All Posts by Dr. Don Clum

Health, Weight Loss and Medicine no Longer Have Rules, Only Exceptions

Health, Weight Loss and Medicine no Longer Have Rules, Only Exceptions

I love to study the development of this species we now call human. I read book after book on how we migrated across the globe, what we ate, what helped us survive, what patterns and traits formed our genetic code, how we grew these big brains, built communities and everything in between. With all that our species has gone through, and how we have evolved and slowly strengthened this amazing body and gene sequence we now have and enjoy I am constantly surprised at how much variation we now have in our health, well-being, how we respond to stress, diets, and respond to our world around us. As we evolved we didn’t all eat different ways, at different times or have all that much variety in our lifestyle at all. So why would a customized, person to person approach to weight loss, health, healing, and diet be so important today? Why is it so hard to get consistent health improvement, weight loss and results across our population? It really doesn’t make sense to me that a one size fits all approach DOSEN’T work for everyone, honestly and evolutionarily, it should……but it doesn’t! I think I know why.

Most of the people on this planet today would have died off in our natural, non-modern, non-cultivation, environment of the time past. Many of the people here and now, their families, and their entire lineages would not even be swimming in the gene pool today if the same world that formed our genetics was still in effect and ruling it today. What we call diversity in our populations is really an accumulating and growing set of genetic mutations, defects and weaknesses that are being supported by the efforts and support of others.

Hey, I am not trying to be cynical, overly critical, or negative, I get it, my own line would probably not be here. My dad would not have made it through childhood with his eyesight and my sister would not have made it more than a few days after birth. I had Lasix eye surgery myself and would have been at a disadvantage assuming I was born at all. This unnatural inclusion we support and extend to our society, the opposite of natural selection that has built our very survivability historically, is accelerating every single day with every dose of anti-biotics, with each life saving operation, every set of eye glasses, each assisted pregnancy, C-section, and each assisted living intervention and resuscitation that takes place.

And look, I am all for it. I am glad to be alive, have my father and sister, and know that a life saving antibiotic or operation is there if my children’s life were on the line. I think of how many contributions to society, art, science, medicine, culture and spiritual growth have been made by people and cultures who might not have been able to do so if they lived even 100 years ago, never mind 1,000 or 100,000 years ago. But this is just one side of the equation.

The other side that is seemingly magnifying this artificial process of human population growth is that of our modern technology and agriculture. Ever since we stopped the roaming nature of our small human communities and exchanged them for a stationary existence dependent on geography and crops which needs larger communities to tend it we have seen an exponential growth of our population and the need to keep pushing technology for us to do more, and more, so we can support all that we were creating.

This “civilization” process has essentially built a form of elective captivity that we all rely on and opt into each and every day. Our modern captivity along with the expansion of the variation in our gene pool devolves us into a weaker and weaker state with each generation as we become more reliant on the infrastructure we have built to support us and inflame the need of others to provide all that we now need.

So, what does this have to do with health and healing? It means that we have a vastly diverse genetic expression across our population that did not exist, or at least has not existed for long during the evolution of our species and now they breed and interbreed and live in the most artificial environment in history. Our lives are filled with essentially experimental conditions, exposures, stress, and proximity with others to produce the incalculable physical genetic expressions and reactions to all that this incredible combination of circumstances produce today.

What this means is that there are no, and there will not be again, any predictable or typical outcomes for people living in our society. There is no longer a natural human habitat or environment. Consequently, we will not know in most cases exactly why certain body changes, illnesses, diseases, mental and mood challenges come about if they do and even worse we will not have a standard of approach in dealing with them since the reactions to any given treatments or protocols and interventions will be as varied as the set of circumstances that led to their development in the first place.

There are no more rules in health and healing, just endless expectations. Where does this leave us? Are we doomed? No. The only option we have is to be proactive and basically live as if any and all diseases are in us or on their way now. We are not destined to be sick as many people believe but rather must live with the awareness that the environment is stacked against us. If we wait until signs, symptoms, or issues show up, it will be a lot harder get a handle on it and bring things back to a neutral if not optimal health and healing state. When and if things do show up that challenge our health and well-being we have to resist over simplifying our approach and think that some pill or single intervention will be the magic bullet that fixes our issues. That expectation will only guarantee a life long bout of misery as we chase our own ill-health tail in circles.

