At the beginning of our Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE) coaching sessions, Alison was a 64-year-old woman who weighed 235 pounds and wore a size 3x. A former businesswoman turned professional meditation practitioner, Alison’s obesity began as a teenager. She had tried many “diets-du-jour” over the decades. Each time she would lose some weight—sometimes a lot; then she would return to her preferred “go-to” foods and gain back the weight…
The incidence rate of type 2 diabetes has been increasing in the United States for the past 40 years. In fact, the American Diabetes Association estimates that at least half of all US adults (over 65 million people) have pre-diabetes or full-blown diabetes. It is often underreported on death certificates, and is probably the third leading cause of premature death in the US.
So why is there such an increase in diabetes in this country? The biggest reason is diet.
From a young age, children are eating processed food. When they enter school – lunchrooms in many school districts are sponsored with food from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Coca Cola. In college – most dorm food is also like fast food, and they can eat as much as they want. That and their foray into alcohol, and we have the beginnings of obesity, insulin resistance, and pancreatic damage. The very concept of type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult diabetes”. Since many teenagers are now diagnosed, it’s now time to change the name.
One would say that if diabetes is a disease of the foods that you eat, then simply change the foods you eat. Not that simple. Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you become a ward of the medical system. Doctors will perform a lot of tests, take blood, and prescribe both insulin and drugs to mimic the glucose-lowering effects of the body, and many spend a minimal amount of time counseling on the right type of diet for your needs.
There are, in fact, many good diets to lower blood sugar, like the well-known Keto diet, which emphasizes higher fats and low carbohydrates. This is something that doctors have been prescribing in one form or another since the Atkins diet in the 1960s. What about vegetarian and vegan diets? If you ask Dr. John McDougall, one of the nation’s leading plant-based doctors, he would advocate that a diet higher in plant-based carbohydrates is better for the body than high amounts of meat and cooking oils.
Both may have a point, but if you look at the food choices that most Americans have, they walk into a grocery store, and if they’re not savvy enough to shop on the outside isles (fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses), they are trapped in an endless cycle of boxed cereals, candy bars, frozen foods, soft drinks and alcohol. It is almost impossible to go to a store and not pick up about 50-75% of food from a box, bucket or bottle. Many still haven’t put two and two together — that the foods they eat now will have an effect on their physiology and medical status in 5-20 years.
So what’s missing? I have been in an interesting position of working in diabetes research in the 1980s, and watching from the sidelines the work, research, and policy in this area of medical care for the past 30 years. Here are my thoughts.
First, although exercise is touted as part of the trilogy of treatment for diabetes (along with diet and insulin), it is the first to be discarded for another type of treatment that is expedient and profitable.
Second, there are little, if any, referrals to the health club sector in order to work on basic exercise programs for persons with diabetes. Even moderate types of programming will results in dramatic drops in body weight (and fat), daily blood sugars, and A1c levels. It simply is not being done. Many in allied health scream that personal trainers and fitness instructors are not qualified to teach exercise programs for diabetes. With the advent of medical fitness over the past 20 years, this simply isn’t the case today. I would think that having a mechanism to get patients into health clubs through their health plan, or Medicare, or a revolving door policy with their physician group, would be an outstanding way to get more patients into the exercise routine.
Third, people who work in the fitness industry should be looking very carefully in getting diabetic persons into their facilities in their communities. This takes an effort with health club trainers, club managers and company owners to reach out to the medical community through health programs, lectures, fairs and membership discounts in order to get patients in the door. It may even entail home exercise visits, or online coaching where patients are taught programs, and keep their exercise routines times and exercise notes.
Lastly, the fitness industry needs to move into the technology realm and look at the effects of exercise on patients both over 3-4 weeks, but also 3-4 years. This will be done through outcomes-based software programs that can be detailed to physicians, health plans, and sports medicine journals. Once the majority of medical fitness centers and health clubs are on board, we will see a changing of the guard in terms of what Americans think is the best type of treatment program to reduce diabetes symptoms, and look at the data of how people exercise, and how many of their health risks are being reduced by a challenging and consistent exercise program. This can be done at any age, and at almost every state of diabetes — whether they are newly diagnosed, or have basic complications that they are dealing with regarding long-standing diabetes.
