Coconut Oil, Saturated And Proud Of It

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Your body needs saturated fat for healthy cell walls, bone health, (calcium needs it to be absorbed into the bone matrix) a strong immune system and proper functioning of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. 

Coconut oil is a very healthy saturated fat. It contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and has antioxidant properties. Because of its chemical structure, coconut oil is easily converted into usable energy by the liver and not readily stored as body fat. 

Furthermore, it boosts your metabolism by increasing thyroid function.  In fact, in the 1940’s farmers fed coconut oil to their pigs in an attempt to fatten them up.  To their surprise the pigs became lean and active!  Of course, once they went back to just grains, the pigs once again fattened up and became lethargic.  Sound familiar?

Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is actually good for the heart.  It raises HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thus improving the cholesterol ratio (LDL/HDL) and reducing your risk of heart disease. 

It also helps prevent strokes by lowering blood pressure and keeping blood platelets from sticking together and forming atherosclerosis.

Your immune system also benefits from a daily dose of coconut oil, (approximately 2 tbs.) and a strong immune system is your best defense against cancer.  

Coconut oil improves digestion and increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Diabetics greatly benefit from eating coconut oil because it enhances the body’s use of glucose, and improves insulin secretion and absorption. 

There are a variety of coconut products on the market. Virgin, organic coconut oil is the most pure. 

Coconut milk is a delicious alternative to dairy.  Coconut milk is rich and creamy and can be used in place of cream or half and half in coffee or tea. 

Coconut oil is perfect for cooking, as it can be heated to high temperatures without damage, unlike vegetable oils that become rancid when heated.  It is also great for the skin.  I must admit, when I use coconut oil for cooking, I wipe the extra off the spoon and rub it on my skin.

For more nutritious tips, set up a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call 301-332-5732.

 

Can Lack of Sleep Make You Diabetic?

A sleep study done at the University of Chicago’s medical center in 1999, and published in The Lancet, showed that sleep deprivation reduces the capacity of even young healthy adults to properly maintain blood sugar levels or hormonal balance. 

The study involved manipulating the sleep of 11 healthy young men over 16 consecutive nights.  The first 3 nights they slept 8 hours, the next 6 nights they slept 4 hours and the last 7 nights they slept for 12 hours. 

All 11 participants ate the same diet.  The metabolic changes that were observed resembled the effects of advanced age or early signs of diabetes.  These findings were after less than one week!

This is due to the fact that the hormone cortisol stays elevated when we are awake, especially under artificial light (light bulbs), and computer or television screens. 

Because cortisol mobilizes blood sugar, it signals the release of insulin to carry that sugar out of the blood and into our cells.  That would be our fat cells when we are lying around late at night. 

The later you stay awake, the more cortisol is in your system. The more cortisol, the more insulin.  The more insulin, the  more insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes.  Evidently very quickly.

The only variable in this study was the amount of sleep the subjects received, which shows just how important sleep is to your overall health. 

The adverse effects returned to normal when the subjects slept for 12 hours.  Interestingly, 8 hours of sleep did not bring them to full recovery, which is why many sleep experts suggest 9 ½ hours of sleep a night to keep your body functioning at its peak.  More recent research however suggests between 7-8 hours to be adequate.  I can hear your sigh of relief. 

For guidance and support for better sleep and health, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

The Expansion of Self Love

Love in all its forms is an experience and feeling of expansion. 

We all know what it feels like to be in love.  It's wonderful, heady, boundless.  It's a feeling we'd like to hold on to. 

This feeling of expansion around the heart keeps us open to giving and receiving love.  Without this flow of energy we are not fully alive, and if we close it off we may even experience physical symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Most of us find it easy to love.  Who doesn't love cute furry little critters like kittens, puppies or bunnies?  And of course as humans we're hard wired to love babies, especially our own. 

Romantic love isn't a problem either.  We fall in and out of love on a regular basis.  What seems to be the most challenging however, is self-love. 

Somewhere along the line we bought into the idea that loving ourselves was selfish.  This is untrue, unfortunate and unproductive. 

In order to hold on to the feeling of expansion that love affords, we need to be "in love" 24/7/365.  Sure, we love our partners, our kids, our pets, our friends and some of us even love our families.  But the only constant is you.  Since you're with you all the time it's helpful to love yourself. 

Feeling love, compassion and empathy for yourself should come before you give those feelings to anyone or anything else. 

Think of it as practice.  The better you love yourself the better you know how to love others.  The better you care for yourself, the better you are able to care for others.

So, leave self-judgment, self-doubt and self-hate at the door and fall in love with YOU.  The good news is, when you love yourself, others will love you too.

For guidance and support on your journey to self-love and expansion, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

Reduce Stress, Balance your Brain

As you proceed through your stressful day you may find your mind wandering, or have difficulty focusing in general.  That may be because stress causes the non-dominant side of your brain to shut down 70% of its functioning.  Say you are left brained (logical and unemotional), when stressed you loose 70% of your creativity that comes predominantly from your right brain.  Likewise a stressed right-brained creative person will find it more difficult to tend to the details, and think logically.  Neither one of these scenarios is desirable, and none of us need our brains to shut down.

So, is the answer to grab a Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy drink?  I think not.  That will only cause further stress, adrenal exhaustion and carbohydrate cravings.  Read that as fat around the belly.  Instead I recommend the following stress reducing, energy balancing and brain integration techniques.

