Thursday, July 12, 2012

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 10)

New Revelations Support Diet and Exercise to Reverse Leptin Resistance, Thereby Promoting a Healthy Weight
By Dr. Mercola
October 29 2012
Leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, may be one of the most important hormones in your body that will determine your health and lifespan. Insulin is another, and the two work in tandem.
Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases.
Metabolism can roughly be defined as the chemistry that turns food into life, and therefore insulin and leptin are both critical to health and disease. Insulin and leptin work together to control the quality of your metabolism, and, to a significant extent, your rate of metabolism.
By acquiring a better understanding of how leptin and its receptor interact, researchers now believe they will be able to find new treatments for obesity and other metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
According to recent research published in the journal Molecular Cell,1 the leptin receptor has two hinged legs that swivel until they come in contact with leptin.
Once leptin attaches to the receptor, these legs stop swiveling and become rigid, thereby sending a signal to an enzyme called Janus kinase,2 which has the ability to bind inflammatory cytokines. It is believed that inhibiting the Janus kinases might help improve inflammatory and metabolic disorders.
Alan Saltiel, Director of the Life Sciences Institute, told Medical News Today:3
"This study may help solve an important issue we've been struggling with for some time... Since leptin is a master regulator of appetite, understanding why resistance to its effects develops in obesity has been a major obstacle to discovering new drugs for obesity and diabetes. Developing a clear picture of how leptin can bind to its receptor may be the first step in overcoming leptin resistance."
The fact that the primary focus is on developing drug therapies to "fix" leptin resistance is understandable. That's the only way the medical industry can make money. However, the way to correct leptin resistance has nothing to do with drugs, and everything to do with diet. But first...
What Exactly is Leptin?
Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by your fat cells. Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.
Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease.
If your leptin signaling is working properly, when your fat stores are "full," this extra fat will cause a surge in your leptin level, which signals your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off.
Controlling hunger is a major (though not the only) way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful, ancient, and deep-seated drive that, if stimulated long enough, will make you eat and store more energy. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger, the primary one being leptin.
How Do You Become Leptin Resistant?
You become leptin-resistant by the same general mechanism that you become insulin-resistant – by continuous overexposure to high levels of the hormone. If you eat a diet that is high in sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods – the same type of diet that will also increase inflammation in your body – as the sugar gets metabolized in your fat cells, the fat releases surges in leptin.
Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant, just as your body can become resistant to insulin.
The only known way to reestablish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges, and the only known way to do that is via diet. As such, diet can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment.
A strategic whole food diet, as detailed in my free nutrition plan, that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes coupled with targeted supplements will enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity so that your brain can once again hear the feedback signals from these hormones.
Obesity Helps Spur Cancer's Growth, New Study Suggests
Leptin and insulin resistance is front and center of the issue of obesity, which is now a problem of epic proportions as it increases your risk for a wide variety of other serious diseases. At least 20 different diseases and conditions are directly attributable to being overweight. This societal problem has emerged in just the past four decades, in large part due to sorely misguided dietary guidelines.
One disease related to excess weight is cancer. And according to recent research, being obese promotes the growth of existing tumors regardless of diet, which may help explain why lean cancer patients often have better outcomes than their obese counterparts.
The animal study, published in the Oct. 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research,4 showed that tumors in obese mice grew much faster than in lean mice eating the same diet. According to the authors:
"In this study, we show that obesity facilitates tumor growth in mice irrespective of concurrent diet, suggesting a direct effect of excess white adipose tissue [fat tissue]. When transplanted into mice, adipose stromal cells can serve as perivascular adipocyte progenitors that promote tumor growth, perhaps helping explain the obesity-cancer link."
The researchers discovered that the presence of cancer triggered adipose stromal cells – "white" fat cells – to migrate into the blood stream. Once these cells come across a tumor, some of them help provide oxygen and nutrients to the tumor, thereby feeding the growth of the cancer.
Lead researcher Mikhail Kolonin told MedicineNet:5
"The fact that these cells are present in tumors is still an emerging concept. We have shown that not only are they present, but they are also functional and affect tumor growth. Identifying the signals that cause these cells to be recruited to tumors and finding ways to block them might provide a new avenue of cancer treatment."
Protein Intake Also Crucial for Cancers
Earlier this month I interviewed Dr. Ron Rosedale for 14 hours. He is one of the first physicians in the U.S. that started measuring leptin levels clinically and was far ahead of the curve on this one. In our interview, he helped me understand the major importance that excessive protein intake can have on cancer growth.
Eating excessive protein can be an additional synergistically powerful mechanism. When you consume protein in levels higher than one gram of protein per kilogram of LEAN body mass you tend to activate the mTOR pathway, which will radically increase your risk of cancers. It is very easy to consume excess protein and my guess is that most people reading this are. I know I was, and as a result of this new insight I have reduced my protein intake by about half.
Of course when you reduce protein you need to replace it with other calories, so the key to replace the lost calories with high-quality fats such as avocados, butter, coconut oil, nuts and eggs. It is also very helpful to avoid eating anything for three hours before going to bed as this allows you to have relatively low blood sugars while you are sleeping. This is another good trick to move your body to fat burning mode.
Reduce Obesity to Quench Tumor Potential
As stated in the featured article, the implications are clear: "reduce obesity before the appearance of tumors and after." Unfortunately, there was no mention at all about the role of lifestyle in reducing cancer-boosting "white" fat cells... Again, the focus is on developing drug treatments to convert cancer-boosting "white" fat cells to less harmful "brown" fat (a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it).
If you hinge your health and well-being on that, you're likely going to miss the boat and join the ranks of cancer statistics. Research has shown that certain groups of people tend to have more brown fat than others, and there are direct correlations between the activation of brown fat and metabolic measures of good health. For example:
Slender people have more brown fat than obese people do
Younger people have more brown fat than elderly people, and
People with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than those with high blood sugar
So is there a way to convert harmful white fat into health promoting brown fat, without using a drug? Yes, there is. In one mouse study, the animals converted white fat into brown fat simply by exercising. The study, published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms6 in May 2012 found that, during exercise, the animals' muscles released an enzyme called irisin, which triggered the conversion white fat cells to brown. Another study published in Nature,7 also suggests irisin may be a key to explaining the therapeutic benefits of exercise on metabolic disease. The authors write:
"Irisin acts on white adipose cells in culture and in vivo to stimulate UCP1 expression and a broad program of brown-fat-like development. Irisin is induced with exercise in mice and humans, and mildly increased irisin levels in the blood cause an increase in energy expenditure in mice with no changes in movement or food intake. This results in improvements in obesity and glucose homeostasis."