It is time to embrace exercise as part of a diabetes prevention and reduction strategy. If not, in 20 years we will probably see the epidemic at such a high level, that a good portion of Americans will not be able to work due to their complications. The costs to society will be even higher than they are now. It’s a risk we don’t need to take, because of the untapped market of over 31,000 health clubs in the US, there is virtually no reason not to engage in exercise. It would seem that our nation’s health depends on our next steps – literally.
Eric Durak is President of MedHealthFit – a health care education and consulting company in Santa Barbara, CA. A 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry, he has worked in health clubs, medical research, continuing education, and business development. Among his programs include The Cancer Fit-CARE Program, Exercise Medicine, The Insurance Reimbursement Guide, and Wellness @ Home Series for home care wellness.
With the recent rising health concerns and increasing awareness for the benefits of organic produce, organic products have become more popular in recent years, especially considering the ongoing battle with obesity and diabetes faced by a large population of the United States. There are so many benefits to choosing organic products.
What does organic actually mean?
Organic products are grown under a natural agricultural system without the influence of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals (1). The regulations vary from country to country, but generally speaking, organic farming means growing crops without the use of any synthetic pesticides, GMOs, and certain toxic fertilizers; for raising livestock for meat, eggs, or dairy, the livestock must be fed organic products, have regular access to natural outdoor areas, and they cannot be given any growth hormones or antibiotics.
Monocropping is the term for planting a single crop type in a large area of farmland, which is a widely used technique in non-organic agriculture. This leaves this crop very vulnerable to being quickly wiped out by a bug or a disease. Consequently, farmers must spray chemicals to kill these diseases/bugs, filling the crop with these toxins which are not designed for human consumption.
Organic farmers practice planting a variety of different crops in one area to attract a range of bugs and other wildlife, which will naturally keep the plants healthy.
Norma Brault, a food blogger at Big Assignments and Research Papers(2), states “Herbicides and pesticides aren’t able to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ insects, so simply wipe out everything but the crop. Organic farming practices do not use these toxins, so they don’t negatively affect biodiversity and promote healthy growing techniques to maintain the living organisms the crops need to grow and keep the soil healthy and rich in nutrients.”
Pesticides, Insecticides, Fungicides, Herbicides…
Such toxic chemicals are commonly used in more conventional, non-organic agriculture and can end up being ingested when we eat these foods. The residues of these chemicals end up in the food we eat.
Organic farming is unquestionably better for the environment, by reducing pollution, energy usage, water usage, and soil erosion, and increasing soil health and fertility.
Local food production and markets are also better for the environment by reducing emissions and unnecessary plastic packaging.
Organic agricultural techniques don’t harm the community surrounding the farmland, it keeps harmful toxins out of the air, the soil, and even the drinking water – protecting the farmers, local people, and wildlife.
These chemicals will even end up in the ocean (3) – as everything eventually does – whether by leaking through the soil into aquifers, blowing into nearby bodies of water, or running off into the sea in the rain, and can be damaging to ocean life.
Keeping Livestock Healthy and Happy
Livestock raised organically are never given animal byproducts, growth hormones, or antibiotics, which keeps them much healthier and happier and at lower risk of diseases and infections. They are also given plenty of space to roam outdoors.
David Green, a health writer at Boomessays and Studydemic (4), says “It’s well-known that the meat of stressed animals tastes worse – organic practices ensure the meat tastes as best it can, since the livestock is well taken care of.” The same also applies to crops! Healthy, happy crops will taste better than monocropped, herbicide-filled crops.
Better Tasting Food!
Organic farming produces food that is richer in nutrients, so it is much better for your health and wellbeing. The soil is nutrient-rich as a result of sustainable farming practices, while farmers are forced to spray chemicals on crops in non-organic agriculture, since the soil is not naturally being replenished.
There are countless benefits to organic produce, helping improve the health of the earth, the sea, drinking water, local wildlife, the environment, farmers, local communities, and you and your family. By choosing to eat organically produced and certified organic food products, you are actively choosing to help keep the world healthy.
