Author: David Yochim

Foods That Kill Your Testosterone

I quite simply abhor sensationalist headlines, and the one for this piece is indeed one I would normally skip right over without even a glimmer of interest of what I might find should I decide to investigate further. Today was an exception.

My personal Facebook page has been deluged with advertisements from one whom I’m only going to refer to as The Shredded One. I have read the headline: “Eight Foods That Kill Your Testosterone” multiple times a day and despite the fact I keep blocking The Shredded One and his infomercial, it keeps coming back to my feed. Today, I said the hell with it and investigated just what The Shredded One is selling to my fellow man. After watching a short video presentation by The Shredded One, where he proclaimed to have backing for his work from Harvard, I then went on to watch the next 20 minute video he insists you watch where you will sit and listen to a huge amount of nonsense and fear mongering before the sales pitch goes into full effect for you to purchase the information you have just sat through about thirty total minutes of video presentations to receive. My friends, I am going to give you the information this huckster is trying to sell you about these foods for free.

That’s right, no charge to you at all!

For possible legal reasons, I am not using The Shredded Ones name, but I will say that if you are a weight trainer who follows Jeff Cavalier from AthleneX, you will know The Shredded One as the young guy who has directly copied Jeff’s video work to sell as his own creations. It actually may not make any legal difference if I use the guy’s name or not, but I will not since I do not want any legal hassles out of him.

What is testosterone and why do I care how food is impacting mine?

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the human body. It’s mainly produced in men by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It stimulates sperm production as well as a man’s sex drive. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.

Men can experience a range of symptoms if testosterone decreases more than it should. Low testosterone, or low T, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

A normal range is typically 300 to 1,000 ng/dL, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone. (1)

A good many men, especially young strength trainers and body builders completely freak out when they believe their body is not producing a sufficient quantity of testosterone which is why you can find “Low T” clinics in just about every major city across America today. The issue of “Low T” is a topic that can be easily found on every online strength training forum I have ever visited or have been active on, which is several to say the least.

Why the hell do I care about someone selling us a diet based on information about foods that might lower our testosterone levels? Face it fellas, as men we can be kind of dumb sometimes, especially those of us who pursue great strength and Schwarzenegger like body’s. If you do not believe you might be occasionally dumb, turn and ask any of the women in your life what their opinion might be on the topic. Too often, we might just jump on the latest information that might give us a competitive edge while never taking the time to actually research the information being put out. If you do not believe this is a problem, then consider the number of fools who take steroids and SARMS in order to get stronger, consider the idiots who are injection the synthetic oil Synthol into their muscle tissue in order to look more muscular without putting in the work to get there through the hard work that body building requires. And then, think about the crazy ass extreme diets that body builders and wannabe’s subject themselves to. Guys will do all of this stupidity without a care in the world about how they might just be shortening their very lives by doing so. Never mind if ones advice is sound or not, if it is coming from someone who looks to be stronger and better shape, gym rats will jump on it.

Eight foods that allegedly lower testosterone.

In the interest of saving you the expense of your hard earned money, here are the eight foods The Shredded One wants you to avoid in order to not lower your testosterone:

  • Soy and soy based products. Animal and human studies have found that certain compounds in soy-based foods may decrease testosterone levels, but research is still inconclusive. One study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in decreased testosterone levels. Soy foods are also high in phytoestrogens, which are plant-based substances that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body by altering hormone levels and potentially reducing testosterone. Though human-based research is limited, one rat study showed that consuming phytoestrogens significantly decreased testosterone levels and prostate weight.However, other research found conflicting results, suggesting that soy-based foods may not have as much of an impact as these isolated soy components. In fact, one large review of 15 studies found that soy foods had no effect on testosterone levels in men. (2)  Consumption of soy and soy products are indeed wonderful for women for their hormonal health. But guys, let’s be realistic, you do not need to completely shun these products being as the research is still inconclusive and if you believe an occasional soy protein shake or other soy product is going to hurt you, you probably have other nutritional issues causing yourself even more harm than a little soy once in a while.
  • Mint. Good lord, Jesus jumped a freight train! Just how much mint would you need to swallow to have an impact on your testosterone? Some studies show that spearmint and peppermint may cause a decrease in testosterone levels, but research has so far focused on the effects on women or animals . High-quality human studies focusing on both genders are needed to assess how mint affects testosterone levels in both men and women. Before you chuck your mint gum out the window, or your mint tea down the drain because it might lower your testosterone, how about finding a conclusive study first. It could be that you might need to drink 50 gallons of mint tea a week to have an impact on you.
  • Licorice root. Ok, first off, we are talking about the root, not the candy. Licorice root is a popular natural remedy in holistic medicine and often used to treat everything from chronic pain to persistent coughing. In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time. In one study, 25 men consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily, which caused a 26% drop in testosterone levels after just one week. (2) Chances are that if you consume 7 grams per day of licorice root, you are doing it for a medicinal purpose and may not be too concerned with a temporary drop in testosterone anyhow. Because people can be kind of dumb, and run wild with little tidbits of information, I will say this; If you come to me and tell me you will not eat licorice candy because it will lower your “T” levels, I might just force feed you enough to get you good and sick, just for being that dumb. If you are using licorice root for relieving stomach discomfort, nausea, stomach pain, and heartburn, you are not going to have your testicles shrink up from a few days use.
  • Vegetable oil. If you are still eating foods fried in vegetable oil, you are likely not too interested in your waist line, nor your health in the first place. One study in 69 men showed that frequently consuming polyunsaturated fats was associated with significantly lower testosterone levels. (2) Would anyone care to wager that these men might also have had an obesity problem from consuming far too much vegetable oil in their fried foods? It is not rocket science that folks who eat a fair amount of fried foods have weight control issues, and men who are over weight or obese have low testosterone levels because of it. If you are disciplined in your dietary habits and exercise, a little vegetable oil is not going to drain your “T” levels.
  • Flaxseed. Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber and various important vitamins and minerals. However, some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body. Flaxseed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be linked to a decrease in testosterone as well. But consider this before discarding your flaxseed, or products which contain flaxseed, is the heart health benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids going to over ride any negative effect derived from the lignan component for you? If you are a strength athlete who might be concerned about your “T” levels, odds are you probably take fish oil pills to aid in keeping inflammation down in your body after hardcore workouts. Let’s use a little common sense when deciding to use, or not to use flaxseed. I would wager that if you consume enough flaxseed to have an impact on your testosterone, you will without a doubt be spending a tremendous amount of time on the toilet evacuating your bowels. 
  • Processed foods. Well duh! Processed foods are full of all kinds of garbage that is supposed to resemble actual food. They are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium and preservatives. Part of the blame here is being laid on trans fats which are also to blame for heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. If you are a disciplined eater, you might get away with eating processed foods and not having your “T” levels impacted much. If you are not disciplined in your dietary habits, you are going to have a plethora of health issues related to obesity at some point anyhow. Fellas, if you are fat and out of shape, your testosterone is going to be lower no matter what the hell you are eating.
  • Alcohol. The evidence isn’t completely clear-cut when it comes to the effects of alcohol on testosterone. In fact, both human and animal studies have had mixed results, with some research indicating that alcohol could actually increase testosterone levels in certain cases. Further research is still needed to understand how different doses of alcohol affect testosterone levels in the general population. (2)
  • Nuts. Nuts are a great source of many important nutrients, including fiber, heart-healthy fats and minerals like folic acid, selenium  and magnesium. However, some studies suggest that certain types of nuts may decrease testosterone levels. Despite some findings, more research is needed to determine how certain types of nuts may impact testosterone levels.Do you really want to shun the health benefits that are known about nuts for vague research that has not been found to be conclusive? I hope not.