So to summarize: Insulin and leptin resistance are core factors in obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for cancer and may boost tumor growth. But the answer lies not in a pill. To reverse insulin and leptin resistance:
Avoid, sugar, fructose, grains, and processed foods
Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
One gram of protein per kilogram of LEAN body weight
As much highly quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monosaturated). Most people need upwards of 50-70 percent fats in their diet for optimal health. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil
Similarly, while researchers investigate the pharmaceutical avenues to convert white fat cells to brown in an effort to reduce the potential for cancer growth, other research has already shown that this can likely be achieved through exercise.
As I've said before, about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle comes from your diet, and the remaining 20 percent from exercise – but it's a very important 20 percent, as it acts in tandem with and boosts the benefits derived from a proper diet. For maximum benefits, you'll want to make sure to include high-intensity interval training, which is at the heart of my Peak Fitness program. To learn more, please see my previous article: The Major Exercise Mistake I Made for Over 30 Years. [See:]

The Intermittent Fasting Dilemma: How Many Meals Per Day Should You Eat?
By Ori Hofmekler
September 14 2012
The intermittent fasting approach has been getting increased recognition these days. But 10 years ago, it was a different story.
When I introduced The Warrior Diet concept about 12 years ago, it was highly criticized by mainstream fitness authorities as an "extreme and dangerous" approach to dieting. Telling people to skip breakfast and lunch was like committing dietary heresy.
The Warrior Diet book was the first to offer a diet plan based on intermittent fasting. Yes, at that time, it felt like I was the only person in the world arguing for substituting the frequent feeding approach of several meals per day with one meal per day.
Then, a few years later, studies on intermittent fasting (conducted by Dr. Marc Mattson/NIH) shocked the world with the news that this "radical" pattern of eating yielded a substantial increase in the lifespan of rodents along with outstanding improvements in major health markers including insulin sensitivity, body composition and neuro-regeneration capacity. Since then, a growing number of health and fitness gurus have been jumping on the intermittent fasting (IF) wagon. Just Google intermittent fasting and check for yourself.
Multiple websites and many bloggers are now claiming credit for their IF plan. The variations include fasting all day, every other day, every third day, twice per week, once per week, or once every other week. Some recommend skipping breakfast or skipping dinner, whereas others advise "eating only when hungry," or "not eating when not hungry."
Incredibly, even Andrew Weil is now blogging in favor of IF. According to Weil, simply eating three meals per day with no snacks should be called in America "a form of intermittent fasting"… yes indeed, to be popular in this country, a diet plan must be easy to follow… But fasting is never easy. And there is always a reason to avoid fasting. Virtually all IF websites are happy to give you these reasons.
Plenty of Reasons (or Perhaps Excuses) to Avoid Fasting
They tell you: don't fast if you're hypoglycemic; don't fast if you're diabetic; don't skip meals if you suffer from heartburn, or don't get yourself overstressed with fasting if you're already overstressed.
It is also very popular these days to say, "fasting is not for everyone"… hence, if you're looking for a reason to avoid fasting, that's the easiest one to pick.
Note that there are cases that may prohibit long-term fasting, such as with young children, type I diabetics (on insulin medication), or in the case of clinical myopathy (muscle wasting disease). Nonetheless, even in these or similar cases, the exclusion of fasting is not necessarily wise, as fasting could be potentially useful as a therapeutic strategy. Fasting has shown to improve conditions of metabolic disorders, lower the need for insulin medication, and help relieve inflammation.
So how can fasting benefit you?
To figure that out, you need to take a look at the science behind fasting. You need to know how fasting induces its beneficial effects on your body, and what meal frequency allows you to take maximum advantage of that.
How Fasting Benefits Your Body
Scientists acknowledged three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body, as it extends lifespan and protects against disease:
Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.
There is Only One Fasting Regimen that Makes Sense in Practice...
So given the above, what kind of fasting regimen will benefit you most?
If you learn the facts behind human biology and how your body is programmed to thrive, you will realize that almost every popular IF program today, including alternate day fasting, once or twice a week fasting, and once every other week fasting are, in the best case, only partially beneficial.
Most IF programs cannot and will not yield the results you're looking for. The reason: Your body operates around a 24-hour cycle that dictates your innate circadian clock. Most IF programs are not designed to accommodate that cycle.
Most IF Programs Disregard Your Circadian Clock
Your innate clock is an essential factor in your life as it controls all your circadian rhythms. Called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), it is located in your hypothalamus, where it regulates how your autonomic nervous system operates along with your hormones, your wake and sleep pattern, your feeding behavior, and your capacity to digest food, assimilate nutrients, and eliminate toxins.
What happens when you go against your innate clock?
If you're routinely disregarding your innate clock – working during sleeping hours, or feeding at the wrong time – you'll sooner or later pay the consequences with symptoms that may include disrupted sleep, agitation, digestive disorders, constipation, chronic fatigue, chronic cravings for sweets and carbs, fat gain, and lower resistance to stress.
Note that chronic disruptions in circadian rhythms have been linked with increased risk for chronic inflammatory disease and cancer. Most IF programs overlook this issue. Their timing of feeding is either random or wrong.
But the timing of your feeding is not something you can afford overlooking. There is a dual relationship between your feeding and innate clock. And as much as your innate clock affects your feeding, your feeding can affect your innate clock. Routinely eating at the wrong time will disrupt your innate clock and devastate vital body functions; and you'll certainly feel the side effects as your whole metabolic system gets unsynchronized.
Your Biological Feeding Time is at Night
So when is your right feeding time?
Your body is programmed for nocturnal feeding. All your activities, including your feeding, are controlled by your autonomic nervous system which operates around the circadian clock. During the day, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) puts your body in an energy spending active mode, whereas during the night your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) puts your body in an energy replenishing relaxed and sleepy mode.
These two parts of your autonomic nervous system complement each other like yin and yang. Your SNS, which is stimulated by fasting and exercise, keeps you alert and active with an increased capacity to resist stress and hunger throughout the day. And your PSNS, which is stimulated by your nightly feeding, makes you relaxed and sleepy, with a better capacity to digest and replenish nutrients throughout the night. This is how your autonomic nervous system operates under normal conditions.
But that system is highly vulnerable to disruption.
If you eat at the wrong time such as when having a large meal during the day, you will mess with your autonomic nervous system; you'll inhibit your SNS and instead turn on the PSNS which will make you sleepy and fatigued rather than alert and active during the working hours of the day. And instead of spending energy and burning fat, you'll store energy and gain fat. This is indeed a lose-lose situation. Unfortunately, most IF programs fail to recognize this.
Most IF Programs Miss the Boat
Let's take a brief look at some of the most notable IF regimens.
