HOW I ENTERED THE WAVE STATE™

 

Have you ever had a day when everything seems to just fall into place, everything seems to flow? Your STATE of being on these days might go something like this: You wake up energized and excited to start your day, you feel like you have a new outfit on, even if you don’t. You walk down the street and people smile at you, waiting in line to get coffee is enjoyable, you walk into the office and you are prepared for anything. You feel creative and inspired. When the challenges do come, you handle them in a cool and collected way. When you have to make decisions you are able to do so confidently. In meetings and discussions you are able to express yourself clearly and powerfully without judging or attacking other people. Your lunch satisfies you and energizes you throughout the afternoon. Your body seems to move freely and effortlessly as you walk around. You are focused and strong during your workouts and your breathing is automatic and deep.  Your relationship with friends and loved ones feels loving, supportive and fun. You feel like you are doing what you came here to do, like you are part of something bigger than yourself.  You have random encounters with people who want to help you. You feel like you have amazing control over our life. You are able to shut your mind down at night and get lost in a book. Your head hits the pillow and you are off into the dream world.

And you wake up the next day and feel tired, stiff, anxious and unmotivated. Everyone you encounter is against you, in fact, the universe itself is against you. This is the dichotomy that is life. It has been recognized by many great thinkers through human existence and probably by each person reading this.

I was always interested in health on some level and wondered why some days I was in a good STATE and other days I was in a bad STATE.  Over the course of the last 7 years, I think I've figured it out. During this time I  first transformed my own health and then began teaching others how to put the pieces together. I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people—business men and women, celebrities, professional athletes, new moms, children, current and former military. Along the way, I have gained an even deeper understanding of what people need to do to spend as much time as possible in the STATE I described at the start of this article and the STATE I was able to achieve. I have given a name to this state—THE WAVE STATE™

"WHEN YOU ARE IN THE WAVE STATE LIFE JUST FLOWS."

 Before I tell you the secret to entering the wave state, it might help to learn a little about my own story. Your story will not be the same, but there are some things you might be able to draw inspiration from.

UNBALANCED LIVING

I spent several years as a network engineer building computer networks. I learned about the role technology plays in linking our world together. I also learned to think outside of the box when solving problems related to computers, because the protocol you used to fix a problem one day would need to be adjusted the next. I learned how the more connected you are to technology the more disconnected you can become from everything else. I spent an even greater number of years helping corporations manage currency risk. During this period I completed an MBA in Finance. I learned how money flows throughout the world and how the push of a button by a person sitting on a trading floor in NYC can do something that alters the life of a small family in a country very far away. I learned that having money can make some things easier, but how being motivated purely by money can lead you away from true health. It can do this in a very powerful way. I am also really good at MS Excel. I learned about the stressors associated with being able to live, work and play in arguably greatest city in the world, New York City.

By the time I reached 25 my career was in full swing. I made more money than I ever thought I would make, I worked at one of the biggest investment management firms in the world and my ego was running the show. When I met new people one of the first questions I asked was where they worked (not how they were doing). It was right around this time that I first learned to surf. Surfing came to me at a time when I desperately needed some serious grounding. It forced me to slow down, to be in the present, to get out of my head, and it showed me how to get in tune with the natural flow of life (even if for only a few hours on the weekend). If you weren’t in the right STATE when you paddled out into the water you were not going to catch any waves and if you disrespected the ocean it would show you who was in charge. There was one particular lesson I received in the water, which altered the course of my life.

THAT DAY IN THE WATER

It was a cold Saturday morning in early December on Long Island. My friend and I got into our wetsuits, put on our booties and gloves and paddled out. I remember feeling particularly anxious that morning (usually this goes away when you get in the water, but this time it didn’t). This eventually turned to anger when I paddled for wave after wave but failed to catch any. I sat there and tried to calm down, but I couldn’t. I watched as my friend paddled in and rode every wave he went for— effortlessly, at ease in the ocean. He seemed to be connected to something that I couldn’t see. He was in a completely different STATE. Eventually, the perfect wave came right to me—I was getting a chance to enter this STATE. I paddled in, rode it for a few seconds, but then lost focus and wiped out. I got tossed around under  water and popped up—to find my surfboard hitting me right in the face. I was pretty numb from the cold, so I didn’t think anything of it. I jumped on my board and paddled back out. My friend took one look at me, saw the gash on my cheek, tried not to look too worried and said we should paddle in. After applying a makeshift bandage to my face, I went to the hospital for stitches. I was sore and bruised for a few days but didn’t think anything of it. I had stitches before, no big deal.  About a week later, I developed a severe infection, which required a heavy dose of antibiotics. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of a long road. It was the event that would bring about a seemingly permanent negative shift in my STATE.

"IT WAS THE EVENT THAT WOULD BRING ABOUT A SEEMINGLY PERMANENT NEGATIVE SHIFT IN MY STATE."

This silent fim was shot of me and a few friends on a Super 8mm camera around the same time period as the accident.

The human body is extremely resilient and can handle a lot of stress and abuse without breaking down. When people are in a high stress STATE, often there is a single event which can push them overboard— it can be a divorce, the loss of a loved one, a career change, an illness, accident or injury. These usually lead to changes in the body and mind. Often, these changes are chalked up to aging. Things like joint pain, back pain, frequent headaches, changes in skin quality, hair loss, accelerated aging, feeling achy when moving, chronic fatigue, unhealthy body weight, heartburn, digestive issues, low libido, poor sleep quality, lack of zest for life, anxiety and depression—to name a few. It should be obvious, but to many it’s not— these changes are not normal. They are a sign that your body is out of balance, they are a sign that you are not in the right STATE. In the years following this surfing accident my health slowly declined on every level. I spent several years in the wrong STATE. I experienced many changes in my body and in my mind. I was completely disconnected from my soul. I thought this was all normal. I was approaching 30, I wasn’t supposed to feel as good as I used to.

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"I WAS APPROACHING 30, I  WASN'T SUPPOSED TO FEEL AS GOOD AS I USED TO."

FINDING A NEW BREAK

I was forced to re-evaluate my life on all levels.  I decided it was time to “fix” myself, it was time to change my STATE.  My body felt off on many levels, my mind was filled with negativity and I had no sense of purpose in life.  My former company was in the process of folding and I would be out of a job. Initially, I sought the help of a medical doctor.  After a battery of blood tests and several specialists, I was told that I was fine. This really just meant I had no clearly definable “dis-ease”. What’s funny is that I was not at “ease” on any level. Like many, I thought I could find answers on the Internet. In doing so, I was led down the rabbit hole of online health information. I thrust myself into some extreme diets and exercise programs and an all-together very dogmatic and narrow minded view of health. I thought this “superfood” or that supplement or this guru or that book or this “cleanse” or that retreat or avoiding one food and eating a lot of another would “fix” me. I was very deep down the rabbit hole. In fact, I was going down a different rabbit hole each week in search of answers. I felt only marginally better following this approach.

Through a series of synchronistic events, I met and later trained with a variety of people who helped me understand some truths about health. I realized there is no one size fits all approach to health and that there are various layers that you need to address if you want to be truly healthy. We each have a mind, a body and a soul and these are individual to each of us. You must address each of these areas and you must address the intimate connection between them if you want to achieve the STATE I described above.

I used this approach to get healthy and to change my STATE of being.  Eventually, I was spending more and more time in the STATE described at the start of this article. It took time and was not easy, but it worked. What I also learned was that there is no finish line, it is a process and you will need to make adjustments throughout your life. The key is realizing how to get back in balance and get back in this STATE when you are out of it. I used this approach to fix myself and I wanted to help others. I began spreading my message by working with clients, writing, developing products and establishing a holistic lifestyle company called SLVRBK.

INTRODUCING THE WAVE STATE

THE WAVE STATE™ is a state of being. When you are in THE WAVE STATE™, your mind, body and spirit are in harmony—life just flows. Everything in life is a wave— light, energy, sound and vibration. At the quantum level, consciousness or our perceived reality is believed by many to be a waveform. Your body moves in waves, your heart produces waves of energy, you have brain waves, the world is connected through invisible waves of energy—both technologically speaking and metaphysically speaking.

"THE WAVE STATE IS A STATE OF BEING."

Life moves in waves, but it is also like riding a wave, in that your mind needs to be clear, focused and quiet. Your body needs to be loose and balanced. You need a sense of intuition and connection with nature. Many people lead a very unbalanced and volatile life, which requires them to ride big waves each and every day. Big waves are not easy to ride, even for those that train to ride them. You were not built to ride big waves regularly; you were built to ride small, fun waves. If you change your STATE of being, you can ride small, fun waves all the time (or most of the time).  The big waves may still come, but when they do, you will be ready for them.

WHAT’S TO COME

My initial venture in the world of health and wellness was called SLVRBK. From now on we will be known as THE WAVE STATE™ and our goal will be to provide you with products,services and content which will help you enter THE WAVE STATE™ and when you are not in THE WAVE STATE™ you will have the tools necessary to get back into THE WAVE STATE™. 

There are a lot of changes in store in 2017, products, services, partnerships, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter below.

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HOW TO MANAGE STRESS

Whatever your goals are for the new year, you should know that true health requires a holistic approach. One that looks at all factors in your life that may be influencing your health, addressing the intimate connection between the body, the mind and the soul. While nutrition and exercise are the focal point for most people, there is one area that is often overlooked and in my opinion is the most powerful—stress management. Learning how to manage stress is the most beneficial thing you can do for your health. Why? Stress impacts all areas of your health. 

