Dr. Laura: PSA Rising? Read This.

Recent research and clinical evidence shows we can slow the doubling time of PSA and reduce the risks of prostate cancer.

What’s so Important About PSA?

The role of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the prostate gland is not clear. In addition to a digital rectal exam, the level of PSA is used to screen and monitor risk of prostate cancer.

Overall the PSA specific activity within the prostate gland is relatively low. However, when the amount of this enzyme starts to rise, the activity is significant.

PSA can break apart the Galactin 3 molecule. So, the more the PSA, the more Gal -3 cleaved, the more tumour activity of Gal-3 that occurs.

Experimental data available today demonstrate an association between galectin-3 (Gal-3) levels and numerous pathological conditions such as heart failure, infection with microorganisms, diabetes, and tumour progression- including that of prostate cancer.

  • The cancer-free control patients have lower levels of galectin-3 in the serum.
  • Serum galectin-3 concentrations were uniformly higher in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

A large and fast-growing body of clinical research shows that controlling Gal-3 is an essential strategy for long-term health. Gal-3 is an active biomarker that impacts organ function, normal cell replication, immunity, joint mobility and more.

According to the research, Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is the only available solution that can successfully block the effects of elevated Gal-3 throughout the body. By providing a safe and effective Gal-3 blockade, MCP is shown to safeguard and support the health of numerous organs and systems. This is the reason independent researchers and health professionals are increasingly interested in this nutritional supplement.

MCP appears to pretend it is Galactin -3 for the Galectin-3 receptor sites, keeping the real Galactin -3 from activating the receptor. In effect it keeps the tumour cells from building up and growing. This is reflected in the slow rate of rise of the PSA marker, and a reduced risk of tumour development.

References available upon request.

From the research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Phil Shares: 7 Common Low-Carb Diet Mistakes

7 Common Low-Carb Diet Mistakes

 

There’s an equal amount of confusion and hype surrounding a low-carb diet.

Research shows low-carb diets can be an effective way to shed pounds — although not necessarily superior to weight-reduction results achieved by other diets, such as a low-fat or reduced-calorie diets.

But a low-carb diet plan isn’t as straightforward as the name might have you believe.

“A low-carbohydrate diet can have a wide, unclear definition,” says Holly Klamer, M.S., R.D., “but in general terms, it means following a diet that has less than 45–65 percent of [total daily] calories from carbohydrates.”

(For reference, the recommended carbohydrate range for adults, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is 45–65 percent of total daily calories.)

Some low-carb diets, like the modern Atkins diet, for example, limits trans fat and sugar in addition to carbs, while a ketogenic diet drastically reduces carbs and replaces them with fats.

In general, however, most low-carb diets focus on limiting refined grains and starches (like white bread, pasta, and potatoes) in favor of lean protein, whole grains, non-starchy veggies, and low-glycemic fruits.

But with so much varying information out there, it can be easy to misinterpret a low-carb diet or to implement its principles in an extreme or unsustainable way.

The intention behind the diet — to reduce the amount of unhealthy carbs you consume on a regular basis — isn’t inherently a bad idea, but you need to be smart about how you execute it. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid.

low carb diet, lose weight, weight loss

7 Common Low-Carb Diet Mistakes

1. Ignoring the nutritional value of carbs

Carbs aren’t the enemy. There are plenty of nutritious and super yummy carbohydrates you can and should be eating in moderation. Think: fruit, whole grainsbeans, and vegetables, to name a few.

These foods provide our bodies with the natural, sustained energy we need to function and stay active. “A carbohydrate-dense fruit such as a banana can give you the fuel you need to increase the intensity of your workout; [you might] burn more calories [as a result],” says Klamer.

High-quality carbs are also chockful of vital nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Klamer says reducing your carbohydrate intake to super low levels puts you at risk for deficiencies in these areas.

low carb diet, weight loss,lose weight

2. Eating too much unhealthy fat

Eating low-carb isn’t an excuse to go nuts on beef, pork, eggs, butter, cheese, and other foods with high trans or saturated fat content.

Eating a diet high in trans fat isn’t heart-healthy, says Sharon George, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. Consuming high levels of trans fat may cause your liver to produce more LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.

According to the American Heart Association, too much “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and not enough “good” cholesterol (HDL) may put you at risk for certain types of disease.

In fact, one study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a low-carb diet high in animal protein (dairy and meat) was associated with higher all-cause mortality, while a low-carb diet high in plant protein (veggies, tofu, lentils, etc.) and lower in trans fat was associated with lower all-cause mortality rates.

Monitoring saturated fat intake is also an approach to maintaining good cardiovascular health. One review of research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the issue of what to replace saturated fat with in the diet.

Researchers found that substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats and limiting consumption of refined carbohydrates may be beneficial for overall health.

The overall takeaway: Cut back on trans and saturated fat consumption, while also reducing refined carbs (think: white bread, pasta, rice, sugary pastries, cookies, etc.).

