I’m moving!

Dear Readers,

I’m moving to new self-hosted website from my WordPress blog. Everything is almost just the same, but looks nicer! If you are an e-mail subscriber, you should continue to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. If you are a WordPress.com follower, you should still see new posts your Reader, but will not receive e-mail updates unless you subscribe to receive them on my new site. Just in case, you all may want to subscribe now at the link below:

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I usually choose my topics each week based on what my friends and family happen to ask me about, and I’d love to hear what you would like to read next, too. I’m so thankful for the response to my articles when I’ve just been getting started, and I hope you’ll continue reading at my new location: http://www.OMaleyDC.com

Thank you!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Erin O’Maley


Jonny Bowden and The Great Cholesterol Myth

Posted by Erin O’Maley, D.C.


Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, is the author of many successful books that are oft spotted resting on shelves in the offices of many a nutritionist, chiropractor, and other natural health practitioners. I listened to an excellent Podcast discussion with him about the topics covered in his new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease – and the Statin-Free Plan That Will, and I’m very excited to add this one to my library.

Before becoming a nutritionist, Bowden began his career as a personal trainer. He describes his early career as being a advocate of “possibly the most destructive myth every perpetrated on the American public, which is that gaining weight and obesity is all about calories and exercise” or “eat less and exercise more”. It was after observing the progress of his clients over time that he began to change his mindset from the conventional wisdom and came to learn that weight gain is driven by hormones, not simply fat and calories.

Bowden describes what he calls the “Four Horsemen of Aging,” creators of “systemic mischief” that cause all major disease. They are inflammation, oxidation, glycation, and stress. He explains that lowering cholesterol in order to eliminate heart disease is “like eliminating trees to prevent forest fires rather than looking at the conditions under which the fire ignites”. Cholesterol is almost an innocent bystander. It’s vital in the body and the brain and there are terrible consequences of lowering cholesterol at random. Bowden continues that the danger is particularly great in children, whose brain isn’t fully formed until age 25, and you can hear him start to get fired up as he speaks of his concern over the current movement to put children on Statin drugs.

The current way of looking at LDL and HDL cholesterol, the “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol”, respectively, is an improvement over looking at total cholesterol, but Bowden says this is still over a decade out of date. There are at least five kinds of HDL and at least five of LDL, and all LDL isn’t bad. For this reason, about half the people with heart disease have “normal” cholesterol according to standard tests, and half the people with high cholesterol have healthy hearts. Bowden insists that unless the doctor knows which type of LDL is high, they are treating a number and not a patient, and before going on a Statin, you should ask your doctor for a particle size test.

LDL-A, he says, is like throwing a cotton ball at the blood vessel wall, and does as much damage. LDL-B, however, is shaped like a B.B., and is highly oxidized and inflammatory, as is type Lp(a). An extremely good indicator of the particle distribution pattern in absence of a particle size test is comparing the triglycerides to HDL ratio on standard blood work. This is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance leading to type II diabetes. If the triglycerides are 100 mg/dL and HDL is 50 mg/dL, it’s a 2:1 ratio. If it’s 150 mg/dL to 50 mg/dL, it’s a 3:1 ratio, just a bit high. As long as the ratio is 2:1 and below, it is extremely unlikely that the individual will have a heart attack and is very unlikely to become insulin resistant.

Bowden stresses that it has never been fat and cholesterol that made us get fat, sugar and processed foods “have been the demon all along” that sludge up the blood vessels and lead to heart disease. When asked if all fructose is a problem or just high fructose corn syrup, Bowden explains, “I feel the way about fructose the way I feel about fur: It’s gorgeous on its original owner; On the back of a woman at the opera, not so much.” An apple is approximately 7% fructose and also contains pectin, fiber, phytonutrients, and water. Refined sugar has about 50% fructose, high fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose, and agave nectar even more. In addition, he notes that processed foods are intentionally created with the perfect amount of sugar, fat and salt to trigger dopamine and create an addictive response. For this reason, some people may be able to tolerate these foods in moderation on special occasions, but it may benefit others to cut them out entirely.

Co-author Steve Sinatra, M.D., as Bowden was a true believer in low-fat diets, early in his career had been a major proponent of Statin drugs, and had received honorariums from two major drug companies for lecturing to other doctors on their benefits. Bowen and Sinatra’s current position in the book is this:

“Statin drugs are wildly wildly overprescribed. They are wildly overprescribed to populations on which they have not been tested and on and on which they have shown no benefit. They are wildly overprescribed for primary prevention, for which they have shown no benefit”.