Psychologist Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., President of the HeartMath, says, "Often women don't realize how chronic stress affects us. This kind of relentless tension causes cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, can cause excess oil production leading to skin breakouts, and increased cortisol has been linked to more weight around the belly area. It can also interrupt our ability to sleep well and can cause insomnia." 

Below are a few key areas negatively affected by stress:

  • Sleep
  • Metabolism (your thyroid)
  • Skin quality and elasticity
  • Digestion
  • Where you store body fat and how much you store
  • Performance and recovery when exercising
  • Energy levels
  • Immune system
  • Libido
  • Mental/Emotional health

It is important to note that while stress comes in many forms, your body treats all stress the same. A stressful thought triggers the same biochemical response as when you are getting chased by a lion.  It is impossible to reduce all stress and that is not the goal, instead, try the following: 

ONE | CONTROLLABLE VS. UNCONTROLLABLE STRESS
Stress  Manage the stress you can control so that the stress you can't control is not as damaging. Modern life is stressful, on many levels, but we do in fact have control over much of this stress. Controllable stressors include the quality of the food you eat and the amount of exercise you get. Uncontrollable stressors might include where you live, the weather, having to work and make money. Be cautious not to let controllable stressors impact your health. For example, over-training and under-eating is a major stressor.

TWO | YOUR BIGGEST STRESSOR
While there are a variety stressors in life, there is usually one that is the biggest and is usually playing over and over in your head like a commercial. Do something to address this stressor, whether it be a person, a job, money, where you live, a health problem, the way you look, etc. While you may not be able to eliminate it completely, chances are you can take some steps to make it less consuming.

THREE | PICK YOUR ACTIVITY
 It is critical that you begin incorporating some stress management activity each day. The best activity is the activity that works best for you. We are all different. Some people will enjoy meditation, others will enjoy movement based practices like Tai chi or yoga, others will want to do something more creative like painting or drawing, others will enjoy just sitting in the park and daydreaming, others will enjoy computer/app based stress reduction programs. Find what works best for you and begin incorporating this activity on a regular basis—ideally 15 minutes a day. It is important to note that the effects are cumulative, so once you start, it is a good idea to stick with it as you will see more and more of an impact. Consider starting with a 30-day challenge for yourself. You might even want to put this slot on your calendar like a meeting. Below is a full list of activities to consider.

ACTIVITIES TO CHOOSE FROM

  • Journaling
  • Drawing, coloring, painting
  • Playing an instrument 
  • Learning a new language
  • Taichi and Qiqong
  • Walking / Hiking
  • Time in Nature
  • Sitting in the park
  • Sauna and massage
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Light yoga
  • Jigsaw Puzzles

NEW YORK CITY AND YOUR HEALTH

As the song goes, if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere, but I would say that if you can learn how to be healthy in NYC, you can learn how to be healthy anywhere. Being a native New Yorker, I still believe this city is a special place and I get chills when I drive in and see that iconic skyline. I can also tell you that if optimal health and longevity is your goal, you will need to work extra hard to achieve that here, on many levels. When I talk to someone about health and nutrition I often look to establish a timeline. When did you start gaining weight, when did those skin problems start, when did you notice a change in energy, when did your digestion problems start? In many cases, moving to NYC is the trigger. For some, these negative changes occur within a few months, for others it takes a few years. Often, the changes are gradual and then there is a major stressor in your life which pushes you overboard—a job loss, a break-up, a death in the family, etc. So what can you do if NYC is where you choose to call home, but you still want to be healthy? Below are eight areas to consider.

ONE | AIR QUALITY
The human body has some simple requirements, one of them is clean air. The lungs are one of the bodies chief forms of detoxification, whereby each inhalation serves to pull in oxygen and each exhalation expels carbon dioxide and other airborne toxins that have accumulated in your body. Someone once told me living in NYC was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and while that might be a bit extreme, there is something to it—as the air in NYC forces your lungs to work extra hard. When you go away on a vacation do your sinus problems go away? Look at most longevity studies and the people living the longest are living in locations where the air is very clean and often at a high altitude. So what can you do? Practice deep breathing or work with a breathing coach and get a HEPA air filter for your home. Additionally get out of the city when you can.

TWO | AVAILABILITY  OF FOOD
NYC has some of the greatest food choices in the world. Anything you want, at any time. Unfortunately, this encourages people to order or eat out more than they should. While there are more local, organic, seasonal, farm-to-table type places popping up, this is still an issue. Low quality food is a major source of toxins; your body has enough of those to deal with while breathing the air in NYC. Cooking more, eating out less and sourcing high quality food should be at the top of your priority list.

THREE | COMPETITION
This probably goes for most places, but the way you look, where you vacation in the summer (and winter), who you work for and for how much money you have is a top priority here and it is constantly in your face. What you have or the way you look may never seem good enough. The cycle that often follows puts you in a persistent state of stress ("fight or flight") and one that stimulates the part of our brain known as the reptilian brain (R-Complex). This part of your brain encourages you to do whatever it takes to survive (not as in stay alive, in this example, but to keep up with the Joneses). This involves working too much, exercising too much, not eating enough, not sleeping enough and making decisions based on emotions as opposed to your heart. To counteract this, take some time each day to engage in activities that nourish your soul and promote self-confidence.

FOUR | TAKING LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY
Most people in NYC lose that childlike view of life (partly because of point 3) and this is often coupled with a "just do it" mentality or a type A personality. All work, no play, no sleep, definitely does not keep the doctor away. Some people appear to handle this lifestyle "better" than others and don't notice any outward signs of ill health, but these people are often blindsided by debilitating health issues. Spend some time each day to engage in a playful activity, something where the outcome doesn't matter.

FIVE | LACK OF NATURE
Humans were designed to be outdoors during the daylight hours, this includes exposure to the sun and interaction with the earth. Working in offices, surrounded by buildings can make this a challenge. I would argue that spending time in nature is one of the most healing things you can do for your health. Just think about how good you feel (and sleep) after a day outdoors, whether it be a park, a beach, a hike, etc. Get out in nature every day. NYC has some great parks, visit those when you can, on weekends get out of the city and do something more adventurous. Instead of a vacation at a fancy hotel, get out in nature. If you can get your bare feet on the earth, "grounding" has numerous benefits.

SIX | ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
Some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world are in NYC and they can do amazing things for acute illness, but when you have a cold or your blood pressure is a little off, or your cholesterol is just "out of range"and you are put on medications or antibiotics you are probably only patching the issue. The real problems will continue at a deeper level, only to manifest as something more serious later on. Often,these issues can be addressed with simple nutrition and lifestyle changes. Consider working with someone who takes a holistic approach to health, whether they be an M.D. a Chiropractor, a Naturpath, nutritionist or health coach.

SEVEN|  ENERGY
There is a certain "energy" present in NYC. You can feel it upon entering. This energy is driven in part by the large number of people present here and is probably tied to the dominant thoughts and actions of those living here. This energy is positive in that it can motivate you and inspire you, but negative in that it can also serve as a stressor which can impact your health when not managed appropriately. Perform some of form of stress management daily and be sure to follow the suggestions in the above points.

EIGHT | TECHNOLOGY
While this issue is a national, or even global one, it seems an especially prescient topic in New York and other big cities. Technology has made some things easier—staying in touch with family/friends, running your business, etc. but it also encourages much of what is discussed in points 3 and point 4. Responding to an email the second you wake up, deriving self esteem by how many likes you get on social media, getting blasted with pictures of people who have what you want or look the way you want all negatively impact your health, whether you are cognizant of that or not. Further, the technology that enables all of this to work, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and electromagnetic fields (EMF) that are emitted by cell phone towers, electrical transformers, wireless access points, high powered broadcasting towers, have been linked to health issues. Some of this you just can't escape, but what you can do is keep your phone away from your body when not using and out of your bedroom when sleeping (or on airplane mode). If possible, it can be very helpful to develop a routine with regard to when you check email and social media and remember that if your post has a positive impact on even one person, you have done something good.

THE BENEFITS OF COFFEE

I spent the majority of my life not drinking coffee because I thought that it was “bad”—probably because of “programming” from my childhood. Programming is really just another way of trying to understand why we believe the things we believe. In many cases we are programmed by things we hear and see throughout our lives, particularly in our early years. On top of my negative beliefs about coffee, on the rare occasion that I drank coffee I felt an initial surge of energy which was followed by a rapid crash and shaky feeling. So both my beliefs and my poor reaction to coffee kept me away until about 8 months ago. In my search for the formula for optimal health and longevity, I came across numerous research showing the health benefits of coffee. In addition, I saw how revered coffee was in many parts of the world which experience a high level of health and longevity. With that I learned that coffee does have some extremely well-documented and researched positives and people who drink coffee are generally healthier and live longer than people who don’t. That being said, coffee can be quite powerful and there are some important points to consider if you want experience the good and avoid the negatives.

QUALITY
Quality is king when it comes to food in general and coffee is no different. Unfortunately, coffee is one of the crops that is often exposed to a higher concentration of pesticides and other chemicals. You can avoid this by simply sourcing high quality coffee. As an added bonus it will probably taste better. When sourcing coffee look for the words – organic, single-origin and fair trade organic. There are also many quality beans that come from non-organic sources, so do your research. When stopping for coffee on the go, consider the smaller, speciality cafes as they often source higher quality beans. In many cases that jittery feeling or weird headache (often behind your eyes) that you experience is due to toxic residue in the coffee and not the coffee itself. In addition, you should always remember that when you ingest toxins of any form it will cause imbalances in your body which can make it harder for you to reach your health and wellness goals.