Cleaning up your dietary habits along with vigorous exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Before you get caught up in any hype coming from a personal trainer, or internet fitness guru, be sure to do your own homework too. Sometimes, these people are trying so hard to be the best, or first to teach something new to others, they do not do their own due diligence first either.

 

(1) https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/warning-signs

(2) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

 

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Why Rapid Weight Loss Can Be Bad

One of the things we often see and hear from our clients, and on weight loss social media sites, is the  strong desire to lose weight as rapidly as possible. This desire can come by way of a multitude of reasons, but for your own good, you must approach weight loss from a healthier perspective.

While under certain unique circumstances rapid weight loss is medically necessary, it is not healthy for the average overweight individual. Yet each and every day we are bombarded with quick weight loss schemes on every form of media we might use for information and entertainment.  Promises such as these slap us upside the head every time we look at a television, go online or pick up a magazine:

Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days!

Eat as Much as You Want — and Still Lose  Weight!

Drop One Dress Size a Day!

There is an old saying that comes to mind when I see these advertisements for quick weight loss gimmicks; A fool and his money are soon parted. Yet in this case I would replace fool with the desperate and their money are soon parted. If you believe the slick advertising claims we are constantly bombarded with, rapid weight loss can be quick and easy for you. Just send them your money today and sign the damn contract while ignoring the small print that you need a magnifying glass to read. That small print that actually tells you that the results advertised are not actually typical, individual results will vary. This statement always accompanies dieting and lifestyle advertising for a reason—it’s the only thing that guarantees them truth in advertising. Let that statement sink in for just a moment if your will; It is the only thing that guarantees them truth in advertising. Please, do yourself a favor and never let desperation override your common sense when it comes to quick weight loss schemes.

While many diets and “lifestyle” change plans might lead to some weight loss, it is rarely sustainable. Yet there is an over abundance of fad diets, gimmicks, and weight loss supplements that keep promising us a more attractive and slimmer body in a very short period of time. In the U.S. alone, consumers spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products, services and programs. Yet, the obesity epidemic across the country continues to expand faster than some of our waist lines. Always bear in mind, gimmicks, supplements and crash diets will very rarely help you achieve a sustained, healthy weight and body fat percentage. These schemes are often desired by the desperate as they do not approach weight loss as a life style change. Rather, far too many want to approach their diet as something to just get through. Almost all people with this way of thinking will undoubtedly put their weight right back on once they have completed their gimmick approach to weight loss.

What Are the Risks of Rapid Weight Loss?

Rapid weight loss creates physical demands on the body. Possible serious risks include:

  • Gallstones, which occur in 12% to 25% of people losing large amounts of weight over several months
  • Dehydration, which can be avoided by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Malnutrition, usually from not eating enough protein for weeks at a time
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can be life threatening

Other less serious side effects from rapid weight loss are:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle loss

 Before laying down your hard earned cash on weight loss supplements, you need to know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications.  Whether it lives up to the manufactures claims or not is irrelevant to them.

The FDA also does not regulate claims made by over-the-counter weight loss products. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of  supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market. This means that dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed.

Aside from the very low-calorie diet and weight loss surgery, no other product, pill, or diet has been proven to work for fast weight loss. And even when they do bring rapid weight loss, the results usually vanish soon thereafter as the individual dieter almost always has the wrong mindset about actual weight management. Losing unwanted body fat requires a change of thinking that accepts the only true way to success is a permanent change of life style that revolves around personal accountability to self and healthy living.

In any legitimate weight loss program or lifestyle such as David’s Way, what really burns fat is not a pill, type of food, or gimmick. Our methodology gets back to the nutritional basics which involve a reduction of calories that meet your individual metabolic needs, combined with exercise that has first been cleared for you by your doctor. We promote weight loss and management in a holistic manner where we believe the path to successful weight management involves the mind, body and soul being in the game of achieving and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage rather than attempting to reach and hold a random number on your scale.

David’s Way

  • Get your mind wrapped around the idea of a permanent lifestyle change that focuses on a healthy body fat percentage.  You are doomed to fail if you think you can just go about this as a temporary challenge to get through. Good health needs to be a permanent focus.
  • Learn to make your world small. What this means is, make it a daily point to try to reduce your stress day each by only concentrating on issues of true importance that affect you and not the superfluous problems of others around you. Misery loves company and if you allow the crabs to pull you down, they most certainly will.
  • Live by principles of the Serenity Prayer in all endeavors. Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept that which I cannot change. The Courage to change that which I can. And the Wisdom to know the difference.
  • Exercise on a regular basis with the approval of your doctor. Exercise not only helps you to burn off body fat while increasing your strength and cardiovascular fitness. It also helps immensely with stress reduction which we all know can be a significant trigger to binge eating.
  • Figure your caloric needs for each day by visiting our Calorie Counter Pro. Simply fill in your basic information and hit calculate. This information is 100% private and cannot be seen by anyone other than whom you might share it with. We respect your privacy and comply with all HIPPA regulations to protect your privacy. We strongly recommend you choose the calories required to only lose one pound of body fat per week.
  • Be sure that you consume all your calories each day. If you go over one day and under the next, remember that what is really important is that the total caloric average at the end of the week should not exceed your daily needs. In other words, if you go over one day, this can be offset by going an equal amount under the next.
  • Quit eating and drinking refined sugar and simple carbs unless the simple carbs come with a fiber component such as fruit.
  • Quit eating processed foods that are usually heavy on added sugars, unhealthy fats, high in sodium and full of preservatives.
  • Do eat whole foods that pack plenty of nutritional value that meet all of your macro-nutrient needs of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats.
  • Do ensure you eat plenty of lean protein to ensure you are taking in all the nine essential amino acids required by your body to replace and repair all of your body’s tissues. Essential amino acids can only come from food sources and are not stored in your body. Therefore they must be replenished on a regular basis.
  • Eat 25 to 40 percent of your calories in lean protein, especially during your weight loss mode. This will help to protect you from losing lean muscle tissue along with your body fat, and will also help to keep you better satiated between meals. The rest of your caloric intake should come from complex carbohydrate foods and healthy fats such as found in fish, nuts and seeds etc.
  • Do not weigh yourself more than once a week. Your body weight fluctuates from day to day, hour by hour, simply by water retention. A focus on the overall trend of your weight and the way your clothing fits is more important than one slight increase in the number on the scale. If the trend is climbing after a month, simply reduce your daily calories by a couple hundred. One pound of body fat equals 3500 calories which is 500 per day when divided by 7 days in the week. If the monthly trend shows you are losing more than 4 pounds per month, increase your calories to where it slows to 1 pound per week on average. If the monthly trend shows you are gaining, simply reduce your calories by an appropriate amount to meet your needs.
  • If you decide to combine David’s Way with Intermittent Fasting, think about this; Intermittent Fasting, while being effective, is nothing new. It is how we used to eat back before the obesity epidemic became so bad. Once dinner was over and the dishes were cleaned and put away. the kitchen was closed until the next mornings breakfast. I recommend Intermittent Fasting for those who are on weight loss mode as it helps you to build upon your personal discipline to only eat when truly hungry, or during your time to feed. Be sure if you do “IF” to consume all of your daily calories during your feed time too.
  • Do visit our web site “Recipes” section and try our delicious and healthy recipes. We provide you with a plethora of sugar free dessert and treat recipes along with an abundance of hearty meal ideas. Going sugar free does not mean you can no longer enjoy an occasional treat.
  • Do not ever let yourself get caught up in gimmicks or paid weight loss plans that are vague in their instructions. Even some of the big name companies that have been around for years only care to string you along as a perpetual income source. At David’s Way, we will never charge you for our information that helps you live a healthier life. We charge nothing for you to access our articles and recipes. These will always be free to you. That is my pledge.
  • Do subscribe in order to get every article and recipe we publish straight to your email Again, this is also 100% free to you. Be sure to share us with your family, friends and anyone else whom you think might benefit from David’s Way.