  1. Meridian Tracing.  By tracing the Central and Governing meridians—Chinese Medicine subtle energy channels—you spark the flow of energy that enables you to feel centered (Central)  and empowered (Governing).  While standing, touch your pubis bone and trace up lightly (outside your clothing) to just below your bottom lip, touch there.  That is the Central meridian, repeat 3 times.  Then trace the Governing meridian by touching your tailbone and tracing up your spine, (shifting your hand as if you were zipping up a dress), so you can continue up the back of your head and over the top to just above your upper lip and touch there.  Repeat 3 times.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  2. Massaging the K27 acupuncture points.  Stimulating these Kidney points helps release endorphins to relieve pain, and encourage deep breathing to reduce stress.  It is considered a master acupuncture point for balancing the health and functioning of the body.  Locate the points just under the collarbones, and rub in a circular motion.  You should feel a slight indentation and possible soreness.  Rub with enough pressure to work through the soreness while breathing deeply for one minute.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  3. Ear Rub.  By rubbing the fold and lobe of the ears you stimulate acupuncture points that relate to areas all over the body.  While reducing stress with this relaxing technique, you are also clearing blocks in your energy flow to help you focus during the day, or relax at the end of it.  Starting at the tops of the ears (where they connect to the head), gently rub along the inside of the fold of the ear all the way to the lobe and finish with a gentle tug on the earlobe.  Repeat this 3 times.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  4. Cross Crawl.  This simple movement pattern stimulates the corpus callosum in the brain, which connects the right and left hemispheres, allowing them to communicate, and the brain to work as an integrated whole.  Standing with both arms raised overhead, bring the left knee up and the right hand or elbow down until they touch, replace the left foot back to the floor and the right hand overhead.  Repeat with the right knee and left hand or elbow.  Continue this movement for one minute.  This is great to do anytime during the day when you feel stressed, depressed, angry, mentally fuzzy, or just need to stand up from your desk and “move”.

  5. 4 Square breathing.  Deep breathing into the belly shifts you out of the “stress” sympathetic nervous system and into the “rest” parasympathetic nervous system, which brings immediate relief from stress.  Close your eyes and mouth.  Breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts.  Repeat 4 times. Do this as often as needed throughout the day.  It will also help with insomnia.

These five techniques are great to do in the morning upon arising to get you going for the day, during the workday around the “afternoon low” to clear your head and help you focus, and at night before bed to relax and de-stress you for sound sleep.  Give them a try, your brain and nervous system will thank you…as will your co-workers and spouse.

For guidance and support along your journey to better balance, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com or call me at 301-332-5732.

HFCS Is Killing Us Sweetly

High fructose corn syrup is NOT a part of nature’s plan.  The fructose found in fruits however, IS.  Organic orange…GOOD, orange soda…BAD.  An orange comes in nature’s package, complete with fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and an amount of fructose, (bound to glucose) that the human body is designed to digest and metabolize slowly and easily.

HFCS delivers such a heavy “punch” of fructose that it overwhelms the system and sends it into a metabolic tailspin.  Without fiber or nutrients to slow down its digestion, AND because the fructose is not bound to glucose as in nature’s sugar, the fructose in HFCS bypasses digestion and heads at warp speed straight to the liver for metabolism.  There it is “spit out” as triglycerides and cholesterol.  Yep, that’s FAT.

TV commercials would have you believe you are eating something sweet that won’t hurt you because it doesn’t spike your insulin.  BUT…what they aren’t telling you is that it will give you high cholesterol and make you fat. 

It’s no wonder the increase in consumption of HFCS is directly related to the increase in metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease.  Not to mention fatty liver and liver damage.  Because alcohol and HFCS are metabolized in similar ways by the liver, more and more people are now suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver, leading to hepatic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

HFCS contributes to hypertension in yet another way, (besides through metabolic syndrome), by interfering with the body’s production of nitric oxide needed for blood vessel relaxation and smooth blood flow.  This lack of nitric oxide can also lead to coronary artery disease and erectile dysfunction. Enough said. 

Moreover, since HFCS does not directly stimulate an insulin response, there is no insulin to trigger the hormone leptin (the body’s appetite suppressant), and the cycle of overeating fructose laden carbohydrates that are converted to fat, leading to obesity and disease, goes unchecked.

Do you really want to consume food products that are metabolized directly into fat? 

But wait…it gets worse.  HFCS has been found to damage the lining of the intestines, allowing for toxic gut bacteria and undigested food particles to leak out into the blood stream causing immune reactions, (leading to auto-immune conditions), and wide spread inflammation, which is the root cause of most diseases. 

Americans are eating toxic levels of HFCS and it shows in our declining health.  The best way to avoid the harmful effects of HFCS is to eat whole foods and avoid anything packaged.  (Which is of course the mantra of healthy individuals worldwide).  If you must buy packaged food—especially if it is sweet-- PLEASE read the label and steer clear of any products that include high fructose corn syrup in their ingredients.  

Here is a short list of the worst culprits:

Sodas—20 oz. soda has 15 teaspoons of sugar—all HFCS

Breakfast cereals and bars

Sauces and dressings

Crackers

Processed snacks

The fructose that nature provides in the form of fruits, comes in their own healthy packaging of fiber and nutrients.  The fructose is in a quantity that our bodies can deal with, like the tickle of a feather, as opposed to the sledgehammer effect of fructose in HFCS.  Also, the fiber in fruits helps slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream to reduce the cortisol rollercoaster. 

For guidance and support on your journey to better health, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Why Am I Tired, Fat & Sick?

It could be because you are suffering from silent inflammation.  Most people know they are inflamed when they have a sore throat or a rash, but silent inflammation brought on by poor nutrition, food reactions, stress, allergens, toxins and infections is not so obvious. 