Bowden says it is indisputable that Statins have been shown to have a very modest effect on a population of middle aged men with existing cardiovascular disease, but if you are older, greater than 50 or 60 years, you should not be on these drugs, and they same goes for the majority of women, and all children. The drugs thin the blood and are mildly anti-inflammatory, but fish oil has 10 times the anti-inflammatory power.

One study cited in the book, led by Dr. Beatrice Golomb at the University of California, San Diego, found that up to 65% physicians did not report side effects of Statin drugs to MedWatch, the FDA’s reporting agency for adverse drug reactions, because they didn’t believe the patients that the symptoms resulted from the medication. The symptoms the patients reported included lethargy, confusion, muscle pain, and numbness, all of which are established proven side effects of Statins, yet many of the doctors denied these were even a possibility. The obvious alternatives to medication are lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, and supplements.

Lifestyle changes would include exercise, stress reduction, minimizing exposure to toxicity, including toxic relationships, getting outside, playing with animals, and participating in community and in projects larger than oneself. The typical U.S. diet is carb-heavy and results in a constant state of sugar overload for the body, which decreases insulin sensitivity and the body’s ability to cope with the excess. Exercise has an insulin-like effect and allows the cells to utilize and clear out the sugar. Bowden adds that community involvement is especially important because in observations of Centenarians all over the world, people living greater than 100 years who are still having excellent quality of life, they’ve repeatedly found extreme variations in diet type, but their common link is that they all were very active within their community.

Bowden says his major dietary recommendations to prevent and reduce heart disease are to lose the fear of eating fat, eat fresh, colorful produce, cut back on carbs, especially processed ones, and eliminate processed sugar. While saturated fat does mildly raise LDL cholesterol, it tends to raise the harmless cotton-ball type A, and lowers the inflammatory type B LDL. This is why saturated fat in its natural form, from foods like grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs, and coconut, is not a problem. He says to eat what he calls the “Jonny Bowden 4 Food Groups: Food you can hunt, fish, gather or pluck.”

For supplements for heart health, Bowden calls omega 3 “the most anti-inflammatory substance on the planet” just about everyone will benefit from, along with magnesium, “the great relaxer” that calms the mind, lowers blood pressure, and helps regulate blood sugar. He also lists among his favorites that he expands upon in the book curcumin, reservatrol, coQ10, carnitine, vitamin D, vitamin C, and citrus bergamot (found to lower triglycerides, raise HDL, and lower the inflammatory type of LDL). One startling side effect of the Statin drugs used to treat high cholesterol is that they cause depletion of coQ10, one of most important nutrients for the heart in the body.

When asked what he has to say for people whose doctors are “excited by cholesterol lowering to 90”, Bowden says to find a new doctor. Having generally lower cholesterol is linked to having greater risk of accidents, suicides, depression, and decreased ability to fight infections. Bile acids, vitamin D, and sex hormones are created from cholesterol. He states that his hypothesis is that it is not a coincidence that there is an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among middle aged men on Statin drugs. One practitioner called in and added that findings reported in the European Journal of Neurology were that if a woman is on Statin drugs and develops a depletion of coQ10, it increases her breast cancer risk 800 times, and pointed out that in Europe, doctors are mandated by law to administer coQ10 in conjunction with Statins or they are fined.

Bowden says these findings are anything but uncommon and he cites the Framingham Heart Study in his book as another that showed increased mortality rates with lowered cholesterol levels. Instead of concentrating on lowering cholesterol, it is more prudent to focus on increasing the intake of healthy sources of cholesterol and improving the cholesterol ratio.


Bowden, Jonny, Ph.D., C.N.S (Featured Speaker). 2013. “Book- The Great Cholesterol Myth”. Podcast audio program. Designs for Health Member Website, March 6.

The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will

Physician Response to Patient Reports Adverse Drug Effects

Statin Side Effects: Do Doctors Take Patients’ Complaints Seriously?

High density lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality. The Framingham Heart Study.

 Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study.

5 Easy Principles to Turn You Into Your Own Nutritionist

Posted by Erin o’Maley, D.C.