By looking at our lives, health and life style from a full and holistic perspective and try and support as we correct issues and overcome and eliminate what might have contributed to it in the first place, we have a hope of correcting the myriad of negative effects and promoting the incalculable and powerful healing mechanisms that lay in waiting for us to do what we need to turn them on. There is hope and the potential for greater health expression than most people believe possible but we will have to earn it, we will have to take daily regular action and accountability for our own health and well-being.

This is all great news for those who share our passion for learning and are committed to following a health promoting path that is as close as we can get to modern day natural living. This means holding a higher standard, not letting our guard down, protecting and teaching our children and supporting and strengthening our tribe together.

I for one am honored to be on this path with all of you! If we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to ask. After all it does not take a village, it takes a tribe!

Dr. Don

When does exercising stop sucking!?!?!?!?!

Exercising sucks

It doesn’t matter how fit you once were or if you never exercised a minute in your life, getting into the groove and routine of regularly working out simply sucks. There is no magic to it not sucking, there is no way around it, no secret skip ahead to the good parts, nothing but going through the process and pushing through.

That said, the process and evolution of your fitness when we do finally get back at this thing called exercise will change along the way, and can and does get better if we keep our sights set on where we want to go with this.

Honestly, amazing things are just 6 WEEKS away.

6 weeks, that is all it really takes to get some momentum, see some results, hear a few compliments, change your blood tests, shed some pounds and get in functional shape and change your health parameters and potentially your future.

This is how it usually goes….if you stick to it:

Week drags, hurts, hits below the belt, makes us want to stop.... workouts feel impossible, legs feel like they are made of stone, flexibility is shot, old injuries complain with each move, new eating plans seem impossible, hunger hormones play tricks on us (don't listen to them!), food seems bland, drinking water is a chore, this is hard! You know where you want to go with this and you start to feel the satisfaction of DOING SOMETHING and energy starts to rise, even I slowly from day one so you keep at it. Can’t quit before you even start.

Week 2: Some stamina starts to build, sweat begins to flow, still getting sore, hunger is much less but we still eat when we should, food routine seems better, seems doable, sleep improves, energy improves even more, time to get to see the chiropractor, water starts to be easier to drink, and we think to ourselves, “this IS possible.” All in all, we see progress, so on we go.

Week 3: You get up on time, more ready to go, it is easier to do your workouts and even start to push a bit, your weight is dropping, clothes fit differently, face is thinner, people notice a change, less pain, better sleep, sex life is picking up, time to get that massage (you deserve it), eating is becoming routine, starting some good supplements, you feel the, "I can do this!" Momentum is a powerful thing so we use it to our advantage.

Week 4: Workouts are starting to be fun, motivation is picking up, you can set some times on the benchmark training days, extend your time or up your intensity, ad in a weights day or stress relief cardio set, change up the eating, do some intermittent fasting, some blenderizing, maybe a healthy meal replacement, you’re not as sore, maybe even more flexible, still dropping pounds and inches, strength is going up...You feel you are moving from good to great!

Week 5: You start upping the weights, getting strong and pushing harder, sweating like a beast, you get upset if you have to miss a workout, you start experimenting with those "I hate that move" routines, your eating schedule and menu is on autopilot, you need to go clothes shopping, everyone is asking you what you are doing, you start posting workouts on facebook, you can't imagine not feeling so good ever again. You need less recovery time, less chiro care, less massage, but that doesn't mean none as it is part of the deal, things are good!

Week 6: You are cranking, up early, look forward to workouts, invite others to join in, the light at the end of the tunnel that was once a pin hole is now a flood light, it is fun to PUSH hard in the workouts, you like the feeling of being sore because you know you pushed it, eating clean is second nature and you fell like CRAP when you stray, so you don't, your body is working well, feeling well, looking well, you are an inspiration to your family, friends and co-workers, your blood tests are better, your blood pressure normal, those "normal" aches and pains are almost forgotten, people are asking you what vitamins to take...and you can tell them, you are ready to map out the next 3 months of training, eating and health improvements and set new goals that you would never had even thought of 6 weeks are a new person and love it! You are getting healthy!

Can you picture it? Feel it? See it? Want it? Good, now DO IT!!! Let me know if you need help!