Because inflammation is the beginning of any disease process, it is vital to reduce chronic inflammation wherever you can. 

One area where silent inflammation affects millions of people is in the gut.  Stress, over consumption of sugar, trans fats, antibiotics, lack of fiber, and even pharmaceuticalanti-inflammatories can damage the lining of your gut resulting in leaky gut syndrome. 

This is characterized by increased permeability of a membrane whose job it is to selectively allow nutrients into, and keep toxins out of your system.  When partially undigested food particles “leak” into the bloodstream they signal the immune system to launch a full-scale inflammatory response. 

As a result you feel fatigued, bloated and achy.  This is your “silent” inflammation screaming out to you, “something is wrong, pay attention!”   But you are so used to feeling lousy that you just ignore it.  This could be a big mistake.

Chronic inflammation floods your system with cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands.  Elevated cortisol slows the burning of fat, promotes fat storage, (especially around the middle), decreases thyroid function, causes blood sugar imbalances, and suppresses the immune system.  This is why you are feeling tired, fat and sick. 

You will be amazed at how great you can feel when you get out of a chronically inflamed state. 

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle includes eating a diet of whole, high fiber foods like fresh organic vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes for carbohydrates, high quality organic grass-fed meats, whole organic eggs, and wild caught fatty fish like salmon for protein, healthy fats like organic virgin coconut and olive oils, organic nuts and seeds and the heavenly avocado. 

Remember, sugar, trans fats, refined and processed foods are PRO-INFLAMMATORY.

Also, you will want to be involved in a regular exercise program, sleep at least eight hours a night and manage your stress. 

Anti-inflammatory supplements include high quality fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics for healthy gut flora and immune system support, and most of us over the age of 35 would benefit from digestive enzymes to help with complete digestion of nutrients. 

These are the bare minimums.  Everyone needs their own personalized plan.  Feeling overwhelmed?  This is where a I can help.

Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

How Sweet It Ain't

Artificial sweeteners by their very name should cause you to raise an eyebrow. "Sugar substitutes" may be a less frightening title, but they are still dangerous and should be avoided.  

Upon digestion, aspartame, one of America’s favorite fake sweeteners, breaks down into the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as well as methyl alcohol and formaldehyde.  None of that is what you want in your body, unless you are already dead.  

The amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine are known as excitotoxins that over stimulate brain cells to the point of killing them.  The wood alcohol, methyl alcohol, can also damage brain cells, and formaldehyde can cause cancer.  In fact, aspartame has been linked to cancer, obesity, headaches, seizures, depression, insomnia, PMS, loss of memory, panic attacks, over eating and even an increase in regular sugar consumption.          

Aspartame has been widely studied and declared to be safe by the FDA, but then so was Vioxx.   It is marketed as Equal and NutraSweet, and is widely used in a variety of sugar-free or non-fat products, most notably soft drinks, as well as chewing gum, ice cream, yogurt, juice drinks, even nutritional bars and water, (why)?  

It is estimated that over 6,000 products worldwide contain this artificial, “mad scientist” substance.  Only by carefully reading labels can you avoid it.  

Another problem with artificial sweeteners is that they are an empty promise for sweet nutrition.  When you taste sweetness your body thinks nutrition and sugar are coming.  Your pancreas even secretes insulin in anticipation.  When no sugar arrives, the insulin in your system lowers your blood sugar and you crave sweets to bring that level back up and stabilize your energy. 

That is only one of the cravings you get from sweetness that delivers nothing. The body also now craves the nutrition it didn’t get from the pretend sugar, and you end up on the “see food” diet.  You see food, you eat it.  

It’s not because you have no will power to resist sweets, your body chemistry is screaming, “EAT”.  Either way, that diet soda you’re drinking to save on calories, may actually lead to weight gain instead. 

According to a study done in 1993 by Dr. Walton, a psychiatrist, aspartame can significantly increase depression in those prone to the disorder.  He believes this occurs because aspartame inhibits serotonin synthesis by decreasing the amount of available tryptophan needed as a precursor.  

Serotonin makes you feel happy and satisfied, and carbohydrates, (sugar) drives up your serotonin. That’s right, one more reason to crave and overeat sweets.

Sucralose, commonly known as Splenda carries it’s own health hazards. 

Research studies report up to a 40% shrinkage of the thymus gland from the use of sucralose.  This severely compromises your immune system.  Damage to the kidneys has also been reported.  Although sucralose may start out as sugar, the addition of chlorine makes it a chemical substance and not a natural sugar.  

No one would knowingly eat chlorine, or feed it to their children, but that is exactly what is happening when an estimated 4,500 food and beverage items contain Sucralose. 

The joke is on us every time we use Splenda, Equal or NutraSweet in an attempt to eat fewer calories when in reality they act as appetite stimulants and contribute to the obesity epidemic and chronic illnesses that are constantly on the rise.

Agave Nectar, although popular for a time, is even higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup, thus associated with high triglycerides and liver damage.

What are healthy sweeteners?  Coconut palm sugar, Stevia and raw honey all deliver sweetness AND nutrition.  

Once you re-train your taste buds away from the super sweet hit of artificial sweeteners, fruit is a delicious and healthy way to have a sweet treat.  Go figure.  

For guidance and support on your journey to better health, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

Fit For Fat

Exercising at the correct intensity for your level of fitness and stress is very beneficial.  However, over-exercising pushes you to the point of diminishing returns.

Exercise makes you stronger by first stressing the body and breaking it down.  With adequate rest and balanced nutrition the body recovers and adapts by becoming stronger.

If you are over-exercising, your efforts at becoming fit could actually be making you fat.

What is over-exercising?  

