locations, yes, both are indicators of problems and can raise health risks, but they are distinctly different and so are the health implications.

As it turns out, visceral fat, as in the fat around the organs in our gut is just marginally more dangerous than the fat on the outside of our body that upsets us when we see it in the mirror. Organ fat on the other hand, specifically liver fat or the fat that accumulated inside the liver itself due to diet, is the real threat. There is a real eye opening study that I will write about and include later that shows that in reality when isolated and tested it is not the visceral fat that cause our metabolic dysfunction and raises all of our health risks, it is the liver fat.

I have been working on diagrams and pictographics on how this process exactly works and I should have more info and specifics with a visual very soon…..but this is rather complicated stuff, but I think I can get it to make not only sense but give us some immediate direction to avoid or improve it naturally and through lifestyle. At least that is my intention.

What this new information does is to reinforce the liver-centric and hormonal emphasis of how we have been looking at this whole health equation and basing our lifestyle modifications and nutritional and stress resilience protocols on. The bottom line is we have been on the right track and this new info and distinction only supports what we have been doing in our research, work and programs both in my one on one custom programs and in the larger population based programs we are running through Aduro.

All that said, and not jumping into the specifics too prematurely, I can tell you that the number one CAUSE, not correlation, but CAUSE of liver fat is sugar. There simply is no way around it, no way to sugar-coat it, and definitely no way to deny it. Sugar IS what is driving major metabolic dysfunction that leads to metabolic syndrome which sets the stage for weight gain and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, accelerated aging, premature death, and is implicated in cancer and Alzheimer’s as well.

So, what can I do today?

Step One: No added sugar of any kind. Especially in liquid forms.

Step Two: Live the insulin friendly lifestyle (see my blog)

Step Three: Exercise, it promotes fat clearance from the liver.

Step Four: Prioritize Sleep

Step Five: Sit as little as possible….sitting squishes the liver and pisses it off!

More to come my friends.

Here’s to a lovely liver!

Dr. Don

P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Feeling the Fast

feeling the fast

Fasting is getting more and more attention as word gets out on all of the health benefits that can come from fasting. As people do start to look into fasting, they realize that the straight forward concept of fasting is much more than simply not eating. It doesn't take long to realize that there are many different kinds of fasts that can be used. While technically fasting is simply the abstinence of eating food, there are many ways to approach how and when to do this.

Fasting ranges from the traditional model of fasting in that people refrain from eating and at times from drinking to intermittent fasting, pseudo fasting, fat fasting, juice fasting, broth fasting, every other day fasting, or any combination of these, and probably some others that don’t come to mind.

In the truest definition, the term intermittent fasting technically means any fasting attempts that last less than 20 days. That’s right, 20 days! Long term fasting starts on the 21st day.

Intermittent fasting is popular in today’s pop fasting and health circles, but they usually are referring to eating in a specific eating window. For example, one’s eating window might be 8 hours where they eat from 12-8 pm then the refrain form eating the other 16 hours, from 8 pm to 12 the next day. In this sense they are extending the overnight “fast” and get a short 16 hour mini fast so to speak. If you like this model and get good at it then you can extend the fast by shortening the eating window to 6 hours or even 4. Most people choose to skip breakfast and have their eating window include lunch and dinner with some potential snacking in between. Metabolically speaking research suggests that shifting the eating window earlier, like form 8 am to 4 pm makes for a healthier metabolic change overall.

Pseudo fasting or a fasting mimicking diet as it has been called in the literature, is when a person sticks to a very low calorie diet eating only between 500 and 800 calories per day. IN medical obesity circles they now call this concept a Very Low Calorie Diet or VLCD, and are using it with meal replacements all over the country, but the long term results are terrible and frankly there is a better way. This eating style and form of fasting has been used over a prolonged period of time (8 weeks) with those with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes and was shown to reverse not only their diagnostic symptomatology criteria of high blood sugar and insulin resistance but also to actually reverse the fat deposits in their pancreas and potentially reverse some of the plaguing that can arise with prolonged insulin resistance.

Other studies looking at the over 90% success rate of bariatric surgery to “cure” or completely reverse type 2 diabetes realized through comparing surgery candidates who went through the surgery and those who did not but went on the same post surgery diet actually lost more weight and reversed or “cured” type 2 diabetes at the same rate as people who actually had the surgery showing that it was the 500-800 calorie restrictive post surgery pseudo fast that did all the work.

Many groups consider the significant drop in insulin exposure in the blood and to the body to be the heavy lifter in the overall benefit of fasting, especially in metabolically challenged people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, weight and cardio metabolic issues. Fat is the only food that does not cause insulin secretion, therefore by only eating fat and refraining from the carbohydrates and protein that do cause insulin secretion one can manage to eat and still gain the benefits of the low insulin exposure and health changes seen in all out fasting. These 2 models, as far I have seen, have not been tested head to head to see just how much of a metabolic or health change occur in a full fast vs. a fat fast, but don’t be surprised if you see one very soon!

I would consider broth fasting a form of fat fasting since most home made broths do not have sugar or other insulin stimulating ingredients and really only contain fat and minerals. Broth fasting is done just how it sounds, you make a big batch of home made broth, be it bone broth, vegetable (potassium), chicken, or seafood broth, and you drink it throughout the day. People use the broth as a way to ease through a fast drinking it as they feel the need, as well as try and target healing, particularly in the gut, by drinking a certain amount of broth per day. I personally like to add fresh herbs to my broth a few minutes before drinking it, or maybe some dried seaweed to add flavor and have enjoyed a dab of hot sauce as well, just for flavor.

Juice fasting is a bit different since when you juice fruits and vegetables you are basically removing all the fiber and extracting the juice which is basically water, minerals, some vitamins, and sugar form the plant. This method offers a wider variety of flavor depending on what plant foods are added but can raise insulin and therefore may have benefits but they will be different than from the other forms of fasting. In my personal and clinical experience there is a possibility of getting too much sugar in juice and it often seems to promote a higher degree of crankiness than any of the other methods of fasting that I go into here.

Another benefit of all of the fasting techniques here besides possibly juice fasting is that if done long enough and with intermittent fasting combined with a higher fat and protein, low carb diet approach, can help people shift from being a sugar primary metabolic burner to a primarily fat burner. Over time, with enough exposure to this model and some metabolic flexibility one can even move into a state of nutritional ketosis where the process of burning fat for energy yields a higher level of ketones that then in turn are preferably used by the high energy organs in our body like the brain, heart, kidneys and just about all of the other cells of the body. This is not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is a state that is produced by uncontrolled type one diabetes. Diets have never been shown to produce ketoacidosis, they are two completely different things.

So whether you want to get into or try fasting for the health benefits, to lose weight, or to promote nutritional ketosis, there are a few points that are very important to keep in mind.

1. Fasting is the intentional utilization of, or shift into a specific metabolic pathway of primary fat burning vs. primarily burning sugar. Basically you are trying to shift from sugar burning to fat burning.

2. Shifting metabolic dominance from sugar burning to fat burning can take time and effort. The switch is not a simple on off switch like flipping on your lights but rather a slow dial that needs be turned from one side to the other on a dimmer.

3. Fasting symptoms and discomfort are often not a result of the fasting or the switching of the metabolic switch, but rather due to detoxification and breaking free of the carb addiction cycle in your brain and body.

4. Becoming an efficient faster and getting to a point where fasting is easier and can be prolonged is like building a muscle as you flex and move over time as you get into shape. It takes practice, and a plan.

5. Hunger for the most part in modern living is an aberrant sensation. There is no such thing as acute hunger that might come up by skipping a meal or snack. If you feel any “hunger” sensations in the short term process of fasting then it is really the ”urge” to eat that you feel.

When making your plan to start into any fasting protocol, and yes, it is a protocol, as in a planned progression that fits into a larger goal or health improvement picture. We often support the process with specific exercises, supplements and stress resilience concepts as well. So, as you try some of these fasting concepts out remember that they are not gimmicks or fad diets and should be thought through, prepared for, and monitored for optimal benefit and outcomes.

All that said, give it a try and let us know how it goes.

Dr. Don

P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Protein Is Time Released Sugar

protein is time released sugar

The human body has no trouble making all the sugar it needs on a daily basis. Within our liver we have a very efficient mechanism for making sugar, or glucose on demand and in the absolute perfect proportion that the body requires at any given moment in time. The liver can make sugar from lactate, the byproduct of muscle contraction from exercise, it can make it from the glycerol it gets from breaking down triglycerides when we burn fat, it can make it from surplus ketones from fat burning, and it can make it from some of the amino acids found in protein from our diet, from the damaged proteins due to exercising, or from muscle in extreme cases. This process is called gluconeogenesis.

So basically protein from our diet, body, or through recycling is essentially time released sugar. When sugar is made through this process of gluconeogenesis in a healthy person there are never blood sugar issues, not high or low, but just right, all the time, every time. Pretty amazing huh?