Instead, eat healthy fats, such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Great sources of these types of fats include salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados, seeds, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil.

low carb diet, diet mistakes, lose weight, weight loss diet

3. Misunderstanding portion sizes

If you don’t have a basic idea of portion sizes — say, what a single portion of brown rice or steel-cut oats actually looks like — you’re likely to either over- or underestimate how much food you need.

Understanding portion sizes can help prevent overeating while also ensuring you consume enough nutrients to fuel your body properly.

(Pro tip: For a crash course in proper portion sizes, Portion Fix’s color-coded containers make it super easy to meal plan and lose weight.)

Denis Faye, M.S. and Beachbody’s executive director of nutrition, says the Portion Fix plan advocates for a healthy balance of macronutrients: 30 percent of your total daily calories from protein, 30 percent from healthy fats, and 40 percent from carbs — the majority of which should be unprocessed and unrefined.

“By going with 40 percent carbs, we’re able to make the majority of carbs [in the plan] produce-based without crushing people [who are] new to healthy eating under a kale, broccoli, and mixed-berry avalanche,” says Faye.

There are three containers for carbs in the system: Purple is for fruits, green is for veggies, and yellow is for other carbs like whole grains. You fill each one up with its corresponding foods anywhere from two to six times a day, depending on your predetermined calorie target range; no measuring or overthinking necessary.

Faye also notes that the 40 percent carbs guideline isn’t a hard-and-fast rule: “Starting your diet at 40 percent carbs allows you to experiment and increase your carbs to a level that best works for you, which is much easier than trying to slowly reduce carbs to find your sweet spot,” he explains.

4. Eating too much protein

“Getting enough protein is hugely important for both health reasons and because it aids muscle recovery,” says Faye. (Protein breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle.)

Eating less carbs certainly means you’ll need to eat more protein (especially if you want to crush your workouts), but it’s important not to go overboard.

“When [your] carbohydrate intake is significantly decreased, the body starts breaking down stored carbohydrate sources [glycogen, for energy],” says Klamer. “When these stores get depleted, the body will start altering fat and protein to make carbohydrates.”

Gluconeogenesis (which means “creating new sugar”) is the metabolic process by which the liver converts non-carbohydrate sources (like fats, amino acids, and lactate) into glucose to regulate blood sugar levels.

Gluconeogenesis usually occurs when your body doesn’t have sufficient carbohydrates to properly fuel your brain and muscles.

Amino acids (the building blocks of protein) can’t be stored for long-term energy, which means the body has to convert this excess protein into either glucose or fat storage, possibly negating the effect of eating low-carb and making it more difficult to lose weight.

To avoid getting too much of a good thing, aim for protein to make up a solid 30 percent of your diet, not half. For ideas, check out these healthy, high-protein snacks for when you’re on the go.

5. Not considering activity level when determining carb intake

“Carbs are fuel. They’re massively important and the body is super efficient at processing them, which is a blessing and a curse,” says Faye. “If you get the right amount [of carbs], they’re the ideal fuel for exercise, health — even for fueling your brain.”

But what’s the ideal amount? That depends, in part, on your level of activity and how much weight you want to lose. If you exercise a few times a week and make a point to move often throughout the day, you probably don’t need more than 40 percent of your daily calories from carbs. This amount ensures you get enough carbs to energize and fuel your body, but not so many that you can’t burn them off through regular exercise and your daily 10,000 steps.

Just remember, the carbs you eat should be of the clean, whole-grain variety: fruit, vegetables, quinoa, sweet potatoes, or wild rice, for example.

6. Eating too many carbs

Just as it’s possible to eat too few carbs when starting a low-carb diet, it’s also possible to eat too many.

What constitutes an excess of carbs varies for each individual depending on metabolism and activity level, but in general, consuming more than 45 percent of your total daily calories from carbs isn’t technically a low-carb diet plan, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

If carbs make up half or the majority of your food consumption, you may be missing out on other essential macronutrients like lean protein and healthy fats. Protein is necessary for building muscle, and healthy fats provide our bodies with energy, aid in nutrient absorption, and facilitate cell growth and function.

7. Eating too many processed low-carb foods

Just because a food is low-carb doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy. Highly processed foods like bacon, certain deli meats, and low-carb snack bars don’t have many carbohydrates, but they’re often loaded with excess sodium, trans fats, and other additives.

Eating low-carb foods with refined and processed ingredients may not provide you with the nutrients you need to feel satisfied and energized. Before you load your shopping cart or plate with any item that has a low-carb label, consider the quality of the food in front of you.

If a food contains refined grains, artificial additives, added sugar, or ingredients you can’t pronounce or wouldn’t cook with at home, it’s probably highly processed.

Whenever possible, choose whole or minimally processed carbs. “Naturally occurring carbohydrates like the ones found in whole foods such as whole grains, dairy like yogurt and milk, and fruits and vegetables, provide important nutrients,” says Gorin.

How to Reduce Your Carb Intake in a Healthy Way

Go slow

Adopting new eating habits takes time and patience, which is why it’s important to go slowly and be realistic about your expectations for weight loss.

“Many people get discouraged when starting a low-carb diet because it can take weeks to see results [from actual fat loss],” says George. Though you might see a lower number on the scale in the first week of eating low-carb, this change is probably a result of losing water weight.