Is it working out until you puke, or so that you can barely move the next day, or exercising intensely for hours at a time, or never take a day off?  Yes, it is all of those things.   However, if you are not already moderately fit, it could take a lot less than that to over do it.

The sad reality is that many Americans are in a state of constant stress in their day to day lives, which means that they are breaking their bodies down on a regular basis without fully recovering from life itself.  For those individuals even climbing a flight of stairs could be over-exercising.  

Those folks are constantly under physical stress and therefore swimming in the stress hormone cortisol. 

Cortisol encourages body fat storage and inhibits fat burning.  Probably not what you are hoping to accomplish with your workouts.  Further, cortisol causes carbohydrate cravings that invariably lead to weight gain.  

As a health club owner, I found that many of my members believed that if they worked out hard every day they would get stronger.  The reality is that your body becomes stronger and leaner during the recovery from exercise, not during the workout itself.  By over-exercising your body never gets a chance to recover and is therefore constantly breaking down.  

Not only is this counter productive, but it ages you, and causes muscle degradation that can lead to injury.  

Another consequence of breaking your system down is that it drains your body of its serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter.  Low serotonin can lead to depression and most certainly more carbohydrate cravings in your body’s attempt to replenish its serotonin stores.

Over-exercise can also cause insomnia, hindering the body’s ability to burn fat as well as leaving you too tired to exercise. 

How can you make your fitness routine work for you not against you?

Once you have your stress managed and are eating a healthy balanced nutritious diet, then you are ready to take on the extra stress of exercise.  

To achieve a fit, lean physique you don’t need to spend more than 45min. to 1 hr. in the gym, working at a moderately high intensity doing weight resistance training, 3 days a week.  

On other days you could enjoy cardiovascular exercises like cycling, hiking or swimming.  Incorporate stretching wherever you can, and for heaven’s sake get some rest.  

For guidance and support with a personalized exercise program contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

The Spider Web Of Hormone Balance

Hormones are the body’s messengers, directing all of its functioning.  In a healthy body the hormonal system maintains a finely tuned balance.  Think of it like a spider’s web.  When one hormone is out of balance it’s like flicking the web, it affects the whole web of your hormonal system.   

The major hormones, insulin, cortisol, and adrenaline control life sustaining bodily functions like maintaining blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar regulation, ph balance and stress adaptation.  

The minor hormones like melatonin, pregnenolone, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and human growth hormone rely on the proper balance of the major players in order to fully function. 

That is why it is so important to keep your insulin and cortisol levels steady and in balance.  They provide the rhythm for the rest of your hormones to keep up with the dance.  

However, if you eat too many refined carbohydrates, your insulin levels will be off the charts and that will eventually lead to insulin resistance.  

Likewise, stressors of all kinds cause high cortisol levels, which if chronic (as with most people) will leave you with adrenal exhaustion resulting in low cortisol levels and an inability to handle stress.  

When your insulin and cortisol levels are dysregulated, that "flicks the web" and throws your entire hormonal system out of balance.  

To feel your best your hormones must be balanced.  Fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, cravings headaches, depression, PMS, and premature aging are all symptoms of hormonal imbalances. 

Women experiencing peri-menopause and menopause are quite familiar with these symptoms of hormone imbalance as their progesterone levels drop, and estrogen follows along.     

Because the precursors to hormones are protein, cholesterol and essential fats, your diet should include these nutrients to ensure proper hormone production.  

These same macronutrients are also necessary to keep blood sugar balanced and insulin regulated.  

By eating clean grass fed meats, organic eggs from cage free hens, and healthy fats like organic nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil and flax seeds, you are “feeding” your hormones and addressing the above symptoms.  

If at the same time you reduce and manage your stress, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and maintain a positive attitude, cortisol and insulin levels will stay on track, and you have set the stage for overall hormonal balance.  

For guidance and support on your journey to hormonal balance and well being, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

Healthy Habits Of Happy People

We all love our habits.  Wouldn’t it be great if they were actually healthy? Replacing your bad habits that are causing you to feel lousy, with good habits that will make you feel great is a no-brainer, and certainly worth a try.                                                                                                                              

Here is a list of 20 suggestions of healthy habits that you can start today with very little effort. 

  1. Start each morning with a big glass of clean filtered water with a pinch of sea salt and lemon.
  2. Practice 4-square breathing twice a day, or when you feel stressed—inhale 4 counts, hold 4 counts, exhale 4 counts, hold 4 counts.  Repeat 4 times.
  3. Take the farthest parking space and walk a few extra steps.
  4. Make a mental list of all that you are grateful for as you fall asleep, and then again when you wake up—every day.  It’s a great way to have sweet dreams, and to set yourself up for a good day.
  5. Just have one cup of coffee in the morning, then switch to green tea for the rest of the day.  Switch the morning coffee to green tea when you can.  This is not a punishment, green tea is loaded with antioxidants, natural energy, and it won’t burn out your adrenals.
  6. Get to bed by 10:00 pm.  (You knew that was coming).
  7. Forgive someone everyday until there is no one left on your list.  (Make sure you include yourself)!
  8. Stretch like you are a cat.
  9. Include at least 2,000 mg of high quality fish oil to you daily diet.  It is anti-inflammatory, and great for the brain, immune system, heart and waistline.
  10. Eat organic, local produce as much as you can.
  11. Take a walk in nature as often as possible, indulging all your senses.
  12. Smile at strangers, not just friends.
  13. Replace soft drinks with sparkling water with slices of fruit in it.  Try adding ¼ cup of unsweetened 100% pure berry juice and a bit of stevia. Once this detoxes you, you won’t miss the soda, AND you’ll drop fat.
  14. While we’re on the topic, STOP using artificial sweeteners.  Yes, that means Splenda.  They kill brain cells, and make you fat.
  15. Make sure your bedroom is pitch black at night so that melatonin can come out and sing you a lullaby.
  16. Get 3-5 grams of vitamin C, spread out throughout the day.
  17. Hug someone, and mean it.
  18. Meditate daily.  I know, just give it a try.  It will make you younger.
  19. Eat a big colorful salad daily.
  20. Find what you love to do, and do it everyday.

