Looking forward ignoring the past

We are almost one week into the new year, the new decade. And I’m checking in on how you are doing. I’m thinking things are going in either of the following directions: 1. you are embracing your new goals and the year is off onto a positive start; 2. It’s not going as you hoped it would as you are not feeling the motivation, the desire to better yourself and the drive just isn’t there.

It can be tough. It’s easy to look to the next day to kick it into gear but that day comes and it’s just not happening so the next day becomes the next day and …

Good intentions. We know what we want. We know what we need to do but the gears aren’t engaging. It’s a common thing, probably more common than most of us realize. Only the person feeling this really knows the severity of it, the toll it takes. We don’t let this side of us show to others in the fear of being judged or the fear of people looking at us as failures. And who wants to be judged like that.

This new year falls in the middle of the week and some might take that opportunity to push off their goal to the following week reasoning that the new year really starts after this weekend. If you aren’t feeling ready to embrace the change you want to than that embrace may not come. Pushing the changes you are trying to take on out each day is probably going to end up in that the changes will never come.

We measure strength as a physical attribute but I think strength is a mental attribute. Without a strong mental disposition, physical strength and prowess can almost be unattainable. It’s almost the inverse of a house. Let me explain: to have a strong house requires a solid foundation, or a solid footing (what’s under the foundation). I believe for us to have a strong body requires a strong mind. One is at the bottom underneath the structure and the other is at the top, above the structure.

Keep in tune with how you feel. Take the time to reflect and analyze where you are at. If you are having a hard time accomplishing what you have set out to do for yourself DON’T beat yourself up, but do take the time to better understand if this is just a ‘one-off’ or if it’s something that is too frequently happening. Then take care of yourself. Fix what you think might need fixing.

You are not alone. And you have friends. You have people that care about you and you will get that cut in your jib back.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

everything old is new again

It’s that time of the year. Historically, as best as I can recall, this post happens pre new year. This time it’s happening the first day of the new year. You know what’s coming, don’t you.

New

New years day

You have set yourself some goals, haven’t you. And this time the goals are gonna get done, right? I hope so since I’m sure the goals are important to you and they are something you would like to accomplish.

But how will this year be different than the previous years? I don’t know, only you know that. It’s why I’m not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions as it has become the norm that we fail at them. It’s almost habitual and it has become accepted. It’s the time of the year where fitness club owners draw in a huge amount of new members only to resign to the fact that most of them probably won’t be around 6 weeks from now.

But that’s about to change.

Why?

whatever helps

Why will it change? Because I’m going to help you change it, hopefully, let’s see. Let’s start with some pointers to help you achieve your goal(s):

      • Realistic: If the goal is not realistic it really isn’t going to happen because you have created an unattainable goal. I’m not saying it’s impossible but most people fail if their goal is not realistic. An unrealistic goal can easily get upset due to a negative influence. Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon but you haven’t been a regular runner and the marathon is 12 weeks away. To achieve this goal just on a physical training level requires running almost every day of the week. Ok, no problem, you can fit this in you tell yourself. But something happens; work, injury, unplanned travel, a life event such as losing a loved one, or you get sick, and so on. Things like these events can take you out of training for a week or longer. If a goal requires training over a 12 week period you really can’t afford to lose a week or more. You just can’t. Let’s look at this goal of running a marathon and change it to a 26 week goal. Still a lot of training but more manageable if life gets in the way.
      • Maintainable: Let’s look at a common goal people have this time of year; lose weight. What do they do? Usually, try the latest fad diet; paleo, keto, etc. ‘Diets’ are not maintainable. This is why most, the vast majority fail at them. You may be bored of me saying this but it’s as easy as changing to a whole foods plant based diet. I’m reading evidence of this all the time. And it’s maintainable for the most part. You can take pretty much any recipe and google it with adding vegan onto the end. Take out unnecessary fats, sugars, keep it whole foods as much as possible and that’s about it. Doctors have started switching their diabetic patients to this and the results are outstanding! Here’s an excerpt from the article:

…the plan is nutritionally balanced, doesn’t require patients to restrict calories and is reported to lead to normalization of blood glucose as well as an average 3kg weekly weight loss.