The process of shedding fat and gaining muscle, however, might be more gradual. If that’s the case, remember that slow and steady wins the race.

Cut back on less-healthy carbs first

“If you’re looking to reduce carbohydrate intake,” says Gorin, “I recommend reducing the types of carbs that aren’t beneficial — [like] processed foods that contain added sugars and refined [grains].”

Items such as soda, candy, desserts, chips, and other processed foods don’t supply your body with enough vital nutrients. You don’t need to completely nix these foods from your diet, though (unless you want to!).

Instead, aim to enjoy them sparingly and with smart modifications. With Beachbody’s Portion Fix Eating Plan, for example, you can indulge in the occasional treat made at home using whole foods and natural ingredients, such as unsweetened applesauce, pure maple syrup, or extra-virgin coconut oil, to make treats like peanut butter chocolate chip cookiesstrawberry lemonade bars, or red velvet cupcakes.

Eat carbs with more nutritional value

“If you are choosing to eat less carbs, it is important to make the carbs you do eat as nutritious as possible,” says Klamer. Try to eat low-glycemic, high-fiber carbs whenever you can.

Low-glycemic carbs such as legumesnutssweet potatoes, berries, and green apples help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide longer-lasting energy, says Klamer.

For more fiber and nutrients, Klamer recommends whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown or wild rice. Other fiber-rich foods include black beans, lentilsbroccolibarley, artichokes, and raspberries.

(Pro tip: Need ideas on how to lose weight and get fit? Download our free “100 Ways to Lose Weight” guide here!)

High-Quality, Nutrient-Rich Carbs

Not sure which carbs to enjoy? Here are some examples of totally delicious and Portion Fix-approved carbs to add to your diet:

*Yellow container:

  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, white, lima, fava, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Peas
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Potato, mashed or ½ medium
  • Corn on the cob, 1 ear
  • Oatmeal, rolled
  • Pasta, whole-grain
  • Couscous, whole wheat
  • Bread, whole-grain, 1 slice
  • Pita bread, whole wheat, 1 small slice (4-inch)
  • Bagel, whole-grain, ½ small bagel (3-inch)
  • Tortilla, whole wheat, 1 small (6-inch)

*Green and purple containers:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers (sweet)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Winter squash
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Orange
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Figs

The 20-Second Takeaway

Many people who start low-carb diets take them to extreme measures, and can end up drastically reducing their carb intake, consuming large amounts of unhealthy fats, or not incorporating enough nutrient-rich carb sources into their meals.

That doesn’t mean low-carb diets are bad, though — they can be an effective weight-loss strategy, but you need to be thoughtful about the approach you take.

In general, focus on limiting processed and refined carbs, and eating more high-quality carbs from whole grains, fruits, and veggies. You’ll gradually lose weight and get all the nutrients you body needs to thrive.

BY:

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura: Is it aging or low B12?

B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age, and about 40% of the general population are on the lower end of normal.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can look like the signs and symptoms of diseases that are commonly associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other neurological problems; depression and anxiety; cardiovascular disease; cancer; and low libido. If someone you love has these symptoms, best to get there B12 levels checked and supplement if help reduce the symptoms.

Supplementing with an active form of B12 can help reduce inflammation, which has improved symptoms of arthritis and eczema.

Vitamin B12 works with folate to make DNA, red blood cells and the insulating sheath around the nerves to help with nerve signalling. This is why when I inject B12, I always include folate with it.

Causes/Risks of B12 deficiency

  • Vegan/vegetarianism
  • Intestinal malabsorption due to low stomach acid
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition affecting our ability to absorb B12)
  •  Atrophic gastritis (usually H. pylori infection in the elderly)
  • Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)
  • People on Metformin therapy

If someone you know or love fall into any of these categories, best they get tested even if they don’t have symptoms, as deficiency can start before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • not much if  it’s mild
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • strange sensations
  • numbness, or tingling in hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking such as staggering or balance problems
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellow skin
  • jaundice
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning
  • memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations

Testing for B12

It is easy to run a B12 test, however there are other blood and urine markers that can provide a more complete picture, such as methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine. Homocysteine may be more sensitive and accurate for detecting the early stages of B12 deficiency. When I run tests, I look at things from a functional medicine perspective and this may involve the more complete profile.

If there is an absorption issue suspected, we need to identify and correct that, if possible. Further testing and treatment may be required to do that.

The results of the tests are also interpreted differently when you come to see me. I look at things from a functional range – your optimum level of performance- not the point at which you have disease. The conventional medical system in North America regard a low B12 to be below 200 pg/mL. This is the point where irreversible neurological damage can happen. I prefer to go at the guidelines set out by Europe and Japan – somewhere over 550 pg/mL.

Supplementing

Best to get B12 from animal based sources – strongest providers are the organ meats (liver, kidney) and seafood like oysters and clams. To get ahead quickly or to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will need activated B12, so hydroxy or methyl based cobalamin are the best. If there is intestinal absorption issues, then you’ll need a pill to dissolve under the tongue or an injection to provide the boost. What I carry in the clinic is an activated form of B12/B complex so it absorbs easily and we see good results on the before and after blood work, or we can go for the injection – usually weekly for a month and then once a month for a few months. Then we re-test.