 This is a short list.  Add as many of your own ideas as you come up with, and then turn them into YOUR healthy habits.

For guidance and support on your journey to better health, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Drop Body Fat In Your Sleep

What’s the best thing to do in bed?  Sleep.  I know that’s not the sexy answer, but sleep can actually help you to drop body fat.  

One of my clients was making progress in the areas of nutrition and exercise, but was having trouble getting a good night’s sleep.  Once she replaced her mattress she began to sleep better, and her excess body fat made a quick exit.  She lost 10 lbs. easily and effortlessly, literally “in her sleep”.  

Even the best eating and exercise plans will be derailed if you don’t sleep. It’s all about hormones, those tiny messengers telling your body when to sleep, when to eat, when to run away, and when to reproduce.  

Not only does sleeping help regulate and regenerate your entire system, but the relaxation that sleep provides allows the level of cortisol in your blood stream to decrease because you are finally out of stress, enabling your body to access stored fat for energy if needed. 

The key is to do what it takes for your pineal gland to produce melatonin, thereby setting up the sequence of hormonal responses that lead to a smaller belly.  

With Melatonin produced at night , you wake up with low insulin and cortisol rising, which allows dopamine to show up and help you feel awake. 

More good news is that with adequate sleep, prolactin, a hormone that regulates appetite, is shut off in the morning so you don’t wake up craving sugar. 

That is the dance of hormones that allow for less body fat storage at night and less body fat production during the day.  

The steps necessary to set the scene for that dance to occur include:

Getting to bed shortly after sun down, or in the real world, by 10:00 pm.

Creating a pitch black bedroom free from the digital lights of a computer, or clock, or other fancy tech gadget.

Shutting down your TV, computer, tablet and phone a half hour before bedtime. 

Keeping the bedroom a cool comfortable temperature.

Reading something relaxing or spiritual to calm your mind.

As you are falling asleep, try deep breathing, meditation, or visualizations to put you in a calm relaxed state.

Suddenly I’m feeling sleepy.

For guidance on your journey to better sleep and weight loss, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Essential Fatty Acids, It's A Balancing Act

Essential fatty acids or EFA’s are essential to good health and it is essential that you get them in your diet because your body cannot make them. 

EFA’s come in the form of omega-3 fatty acids, found mainly in fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin and hemp seeds, and omega-6 fatty acids found mainly in vegetable oils.

These two EFA’s are both necessary for good health, but they have opposite effects on the body and must be kept in balance to promote health.  

An ideal ratio would be from 1:1 up to 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3.  However, because processed vegetable oils are in the majority of foods Americans consume, and because we are not big fish eaters, the typical American's ratio hovers around 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3.  Way out of the ideal range. 

This becomes a health concern because the omega-6 EFAs in your diet from vegetable oils promote inflammation, increased blood pressure and immune suppression.  Conditions which could lead to heart disease and cancer.

I recommend getting your Omega-3s from the fat of cold water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel rather than from nuts and seeds because many people lack the enzymes needed to make the conversion from vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids to the more usable form found in fish oils.  Therefore, it is perhaps best to enjoy cold water fish along with your vegetable sources of omega-3's. 

The Omega-3 EFA’s “claim to fame” is that they are anti-inflammatory.  This is HUGE for Americans whose diet and lifestyle is pro-inflammatory.  Especially when you consider most, if not all disease processes start with inflammation. 

Omega-3's also feed bio-chemicals that lower triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, reduce inflammation, enhance immune function, and keep rapid cell growth in check.  

They protect the heart, are needed for proper brain functioning and even help with weight loss by reducing insulin levels and increasing your metabolic rate.

Besides the less desirable Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils, there are two other omega-6 EFAs that are beneficial to your health.  Gamma linolenic acid, GLA, is found in borage oil, evening primrose oil, and black current seed oil. 

GLA helps reduce inflammation and aids in brain development, skin and hair growth and healthy bones.  It also raises levels of serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter and, it helps burn body fat. 

Conjugated linoleic acid, CLA is also an omega-6 fatty acid.  It is found in the beef and dairy products of organically raised free-range cows that graze on early spring and fall grasses.  

It is also found in wild game.  CLA packs a double punch; it helps maintain lean muscle while increasing the rate at which you burn body fat.  Not a bad combination.

Less vegetable oil, more fresh wild fish, flax seeds or oil, borage oil and organic free range meats will help lower inflammation and keep your heart, brain, nervous and immune systems young and healthy while keeping you strong and lean.

*  Animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, swordfish, mussels, tilapia, halibut, flounder, and pollock.

*  Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, and hazelnuts.

*  Sources of omega-6 fatty acids include: safflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil.

For guidance and support in your journey to better nutrition, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

 

Your Immune System On "Auto"

The occurrence of auto-immune diseases is on the rise.  But why does the immune system attack healthy tissues?  

Auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis and lupus all occur in an environment of inflammation.  

Inflammation has become a chronic condition due to the Standard American Diet (SAD), of processed foods, and our unhealthy lifestyle of high stress, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation. 