Dr. Don Clum

Internal Friction……The First Step in Healing

Part 5 of 5

cellular healing

The condition of the body, or the health of the cells, balance of the hormones, and quality of the brain chemistry is what will determine our tipping point and where our water level of our glass is, while it is the mental beliefs we have when we are confronted by any given life stress that drive our emotions and determine the result of our spillage. This is how our body physiology can set the stage for our mental reactions and outcomes to the life stress events we encounter.

It is through addressing all 4 components of this equation, at the cellular level, hormonal level, brain chemistry level, and by re-framing our expectations at the mental level that we build real-life, tangible, qualitative, resilience to stress.

The way we do this is though learning. Awareness is the first step, then we have to learn all we can so we can look at this whole thing differently and approach it from an angle that makes the most sense for each of us, according to our own values, beliefs and goals. A sick body can have sick thoughts and as we do the things day in and day out that change our habits and physiology for the better the body will heal and get healthy and strong and we then express healthier and happier thoughts. As you go through what you need to, in time you will bring back your own thinking, return to your happy, optimistic self, and when things get hard, and let’s face it, life tends to do that, then you will be in physical “shape” and have the mental strength and appropriate expectations to handle what comes your way and effectively change the physiology of stress into the biology of courage.

Imagine that you commit to this work and you apply yourself to it daily. In time as you follow your plan and keep at your goal you may even come to welcome stress and seek it out once you have seen how you can grow from it in ways that very few people can even comprehend. That my friends, is freedom. That my friends, is how I want to live. That my friends, is the legacy I want to leave for my kids and grandkids. That my friends, is what I want to offer you.

Thank you for being a part of this journey and for contributing to my evolution and growth. I appreciate you and the opportunity to share with you along the way.

We can do better! Here is to being better! Here’s to a friction-less life for us all!

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Dr. Don

Internal Friction…….Hijacked Hormones and Brain Chemistry

Part 4 of 5

hormone treatment

As our hormones shift and start to take short cuts and get all thrown off we start to see changes begin to happen in our brain and nervous system. Our brain and nervous system’s cells do not reproduce like most other cells so we have to take excellent care of them. These nervous system cells do make new connections and re-connect constantly to give us countless new options in our health, healing and function and this process can be displaced and interfered with when the inner friction builds to this point. Our brain cells are very high powered little machines and they need a lot of energy and nutrients to keep them happy and firing in a healthful way. When our hormones are causing friction for our brain chemistry and we add life stress into the equation we see a compounding negative effect. The process of running our brain cells is very expensive so to speak using a lot of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep that high quality, high performing brain running. When these sources of nutrients from our food start to run low the brain has to start to budget and starts cutting corners.

As the brain budgets, just like we do, it has to start to picking and choosing which processes and mechanisms it is going to “fund” and with what. One of the first things that we see is that it starts to try and stretch its energy use and downgrades the fuel it uses and how it uses it. It is like going from super octane fuel to a plus grade, then to a standard grade, and to eventually a low grade and at times a very substandard fuel. With each downgrade of the fuel that the brain uses it burns more and more dirty, as in producing more and more residues, just like in the engine of your car. As these residues build up they clog up a whole lot of the machinery in the brain. Soon, due to this lack of nutrient resources forcing the down regulating of how the brain uses fuel it causes oxidation which is like rust in the brain and that causes inflammation. Oxidation and inflammation in the brain is the friction that takes our health issues to a whole new level.

At this level of friction from the oxidation and inflammation we start seeing changing in the normal balance, function, utilization and production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. When these chemicals, or neurotransmitters, start developing issues in this process it changes how we feel, our mood, our energy levels, ability to concentration, our memory, and can produce potentially addictive behavior like urges, impulsivity, and can hi-jack other parts of our brain that run our logic centers, rational thought, morals, decision making, and cost benefit balance type of thinking. Oh, did I mention it can change our mood? Big time, and it can change our demeanor, our motivation, adherence to our values, it can blur our goals, and can literally alter what and how we think.

Once this brain chemistry friction wheel starts turning it is real hard to stop it, never mind turn it around. It is a slippery slope that once we start down it we slide right down the mountain into nothing but trouble and despair. This is exactly what happens in this poor mental economy when the friction tips our cup and we spill over with negative thoughts that come fast and furious, one after another, quickly escalating the perceived negative thoughts and pulls us into a hole of anxiety, depression, and altered thinking. We start thinking in ways that are not us. Just like we are thinking someone else’s thoughts and it doesn’t take long to start to feel we are really far off our mental mark and in a word, crazy. In reality it is the mental friction and the breach of our tipping point that is changing our biochemistry and physiology and driving our thoughts to a place we would never go otherwise.

So far I have outlined how we accumulate the different friction byproducts and fill our glass to the very rim leaving us vulnerable to a tipping incident at any point of the day. Some days it seems all we do is mop up the spillage from the constant, repetitive, tipping that can happen multiple times a day. Three fourths of the friction equation is body centric, building from the cells, then flowing to the hormones, and then reaching the brain chemistry, with the remaining one fourth of the equation being mental, or more specifically, what we believe.

Yes, you read that right, I said what we believe. A very oversimplified way to think of it is that our experiences throughout our life forms our memories and based on these memories and experience concept we choose our beliefs. Now, we can’t change our past or the experiences we have been through, but we can change how we interpret what those experiences mean to us and how we approach similar experiences in the future. What we believe about any given experience will determine how any future experience impacts us mentally and physically. I know it sounds out there, but it is true and this concept has been shown sound in multiple studies with thousands of people in multiple countries spanning many years. What these research studies found was that it was not the level or type of stress that determined how stress effected their health and happiness.

Yes, some people did have very negative health outcomes from their stress, and others had very significant stress events with little to no negative health effects. What made the difference? Remember this concept from the beginning of the article here? What determines which side of the stress line these stress events in life fall? What determines whether my stress hurts me or heals me? As it turns out, it is whether you believe stress is bad or not. People who believed that stress was part of life, that is was not necessarily bad or thought stress could even be good for you are the ones that were not negatively effected health and happiness wise from their stress, even at very high and prolonged levels of stress. People who believed that stress kills people and will ruin their health saw major negative health effects from their stress, and not just at high levels but even at relatively low levels of stress. In fact, the low stress level people who believed that stress was bad had more negative health effects than people who saw stress as part of life but had very high stress levels! The only discernable difference the researchers could find in these groups was how they believed stress would effect them.

Those are some amazing facts are they not? I find this stuff fascinating.

To be continued……

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Internal Friction…..The Tipping Point

Part 3 of 5

stress tipping point

I believe there is the tipping point. Our internal frictions, both mental and physical are what fills our glass as they swell and grind in our life, minds and bodies. Many people focus on and put a lot of time and effort into emptying their glass to try and keep that tipping point low. This is called traditional stress management. Many people look to stay clear of life’s conflicts where ever they can and consequently put a lot of energy into doing so. This is called stress avoidance.

What I really want to do, and where I spend a lot of time and energy is working to build a bigger cup. That is called resilience. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times and places for stress management and avoidance for sure. In today’s condensed, hectic, demanding world I will take all the advantages I can get, but it is in building our capacity to convert stress from a potentially negative impact on our lives into a potentially positive one that makes us truly resilient to stress.

As far as I can see we have four main areas that these internal frictions produce the majority of their damage:

1. Expectations

2. Brain Chemistry

3. Hormonal Chemistry

4. Cellular Oxidative Health

These four areas of our health, body, and life all start to collect the ill effects of the internal friction of our lives independently or collectively and dump them into our glasses. Let’s go through them each in reverse order.

Cellular Oxidative Health. What am I talking about here? Our body is made up of lots and lots of cells that all function in a very similar fashion as our body does as a whole, just on a very small scale. Each cell eats, eliminates, breathes, grows, reproduces, moves, and lives its little cell life. Healthy happy cells make up healthy happy tissues that make up healthy happy organs that work in healthy happy systems that make up a healthy happy body that has a healthy happy mind and enjoys a healthy happy life.

Health starts within the cell itself and anything that we do to irritate, interfere, damage, or negatively stress our cells will change how they work and ultimately how they express themselves and reproduce. In order to have any disease in our body we have to have had some significant damage occur within the cells of the body and that damage had to happen to A LOT of cells to the point that when they reproduced they produced new, yet damaged, or improperly functioning cells for many generations.

Cellular level toxicity, trauma, oxidation and maladapted behavior from our life and lifestyle are the most basic fundamental frictions that occur in our body and start our glass filling up. Many of these changes and actions that occur and produce this cellular level internal friction are not even something people can feel or see very easily, but they start the ill health and negative mental well-being ball rolling.

That leads us to our Hormonal Chemistry. When enough of the cellular level friction occurs it sets off our hormonal chemistry. Hormones are how the cells of the body all talk to each other and communicate what they need and how they feel so to speak. The cells use hormones and hormone receptors to tell their story to the rest of the body and the body in turn reports to the cells what is going on in the world through hormones so the cells can make changes accordingly. When this process is off, either from the cell to the body or the body back to the cell we see changes in our hormonal chemistry start to occur. This hormonal shift creates the next level of friction that we can now see and feel in our body. Hormones are very powerful little chemicals and they direct a whole lot of larger level action in our body like how we feel, how we look, they control how much fat we store or burn, how much muscle we build or lose, they make our skin look young, attract us to other people, help us sleep, control our energy levels, make us hungry or feel full and they can also make us impulsive, irritable, reactionary, angry, jealous, resentful and a whole lot more.

Generally speaking, we want to be as hormonally sensitive as we possibly can. That does not mean that we are just “hormonal,” as they say and being “sensitive,” to everything around us. It means that our cells, the hormones they use, the glands that make hormones and the rest of the body are all living in harmony and communicating well with ease and without any friction. We want our body to be sensitive to hormones meaning that a very little hormonal message goes a long way and does what we need it to. A hormonally sensitive body is a healthy, happy, good feeling body.

When the cells friction is building and health is being challenged we start to see signs of becoming hormonally resistant. The first place that this can be seen is with insulin, a very powerful hormone that does not play well with others and can throw our whole system out of whack when it shows up on the scene. Insulin makes our stress hormone effects worse, throws off our sex hormones and hi-jacks our metabolism. Early signs of insulin resistance are stubborn weight that won’t come off when you do the things that have worked for you in the past to lose weight, high fasting blood glucose as in over 83 for what I call the pre-pre diabetic state, 100-125 for medical pre-diabetes, and over 125 being type two diabetic. High triglycerides, high fasting blood insulin (over 5), elevated liver enzymes, fatty liver, and carb/sugar addiction symptoms are all just a few of the potential signs of insulin resistance.

To be continued…….

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Internal Friction…..WHY?

Part 2 of 5

handling internal stress

Why is it that one stress can roll right off your back while that same stress can bring me to my knees? Why can I deal with this particular stress so well today only to be leveled by it next week? Why can I handle the huge stress at times and be tortured by the small, less significant stress other times? Why can other people get through this, why can they do this, why can they handle this, and why can they succeed at this and I stand here so challenged?

I think something sets us up. I call it our tipping point. I see this equation as a giant water glass. I see our body as a vessel, as a glass of sorts that stress and life events can be poured right into. The level of water in this glass can go up and it can go down for different reasons as we contribute to the filling or emptying process. Occasionally that glass can fill to the rim and spill over. As the water level rises and nears the top we approach the tipping point. The tipping point is different for every individual and is more easily breached as the water level rises and we don’t bring it down, and at this delicate moment when we tip, we better watch out because the fire hose is open full blast.

Have you ever been to a coffee shop and seen a customer completely lose it on the barista because they got the wrong kind of milk, or shot, or flavor in their coffee? I make my own coffee most days and I can barely get it right for myself consistently, so this was not the baristas fault or doing. This client walked into that shop with a loaded gun, they walked into the shop at the brink of a spill, they walked in there right at the crest of their tipping point. At that point all it took was a nudge, a mere suggestion, and the emotional signal was fired off and the spiraling cascade of ill behavior that followed was unleashed.

That is a safe and neatly packaged example that most people can understand and get. Now let’s make it a bit more personal. Think of the parent, a dad in this case, that is at a park with his kid watching them play. The dad starts talking to the other parents doing the same and his child comes over excitedly to share something that just happened. Up to his dad he goes and starts tugging on his sleeve saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” His dad a little irritated shrugs him off only to have the child do it again, and again, and again until the dad turns and barks at his kid that he hates when he does that, and lays into the poor kid. I have been there as the kid and as the dad and I think we can all relate to this incident. Is the dad a bad dad? Does he hate his kid? No. Of course not, just the opposite. So, did the kid do anything wrong, is he a bad kid? No, he’s not.

So what happened? The dad was at his tipping point. The dad was so ripe to tip that the loving, innocent, excited gesture of his own child that he loves dearly set him off and unfortunately both the parent and the child are going to be affected by it and pay a price.

