Archive for July 2007

Supercharge Me!

July 28, 2007

Ok, admit it. You KNOW you need to eat better, right? Well, most of us do. And what did mom always tell us? “Eat your vegetables”. She was right. But I always preferred the macaroni and cheese, hamburger and ice cream. When I was 12, THAT was my idea of healthy eating.

But the older I get, I find that my tolerance for eating junk gets less and less, and that’s probably a good thing. It’s my body’s way of trying to keep me from committing suicide one french fry at a time.

Over the past few years I’ve been working to clean up my diet and things are going well. One thing I know is that the more my diet consists of raw foods, the healthier I feel. What are raw foods? Basically, anything that isn’t cooked. The concept here is that foods come with enzymes that help us digest them and extract nutrients from them, but cooking kills those enzymes and turns “living foods” into dead ones, robbing us of the nutrients and energy our foods should provide us. I can’t speak to the science of this, it’s out of my area of expertise, but this sounds reasonable to me. And the fact is, like I said above, the more raw food I eat, the better I feel.

So Ralph, one of our therapists, comes to me a few weeks ago and wants to buy some DVD called “Supercharge Me!”. He thinks it will be a great addition to the library we’re beginning to build in our clinic to loan to clients. He says it’s a movie by this gal who was intrigued by the concepts from the movie “Supersize Me” but wanted to go the opposite direction, see how healthy she could get. It was $30 or something like that so I said “sure, why not.”

it arrived and I took it home and Theresa and I watched it. Here’s my review:

Buy it. Then watch it. Then begin implementing some of these concepts.

This is a great movie that we enjoyed immensely. The woman who made it, Jenna Norwood, does a fantastic job of letting us ride along during a portion of her life where she makes some serious changes to her lifestyle. Basically, Jenna got tired of being overweight, feeling sluggish, having achy joints, just not having her body in the condition she wanted. She’d heard about the benefits of eating raw food and decided to go on a 100% raw food diet for 30 days and document both the process and the results. The subject matter sounds a bit dry, but Jenna does a fantastic job of making it not only educational but engaging and entertaining, as well. She is irresistibly likable and unflinchingly honest. The movie flew by and both my wife and I were entertained and motivated to continue down the path we’ve started.

My diet has probably been about 30% raw food. My goal now is to get that up to 80%. Will I ever go 100% raw? I don’t know. Right now, that seems extreme to me, daunting, and seriously considering it is kind of scary and demotivating. And I’m not entirely sure it’s necessary. I don’t know if we’re designed to eat ONLY raw foods, but I am pretty confident we are designed to eat PRIMARILY raw foods. Could absolutely be rationalization on my part, but there you have it. If I can get to the 80% raw number, then who knows. Once I’m there I may decide to go the rest of the way, or I may be happy at that level. I’ll let you know if and when that happens.

But in the meantime, get this movie! Jenna’s website is www.superchargeme.com. She has copies of the DVD available for pre-release and I encourage you to buy one. If you are a client of ours, we have a copy in clinic to loan out, but I strongly suggest you buy your own. You’ll be glad you did.

Now go eat your vegetables!

Technorati Tags: ,

Advertisements

Egoscue videos at RoadRunnerSports

July 24, 2007

Just got an email from Egoscue HQ. Brian Bradley (our director of therapy and certified Audi S4 aficionado) has been working with the folks over at Peak Running, writing articles for them and doing some videos. RoadRunnerSports just put a link to the videos up on their website. You can find them here.

if you are a runner and want a better feel for why you sometimes hurt when you run, if you have low back pain and want some ecises to try to help with that, or if you just want to learn more about postural health and balance, these videos are great. Brian does an excellent job, check them out!

And if you’re a runner and don’t know about RoadrunnerSports, go check them out. They carry virtually every running product known to man.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Inflammation

July 22, 2007

First, sorry for the lack of recent postings. Life happens.

OK, let’s talk about inflammation. I’ve lost track of how many clients I have who either take anti inflammatory medications chronically, or who have had injections of anti inflammatory agents directly into joint capsules. Let’s talk about this and put it into context.

Why would a joint inflame? There can be many reasons, and for this discussion we’re going to ignore systemic causes like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. We’re talking your average, run of the mill inflammation here. If a joint is not positioned properly, then as it flexes and extends and rotates, it is going to incur friction it is not normally designed to incur. The body is smart enough to sense this and knows that if the friction continues without a defense response, then the joint capsule will start to incur damage. So what does the body do? It inflames the joint. For more information on the inflammatory process, here’s a nice article from the good folks at wikipedia.