Did you catch that, the part that says doesn’t require patients to restrict calories? Isn’t that awesome? Eat until you are content and you lose weight. Isn’t that kind of what everyone wants? And definitely more maintainable for the vast majority of people. No calorie counting, no measuring protein/fats/carbs. Just whole foods plant based, back to basics.

      • Sub Goals: Is your goal a long term goal? Long term goals, goals that may take a few months to achieve are easy to lose sight of and can be hard to remain motivated for. If your goal is a long term goal try breaking it into more manageable sub-goals. If your goal is to increase your shoulder press by 30% in weight over 10 weeks than break this down into 3 week segments. Keep your vision on achieving your first goal at the end of 3 weeks, a 9% increase in weight. So if you are shoulder pressing using 20lb dumbbells, the end goal of increasing by 30% would mean an increase of 6lbs. then a 9% increase would be an increase of 1.8lbs approximately.  Do you get the idea? What is manageable to you might not be manageable to someone else, or they may want to break it down to smaller sub-goals. It’s up to you how you break it out into manageable pieces but the idea is to help to keep yourself motivated while you strive to reach the main goal.
      • Measurable: The goal must be measurable. Try not to set goals such as I want to be stronger, I want to lose weight, I want to be faster. All of those goals are arbitrary. Try instead goals such as I want to squat n lbs, I want to lose n lbs, I want to cut n minutes off of my marathon time. Specific goals will help you to plan what you need to plan to achieve them. Specific goals and the plan to go along with it will help you to keep at it, keep working away to achieve that goal.

That’s it

I hope this helps you to achieve any resolutions you might have to become the person you want to become. I’ll give you one more thing, reward yourself. We spend too much time beating ourselves up over the negative things we do. Don’t forget to celebrate those things that make you awesome, the things that you have done to be a better version of you.

Now go out there and kill it, just like you can.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Someone’s junk is another persons…

Somethings are looked at as ugly, a nuisance, good for nothing. Take the dandelion, a weed by most people’s definition that is nothing but a pain in the ass. Having to pull the dandelions out of the ground because they offer no value and take away from your nice manicured front lawn. Yet if you are of Italian descent you might be thinking of making a nice dandelion wine from those ‘weeds’. It wasn’t until the 20th century with the invention of lawns did the dandelion get demonized. Before that grass was cleared to grow dandelions because of their medicinal and magical benefits and also a great source of food. With the need of having to have a beautiful front lawn the dandelion was doomed.

Another weed

Dandelions are bad when you have a well manicured lawn

Just recently I came across information that another ‘weed’, the duckweed (specifically the Mankai duckweed) has been shown to possibly be the only plant that has the vitamin B12 readily available in it. Water lentils, or Duckweed, is also a source of high quality protein and studies have also shown that it does very well in managing glucose levels. Sounds almost like a super food.

Controlled growing

What is Duckweed? If you have come across ponds that don’t have a lot of water movement, and it’s covered in green stuff kind of looking like tiny green lentils than you have more than likely seen Duckweed. And much like the dandelion, this is why people hate Duckweed. But hate it at your own parrel. Let’s look at some interesting facts about Duckweed:

      • Can double in just 16 hours to 2 days
      • Cost effective renewable energy as biofuel
      • Natural water filter
      • Prevents Mosquitos
      • Prevents algae growth
      • and food for humans

Pretty impresive, isn’t it. But let’s focus on the B12 vitamin aspect. If you know your B12 you might be thinking that duckweed is high in B12 because it’s been sitting on top of a pond soaking in all that bacteria. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Analysis has shown that the Duckweed’s B12 is naturally occurring, not the result of sitting on top of a pond that is bacteria laden. This is great news in that you can harvest Duckweed by growing it in controlled environments.

But think of it. A plant that contains in just 100 grams over 750% of your daily B12 requirement. THIS IS HUGE! Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with supplementing B12 but I think this might be the new response to eating a plant based diet and having to discuss B12 needs and where B12 comes from. “Where do you get your B12 from…” is one of the arguments people use when they find out you are vegan and there is a lot of misinformation out there being perpetuated endlessly. Let’s look at a frequent guess on the Joe Rogan Experience, Chris Kresser. If Joe Rogan wasn’t an honorable person in inviting one of the producers of The Game Changers onto his show to debate Chris following Chris’ ‘debunking’ of the documentary The Game Changers we would have never had heard Chris admit he was factually incorrect on his points on B12. There still is a strong belief that B12 is made by animals, which we know it isn’t, it’s a bacteria found in soil and in ponds.

