All Posts by Dr. Don Clum

Pesto Cauliflower Salad

Pesto Cauliflower Salad over Baby Arugula

Here’s and oldie but a goodie! Originally posted on our Abundant Health blog – this one is a true family favorite – even skeptics who don’t like cauliflower loved it!!!

I know I have touted the health benefits cauliflower before, but it still bears mentioning that – even though it is not green – it is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables out there. You can read more about the specific benefits of cauliflower in my Mashed Potato Surprise post here.

OK – Recipe time…


  • One large head of cauliflower
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Pesto
  • 4-6 handfuls of baby arugula

Break the cauliflower up into small, bite sized florets and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to marinate (you can leave it overnight too if you have the time.)

Toss the marinated cauliflower with the peppers, tomatoes and pesto. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over 4-6 handfuls of the baby arugula. YUM YUM!!!

*** if you have any left over salad, its really yummy the next day if you warm it up a little with some white beans and maybe a touch more pesto sauce????


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Almond Milk Recipe

Almond Milk

  • 1/2 cup raw Almonds (soaked at least 4 hours)
  • 4-6 cups water
  • (3 – 6 Pitted Dates IF NOT RESTRICTED – Optional for sweetness)

Blend soaked almonds in water until completely pulverized.
Strain through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove pulp.
Refrigerate and use within a few days.


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Coconut Macaroons

Skylar’s Coconut Macaroon Trees

I love it that my Daughter loves to help in the kitchen! This is one of her favorite cookie recipes – we don’t eat sweets and we are essentially a grain free house, so this is one of our healthy treats. My daughter modified this recipe based on a recipe she found from Martha Stewart. This version is very low in sugar, but you can easily use pure stevia extract to lower the sugar content even more.


  • 2 ½ Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Stevia (this is a stevia sugar blend available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.)
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 5 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine coconut, sugar, baking stevia, egg whites, vanilla extract, and salt and mix well.

Shape into tree shapes and place on a cookie sheet* about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the tops and undersides are golden and toasty.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled completely, right before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

*We love to use our Pampered Chef Stoneware for these cookies.


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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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Are You In Metabolic Limbo?

Metabolic Limbo: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working and You are Eating Less and Gaining Weight as Your Energy Goes Down the Drain.

I define limbo as being stuck in the grey area of two distinct worlds. In this case I am referring to the metabolic mess of being caught up in the physiologic space between fat burning and sugar burning.

Believe it or not your body needs no dietary carbs or sugar to survive. Here is the catch, you do need some carb metabolism to survive. Yes, you read that right. You do need glucose (carb) metabolism for health and healing but you do not need to eat any carbs to get what you need.

Before I go into that, let me give my two cents on calories. They are a terrible measure for food intake. The calorie concept in biological energy expenditure for metabolism, weight loss or gain, is completely inaccurate and even the inaccuracy of that model changes throughout the day, day in and day out. That being said, I will use calories as a reference for food intake when studies have used them in their research, but please understand the limitations of the caloric model and don’t take it as a hard and fast rule.

Here’s how it works: when your body is an efficient, effective, fat burner, your metabolism will will become more efficient and appear to lower it’s caloric needs and be able to handle higher caloric intakes much easier. Making calories almost irrelevant. Interesting huh?

So, as a true fat burner your metabolic rate will stabilize at around 1,800 calories per day. About 320-360 of those calories will come from glucose (carbs). This is how it breaks down:

35-40 g of glucose from recycled lactate and pyruvate (exercise)
20 g from glycerol (breakdown of triglycerides)
15-20 g from protein derived amino acids (mainly alanine from exercise)
10-11 g from ketone bodies (formed from fat burning)
(Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2006 Cahill Jr, G. F)

Basically, even with a 100% dietary fat diet, or as seen through different fasting protocols, 20% of your caloric use of energy for running your body will still come from glucose, or AKA, carbs.

Now, if you eat carbs, like sugar, grains and starches, then that glucose becomes priority one for use. Why? Glucose can be toxic if it floats around for too long. Sugars in your system from dietary sources can bind to damaged proteins and produce Advanced Glycation End products, (AGEs), the literal molecules that age us.

When we consume processed carbs our body will take up that sugar, even at the risk of advanced aging and the free radical damage that is seen with burning glucose, to get it out of your system. When this happens insulin stops fat metabolism and rushes ANY extra glucose into our body fat for storage. The glucose that would have been liberated from burning your body fat stays where it is, and so does that extra fat.