So when we’re talking about garden variety joint inflammation, a major cause is postural compromise leading to increased joint friction. In response, the body generates an inflammation response to protect the joint from physical damage. So what is happening when we take anti inflammatories? We are chemically suppressing the body’s ability to do what it is properly designed to do, and we are stripping away a primary defense mechanism of the joint.

I hear this a LOT: “my knee/elbow/wrist/whatever hurt, I had a cortisone injection and it felt a lot better for about 6 months, but then the pain came back and now it’s worse than it was before the shot.”

ya think?

What happened here is they had a posture problem that put the joint into some jeopardy. The body responded to protect the joint and the person responded by chemically suppressing that protection response. They FEEL better, but ARE they better? No, and that’s the critical difference to understand. The underlying problem that is causing the inflammation is still present doing its damage, but now they can’t feel it because they’ve chemically short-circuited that process. Then when the chemical suppression wears off, they find out that, gee, the joint hurts more. That’s because the joint is physically degrading during that time. You feel better so you resume doing things that used to make it hurt, only now your body doesn’t send a pain signal to tell you the joint is being damaged. It’s like you are driving your car and the engine oil light comes on and your response is to take out the fuse that displays the light so you don’t have to see the warning any more. And you keep driving your car and a few weeks or months later profess amazement when the engine seizes up because it’s out of oil.

Let’s stop trying to defeat our own bodies. Let’s stop trying to prevent our bodies from behaving precisely as they are intended. Instead, let’s listen to our bodies, hear what they are saying, and then respond intelligently. Let’s stop treating symptom and start addressing root causes. If you have a joint that is inflaming, a very reasonable question to ask is “is this joint in its proper position or has its position become compromised?” Look at yourself in a mirror. Let’s say it’s your right knee that is the problem. Stand and face a mirror wearing shorts. Compare the position of your right and left knees. Do they look the same. Are they both pointing straight ahead or is one pointing to the side? Do they point the same direction as your feet, or different? Do they line up directly under your hips or inside or outside of that line? How about the hips? Is one higher than the other? Is one closer to the mirror than the other? Same questions about your shoulders.

If you need help with this analysis, Egoscue can help. Get in to a clinic, or find an affiliate in your area (an affiliate is a student who has received some level of certification in Egoscue training), or use the online therapy program. There are a lot of options here in assessing your postural health. If you aren’t sure if your problem could be posture-related, email the Egoscue clinic nearest you and ask. They will be happy to take time to answer your questions by email or phone.

Technorati Tags: ,

A book you HAVE to read

July 2, 2007

So Ralph (one of the therapists in our clinic) and I were traveling to Dallas last week to do a travel clinic. We listened to an audiobook on the way up and back that just blew me away. I’m going to be adding the book to my collection and I STRONGLY recommend this book to everyone who is interested in their health and learning more about how their bodies really work. It’s called “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton, PhD. You can see it here at amazon.com.

It would be difficult for me to summarize the book in a few paragraphs, especially since this subject matter is WAY outside my technical area of expertise, but here’s the short version. You know how we keep hearing that genes have a major impact on our health, how our DNA determines our risk of certain diseases, cancers, etc…, and that our genetic makeup essentially predisposes us to certain physical realities?

According to Lipton, this is NOT how DNA works. DNA does not determine our health. We determine what happens to our DNA. He makes a compelling case that the way we interact with our environment, the way we perceive reality, the thoughts we internalize and express, these shape and mold our DNA. This is a VERY exciting and liberating premise because if true, that means our health is not at the mercy of some genetic roll of the dice. Do you have a genetic predisposition (as evidenced by family history) for breast cancer? You can change that.

Interestingly, I’m going through the NY Times health section and what do I see today but an article on DNA that asserts that, gee, perhaps everything the Human Genome Project was asserting about how DNA impacts our health, how it controls the proteins that control our health, that these views and beliefs are fundamentally flawed. The mainstream scientific community, it appears, is catching up with Mr Lipton. Here’s an excerpt from the article (which you can find here):

Last month, a consortium of scientists published findings that challenge the traditional view of how genes function. The exhaustive four-year effort was organized by the United States National Human Genome Research Institute and carried out by 35 groups from 80 organizations around the world. To their surprise, researchers found that the human genome might not be a “tidy collection of independent genes” after all, with each sequence of DNA linked to a single function, such as a predisposition to diabetes or heart disease.

Instead, genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood. According to the institute, these findings will challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”

Lipton asserted precisely this fact in his book, but goes WAY beyond what this article discusses. I view this book as one of the most important books on health I’ve ever read, and I encourage all of you to read it, then come back and let us know what you think.

Technorati Tags: