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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 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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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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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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Hormones Whisper, Not Scream

Do you know how much thyroid hormone is made and secreted per year in a healthy person? Interesting questions huh? How much could it be? We often think of hormones as these fountains of substances that get pumped out throughout our day every day. The truth is, a healthy thyroid will produce about 1 teaspoon full of thyroid hormone per year. 1 Teaspoon, 5 ml, 5 grams (give or take)! That is not very much!

Thyroid hormone has a strong influence over all of our 70,000,000,000,000 cells, each and every day and night. That is 70 trillion cells! Research focusing on tissue sensitivity and molecular biology illustrates that hormones have a massive amount of impact with a VERY little amount of actual exposure or direct contact. I think of it as if I was in a large banquet room eating dinner and a famous celebrity walks in. Very quickly the attention of each person in that banquet room will shift to see what the ruckus is and before long everyone in the room knows that celebrity is there. It doesn’t matter whether that celeb sits by them, talks to them, or even makes eye contact with them, they all become hyper aware of their presence. That awareness will stimulate some action of some kind from looking over, to sparking conversations, to thinking back to the movies the celebrity might have starred in. Some people and their table partners will get quite riled up about it, others will just note it an be on to the rest of their dinner, but everyone will have been affected by the celebrity’s presence.

We see a very similar behavior in our cells and tissues when a specific hormone like thyroid hormone shows up. Many cells will have direct contact with the thyroid hormone, some will respond and change via a direct stimulus while others will start to change their behavior from just the exposure or awareness that thyroid hormone is in the room. Some cells will start a chain of activities that spread from one area of the tissue to another like a whispered message telling every worker in the factory to step it up, the boss is on the floor. So whether the cells were directly stimulated by the thyroid hormone or indirectly through the presence and anticipation of the message of the thyroid hormone, the entire tissue, and at times organs, respond appropriately.

There are many points in the process of hormonal influence that contribute to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the given hormone in general. The cells can improve receptor sensitivity to the direct contact with the hormone. There is tissue sensitivity to the “awareness” of the presence of the hormone and the consequent indirect, or priming response within the tissue. There is the conversion of the hormones back and forth from active to inactive forms throughout our system and body, as well as the ability to recycle or eliminate excess hormone. Then of course there is the hormonal gland or organ’s ability to respond to proper stimuli and produce the hormone and shut off production when needed.

What is the take away message? Hormonal response, balance, effectiveness and over all health has a tremendously strong energetic element to it. When hormones just show up on the scene it changes our body’s behavior and the amount of actual hormone needed to direct a response or function is very, very, very small. So small that to continue the analogy, just the rumor of the hormone coming starts the cells and tissues of our body to react and change. This is an amazing realization. Think what happens when we take synthetic hormonal medications or bio-identical hormones, how can that affect this incredibly delicate, sensitive process? Is more really better? It is a tough question.

I used to think of the body like a machine. No longer. I then thought of it as a living machine, as in bio-mechanics, or bio-chemistry. Now I realize it has more to do with bio-energetics than anything and the full, overall coordination, globally, and at the tissue as well as the cellular level and is crucial to healing and overall health and wellbeing.

I have a high level of respect for the dynamics of the body in health, healing and disease. So much so that the idea of a treatment, or symptom management seems ridiculous when trying to heal or improve one’s overall health, especially hormones problems, there simply is SO much more to consider.

Be humble my friends. Understand we are learning, and what we think today might not be what we know tomorrow. What your doctor says might be spot of or decades old and light years off what is actually going on. The answer? Learn all you can and process health care professionals concepts against your own knowledge and experience. If they can’t explain things in a way that makes sense to you, then either they don’t know the subject well enough or they are working with a false premise….aka, they are wrong.

Stay sharp out there, you are the final authority for you and the ultimate benefactor of your health decisions….good or bad. So step up and play your health CEO role for you and your family and remember, a little goes a long way!

Dr. Don

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Balancing Blood Sugar Does Not Resolve Diabetes

The elephant in the natural health care room is that helping someone go from being clinically diabetic, or defined with high fasting blood sugar (over 125 and an A1c over 6.0), to having normal blood sugar and A1c ranges, does not free them from being physiologically diabetic.