Now if you were to freeze frame that scenario right there and then and calmly ask the dad if he truly feels that his conversation with the other parents at that moment was more important than his child’s desire to share something with him and he would say emphatically, “of course not.” If you were to ask that dad if barking and scolding his kid was an appropriate response in that situation, he would again say “no.” And if you asked him why he did that at that point, he most likely would say, “I don’t know,” and shake his head and look away in disbelief. It is almost like they were not his actions, it was like his thoughts in that moment were not his thoughts. When calmly looking at the event we think, that is just not like me. That is not what I want to be for myself or my child or anyone else. And we mean it.

So then why did he do it? Why do I do it? Why do you? Why does this happen when it is clearly not how we want to behave, it is clearly not how we usually do behave, and there is no reasonable excuse we can think of to justify the behavior? So why? How can this happen? And why does it seem to happen to so many people in so many parts of their lives and relationships?

There is a reason. There are probably many. But we can improve and even potentially eliminate this from happening.

To be continued……

Read Part 1​

Internal friction

internal friction

Part 1 of 5

I am currently pursing my PhD in Health Psychology focusing on this process specifically, but I am not a psychologist. I am just your friendly neighborhood chiropractor and a mild mannered nutritionist who has spent the last 17 years working with people one on one, and now in large groups and programs, in three out of four of these categories I am going to go into with great success. I leave the psychology to the experts who deal with this type of issues every day, but I know that if you improve the body by working on these three categories, detoxifying and healing the cells, reducing hormonal resistance, and improving the mental economy the physiology will improve and much of the mental stress, strain, and mood issues that come along with this friction improves greatly. Again, I am all for stress management and avoiding stress when appropriate, but my ultimate goal, one that I research daily and am personally committed to, one that I live by and teach my children, is how to be healthy, heal when needed, and build rock solid resilience to stress.

Internal friction. That is the best way I can sum up how I see our body and system working as it slowly builds up tension or a physical dissonance to our physical and mental tipping point that eventually spills with ill health.

Mentally when we feel anxiety, or we find ourselves drawn to negative thoughts, self doubt and we start to get irritable, critical, and start feeling like someone else is running this show, like the thoughts and emotions we feel building are someone else's completely. I can only describe how it feels to me and attempt to translate how it has been described by patients and clients over the years in practice as a literal internal FRICTION that swells, grinds, confuses, tempts, distracts and can consumes us.

It is this mental friction that makes the insanity of addictive behavior seem logical or acceptable right before we do what ever it is we do, again, and again, and again. Whether it is eating sugar and processed carbs again, or taking that drink or that hit again, turning to abusive behavior or language and saying nasty things again, or suppressing our own thoughts and feelings to "feel" loved again, all the while knowing this is in no way good for us, clearly knowing that this is doing harm, and perfectly cognizant that we are literally and figuratively feeding this problem......again.

We can feel that friction when it begins. It can start slow and mild, almost unnoticeable, and slowly builds and as it gains our attention and we hope it will pass or we try and do something, hopefully something positive, that might calm that feeling and ease that friction. It can build or just crash your good day and squeeze your life joy by coming on so strong that the next thing you know you are in a mini internal panic trying to escape and avoiding it at any cost.

Sometimes this friction can change our personality right before our eyes, or slowly push as it alters who we are to the point that when we do finally see the issue, or when it is pointed out to us, we are blind to even the thought that this could be true, that this could be us. Sometimes we are reacting through this friction before we even know it is upon us, almost like a black-out drunk, it happens and all bets are off to what we do or what comes out of our mouth. Suddenly there are tears or harsh words, sometimes there is pain, other times you just find yourself off point, eating junk foods or finishing that whole pizza and skipping that workout or pushing that work off, ignoring your kids and wasting your day. Then we are left to make excuses and feel even worse than before as we reinforce that internal friction with more power to come back and terrorize us again.

This often seems like a completely mental process making us feel crazy, defective, and alone. Because in those moments we see the lunacy of our actions and feel that no one else can relate, that no one else really thinks these things or does this and definitely not over and over like I do. But they do. We all do at some point and to some degree, whether in thought, feeling or action, in some way that is unique to us we feel that friction.

As mental as it seems I think something physical sets this up and then sets us off. I know that thoughts can drive actions and physiology but I also believe that our physiology can drive our thoughts and emotions as well.

To be continued……

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

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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

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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

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