We are here for you and can be contacted through comments or questions at the end of our articles in the Comments section. Or, you can contact us privately through our web site “Contact” menu. We promise to protect your privacy. Please bear in mind, Brenda Sue and I are certified Nutrition and Wellness consultants. We do not, nor can we make any medical diagnosis. We cannot provide any medical diet for people with a specific diagnosed health problem. For medical specific needs, please consult with your physician and follow their orders.

Holiday Heart Attack Season

At this time of year as the weather cools down and the nights get longer, the holidays begin rapidly approaching until the next thing we know, they are right upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day are supposed to be filled with love and joy with our family and friends. These days are supposed to be full of good times and cheer. A time of fellowship, a time of gift giving, a time to eat, drink and be merry. And for most of us, the holidays are exactly that. But, for anyone with heart disease—or who is at an increased risk of heart disease, the holidays instead may be a time of special risk. A joyful day may easily turn into a day of great tragedy.

Several studies have shown that during the winter holidays not only are heart problems more likely to occur but when they do, they are more likely to be fatal. The months of December and January are especially risky for people with heart disease. (1)

Imagine if you will, over the years you have been putting on weight and you have ignored your doctors admonition to lose weight simply because you feel like you are carrying it well for someone your size. You have not had any major health issues, so why worry about a little bulge at the belly, after all, you have more important things to worry about such as taking care of your family over your own needs.

It’s your life, who the hell is that doctor to tell you how to live when they are not the one paying your bills. All they need to do is shut up and give you your medicines to fix your ailments. All you wanted was medicine and not a judgmental opinion about your obesity. It’s your life, you will live it any way you see damn fit to. That is until you cannot…

Now imagine if you will, you have been working hard since sunrise, preparing  to give your family a wonderful Thanksgiving or Christmas Day meal. Your adult kids and the grandchildren have arrived a few hours ago to a warm home full of love and the aroma of a baking turkey in the oven. The smells that bring back happy memories of the past when you were a young child visiting your own grand parents. The kids are all catching up with each other in the living room while the grandchildren are running all around the house bringing joy to your heart despite the fat you are feeling a bit tired now and have a case of heartburn that you have not bee able to kill with antacids. And for some damn reason, your jaw aches too. But regardless of this, nothing is going to ruin your day.

You have worked hard all day in preparation of your family gathering. You awoke to a heavy, wet snow coming down, covering the ground in a thick, cold blanket. Once you got the turkey into the oven, you pulled on your snow boots, put on your heavy coat and shoveled the drive for your loved ones.  And the snow kept coming down, covering the drive about as fast as you could clear it. Once you finally removed the most of the snow and spread your ice melt, you return to the kitchen and finish the final meal preparation.

What a joyous day, surrounded by loved ones. The table has been set, the delicious and hearty food has all been put out and as you begin to carve the turkey with your youngest grand daughter at your side waiting in anticipation, as you slice into the turkey, you all of a sudden feel a crushing pain in your chest and everything goes black…

My friends, if this scenario ever happens to you, if you are lucky, you will be able to go home after from the hospital after a few days of tests and observations. If you are not so lucky, this may be the last day of your life.

Are your personal affairs in order?

Did you get a final chance to tell your family how much you loved them before you passed on?

Is your family going to ever live with guilt or regret that they signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order?

If you spend a few days in ICU, is your family going to go bankrupt trying to save your life? Even if you die, they could still go bankrupt…

Heart attack symptoms

  • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

Factors that contribute to heart attack.

  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Exposure to sudden and unusual levels of exertion, such as shoveling snow
  • Exposure to emotional stress, which is very common and is often fairly severe during the holidays
  • Obesity
  • Becoming sedentary over the winter months
  • Exposure to illness, especially influenza, which can produce inflammatory changes in the blood vessels
  • Over-indulging in food, alcohol and/or tobacco
  • Exposure to indoor pollution, such as cigarette smoke, or even a poorly-drafted log-burning fireplace
  • Reluctance to seek medical help during the holidays
  • Decreased exposure to light

What to expect if you have a heart attack.

For starters, always call 911 to be transported via ambulance rather than going by car. Contrary to what you might assume, speed isn’t the only rationale. “If you’re having a heart attack, there are two reasons why you want to be in an ambulance,” says Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. One is that in the unlikely event of cardiac arrest, the ambulance has the equipment and trained personnel to restart your heart. Cardiac arrest, which results from an electrical malfunction that stops the heart’s pumping ability, is fatal without prompt treatment. However, most heart attacks do not cause cardiac arrest, Dr. Kosowsky stresses. “It’s rare, but it’s certainly not a risk you want to take while you’re driving or riding in a car.” (2)

The other reason to travel via ambulance is that in many places in the United States, if a person calls 911 complaining of chest pain, the dispatcher will send paramedics who are trained to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG). This simple, painless test records your heart’s electrical activity through 12 small electrodes placed on your chest, arms, and legs. A six-second recording can then be transmitted to the receiving emergency department, which can help speed up the process of getting you the care you need.

Some people don’t experience the typical symptom of crushing chest pain during a heart attack, however, so they may hesitate to call 911. People with pain that waxes and wanes or who have subtler symptoms (such as jaw pain or shortness of breath) may show up at the emergency room on their own. Even if you do this, you’re still likely to get rapid care. The person who greets you might be a receptionist rather than a doctor or nurse, but most emergency departments follow a specific protocol for a suspected heart attack. “If you mention any symptom that sounds like it might be a heart attack, the first thing they’ll do is to get you an ECG, ideally within 10 minutes of your arrival,” says Dr. Kosowsky.

A doctor then interprets the ECG, which will reveal if you’re having a major heart attack, in which an artery feeding your heart is blocked, choking off the blood supply to part of your heart muscle. This usually creates a distinct signature on the ECG and means you’ll quickly receive treatment to open the blocked artery. (2)

But not all heart attacks show up on the first ECG. So even if it looks normal, you’re still not out of the woods, says Dr. Kosowsky. The next step is an evaluation by a doctor or other clinician, who will ask about your medical history and details about the location, duration, and intensity of your symptoms. You’ll also have a blood test to measure troponin, a protein that rises in response to heart muscle damage. This blood test is very sensitive. But keep in mind that elevated levels don’t always show up right away. That’s why doctors sometimes have people stay for several hours to get a follow-up troponin measurement.

Other possible tests include a chest x-ray to look for alternative causes of chest discomfort, such as pneumonia or heart failure. A doctor also might give you a trial of medication to see whether it relieves your symptoms, and additional ECGs may be performed over time.