 

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, A HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in ongoing education with the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

Dr. Laura: Surprising Number of Conditions Linked to Celiac Disease

I just received this post… hot off the press from the World Congress of Gastroenterology. We learn about all the conditions that are linked to Celiac disease. This means if you have migraines or anxiety attacks, more people with Celiac have them than not. Or, if you have a specific type of rash called dermatitis herpatiformis, you are pretty well guaranteed to have celiac. Have a look at the chart below and see if you have any of the following conditions and then look at the odds ratio that you may have Celiac Disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition related to the ingestion of gluten, or wheat. Wheat has over 100 proteins in it and gluten and gliadin are just two of these proteins. Your body can launch an immune attack to any of these proteins, then these could cross react with tissues in your body including your brain, liver, pancreas, skin muscles, or as in Celiac, your small intestinal villi. If your villi are damaged, then you are not absorbing vitamins, minerals and nutrients. So this can additionally lead to things like B12 deficiency (depression, brain fog, neuropathy) iron deficiency (dizzy, weak, pale), or osteoporosis.

Conventional medical testing will look at 2 markers for these proteins immune reactions. Functional Medical tests that I run will cover 24 markers, including these 2 from conventional means. You have to pay for both tests out of pocket, so I figure you may as well run the more complete test to get the bigger picture of what’s going on in your body. The broader testing means we can catch wheat related diseases – non-celiac gluten related disorders like cerebellar ataxia (problems with balance and walking) or wheat addiction (it’s like opioid addiction!) or tell it if is reacting with you muscles (polymyalgia?) or skin.

Table 1. Prevalence of Diagnoses in People With and Without Celiac Disease (P < .0001 for All)

Diagnosis With Celiac Disease, % Without Celiac Disease, % Odds Ratio
Migraine 18.6 4.1 5.5
Anxiety disorder 25.9 8.7 4.0
Arthritis 28.9 8.4 4.9
Dermatitis herpetiformis 1.3 0.0 4563.5
Liver disease 23.2 4.2 7.1
Gastroesophageal reflux disease 36.8 13.0 4.5
Eosinophilic esophagitis 0.6 0.1 8.8
Atrophic gastritis 3.9 0.1 8.0
Glossitis 0.4 0.1 4.4
Pancreatitis 15.8 0.7 25.0
Disorder of the pancreas 17.2 1.1 19.0
Cerebellar ataxia 0.1 0.0 4.1
Autism 4.0 0.2 19.9
Colitis 25.9 4.2 8.4
Turner syndrome 0.1 0 17.8
Down syndrome 0.6 0.1 8.1
Common variable immunodeficiency 0.2 0.0 10.2

Dr. Laura: Nutrition for the New Year!

Kick the New Year off right – reset your diet, your health and invigorate your life!

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND offers Naturopathic Medicine with a Functional Medicine approach. She helps people better digest their food and the world around them. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, a Certified Gluten Practitioner, HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in a year long training module at the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

Achieve Optimum Health

Why wait until disease sets in? A visit to Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help you identify nutritional deficiencies before disease sets in. With a physical exam and intake that looks at your hair, skin, nails, sleep, stress and diet, Dr. Laura may identify nutritional deficiencies that, if left alone may lead to a number of common problems:

  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • dry skin
  • acne
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • leg cramps
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • poor workout recovery
  • poor memory and concentration
  • brittle, cracked or peeling nails

Food Sensitivity Testing

Sometimes we can be sensitive to foods and not even know it. Testing helps identify what foods may be bothering your system. Using blood or electro dermal screening test will help identify foods that need to be rotated, avoided or eaten occasionally. Knowing your personal food fingerprint may help reduce or even eliminate skin conditions, depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, joint pain and more.

  • Electro Dermal Screening Tests
  • Blood Tests

Nutritional Analysis

Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive framework for medicine that looks at the body as a whole and integrated biological web of physiological function. Dietary analysis helps see if you get the ratio of fats, carbs and protein that best suits your individual requirements.

Clinical and laboratory testing is used to evaluate optimum levels for your best health. Most conventional interpretation use metrics that diagnose disease… but why wait until then? Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can evaluate:

  • Physical evaluation of the health of the hair, skin, nails
  • Dietary analysis helps identify meal timing and preference, macronutrient balance
  • Blood tests are available to evaluate status of nutrients like iron, B12, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, Vitamin D.
  • Electrodermal screening will help identify an imbalance of a given nutrient.

Kick off the new year with an overview of your nutritional status and find your optimum health. Call 519.826.7973 to book your appointment today.

Dr. Laura’s Gingerbread Protein Balls

Love gingerbread? Pack a nutritional punch into this high protein, healthy fat holiday snack!
Having holiday treats doesn’t always have to mean eating poorly. One-two of these gingerbread balls will pack a punch of protein, iron, calcium, fibre, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory spices.