As I outlined here is doesn’t take a lot of processed carbs to satisfy the body’s needs and then shut down fat burning and start storing fat thanks to the only direct fat storing hormone we have, insulin. Even with normal blood sugar levels, by eating poor quality (processed) foods and eating every couple hours (healthy or not) you will keep your insulin exposure high causing insulin resistance and accelerated aging.

If during this time you are lowering your food intake, but not improving the quality or decreasing your meal frequency you will lock your body right into metabolic limbo where you are not burning fat, not burning carbs efficiently, and continuing to store fat, lower your energy and raising your blood sugar.

Now in that state you try and do all the right things, eat small frequent meals, graze, and start to exercise to burn fat which at this point will essentially drive your suffering metabolism deeper and deeper into that limbo. Over time your sleep, mood, sex drive, and motivation all start to falter. Your other hormones get thrown off due to the insulin resistance and now the cortisol from all the stress you are feeling and the cascade of chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and dementia all keep progressing.

Look, I am not saying here that you should stop eating carbs. 360 calories is a good amount of green veggies. I am just illustrating how the body can run just fine with little to no dietary carbs and if you want to heal your damaged metabolism you will have to do what is necessary to not only stop being a chronic sugar burner but to get yourself out of limbo and become an efficient fat burner. When you effectively do this, become a flexible consistent fat burner then things will change, and change dramatically.

It doesn’t end there. Once you are a true adaptive fat burner then the need for advanced efforts to heal the damage done to your liver, pancreas, viscera and other organs to truly reverse this disease promoting physiology will arise. More on this later.

What can be done NOW?

  1. Balance Nervous System Tone (paced breathing, chiropractic, meditation)
  2. Reduce Hormonal Resistance (cut sugar, up fat, natural foods)
  3. Promote Cellular Healing (quality fat, supplements, detox)
  4. Enhance Physical Fitness (physical activity, exercise, intensity training)
  5. Sleep (prioritize sleep and create an evening routine drink lots of water)

Now before you ask me what detox to do, remember step one to an effective detox is to stop RE-toxing! Then when things are moving in your favor and progressing stop eating so frequently. Yes, I am referring to fasting. There are many types of fasting and multiple fasting methods can be used together and in rotation for ease of implementation, avoiding hunger, and optimal health impact. Let’s save that for future articles.

Remember my friends, doing nothing will get you just that, nothing! Start with something, anything, make a plan, get an accountability partner, give it some effort and give it some TIME.

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Be well my friends,

Dr. Don

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The Biggest Loser TV Show Has Damaged Our Society

Hey, those people are FAT! THAT is what OBESE looks like…..I am not that bad…….WRONG!

Perspective is everything. How we perceive our environment determines how we interact with it. Our interaction, or in this case lifestyle, is what determines our health, weight, and the genetics we pass on both biologically and in learned behavior.

When people see 400 and 500 lb people on the Biggest Loser and think, “that is unhealthy,” “that is morbidly obese,” “that means my 250 lbs are not that bad,” they are often fooling themselves.

This is a vey dangerous comparison to make. On the other side of this self weight assessment equation is the fact that there are very few actual pictures and references of what it really looks like to be technically overweight, and technically obese. A lot of people will be surprised when they actually look into it.

I prefer to use body fat percentage as my ruler, but if you use BMI, go for it. But here are the numbers:

Did you read that? Over 20% body fat for men and 24% body fat for women is the starting point defining being over weight, and considered acceptable, NOT healthy.

Over 24% for men and 37% for women is the point when you are technically considered obese. And morbidly obese line is roughly considered 20% over your ideal body fat level.

On this chart a good body fat percentage, what I am calling healthy, is 11-14% for men and 16-23% for women. So, morbidly obese would start at 34% for men and 43% for women.

Look, in today’s American culture the GOOD/HEALTHY standard body fat seems very low….comparatively, but honestly it’s not. We have become accustomed to seeing much higher body fat percentages over the last 5 generations and larger bodies have become very common, but should not be confused with normal.

As it stands the CDC says 35% of Americans (officially reported) are obese, 35% are just overweight. that is 70% of adults are either overweight or obese….are you one of the 30% who are not? How about your kids? Over 20% of adolescents are obese, almost 18% of kids 6-11, and 8.4% of kids 2-5 years old.