Is it a step in the right direction? I would say YES. Has having normal blood sugar values alone really changed their risk for all the complications that come from diabetes….not necessarily….and usually no. How disappointing to say the least!

High blood sugar in diabetes is the symptom, or the effect of the problem. The cause of the underlying problem is insulin resistance. With insulin resistance being the actual problem that leads to the chronic blood sugar problems, you need to think of the whole Diabetes issues differently.

Along the road to becoming diabetic, as in type 2 diabetes specifically, statistically someone starts with high blood (serum) insulin, or hyperinsulinemia, for about 7 years before they develop metabolic syndrome (3 out of the 5 metabololic risk factors of LOW HDL, HIGH Triglycerides, HIGH blood pressure, HIGH fasting blood sugar, LARGE waist circumference of 40 for men or 35 for women or larger), or pre-diabetes just having a fasting blood sugar of 100-124. They then progress with metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes for about 2-3 years before they get diagnosed with full blown type 2 diabetes. That is if they get diagnosed early, some people go for years with diabetic blood sugar levels before they realize it or are formally diagnosed.

Once they officially get type 2 diabetes, the option of simply “managing” their blood sugar, naturally or with medication to keep it in “range,” will not make them any less insulin resistant at that point. Keeping their blood sugar under “control” does not mean they are no longer diabetic physiologically because of the insulin resistance.

Reversing insulin resistance is not a blood sugar game, it is a hormonal game. Blood sugar levels will follow the improvement of insulin resistance, but insulin resistance does not follow simply lowering blood sugar. Just as an example to put this in context, carbs as in sugars, grains, and starches (and yes veggies but not what drives this issue), only account for 23% of our body’s insulin response. Protein is responsible for 10%, fat 0%, leaving 67% of the insulin response to other mechanisms and combinations of biochemical reactions like hormones and feedback loops. A good example of this is the fast that when you eat or inject into your veins 50 grams of glucose your insulin goes up about the same. BUT, only a small percentage of the glucose from what you ate actually gets into your blood stream….yet it creates the same insulin response. Obviously other mechanisms at play here. Insulin is stimulated indirectly via stomach stretching and sensations, from our brain sensing anything sweet (even artificial, no sugar/cal sweeteners) and believe it or not, even from thinking about eating certain foods or smelling them. Here is a mind blower…..the bacteria have the ultimate say in how much glucose, when and at what speed actually gets into your system, but that is another post. So yeah, there is a lot more at play that simply looking at blood sugar, so think outside the glucose box.

When you focus on hormones, and attempt to lower insulin levels, you need to change your habits and lifestyle and do the things that are shown to improve insulin resistance like: lose belly fat as well as extra body fat, metabolic exercise, decrease insulin exposure, improve hormonal resistance, build cortisol resilience, re-balance brain chemistry and improve the food addiction cycle, and then……and this is the hardest part, as well as the least understood and practiced step… have to heal, repair and regenerate the liver and pancreas.

If you do all of this, then you have a chance of recovering from diabetes fully. Skip any part of it, and especially if you ignore the last part, then you have no chance to reverse this process and will remain physiologically diabetic (advanced insulin resistance) whether your blood sugar is in range or not, and believe it or not, whether you continue to eat carbs and sugar or not.

We must change how we are looking at things. This can be done, but there is no quick fix, no one size fits all gimmick, no short cuts, no box detox or cleanse, no shake mix and food list that will do this FOR you. After all, for most adults, it has taken at least a decade and a lot of negative efforts to do the damage we are talking about……the sad part is that we see kid developing this process earlier and earlier and without that 10 year progressive ramp up…..but that is a whole separate post.

So my friends, put on your hormonal glasses and look through the lens of insulin vs. blood sugar. Work on when you eat as much as what you eat, focus on how you move not just moving, prioritize your sleep, and if you are an American or live in a western country, live as if you have this already started, because it has, don’t wait until your system is so damaged that a doctor tells you. And of course, seek help from appropriate professionals who work with this to guide along the way.