Do you long to look and feel younger by the day? Are you searching for non-invasive ways to turn back the hands of time and prolong the onset of disease? You are not alone!
The research is in! Practicing repetitive facial movements and…
A regular exercise routine has become a way of life for many women, and many choose to continue their exercise routines when they become pregnant. Research in the field of maternal fitness has shown that exercise during a non-complicated pregnancy is healthy for both mom and baby and may help prevent or reduce some of the physical problems associated with pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Although exercise is a positive addition to a healthy pregnancy, there are established guidelines that help ensure that a woman’s exercise program is safe and effective. First and foremost, it is important for a pregnant woman to consult with her healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. She should bring a list of questions regarding her exercise program and provide an overview of what type, intensity, frequency, and duration of exercise she would like to do. This enables her healthcare provider to accurately assess whether the fitness program is appropriate for her pregnancy.
Each woman’s level of fitness and health is different, as is each pregnancy. There are several points to consider when choosing to continue a fitness program during pregnancy. Some types of exercise are more easily continued during pregnancy, and common sense, safety, and comfort all play a role in deciding whether an activity should be part of a prenatal fitness program.
Choosing the type of exercise that will be safe and effective during pregnancy can be determined by reviewing the following points:
- What activities does she enjoy or are skilled at doing?
- Does the activity pose an increased risk of falls or blunt abdominal injury?
- Is she able to do the activity without being compromised by balance and center of gravity changes?
- Can the activity be easily modified as pregnancy progresses?
- Does common sense conclude that this is a safe activity to continue during pregnancy?
Research on prenatal exercise has suggested that greater benefits are achieved by including sustained, weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, stationary stepping/elliptical machine, or dance classes in a prenatal fitness program. However, some women may not tolerate weight-bearing exercise during pregnancy and are more comfortable with non-weight bearing activities such as swimming and stationary biking.
There are several activities, such as scuba diving and water skiing, that are never safe to do during pregnancy. Other activities, such as downhill skiing, horseback riding, and sports with a chance of abdominal impact may also be too risky for most women to continue during pregnancy.
Here are a few tips for keeping a prenatal exercise routine safe:
- Pregnant women need to add 300 calories to their daily food intake to meet the needs of pregnancy. If she is physically active, she may need to increase that amount if she’s not gaining weight normally. The number of extra calories needed depends on the intensity and duration and frequency of the exercise program. It is important to drink 8-10 cups of water each day and increase that amount during hot and humid weather.
- Exercise in heat and humidity can be dangerous. It is safest to exercise in an air-conditioned facility during the summer months. If she does choose to exercise outdoors during warm weather, she should avoid the high heat times between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm and reduce intensity and duration to prevent overheating.
- She should frequently monitor herself during exercise for signs of overheating, such as dizziness, faintness, or nausea. Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to replace the fluids lost will help prevent dehydration and overheating. Hot tubs and saunas may cause core temperature to rise to unsafe levels and should be avoided.
A simple method for monitoring intensity level during prenatal exercise is to assess how hard the exercise feels. A pregnant woman should feel that her exercise level is moderate to somewhat hard. If she feels out of breath or is unable to talk (termed the “talk test”), she is working at too high a level and should decrease intensity or stop and rest. Her exercise level should feel challenging but not so difficult that she feels exhausted during and/or afterward.
Self-assessment is one of the best ways for a pregnant woman to monitor her exercise program and assure herself that her activity level is safe. A pregnant woman should review the following questions several times each month and follow up with her healthcare provider if she experiences any problems.
- Do you and your healthcare provider feel that you are gaining weight normally?
- Do you feel well physically and mentally?
- Are you able to comfortably follow your exercise program without pain, exhaustion, or problems following exercise?
- Do you experience chronic or extreme exhaustion?
- If you are at the point in pregnancy where you are consistently feeling fetal movement, have you noticed any change in the pattern or amount of your baby’s movements?
- Does your baby move at least two times within 20-30 minutes following exercise?
- Was your last abdominal fundal height measurement (a measurement of fetal growth) or ultrasound assessment within normal limits, and is your baby progressing normally at each medical check?
- Does your healthcare provider have any concern regarding the health of your pregnancy?