I have been in this game for myself and in practice for 22 years and I know that for me to get my body fat into the 11-14% healthy range for men is hard. I can do it, and have done it, but it takes very strict efforts and adherence to a long term, multifaceted plan. I tend to fall in the 17% range most of the time, especially if I am lifting heavy weights. If I am not on my game, not structuring my efforts then I can easily drift up to the 22% plus range. Honestly, I have been in the obese range, as in the 25% body fat range three times in my life.

So I get the struggle, I live it, and I research, teach and practice this stuff. I have read over 1,000 articles on weight loss, read over 150 books on weight loss alone, gone to multiple seminars and conventions, launched group programs to thousands of people, worked one on one with a couple hundred by now at least, my most successful client lost over 185 lbs, we had a number lose over 100, and the fastest lost 100 lbs in 10 weeks……AND I still am learning, I still need to work hard, and I STILL have set backs. What I am saying is, THIS AINT EASY!

Here is the million dollar question: Is extra body fat alone unhealthy?

My answer: “NO!”

BUT, what causes extra fat accumulation and keeps fat on us when we try to lose it in a healthy manner, is NOT healthy and CAUSES chronic disease. Extra body fat would not be much of an issue if it wasn’t driven by and consequently contributes in return to high toxicity levels, cellular oxidation, systemic inflammation, and multiple hormonal problems.

The main drivers of all that makes extra fat unhealthy:

  1. Chronic metabolic sugar burning
  2. Exposure to artificial chemicals/poisons (by the way, natural damaging chemicals are called toxins, artificial, man made ones are technically poisons)
  3. Continual Neurological Tone in Stress Mode
  4. Hormonal imbalances and resistance
  5. Liver, pancreas, visceral fat and scarring
  6. Lack of appropriate movement and muscle development and glycogen storage capacity

Then there is the cosmetic turn off we have for extra body fat. Hey, let’s be honest, that can be a strong motivator, so I say use it to your advantage.

In the meantime, just be honest with yourself. Go online and try and find actual pictures of people with both overweight and obese body fat percentages and get a REAL perspective of what that looks like and understand what it means to you, your health, and family. It is not going to be a picture of the biggest loser, I promise!

Awareness is step one. Increased awareness promotes a change in thinking. Change your thinking on health and your behavior will follow. Change your behavior and you can change your very life and future.

Oh, and if you are getting healthy and losing weight and people get weird and say things like, “you look fine, you don’t need to lose weight,” understand why they say that. Whether they are trying to support and love you or it is a reflection of what they think of themselves, they simply just might not know what you do. So, it is important to set your own goals and follow what you need and want to do based on what YOU now know.

Don’t settle my friends and don’t compare yourself to the masses to feel good, get healthy and you will feel good and look better and the masses will start to compare themselves to you!

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Dr. Don

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The Human Body Does Not Burn Calories!

Calories are not real, little, entities packaged up in foods ready to combust like a starter log in your fireplace.

Calories are an invented measurement of heat that comes off of food when it is burnt in a lab controlled environment in a computer run machine and sealed thermal detection chamber.

Using this model to judge the energetic out put and dynamic workings of the body is like judging the efficiency of a car by how hot the hood gets when it drives one mile… a building that is climate controlled, driven by a professional driver, on a multimillion dollar NASA designed track, using a mega computer to run the “drive.” THEN take that data and try and tell me it relates to how my 2010 Corolla runs compared to any other car on the market.

Your body does not burn calories, it builds energy.

Most of “burning” and breakdown of food comes down to a chemical reaction from the VERY STRONG stomach acid in your stomach. Once food is cooked, yes I said cooked, so all you raw foodies (which I am in favor of), just know even your raw veggies get cooked before you absorb them….anyway, once it is through the stomach most of the food is broken down to very small building blocks and raw materials of foods….mostly acids like amino acids, fatty acids, and much more.

​The idea that one gram of carbohydrate or protein will yield 4 calories and one gram of fat will yield 9 with alcohol giving 7 is meaningless to you and your body! To translate the lab calorie to your body’s energetic use, expenditure, reserve, or needs is WRONG.

WHY? Your body is not a closed linear system like the experiments in the lab and the law of thermodynamics would need.

Let’s look at another analogy. Wood. One pound of wood will burn and give off a certain amount of heat. That can be measured, tested, recorded and reported from a lab. Excellent, we know how much heat “energy” comes from one pound of wood.

Now, let’s talk about heating your house with a wood burning fireplace. Does the size of your fireplace play a role? How about the size of your house? Will a big capacity fireplace burn the wood differently or heat the house differently than a small one with that one pound of wood? What if there is a draft in the fireplace? What if the fireplace is insulated? What if the day is cold vs. hot? Will a pound of pine burn differently than a pound of oak? Will they burn at the same speed? Will they give off the same heat? What if I use paper in my fire, will that change how the wood burns? Or maybe lighter fluid? Will the wood burn differently if I stuff the fireplace full of logs or just burn one at a time? What about if there is a bunch of soot in my fireplace? What if the wood is wet? Or has moss on it? Or is green vs. aged? What if it a pressed, man made log vs. from a tree?

Don’t forget the other things we get from burning wood in our fireplace, are they effected? Do some woods burn cleaner than others? Produce toxic gas? Have less smoke? Less smell? Less light?

And THOSE my friend is just a few variables for burning wood! Never mind the ENDLESS variables there are in a biological model as complex as the human body.

AND the unit of energy is ALREADY formed in the wood. Not in food.

In your body you have to build that unit of energy in the form of ATP then send it to where it is needed to be used (or burnt if you must).

Different materials from the food you eat are used to build energy, namely sugar and fat. Others are used to repair the body and build tissue and when that happens they are NOT used for energy, amino acids (from proteins) and fatty acids (from fat).

Dietary sugars do not build or repair the body, they actually break it down….they burn hot, fast, smoky, leave residue, and are toxic. Especially fructose.

That being said there are some need and benefit from glyconutrients, but they are not sugars like in food (NOT glycated proteins either…those are what age us)…..but that is another topic.

Every single calorie study that has been published about, “calories in and calories out,” and weight has FAILED to show that the calculated additional dietary calories or reduction in daily calorie intake will predictably equate to the theorized amount of weight loss. As in a calorie deficit or surplus of 3,500 calories resulting is one pound of fat being gained or lost.

You get that? The calorie weight model has NEVER BEEN PROVEN!

Calories do NOT drive your metabolism. They DO NOT determine your weight or body composition.

Hormones do.

If you want to count something, count how many times you stimulate your fat storing hormone, INSULIN. Or how many times you stimulate your fat burning/muscle building hormone, Human Growth Hormone. OR count how often you stimulate your stress hormone Cortisol.

THAT is what drives your metabolism and builds fat or muscle or burns fat or muscle.

It is time to KILL the CALORIE! Continuing to use the calorie model for weight loss or metabolism WILL set you up for FAILURE. And failure in this sense means sickness, weight gain, and disease. More to come……

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Does the Brain Control the Body or the Body Control the Brain?

Control and coordination of our body is not always linear and definitely not reliant on just one system, and just may work differently than we thought.

It is almost like there are three separate levels of control within our body keeping it going together as one. The nervous system, hormonal system, and cellular action.

First we have the brain and nervous system that act as the great data cruncher and responder. About 10% of the central nervous system’s nerve fibers are for out going messages telling the body what to do. Things like voluntary movement, like when you want to walk, shake someone’s hand or get up out of bed. This control seems to have more of a broad stroke concept as the nerves branch out all over and innervate the tissues of our body. The other 90% of the central nervous system’s wiring is for incoming messages from the tissues, organs, and different parts of the body reporting back to the brain what is happening and where we are. Those messages tell your brain where each part is and what it is doing so that when you pick up some food to eat you can put it in your mouth and not your ear without thinking much about it. A big part of that body to brain relay is so that we can do two things very well. One is walk. Upright posture and walking take a tremendous amount of coordination in both the brain and the body. The other major focus of this communication is for chewing. The jaw and all of it’s associated structures like the tongue require more innervation from you nerves than any other single part of your body.

This neurological reporting system sets up the general tone for the body. We have two opposing neurological tones that are in force at any given time, the sympathetic stress mode and the para sympathetic healing mode. Both of these tones are vitally important but they do two very different things to keep us alive and only one mode can be dominant at any given time. The sympathetic stress tone is what stirs things up in our body and gets it ready for action. This mode is traditionally seen and talked about in relation to our fight or flight response. Most people are pretty familiar with the concept of fight or flight. When we perceive a threat, and yes we have to cognitively sense a threat, it is not a given or an automatic response, our brain and nervous system start sending the messages all around our body to defend ourselves by fighting for our life or running away. In either case the nervous system triggers a massive cascade of hormonal chemicals that shut down energy in our digestive tract and organs as well as our immune system to shift that energy to our brain and muscles for action. Blood sugar, our energetic turbo boost fuel, is liberated and sent all over the body to make sure we can do what ever we need to do to get through this threat. Once we take the needed action our body starts to shift it’s tone from the sympathetic stress mode to the parasympathetic healing mode. As this mode becomes more dominant we adjust our breathing, our energy returns to our internal organs, we start up our digestion and immune system again as our body starts to attempt to repair any damage that was done by the turbo boost chemistry and the life saving action that followed.

This example is a good model showing how our nervous system works on a higher level to coordinate movement, direct neurological tone and coordinate responses and certain functions. It also leads us into how the next tier of bodily control works, the endocrine system. The endocrine system is basically our hormonal organs, tissues, glands and the hormones themselves. This system uses very small in size and amounts of hundreds of different types of hormones to influence and direct tissue action all over our body.

Hormones are very powerful and they guide tissue action and sort of take over where the nervous system left off by keeping all the feedback loops together that create the message from the cells that the tissue they make up will report back to the brain. Hormones direct action inside the tissues from one cell to another, from tissue and organ to other tissues and organs, and then of course back to the nervous system and brain. Hormones are very powerful, so powerful that most of the free hormone that gets secreted it bound up immediately by what are called hormone binding globulins to help mediate their effect. Consequently, a little goes a long way. We like to say, hormones whisper, not scream. Just their mere presence in a tissue or the blood stream will jump start action at the tissue and cellular level, even if that particular hormone doesn’t even bind to the corresponding cell.

That brings us to the next and in my opinion the ultimate level of body control. The cell. Each of your 70,000,000,000,000 (that is trillion) cells are alive. Well, almost all of them, it is questionable if red blood cells are alive since they don’t have a nucleus and can not divide…..but anyway. Each one could live independently, for a while. Each and every cell eats, eliminates waste, repairs it’s damage, breathes (so to speak), and divides, or reproduces. The job of each cell s to take care of itself. Be the best cell it can be, because if it does it’s job and stays healthy, and his neighbors do the same, his community will then be healthy leading to healthy tissues that build healthy organs that make up healthy systems that work together to make a healthy you!

True healing, as well as disease, starts at the cellular level. Heal the cell and you get well. The cell drives the feedback to the hormonal system and to the tissues that report to the nervous system and brain and they all respond to what that little cell has to say. I know a lot of people say the brain controls the body, but when you look at the magic of how all this works it is easy to see how the body controls the brain, and the body is built by, and controlled by the cells.

So, now, to this diagram I have made. I am trying to show the relationship of the hierarchy of system and tissue control within the body, just as I have explained here above. It shows the brain and its gross motor control and interpreting what goes on in the body at the top leading down to the general balance and tone of the nervous system. That then directs action in the tissue via the hormonal response. From there and we see how there is a two way street connecting back to the cells. How the cells use fuel (among other things) can influence our cellular health and what gets reported and responded to back up the chain leading to healing or disease.

I also included some beneficial health modalities that can be used at each step to help direct us towards optimal balance, function and healing.

Top tier efforts that have been shown to help promote stronger parasympathetic healing tone and reduce the sympathetic dominance that influence all processes to follow are: Meditation, Chiropractic, Paced Breathing

Sleep. No one single effort has been shown more powerful in helping clear the mind, detox the brain, reset the hormones, clear cell receptors and promote overall healing as sleep.

Stress resilience is different from stress resistance or traditional stress management where it helps your build and condition your system and response to stress in a way that it can build you up and make you better vs. break you down and cause problems.

Diet and exercise play the single number one role in whether our cells are chronic sugar burners promoting oxidation and inflammation or effective fat burners that promote cellular structure and function integrity, healing, and growth.

So I propose that it just might be time to change our perspective from the top down model of physiology to the bottom up cellular driven feedback model. Well, anyway you look at it, it is one amazing system this beautiful body of ours, and no matter which way it works one thing is certain, it can be, and wants to be healthy, if we get out of it’s way and let it.

Be well Tribers!