This toxic combination leads to a damaged gut, setting the stage for 1) inflammation, 2) an over active immune system and 3) auto-immune disorders.  

With a damaged, or “leaky gut”, (already causing local inflammation), undigested food particles leak into the blood stream and are marked as foreign invaders by your immune system.  

The immune response that follows, (undigested food particles) leaking into the blood stream goes on day after day, keeping your immune system in a constant state of alert.  

Through a process known as molecular mimicry, the immune system becomes confused by the similarities of certain compounds in the target antigen (undigested food particle) with compounds in healthy tissues, and attacks them both.

Those on the fence about gluten should know that it has been linked to leaky gut, and therefore associated with auto-immune conditions.

Genetic tendencies are also involved, as well as adrenal stress, blood sugar stability, insulin and cortisol balance, infections, bacteria and heavy metals. 

However, the bottom line is inflammation, which is the end result of all these variables. 

Steps you can take to lower your risk of developing an auto-immune disorder or improve your condition if suffering from one now, is to reduce your inflammation and heal your gut.

Step 1:  Get yourself on an anti-inflammatory diet.  This would consist of organic whole foods, (nothing processed) including organic fruits and vegetables, (berries are high in anti-oxidants), organic grass fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, organic nuts and seeds, organic beans and legumes, and lots of clean filtered water while eliminating vegetable oils, sugar, caffeine, and common allergens like gluten, corn, dairy and soy, which are all pro-inflammatory.

Step 2: Increasing the number and diversity of your gut bacteria known as the microbiome, can help keep your gut bacteria in a healthy balance, enhance your immune system and reduce inflammation.  FYI, the popular brands of yogurt are little more than a sugar slush since the pasteurization process killed anything beneficial or living.  It is best to get probiotics in their pure form or from lacto-fermented foods like kefir and kimchi   

Step 3:  Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory as well, and close to a magic pill If  there ever was one.  This is just a first line of defense, your nutritionist can put you on a comprehensive nutritional plan. 

Step 4:  Get eight hours of sleep a night. 

Step 5:  Manage your stress. 

Step 6:  Enjoy regular moderate exercise.

I can help you incorporate these preventative measures into your lifestyle to reduce inflammation and climb out of the dark hole of auto-immune disorders, step by step.

Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Sleep Deprivation Can Be Lethal

You have no doubt heard the foretelling saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”; you may have even said it yourself.  

In fact, lack of sleep can be lethal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsiness and fatigue cause more that 100,000 traffic accidents each year resulting in 1,550 deaths.  

At the very least sleep deprivation will age you in fast forward.  

But how much sleep do you really need? Ideally humans should go to bed when the sun sets, and rise with it in the morning to stay in sync with natural circadian rhythms. 

This is hardly practical, especially in the winter months.  However, if you can get to bed by 10:00 pm, and get up around 6:30 am, your body would thank you.  

Between the hours of 10:00 pm and 2:00 am your body regenerates physically, and between the hours of 2:00 am and 6:00 am your brain regenerates psychologically. Cut into either one of those 4-hour segments, and you are compromising your system’s ability to restore itself. 

Hormonally speaking, (melatonin, serotonin, insulin, dopamine, prolactin and cortisol, to name a few), can not be balanced with out deep prolonged sleep.

The good news is, you will also be balancing your blood sugar and neurotransmitters, strengthening your immune system and slowing the aging process.   

Best case scenario to keep disease at bay and have natural energy and vitality, is to get 8 hours of restful uninterrupted sleep a night, starting as close to 10:00 pm as possible.  

There are folks who insist that 5 hours is all they need.  Of course, that’s after their Venti Cappuccino in the morning, Red Bull mid afternoon, Pepsi at 3 pm, and another with dinner.  No wonder it takes them until 2 am to fall asleep.  

The closer you get to 8 hours of sleep a night, the healthier you will be, the less you’ll spend at Starbucks, and the longer you will live.

For guidance and support on your journey to better sleep, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732

Be Your Own Best Doctor

No one cares more for your health than you. No one knows better than you how your body feels.  And there is no one better suited to take care of you, than you. 

Traditional medical doctors are trained in matching pharmaceuticals to symptoms, without necessarily considering the person as a whole.  

What your body needs for optimum health is not pharmaceuticals, which disrupt your own healing abilities.  

Your body needs support and strengthening so it can operate at it’s peak, which is what it aims for every day through its own process of homeostasis.

Functional Medicine doctors, Integrative Medicine doctors and Naturopathic doctors are trained in looking for the cause of your symptoms, and how your whole being is functioning.  They are more likely to recommend natural supplements and lifestyle modifications before pharmaceuticals. 

But there is plenty you can do on your own to better manage your health and well being.

By depriving your body of nutrients with empty foods, (processed and refined), and dumping toxins into your system with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, plastics, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, as well as known harmful substances like trans fats and genetically modified foods, you are hindering your body from experiencing the level of health you long for and deserve.  

But you have a choice.  You don’t have to “trash” your body, you can choose to “nourish” yourself with whole, organic vegetables and fruits, unprocessed grains, beans and legumes, raw nuts and seeds and organically raised free range livestock and seafood.      

Replacing the refined grains, and processed foods in your diet, with live super foods like berries, (goji, acai) bee products, (bee pollen, royal jelly), spirulina, high omega 3 foods, (salmon, walnuts, flax seeds), clean fresh mineral water, organic pasture fed meats, along with a rainbow of whole organic foods, you will be supporting and strengthening your own body’s metabolism and immune system, keeping your body running at it’s peak, and eliminating the need to rely on an MD to “fix” you. 