Often, if several troponin tests come back normal, the doctor may want to check your risk of a future heart attack with an exercise stress test. This test can reveal how your heart responds to the demands of increased blood flow needed during exercise. During a standard exercise test, you walk on a treadmill at progressively faster speeds, while trained staff monitors your heart’s electrical activity, your heart rate, and your blood pressure.

An imaging test may also be performed to quantify the degree of blood flow to the heart. One option is an echocardiogram, a noninvasive test that involves placing an ultrasound probe on your chest to create a moving image of your beating heart. Restricted blood flow in the heart’s arteries changes the movement of the heart, which an experienced echocardiographer can detect.

Another option is a nuclear perfusion test, which entails injecting a radioactive substance called a tracer into a vein. The tracer then travels through your blood to your heart. A special camera that records the radioactive particles emitted from the tracer circles around the heart, taking images from multiple angles. A computer then combines these images to create a detailed picture of the blood flow to the heart.

In certain situations, if the source of your symptoms remains unclear, a physician might order a computed tomography angiography (CTA) scan. For this test, you receive an injection of a contrast dye into your arm or hand. The dye “lights up” in an image to reveal a three-dimensional view of your heart’s arteries, courtesy of multiple rapid-fire x-rays taken during the scan.

Sometimes, even after all the testing, doctors don’t know for certain what’s causing your chest pain. “If that’s the case, it’s still worth asking the doctor what his or her best guess is, because that will help you determine what next steps to take,” says Dr. Kosowsky. (2)

Common treatment procedures for heart attack.

  • Angioplasty: Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries.
  • Angioplasty, Laser: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a laser tip that opens the blocked artery.
  • Artificial heart valve surgery: Replaces an abnormal or diseased heart valve with a healthy one.
  • Atherectomy: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a rotating shaver on its tip to cut away plaque from the artery.
  • Bypass surgery: Treats blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
  • Cardiomyoplasty: An experimental procedure in which skeletal muscles are taken from a patient’s back or abdomen.
  • Heart transplant: Removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donated healthy human heart.
  • Minimally invasive heart surgery: An alternative to standard bypass surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart muscle to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area.
  • Stent procedure: A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR): A laser is used to drill a series of holes from the outside of the heart into the heart’s pumping chamber.

Reduce your risk of heart attack through healthy nutritional practices coupled with exercise that is approved by your doctor. Do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. You might believe that your life is yours to live as you see fit. However, never forget that someone is going to have to pick up the broken pieces behind you when your health fails or when you pass on. Taking care of your health is only the right thing to do. Doing otherwise is a selfish act that only serves to cause pain and hurt in your loved ones at a later time and place. Be well, embrace your loved ones and love them like there is no tomorrow. You never know, there may be no tomorrow for you.

(1) verywellhealth.com

(2) health.harvard,edu

Stopping Self Sabotage

It seems at this time of year which is supposed to be full of joy,  we can see self sabotage rising among those with body fat and fitness problems. Even some of us who are quite fit and lean can fall prey to overeating and lack of exercise at this festive time of year. After all, we can be constantly surrounded by well meaning family and friends who tempt us by pushing their fresh baked goods upon us at holiday social gatherings. Goodness, we just know that the holidays are just meant for that special cake that Aunt Gladys bakes once a damn year.

You know the one.

It’s that awful cake where Aunt Gladys is the only family member who has ever put in the work to recreate. She always insists it was Great Grandma’s personal recipe that was only handed down to her. Aunt Gladys is the  lone family cook who has mastered the special frosting that can only be crafted by use of a double boiler on low heat while she hums her favorite church hymn over it.  Just ask her, she will be sure to tell you all about it, and heaven forbid you refuse a huge slice…

And that is but one of many ways in which your weight loss journey can begin to unfold.

A myriad of people who have actually done quite well with their weight loss journey will all of a sudden begin rapidly losing ground with their battle of the bulge. This turn of events usually begins as early as Labor Day week end or as late as Halloween and ends in utter and complete destruction of their success by New Years Day. You can find these stories any day of the week no matter which weight loss app social media sight you might visit. Maybe this topic is one you can directly relate to.

For many reasons, this time of year can be horrible for some of us when it comes to our mental health and wellness. But no matter how compelling, you cannot allow a real or perceived reason to turn into an excuse for quitting your war against too much body fat. I can tell you that as one who suffers a major depressive disorder coupled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I can battle those evil demons that want me to simply give in and quit my healthy diet and fitness regimen. Yes, I can fight those little bastards each and every day at this time of year, the same as many others will on a daily basis. As tough as the fight may get I will not waver or give in for any reason, as I know and fully understand,  the effects of an unhealthy diet will certainly overlap with the effects of chronic stress that are known to play a hand in causing depression. It is known that people who are more prone to binge eat are also more prone to depression. At this time of year, depressive people who overeat compulsively will eat more than they need to while never quite feeling satisfied. This is especially true when eating for emotional relief, as opposed to eating because they’re hungry.

To help with depression and overeating, you can also make a few lifestyle changes. Please ensure your therapist or doctor goes over these with you. They include:

  • Reducing stress: Stress can trigger overeating and depression, so it can make both conditions worse. Learn to make your world small. Only concern yourself with what you truly need to worry about and let the other stuff simply go. Turn off the 24/7 news channel which only serves to tell you bad news all day every day, and learn to do something positive with the time you might have spent worrying and stewing over what is happening Capital Hill. Learn the Serenity Prayer and live by it, even if you do not believe in God. Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept that which I cannot change. rant me the Courage to change that which I can, And give me the Wisdom to know the difference.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercising can and will help you feel better about your body, reduce stress, and help alleviate depression. Vigorous exercise will essentially give your brain a reset when you need it as it is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Moderate intensity exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
  • Keep disciplined. If you have set days and time dedicated for your exercise, then by all means stick by them. If you track your food intake for calories and macro-nutrients, then continue doing so even if you have gone off the rails a little bit at a holiday family function. It is imperative that you remain accountable to yourself during the holidays. By tracking what you eat, you will know how much you might need to adjust your nutrition over the next few days in order to mitigate the effects of that damn cake Aunt Gladys insists you eat. When you do not track what you consume, it becomes easy to underestimate just how many calories you have had for the day by 1000 or better. If you do get off track for a day, then make sure that beginning first thing the next morning you get back to normalcy. The longer you put it off, the worse it is going to be for you.
  • Avoid temptation: If you know that you’re prone to binging after a long day, don’t keep any bad-for-you foods lying around. By making them less accessible, you can reduce overeating and focus on other coping and stress management techniques. Always be prepared! By having a plan you can make smart eating choices in every situation that life throws at you. When you’re offered a food that’s not on your diet, the best response is a firm “no, thank you” without any explanation.Weak excuses open the door for unwanted arguments.

 By knowing your temptations you can prepare a strategy that will help you enjoy the holiday season in a healthy manner without feeling guilty nor fat on New Years Day.

Fitness Quiz

Can you pass this fitness quiz?

Find out how much you really know about exercise. Some of the answers may surprise you.