Ingredients:

1/2c Designs for Health Vanilla Pea Protein (available at the clinic)
1Tbsp ground cinnamon
1Tbsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground Himalayan Pink sea salt
1/3c coconut butter
1/3c molasses
1/2c shredded unsweetened coconut + 1/4 cup for rolling balls in later
Mix thoroughly. If need more ginger or cinnamon – add to your taste
Roll into little balls
Roll into the extra coconut
Store in fridge. (they will firm up when cold)
Front the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Phil Shares: Post-Injury Tips to Help You Recover Faster

Post-Injury Tips to Help You Recover Faster

“Hey, don’t cry,” said the ER nurse, approaching my hospital bed. “We got that arm back in.”

Yes we did. It took two doctors, the nurse, me, the threat of being put under general anesthetic, and two giant IV bags of pain meds to do it. And it still hurt like hell. But that’s not why I was crying.

My injury was a season ender.

I had been doing a simple shoulder stretch at home—something I had done countless times before—when my shoulder dislocated suddenly. The sound was sickening. The pain was immediate. And after trying (and failing) to get my shoulder back into its socket on my own, I headed to the ER. Again.

It was the first time I had dislocated my shoulder while stretching, but it was the third time in as many years that it had popped out of its socket and refused to go back in, landing me in the ER. And as the doctor explained, strike three meant surgery.

That was in August 2016. I had surgery less than two months later, becoming yet another pro athlete with a career-pausing injury.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that injuries suck, and for an athlete, the pain isn’t even the worst part. If you live to compete, the most excruciating aspect of becoming injured is being unable to do what you love (training and racing). Most of us experience that disappointment at some point. Injuries are frustratingly common in endurance sports. We push our bodies to their limits, asking them to cover hundreds of miles each week across multiple athletic disciplines. It’s hardly surprising that they sometimes break and fail.

Until it happens to you. Then it’s definitely surprising and more than a little heartbreaking. If you’re lucky, and your injury is relatively minor, you can heal it yourself in a few days or weeks with a bit of smart self-care and rehab. But if your injury is serious enough to require prolonged medical attention—as mine was—you’ll need to play the long game, and how well you play it will determine how long you have to. Here’s what I learned from nearly a year on the sidelines, and how you can recover faster after an injury.

Find the Right Doctor

Finding a healthcare professional who knows your sport and has both an excellent reputation and extensive experience treating athletes is key for expediting your diagnosis and recovery. That’s because they’ll understand how your injury will affect your ability to move in the context of your sport, thus allowing them to customize your treatment plan and develop a realistic prognosis for how long it will take you to return to training and racing. Believe me when I say that such “insider” care can make a world of difference, especially when it comes to minimizing your recovery time.

How do you find such a physician? Ask friends and training buddies for recommendations, consult with your coach, and (most important) do your own research. Before finally settling on a doctor to perform for my surgery, there wasn’t a shoulder surgeon west of the Rockies that I didn’t Google-stalk. I ultimately chose the one that I did because he had been a competitive cyclist, had a successful track record treating athletes, and came highly recommended by a friend who’s a physical therapist, and whom I trust implicitly. When my friend said “EK, I would trust him with my shoulder, and I’ve seen hundreds of his patients,” I knew that I had found the right doc. It’s your body, and you want to make sure you have 100 percent faith in whomever you choose to repair it.

Accept Your Situation

As the saying goes “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” When you receive your post-injury diagnosis and prognosis, be ready to accept them regardless of whether or not they’re what you hoped to hear.

I came by that advice the hard way. When I went to see my shoulder specialist to learn the results of my MRI, I expected him to tell me that I could fix my injury with intensive physical therapy. Instead he told me that without surgery there was a 100 per cent chance my shoulder would dislocate again. “Surgery is a when,” he said, “not an if.”

His diagnosis hit me like a freight train. I wanted to cry. I struggled not to scream. I bit my tongue, fighting back the urge to tell him that his years of medical experience must have been ill spent if he couldn’t see that my injury wasn’t serious.

I was wrong and he was right, of course, but It took me a while to accept that. Some people liken the psychological process of dealing with a serious injury to that of grieving, suggesting that both follow the same progression—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’m still not sure which phase I was in when I went under the knife a couple of weeks later. I knew it’s what I had to do have any hope of remaining a professional athlete, but I definitely had not accepted my situation yet. I just didn’t see any other option that had any chance of helping me return to racing.

Learn from my mistake. If you are recovering from an injury—especially one that required surgery—I urge you to do all you can to move through the grieving process as quickly as possible. That’s easier said than done, but if you surround yourself with strong people you trust and love—and who feel the same way about you—it expedites the process tremendously. They can help you see that your injury is just a blip on your athletic journey. It doesn’t define you, and it won’t last forever. It’s almost a rite of passage. When you realize all of that, you can finally start healing.

I speak from experience. After I reached the acceptance stage, everything—and I mean everything—became a whole lot easier. It took me almost two months to get there, but once I did, I stopped trying to rush my rehab, and I committed to following my treatment plan to the letter. Almost immediately, my progress began to pick up speed.