A plant based, renewable source of B12, protein, and other vitamins and minerals that can double it’s volume in as quickly as 16 hours! This could be the new soy in the sense that it should be readily available and inexpensive to grow as it can be grown in a controlled environment.

Finally

I’m excited about this. A naturally occurring source of B12 and other nutrients. Who knows, maybe this is something I can grow myself and harvest my own Duckweed. It might be worth some looking into.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Free yourself from yourself

So much to do, so little time.

It’s a myth that you need an hour or more to work out. Depending on what your goals are you may not need much more than 30 minutes. And, if you are strapped for time, you could even get a good workout in in under 15 minutes.

It seems that each year free time becomes less and less. So many commitments and trying to find free time to get in that hour workout becomes even harder. Don’t let that discourage you stop you from working out.

Foster your growth

Not every workout has to be the same. It’s perfectly fine to modify your routine and reduce the amount of time if this allows you to keep exercising.

Let’s look at some things we can do if we are limited for time, limited for space, or both.

Options:

      • Burpees: Everyone hates them but burpees are almost the perfect workout. Through a pushup in there and you have a cardio and resistance training exercise all in one. Some things to remember when doing your burpees: Most people start the burpee from the standing position. Burpees should be started from the squatting position and you need to squat as low as you can. Now while in that squat position, explode into the jump as much as you can. This will aid in building your leg muscles and also help you to become strong in the whole range of motion from the squat all the way up. Extend your legs quickly behind you into a plank position. Again, it’s utilizing your full range of motion. Don’t shortcut the pushup either. It’s just as important. You can do burpees as part of a highly intense interval training routine. You can burpee for 20 seconds then take 10 seconds off for 4 minutes. That’s it! Great cardio workout and also a good resistance workout
      • Wall squats: Want to kill the legs? Do you do squats and want to switch it up? Wall squats work your leg muscles by doing an isometric contraction where there is no movement. Find a wall, put your back against the wall and lower yourself to a position like you are sitting in a chair with your feet under your knees. Now stay there. If your legs are shaking you are stopping too early. Stay in that position as long as you can stand it until you just drop to the floor. Rest for 30 seconds or 1 minute. Repeat and repeat and repeat…
      • Half pushup: Start from the laying position and raise yourself up about 3″ off of the floor. Or, you can raise yourself up 1″ off of the floor. The position should be comfortable in the sense that your joints don’t hurt. Keep in this static position for as long as you can, until you drop to the floor. Rest for about 30 seconds or a minute and try again, and repeat, repeat, repeat…

Three things

That’s it. All these things can be done in 5 to 10 minutes. And don’t try to talk yourself out of it by convincing yourself that you will need to warm up first, or you need to stretch afterward and you don’t have time for it. Carrying out these exercises will help you stay on track for your goals, will help you keep your current fitness level and will ultimately help you stay healthy.

I hope you try this and I hope this works for you.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Mother Mary, won’t you whisper

I’ve been a fitness enthusiast for quite a number of years and I’ve been a certified personal trainer for the last 5 years.

advise
advise from a specialist

I’ve been asked for advice, given advice and followed my own advice for many different questions, goals and for many different people in different stages of their lives. Knowing this, can you guess what I think would be the most important item of advice I could give someone? Any ideas?

If I had no choice but to advise someone of only one thing they should do to improve their level of fitness it would be consistency.

Consistency

You could have the best workout plan going, given to you by the best fitness expert ever known but if you aren’t executing it, it isn’t going to help you. You can have the best nutrition expert provide you with the best dishes to eat but if you aren’t eating these, it isn’t going to help you.

run consistantly
keep it consistent

I’d rather have someone ‘show up’ as it were on a regular basis, let’s say 3x a week and work out at 80% exertion than to show up once a week and give it 100%. The person who shows up 3x a week will end up being the person who shows up 3x a week for most of the year. Why, because this has now become part of their routine, their day to day. I think this is why it’s important that we get kids involved in something they like that is physical. They are more likely to grow up incorporating physical activity into their lives.