Alternate day fasting. This program seems to be the most difficult to handle. Followers of this regimen have been complaining of a significant increase in hunger and a chronic excruciating desire to eat on their fasting day. But what makes this IF program even more problematic is the adaptability issue – as followers seem to be just as hungry on the last day of fasting as on their first day. There have also been reports of side effects such as sleeping disorders, constipation, and a persistent fatigue among the followers.
The alternate day fasting has one major caveat: the 24 hours fast seems too long to handle (both physically and mentally). This regimen has been shown to cause sleeping issues due to the fact that night fasting turns on the SNS which keeps you alert and anxious rather than relaxed and sleepy during the night – thereby disrupting your sleep-wake cycle.
Furthermore, based on epidemiological evidence, it seems that the human body is programmed for a daily cycle of 24 hours and its optimum fasting threshold should be within the range of 18 hours. Anything beyond that may put your body in a starvation-catabolic mode which if done chronically, may lead to metabolic shutdown's symptoms such as underactive thyroid, decreased sex hormones, loss of muscle mass, and declined energy.
Once a week or twice a week fasting. Both once or twice a week seem to be easier to follow than the alternate day fasting, only that these regimens are less effective than the alternate day fasting. Eating 3-4 square meals every day for most of the week is a serious compromise of the original IF concept, as it minimizes the weekly impact of fasting to merely 1-2 days per week.
Fasting every other week or every month. Worse than that is "fasting every other week" or every month. These IF programs seem to target the typical American dieter who is constantly looking for an "easy to follow" program to lose weight or improve health. The motto "better fasting once or twice per month than not fasting at all" is just an excuse to choose mediocrity over excellence.
Skipping dinner. The skipping dinner approach goes against your innate clock. This regimen may cause sleep disorders and similar side effects as the alternate day fasting diet, only that skipping dinner is less effective than the alternate day fasting due to its shorter fasting time.
Advocates of skipping dinner argue that breakfast is an important meal and should not be skipped. Nonetheless, the science clearly indicates the opposite – the typical breakfast antagonizes the SNS and disrupts healthy circadian rhythms.
There is growing evidence that the typical breakfast is the most harmful meal of the day. A study by the Human Nutrition Research France1 indicated that the typical high energy breakfast caused major adverse effects in the short and long terms. These included a strong inhibition of fat burning throughout the day, increase in serum triacylglycerol, decrease in HDL (good cholesterol), and over-glycemic reactions. The researchers concluded that high-energy breakfast does not appear to be favorable to health; they also indicated that the study's results do not support the current advice to consume more energy at breakfast.
Note that the average consumption of energy at breakfast among breakfast eaters is between 15-20 percent of total daily energy intake. The typical breakfast composition: 12 percent of calories from protein, 25 percent from fat and 63 percent from carbohydrates.
Other reports coming from epidemiological surveys have been indicating that the consumption of a high energy breakfast leads to a significant higher energy consumption for the whole day. Furthermore, a big breakfast has shown to yield only a limited satiety effect which lasts merely 2 hours after breakfast. Overall, science confirms that the typical high carbohydrate breakfast tends to increase fat storage, increase body weight, and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and long term health.
Note that some of the healthiest societies in the past did not eat breakfast; the word breakfast was not part of their vocabulary. The typical breakfast did not exist during Biblical times. In the original Hebrew text of the Bible, breakfast is called "pat shacharit" which meant a tiny piece of bread at dawn – nothing more. And there isn't a single mention of breakfast in the new testament; supper was the main meal of the day (hence, the Last Supper). The ancient Greeks and Romans were very particular about eating their main meal at night. According to Plutarch and Cicero, only slaves and farm animals were fed breakfast and lunch, as contrary to free men and soldiers who ate one meal per day at night.
Skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is certainly a better idea than skipping dinner. This protocol seems to be particularly viable for those who exercise during the morning hours. In this case a specially modified high protein lunch can serve as a post exercise recovery meal. The skipping breakfast regimen is nevertheless problematic.
Proponents of this approach speculate that skipping breakfast after a night fast yields about 16-18 hours of fasting including sleeping time. That seems good in theory but in reality this regimen doesn't yield as many hours of fasting as claimed.
Here is why: What really counts is your net fasting time, the gap between your meals minus digestion time. It typically takes your body between 6-8 hours to fully digest a hearty evening meal (depends on your meal density – content of protein and fat, etc). If for instance you start your evening meal at 8pm and finish eating at 9-10pm, your body will only shift into a fasting state by the early morning hours (about 3-6am). Hence, your body will not be in a fasting state for most of the night.
So when you skip your morning meal until noon, your net fasting time is merely 6-9 hours. That might be good but not enough to grant maximum impact. So what is the ideal way to fast? What should be your right meal frequency?
The One Meal Per Day Plan
The one meal per day plan is the only regimen that can accommodate your innate clock and maximize the beneficial effects you get from IF on a daily basis. That's if your food choices and meal timing are adequate.
The one meal per day yields 14-16 hours of net fasting time provided that you have a window of about two hours to finish eating. And in the case that you have a feeding window of four hours, you're still left with 12-14 hours of daily net fasting – sufficient to get you the results you're looking for.
Other IF regimens yield a net fasting time that is either too long or too short. And most of these programs cause adverse side effects as they fail to accommodate your innate clock.
Can the One Meal Per Day Regimen Satisfy Your Physical Needs?
The one meal per day regimen can accommodate your physical needs, but you need to know how to modulate this regimen to fit your specific condition. For instance, if you routinely exercise during the day you'll need to feed your muscle after your workout with a low glycemic recovery meal made with fast assimilating protein, such as that from high quality whey. You can also feed your muscle before your workout as this will help increase your capacity to sustain intense exercise.
Can One Meal Per Day Accommodate Intense Training?
If you're engaged in max strength conditioning or MMA training, you should feed your muscle before and after your workout. Only in this case, your pre-workout meal should consist of protein and carbs. Note that max strength exercise work your fast glycolytic muscle fibers (Type IIB white fibers), which are inherently carb dependent. Having fast assimilating protein and carbs before your workout can help load glycogen in your muscle, nourish your fast fibers; and boost your max strength performance.
Your best choice for your pre-exercise and post-exercise meal is quality whey protein, derived from raw milk of pasture-fed or grass-fed cows. For pre-workout carbs use nutrient dense fruits such as berries, which can swiftly fuel your muscle with carbs and antioxidants and thereby enhance your performance while reducing the oxidative stress in your muscle to allow a faster recovery after your training.
Having an oatmeal or porridge an hour before training can be a viable option in case you're engaged in prolonged intense training sessions. Again, make sure your post-exercise recovery meal is low glycemic with no sugar added, to support your insulin and accommodate your IF. High glycemic meals negate the benefits you get from fasting.
Foods That Can Be Safely Consumed During Fasting
So is it ok to eat whey protein during fasting? What other foods could be safely consumed during the fast? How often can you eat these foods and how much?