PREPARATION
There are variety of methods used to prepare coffee. While there is no method that is best, there are some that I believe should be limited. Standard “drip” coffee machines are generally made of plastic. Under the heat of brewing, the plastic can leach into the coffee. If you have a sensitive pallet (like me), you can taste the chemicals that have made their way into your drink. These chemicals can damage your endocrine system (hormonal system) and lead to hormonal imbalances. In addition, machines with “cup” delivery systems can often leach heavy metals into the coffee. Again these heavy metals can be damaging to the body. A french press or stove top coffee percolator (made of glass) would be your best bet for a standard cup of joe. High quality espresso machines are also a great option. For those with a sensitive stomach, cold brewed coffee is often less acidic and nice generally in the warmer months.

TIMING
The best time to drink coffee is before 2PM and with a meal (more details below). Caffeine stays in your system for quite a while, if you have any sleep issues, the first place to start would not be melatonin, it would be to stop drinking coffee after 2pm. If that doesn’t work, stop even earlier and consider an espresso based drink (Americano, cappuccino, latte) over regular coffee. Contrary to popular belief there is less caffeine in a serving of espresso than in a cup of coffee. Lastly, coffee can be extremely beneficial pre-workout, but not post-workout. (more details below).

PAIRING
You may have heard of the term “time-released” when referring to certain medications. This means that you should experience a slow and steady release into your blood stream so that you can experience the benefits of your medication (or coffee) longer and without a crash. The best way to achieve this time-released affect is to have coffee with a balanced meal or snack, specifically one that contains protein, fat and carbohydrates. The idea of incorporating fat in your coffee has become quite popular in recent years (you may have heard the term “bullet proof” coffee). While this is certainly a “better” way to drink coffee, I think you can do better by pairing with all three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs). Why? While there are some nutrients in coffee and butter, this mix is lacking in protein and carbohydrates. So while you feel great all morning, you have tricked your body into running on less fuel. This often leads to late day cravings and a lower than adequate intake of certain key nutrients. Have a few eggs and a piece of fruit with your coffee, or have a cappuccino or latte and a piece of fruit.

FAT BURNING
Coffee can be a great way to optimize performance in the gym and can even help with fat burning and increasing your metabolic rate (metabolism). Coffee can boost levels of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can give you a powerful surge of energy which can increase output in the gym and can also start the process by which your body liberates fat. This can be very beneficial pre-workout, however post-workout (and in general) too much cortisol can impair recovery and suppress all of the growth and repair hormones that you want and need. Tip: the best way to suppress cortisol post-workout is to eat a balanced meal or shake as soon as possible.

DETOXIFICATION
The word detox is thrown around quite often in the health world. True detox is a highly complex process that is happening billions of times a second in our bodies. Coffee contains some chemicals which can help stimulate natural detoxifications processes; namely by the liver (this is one of the reasons people use coffee enemas for advanced detox programs).

NOTES
This ARTICLE originally appeared on Bazaar.com
Influence on Metabolism
Caffeine: A vitamin-like nutrient, or adaptogen

WHAT SHOULD "YOU" BE EATING

In this article I am going to tell you how to customize your nutrition program for YOU. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know what “diet’ is right for you. If there was one diet that worked for everyone there would not be thousands of books and programs and “methods” out there. If have you have followed a specific nutrition program and gotten results, great, read on, because this could help you optimize even further. If you have struggled to get results then the tips below could finally give you what you needed.

One mans food is another mans poison. Some may find this shocking but if you consider the fact that we all look different, act different, have different personalities, have had different life experiences, have different likes and dislikes, it might start to make sense that we could each have different nutrition requirements. This might be also be the reason why some treatments – both traditional and alternative work for some and don’t work for others. While there are a variety of components to getting healthy and achieving optimal performance or longevity, I believe that customizing your nutrition program for YOU is crucial an often overlooked component.. Below I will tell you about 5 metrics you can and should use if you want to get it right.

BALANCE YOUR MACROS
The macronutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. In simple terms, they each feed the fire that is OUR metabolism. Many diets are customized based on the emphasis they place on each of these macronutrients (low carb, low fat, high protein, etc.) The fact of the matter is that restricting a macronutrient may help or hurt you depending on your unique need. I would suggest you experiment with 4 different combinations below. About 2 hours after your meal, think about how you feel – If you feel energized, have good mental clarity, no cravings you got it right. If you feel sluggish, bloated, can’t think clearly you got it wrong. If you would like to dig deeper into this concept check out this book.

  • Eat a high carb breakfast – Oatmeal with fruit and honey.
  • Eat a high protein/fat breakfast – 2 eggs, bacon, Berries
  • Eat a balanced breakfast – 2 Eggs and an Orange (or oatmeal)
  • Have just coffee (if you drink coffee)

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Further to the above, we have this amazing gift for figuring out what foods and food combinations are right for us. That is listening to our body. This is easy for some, to so easy for other. While most people only use body weight to measure progress, I believe this is the last place you should look. I often ask my clients how their program is working for them and they give a very generic answer. Then I dig deeper into the questions below and it reveals that there are all sorts of things happening that can help us customize the program. While question 1 was more about a short term response this question can help determine if there are any positive or negative patterns happening over the long term. Ask yourself these questions on a weekly basis.

  • How is your digestion? Bloating, cramping, going to the bathroom less than 1x or more than 3x a day are not normal.
  • How are your energy levels? There will be some lulls in your energy levels but extreme peaks and valleys are not normal.
  • How is your skin quality? A pimple every now and then fine, but recurring blemishes are not normal. In addition,skin that has aged rapidly over a short period of time is generally a sign of a deficiency in some nutrient (usually protein).
  • Do you have cravings? Cravings are a sign you body does not have what it needs and is undernourished. Whether it is protein, salt, fat and even sugar. All of these generally indicate something is missing from your diet.
  • How is your sleep quality? Deep restorative sleep is not just for children, it should be for adults also. If you have a hard time falling asleep and/or wake repeatedly. Consider that something is misising from your diet (more carbohydrates before bed often solve this problem).
  • How is your libido? A lack of sex drive is a major indicator of hormonal imbalances, generally from stress but not eating the right foods can be a major stressor. (Saturated fat and fruit can be extremely helpful here).

BLOOD TESTING
This is probably the most valuable and underused metric for figuring out what you should be putting or not putting in your body. The only relationship most people have with blood work is when they go in for their annual physical or a cold and their doctor runs a few basic tests to determine whether there are any apparent red flags. The fact of the matter is that there are many “custom” blood tests which you can run that tell you a great deal about your health. In addition, there are a variety of ways to analyze blood work. A “functional” blood chemistry analysis looks a bit deeper at how your body and metabolism are functioning. You can talk with health practitioner and/or In many states you can order your own blood panel online for a reasonable price.

DNA TESTING
I believe DNA testing to be the future of health. While this area is in its infancy, there are some publicly available DNA tests which can tell you a great deal about what you should be eating. For example, the section of the world that your ancestors are from plays a role in the type of foods your body was designed to eat. For instance, many people of european descent produce more of a salivary (in your saliva) enzyme called amylase. This enzyme can help us break down carbohydrates more efficiently. These people tend to do better on higher carbohydrate diets. On an even deeper level DNA testing has also shown that certain people might require very high doses of certain B Vitamins to function at a high level, particularly B12 and Folate. Supplementation can produce some dramatic changes in these people.

AT HOME TESTING
Lastly, there are some very simple at home tests which you can use to track whether the foods you are eating are nourishing your body appropriately. Body temperature and pulse are among the best indicators of the efficiency of your metabolism. Your body temperature should reach 98.6 by mid-day. Unless you are a well-trained athlete it is probably best to maintain a resting pose rate of 65bpm or higher. Contrary to popular believe a low pulse rate should not be your goal unless you are someone who performs a sport that can benefit from this adaptation. For those looking to dig even deeper, testing the pH of your urine can provide even more insight. Urinary pH should show a generally shift throughout the day from acidic to alkaline or alkaline to acidic. If you urine is always acidic or always alkaline there may be an imbalance. Please note urinary pH is not and indicator of whether your blood is alkaline or acidic.

So there you have it, playing around with even one of these recommendations should give you a major boost. If I overwhelmed you, just be sure to eat organic, real food and avoid anything processed. If you want some help fine tuning, be sure to find a health practitioner that uses some or all of these techniques in their practice.

PUFA AND YOUR HEALTH

What if there was a substance that you were consuming regularly that was severely hampering your efforts to get healthy? What if this substance was linked to accelerated aging and a variety of common health problems? What if this substance was used in numerous “health” foods and in numerous restaurants? What if you were taking supplements that contained high amounts of a harmful substance that you were told was healthy? Well, this is happening and you are most likely unaware of it, the most damaging thing you can put in your body is not sugar and it is not gluten, it’s PUFAs. Here, I break down the ins and outs of the oils to consume and not consume and why.

WHAT ARE PUFAs?
PUFAs—short for polyunsaturated fatty acid are a type of fat. The type of fat that is available to us via the foods we eat generally fall into two categories: unsaturated fat and saturated fat. For ages we were advised to avoid saturated fats and emphasize unsaturated fats (or avoid fat all together). Many cooking oils actually said “heart-healthy” on the bottle. The research is overwhelmingly clear that saturated fats are not only healthy, but that they are extremely beneficial for overall health. What is not often talked about is the downright damaging impact of the class of highly unsaturated fats known as PUFAs.

WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID PUFAs?
The primary issue with PUFAs is that they are highly unstable. All fats have a temperature with which they oxidize (i.e. become unstable, go rancid, become toxic). For PUFAs that temperature is very low. An easy way to remember this is that UNsaturated fats are UNstable and Saturated fats are Stable. Unstable fats are prone to oxidation. Oxidation lead to free radicals. Free radicals lead to cellular damage in your body that can manifest both internally in the form of damaged organs/glands and externally in the form of rapidly aging skin. In addition, many of these fats can become unstable before they even enter your body. During processing, many of these “seed” oils are exposed to high heat (imagine trying to extract oil from a grape seed), which can often make the oils go rancid. In addition, these oils may be exposed to high heat during travel which can also lead to a damaged and unstable product. This is one of the reasons many of these oils are shipped in dark containers and are required to be refrigerated.

THE BENEFITS OF FOLLOWING A LOW PUFA DIET?

  • Blood Sugar – PUFAs can damage the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. If you want to lose body fat and achieve a high level of health, you want a very effective blood sugar handling system. PUFAs can damage this system. For those with blood sugar handling issues the primary focus is usually reduced sugar intake, however, I believe it makes more sense to reduce PUFAs from your diet.
  • Skin health – PUFAs are closely linked to age pigment formation. In addition, a high level of PUFA in your body means when you are exposed to the sun, free radical damage is more likely.
  • Metabolism – PUFAs can stress various systems in your body, particularly the rate at which your cells produce energy (i.e. your metabolism). This has numerous implications for thyroid health and general hormonal balance.
  • Digestion / Immune System – PUFAs can impair protein digestion. Digestion problems are rampant in this day and age, eliminating PUFAs are an often overlooked and very effective way at supporting digestion. Your immune system is closely linked to your digestive system, a problem with digestion almost guarantees a poorly functioning immune system.
  • Detoxification – The liver plays a major role in detoxification, PUFAs can overburden the liver. That sluggish feeling you feel after eating out? You may have just consumed PUFAs.

WHERE ARE PUFAs PRESENT?

PUFAs are present in nearly all foods (even vegetables). While some extremists would say to avoid high-PUFA vegetables I don’t believe you need to go that far. Small amounts of unprocessed PUFA in a well balanced diet are unlikely to cause any issues. The most damaging PUFAs are the processed liquid cooking oils below:

Canola oil, Grapseed Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Generic Vegetable Oil, Walnuts Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil, Margarine, Flaxseed Oil.

HIDDEN SOURCES OF PUFA EXPOSURE

  • Snacks – Most energy bars, granola, potato chips, flax seeds, chia seeds.
  • Commercially raised beef, poultry, eggs. Animals fed a diet high in PUFA (i.e. corn and soy) will have high levels of PUFA in their tissues.
  • Most restaurants and take-out options use PUFA cooking oils.
  • Fish Oil – Yes, fish oil is a PUFA. While short term (i.e. a few months) therapeutic use may be effective for reducing inflammation, long term daily use has a number of negative implications.

PLAN OF ACTION

  • Avoid PUFA oils to the best of your ability, especially for cooking.
  • Always use heat stable fats for cooking (i.e. coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, butter, tallow).
  • Limit the amount of times per week you eat out and follow the eating out tips below.
  • Consume high PUFA foods (i.e. nuts, seeds, fatty fish) in limited quantities (i.e. a few times a week instead of daily)
  • If you consume animal products ensure that the animals are not fed any PUFA. This means consuming grass-fed beef and pasture raised eggs and poultry. There are many other benefits to this approach as well.
  • If you are a vegan or vegetarian and nuts and seeds are a significant component of your diet it may be beneficial to consume lots of coconut oil and possibly to supplement with Vitamin E.

TIPS

  • Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant and may help offset the damage caused by PUFAs. When you go out to a restaurant or if you are in the mood for some French fries, take some vitamin E when you get home.
  • Eat more saturated fat in general, but especially on days when you will be consuming PUFAs (whether intentionally or unintentionally). Saturated fat can offset the damage caused by PUFAs.
  • If you only want to do one thing for your health, limit your exposure to PUFAs.
  • It is rumored that pig farmers attempted to feed there pics coconut oil to fatten them up (in the days when coconut oil, was cheap). Apparently the pigs got lean and muscular on the coconut oil diet. Only after they started feeding them corn, soybeans and grains did they begin to bulk up.
  • When eating out look for farm-table restaurants and ask that you food be cooked in olive oil or butter (coconut oil would be great but this is very uncommon).
  • If you have been consuming a high PUFA diet for many years and carry around high levels of body fat, chances are you are storing lots of PUFA in your own tissues. While reduced body fat should be your goal, you should be sure not to rush your weight loss.When you begin to shed those pounds you can release PUFA into circulation in the body. If done too quickly, this can be particularly damaging and stressful to the body (see the various televised weight loss competitions).

GET TO KNOW YOUR THYROID

In the holistic health world the one area that has garnered quite a bit of attention in recent years is the digestive system (“the gut”), with many functional medicine practitioners and holistically oriented health practitioners building their programs around restoring proper gut function. While the digestive system is quite important there is another area that might just be more important—the thyroid. When you talk about the thyroid what you are really talking about is your metabolism as the thyroid controls the rate at which the cells that make up your body create energy. When our cells are operating efficiently, we look good, feel good, sleep good, age slowly, have a lot of energy and can easily adapt to any stressors that we come in contact with.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY THYROID IS FUNCTIONING PROPERLY?
While blood work is the most common metric, a simple at-home test can give you an accurate picture. Dr. Broda Barnes was the first to champion this approach and his work is largely unchallenged due to its efficacy. Buy a digital thermometer, keep it on your night stand. Take your oral temperature before getting out of bed in the morning. Take your temperature 20-30 minutes after lunch. Record the temps for several weeks. You temperature should be around 98 upon waking and should rise to 98.6 by mid day. If your temperatures are routinely below there is a good chance your thyroid is not functioning properly. If you don’t feel like taking your temperature, ask yourself—are your hands and feet often cold? Are you often cold when everyone else is fine. If the answer to either of these questions is yes, chances are you should investigate your thyroid function.

WHAT CAUSES THYROID PROBLEMS?
Unfortunately, many people following what they believe to be healthy diets with an abundance of nuts, seeds, vegetables, limited animal protein, lots of plant/seed oils, limited saturated fats and vigorous training are often pushing their bodies into a survival state in which their metabolism and body temperature slow (I have personal experience with what is described here). In the book From PMS to Menopause by Dr. Raymond Peat, PhD, he speaks to this issue and cites the main causes of thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism) as the following.

  • Fasting and calorie restriction
  • Excess stress, particularly from excessive exercise
  • Dietary protein deficiency
  • A high amount of unsaturated oils (PUFA’s) in the diet, any liquid oils outside of coconut oil and olive oil fall into this group.
  • An abundance of raw vegetables, particularly goitrogenic vegetables (i.e. broccoli, kale, mustard greens)
  • Diets that emphasize nuts, seeds, and beans as a primary protein source.

WHAT AREAS CAN BE IMPACTED?

If you look at a list of thyroid symptoms it will include pretty much everything you can think of and that is because the thyroid is involved in nearly every process in the body. A few of the common and possibly lesser known correlations are below.

  • “High” Cholesterol – Thyroid hormone helps convert cholesterol into reproductive hormones. When not present, cholesterol levels keep rising (i.e. they are never converted)
  • Low Libido – Per the above, thyroid hormones are needed to make reproductive hormones.
  • Hair and Skin – Thyroid hormone is responsible for ensuring the integrity of all tissues in the body, especially these.
  • Eye Bags / Dark Circles – Often indicative of hormonal imbalances, food sensitivity and protein deficiency.
  • PMS / Hormonal – Thyroid problems can upset the delicate balance of estrogen to progesterone.

WHAT ACTIONS CAN YOU TAKE TO HELP?

While some people may need a thyroid supplement or medication there are many changes you can make with regard to your nutrition program. ‘Eat for heat’ is a popular term related to nutritional therapy for the thyroid. Eat foods that will build heat in the body. Here are some other things you can do.

1) Get adequate sunlight. If you live in a region with cold and lack of sunlight for a portion of the year, consider a Vitamin D3 supplement.

2) Women need at least 75mg of protein, more if you are strength training (eggs, fish shellfish, grass-fed beef, broth, dairy). If you are restricting animal protein, consider white potatoes (contrary to popular belief they are an adequate protein source).

3) Avoid Unsaturated Fats (PUFA). All liquid oils outside of coconut oil and olive oil (this includes flax and fish oil)

4) Emphasize saturated fats like coconut oil (one “superfood” that is not all hype). With the occasional addition of butter and ghee.

5) Eat a balanced meal or snack every 3 hours and immediately upon waking have some fruit or fruit juice.

6) Eat well-cooked vegetables, avoid raw vegetables and green juices.

7) Baby your liver. Your liver “activates” your thyroid hormones. Do this by reducing toxins, eating beets, bitter foods and artichoke. Fruit and fruit juice as snacks throughout the day also help.

8) Bone broth is all the rage and is great but a broth made with chicken or turkey necks will include thyroid hormones which can be helpful in restoring your thyroid function.

9) Eat shellfish once a week for selenium and other trace minerals that support the thyroid.

10) Eat Liver once every couple weeks. Liver is good for you liver.

11) Ensure adequate intake of salt. Salt all food too taste.

12) Visit saunas and steam rooms regularly.

13) Ensure adequate magnesium—transdermal oils, supplements, epsom salt baths all help boost magnesium levels.

14) Avoid gluten and any other foods that don’t make you feel good.

15) Sleep with socks on.

16) Include some form of dairy in your program (milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream). You should be able to tolerate one, especially the last.

17) Don’t restrict natural sugar. Eat several pieces of fruit per day and/or incorporate honey.

ADDITIONAL POINTS

  • If you are taking medication for your thyroid and something still feels off (or your temperature is still below optimal), consider talking with your doctor about a supplement that includes T4 and T3 (not just T4).
  • If you are taking a thyroid supplement you may need a higher dosage in the winter as the dark and cold can increase your requirement.
  • Just because your doctor is monitoring via blood work doesn’t mean you can’t monitor your own temperature.
  • Ask your doctor to run the following blood work in addition to TSH (Free T4 and Free T3)
  • Thyroid problems are not confined to women. Men can encounter the same issues.
  • People with thyroid problems can be over, under or average weight.
  • Nutrition can be very helpful in restoring proper thyroid function and regardless of your choice to supplement or medicate should be considered as a long-term solution.

*This article originally appeared in  HARPERSBAZAAR

KURT COBAIN

I remember the first time I heard the song “Smells like Teen Spirit”. I was almost instantly hooked on Nirvana, Kurt Cobain and all things grunge. I converted to a uniform of flannels and mohair cardigans and of course I grew my hair as long as my mother would let me. I even tried to play the guitar lefty like Kurt (I can’t even play guitar the regular way). My fascination with Kurt Cobain grew as I learned more about his childhood and path to stardom. It feels almost surreal that this year marks twenty since the world lost one of our greatest talents. In my career and life as a nutritionist and holistic health practitioner, I’ve been thinking about the health problems that plagued Kurt for most of his life. I recently dug into the closet containing boxes of posters, cds, cassettes and other memorabilia from my childhood years. As I went through the various magazines, books, and music it hit me that Kurt’s demise could have possibly been prevented. It was widely known that Kurt suffered from “an undisclosed stomach condition”. Kurt repeatedly said that the primary reason for his drug use was to blunt his stomach pain. In his suicide note he wrote “Thank you all from the pit of my burning nauseous stomach”. His drug use, namely heroine, was rooted in easing his stomach pain. As a holistic health professional and with the little information that I know about Kurt’s health condition, I believe that there were a number of things that could have been done to alleviate that constant pain – from implementing a paleo based nutrition program, to daily stress management, to a number of simple lab tests. As a purely intellectual endeavor, I will outline some of the recommendations I would have made if Kurt Cobain was my client.

SUMMARY
We know that he suffered from severe stomach pain, was frequently nauseous, suffered from depression, had chronic bronchitis, along with severe scoliosis. He used both food and drugs to sooth his pain. In a rare interview with Kurt, he talks about his stomach problems. He discusses the pain he dealt with in trying to get his meals down and the numerous drugs he tried over the years, to no avail. What I find to be the most interesting part of the interview is the fact that Kurt recognizes the need for a holistic approach; he recognizes the fact that his doctors really had no clue what was wrong with him. He realizes that they are trained to treat symptoms, mainly through the use of drugs. He mentions a new drug (probably Prilosec), which has finally helped give him some relief.  Unfortunately, we know that this provided only temporary relief and in the long-term most likely exacerbated his condition. His doctors ultimately classify his issue as an unknown stomach disorder, that is driven primarily by stress a.k.a. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It is important to note that all gastrointestinal problems that don’t fall into a particular bucket of predefined diseases (i.e. Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s) are classified as IBS. We also know that there was a wide variety of drug use, but heroine was the most successful in blunting his stomach pain, even if it was only temporary. In a 1992 letter we see further evidence that Kurt did in fact make some nutrition and lifestyle changes. In the letter he writes, “So after protein drinks, becoming a vegetarian, exercise, stopping smoking, and doctor after doctor I decided to relieve my pain with small doses of heroine for a walloping 3 whole weeks”. We will see later why this approach failed to work.

WHAT WAS REALLY WRONG WITH KURT?
With that little bit of information it is fairly clear that the “undisclosed stomach condition” was almost certainly a stomach ulcer (even though Kurt denies this in the above video). It is commonly known that dairy can have a soothing effect when ulcers are present. It is reported that strawberry quick and macaroni and cheese were two of Kurt’s favorite foods. Kurt most likely suffered from a number of other down stream digestive issues as well – dysbiosis, sibo, fungal and parasite infection, gut permeability issues (“leaky gut”) are all possibilities. In the letter above we learn that Kurt tried to become a vegetarian, but found no relief. I am not surprised as vegetables can be particularly problematic when gut health has been compromised, as the high amounts of insoluble fiber can have a “scraping” effect on the lining of the small intestine. Long standing digestive issues of this magnitude can lead to pain, inflammation, a weakened immune system, food sensitivities, vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid deficiencies, toxicity and an overall lack of vitality. His gut issues were probably a key driver in his state of depression as many of the feel good neurotransmitters are produced in the gut. His gut issues probably led to hormonal issues, adrenal insufficiency and most likely thyroid issues, which I would suspect, were autoimmune in nature. All of these issues put Kurt in a state of constant stress. I often have my clients fill out a number of questionnaires to assess their overall physiological load. The higher the score the more stressed the person and the harder it is for that person to maintain a state of balance or homeostasis.  When the body is stressed, even simple acts that should occur without much effort, can be a challenge (i.e. digestion, breathing, thinking, moving). Kurt would most likely have had an extremely high physiological load which was further exacerbated by the pressure of being a celebrity and touring musician.

This is all just speculation and even though we can garner a lot from the little we know, I was taught by my mentor Paul Chek that if you are not assessing you are guessing.  I would encourage Kurt to run a number of tests to pinpoint exactly what was going on in his body. Below are some of the tests that I would recommend that Kurt run and why I feel they are important.

LAB TESTING

H.Pylori – This is probably the single most important test for Kurt. As we have discussed, it is highly likely that he suffered from stomach ulcers.  It is now common knowledge that ulcers are almost always caused by a bacterial infection known as H.Pylori. Stress also plays a role, but stress in the absence of H.Pylori is not likely to lead to ulcers. It is fairly straightforward to get rid of H.Pylori, once you know you have it. A variety of herbal protocols are effective along with antibiotics. This step alone could have done “cured” Kurt.

Stomach Acid Levels: It is also highly likely that Kurt was achlorhydric, meaning he was producing little to no stomach acid. Adequate stomach acid is critical as it sets the stage for proper digestion.  Normally the stomach is a highly acidic place, so acidic that you can melt a nail. Reduced stomach acid can severely hamper digestion and lead to a number of other digestive issues. H.Pylori plays a major roll here as it can down-regulate stomach acid production. Stress can also reduce stomach acid levels and as we know, Kurt had a variety of internal and external stressors in his life.

Fungal and Parasite Infection: I would have Kurt complete a full GI Panel that looks for fungal infection, yeasts, parasites and bacterial infection. With Kurt’s poor diet, drug use, low stomach acid levels and overall stress we can be fairly certain that he had an overgrowth of pathogenic microbes in his gut. In addition, with his excessive global travel it is very likely that he was exposed to some parasites that have taken residence in his system.  Parasites are more common than most people think and you don’t necessarily have to travel abroad to get them. They are in our food, water and in our soil. In a healthy digestive system they will either be killed by our stomach acid or they will pass through our system. If you have low stomach acid and don’t have a properly functioning bowel they can hang around and make a home and rob you of nutrients and your health. P.S. if you have a dog be very careful not to swap spit.

SIBO Breath Test – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is very common, especially with people that have low stomach acid and fungal or parasite infection. Most of the bacteria in our gut is supposed to reside in the Large Intestine/Colon. For a variety of reasons this bacteria can migrate to the last section of the small intestine, an area where there is supposed to be a relatively small amount of bacteria. This can result in a variety of issues – digestive disorders, skin problems (i.e. rosacea, hives) and nutrient deficiencies are the most common.

Food Sensitivity Testing – I would choose not to run any food sensitivity testing on Kurt for two reasons. One, I am skeptical of the accuracy of most tests and two, I will be removing most common “problem” foods at the onset of the program (i.e. grains containing gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts, chocolate). In the past when I have run these tests on clients and the results come back that they are sensitive to nearly every food they eat, it can stress them out even more. Imagine telling Kurt he was sensitive to dairy and couldn’t have his Strawberry Quick  (of course I would come up with a paleo version for him as he transitions). I find it more useful to implement a customized rotation diet along with a gut healing protocol.

Blood Work – I would ask Kurt to get a full round of blood work. Here we are looking for vitamin deficiencies and other markers indicating inflammation, infection, dehydration, sub-optimal liver and kidney function, hormonal issues, etc. I would expect to see high levels of inflammation, signs of infection, very low levels of Vitamin D and Vitamin B12.  In addition, there would most likely be some thyroid issues going on as well.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – The last test I would have run on Kurt is a Hair test to measure the levels of various minerals in his body. Kurt was most likely very dehydrated and this would show here (also in the blood tests). In addition, the test measures levels of various toxic substances – mercury, aluminum, copper, arsenic to name a few.  If he was dealing with any toxicity whether it be from environmental exposure or a history of dental work (silver/amalgam fillings) that would show here. In addition there is a good chance his key detoxification pathways (liver, kidneys, bowel) were quite backed up which would further prevent the natural detoxification that our body should be doing on regular basis. High levels of heavy metals in your system can be particularly problematic when dealing with gut issues, as mercury for instance can feed certain fungi and yeast. Until you get rid of the underlying toxicity it can be very difficult to balance the gut flora. In addition, high levels of toxicity can contribute to a variety of mood disorders.