  1. There is no such thing as an under active metabolism.                                                                      True___  False___
  2. Exercise is  not of much use for dieters because it burns relatively few calories.                  True___  False___
  3. Exercise can help prevent the body from losing muscle.                                                                True___  False___
  4. Walking one mile burns nearly the same calories as running one mile.                                   True___  False___
  5. Expensive exercise suits are worth the money because the special materials help the body. True___  False___
  6. Climbing stairs requires more energy  per minute than traditional exercises such as swimming and jogging.                                                                                                                                                        True___   False___
  7. Your resting pulse rate will increase as you lose weight and get in better condition.          True___  False___
  8. To get a cardiovascular training effect, an exerciser must achieve the right combination of frequency, intensity, and duration of activity.                                                                                        True___  False___
  9. No exercise can help you lose fat in specific body parts.                                                                      True___  False___
  10. Jogging and cycling are good forms of exercise for people who are trying to lose weight. True___  False___
  11. Using stairs is a convenient and accessible way for many people to increase activity.      True___  False___
  12. American adults are more physically active than they were 200 years ago.                            True___  False___
  13. You should not exercise if you feel hungry because exercise will increase your appetite. True___  False___
  14. When you go on a diet, your body loses fat but not muscle tissue.                                            True___  False___
  15. Small, incremental and consistent exercise can provide great benefits for the dieter.      True___  False___

Answers

  1. False.Even if you have a slow metabolic rate, exercise will promote weight loss for you. In fact, if you incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen, your metabolism will increase as you build lean muscle mass. At a minimum, strength training will help you retain the lean muscle mass you already have which will mitigate your metabolism becoming even more underactive.
  2. False. The cumulative effect of exercise can increase caloric expenditure by several hundred calories per day. One word of caution though.; a mistake made by many is they will underestimate the number of calories they might consume in a day while greatly over rating the number of calories they burn through their exercise. Be accurate in all of your tracking.
  3. True. Exercise maximizes the loss of fat and can help prevent the loss of lean muscle tissue, especially when strength training has been incorporated.
  4. True. How far you go is more important than how fast you go. While this is true, know that your body is going to derive more benefit from getting your heart rate into the aerobic fat burning zone for a mile over the benefit from not doing so. Even if you do not jog or run, do yourself a favor and walk at a brisk enough pace in order to raise your heart rate. This will give a far superior cardiovascular workout that will help immensely in lowering your blood pressure while increasing your lung volume.
  5. False. Rubberized sweat suits and other gimmicks do not provide any benefit and can be dangerous by causing your body to over heat Leave these things alone and dress comfortably. At best, these sweat suits and other gimmicks only cause you to lose water weight which you will immediately put back on once you drink a glass or two of water.
  6. True. You can accumulate significant caloric expenditure over the course of a day if you often use the stairs. Just do not trick yourself into thinking that a few flights of stairs that only took you a couple minutes at best are actually going to give you more physical benefit swimming or jogging for longer duration and distance.
  7. False. Your resting pulse rate will come down as you become more physically fit. This is a sign that your heart has become stronger and can pump more blood with each beat.
  8. True. However, you should not worry about achieving a specific dose of exercise. Focus on increasing your activity level.
  9. True. Increasing caloric expenditure can help reduce body fat in general, but you cannot control the areas where body fat will be lost. There is no such thing as being able to spot reduce body fat. You will first notice reductions in body fat where the accumulations are in the least amount, yet the rate of reduction will be the same throughout your entire body.
  10. True. Both burn a lot of calories quickly, improve overall fitness and make you feel good.
  11. True. Most people have access to stairs, so it’s easy to climb several flights per day. If you do not have stairs, you can always purchase exercise steps relatively cheaply.
  12. False. Motorized transportation and countless labor-saving devices have greatly reduced physical activity on the job and during leisure time.
  13. False. If anything, exercise will temporarily blunt your appetite, although in the long run, more exercise will require more calories. However, exercise seems to help regulate caloric intake to appropriate levels.
  14. False. Caloric restriction causes significant loos of muscle tissue. Weight loss by exercise or by a combination of exercise and diet tends to come mainly from fat stores.
  15. True. Strive to accumulate several activities during the course of each day.

Obese Children, What You Need to Know

I hate the fact childhood obesity is even a topic one could dream up for discussion. But in today’s world it is an issue that is growing from year to year. It is a sad fact that the problem has grown enough that weight loss/bariatric surgery is now a procedure being performed on pediatric and adolescent patients. In fact, as I was sipping on my first cup of coffee for the morning while watching the morning news, this was the first topic being discussed after I turned on my television.

How is it that in the United States where we have all the luxuries and technologies to allow us to live full lives with good health, why are we so ignorant as to allow such a childhood obesity problem to even occur in the first place? Can any of  us who are adults say with any hint of honesty that we do not know what causes this problem? Have we become so self absorbed that watching after the health of our own children is not even a priority any more? If you have an over weight or obese child in your home, ask yourself who actually controls the food for your child. Do you only provide them with healthy choices while educating them why? Or, do you give in to Little Johnny every time he throws a temper tantrum for sugary sweet treats instead?

Obesity has not always been the norm.

When I was a child, most kids were skinny as a rail and very active in outdoor play. In the last four decades, the prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased by at least threefold, with a disproportionate rise in low socioeconomic and minority populations. A factor which is making this trend worse is the significant increase in weight related medical complications that used to only be seen in adults.

Let this sink in a second.

Our children are now facing weight related medical complications that used to only be seen in adults!

In 2000, the overall cost of obesity in America was estimated at $117 billion, rivaling medical expenditures attributable to smoking. Expenses for obesity-related hospitalizations in children tripled from $35 million to $127 million from 1979 to 1999. (1) The problem of childhood obesity keeps getting larger with each passing year. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults at risk for increased morbidity and mortality. If your child is becoming or is already overweight or obese you should feel an urgency to get them onto an effective weight loss intervention. Otherwise, that child you love is in for a whole host of lifetime problems:

  • Psychological. Overweight children face discrimination, teasing, bullying, low self esteem, peer rejection and abnormal eating habits. These negative factors increase their risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, accelerated growth and early maturation which is common in overweight children distorts societal expectations out of them. For example, a 12 year old who can pass for 16 will face increased pressures as people will expect more out of them by assuming they are older.
  • Being overweight during adolescence has been associated with negative social and economic consequences, especially for women. Statistically speaking, women who were overweight in early adolescence completed fewer years of advanced education, had a lower family income, higher poverty rate, and were less likely to get married by early adulthood, compared to women who had not been obese during adolescence. (1)
  • Obesity is associated with serious health consequences such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea cancer and osteoarthritis. You might not think there is much risk for your sensitive little girl who suffers from obesity, but you need to know that autopsy studies of overweight children and young adults who died of traumatic causes show early atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta and coronary arteries. Think about this deeply before the next time you give in to your child’s demands for a sweet treat. You may well be causing their early death by not intervening on their behalf when they are over weight. Be their parent, not their friend!
  • Childhood obesity is associated with early puberty. How about we ensure our children do not prematurely grow into adult body’s they do not have the maturity to deal with when it comes to sexual arousal.
  • Overweight children are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, abnormalities in endothelial function and glucose metabolism, along with high insulin levels and/or insulin resistance. These factors increase the likelihood of your precious child developing coronary heart disease! In a study, 61% of obese children, ages 5 though 10 years already had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Think about this when you are allowing your child to be sedentary all day, every day, sitting with an electronic device playing video games instead of going outside to romp and play as children are meant to do.
  • Once consider and adult disease, type 2 diabetes is emerging as an epedemic among children, paralleling trends in obesity. In 2000, it was estimated that one in three children born would eventually develop type 2 diabetes. Here we are now in 2019, and the childhood obesity rate has risen significantly as well has the incidents of children developing type 2 diabetes.
  • As far back as the early 1980’s, liver damage similar to that found in alcoholics, but without exposure to alcohol, was reported almost exclusively in overweight children. Fatty liver, or Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is now thought to be the most common cause of liver disease in children, and some researchers link it to metabolic syndrome of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus. Approximately 10 to 25 percent of overweight children have elevated liver enzymes, and a majority may have evidence of NASH on ultrasound or CT scans. While some kids with NASH present with an enlarged liver or right abdominal pain, the vast majority show no symptoms. Think about this, your child could have grave health problems beginning and since they are not showing any symptoms, you will not know until they have progressed to a more serious stage.