Recovering Post Injury

Treat Rehab Like Training

Endurance athletes are incredible creatures. To succeed at what we do, we need intense focus, a strong work ethic, and an unwavering dedication to our sport. All of these things help us through the highs and lows of training and racing, including getting injured.

Although it took me a while to accept my post-injury situation, I eventually threw myself into my rehabilitation with the same guts and gusto with which I train. I went to three one-hour physical therapy sessions a week, and did two sessions of mind-numbingly tedious rehabilitation exercises a day. Don’t get me wrong—my path to recovery wasn’t smooth. Far from it—my arm/shoulder complex had been unstable for years, and I had learned a lot of dysfunctional patterns to compensate for that. Unlearning those patterns took longer than anticipated, but I stayed focused, tried to remain positive, and kept telling myself that it would all work out in the end (which, of course, it did).

Through it all, I refused to allow myself to be just an “injured athlete,” waiting idly for my shoulder to heal. I used all of the free time that would otherwise have gone to training to pursue other passions and pastimes. That helped me keep my head in a good place. I also learned how important it is to maintain a sense of humor. The road to rehabilitation is not always an easy one, so staying upbeat is a key part of remaining motivated. Indeed, maintaining the ability to laugh at oneself during bleak times can be powerful medicine.

Focus On What You Can Do, Not On What You Can’t

It’s easy to get hung up on everything that you’re missing after an injury. Your training buddies might be posting all sorts of PRs on Strava and talking about upcoming events with the same excitement and fervor that you typically do. Competitors might be winning races that you feel you could have won. And you might find yourself filling out race refund requests instead of registration forms. But you need to learn to shut all of that out and train your brain to focus what you can do, because, trust me, there is still a great deal that you can do to stay in shape and work toward your goals.

Even though my right arm was completely out of action, I managed to swim using only my left arm three or four times a week from mid-November through March. That’s nearly five months of one-armed swimming, but it meant that I could get in the pool, see my teammates, and maintain my feel for the water, which is important for swim stroke mechanics. I also spent a lot of time in the pool doing vertical kicking and kicking with fins or a kickboard, all of which turned me into a total demon kicker; there’s no one on my team who can touch me at kicking now!

Outside of the pool, I began going on long walks, running on an AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill, riding gently on the trainer, and working with my strength coach in the gym (mostly on core and lower body conditioning). Progress was slow, but my coach and I were able to gradually increase my training volume the so that by April/May I was putting together a 13 to 15-hour training week. Granted, that’s less than half of the time I usually spend training each week, but it was progress, and it felt good.

Focus on Prevention

Once you experience the sidelines, you never want to return to them. The best way to do that is with “prehab,” which means incorporating exercises that can help prevent future injuries into your training program. Even though my shoulder is healed, I continue to do a lot of joint-specific strength and mobility work to keep it healthy, for example.

I also can’t advocate enough the importance of following a total-body strength and conditioning program. You don’t need to hit the gym nearly as often as you run, swim, or bike, but logging a couple of hours there each week can increase your speed and power, and greatly reduce your risk of injury.

The winter months are the perfect time to build a strength base, which will help ensure that your body is robust enough to handle all of the miles you plan to put it through come spring. So will eating healthfully, sleeping adequately, and engaging in regular self-care (foam rolling, stretching, mobility training, etc.). If you look after your body, it will reward you.

By 

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 14 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

14 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

As with bedbugs and the national deficit, the source of lower back pain can be hard to trace. Sometimes it’s a sudden, jarring injury. Other times it’s due to long-term over- or underuse. Often the simple act of sitting (which most office workers do for an estimated 10 hours a day) is to blame for lower back pain, particularly if it emanates from around L1-L5, the vertebrae between your rib cage and your pelvis.

Unfortunately, strength and flexibility only do so much to prevent it.

“There are people who can twist themselves into a pretzel who have back pain because they lack endurance,” says neurophysiologist Chad Waterbury, author of Huge In a Hurry. “And there are people who are very strong who get back pain because they lack mobility, especially in the hamstrings, core, glutes, and hip muscles.”

The key to preventing lower back pain, says Waterbury, is building a combination of moves that improve your mobility and endurance so you can get some relief from the lower back pain you have—and avoid more of it in the future. That’s exactly what the moves below—broken into three escalating levels of intensity—are designed to do.

A few quick caveats: If your pain is intense (read: getting out of bed feels like you’re going one circle deeper into Dante’s Inferno), get cleared by a doctor before doing any type of exercise—these moves included.

If given the OK, avoid anything that causes or exacerbates pain in your lower back. This includes twisting or bending forcefully and sitting for hours on end. If you can, get up from your chair every 20 minutes, or better still, get a desk with a stand-up option.

If you feel pain doing the exercises below, shorten the range of motion or perform the moves more slowly. Still hurting? Follow the “if it hurts” modifications alongside each move. And if none of these changes help, save that move for another day. Remember you’re trying to alleviate your lower back pain… not make it worse!

14 Exercises to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

LEVEL I: When your pain is acute, use these easy moves to gently mobilize — increase the pain-free range of motion — in your back.