You can already start to feel that spring is on its way and some of us are already becoming more mindful of what we eat as we prepare to shed our parkas. Here are my very favorite nutritional words of wisdom, that I cannot take credit for, but often refer to in sifting through the barrage of mixed messages we get about what constitutes healthy eating. These belong on a plaque in your kitchen, but a post-it note will do as well.

“Eat foods that are ingredients, not foods that have ingredients.” -Unknown

The healthiest foods have the fewest ingredients, like spinach, eggs, and salmon. These are the foods that come from nature and not a factory. Unhealthy foods have the most ingredients. For example, a Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Ranchero Smart Mini Wrap’s ingredients list looks like this:

“Tortilla (Water, Enriched Flour [Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Whole Wheat Flour, Modified Wheat Starch, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Glycerine, Tomato with Pieces [Tomato Concentrate, Guar Gum], Baking Powder [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Bicarbonate Soda, Cornstarch, Monocalcium Phosphate], Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Sugar, Salt, Granulated Garlic, Citric Acid), Cooked White Meat Chicken (White Meat Chicken, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Salt, Sodium Phosphate), Ranchero Sauce (Tomatoes [Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid], Water, Chicken Base [Chicken Meat with Natural Juices, Salt, Organic Cane Juice Solids, Corn Maltodextrin, Chicken Fat, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Dried Onion, Spice Extractives, Turmeric], Chili Paste [Chili Peppers, Dried Onion and Garlic, Yeast Extract, Salt, Spices, Beef Extract, Citric Acid], Roasted Tomatoes, Granulated Onion, Granulated Garlic, Jalapenos [Jalapenos, Water, Vinegar, Salt], Modified Cornstarch, Modified Cellulose, Spices, Chipotle Chili Powder], Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (Part Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto [Color]), Monterey Jack Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Bell Peppers (Red, Green), Fire-Roasted Onions, Roasted Poblano Chiles, Modified Cornstarch.”

This isn’t food, it’s “foodlike”. I’m not down on the Weight Watchers diet (although I’ve found their recipes overall to be too based on starchy carbs to be ideal). They have nice guidelines for portion control for weight loss and their system works, but it should be used with a whole foods nutrition plan. You might lose weight eating tiny boxed meals, but you’ll never have proper nutrition.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Michael Pollan

This follows well from the first rule. Do you recognize everything in that ingredient list? “Yeast extract” is a code word for MSG. Modern food products didn’t exist a few generations ago. This rule also extends to genetically-modified foods and conventional meat, eggs, and dairy. Buying local and shopping farmers’ markets makes it easier to find quality produce that is organic and free of hormones and antibiotics. It sounds like a challenge at first, but once you’ve found replacements for conventional foods, it’s not challenging, it’s just how your great-grandma ate. We are starting to get a scary idea of the long-term effects of antibiotic exposure, and we should also be extremely uncomfortable that, with about 85% of the corn grown in this country genetically-modified, no studies to assess the long-term effects of human consumption have been performed. The lifespan of the next generation is now predicted to be less than that of their parents. The more you avoid foods that were not available a hundred years ago, the closer you’ll get to having the natural diet of a human, and the healthier you’ll be.


(It’s not necessary to buy all produce organic, but the “dirty dozen” most contaminated fruits and vegetables should be.)

“Whenever you see the words ‘fat-free’ or ‘low-fat,’ think of the words ‘chemical sh*t storm’.” – Rory Freedman

It’s necessary to add on “sugar-free” as well when there’s Splenda or aspartame added. Drinking one to two sodas, regular or diet, per day has been found to increase an individual’s chances of being overweight by 33%. High-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are associated with a slew of health problems, including obesity, neurological conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and liver damage.

Low-fat and fat-free foods have as many calories as the full-fat versions, fewer nutrients, more chemical additives, and tons of salt, sugar or corn syrup added to try to give them back the flavor and texture that was lost with the fat. These low-performing carbohydrates digest quickly and cause a sugar rush followed by rebound hunger. The “fat-free” calories, because they are mainly from starches and sugar, end up stored as fat instead of used for energy. Fat is not your enemy. Healthy fats, like coconut oil, boost your metabolism. Using natural fat salad dressings instead of low-fat or fat-free help you to absorb more important nutrients from the vegetables.

“Eat the rainbow.”Mark Hyman, M.D.