What then happens when we eat sugar? Basically we halt this process and start a whole new and potentially dangerous disease producing cascade.

The amount of sugar in our blood is very tightly controlled by the liver. At any given point the average healthy person has about 5 grams of sugar in their blood stream. That is less than a packet of sugar and if that amount raises by just one single gram then that healthy person now has type 2 diabetes. Two grams extra and retinopathy can occur and three grams too much and you can get neuropathy and four extra grams can cause organ damage and if you get up to 20 extra grams then you can produce a coma.

So, with that said, what happens when a kid eats a bowl of cereal, or a glass of juice, or when an adult drinks a soda, or eats an ice cream? Each of these food choices can have over 40 grams of sugar each. That is WAY too much sugar to go right into your blood stream. If all that sugar did go right into your system you would be rendered unconscious each time you had a cafe mocha. So what happens to it all?

Here is how it works: We eat junk food-like product, it gets broken down by the acid in our stomach to very small bits. These bits then go into the small intestine to be absorbed into the hepatic (liver) capillaries and flow right into the liver where the liver has to sort this mess out. The liver first stops producing and releasing glucose into the blood stream from gluconeogenisis. Then as the blood sugar filters through the liver it is appropriately released into the blood to the heart to be pumped throughout the body. As the sugar keeps coming into the liver it fills its storage containers called glycogen within the liver itself and if then still more sugar keeps coming in it then turns that glucose into glycerol and binds three fatty acids to make a triglyceride and stuffs that into deposits within the liver. This is what causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and if sugar keeps coming in then that fat gets stored in and around our internal organs and is called visceral fat. Visceral fat is what brings with it all the health risks for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and more. This is also how body fat is made then sent to our hips, love handles or butt.

Grains turn to sugar within 4 seconds of eating them in your mouth so we call them super sugars. If you eat a diet with the regular consumption of sugars and grains, then over time you will develop some level of fatty liver. If the sugar you consume is mostly fructose, then it will happen sooner and be worse. Eventually this process leads to insulin resistance, weight gain and obesity, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, accelerated aging, inflammation, Alzheimer's, premature death and much more.

As this process continues the liver gets a beating and in time our blood sugar regulation will falter and we will see increasing high blood sugar spikes and high residual blood sugar levels. Oh, and if you think insulin will save you, think again. I do not believe insulin was ever designed for blood sugar regulation. Insulin does little to nothing for the utilization of sugar in our body, just the storage of it as glycogen and fat. Relying on insulin to regulate your blood sugar will guarantee chronic disease and your body breaking down one way or another in time and in misery.

Since most Americans eat sugar and grains at every meal, what can we do to help ourselves and stop this process?

First, you got to love your liver. She is the soccer mom of our body, always doing things for everyone else, usually at the expense of her own needs. I firmly believe that humans simply were never exposed to high levels of sugars and grains like we are now and we are not equipped to deal with it so when we do eat it as we do today our bodies simply breaks down.

Step One: Stop eating grains......and yes, even whole grains.....yes, even oats......yes, yes, yes.

Step Two: Stop eating processed sugar....yes, even natural sugar, yes, yes, yes.

Step Three: Stop eating........NO, you don't have to eat 5-7 times a day....give your liver a vacation and just eat 2-3 meals a day, you might even look to skip a day here and there entirely......NO, you will not die, starve, pass out, or waste away.

Step Four: Support your liver. Cruciferous veggies, lots of water, apple cider vinegar, sea salts and healthy fats are great for your liver.....just keep the low eating frequency. Yes, there are some great supplements that can help, I take some every day, but there is no one nutrient, hence why we use protocols.

Step five: Build resilience. Sleep. Walk. Exercise. Breath. Laugh. Love. Touch. Talk. Celebrate silence. Practice gratitude. Keep your nervous system tuned up by a chiropractor. Take a standing core class, yoga, or slow martial arts class. Get a massage once and a while. Take a hot bath. Read. Learn. Help others........REPEAT.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is predicted to be the number one disease world-wide in 10 years. This is exactly how it happens and what has been shown to not only reverse the process but how to improve your quality of life and overall health in the process. There are no gimmicks for this or any other chronic health conditions. You have to make it a lifestyle if you want to not suffer or watch your family and kids suffer.

We are here to help. We can do better. There are great options out there, but no one can do it for you, but if you decide this is what you want, then there is way more out there for you than most people think. Go for it!

Dr. Don

P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipe

Coconut Chocolate

From the Kitchen of Dr. Dana

  • 1 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • Stevia – to taste
  • Real Maple Syrup – to taste (grade B is the best option)

Combine 1 cup coconut oil* and 1 cup cocoa powder and whisk together until nice and smooth.