As parents, we owe it to our children to raise them with proper nutrition and to get them into physical activities that keep them in good physical condition. It is easier to do so before the problem arises than afterwards. Consider this, obesity interventions, even for children, can be dietary, physical activity, behavioral, pharmacologic, and surgical. Or, any combination of these factors. I can think of no one who would want to put their child through these interventions, especially pharmacological and surgical. I personally could never want my child or grandchildren to require undergoing surgery for a condition that could have been addressed at an early stage, if it was even allowed to occur in the first place. You know, bariatric surgery for a child would be a last ditch effort to save their young life when all else has failed and they are going to die you as a result of morbid obesity.

Take care of this problem early in their young lives. It has been shown that early interventions with children has resulted in long term results than adult obesity programs, Decrease your child’s sedentary times, increase their physical activity and ensure the entire family has adopted healthy dietary habits before you have allowed them to suffer the consequences of obesity. You would not want your child to ruin their health through tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Please do not allow them to ruin their life through bad a calorie dense, nutritionally poor diet.

(1) Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence, Ihuoma Eneli, Karah Daniels Mantinan

Dealing With My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As many of you might already know, I am a retired military veteran with service spread between two separate branches. I began my military career September 1981 in the US Navy which I was separated from in 1997 during force reductions. Skip ahead to 2008, and I re-enlisted into the Kansas Army Reserve National Guard which I retired from October 2010 after suffering a bad spinal injury on my civilian job.

As a result of too many highly stressful years and events during my military career, I was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which I will only refer to going forward as PTS while intentionally leaving off the “disorder”. I do not feel I have a disorder with my PTS as what has happened in my brain is actually a natural reaction when one has been overwhelmed with stressful situations.

What is Post Traumatic Stress?

From National Center for PTSD

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your trauma — even things you used to enjoy.

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

From Mayo Clinic:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

When to see a doctor

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you know someone who’s in danger of attempting suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person to keep him or her safe. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

In America, we have a national tragedy which has been unfolding for several years now. This tragedy is an average of 22 veterans per day are ending their own lives through suicide as a direct result of Post Traumatic Stress. I’m not going to get into all the details of all that has transpired for mine to occur, but still want to relate a portion of my experience.

In 1996, during my fourth tour of duty in the Navy, I was experiencing symptoms of PTS, although I had never heard this term used before. I knew I needed some help and reached out despite the fact it was taboo in the military to do so. Learning to embrace the suck, and drive on was the mentality, and heaven forbid you display any types of weakness.  I did begin receiving therapy, and lost my military career about a half a year later. After all, what kind of strong military leader ever needs to see a shrink. Right?

As with many veterans, I suffered in silence. I suffered in silence because I was first and foremost, embarrassed for my weakness,  secondly because I still had a family to support. Life goes on despite our personal issues. It’s not like it’s a merry go round we can just step off of when we tire of the ride.  And lastly, there was little actual available help from the Veterans Administration for Post Traumatic Stress until just a few years ago.

When you have family responsibilities, sometimes you feel you have to put aside your own problems in order to best take care of your loved ones. Getting help gets even tougher when you are viewed as a pillar of strength, the one who others go to for help. You try to put the PTS behind you, but then you always feel as if you are about to burst apart at the seams. Like a simmering pot of water about to boil over.

And despite the low simmering boil, you just do your best to mask it, to keep it contained and hidden from your family and friends. Pressure cookers at least have a vented lid to control the pressure, I’m no pressure cooker.

Who was the weak one?

My PTS has resulted in over 20 years of chronic insomnia and scary dreams. It has resulted in a mind that never shuts down, a mind that is always in deep thought. My mind often wakes me up in the middle of the night in deep thoughts over serious topics. This low simmering boil makes it difficult to deal with individuals who do not have a similar life experience. This low simmering boil makes it easier to say “fuck it” in the work place. After my life experience, who needs lame bullshit out of a boss. Who wants to work around a bunch of weak ass pussies when you are used to working and living with the toughest of the tough. I have had more jobs over the last 22 years than I am proud to admit. I am the one who had a problem, not my bosses or co-workers. I am the one who was not reacting in the best manner to what I perceived as weak foolishness. I had to accept that it is up to me in how I manage to deal with the world around me.

Back around 2000, give or take a year or so, I went to the VA for help. I had no clue as to where to begin so I filed a claim for benefits. As when I was on active duty, stepping out and asking for help was a huge deal for me. I went to the American Legion office at the Leavenworth VA and was treated really nice by the Legion folks managing this office. They were glad to help me file a claim since I had a previous diagnosed condition of major depressive disorder diagnosed before my separation from the Navy.

A few months went by and I finally received an envelope in the mail from the Veterans Administration. They had denied my claim. They said my case was resolved and was closed. It was also implied that my  major depressive disorder was actually nothing more than me being angry at my last command leadership. What a crock of bullshit, but I saw no hope in trying to fight the entrenched bureaucracy. I got on with life, but the insomnia and bad dreams never eased. The low boil irritations never settled. I never learned to quit seeing everything in black and white while never allowing any gray areas into my world. I never learned how to turn the military off in my mind. After all, while we are serving, we are trained to be the best in our jobs, but, we are never trained in how to come back home to normalcy. Our normalcy in the military is not so normal in the civilian world, and this makes adjustments tough. The toughness is made even greater when we no longer have our military brothers and sisters to lean on for support. Often, when veterans leave military service, we might lose our identity. My identity was that of an Aviation Ordnanceman. Once out in the civilian world, some cannot even spell Aviation Ordnanceman, much less give a damn what the hell one is. No one cares about the tremendous amounts of responsibility that begins riding on the shoulders of a young service member, that keeps building over the years until their retirement. Once you are out, you are just another number, another cog in the gears of life. Your military experience and exploits sound like nothing more than tall tails to those who have never experienced the same, so you learn to just be silent about a good amount of your past experiences. What was an important part of the shaping of your life means little to nothing to a lot of folks we veterans encounter once our careers are over.

Help is available at the VA now!

There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist.

Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most effective treatment for PTSD. There are different types of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. Changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE) where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. This will help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. You also go to places or do things that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they remind you of the trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.

Actions you can take for yourself in addition to seeking help.

I only returned to using the VA last spring after suffering a kidney stone. Up to that point, I viewed the VA as a huge bureaucracy that was failing veterans daily. Therefore, over the course of several years, I learned to create some of my own coping mechanisms for Post Traumatic Stress which I believe are helpful, but not a replacement for professional care by a doctor. Please, do not attempt to go it alone when dealing with this issue. Twenty two veterans per day lose this fight when they take their own lives to escape it.