Child’s Pose

Gently relieves tension in the lower back.

Source: 21 Day Fix, Yoga Fix

To Do This Exercise:
1. On a mat or blanket, kneel down, and, if possible, sit on your heels.
2. Lean forward, extending your arms in front of you, and rest your head on the floor in front of you.
3. Hold the position for 30 seconds to two minutes.

If It Hurts:
Cross your arms on the floor and rest on your forearms.

 

Cat/Cow

Easy stretch for forward and backward movement along the entire spine.

Source: 21 Day Fix, Pilates Fix

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume an all-fours position, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, back in a natural arch, head in alignment with your spine.
2. On an exhale, slowly round your back towards the ceiling, lowering your head fully towards the floor.
3. Reverse the movement.
4. Keeping your arms straight, inhale as you arch your back, bringing your chest and belly towards the floor, your shoulder blades together, and your head up.

If It Hurts:
Reduce the range of motion and move more slowly.

 

Front-to-Back-Shoulder Squeeze

Increases range of motion in shoulder blades, helps reduce slouching.

Source: Ho’Ala ke Kino

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume an athletic posture with your feet in a shoulder-width-and-a-half stance.
2. Keeping your back straight throughout the movement, cross your left hand over your right, press your palms together, straighten your arms, and point your fingertips towards the floor.
3. Press your palms together and round your upper back as if trying to touch the fronts of your shoulders together in front of you.
4. Hold for ten seconds.
5. Unclasp your hands, then interlace your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms and lift your chest high.
6. Hold for 10 seconds.
7. Alternate these two positions a total of 3-4 times.

If It Hurts:
Don’t stretch as deeply.

 

Clam

Supports healthy hip movement, which takes pressure off the lower back during everyday activities.

Source: Total Body Solution, Lower Back

To Do This Exercise:
1. Lie on your left side with your knees bent 90 degrees in front of you and your feet stacked.
2. Keeping your feet together and your hips vertical, lift your right knee as far away from your left as possible.
3. Hold for a moment, return to the starting position, and repeat for 15 reps.
4. Turn onto your right side and perform 15 reps.

If It Hurts:
Make sure your lower back doesn’t twist throughout the movement and limit the move to a pain-free range of motion.

 

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Restores proper positioning of the hips, taking tension off the lower back.

Source: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, Hammer Conditioning

To Do This Exercise:
1. Kneel on a mat or pad and step your right foot flat on the floor in front of you.
2. Keeping your torso upright and your back in its natural arch, lunge forward towards your right foot.
3. Press the top of your left foot into the floor behind you.
4. Hold the stretched position for 30–45 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

If It Hurts:
Contract your abs and flatten the lower back as much as possible throughout the stretch. Also try shifting your hips back and coming out of the stretch a bit.

Downward Facing Dog with Alternating Heel March

Extends and loosens hamstrings, calves, and upper back.

Source: Ho’Ala ke Kino

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume a push-up position: facedown, hands and balls of your feet on the floor, body straight from your heels to the top of your head.
2. Keeping your arms and legs straight and your lower back in its natural arch, fold at the hips and press your hips into the air.
3. With your feet parallel, slowly bend your right knee until you feel a deep stretch in your left calf, then hold for ten seconds.
4. Straighten your right knee, then repeat on the other side.
5. Continue alternating sides for a total of three reps per side.

If It Hurts:
Hold the downdog position without the heel march.

 

LEVEL II: Use these moves when your lower back pain is less severe. They can help strengthen and stabilize the core.

Bird Dog

Tones extensor muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and glutes, while teaching back musculature to work with greater coordination and ease.

Source: Tai Cheng, Function Test

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume an all-fours position on the floor, hands directly below your shoulders, knees directly below your hips.
2. Slowly extend your right leg behind you as if kicking something with your heel.
3. Simultaneously extend your left arm forward, straight and parallel to the floor.
4. Hold for 10 seconds, slowly lower your right left and left arm, then repeat the sequence using your left leg and right arm.
5. Perform 3–6 reps per side.

If It Hurts:
Contract your abs and flatten your back as much as possible throughout the move.

 

Glute Bridge

Increases tone in the glute muscles.

Source: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM, Back to Core

To Do This Exercise:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Flex your feet so the balls of your feet lift off the floor.
3. Drive your heels into the floor, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips as high as you can.
4. Pause for a one-count, return to the starting position, and repeat for 20 reps.

If It Hurts:
Limit the movement to a pain-free range of motion.

 

Plank with Forearm Run

Tones the six-pack muscles, relieving lower-back pressure.

Source: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, 10 Minute Ab Hammer

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume a plank position: facedown, forearms and balls of the feet on the floor, body straight from your heels to the top of your head.
2. Keeping your hips down, bring your right knee towards your chest.
3. Reverse the move and repeat on the other side.
4. Alternate sides for 15–30 seconds.

If It Hurts:
Slow the movement down. Perform the move from the push-up position (arms extended). Perform a static plank position (no movement in the legs).

 

Side Plank and Knee Up

Tones the core muscles on the sides of your torso, which help you to bend and twist more easily.