In the Warrior Diet Book, I introduced the concept of "undereating" as a viable alternative to water fasting. Undereating means minimizing your food intake to small servings of specific foods, which you're allowed to consume in a certain frequency during your fast. If done properly, undereating can yield the same benefits of fasting and even more. Let me explain.
Most foods negate the effects of fasting, but there are some exceptions. Some foods can be safely eaten without compromising your fast. These include fast assimilating nutrient-dense foods such as quality whey protein, green vegetables and berries. But you need to know how much you're allowed to consume and how often.
What makes these foods complimentary to fasting are the following properties:
They're rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients
They target the same genes as fasting
They induce similar effects to those you get from fasting
Having small servings of whey protein, green vegetables or berries during your fast isn't just ok, it may actually increase the benefits you get from fasting.
Being fast assimilating, these foods nourish your body without taxing your digestion, as they enhance the anti-inflammatory and metabolic modulating effects of your fasting. They also increase your body's antioxidant defenses against reactive oxygen species (ROS) which tend to accumulate in your body during fasting and exercise as byproducts of fat breakdown and detox. ROS are unstable and highly reactive molecules which search, bind to, and destroy cellular lipids, proteins and DNA. The above foods help protect your body from that oxidative damage.
Most importantly, non-denatured whey protein, green vegetables and berries contain nutrients (antioxidant polyphenols, flavons, resveratrol, cyanidins, indoles, in plants; leucine, calcium and immune factors in whey) that target the same genes and pathways as fasting and exercise. Most notable among these are the SIRT-1 gene (the longevity gene) and the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α, known to counteract oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways associated with declined health and increased mortality. SIRT-1 and PGC-1α increase mitochondrial biogenesis and thereby prevent the typical decline in mitochondrial function (and decreased cellular energy) associated with aging and disease.
How Much, and How Often Can You Eat These Foods?
You can have a small serving of whey protein (20-30g net protein) every 3-6 hours, depending on your level of physical activity. Those who do not exercise can have one or two servings of whey protein during their daily fast.
Similarly, you can have 8oz of berries or green vegetables (or freshly squeezed green vegetable juice) every 3-6 hours while you fast. Do not mix berries with whey unless you use that blend as a pre-workout meal to support your strength conditioning.
Having a small serving of whey protein, berries or greens will hardly affect your body's negative energy balance throughout the fast. Hence, if you eat them at the right amount and frequency, the above foods will not compromise your IF.
It may take science another 10-15 years to figure out the difference between water fasting and that mode of undereating. Nonetheless, based on what we know today about the nutritional properties of whey, berries and greens, and based on testimonials coming from Warrior Diet followers, and my own experience, I can tell you that having these foods during the fast isn't just making it easier, but also makes it more effective and beneficial to your body than a sheer water fast.
Summary of Key Points
The one meal per day is the only regimen that can maximize the benefits of your IF on a daily basis.
Eat your main meal at night to accommodate your circadian clock.
Whey protein, berries and greens compliment your fast if you know how much to consume and how often.
If you exercise during the day, have a recovery meal after your workout consisting of whey protein with no sugar added.
If you're engaged in super intense training, have a pre-workout meal consisting of whey protein and berries.
If you're engaged in prolonged intense training, have a bowl of oatmeal with your whey protein about an hour before your workout.
The Science Behind Circadian Rhythms
Circadian regulation of immune response and resistance to disease. Recent studies published by the PNAS, January 2012, revealed the existence of a specific nuclear receptor that mediates circadian regulation of innate immunity and resistance to disease. This circadian regulation is controlled by an internal mechanism which is highly conserved in humans and animals and orchestrates the daily patterns of diverse physiological processes such as wake/sleep cycles, feeding, and metabolism.
According to the researchers, many diseases exhibit a disrupted circadian rhythmicity in their pathology… and lifestyles that disrupt the inherent timing system, such as chronic shift work, are associated with increased risk of cancer, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease.
The researchers indicated that inflammatory diseases in particular exhibit strong time-of-day symptoms. They concluded that in humans, circadian rhythms are driven by a complex of feedback loops that mediate gene activities throughout a period of 24 hours and speculated that daily risk of infection is likely to be a direct consequence of wrong timing of activity and feeding.
The 24 hours cycle. A study by Czeisler et al. at Harvard University found that the range for normal healthy adults of all ages to be quite narrow: 24 hours and 11-16 minutes. This innate clock resets itself daily to the 24 hour cycle of the Earth's rotation.
The sympathetic/parasympathetic division. Based on biology textbook (see Wikipedia – autonomic nervous system), the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. Consider sympathetic as "fight or flight" and parasympathetic as "rest and digest" or "feed and breed."
The sympathetic nervous system – corresponds with energy generation, and inhibits digestion. The parasympathetic nervous system – promotes "rest and digest" response, along with calming of the nerves.
Light and the innate clock. According to a 2010 study, completed by the Lighting Research Center, daylight has a direct effect on performance and wellbeing. The research showed that students who experience disruption in lighting schemes in the morning experienced disruptions in sleep patterns. Removing circadian light in the morning delays the dim light melatonin onset by 6 minutes a day, for a total of 30 minutes for five days.
Feeding and the innate clock. The feeding clock mechanism is the same as the light/dark driven clock controlled by the innate master clock – the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) which is a cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus. But the machinery that inter-regulates feeding and the innate clock is located in a different part of the hypothalamus (DMA).
Recent studies reveal that mice on a daily 4 hours feeding window shifted their circadian rhythms so that their peak physical activity was before feeding and not after. This rhythm continued even if the mice were kept in constant darkness. Hence, the animals are inherently programmed for post action feeding and not the other way.
If You Didn’t Fast, Don’t Eat Breakfast
When you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, the idea of "having to wait for a meal"… especially the first one of the day, is actually so intuitively logical that it is somewhat tragic that people misunderstand the statement that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" as an invitation to start binging the very moment they get up, instead of waiting for lunch or even dinner to begin stuffing junk down their gullets.
Actually this is quite ironic, because if we take a look at the etymological origins of the word "breakfast," it's plain obvious that this is not - as in Germany, where it is called "Frühstück" = "the first piece," the first meal of the day, but the meal that breaks the fast! Unfortunately, though, fasting has become something, the average TV watching couch-potato of the Western hemisphere is a total foreigner to.
The answer to the endlessly debated question of whether or not you should have breakfast is – as long as we understand "breakfast" correctly, i.e. as "breaking the fast" – stupidly simple: Without fasting there is no "break(ing the)fast"! Our diurnal metabolic rhythm is geared towards cyclic fasting and feeding patterns, where the feeding hours have always been shorter than the fasting hours.