  • Learn to make your world small as best as possible. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in issues beyond your control, or that have no direct impact on your life.
  • Even if you do not believe in God, learn to live by the principles of the Serenity Prayer. Lord, grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change. The courage to change that which I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Practice good nutritional habits. The foods we consume can and will have a direct impact on our health and how we feel each and every day. It is easier to have a better outlook on life when you actually feel healthy instead of suffering from preventable ailments as a result of poor nutritional habits.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. When your body is at its strongest and healthiest, you will feel better about life. Your self esteem is increased as well as your levels of confidence in taking on new challenges. regular exercise has a number of benefits. It can contribute to many positive physical health outcomes, such as improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and greater flexibility and mobility. In addition to these physical health outcomes, regular exercise can also have a positive impact on your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression.

We can all help prevent suicide, but many people don’t know how to support the Veteran or Service member in their life who is going through a difficult time. A simple act of kindness can help someone feel less alone. If you are a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and are feeling suicidal, please reach out for help.

God bless and thank you for reading.

 

The Downside to Keto

As I was typing the title to this piece I was nervously watching out my front window to see if I had anything oncoming which I would quickly need to duck from, as I was pretty sure there existed a possibility of a firestorm of criticism coming my way from the true Keto believers. If you already have your panties in a twist over the topic, hold your fire until you have at least read this article in it’s entirety. First, for those who may not know, I will address what Keto is:

From Healthline.com

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.

What’s more, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Keto for a short duration to lose weight, it is actually a fairly healthy method to drop weight easily. However, I do not recommend it for either the short or long term unless there is a medical reason behind needing to resort to Keto. However, keep in mind that while there are many health benefits being attributed to a Keto diet, many of the studies are also far from conclusive at this point. This is a red flag for me as Keto has been around in one form or another for several years now. Long enough that all the studies should be conclusive by now. Take some of the health benefits with a grain of salt if you will…

Your weight loss with Keto is still a matter of caloric restriction.

The thing about a ketogenic diet is if you tell people to eat as much as they want, they might tend to eat slightly less than they would otherwise. It is only natural that you will eat less if you’re consuming foods that satiate you easier. You will have more fullness from vegetables, satiety from protein, feel fuller for longer from the fat. In a nutshell, it means that you will eat less food and therefore fewer calories than you were before. Your body will dip into your fat stores because you are restricting your caloric intake. Therefore you will lose weight. That is until you plateau.

How do I plateau on Keto?

No matter your nutritional habits, your weight loss or weight gain is always going to fall back on how many calories you have consumed verses the total amount of calories you have expended. If the equation is out of balance, you will either gain or lose weight, depending on which side of the equation is greater. You may not notice any significant weight change on a daily basis, but you will if you allow the equation to remain unbalanced over a period of a week or more. The weight you will gain is stored primarily as fat even if you are on Keto

Our body’s need healthy fats in order to get full benefit from other nutrients we consume each day. However, fats are calorie dense at 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram with protein and carbohydrates. Besides the obvious that eating too much fat can place you over your caloric needs based on your basal metabolic rate, consuming too much can increase your risk for a number of health threats.  It is not rocket science to understand that a diet rich in saturated fat (fatty cuts of meat and dairy foods) can raise the levels of cholesterol  in your blood. That increases the risk for heart disease.

Keto prioritizes fat over protein, with carbs being kept to under 50g per day.

But David’s Way advocates high protein too, right?

Yes, I advocate a diet higher in protein while on weight loss mode because it keeps you satiated longer when combined with fats than carbohydrates will. That being said, if you consume excess protein beyond what your body requires for your activity level, the surplus of amino acids is excreted with your body’s waste products. Even with high protein you will can gain body fat over time when you consume too many calories.

Weight management is dependent on calories consumed verses calories expended when you begin a diet of any kind, including Keto. For example, lets say a fairly sedentary 40 year old, 5′ 2″ 300 pound woman begins Keto. No matter what, her body will require 1881 calories per day in order to lose 1 pound of body fat per week. She will do this easily on Keto as she is likely to be satiated before reaching those 1881 calories with filling foods that keep her full. Once this woman has reached 200 pounds her basal metabolic rate to maintain her weight at 200 is going to require  1837 calories per day which means that no matter the diet, she is going to plateau and gain weight slowly again.

She could eat 1837 calories a day in bacon, be fully within how most interpret Keto, and not lose any more weight!

Keto is unnecessarily too restrictive.

Here is a list of foods that get eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
  • Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
  • Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
  • Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
  • Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.

While I do agree with a good many foods on the list above, some of this is just plain ridiculous:

  • Fruit has too many good nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber for you to entirely exclude them from your diet. While they are a simple carbohydrate, they will not impact your blood sugar and insulin levels because of their fiber component. If you want to eat an apple or orange each day, then by all means do so.
  • Beans, legumes, root vegetables and tubers are also too good of a source of nutrients, fiber and protein to exclude them from your diet.

Guess what? You can and should eat these foods as a part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Your body needs carbohydrates as they are the most efficient source of fuel your body can consume. At David’s Way, we advocate eating complex carb foods while excluding simple carbs unless they are in the form of fruit which have fiber to regulate how the sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream.

What happens when I quit Keto?

First, when you begin Keto or any diet, you will very rapidly lose about 10 pounds of water weight in approximately your first week or two. After that, your weight loss will settle down.  Again, this rapid weight loss is going to happen no matter what type of diet plan you attempt which reduce your caloric intake.

We learn in junior high school biology that we’re full of water. Nearly as much as 70% of our bodies may be comprised of water. When we refer to “water weight”, specifically in the context of nutrition and physical fitness, we are talking about water stored in the cells of our body’s, which is joined to glycogen.

Glycogen is – more or less – a stored form of glucose which your body holds in your liver and muscle cells for when it needs a quick fuel source. Each glycogen molecule is made up of a protein core, surrounded by glucose sub-units. Each gram of glycogen stored in your body is bound to 3 or 4 grams of water.

Glycogen is what instigates sudden bouts of weight loss and weight gain during a diet. The reason you can lose 10 or more pounds of weight in the first week of a diet – especially a low carb one – is because you’re burning through your body’s glycogen stores and not replenishing them.

The reason why you can seem to gain a bunch of weight from one pasta and pizza binge is largely because you have “carbed up” and filled your body’s glycogen reserves. And here in lies a problem. Many, if not most people who begin Keto do not understand their weight loss and or maintenance is  still dependent on calories consumed verses calories expended. Once an individual reaches the point where their weight plateaus, they will often get frustrated and return to their old eating habits and subsequently regain all of their lost weight with a swiftness. You are far better off to learn to maintain well balanced nutritional habits over restricting yourself too far which Keto does for a good many people. We advocate dietary habits that are sustainable for life, not something temporary in nature only. We advocate a diet where protein, complex carbs and healthy fats are consumed in a balance that is right for your needs. We encourage protein as a priority simply because it is the macro-nutrient that repairs and builds upon our cellular structure. Protein keeps us satiated more so than carbohydrate foods which makes it easier to maintain a diet that does not exceed your daily caloric needs. Face it, steak and eggs is always going to keep you full and satisfied much longer than fruits and vegetables. But remember, that unlike Keto, we actually want you to eat your fruit, beans and vegetables, to include those baked potatoes that so many often unnecessarily believe they need to shun when dieting. In fact, if I have met my protein needs as a strength trainer, I will often have a baked potato drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with chili lime for a main course and still keep my body fat at 9 percent. If you are a strength trainer or endurance athlete, I recommend a good cup of oatmeal to fuel your activity as well. Keto does not allow for this amount of carbs, and for most, this kind of restriction is not sustainable for life, nor does it even make sense.