Traumatic emergency situations like a broken leg or heart attack are the times a traditionally trained medical doctor is your best choice.  

However, a better solution for dealing with chronic conditions like fatigue, depression, obesity, allergies, gut disorders, insomnia, aches and pains, and even diabetes, would be to clean up your diet and thereby your system, adopt healthy lifestyle habits, and generally be as toxic free, (and drug free), as possible.  

When you take responsibility for your own good health, you become the best doctor you could have.  

For guidance and support in your journey to health and wellness, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

Sleep vs Stress, You Can't Do Both At The SameTime

When you are stressed, from lack of sleep, over-exercise, poor nutrition, traffic, your boss, your relationship, or even something you imagine to be a threat, your body is in the fight or flight state of the sympathetic branch of the nervous system.  

When sleeping, resting or de-stressing, the body shifts into the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, or the rest and recovery state.  

When in the fight or flight state of stress, the body systems brake down and you age in fast-forward.  That is why it is SO important to de-stress and rest as often as possible.  

To maintain a healthy balance of stress to rest, your sleep and rest time should equal the amount of time you are stressed.  Thant may take a LOT of rest.

One way to calm your system is by stimulating the vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve runs from the brain through the heart and lungs to the gut, establishing a brain gut connection.

Stimulating the vagus nerve strengthens your immune system and reduces inflammation, while shifting you into the restorative parasympathetic state of being. 

Try these easy and fun ways to stimulate the vegus nerve.

Deep breathing

Meditation

Qi Gong and Tai Chi

acupuncture

Chanting or singing or even gargling

Laughter

Positive social relationships--play with a child, or a pet, hug a friend or loved one.

Show your heart some love by connecting your brain to your gut through your heart.  Place one hand on your belly, the other on your heart and visualize yourself with loved ones, or remember a loving experience, while breathing slowly and deeply.  This is an extremely relaxing way to stimulate the vagus nerve while calming your system.

Taking small breaks throughout the day to include some of these activities will do you a world of good.  Not to mention it will slow the aging process.  Woohoo!

For guidance and support on your journey to rest and relaxation, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

Is Your Exercise Routine Feeding Your Cellulite?

cellulite.jpeg

Cellulite is about more than just fat.  The condition of your skin determines whether the fat on your thighs appears smooth or lumpy.  

The reason 80% of women experience cellulite compared to only 5% of men is because cellulite is related to female hormones.  

Estrogen affects the skin’s structure on the thighs, hips and buttocks, allowing it to be more pliable or loose to accommodate extra fat storage for child bearing.  It’s the loose connective tissue and skin over the fat that creates the puckered look. 

So what does that have to do with your exercise routine? 

When you do intense aerobic exercise, like a spin class, you are putting your body under tremendous stress and your adrenal glands frantically pour out cortisol.  If you take that spin class 3 days a week, before long you’ll be swimming in cortisol.

Cortisol encourages fat storage and also interferes with the functioning of progesterone, which leads to estrogen dominance.  Carrying extra fat around the hips, thighs and buttocks is a sign of estrogen dominance, and that extra estrogen is contributing to your cellulite. 

If you want to reduce cellulite you’ll need to reduce stress from ALL areas of your life.  Stress, worry, depression anxiety all drive up your cortisol, and that elevated cortisol disrupts the functioning of all your hormones.  

That means your sex hormones, thyroid, insulin, and of course stress hormones are not balanced, so YOU are not balanced.  

*  Reducing your amount of aerobic workout and adding more resistance weight training to your gym time will result in less cortisol in your system and more fat burning shapely muscle.  

*  Stress reduction and adequate sleep will help reduce the amount of cortisol in your system and result in better hormonal balance.

*  Increasing your consumption of clean filtered water with a pinch of Celtic sea salt will help keep you hydrated, and support your adrenal glands that work so hard at producing cortisol.

*  Enjoying fresh whole organic fruits and vegetables and organic meats will help keep your toxic load down, while providing your body with the nutrients it needs. 

*  Juicing fresh organic veggies is a great way to detox, which will reflect in your skin. 

Liposuction, unfortunately, has limited benefit for cellulite because it does not change skin structure, or affect the influence of estrogen.  

I have known several women who have been disappointed with liposuction and still struggled with cellulite.  

As with all areas of your health, reducing cellulite is an inside job.  Let me help you sleep, eat and exercise your cellulite away.

Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

It's Not My Journey

It’s not always easy to keep your cool when someone gets on your nerves.  Whether they are deliberately trying to bug you, or whether you are merely interpreting their behavior as being irritating makes no difference in the stress you are experiencing.  

Either way, it is not their behavior that causes you stress, it’s how you react to it.  Knowing that you can control your behavior, but no one else’s is an important lesson.  

We are all on our own journey in this lifetime, and the behavior of others, whether we agree with it or not, is a part of their journey.  

If I find myself getting upset over someone else’s behavior, I consciously stop myself and say,  “it’s not my journey”.  

In that way I take myself out of the picture and have no need to react at all.  I feel an immediate release and sense of relief, because it removes the emotional “hit” from the situation.   

Another big lesson which helps manage stress brought on by other people’s behavior is the fact that 99% of the time their behavior has nothing to do with you.  Not even if their words or actions are aimed at you.  (That’s a tough one).  

We tend to take things personally, and that leads to hurt feelings and misunderstandings.  

Yes, we are human and our feelings get hurt.  I'm not saying it's easy, but the more you practice letting go of personal attachment to someone else’s behavior, the more you will be letting go of stress.  

It’s often helpful to take a deep breath, while you are repeating, “it’s not my journey” or “let it go”.               