So let’s look again at the person who is consistent and puts in about 80% of their max. They’re working their heart, their muscles, mobility, flexibility and I think most importantly they are not on the couch but out being active. They are developing a routine that keeps the body moving, the blood pumping and the muscles working. And with proper coaching and over some time I’m sure this person could be convinced to do some of their workouts at a higher output. But regardless they are being active for a good part of the week, and thus a good part of the month, the year, etc.

I know this myself. Let’s just say I’m a regular at my dojo. It’s so much of my routine that when I’m not there it feels weird, strange, like something is missing or out of place. This is the feeling that people need to keep at their hobby that is a physical hobby. I use the word hobby because it should be like a hobby, something you want to do and look forward to doing. If it isn’t, then you need to look at doing something else. If the mind is not engaged it’s only a matter of time before you’ll stop.

Finally

That’s it. Consistency. Show up as much as you can reasonably show up. Make it your routine. Make it part of your day to day.

Now, keep in mind this post is written in the context that I can choose only one thing. There are other important things too but if you don’t show up, what’s the point?

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

did you hear the one about…

Who doesn’t like to hear the justification of their bad habits? Who doesn’t like hearing that something they do that is generally considered a bad thing to do for their health is now ok? Everybody likes to hear positive news about something they are doing that has come into question is ok to do, and not just ok but so ok that you can keep doing it. On the heels of the digital release of the first commercial movie to look at the performance side of eating a whole foods plant based diet, ‘The Game Changers‘, comes a study concluding that there is no harm in eating red meat. In fact is says red meat is healthy.

meat is healthy?

Where do I start? I believe the meat/dairy/animal agriculture industry is at the same stage years ago the tobacco industry was at. Sowing seeds of doubt. When the tobacco industry started to lose money as studies started to show the dangers of smoking the industry started to fund studies to sew the seeds of doubt that smoking is dangerous to your health.

“Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

I’m seeing the same thing now. Butter is back, carbs are bad and fat is good, and so on. Industry funded studies to keep people guessing. The animal agriculture industry is scared. It’s losing market share and losing money. More people are ditching dairy and more people are switching to meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger. Bristol England’s oldest pub has just launched a plant based menu and it’s selling out!

But their strategy is also working. People don’t have the time and they don’t want to make the time. Most people don’t have an issue with eating animals and animal products. We have become so disassociated with how our food comes to the table that people don’t even think about it. And most people don’t care to question it. They look at it that they are doing nothing different than what their mom/dad/grandma/grandpa did. And when people hear about the new study that what they are doing is healthy it helps to cement their beliefs and helps them to double down when that vegan brings up health issues due to eating animals.

eat your veggies

So back to the study. I’m sure you heard about it, right? Did you also hear that it got slammed by experts in the health field? Professor Walter Willet, a professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the EAT-Lancet Commission which advocates a plant based diet for both environmental sustainability and health had this to say:

“This report has layers of flaws and is the most egregious abuse of evidence that I have ever seen.

The World Cancer Research Fund does not accept the study’s new interpretation of the evidence either.

Here’s another look at the study from Dr Giota Mitrou, Director of Research Funding and Science External Relations: “It could be putting people at risk by suggesting they can eat as much red and processed meat as they like without increasing their risk of cancer.”

It has since been discovered that lead researcher Bradley C. Johnston, who disclosed that during the past three years he didn’t have any ‘conflicts of interest’ to report.

Here’s what the New York Times was able to dig up:

“as recently as December 2016, Dr. Johnston was the senior author on a study which was paid for by food industry giant International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), who are ‘largely supported’ by companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Mars, and Cargill – one of North America’s biggest beef processors.”

But you didn’t hear any of this, did you. You wouldn’t because it will never make the media. You have to look for this information and it can be a lot of work, too much work for most people. Sewing the seeds of doubt.

Finally

Will things change? Will the animal agriculture business fade away as more reports on the health issues, climate issues associated with the industry make it’s way to the mainstream media? I don’t know. We may be at the very beginning of change and who knows how long the change will take.