Stir in1/4 – 1/2 tsp powdered Stevia extract (you could also use liquid Stevia) and 2 -4 tbsp maple syrup and whisk well. * what you’re going for here is to sweeten the mixture with stevia until its ALMOST sweet enough for you – and then add just enough maple syrup to cut the bitterness of the stevia.

Pour into clean ice cube trays or your favorite Chocolate Molds and place in the freezer to harden.

Once hardened, remove from molds and store in a container in the freezer (or fridge) so they don’t melt!

Coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. (25 C.), and below that it will be a solid fat. It can be stored in either form, and it can be liquefied easily by applying low-level heat.

*In cooler months you may need to do this on the stove. Melt the coconut oil In a small pot over low heat to bring the coconut oil to liquid state, then remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

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Coconut Pesto

This is a fantastic, dairy free pesto sauce. Toss it with your salad, with Zucchini Noodles, or over you favorite veggies.

Place the following ingredients in a food processor:

  • 2 tbsp coconut cream*
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 scallions
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Begin to process all the ingredients together and then, with the processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil until all ingredients make a smooth paste.

Coconut Cream
*Coconut cream, aka coconut butter, is NOT Coco Lopez. It is not sweetened. If you cannot find it you can make it – place about 3-4 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut (I use the Lets Do Organic brand) in your food processor and process for about 10-15 minutes. It will take a while, but it will turn into a smooth, creamy, DELICIOUS, liquidly butter.

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Burn Fat by Breathing

How Your Breath Stokes Your Fat Burning Metabolic Fire!

Did you know your lungs are powerful metabolic organs? Have you ever wondered where your fat goes when you “burn” it off? When I used to ask patients this and I would hear a lot of interesting answers from it evaporates, or it melts in sweat, to we pass it in the bathroom.

Well, here is how it works. Depending on what metabolic fuel you have set your body to run on, whether you are a SUGAR BURNER or a FAT BURNER, the given fuel source as glucose or fat (triglycerides) are liberated from food or stores in your body, or both, and get broken down into a form that can travel through your blood stream and get into your cells to “burn.”

As that fuel “burns,” it gives your cells, tissues, and organs the energy to move, detox, breath, and function. Yes, each individual cell “breathes,” so to speak. Each cell takes in the fuel, breaks it down for energy, and processes out the by-products. Some of those by-products get neutralized and pass through and out of our body in our urine, bowels, and sweat, yet the majority of it passes through our lungs. In fact, 84 percent of the fat that is lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs, whereas the remaining 16 percent becomes water.

Here is the point: there is a feedback mechanism that can turn up or slow down your fat burning and expelling process. Believe it or not, it is your rate and efficiency of breathing during a workout. We breathe out carbon dioxide because it is toxic to us, so your body will not let it build up much at all. Therefor the faster you can rid it from your lungs the more the body will be able to process by breaking down more body fat. Oh, and by the way, this process is completely calorie independent….the whole calories in vs. calories out concept……it is just a vague guess, don’t bank on it.

Remember, this is a metabolic process and your metabolism is not run by calories. Hormones control your metabolism, and although specific foods, chemicals, and nutrients will affect your hormonal responses, pure calorie count does not.

So, how can I use this info to help me burn more fat? Breathe! You will expel the most fat with a varied intensity model, or what we call metabolic workouts. Burst, peak, HIIT, all fall into the Variable Output Exercise model that we use and teach.

Here is the key: Pace and anticipate your breathing. When you workout with a high intensity it is not about getting more air in to your lungs that makes you huff and puff as much it is about getting that toxic carbon dioxide out. So, start paced deep breathing during your workout BEFORE you feel you need to. For example, within the first few minute of my workout I will start my paced deep breathing, belly breathing pacing at 3-4 seconds in through the nose and 3-4 out through the mouth.

As your exercise progresses the nose seems to not be able to keep up, that is OK, but keep the belly breathing going the best you can and start to force air out. Think of it like you are forcefully blowing out a candle during your workouts or during your recovery time in-between. I hope this makes sense; we are planning on building a video series on our Variable Output Exercise model and give examples of this technique, so keep your eyes out for it.

So, if you are at the gym, solo, or with workout partners, don’t hold back, start huffing and puffing EARLY and keep it going and you will stimulate more fat to be broken down and liberated from your body. Pretty cool huh?

Try it out; let me know how it goes.

Dr. Don

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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