About the Author
Ori Hofmekler is the author of The Warrior Diet, The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat, and Unlock Your Muscle Gene.
Acceleration Training – The Russian Space-Age Technology That Can Take Your Fitness Regimen to the Next Level
By Dr. Mercola
September 07 2012
A machine from the Soviet space travel era has made its way into contemporary fitness centers. Strongly resembling a shaking diet scale, the vibrations on the Power Plate stimulate your body's stretch reflex, and cause your muscles to work harder.
In the words of one Power Plate user, World Champion cyclist and world record holder Sarah Hammer:
"When races are decided by a fraction of a second, I need the absolute best training equipment – and my Power Plate machine is it! Before the Beijing Olympics, I had the worst back injury in my career. Not only did the Power Plate machine get me healthy enough to win more world titles for Team USA, but it also gave me the strength I needed to set two new world records and two silver medals at the 2012 Olympics! Power Plate training keeps me healthy and gives me that extra edge over my competitors."
Creating a successful exercise program requires that it be time efficient. Let's face it – who has time to spend hours at the gym every day – unless you're a professional athlete, for whom working out is your main job?
This is why I was so grateful to learn of the Peak Fitness program in 2010 from Phil Campbell. Peak Fitness includes high intensity exercises that can be completed in a fraction of the time of traditional workouts.
But I am always looking to further improve the Peak Fitness program, and a few years ago I discovered whole body vibration exercise, also known as Acceleration Training™ – the proprietary vibration training method created by Power Plate – which is performed on a vibrating platform.
Interestingly, one of the reasons I was so excited about Peak Fitness or high intensity training, was the impact on growth hormone. It turns out Power Plate training is also associated with an increase in growth hormone which is one of the reasons why using the Power Plate has become a regular part of my exercise program
I believe this technology can kick up your exercise regimen several notches, radically increasing your chances of reaching your fitness goals.
The Power Plate doesn't replace Peak Fitness exercises, but offers a powerful adjunct to them. Essentially, vibration makes it possible to utilize the force of gravity to exercise with less weight and time and achieve more superior results than you've had previously, in a surprising number of ways, as your body responds to this form of exercise.
The Power Plate: Star Trek Health Technology in the 21st Century
The research on Whole Body Vibrational Training (WBVT) is quite remarkable. WBVT achieves what no other form of exercise can, in a very short period of time. The technology is based on the second of Newton's Three Laws of Motion:
F = M x A
The force (F) on an object is a function of its mass (M) and its acceleration (A)

When thinking about your workout routine, you can think of force as your amount of work done. In order to gain benefit from your workout, you must increase the forces on your body by increasing one of the two variables, mass or acceleration. By increasing either (or both) of these variables, you increase the amount of force on your body, which is what puts the WORK in your workout:
When you lift weights, you tinker with the equation by increasing mass (the mass of your body plus any weights you use).
Acceleration Training tinkers with the equation by increasing acceleration. The vibrations are actually very rapid small movements of the platform – mainly up and down. The changes of directions of the platform result in strong acceleration and decelerating forces, 25 to 50 times per second. The mass is simply your body, and vibration is the acceleration.
Gravity is another form of acceleration. Gravity is the ONE form of acceleration we are all subject to, every moment of our lives. It causes your muscles to develop, as your muscles allow you to counter the effects of gravity, so that you can move. If Earth had no gravity, you wouldn't develop muscles. That's why astronauts lose significant muscle mass in space.
Vibration is simply adding more GRAVITY to your body, or increasing "G forces."
The benefits of G forces are the reason why rebounding on a mini-trampoline is so beneficial for you. Rebounding subjects your body to gravitational pulls ranging from zero G at the top of each bounce to 2 to 3 Gs at the bottom, depending on how high you jump. But the Power Plate is significantly better than a rebounder at generating those gravitational forces and can generate forces equivalent to 2 to 6 Gs depending on the settings used.
The Many Health Benefits of Acceleration Training
Research2 has shown acceleration/vibrational training can give you a number of excellent health benefits, such as:
Increased muscle strength, especially explosive strength Pain reduction
Increased hormone secretion: IGF-1, testosterone, and HGH (human growth hormone) Increased lymphatic drainage
Enhanced muscle building Cellulite reduction
Increased bone mass and mineral density Decreased cortisol levels
Increased flexibility and mobility Increased secretion of serotonin and norepinephrine
Improved proprioception and balance Increased visceral fat loss
Immediate improvement in blood circulation Faster recovery from injury
Immediate Benefits for a Variety of Neurological Conditions
Beyond its applications for fitness enthusiasts, the Power Plate has been useful in treating a wide variety of clinical conditions, such as poor circulation, hormonal deficiencies, limited mobility, and even some neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). It is surprisingly versatile, and truly more than just an exercise device and can be used in a number of different ways, with a variety of specific exercises to meet your needs.
Interestingly, the people who have more clinical issues see improvement much faster – for example, if you have any kind of circulatory problem or nervous system disorder, you will typically see benefits right away. The Power Plate has been used in Europe for neurological rehabilitation and found to help relieve symptoms of MS, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and paralysis resulting from trauma. Also, if you have limited mobility, vibrational training allows you to get into some positions that you would not ordinarily be able to tolerate in conventional strength training.
Finally, the Power Plate is an excellent and FAST way to warm up before any type of exercise routine. In three to five minutes, you are ready to roll in terms of increased circulation, nervous system activation, and body heat.
The tri-directional movement of the platform promotes proprioception, which is just a medical term for sensing the relative position of neighboring parts of your body. Proprioception is an internal feedback mechanism crucial for balance, as your body constantly adjusts to uneven terrain as you walk. If you have ever done any exercise training on an uneven surface, you'll have noticed that it's harder – you were recruiting more muscle fibers and more energetic pathways. The same idea applies to the Power Plate.
As the video below shows, you can re-train motor patterns and re-establish communication within your body as the Power Plate balances muscle groups, resulting in profound improvements in your overall balance.

Good Vibrations
Is this vibrating platform hard to get used to? Power Plate users report acclimating pretty quickly to the feeling of the vibration, which was my experience as well. It's an odd sensation initially, but within a few sessions those sensations become much less noticeable. Kind of like if you have ever used an electric toothbrush – the first time, the vibration feels very strange, but after a few brushings, you hardly notice it.
If you find it difficult to tolerate the vibration, there is a pad that can be placed on top of the platform that acts as a buffer. However, the company suggests you limit the use of the pad as much as possible, since it's the full vibrational motion that will produce the highest benefits for you.
Exercise Doesn't Have to Be Hard or Time-Consuming!