Source: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, 10 Minute Ab Hammer

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume a right-side plank position: right elbow and forearm on the floor, feet stacked with the outside edge of your right foot on the floor, body straight from your heels to the top of your head.
2. Place your left hand behind your head and point your left elbow towards the ceiling.
3 Draw your left knee up and towards your chest.
4. Reverse the movement, then repeat for 12–15 reps.
5. Turn over and repeat the movement on your other side.

If It Hurts:
Hold the side plank position without movement.

 

LEVEL III: Use these moves when you’re feeling good to develop more spine-sparing mobility and endurance and help prevent future lower back pain.

Front Fold

Relaxes and increases range of motion in your hamstrings, calves, lower and upper back.

Source: 21 Day Fix, Yoga Fix

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume an athletic posture with your feet in a shoulder-width-and-a-half stance.
2. Inhaling deeply, slowly extend your arms directly out to the side.
3. Keeping your back flat and your knees slightly bent, slowly hinge forward at the hip joints as far as you can.
4. Cross your arms in front of you, slowly round your back forward.
5. Hold the rounded-forward position for 20–30 seconds.

If It Hurts:
Avoid the rounded-forward position: hinge forward at the hips and return to the starting position for 3–5 reps.

Trunk Twist

Increases rotational range in rib cage, allowing you to turn and twist more comfortably.

Source: P90X3, Eccentric Lower

To Do This Exercise:
1. Lie on your left side with your bottom (left) leg extended and your right knee bent towards your chest, inside of your right knee on the floor.
2. Extend your arms straight out in front of your chest, left arm on the floor and palms together.
3. Keeping both arms straight, your right knee and your left arm and shoulder blade on the floor, lift your right arm up towards the ceiling.
4. With your eyes on your right hand, rotate your right arm back towards the floor behind you as far as you can without pain.
5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 15 repetitions.
6. Lie on your right side and repeat.

If It Hurts:
Place a pillow or block underneath the knee of your top leg and always rotate only as far back as you can without pain.

C-Sit Tap:

Increases strength and endurance in your six-pack muscles and improves rotation in your upper back.

Source: 21 Day Fix, Pilates Fix

To Do This Exercise:
1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat.
2. Lean back so that your torso forms a 45-degree angle to the floor and extend your arms in front of you, palms together.
3. Keeping your torso long, lean back slightly, rotate your right arm and shoulder back, and tap your right hand to the floor.
4. Reverse the movement, return to the starting position, and repeat the movement, this time turning to your left.
5. Alternate sides for 15 reps on each side.

If It Hurts:
Hold the “up” position without moving.

Lunge to Hip Extension

Strengthens glutes and lengthens hip flexors to improve posture and lower body strength and stamina.

Source: Active Maternity, Get Stable

To Do This Exercise:
1. Assume an athletic posture: feet shoulder width and parallel, knees slightly bent, shoulders square.
2. Step your right leg about two feet directly back.
3. Keeping your torso upright, bend both knees until your right knee comes close to the floor.
4. Reverse the move and return to the starting position.
5. Shift your weight onto your left foot, contract your right glute, and lift your right foot off the floor behind you.
6. Lower your right foot back to the floor and repeat the movement for 10-12 reps.
7. Switch your legs and repeat on the other side.

If It Hurts:
Lower your back knee only about halfway to the floor and keep your back foot on the floor throughout the movement.

BY:  @ Beachbody.com

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura’s Nut Cheese Recipe

Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.

A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!

Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.

Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.

Some blogs on line suggest a food processor works better than a blender. I think if you have a high speed Vitamin or Blentec you might get a way with the blender and not have to make it too runny.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
  • 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
FOR SERVING
  • press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
Instructions
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours).  If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic,  lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
  3. Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
  4. If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
  5. Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round.  A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
  6. Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
  7. To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
  8. Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
  9. Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days,  if covered in the refrigerator.

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Is your thyroid to blame?

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease in her lifetime and 15 Million women have a dysfunction, but don’t even know it. Men can have issues too, although at a less rate than women.

Environmental toxins are largely to blame for the rising rates of thyroid disease. Years ago, it was mostly iodine deficiency and this is why iodine was added to salt. Now we point the finger more often at the rising rates of hormone mimickers in our environment like BPA’s and their alternatives in plastics, cadmium, circadian light disrupters, pesticides, herbicides and more.

Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to feelings of:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog, difficulty focusing thoughts
  • Unexpected weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol – the thyroid plays an important role in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the root cause of their depression –but their problem hasn’t been fully investigated. When I check thyroid I check more than the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).  I look sub functioning gland by checkin TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies and look for how well cortisol is clearing on the DUTCH hormone test.
  • Anxiety – often because cortisol is not clearing
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of this hormone has on heart rate and rhythm.

Troubles in the digestive track and liver can lead to poor activation of the T4 to T3 hormones. When I work with patients I am always looking for clues in the skin, stress, and sleep and how well the micro biome functions. A good clue to micro biome function is the Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Doctors Data.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, get it tested!  I’ll look at results from a functional medicine perspective, which mean optimal performance, not disease levels of lab markers.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.