Dr. Don Clum

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Emotional eating, cravings and impulsive hunger

Emotional eating, food cravings, impulsive hunger, and hunger pains are some of the most powerful ties to eating junk foods that exist. These often overlooked eating triggers can ruin our health and weight. Worse than that, they can make us feel or appear weak. These common drivers of over eating are just as physical as high blood pressure, chronic pain, or a broken bone. Most importantly they have nothing to do with willpower.

Diets fail and exercise falls short in reducing body fat (in traditional models) because they do not address the hormonal and brain chemistry situation that is driving our relationship with specific foods. In essence, when done outside of a bigger plan or effort to address these issues full circle, they become a gimmick, or some new fad program and over time WILL make things worse for most people.

Low calorie, low fat, 5-7 meal a day programs in the long run will terrorize virtually everyone who tries them. Not only do the make us miserable, not only do they not work, they can actually cause us more harm than good. Anyone who has tried a low calorie, low fat diet of almost any kind knows that before long you will be more hungry than ever, think about food all the time, and even if you hit the first drop in weight of the yo-yo diet phenomenon, you eventually will plateau only to then regain your weight as the yo-yo goes back up full swing.

If anyone tells you all you need to do is, “eat less and exercise more,” you are speaking to the wrong person. Most people out there have tried it and the vast majority of health care practitioners and government guidelines still recommend it, but you need to know that these recommendations that are what is in error, not your intentions or efforts most of the time. The premise is simply wrong.

If you address the hormonal/brain chemistry piece first, or at least at the same time as you start an appropriate eating and exercise program (doing the right kind of exercise) you can FREE yourself of your emotional eating, impulse eating, cravings and hunger pains. Once you do this you will also be free from the clutches of all of your “go to” weakness foods. When you approach this equation correctly, one step at a time, you can eliminate binge eating, emotional food crutches, cravings, and overall nagging hunger itself. This my friends, is absolutely LIBERATING. This my friends, is WILL POWER, not some mystical trait some have and most think they do not possess.

It has taken me until now to realize this myself. I too have given into the party lines over the years, spoke to calories, watched fat, and tried to exercise weight issues away for myself and others….and I know now, I was wrong. I am happy to say that we are now on the right track. I did not realize just how powerful those attachments to certain foods can be, how physically addictive they truly and literally are, until I broke free of them. Once you do so your entire reality shifts and you feel like you have will power flowing out of your ears. But the truth is, that state of control and your confident, healthy relationship with food is in us all the time. Just usually hidden by diet myths and masked by gym lore.

Emotional eating, impulse eating, cravings and nagging hunger all start and are perpetuated by your brain chemistry. Food (especially processed and refined food) activates your biological addiction cycle by stimulating your pleasure centers of your brain and activating all of your feel good neurotransmitters. These regions are the same that are hi-jacked by cocaine, heroine, painkillers, and other addictions, except much more powerfully believe it or not. Momma rats once strung out on sugar in experiments will abandon their young to get more sugar, but not when addicted to cocaine. That is how powerful this brain chemistry attachment to food can be.

On the other side of the equation it is important to know that your metabolism is not determined by calories, it is driven by hormones. Hormones tell us if we are truly hungry, thirsty, and signal when we are full. Hormones control fat gain and loss, muscle gain and loss, your energy levels, your metabolic rate, clarity of mind, and your motivation. Not calories. Trying to use a linear equation to balance calories in and calories out as many of us have been told to control our weight or metabolism is useless. Without the fat storing hormones in play you can eat 10,000 calories a day and not gain weight, yet while they are being over stimulated you can gain weight eating 1,000 calories a day…..both a mathematical impossibility if calories really controlled the bodyweight show. They just don’t, and we need to think outside of that old, overly simplistic model.

Now having worked with hundreds of people and reviewed studies and data of thousands on people we know that what most people consider the psychological side of weight issues is not “all in your head” but rather can be as hard wired as any pathway or reflex we have in our body, or more so. So again, although this powerful chemistry stage is set at this moment in your brain, it is NOT all in your head. Follow the order of brain chemistry, hormonal chemistry, then metabolism and you will start to see a change where all other efforts have fallen short. Stay tuned in to this blog and we will have more details and specifics to come.

These are very exciting concepts, very real, and proving to be very successful. There is hope!

Keep at it, there is more out there than many think.

Dr. Don

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