If you find doubt creeping into your mind, use common sense, use logic. Look at the blue zones, areas in the world that are predominantly plant based and the longest living. Then look at the standard western diet areas, the areas with the highest disease rates.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

 

 

don’t settle for anything less

We have a lot of misconceptions in our life. A lot of misinformation, myths, preconceived ways of thinking about how things should be. I think this comes from life experience through others and also we basically are not educated correctly when it comes to health.

Let’s look at our joints. As you get older, into your mid to late thirties and beyond I think most people believe that joint pain is the norm. Sometimes we believe this is due to the life we have chosen to live, sometimes a hard life but I think most of us feel that it is just a normal progression of getting older. We see our parents getting older and complain of aches and pains in their joints and they chalk it up to ‘life’. Most of us feel that as we get older naturally we become limited to what we can do because our body doesn’t work the way it used to and that is just the way it is.

Does our body change as we get older? Absolutely. We know that as an example the body produces less testosterone as we age. This could be due to evolution. For millions of years we didn’t live to the age we commonly live to today, in fact, we were lucky to see the age of 30. So if our life of being hunter/gatherers ended at 30 why would the body continue to produce higher levels of testosterone? We become less flexible as tendons become harder. Generally, we age. But what does that mean?

How we age is very much a variable, not a constant in the sense that we age based on the environment we have chosen to live in. By this I mean if we live a life of hard-drinking, excessive drug use, poor eating choices than our cells become damaged, and may even mutate causing disease. And when we damage our cells our aging is more drastic. And I think it’s a fair statement that most people don’t realize the impact the food we choose to eat greatly impacts how we age.

What

Injuries aside, I’d like to look at how we can control how our joints age. Please keep in mind as you read this that I am not discounting the impact an injury to a joint has. Recovery from a physical injury depending on the severity can take a long time and may never heal depending on when this injury happened in our life.

Let’s look at the relationship between blood flow and joint health. Why does blood flow throughout our body? Bringing oxygen, nutrients to the muscles, joints, etc. and taking away the waste. If our flow of blood is reduced than less oxygen/nutrients going to our joints.  In fact, there is a procedure called microfracture where doctors drill small holes into the leg bones to increase the flow of blood in the hopes of regrowing knee cartilage.

So if clogged arteries can result in heart disease than clogged arteries that supply blood to joints probably impact the health of those joints. It makes sense then that as we get older (and our arteries get more and more clogged) are joints tend to bother us more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. There is research that points to animal protein being the cause of this and also studies showing that bacteria in milk and beef linked to rheumatoid arthritis.  And the inflammation from this arthritis has been shown to increase the clogging of arteries. Wow, that’s a vicious circle.

How

So what can you do? Nothing, right? Can’t escape aging! No, you can’t but you can change the impact it has on you. Studies have shown that changing to a whole foods plant based diet can greatly impact how our joints age. A  clinical study done by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne was able to show that reversing clogged arteries is possible by switching to a whole foods plant based diet. So if changing your diet can reverse artery clogging and result in increased blood flow to our joints, brain, muscles, etc. than maybe living with joint pain is not a predetermined destiny.

And while I’m writing about food, let’s touch on bone broth. Don’t do it. Don’t. Eating bone broth to address joint pain is really no different than people eating animal penisis to address erectile disfunction, or to increase sexual performance. In fact, eating a whole foods plant based diet will address this issue. What else do arteries feed blood to? Yep, you got it, the penis. So that manly steak you are eating will actually make you perform less like a man in the bedroom so to speak. Another myth broken.

Eating bone broth, or taking collagen supplements is not going to do you any good. There is no absorption of peptides longer than 4 amino acids. In human cartiledge there is over 600 amino acids comprising peptides. So it’s just another way of making money off of people thinking that eating the equivalent of what is injured in the body will help in repairing it.

Finally

Another reason to change to a whole foods plant based diet. More and more reasons every day. Getting older doesn’t have to mean ‘getting old’. Many plant based athletes are proving this today. Endurance athletes in their 50’s and 60’s still competing and winning!

If you are having joint pain issues, arthritis, or want to make the world a better place by reducing your impact on climate change, your impact on animal suffering then make the change to a whole foods plant based diet.

Do it. Do it now. One person CAN make a difference.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

grounded in facts

With popularity, and when things start to shift, watch out for the affected to start to rebel.