RECOMMENDATIONS
So you can tell that even without running the tests above I would have had a pretty good idea where to start with Kurt. My recommendations would revolve mainly around healing Kurt’s gut. I will give a basic outline of my program for Kurt, followed by a more detailed description.

BASIC OUTLINE OF KURT’S PROGRAM

  • Define Kurt’s goal/dream/his motivation to change.
  • Eradicate H.Pylori (if present) and introduce soothing herbs to help with pain.
  • Clean up nutrition program, remove “problem” foods and make sure Kurt is properly hydrated.
  • Daily stress management
  • Supplemental support to plug any holes, nourish and balance the body.
  • Functional Lab Testing to dial-in program and address specific issues.

*Please note that this is just a general overview.There are many nuances involved in the process, which are not possible to discuss in this sort of article.

A BIT MORE DETAIL

  • The changes that I would need Kurt to make are major changes. In my experience, lifestyle changes, the kind of changes necessary to restore optimal health are only possible if someone has a clearly defined goal or motivation to change. In my first talk with Kurt I would want to find out what would motivate him enough to make all the changes and stay focused on the program. Things usually get worse before they get better when healing from a deep-rooted health issue and I would need to make sure there was a light at the end of the tunnel that kept Kurt on track. Maybe it was his daughter, maybe it was being healthy and pain-free for the first time in many years, maybe it was wanting to make new music with Nirvana, maybe it was just wanting to hang out at his house in Washington and chill. After I figured out what would motivate Kurt enough to embark on this program I would go deeper into the program.
  • Eradicate the potential H.Pylori infection and introduce some herbs and teas that would help with pain, sooth the stomach and support digestion.  Incorporate some digestive enzymes and low doses of probiotics to further support digestion.
  • I would begin cleaning up Kurt’s nutrition program. He would probably benefit from a low carb paleo type program that included a variety of high quality nutrient dense foods. These foods would begin healing his digestive system while at the same time nourishing and detoxifying his body. Therapeutic diets such as GAPS or SCD might be helpful at some point but would be too aggressive at the onset. I would however ensure that Kurt removes gluten, dairy and a few other problem foods. Lastly, I would ensure that he is drinking enough high quality water.
  • I would also begin to incorporate some stress management with Kurt. He seemed like a chill dude but that was probably a front and/or was produced by his drug use. I would want to figure out a natural way for Kurt to become more parasympathetic in nature.  As a musician and artist he was probably naturally parasympathetic but his health issues and lifestyle shifted him into a sympathetic state, which he medicated with drugs. I would introduce him to some form of stress management and/or light exercise. Not saying I would ask him to do yoga or Taichi but I would find a stress reduction exercise that worked for him.
  • At some point during the process I would begin incorporating supplements which would help restore proper digestive function, digestive enzymes, Betaine HCL, swedish bitters and other nutrients which support proper digestive function (i.e. Zinc). Some targeted supplementation would also be helpful here to address any nutrient deficiencies (b12, Vitamin D, etc.)
  • After Kurt started feeling a little better from eating nutrient dense foods, being properly hydrated, and some stress management activities, I would take the necessary steps to address the harder to remove issues that he might be dealing with – Candida, Parasites, Bacterial Overgrowth. This would be done with mostly herbal remedies but in certain instances I would recommend Kurt see his medical doctor about an antibiotic. This process would also involve re-introducing good bacteria into the gut (prebiotics and probiotics). He would need some fairly large doses of probiotics.

In summary, I hope I have highlighted that a holistic approach – one that incorporated nutrition, gut healing, stress management and some simple lab tests could have lead to the permanent “cure” that Kurt spent most of his life looking for. One can only wonder what Kurt would be doing now if he had hooked up with a holistic health practitioner and incorporated even a few of the suggestions above. Just to be clear, I did not know Kurt (I wish I did), I did very little real research on his health condition (a few minutes of googling) and I am not a doctor. These are merely recommendations based on my training, research and experience in dealing with similar issues in both myself and others. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

THE MOST IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS

All living things need nutrition. Plants get nutrition from the soil, animals get nutrition from plants and (other animals). most humans get nutrition from plants and animals. This is often referred to as the wheel of life. Each phase feeds the next and the cycle repeats itself. When talking about nutrition there are two main groups of nutrients – Macronutrients and Micronutrients. Macronutrients include protein, fat and carbohydrates. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. Most diets are built around three basic ideas.

ONE | Calorie restriction

TWO | Adjusting the ratio of different macronutrients (low carb, low fat, high protein, high carb or some set ratio, etc.)

THREE | Restricting or eliminating certain foods or food groups (vegetarian, vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, raw, no fruit, fruit-only, etc.)

The belief is that by playing with some or all of the above you will lose weight and feel better. While this may or may not work, an often overlooked component of constructing a nutrition program that will help you reach your goals (especially weight loss) is ensuring that you are getting all of the necessary micronutrients you need. Unfortunately, many people following the approaches above may see results initially, but this is later followed by stalled progress, that is often coupled with hormonal imbalances. Research shows that micronutrient deficiency could be a major driver in this pattern. According to USDA published statistics, more than 96 percent of Americans are not reaching adequate intakes of micronutrients from food alone, based on the government’s average requirement standard. If this is more info than you want you can see an abbreviated version of this article on HARPERSBAZAAR Check it out.

Mira Calton – Co-Author of the Micronutrient Miracle states – “Women have been told for years to count calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein to get to that ideal weight. However, we know there was a big piece of the puzzle that was missing. Science has now shown us that micronutrient sufficiency may be equally if not more important to achieve ideal body weight and healthy aging”. Mira speaks from experience as she was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis at the age of 30 and was able to reverse entirely in 2 years using the micronutrient therapies discussed in her book.

In the modern era, glaring nutrient deficiencies such as scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (severe Vitamin D deficiency) are not common, yet subtle deficiencies across a wide array of nutrients have been show to be a major driver in many health problems. The vast majority of diseases are not infectious or genetic they are degenerative and build over long periods of time, often the result of micronutrient deficiencies.

Robert H. Fletcher, MD, MSc, and Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, writers of the guidelines for the Journal of the American Medical Asso- ciation: “Insufficient vitamin intake is apparently a cause of chronic diseases. Recent evidence has shown that suboptimal [below standard] levels of vitamins, even well above those causing deficiency syndromes, are risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. A large proportion of the general population is apparently at increased risk for this reason.”

WHY MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY IS SO COMMON

PROCESSED FOOD | The standard american diet (SAD) is notoriously nutrient poor. Processed and refined items, artificial sweeteners are all lacking in key nutrients. Often times processed items are so nutrient “poor” that they need to be fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals.

RESTRICTIVE DIETS | Many people are following what they believe to be healthy diets when in fact they are restricting foods which are notoriously nutrient rich

LOW QUALITY FOOD | Soil that has been depleted due to commercial farming makes for plants that will contain less nutrients. Additionally, animals that are fed grains and other items that they are not supposed to be eating will produce less nutrient dense meat, milk, eggs, etc. (Compare the color of an egg yolk from farm raised chicken vs. that of a commercially raised chicken, that deep orange means more nutrients). Additionally, organic foods have been shown to contain significantly more nutrients when compared to non-organic items.

STRESS | Stress of any kind means that your body will demand more nutrients to function properly. Bears hibernate because it reduces their nutrient requirements. Humans don’t hibernate. In fact many humans overtrain and under eat, which may impact your body weight, but often at the expense of your health. See any number of celebrities who were required to lose drastic weight for a role and the ensuing hormonal problems they encountered.

TOXINS | Toxins can deplete nutrients in your body and increase your requirement for certain nutrients. Toxins are present in the environment, in low quality food and water, in many personal hygiene and cleaning products.

MEDICATIONS | Numerous medications impact your nutrient requirements. For example, those taking statins for cholesterol imbalances are often advised to take CoQ10. There are numerous other examples.

DIGESTION | Even in the presence of an overall nutrient dense diet, if you can’t digest, absorb and assimilate the food you are eating you will likely encounter nutrient deficiencies. Overuse of antibiotics, overconsumption of processed foods, general stress, alcohol and not being mindful when you eat, can all impact your ability to absorb nutrients from your meal.

 HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A DEFICIENCY

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY | Your body gives you all sorts of valuable information. Deficiencies can often present as a specific outward manifestation, i.e. skin problems, especially that rough skin behind the arms (keratosis pilaris) is often the result of a deficiency in Vitamin A. It is no secret that Vitamin A helps the skin as it is used in various skin treatments (both over the counter and prescription). The link between certain B-vitamins and hair quality is well-known, woman taking pre-natal type supplements often experience noticeable changes in hair growth and quality. If something seems off in your body, consider a micronutrient deficiency.

THE MICRONUTRIENT MIRACLE | This excellent book by Mira and Jayson Calton gives a step-by-step plan for addressing micronutrient deficiency with food and lifestyle changes. They also provide far greater detail than I was able to provide in this article. With your help they intend to start a “micronutrient movement” and to help you get started they are providing (for a limited time) $200 worth of gift certificates towards nutrient dense food sourcing. Details  HERE

BLOOD TESTING | There are some basic and more advanced tests which can tell you if you are deficient in certain micronutrients. The standard blood tests that you will often receive is for Vitamin D, but there are numerous other tests available that can provide a greater level of clarity. Remember it is not about one single nutrient, it is about ensuring you are meeting all of your micronutrient needs. Talk with your healthcare professional.