Fist steps? Lose weight if needed, get your fasting insulin under 5 and if you have a history of issues like 2, get that blood sugar under 90 and THEN look to work on healing your liver and pancreatic damage that has built up along the way in this process even if “standard” tests say you don’t have any issues in your lover or pancreas….by the time they can “see” it, you are in an uphill battle and it may be too late…..may be. Oh, and work on healing that chronic pain, see your chiropractor at least, since chronic pain DOUBLES your chances of developing diabetes on top of all this!

Context is everything, think about things differently and you will discover options you didn’t even know you had.

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Be well my friends!

Dr. Don

Message me if you have specific questions: [email protected]

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Avoid Homeostasis at All Costs

We often hear about the human body’s desire or continued efforts to maintain homeostasis or balance. Homeostasis also spelled homoeostasis (from Greek: ὅμοιος homœos, “similar” and στάσις stasis, “standing still”), is the property of a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant.

The concept is after all rather intuitive, that the body likes to maintain a constant level of activity and health. The reality is that the ultimate homeostasis in a living body is death…..quite the paradox.

The functions of the body rise and fall. They adapt and change, they are either building themselves up and getting stronger, or breaking themselves down and recycling.

Hormones for example, are pulsatile in nature, meaning they are secreted then shut off, secreted and then shut off again due to different stimuli rising and falling throughout the day and night as needed. It is only when they are stimulated too frequently that we see an issue of over exposure and do we then run into problems like hormonal resistance as in insulin resistance, thyroid resistance (hypothyroid), or adrenal resistance leading to adrenal fatigue to name a few.

When there is constant hormonal activation we can also see that each hormone’s counter balance hormonal counter part gets thrown off, as in insulin suppressing human growth hormone or cortisol suppressing testosterone. Yet another way our system is thrown off via constant hormonal secretions is due to the “bullying effect,” I call it. Many hormones will change their active personality in the constant presence of certain other hormones. An example is when insulin is constantly circulating you start to see cortisol start to gang up with insulin to promote weight gain, oxidation and inflammation. Another example is when insulin and thyroid gang up and different thyroid states makes insulin either more resistant or over reactive, both causing weight and energy issues.

As it stands, when insulin is on the playground it causes fat gain and will trump all 8 of the other fat burning hormonal players as they run and hide from the bully. Then when insulin has one of it’s bully partners with it, like cortisol or thyroid hormone, then these usually powerful fat burning, feel good, hormones are even more reluctant to return to the playground and play.

This example is specifically using hormones to illustrate my point but the same model can be outlined for neurotransmitters in your brain and body affecting mood, mental clarity, memory, and hinder the warding off mental decline and dementia. The nervous system also works in a pulsatile fashion building to a point of potentiation as it transmits it’s nerve impulses and signals throughout the body. If there is too much build up or excitement, or if that excitement is prolonged too long in that brain neuron then the brain cell can actually die in an excitotoxic reaction just as too little stimulation can cause neuronal atrophy and cell death as well.

Enzyme reactions, cellular energy and repair, muscle contractions, even our sleep patters all change and vary frequently throughout the day and many moment to moment. A snapshot of any one alone could give you a very poor indication that something is off or wrong when really it is just in mid cycle or swing. It is the overall picture of health or function that people label as homeostasis, but there is much more to health than simply staying alive and the truth of the matter is the body appears to be always striving to move towards homeostasis but never actually gets there or it would die.

The key takeaway here is that your body thrives on variation. Variation in your diet, your workouts, your thoughts, energy, sleep, body temperature, and activity are crucial to a well functioning, healthy body. Using a long term plan with true health promoting goals that incorporate regular changes and encourages variables in all of your efforts will prime your body to stay in functional shape or what we know as health and wellbeing. Try and keep things constant, comfortable or the same for too long and your body will rebel, resist and start to break down causing all of your well intentioned efforts to backfire.

Ever do, “all the right things,” to lose weight, get in shape, or reduce stress only to see no change or get worse? Ever do “X” routine that helped you before only to not “work” this time? There is a reason for this, your body is different and you need to meet that change with more directed change to stay a head of it. In time, it will come around but you may have to do some healing and create some new habits and use some very new approaches to your wellbeing.

You can totally do this, but you do need a plan, time, and some consistent effort and change to earn back your body’s trust and health. So go for it! Try something new, make a plan, and give it an ever changing run, you will be happy that you did.

Dr. Don

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