Real meat alternatives have finally started to take off, and give real competition to the product they market themselves to be replacing. It was only a year ago that it would be difficult to find a Beyond Meat, or Impossible burger when either eating out or visiting the market. Now it’s almost ubiquitous. Our famous Canadian coffee shop Tim Hortons launched a Beyond Meat breakfast sausage earlier this year followed by the Beyond Burger. Burger King has launched the Impossible Whopper statewide and in Brazil, the largest country of meat consumers has launched what it calls the Rebel Whopper. Burger King has reported that launching the Impossible Whopper using the Impossible burger has resulted in increased sales not by only people replacing the meat patty with the Impossible burger but more so the increase is due to new customers. Burrito restaurants are using Beyond Meat ground to use in their vegetarian burritos and tacos. Carl’s Junior, known for its high meat content menu also offers the Beyond Meat burger.

So what does this mean? Lost sales for the meat industry. And not only a little bit of a loss but a substantial loss. For the first time, people are finding that they can enjoy a vegan burger that actually tastes like a burger. And the same for Beyond Meat’s vegan sausage and their other products. Gone are the dry, flavourless products having been replaced by juicy products that feel and taste like the product they have replaced.

With the substantial loss of sales companies are now trying through FUD, fear, uncertainty, doubt to gain back thier market share. I think, much like the tobacco industry years ago, the meat industry is following the same plan. Let’s look at part of a memo from the tobacco industry years ago when people started to worry about health consequences:

“Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

Lately I have found it difficult to not see an article or media post stating that Beyond Meat Burgers or Impossible Burgers may not be better for you than what it is they replace. High in salt and saturated fat than traditional burgers is what is being reported on. Articles with headlines such as ‘Plant based burgers may not be as healthy as you think‘ or ‘The Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat aren’t healthier‘ get people to think is it worth the extra money than buying an actual burger.

First, let’s keep in mind that burgers be it meat burgers or plant based burgers are processed foods. Unless you make a plant based burger yourself limiting the salt and saturated oil that you add it is processed food. Processed foods are traditionally high in salt and fats and the plant based meat alternatives are no exception. But they fail to report on a few main concerns with respect to eating processed meat; processed meat is a type one carcinogen:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization.Oct 26, 2015″

Let’s put that into perspective. What are other type 1 carcinogens? Let’s take a look:

        • Asbestos
        • Tobacco
        • Formaldehyde
        • Plutonium

Iron from red meat is another issue. Known as heme iron, research has shown its impact on certain cancers:

“For both esophageal and stomach cancer, we observed significantly increased risk with high intake of red meat. High intake of heme and meat iron were associated with increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancers; whereas, iron intake from all foods was not associated with risk of these cancers.”

Knowing this, why would someone consume processed red meat, or red meat at all?

The problem is we don’t know this. This information is easier to find if you google for it and cut out the industry-funded studies but no one has time for that. Most of us get our news and information from podcasts full of bro science to the mainstream media that are basically corporations. News on the TV, media web sites, newspapers are mainly funded by advertising and they are not going to present stories that are contrary to the companies that are paying to advertise. Would you find it effective to advertise on a commercial break during a news show when they just did a piece on how your product is harmful? It wouldn’t be the best way to spend your advertising dollars, would it.

Finally

But in my opinion, we need to start making decisions that are good for us, but also good for the world we live in and the world we share with all living things. Processed foods should always be kept to a minimum. But when you do choose processed food make the right choice and choose a product that doesn’t cause the unnecessary suffering and killing of animals, a product that doesn’t contribute to climate change as much as animal farming does, a product that isn’t a type 1 carcinogen.

We need to make decisions that are grounded in logic, not illogical decisions that appeal to tradition, history, faith, etc. The greatest impact to your health is what you eat. Ask yourself this question, why is it that countries that follow a western diet have the highest rates of fatal diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and those countries that follow a whole foods plant based diet don’t.

I lost my dad to cancer. Instead of saying ‘F**k cancer’ and living the same lifestyle that promotes cancer, do something meaningful about it. There is a lot of information out there waiting for you to find it that will show you that diseases we have come accustom to can be avoided, or conquered by eating the right foods.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

it may just help

B.

If you have not read my previous post then this post may not make much sense. So before you read this, go here and read this one first.

In my last post I wrote about lower back pain and what newer research is concluding regarding what may be causing it. As promised, this is the follow up post and I want to use this post to go over what you can do if you are suffering from lower back pain caused by stress on your thoracolumbar fascia.

What

Let’s look at the 3 common items I covered last post that can distress the thoracolumbar fascia and cause back pain and what can be done to address them:

  • Dehydration: Simple. Drink more water and also consume foods that are high in water content. If your urine is dark in colour, not light like straw you are dehydrated. Check out this link to read up on the colour of your pee. If you are very active or sweat a lot, you have to consume more water. And if you can, please stay away from bottled water. The huge negative impact on our environment and also to yourself for something that is in the ground under your feet, comes out of your taps and is pretty much available anywhere for free. If you are concerned about the safety of your water you can purchase water filtering kits for your home or elsewhere. It doesn’t make sense environmentally and economically for you to purchase water pulled from the ground, transported, put into plastic (a byproduct of oil) bottles, transported again to the store for you to pay for. If you would like more info on the environmental and health impacts of bottled water check out the links.
  • Lifting: “Lift with your legs, not your back otherwise you could injure your thoracolumbar fascia!” That’s it. Lift properly. Not only heavy things but all things. Lifting something incorrectly that’s not that heavy may not cause discomfort but it may cause distress and over time, doing the same thing, that distress can add up and lead to an injury that requires time off of work, time away from the fun things you like doing. When lifting, don’t bend over at the waist. Bend your legs, look forward or even up, keep you back straight, weight on the heels and lift using the muscles in your legs. If you feel the load is too much for you, get someone else to lift it!
  • Sitting: When at work, be sure to get yourself a desk that can go from a normal sitting position to standing position. If you think about it, why do we sit in chairs at work? How long have people been doing this? For years! Way back when offices were created, long before computers, we lived in different times. The boss, the company held all the power (ok, that hasn’t changed all that much over the years). No sick days, no going home because your back is sore. Also, that work did not involve having your hands out in front of you using a computer. So why do we still use technology today that is from over a hundred years ago? It makes no sense! We know the more we sit the worse it is for us. And for as little as a couple of hundred dollars you can get a device that will allow you to stand and sit while using a computer. Keep this in mind too, the damage isn’t only done over a long time frame, short term consequences can have long term impacts too. Short term is a relative term but it can be as long as 5 years. If you work for 45 years 5 years is about only 11% of that time frame. And don’t let the boss make you feel like a snowflake asking for this. It’s 2019 for f*cks sake! Our workspaces shouldn’t look like they did back in 1919. If you need to, put together your arguments on why this will benefit your boss. At the end of the day when you are gone working somewhere else for whatever reason, you will still have the back you have while your boss will not really give two sh*ts.

Lastly

Hot baths, hot water bottle, heating pad are great for bringing heat and thus increasing blood flow to the injured area which should aid in healing. You can also try this stretching routine to help loosen things up:

      • Lying on the floor on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the ground, take time to feel the spots that have tension and relax them. Lay on the floor and feel everything relax.
      • Then, press your lower back to the floor (cat pose) and relax. Then, do it again for 8 to 10 times.
      • Now, do the reverse. Bring your lower back up (cow pose) to increase the space between your lower back and the floor. Do this about 8 to 10 times.
      • Lay there and relax.
      • Do the above again, the cat and the cow.

The above can also be done while sitting in a chair. Try it!

Finally

Take care of yourself. Advocate for yourself. You are your keeper.

Yours in health,

Darryl

it’s not always what you think it is

A.

I’ve suffered from it for years, ever since I was a teenager. Happened one day when I bent over to pick up an empty box that held items the store I worked for were selling. That was it. Bending over picking up an empty box.

A terrible sharp pain in my lower back.

I could hardly straighten up due to the excruciating pain and fortunately, I was able to leave work early. The pain subsided a bit but I was not myself for about 7 days. A year later the same thing again. Then the following year again. I think then I went and saw a chiropractor. The treatment I received alleviated the pain for  a short time but it never did seem to cure it. Almost every year a flareup.

Side note: I don’t despair chiropractors but do your homework and listen to your gut. A chiropractor that was at a health fair put on by my employer was concerned about my back condition(?) and wanted a formal evaluation. I had x-rays taken and he examined my back. I was told that my back is in such bad shape that he would not be surprised that I wouldn’t be around this earth after 5 years. Seriously. This is what I was told. It didn’t feel right, his philosophy on chiropractic so I bounced. That was about 19 years ago. Guess I showed him.

What

dealing with pain
Dealing with back pain

Back pain, specifically lower back pain. I think almost everyone has had some lower back pain at one time. And it can be so debilitating. You feel immobilized, useless, every movement seems to cause pain. And then it goes away after so many days. Then, maybe 6 months, maybe a year it’s back again and you have some ideas why but you really aren’t sure. It gets in the way of the things you do, the plans you have, it makes life suck.

What causes this pain though? Unlike a typical blunt trauma injury like a sprained wrist, a broken leg, a pulled muscle it seems to be a mystery. Rest would be the fix then they changed their mind and movement was the best way to be back on your feet. Your chiropractor ‘adjusts’ your back and it feels good but it’s not a cure.

Why

The reading I have done on this subject over time shows more studies are pointing to muscular imbalances, overly tight muscles and also muscle fascia.

Tight glute and piriformis muscles can cause lower back pain and also that pain that shoots down your leg due to sciatica. Hamstring muscles that run from your hip down the back of your knee if tight can also cause lower back pain. The psoas muscles that run from both sides of your spine down to your femurs if tight and short will end up pulling on your vertebrae causing back pain.

It’s a lot of information, isn’t it. Confusing and complicated. I want to add one more to this list, something you may not have heard of and it’s been getting more attention over the last few years. Thoracolumbar fascia.

treatment
Treating the pain

Let’s break this down. Fascia is made up of connective tissue collagen and other stuff. It holds muscle where it’s supposed to be, like compartmentalization of things otherwise you would have muscles and organs floating around in your body, sloshing together. It’s a support system for your insides. Think of the white stuff that is between the orange peel and the flesh of the orange. That white webbie stuff. That’s your fascia.

The thoracic part is because it covers the thoracic spine. It’s more than that diamond shape from the mid spine down to your tailbone, it actually runs from one shoulder to the opposite hip. The transitional area between the upper and lower body allows forces to be transferred for various daily activities. Enabling movement, it is also important for stability.

So what is it we could be doing that can aggravate the thoracolumbar fascia? Let me highlight some of these:

        • Dehydration: This fascia tissue is in constant contact with muscles, tendons, etc. constantly rubbing as our body moves. Water is what our body uses as lubricant for our joints and also for fascia tissue. This can cause inflammation and may then stimulate the free nerve endings that live in the fascia. I’ve talked in the past how being dehydrated even 5% can cause a drastic negative hit to our performance and I just gave you another reason to drink water.
        • Lifting: “Lift with your legs, not your back otherwise you could injure your thoracolumbar fascia!” When we feel pain after incorrect heavy lifting we think we hurt our back which in a sense we did but if we don’t know exactly what we injured then how could we treat it? Lift properly, always no matter what the load is.
        • Sitting: I may shock you here with what I’m going to write. When you read ‘Sitting’ did you immediately think lower back position in the chair? Probably, I know I think that. But let’s look at the fascia and how it connects. As I wrote earlier it’s connected all the way from our pelvis to our shoulder girdle.  If I grab your right shoulder from behind and pull hard, does only your shoulder girdle move? No, your body twists all the way to your hips. Are you sitting in such a way that you have tension in your chest, tension in your shoulders? As the fascia tissue adjusts to the tension, the changes can be manifested to your lower back causing you to think you’ve incurred a back injury. But you are right too. Improper sitting, favoring one side over the other most definitely will lead to injury. Think of what laying in a bed in the same spot, sitting on a couch in the same spot over the years does. They get compromised from the constant weight, that one spot. Our body will take abuse but only so much. Sitting in positions that aren’t neutral to our support systems; fascia tissue, bones, muscles, etc. over time will cause us grief.

More to come

This will be a 2 parter. It’s early in the morning, I’m off to work in about an hour and boy is it going to be a long day.

This may help you to understand what may be causing your back pain. I hope so. And if you think so then you may want to read the second part coming out soon.

Yours in health,

Darryl