TIPS YOU CAN IMPLEMENT NOW

  • Eat a wide variety of “Real” Food and avoid processed and refined items.
  • Don’t become dogmatic in your approach to nutrition as chances are you will be missing out on some key nutrients.
  • Limit your exposure to toxins.
  • Manage Stress.
  • Optimize Digestion

    MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY EXAMPLES
     
  • Acne – Vitamin A, B Vitamins, C, E, Zinc
  • PMS – B6, C, E, Magnesium, Zinc
  • Varicose veins – C, E, Copper
  • Osteoporosis – A, B9, B12, D, K, calcium, Magnesium

SIGNS OF MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY

Per the narrative above, nutrient deficiency likely plays a role in many common health problems. Rather than listing all of the possible issues, I would suggest that if you are experiencing any health issues, you should see your doctor, but you should also consider addressing any possible nutrient deficiencies through food and lifestyle. I have seen personally and professional the powerful and therapeutic affect nutrition and lifestyle changes can have on the body and mind. Nutrition is a lot more than counting calories, playing with macronutrient ratios and restricting certain foods. Micronutrients play a major role in ensuring that can you look and feel the way you want for years to come.

SOURCES
1. The Micronutrient Miracle by Jayson Calton and Mira Calton
2.K. M. Fairfield and R. H. Fletcher, “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Scientific Review,” Journal of the American Medical Association 2002.

VITAMIN K2

It is rare that I would write an article about a single nutrient, but there is one that I believe to be a game changer and needs to be brought in to the public eye—the Vitamin K2. The human body needs a variety of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids) to function properly. When you are deficient in a particular nutrient, health problems generally arise. Since the human body is remarkably resilient it can take years to see any outright “symptoms” of a particular nutrient deficiency. These symptoms generally involve not feeling as good as you used to, changes in skin quality, low energy, hormonal imbalances, joint pain, digestive issues, the list goes on.

What is interesting about Vitamin K2 is that it was not until 1997 that researchers figured out the important role it plays in the human body (imagine all the other things we don’t know). While many people are familiar with Vitamin K1 (present in leafy greens such as kale and spinach and plays a role in blood clotting) most have never heard of Vitamin K2. Simply put, Vitamin K2 plays a critical role in directing calcium where it belongs and away from where it doesn’t belong. It does this through it’s interaction with a few other nutrients, namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

WHY IS K2 SO IMPORTANT?
Vitamin K2 is involved in numerous functions in the human body but is especially important for women. Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, says:

“For the prevention of everything from wrinkles to cancer, Vitamin K2 is the missing nutrient for women’s health. Most women don’t need a calcium supplement, but Vitamin K2 will channel dietary calcium to the right places. And everyone is taking Vitamin D, but without K2 we’re not getting all the benefits of Vitamin D, and even risking harm from it.”

BONE HEALTH
While most associate calcium with bone health the fact of the matter is that calcium (particularly supplemental calcium) plays a very insignificant role in ensuring adequate bone density and Vitamin K2 plays a very strong role. Vitamin K2 does this via its relationship with two other key nutrients, Vitamin A (Retinol not Beta-Carotene) and Vitamin D.

DENTAL HEALTH
Look no further than Dr. Weston A. Price in understanding the importance of Vitamin K2 for ensuring proper dental health. His research showed that dental decay, tooth sensitivity and other issues can be addressed naturally, simply by ensuring adequate K2 in the diet. He found remarkable dental health (and overall health) in indigenous tribes throughout the world. These peoples had straight, cavity free teeth and rarely brushed. Their diet was very high in K2 and the other fat soluble nutrients (A and D)

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
For years we believed that clogged arteries were the results of saturated fat. We now know that this is not true. While there are many layers to cardiovascular disease the real culprit might be a lack of Vitamin K2 in the diet. Those blockages in your arteries are mostly calcium. Vitamin K2 keeps calcium out of your arteries and in your bones, where it

WRINKLES
Consider regions of the world that have a high vitamin K2 intake and you will find people who look considerably young for their age (i.e. Tokyo – where Natto, the richest food source of Vitamin K2 is consumed regularly). There is also a strong correlation between early signs of aging (wrinkles, loose skin) and low bone

HEALTHY VEINS
Varicose veins are technically a disease of the cardiovascular system and like the related section above, involve calcium being deposited where it doesn’t belong. This can lead to veins that have lost their integrity and are more susceptible to bulging.

WHERE TO GET IT?
Food sources of a particular nutrient are always best, however it can be a challenge with Vitamin K2 since the foods with the highest concentrations are rather obscure and not commonly consumed (see list below). That being said you can supplement with Vitamin K2. I would probably argue that Vitamin K2 is the single most important nutrient you should be including in your supplement routine (with Magnesium a close second) There are some nuances in supplementing with Vitamin K2, for more details on the topic check out source 1 below.

THE FOODS HIGHEST IN VITAMIN K2

  • Natto (fermented soybeans)
  • Goose Liver (and other liver)
  • Dairy products from animals that are eating fast growing spring grass (milk, butter, ghee).
  • Cheeses – Gouda and Brie have the highest concentration but any cheese from a grass-fed animal will have Vitamin K2. Consider having some fruit and cheese as a snack.
  • Egg yolks from a pasture raised chicken also contain K2. Eat 2-3 egg yolks a day.
  • WHY IS DEFICIENCY SO COMMON?

It is a nutrient that is not present in high concentrations in many commonly consumed foods.
The increased consumption of processed foods and a departure away from eating traditional foods (which are notoriously nutrient dense – nose to tail eating, grass-fed dairy, fermented foods, animal fats, etc.).

Sources
1. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue
2. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – Dr. Weston A. Price

*This article originally appeared in  HARPERSBAZAAR

ORANGE JUICE

When I walk into most juice shops, I see a wall of green juices. But my eyes light up when I locate that golden nugget—a fresh squeezed organic orange juice. I spent years avoiding orange juice and downing expensive green juices. Did my health get better? Probably not—I would actually say that I noticed some negative things happening, from changes in skin quality to lower energy levels and a lower body temperature (which is indicative of an inefficient metabolism and general hormonal imbalances). As I began to incorporate orange juice back into my program, many of these issues went away. When I mentioned to a few clients that they should drink a little bit of orange juice, they looked at me like I asked them to drink poison. So what is the common conception about orange juice? Here is what I commonly hear: it has too much sugar so it will cause weight gain, it causes heartburn, it will cause a blood sugar spike which will lead to insulin sensitivity and we should consume only complex carbohydrates (orange juice is a simple carbohydrate). I have found many of these things to be false. I will touch on some of this below and also some of the benefits of incorporating orange juice into your program.

ONE
Orange juice can have a balancing impact on your blood sugar levels. The level of sugar (glucose) in our blood is most frequently altered by things we eat (or don’t eat). However, stress can also impact blood-sugar levels. The level at which a particular food impacts our blood sugar can be measured.

According to the American Diabetic Society, “The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health.”

So from this we can gather that we should limit foods that are high on the glycemic index and emphasize low and medium glycemic index foods. What many fail to realize is that orange juice and most fruit is low on this scale and that many commonly-consumed foods such as breads, cereals, muffins and pastas are very high on the scale. Another reason that the gluten-free diet may benefit people who don’t have a problem with gluten is that by excluding many high-GI foods, they experience more stable blood sugar levels. This can ultimately lead to an increase in overall health and weight loss.

TWO
Orange juice is loaded with nutrients. We all know that orange juice is loaded with vitamin C, but many forget the importance of this nutrient in boosting the immune system and serving as an antioxidant. In addition, many disregard the ability of food to provide us with nutrients. Many choose to pop vitamin C pills/powders when they could have a nice glass of orange juice. Orange juice also contains several B vitamins along with minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Last, and possibly most importantly, certain kinds of orange juice will contain the flavonoids—naringenin and hesperedin. These compounds serve as powerful antioxidants in the body and have been shown to play a role in slowing the aging process and reducing inflammation in the body.

THREE
Orange juice is an excellent way to balance our hormones. Often, low-carbohydrate diets, particularly diets that are low in fruit, can lead to a broken hormonal system. The addition of a few ounces of orange juice upon waking can replenish your glycogen (stored glucose in your liver) and kickstart the production of the all-important active thyroid hormone (T3). Without adequate glycogen this process can’t happen (this is one of the reasons why you might have an extra chill in the morning). Instead of your morning lemon water, consider adding a few ounces of orange juice. Take it up a notch by adding a pinch of sea salt. This same drink can also be very beneficial as an electrolyte beverage. I often tell people to “eat for heat” and orange juice is a great way to build heat in the body.

FOUR
Orange juice is an easily-digestible carbohydrate source. Many people with digestive issues struggle to digest starches. This would include “bad” starches such as breads, cereals and pasta and even “good” starches such as rice, potatoes and squash. For such people, a small glass of orange juice with a balanced meal can be a great way to flood the body with an easily-accessible energy source that will give your digestive system time to heal. Many “gut”-healing protocols incorporate this idea.