Your stress level depends on how you chose to react to a situation, not the situation itself.  It is your choice, stressed or serene.  Your reaction makes an impact on your health.  

Stress will destroy your health, and peace of mind will enhance it, you decide.  It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort and practice. 

Emotional clearing work can help release ties to people who negatively affect our lives.  Click here for my emotional clearing services.

If you are interested in clearing emotional blocks, and better dealing with stress, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

You Say Atkins, I Say Pritikin; Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

There is a lot of confusion around why one particular diet works for one person, but not for another.  

Although every diet out there works for someone, or even a lot of people, it won’t work for everyone.  

Those who need animal protein to run their metabolisms in an efficient and balanced way will not thrive as a vegan or vegetarian.  Likewise a metabolism that runs well on mostly carbohydrates will be sluggish on heavy protein and fat.

The biochemistry that runs our metabolism can vary greatly from one person to another.  

My own personal experience with this came to light when my partner and I ate the same foods and he was constantly hypoglycemic while I had steady energy all day.  It was the 90’s, so like everyone else we were eating low fat, no red meat and mostly carbohydrates.  

Because we owned health clubs, we were working out most days and burning off the sugar flooding our systems from all the carbohydrates, so we weren’t putting on body fat or becoming diabetic as can happen on this type of diet.

However, because he was a “protein type” and I am a “carbohydrate type”, we were burning through our nutrients at different rates.  I could go for hours on just an apple, but his blood sugar would drop after 30 minutes. 

A system of metabolic typing was developed based on the early research of the dentist Dr. Weston Price, and later works of Dr. Roger Williams, Dr. Royal Lee, and Dr. William Kelly, among others, and made popular by the book “Metabolic Typing Diet” by William Wolcott.  

It divides people into three basic types; protein, carbohydrate and mixed, meaning your metabolism runs best on either a higher percentage of protein and fat, a higher percentage of carbohydrates, or a more even combination of all three.  

This is determined in general by how your body oxidizes, or burns through the nutrients you eat, by which branch of the autonomic nervous system is driving your metabolism, and by how your hormones influence your metabolism.

For instance, a protein type burns through their nutrients quickly and therefore needs more protein and fat to slow that process down.

A carb. type oxidizes nutrients slowly so adding too much protein and fat slows them down to the point of fatigue and lethargy. 

Protein types are typically influenced by the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, and carbohydrate types by the sympathetic branch.  The dominant endocrine system varies person to person. 

This is really the “Reader’s Digest” explanation, as there are nine fundamental homeostatic control mechanisms that influence your metabolism.  

No wonder it takes a computer program to sort it out.  Blood type is only one of the nine. Interestingly, my partner and I had the same blood type, but we needed to eat very differently to stay balanced.  

You can see examples of biochemical individuality everywhere in the “diet” world.  

One group of people swear by the vegan lifestyle, while another group declares that the Paleolithic diet with plenty of animal protein is the way to perfect health.  

So who’s right?  They both are.  

Just as the Atkins diet of high fat, low carbohydrates, and the Pritikin diet of low fat, high carbohydrates have both helped thousands of people become healthier.  

Despite their differing views on percentages of nutrients, the successful plans all call for whole, natural unprocessed foods, daily exercise and positive belief systems.  

Once you find which ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates is best to balance your body’s chemistry, excess body fat will be replaced by excess energy.  

One size really does not fit all.  That's why it is important to have a personalized eating plan designed for your specific metabolism.

For a personalized nutrition plan, and guidance and support on your path to a healthy metabolism, contact me at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.  Please click here for my nutrition services.

Building A Great Lower Body Without Injury

When I see women doing walking lunges at the gym I have to fight the urge to intervene.  Walking lunges are a rather advanced exercise, and should be not be attempted by “newbies”.  

But, who do you see doing walking lunges?  Most often women holding hand weights, wobbling on every step while their trainers bark at them to do “5 more!”  An injury waiting to happen.  

Don’t get me wrong, lunges are great for the lower body, just do them standing in place in front of a mirror so you can see how your knee tracks, keeping your spine erect and core engaged.  

If your balance is not great, hold onto the back of an upright chair, and for heavens sake don’t add weight until you can do 20 reps. on each leg perfectly.  Most of the time your body weight is p-l-e-n-t-y.  

Every step you take in a walking lunge is a potential injury.  How your foot plants on the floor translates up through your ankle, knee, hip spine, and neck.  A protracted step with the weight primarily toward the inner ankle, or the opposite, a supinated foot placement will throw off the entire chain.  

Say your ankle and the muscles of your foreleg are strong and balanced, and your foot manages to land correctly on every step, you then need to worry about how your knee tracks over your foot.  That’s where most of the mistakes happen.  

Just a slight shift of your center of gravity will compromise the tracking of your knee.  Also, a muscular imbalance between the adductors and abductors can pull the knee off track.  A weak medial glute could result in a “knock-kneed” lunge, (common among women).  

Another problem is loosing your balance in the upper body due to weak core muscles, or rounding forward in the spine when your back muscles are weak. 

If you must step, try starting with your feet together and taking a long step forward to lunge on the right leg, returning to the starting position, and repeating on the left.  That would be the safest way to add a step to your lunge.  

More advanced lunge exercises, (stepping back, side or on a diagonal) should be done with a qualified trainer.  

Other perhaps safer choices to train your glutes include the leg press, body-weight squats, and ball squats (using a stability ball behind your back, against a wall). 

Any exercise that is new to you should be done with the help of a trainer in ensure proper technique for better results and injury prevention.  

I offer one-on-one training to design and guide you through a safe and effective personalized exercise plan. Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.