Do yourself a favor and make intelligent nutritional decisions. At David’s Way, we recommend a well balanced diet that only excludes refined sugar, simple carbs that have no fiber component, and most processed foods such as oven ready meals as an example. Our way is not a gimmick like some are, nor is our methodology something temporary in nature. David’s Way is a lifestyle of healthy nutrition and physical fitness.

We encourage you to be accountable to yourself and track all that you consume to both ensure you do not eat too many calories for your basal metabolic rate needs, nor to eat too few calories.

We want you to still enjoy foods, therefore under our recipes section, we provide numerous healthy recipes that include delicious sugar free cakes, cookies and pies. If you cannot find a particular recipe, let us know and we will either create or find what you are looking for that also falls within the parameters of healthy eating that we promote.

 

 

Sugar Free Pecan Snowball Cookies

Another excellent recipe my good friend Wendy shared with me for you guys to enjoy over the holidays.

With a little planning and discipline, there is no good reason what so ever to gain weight simply because the holiday season is upon us. There are far too many healthy recipes, we have a great many here at David’s Way. Try some of our recipes with your family instead of letting yourself be tempted by sugary foods that will cause you to pack on weight. You might just find an unhealthy family member or friend turning their life around once they realize the can still enjoy many foods while losing weight. And, the best part is our recipes will never lead to “hangry” cravings for more as they are all sugar free and diabetic friendly.

Serves: 24

Calories: 112 per cookie

Carbs: 2g

Fat: 11g

Protein: 1g

Fiber: 1g

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp Ghee, or butter
  • ! 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Confectioners
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • extra Swerve Confectioners to roll balls in

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until batter forms a ball. Pulse if needed.
  3. Taste batter, adjust sweetener if needed.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Use a cookie scoop and make 24 mounds.
  6. Roll each mound in the palm of your hand.
  7. Place in freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Place into oven after removing from freezer, for 15 minutes or until golden around the edges.
  9. Allow to cool slightly. Once able to handle, roll each in some confectioners sweetener.
  10. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

 

Peaceful Inspiration from Nature

My personal favorite physical fitness activity is strength training, while my second favorite, by a fairly narrow margin, is getting out into the great outdoors on a good hike on dirt trails that meander through out our local woodlands here in north eastern Kansas and north western Missouri. Today, on an off day from weight training, I got in a most excellent hike of a little over seven miles on some really great trails at Weston Bend Park in Missouri, about 25 miles north of Kansas City.

This particular trail head begins at a prepared asphalt trail and then meanders through a wooded ravine and then gradually takes you upwards to the top of a high ridge that overlooks the Missouri River Valley and the river itself. This time of year is a beautiful time to hike there as the leaves on the trees are beginning to change to their fall colors before dropping to the ground for the winter months. The falling leaves will lay on the ground and rot before being absorbed into the soil as nutrients for next springs new growth. Much in the same manner as how our own body’s absorb nutrients for growth and cellular repairs when we are at rest.

Getting out on the trail is a relaxing method of vigorous exercise for myself. It is vigorous, as I make it a point to hike at a rate that keeps my heart rate within the aerobic fat burning zone for my body over the entire course of my outing. Yet as my heart rate comes up, I can only feel relaxed in mind, body and soul as my eyes take in the beautiful surrounding sights while my ears pick up on the subtle sounds of nature living all around me. I am but a small microcosm of all the life around me despite the fact I only encountered a couple other hikers out on the trail this morning. Surrounded by life, yet alone where I can bring upon an inner peace to settle my post traumatic stress.

Looking out, over the Mighty Missouri River from atop the ridge.

The hills and ridges in this part of America were cut by glaciers during the last ice age. I look upon these two humongous slabs of stone and wonder if they were one piece many centuries or thousands of years ago. Maybe this huge rock was split by the awe inspiring force of nature when water found it’s way into a small crack, and with each cycle of freezing, the rock split more and more until it was separated enough for a seedling to become a sapling, which eventually grew into a mature tree in the center of these massive stones.

When out hiking in the woods, my mind is freed which allows me to find inspiration to write just about anywhere about anything. You might find it odd, but the inspiration which came from this split rock was the thoughts of how just like water seeping into a small crack, and eventually breaking the rock apart, we do the same thing within our body’s when we eat a diet that is calorie dense and nutritionally poor. Too many simple carbohydrates with cookies, cupcakes and other junk foods cause our pancreas to release floods of insulin as a result of high blood sugar.

The rocks, with their cracks remind me of our cellular structure, which opens up to the entry of blood sugar when signaled by our insulin. Over time, with centuries of thawing and freezing cycles, the rock become fractured until it finally breaks apart. In the same manner, when our blood sugar remains high for too long, and our body’s begin suffering ill effects such as damage to your nerves, blood vessels and internal organs. It can also cause:

  • vaginal and skin infections
  • slow healing cuts and sores
  • loss of vision
  • nerve damage
  • and erectile dysfunction

Whether you realize it or not, our body is just another element of the nature which surrounds us, It is a shame, a sad reality that far too many people never give the health of their own glorious body the same care as they might give to plant or animal life out in the nature.

Some people shake their heads in disbelief when I speak of going out and hiking anywhere from 5 to 10 miles or better, or when I talk about dedicating no less than four days a week to strength train for two hours at a time. Some assume that to follow my way of living, they might have to go to the same physical extremes as myself in order to get the same results.

You do not have to go to my extremes to get fit and healthy, There is no one size fits all exercise regimen. However, you do need to be active at a level that is appropriate for your level of fitness and capabilities. Your activity needs to match your needs and preferences.

You need to know, that while you can lose body fat and be healthy without exercise, you are only selling yourself short in your efforts. Regular activity reduces both insulin levels and insulin resistance. Regular physical fitness activities can and will help with lowering high blood pressure, improve your total blood fat level, elevate your good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). Exercise on a consistent basis will lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, while decreasing your body fat and your risk of insulin related heart disease such as Coronary Artery and Coronary Heart Diseases.

Exercise does not, nor should it ever be a chore to suffer through. You should select an activity that is fun and easy to fit into your busy schedule. Instead of going all out hardcore like, you need to start slow and easy and increase your intensity over time in order to not burn out before you have derived any benefit from your activity.

Consistency is going to be key to your success with any physical fitness activity/program. Again, you will need to select an activity that is fun for you and easy to fit into your schedule in order to make being consistent easier on yourself. You do not require a daily commitment in order to be consistent. You can pick 3 to 5 days a week to exercise and use your off days as time for rest and recovery. These two elements, along with nutrition are as important as the physical activity itself.

By giving yourself a break a few days per week away from exercise, you will be more inclined to stick with it as it is not an every day chore. By taking a few days off you will always be able to attack a new exercise session with a fully rested body which will give you the best results, more bang for your buck if you will.

Again, find an activity that you will enjoy. Never force yourself to do something you really do not want to do as you will come to resent it. By all means, while you need to push yourself to always excel at your activity, never push yourself past your level of endurance as you are likely to come to hate what you are doing. This is not helpful in helping you to achieve your goals.

My advice is to please try to be loving, understanding, firm and compassionate with yourself. In the end, it makes good heart sense on all levels.

Active minds and active bodies never grow old. – Lee Salk