TIPS

  • If orange juice gives you heartburn, consider the source. A fresh squeezed juice from a local juice shop as opposed to a store-bought juice can make a big difference in terms of your ability to digest. Many times the heartburn is a result of the processing process that take place in large manufacturing facilities.
  • Watermelon juice also has many benefits.
  • If you have been following a low sugar diet, consider starting very slow—a few ounces a day and work your way up to a glass or two.
  • Consume your orange juice with a protein source. It will help you utilize your protein more efficiently (i.e. eggs and orange juice).
  • For those with anemia, a glass of orange juice can increase iron absorption when consumed at the same time as a food high in iron (i.e. grass-fed beef and a glass of orange juice).

NOTE:

Orange Juice can increase your body temperature, which often means a more efficient metabolism. Green Juice on the other hand can decrease your body temperature. In some clinical settings a remedy for HYPER-thyroidism (where your body temp might be higher than normal) is a good old green juice, especially one that includes cabbage.This can decrease your body temperature rather rapidly. A green juice every once and a while is fine, but I don’t think it should be a daily component for most people.

*This article originally appeared in  HARPERSBAZAAR

GUIDE TO HEALTHY SKIN

Everyone wants great skin; some people have it naturally, and others have to work really hard to maintain a clear complexion. While topical remedies or a “detox diet” might bring you temporary relief, chances are the issues will resurface—often at the worst time. Skin problems are usually linked to four primary areas—digestive dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies or toxicity. I will tell you a little about each and then give you some tips.

DIGESTIVE DYSFUNCTION
The link between the digestive system (the gut) and the skin has become well-known. Antibiotics are often used to treat skin problems—and may clear up your skin even if you take them for another ailment. This is because the antibiotics kill the bacteria that live in your digestive system. The problem is that the antibiotics are killing both “good” and “bad” bacteria. The bad bacteria tend to be a major component of many skin issues and until you naturally balance them them through food and lifestyle choices, it will be difficult to maintain a clear complexion.

HORMONAL IMBALANCES
Males and females all have the same hormones, just in different ratios. Small changes in hormone levels can cause major changes in how you look and feel. The link between hormones and skin problems is most commonly seen in adolescents going through puberty, supplementation with anabolic steroids, hormone replacement therapy in females and thyroid supplements. The hormonal system (endocrine system) is quite complex and when thrown out of balance from poor food choices, stress, toxicity and supplementation, skin problems can arise.

NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
Your body requires numerous nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids) to function properly. When you are deficient in a particular nutrient, problems will occur and many times these present as skin issues. Nutrient deficiencies can arise from a broken digestive system and nutrient deficiencies can lead to an imbalanced hormonal system—you see how this is all related. The body is a system of systems.

TOXICITY
We are exposed to toxins all day long—breathing air while walking to work, drinking a cup of coffee, taking a shower, using body lotion. Oh, and “bad” bacteria I mentioned earlier, they produce toxins as well. Fortunately, our body has a number of natural mechanisms for getting rid of these toxins (the liver, kidneys, bowel, lungs, skin). Unfortunately, you often get a double whammy—a clogged up liver (for instance) and a body overburdened by toxins. This often leads to toxins in the body that often escape via the skin. Just to bring this full circle, organs like the liver require certain nutrients to function properly so a nutrient deficiency brought about by poor digestion can lead to a poorly functioning liver which will lead to a toxic backup and hormonal imbalances.

So how do you counteract these four issues? Here are 11 THINGS YOU CAN DO to keep your complexion clear. (Please note, some people can see results by doing a few things on this list, others will need to do all of them).

ONE
Avoid any food that causes digestive discomfort, headaches, low energy and/or joint pain. You most likely have a sensitivity to these foods and they are setting off a chain of events that will lead to skin problems (common culprits: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, beans, excess fiber, too much raw food, fermented foods, food stabilizers like carageenan and guar gum).

TWO
Avoid high fiber foods and stop taking fiber supplements. They can cause digestive inflammation and can feed those bad bacteria I mentioned earlier. Eating two raw carrots a day (between meals) gives you all the fiber you need and carrots can help mop up any residual toxins in your digestive system (this is very powerful and carrots alone might help).

THREE
Avoid PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids). These fats acts as prooxidants (the opposite of antioxidants) and can stress various systems in your body (vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, safflower seed oil, any other “seed” oils). The only oils you should be consuming are olive oil and coconut oil.

FOUR
Dairy/Sugar: Providing you don’t have an issue with dairy, consume organic milk regularly (raw if legal in your state) along with pulp-free orange juice. For those of you trying to starve Candida (a common fungal infection linked to skin issues), it generally doesn’t work and the skin problems are probably not a “die-off” reaction. I have seen milk and added sugar (from fruit juice) clear my clients’ complexion overnight. Milk and orange juice both contain valuable skin and health boosting nutrients.

FIVE
Consider a low-starch diet (not low carbohydrate). The two main carbohydrate sources are Starch and Sugar. Starches can be quite difficult to digest—consider replacing your starches with fruit and fruit juice.

SIX
Thyroid/Estrogen/Hormones: Ensure adequate thyroid function. The thyroid is called the master gland for a reason and plays a major role in skin health and metabolic function. Balance your hormones, particularly estrogen. Excess estrogen is a very common problem, from the use of birth control to the estrogen-boosting chemicals in our environment (i.e. plastic). Raw carrots combined with an overall nutrient-dense diet can help balance your hormones.

SEVEN
Don’t let you blood sugar drop. When you skip meals and get that shaky feeling you are creating a stress response in the body. Stress alone can cause skin issues but this gets compounded by the fact that your body looks internally for fuel and starts breaking down your own tissues to use as energy. This process can cause the release of added toxins in the body (think about the skin issues that arose during your cleanse). It can also “slow” your metabolism and cause hormonal imbalances.

EIGHT
Work hard, rest harder. Take one day a week to restore your body (and mind). Infrared Saunas, epsom salt baths, a massage or a walk in the park can all do wonders. You may also want to consider a colon cleanse or coffee enema.

NINE
Reduce your toxic load. Eat organic food, use non-toxic personal hygiene products, stop taking most supplements (they are usually synthetic) and avoid toxic people and relationships. Consume foods that will support your liver: beets, artichoke, dandelion, bone broth, high quality protein and chicken liver.

TEN
Correct any nutrient deficiencies by eating nutrient-dense foods. Most people have nutrient deficiencies, but especially those on restrictive (dogmatic) diets. Nutrient deficiencies will impair your detoxification and hormonal system. Common deficiencies related to skin health include A, E, K2, B-Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium, Glycine and Protein.

ELEVEN
Manage Stress/Get Sleep. You have that important event coming up and you get a blemish. The body-mind connection cannot be denied. Stress is not going to go away, so manage the stress you can control, eat nutrient-dense food and incorporate stress management activities regularly—these will help your body adapt to stress more efficiently. Lastly, your body repairs itself while you sleep, so get as much as you can. This is more powerful than nutrition and exercise, in my opinion.

*This article originally appeared in  HARPERSBAZAAR

FOOD DIARY

Given my body style and the type of metabolism I have, I tend to require more carbohydrates than most people. That being said, most people under-eat carbs (and fruit in general) for fear of weight gain, when really it is processed carbs that are the main culprits. Fruit is one of the most efficient and easily digestible carb sources and has a number of metabolism boosting properties.

All of my food is organic, wild, free-range, grass-fed—and of the highest quality I can source. I am fortunate enough to have access to a biodynamic farm from which I source a great deal of my produce and meats. (Some might say biodynamic is a level up from organic.) It should be noted that my fruit intake shifts a bit as we enter the colder months and high quality fruit becomes harder to find. As this occurs, potatoes, rice and raw honey will make up the bulk of my carbohydrate intake. With that, on to my food diary…

WAKE
About 1 pint of mineral water with a few ounces of fresh squeezed orange juice and pinch of sea salt. A small amount of fruit juice is very beneficial for kickstarting your metabolism, plus sea salt both hydrates and sets the stage for optimal digestion that day.

MEAL ONE
2-3 whole eggs cooked in ghee, bowl of fruit, cappuccino with organic whole milk.
This is my main breakfast, but if I am short on time I’ll have a shake made with milk, raw egg, gelatin powder, sea salt, frozen raspberries and coconut oil. Dairy works well for me, so I include it regularly. On days when I am not as busy I may just have a coffee with butter or ghee, and eat my first meal around lunch (some might call this fasting, I just call it listening to my body). In general, I do much better with a full breakfast though, especially on busy days.

MEAL TWO
Chicken, tomato, cucumber salad with olive oil, 1-2 pieces of fruit.
My protein is usually leftover from the previous night’s dinner, so it varies between chicken, fish and beef. I always use fruit-like vegetables in my salads (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers) and not leafy greens. Most leafy greens have a negative impact on digestion and metabolism and so I consume them in limited amounts.

FTERNOON SNACK
Cantaloupe and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Fruit and cheese is a standard snack for me in the afternoon. On busier days I might have a shake similar to my breakfast option. Occasionally, I will have another meal here as well.

MEAL THREE
Wild Shrimp, white rice, peppers and onions.
I follow a rotation with dinners, one night will be chicken night, another night will be red meat night, another night will be fish night, another night shellfish night, another night non-meat (i.e. eggplant). This is a great way to ensure variety in your diet and expose yourself to as many nutrients as possible.

BEDTIME SNACK
Cup of bone broth and peach.
For many people, a snack before bed can promote better (and deeper) sleep—and that is certainly the case for me. I make my own batch of bone broth once a week and usually sip it like tea from a cup about an hour before bed. Most nights I will have a piece of fruit before bed, as well.

This ARTICLE originally appeared on HarpeersBazaar.com