Pregnant women who continue a challenging level of exercise need to be aware of signs or symptoms that indicate overwork, such as an elevated resting heart rate, frequent illness, lack of weight gain, depression and chronic exhaustion. She should decrease or stop her exercise program during illness, when fatigued, under excessive stress or if experiencing any complications with her pregnancy.
Prenatal exercise should enhance pregnancy and help to make a woman’s postpartum recovery smoother. The best advice for the athletic woman who wants to continue her fitness program during pregnancy is to use common sense, listen to her body, and enjoy all the challenges and changes this incredible experience offers.
Catherine Cram started her company, Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Consulting, in order to provide current, evidence- based guidelines maternal fitness guidelines to health and fitness professionals. She was a contributing author for the textbook, Women’s Health in Physical Therapy and co-authored the revision of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy with Dr. James Clapp. Her company offers the certification course, “Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design” which provides continuing education credits for over 30 health and fitness organization, including ACSM, ACE, ICEA, and Lamaze.
The main reason to eat meat of any kind is the top quality Heme-Iron that isn’t present in plants (Non-Heme Iron).
Beef also contains a big dose of stress-reducing B vitamins as well as Zinc. Anytime we eat foods high in Zinc, our bodies produce Super Oxide Dimutase, or SOD. This is a supercharged anti-aging antioxidant! And, your body does all the work for you.
Every potential coaching client is looking to have the question ‘What’s in it for me?’answered. Every coach needs to be able to succinctly answer that question by conveying what they will provide for their client.
With most, if not all health clubs and fitness facilities closed, or in a quasi-opened state, thank God that we live in the age of technology. For many of us, being “quarantined” does not have to stop us from conducting business as usual.
We know for a fact that exercise can help boost the immune system. This should be reason enough for EVERYONE to be moving, not using this time as…
Nearly 30 years ago when I was in school, I wrote an exercise physiology paper on exercise and osteoporosis.
At that time there wasn’t much research available. But even then, the studies I found on tennis players, astronauts, and bed rest pointed in the direction that weight-bearing exercise could help maintain the bone density you have and even promote bone growth. I was intrigued. I’ve followed the research over the years and even created an osteoporosis exercise program.
In working with my clients, I often hear the question, “What’s the difference between osteoporosis and low bone mass (osteopenia)? And what can I do about it?”
Well to answer these questions, I have to start at the beginning.
Osteoporosis is a disease, which, over time, causes bones to become thinner, more porous and less able to support the body. Bones can become so thin that they break during normal, everyday activity. Osteoporosis is a major health threat. 54 Million are at risk, nearly 80% are women.
Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk because they stop producing estrogen, a major protector of bone mass.
As we age some bone loss is inevitable. Women age 65 or men age 70 should get a bone mineral density test. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or other risk factors, you may need a BMD much earlier.
The test is completely painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes. It compares your bone mineral density to that of an average healthy young person. Your results are called your T score. The difference between your score and the average young person’s T-score is called a standard deviation. (SD)
Here is how to interpret your T score:
- Between +1 and –1: normal bone density.
- Between -1 and -2.5: low bone density (osteopenia).
- T-score of -2.5 or lower: osteoporosis.
Until recently it was thought that if you had low bone mass (osteopenia) you were well on your way to getting osteoporosis. But it’s now known even at this stage bone loss can be slowed down, stopped and even reversed. You and your doctor will have a number of options depending upon your particular condition.
Many MDs like to start with a calcium and vitamin D rich diet coupled with weight-bearing exercise. For many of us, that’s all we need. Others will require medication and there are many bone-building medications available.
Remember it’s never too early to start taking care of your bones. The more bone density you have as a young person the less likely to end up with osteoporosis later in life.
EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG! May is Osteoporosis Prevention Month! It’s Never Too Late To Take Care Of Your Bones!
Mirabai Holland MFA, EP-C, CHC is one of the foremost authorities in the health and fitness industry. Her customer top rated exercise videos for Health issues like Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Diabetes & more are available mirabaiholland.com. Join her NEW Online Workout Club at movingfreewithmirabai.com. Mirabai offers one-on-on Health Coaching on Skype or Phone. Contact her at email@example.com.