I truly believe acceleration training technology represents a revolution in fitness science. The Power Plate, along with a well-rounded Peak Fitness program, proves that exercise doesn't have to be difficult and time consuming. Near-total muscle fiber recruitment translates into a higher-intensity workout, unlike anything you've ever experienced. The Power Plate can offer you a complete, full-body workout – incorporating flexibility, balance, strength and even massage – in 30 minutes or less.
The following sources offer instructions and guidelines for a wide variety of Power Plate exercises. The video below contains three sample exercises as well. For additional videos, check out the Power Plate YouTube channel:
Beginners' Guide to Power Plate Exercises, by FitnessRocks!
Build a Six-Pack with the Power Plate, by Men's Health

Total Video Length: 1:23
Obviously, if you have health challenges such as heart disease or high blood pressure, you will want to consult with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program. For an in-depth explanation of my Peak Fitness regimen, please review this previous article, and for even more fitness tips that will keep you in optimal health no matter what your age, be sure to review Mercola Peak Fitness for a variety of important fitness videos and articles.
Beware of Cheap Imitations
The Power Plate, used by numerous Olympians, including world record holder and 2012 silver medalist Sarah Hammer, is the leader in the field. It was developed by Guus van der Meer, a Dutch Olympic coach who, inspired by the Soviet space program, effectively used it for his Olympic athletes. He really is the creator of this technology for the public.
There are a variety of cheap machines on the market being sold under different names. Typically, such machines are manufactured using vibrating equipment that is notoriously poor with faulty electronics, cheap bearings and buttons, and shoddy welds that often fail.
Beware of skinny support posts, platforms that are too small or unstable, weak motors and units with insufficient power to support the vibration capacity.
The Power Plate Acceleration Training equipment moves in all three axes and it is made of the highest quality materials and designed to give you many long years of effective training. In fact it has patents which prevent other companies from copying its radical innovations. So before you decide to purchase Acceleration Training equipment, make sure you at least evaluate the Power Plate as you could be making a significant mistake by purchasing something cheaper that won't give you the same benefits.

10 health benefits of cucumbers
Alexandra Du Toit
Saturday, August 11, 2012
(NaturalNews) Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for your body's overall health, often referred to as a superfood. Cucumbers are often sprayed with pesticides so it is important to buy organic or even better, grow them yourself.
Here are 10 Benefits of cucumbers:
1.Quick pick me-up - Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins. Put down your sodas and coffee and eat a cucumber slice.
2. Rehydrates body and replenishes daily vitamins - Cucumbers are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping the body eliminate toxins. Cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day. Don't forget to leave the skin on because the skin contains a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance.
3. Skin and hair care - If you don't like to eat the skin, it can be used for skin irritations and sunburns as aloe would be used. Place a slice over puffy eyes and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce puffiness. The silicon and sulfur in cucumbers help to stimulate hair growth.
4. Fight cancers - Cucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These three lignans have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.
5. Home care - Eliminates a foggy mirror. Before taking a shower, rub a cucumber slice along a mirror and it will eliminate the mirror fogging up. Instead of WD40, take a cucumber slice and rub it along a squeaky hinge and your door will stop squeaking.
6. Relieves bad breath - Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
7. Hangover cure - To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangover and headache.
8. Aids in weight loss and digestion - Due to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet for people who are looking for weight loss. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumbers are very effective in ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, aiding digestion. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
9. Cures diabetes, reduces cholesterol and controls blood pressure - Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin which has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients. Researchers found that a compound called sterols in cucumbers may help reduce cholesterol levels. Cucumbers contain a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber. These work effectively for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumbers good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.
10. Promotes joint health, relieves gout and arthritis pain -Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. They are also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels
Sources for this article:
About the author:
Alex is a TRUE Earth Mama, helping others tune into their most natural state while bringing harmony and balance into all areas of their lives in order to THRIVE.*******
Sprouts: So fresh, they're still growing!
Alexandra Du Toit
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
(NaturalNews) Sprouts are a miracle food. As a 'living' food, sprouts continue to grow higher in nutritional value after being harvested. Sprouting is the process of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked. When seeds are soaked, the dormant seeds turn into a nutritional powerhouse. For instance, when peas are dry they have no Vitamin C; however, when sprouted for 48 hours, they provide more Vitamin C than fresh oranges while Broccoli sprouts help protect the body against cancer. A salad made from an assortment of sprouts, compared with the traditional lettuce salad, provides five times as much protein, six times as much Vitamin C and seven times as much of the B Complex Vitamins and costs less than half as much.
The most powerful enzyme-rich foods are sprouts. Sprouting seeds, grains and legumes, increases their enzyme content as much as 43 times more than non-sprouted foods. The enzymes boost the life-giving activity in our body while helping our body digest the nutrients in our food.
Sprouts have the highest concentration of nutrition per calorie of any food. The nutritional content of sprouts is many times greater than the original food value of the seeds and beans from which they sprout. Sprouts contain an abundance of anti-oxidants that prevent harm to our DNA while protecting us from the ongoing effects of aging. Another benefit to eating sprouts is that there is no preparation time. They require no cleaning, peeling, or chopping. There are numerous nutritional benefits as well as many ways to use your homegrown sprouts.
Sprouting guide
The seeds can be germinated at any time of year indoors.
Select a sprouting vessel: Many different types can be used but one simple vessel is a glass jar with a piece of mesh screen secured over its rim with a food grade rubber band. There are tiered clear plastic sprouters available allowing a number of seeds, beans, and nuts to be sprouting at the same time. Whatever vessel you choose, water must be allowed to drain from it because sprouts that sit in water rot quickly.
The seeds, beans or nuts are moistened with clean water twice a day. Each seed, bean or nut has its own ideal sprouting time but usually after three to five days they are ready to eat!
If left longer, they will develop leaves and turn into bay greens, which are also edible and nutritious.
Sprout growth can be slowed or halted by refrigeration.
The five rules of sprouting
1. Rinse them often.
2. Keep them moist, not too wet.
3. Keep them at room temperature, not too cold or hot.
4. Give them plenty of breathing room.
5. Don't overfill one container.
Sprouted almond milk recipe
Sprout organic almonds for a couple days until you see a white tip at the end.
Remove skins; if they do not come off easily, pour hot water and let cool and they should come off.
One part almonds to three parts clean water.
Blend almonds and water (you can add raw honey, agave, maple syrup or vanilla to improve taste).
Pour blended liquid through a cheese cloth or strainer with small holes.
Making your own organic sprouted almond milk is much cheaper than store bought almond milk and you know what's inside. Children love it too!
Pharmaceutical Drugs are 62,000 Times More Likely to Kill You than Supplements
By Dr. Mercola
July 24 2012
The UK-based, international campaign group, the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) recently revealed data1 showing that compared to supplements, an individual is:
Around 900 times more likely to die from food poisoning
Nearly 300,000 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury during a UK hospital stay, which is comparable to the individual risk of dying that active military face in Iraq or Afghanistan
Additionally, the data shows that adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs are:
62,000 times more likely to kill you than food supplements
7,750 times more likely to kill you than herbal remedies
The data, which was collected from official sources in the UK and EU, demonstrate that both food supplements and herbal remedies are in the 'super-safe' category of individual risk – meaning risk of death from their consumption is less than 1 in 10 million. The group has created an excellent graphic2 showing your relative risk of death from a variety of activities. Besides drugs and hospital injuries, you're also more likely to die from being struck by lightning or drowning in your bathtub than having a lethal reaction to herbs or supplements...
According to the featured article on NewHope360.com3:
"ANH-Intl executive and scientific director, Robert Verkerk PhD, hailed the figures as shedding new light on the vexed question of natural healthcare's safety. "These figures tell us not only what activities an individual is most or least likely to die from, but also what the relative risks of various activities are to society as a whole. It puts some real perspective on the actual risk of death posed by food supplements and herbal remedies at a time when governments are clamping down because they tell us they're dangerous.
... According to Dr Verkerk, the new figures should help to pressure UK and European authorities to reduce regulatory burdens on natural health products."
With a Super-Safe Track Record, Why are Supplements Under Attack?
Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements have a tremendously safe track record, yet they are often singled out as being potentially dangerous by government agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This – the notion that dietary supplements are unsafe -- was the premise behind the FDA's Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI), which would have required the supplement industry to prove the safety of natural ingredients that, in many cases, have been on the market and used safely for decades!
Fortunately, public outcry made the agency agree to take another look at their proposed guidance and to issue a revised draft4. It's still not known when the revisions might be completed.
The original NDI draft essentially claimed dietary supplements are unsafe and must be carefully tested in order to "protect consumers." The proposed safety thresholds even exceeded those required by pharmaceutical drugs -- despite extensive toxicological data showing supplements are FAR safer than drugs. As detailed above, drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than supplements! Why on earth would supplements need more stringent safety thresholds than drugs?
It's an obvious attempt to eliminate competition for the drug industry.
Data from the United States fully corroborates the featured UK data. For example, according to the latest data from the US National Poison Data System (2010 report)5, NO deaths were attributable to vitamin and mineral supplements that year. And, as noted by Orthomolecular Medicine News Service last year6, Americans easily take more than 60 billion doses of nutritional supplements every year, and with zero related deaths this is an outstanding safety record:
"Well over half of the U.S. population takes daily nutritional supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet daily, that makes 165,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of over 60 billion doses annually. Since many persons take far more than just one single vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is all the more remarkable. Over 60 billion doses of vitamin and mineral supplemnts per year in the USA, and not a single fatality. Not one. If vitamin and mineral supplements are allegedly so 'dangerous,' as the FDA and news media so often claim, then where are the bodies?"
The Drug Industry is the Real Health Threat
In striking contrast, drugs are known to cause well over 125,000 deaths per year in the US when
taken correctly as prescribed – yet the FDA allows fast-track approvals and countless new additions of poorly tested drugs to the marketplace that must later be withdrawn due to their lethal consequences.
It is simply incomprehensible that any rational approach would seek to vilify supplements over drugs when the data in no way, shape or form supports it. The most likely motive for this position is financial greed that can put your life in jeopardy. According to the US National Poison Data System7 the following drug categories are among the most lethal:
Analgesics, sedatives, hypnotics, and antipsychotics
Cardiovascular drugs
Acetaminophen combinations
Slightly lower down on the list you find drugs like muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, antacids, anticoagulants, and antihistamines.
Time to Start a New "Just say NO!" Anti-Drug Movement
The anti-drug slogan coined by Nancy Reagan in the early 1980's is just as applicable for today's prescription drug problem as the recreational drug problem of the past. The only difference is that today prescription drugs have eclipsed illicit drugs as the number one source of poisoning deaths. Prescription drugs have also been identified as the primary "gateway" to illegal drug use, beating out marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes.
According to a July 6 press release8.
"... Since 2000, the drugs sending people to their graves or to rehab have been shifting away from illicit drugs and toward prescription drugs. The 2011 report on the subject from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it clear: prescription narcotic pain reliever overdose deaths now exceed the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.
... 'Our own clients and people calling in daily for information about our program or help have told us story after story about addictions starting with the use of prescription drugs,' stated Derry Hallmark, Director of Admissions at Narconon Arrowhead, a premier drug rehab facility in Southeastern Oklahoma. 'Sadly, prescription medications have become the newest of the gateway drugs. Sadder still are the losses of life and other severe consequences that go hand in hand with drug abuse, which is especially the case with prescription drug abuse.'
Hallmark adds that those addicted to prescriptions will often end up needing treatment or will even start taking illicit drugs. One of the most common examples of this is the connection between those addicted to painkillers that then start taking heroin..."
It's important to understand that there is a risk of side effects every time you take a prescription drug. No one (except for those who intentionally overdose) expects these medications to kill them, but they can do just that, and it happens far more often than you might think. In a 2011 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), officials emphasized that people should not assume there's no risk in prescribed medicines.
The truth is, the best way to avoid all risk, including death, from prescription drugs is to not take them at all. Remember, it's your body, not your doctor's and not your pharmacist's, so it is up to you to make the decision of what drugs to take, if any. Be SURE you are aware of the risks of any medication prescribed to you, and weigh them against any possible benefit. Then you can make a well-informed decision of whether it's a risk you're willing to take.
Optimizing Your Health Without Drugs
Of course, of paramount importance is taking control of your health so you can stay well naturally, without the use of drugs or even frequent conventional medical care. If you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need medications in the first place.
This includes:
Proper Food Choices
For a comprehensive guide on which foods to eat and which to avoid, see my nutrition plan. Generally speaking, you should be looking to focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods (vegetables, meats, raw dairy, nuts, and so forth) that come from healthy, sustainable, local sources, such as a small organic farm not far from your home.
For the best nutrition and health benefits, you will want to eat a good portion of your food raw, and make sure you're sourcing your meats and animal products from organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured animals.
Nearly as important as knowing which foods to eat more of is knowing which foods to avoid, and topping the list is fructose. Sugar, and fructose in particular, acts as a toxin in and of itself, and as such drive multiple disease processes in your body, not the least of which is insulin resistance, a major cause of accelerated aging.
Comprehensive Exercise Program, including High-Intensity Exercise like Peak Fitness
Even if you're eating the healthiest diet in the world, you still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health, and you need to be exercising effectively, which means including not only core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and stretching but also high-intensity activities into your rotation. High-intensity interval-type training boosts human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is essential for optimal health, strength and vigor. I've discussed the importance of Peak Fitness for your health on numerous occasions, so for more information, please review this previous article.
Stress Reduction and Positive Thinking
You cannot be optimally healthy if you avoid addressing the emotional component of your health and longevity, as your emotional state plays a role in nearly every physical disease -- from heart disease and depression, to arthritis and cancer. Effective coping mechanisms are a major longevity-promoting factor in part because stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day. Energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, meditation, prayer, social support and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium.
Proper Sun Exposure to Optimize Vitamin D
We have long known that it is best to get your vitamin D from sun exposure, and if at all possible, I strongly urge you to make sure you're getting out in the sun on a daily basis. There is preliminary evidence suggesting that oral vitamin D may not provide the identical benefits, although it's still better than none at all. To determine the times of year that you can optimize your vitamin D levels through sun exposure, please see this previous article.
Take High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
Animal-based omega-3 found in krill oil helps fight and prevent heart disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes, hyperactivity and many other diseases.
Avoid as Many Chemicals, Toxins, and Pollutants as Possible
This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
This Nightly Activity Can Have a Profound Influence on How Much You Weigh
By Dr. Mercola
July 21 2012
A new study of 1,800 pairs of twins found that even if you're genetically predisposed to being overweight, there is one easy thing you can do to put yourself in control of how much weight you gain.
As reported by CNN, researchers found that genes accounted for 70 percent of the differences in body mass index (BMI) in those who slept less than seven hours per night. Environmental factors, such as diet and exercise, accounted for just four percent of the differences. But in twins who slept nine or more hours per night, environmental factors shot up to 51 percent, and genetic influences dipped to 32 percent. So, sleep deprivation appears to have a significant influence over your genetic expression.
According to CNN Health1:
"Getting adequate sleep, in other words, appears to dampen genetic risk and allow the influence of diet, exercise, and other controllable lifestyle factors to "surface," the researchers say."
Sleeping Well Matters if You're Struggling with Your Weight
Previous research has already shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who get more sleep. The biological mechanisms linking sleep deprivation and weight gain are numerous.
Alterations to your metabolism account for some of this effect, because when you're sleep deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals satiety) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises. In one 2010 study2, researchers found that people who slept only four hours for two consecutive nights experienced:
18 percent reduction in leptin
28 percent increase in ghrelin
This combination leads to an increase in appetite. Additionally, sleep deprivation tends to lead to food cravings, particularly for sweet and starchy foods. Researchers have suggested that these sugar cravings stem from the fact that your brain is fueled by glucose (blood sugar); therefore, when lack of sleep occurs, your brain starts searching for carbohydrates to keep going. If you're chronically sleep deprived, consistently giving in to these sugar cravings will virtually guarantee that you'll gain weight.
Sleeping less than six hours per night can also radically decrease the sensitivity of your insulin receptors, which will raise your insulin levels. This too is a surefire way to gain weight as the insulin will seriously impair your body's ability to burn and digest fat. It also increases your risk of diabetes. In short, sleep deprivation puts your body in a pre-diabetic state, which can lead to increased weight and decreased health.
Sleep Deprivation, Stress, and Weight Gain
Biological stress is another mechanism that can help explain the link between poor sleeping habits and increased risk of weight gain. According to the featured article on CNN Health3:
"Sleep deprivation puts stress on your body, and that stress could help explain the relationship between sleep and gene expression seen in the study, says Carl Boethel, M.D., director of the Sleep Institute at Scott & White Healthcare, in Temple, Texas. "When you are constantly depriving yourself of sleep, you are keeping yourself in a state of stress, and the genes that encode for that stressful environment start saying, 'I need to hold on to calories,'" Boethel says".
When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Your muscles get tense, your digestive processes stop, and certain brain centers are triggered, which alter your brain chemistry. For example, it tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone associated with road rage. Left unchecked, this stress response can eventually lead to a variety of health problems including:
Increased anxiety
High blood pressure
Unfortunately, precious few are willing to take a much-needed look at their sleeping habits and make the required readjustments to their schedules and habits. I strongly urge you not to be part of the majority in this regard...
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Chronic lack of sleep has a cumulative effect, so you cannot skimp on sleep on weekdays and then try to "catch up" over the weekend. In order to benefit your health, you need to be consistent in your sleeping habits.
As a general rule, adults need between six and eight hours of sleep every night. However, there are plenty of exceptions. Also, as the featured study on twins suggests, you may need upwards of nine hours a night in order for it to outweigh certain genetic predispositions, by allowing your body to reap maximum benefits from a healthy diet and exercise regimen. The amount of sleep you need can also drastically change depending on your circumstances, such as illness or going through an emotionally stressful time.
Pregnant women also typically need more sleep than usual during the first trimester. My advice is to pay close heed to your body, mind and emotional state. For example, if you consistently feel tired upon waking, you probably need to sleep longer. Frequent yawning throughout the day is another dead giveaway that you need more shut-eye.
Optimizing Your Sleep Sanctuary
There are many factors that can influence your sleep, but one that many fail to consider is the use of light-emitting technology, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of light that will suppress melatonin production, which in turn will hamper your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you'll want to turn all such light-emitting gadgets off at least an hour prior to bed time. Next, making some adjustments to your sleeping area can also go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep:
Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle.
So close your bedroom door, get rid of night-lights, and refrain from turning on any light during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom. If you have to use a light, install so-called "low blue" light bulbs in your bedroom and bathroom. These emit an amber light that will not suppress melatonin production.
Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celcius). Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 C). Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.
Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields(EMFs). These can also disrupt your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To do this, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in your house.
Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet.
If you're feeling anxious or restless, try using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which can help you address any emotional issues that might keep you tossing and turning at night. For many more recommendations and guidelines that can help you improve your sleep, please see my article 33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep.

Also See:
If You Know what's Good for You ...
(Part 1)
19 February 2009
(Part 2)
01 August 2009
(Part 3)
02 March 2010
(Part 4)
28 September 2010
(Part 5)
15 March 2011
(Part 6)
20 July 2011
(Part 7)
09 October 2011
(Part 8)
12 December 2011
(Part 9)
09 March 2012
Vitamins, Genetic Food, Health
03 April 2007
FDA - Drugs, Vaccines & Vitamin Supplements
(Part 1)
07 July 2008
How Safe Is Our Food?
(Part 1)
06 December 2008
(Part 2)
26 March 2009
Genetic Manipulated Foods Are Not Healthy!
24 May 2009
Losing Weight - Are Diets Detrimental to Health?
16 September 2010
No More Floride in the Water - Waterloo, Ontario
08 November 2010
Why is Fluoride in Our Water?
09 January 2011
Medication Errors are a Major Killer!
(Part 1)
04 February 2011
Can't Sleep? There is Help!
08 February 2011
Avoid Chemotherapy and Radiation!
19 November 2011