Crackers are not colorful. They may give you some fiber. Kale is a lovely deep, verdant green. It gives you fiber and helps ward off cancer! Phytonutrients are plant chemicals that interact with your biology. They act like switches on your DNA in order to heal and improve the function of genes and metabolism. There are more than 25,000 of these chemicals in colorful vegetables that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hormone-balancing, and detoxifying. Eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), however, switches on the genes for illness, like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, depression, and cancer. Different phytonutrients boost the effectiveness of others, so by eating a wide variety of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables, you can truly eat your medicine.

“Focus on adding.”Food Matters

I cannot stand and try to avoid at all costs the word “diet”. It’s supposed to mean “the stuff you usually eat”, but it’s come to be associated with restriction, calorie-cutting, extreme fads, guilt, and despair. I also do not care what you call your diet: paleo, primal, Mediterranean, pH balance or alkaline diet, the candida diet, even Weight Watchers, and there are many books are out there with great plans. If it gives you consistency and a plan for adding more healthy whole foods, keep it up.

I never recommend counting calories because I find it to be frustrating, not particularly effective, and unnecessary with a good nutrition plan. Eating fewer calories than you use each day over an extended period of time causes your metabolism to downshift and makes it harder to burn fat later on. Instead of thinking about the foods you’re cutting out and subtracting calories, focus on adding lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, more raw foods, more water and green tea, healthy fats, and locally farmed organic animal products. Keep on adding and eventually the suboptimal food choices will filter out.

These are rules for great nutrition, not weight loss, but an effective and healthy weight-loss plan should adhere to these guidelines, and many people will lose fat simply by following them. If there’s room for improvement in your food choices, write these on a post-it note where you will see them! If you’re looking to get lean, we would add a couple more rules and talk about exercise, but for maintaining a healthy weight, decreasing illness, improving energy, thriving and feeling fantastic, these are my absolute favorite principles that cut through the bull and make excellent nutrition very simple.

Additional resources:

Fooducate: Weight Watchers Smart One Meals – Not That Smart

Natural News: Diet Sweeteners Can Make You Sick and Fat

Mercola: Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat, But These 10 Things Will

Purdue University: Study: No-fat, low-fat dressings don’t get most nutrients out of salads

Could Chiropractic Help You Quit Smoking or Ease ADHD Symptoms?



Addictions and compulsive disorders are linked with a disruption in the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. This disruption has been linked with all addictions and compulsive disorders, and includes a wide variety of conditions including ADHD, PTSD, and eating disorders. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry and regulate signals between cells of the nervous system and other cells in the body. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, it motivates us, and regulates our movement and emotional responses. When dopamine is released, it acts on specific receptors in the brain and we interpret it as a “reward”.

In order for dopamine to be released at the reward site, a cascade of other neurotransmitters begins in the hypothalamus, which create a domino effect. Serotonin is released, which then stimulates enkephalin, which inhibits GABA, and regulates the amount of dopamine released at the receptor site. This organization is called the “Brain Reward Cascade” and maintains our overall sense of well-being and natural drives.

A genetic defect of one of the five dopamine receptors has been linked with substance abuse and compulsive behaviors. When the receptors do not receive enough dopamine, the individual requires more dopamine to feel good. This is known as Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), and can lead to addictions and compulsive behavior involving alcohol, work, drugs, food, sex and risk-seeking behavior, such as gambling. Alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, risk-seeking, and even sugar and carbohydrates cause activation and release of dopamine by the neurons.

The dopamine reward cascade can be disrupted due to genetic factors, or may become derailed simply by environmental stimuli. For example, a cigarette smoker may not have had a genetic predisposition for addiction, but after long-term smoking, the cigarette becomes a reward and the receptors are flooded with dopamine regularly. The neurotransmitter cascade becomes irregular and the individual maintains the reward schedule to maintain dopamine levels or they begin to feel moody and anxious.

The same dopamine receptor defect has been implicated in anorexia, bulimia, ADD, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, Asberger’s, most learning disabilities, some autism, and most dyslexia. Researchers have mapped the brain before and immediately following chiropractic treatment (using a low-force high-speed adjusting instrument) with brain electrical activity maps, p300 wave testing, and EEG to show restoration of an abnormal brain reward cascade to normal.

The proposed mechanism by which chiropractic adjustments may stimulate and restore the dopamine cascade is through neurons of the spinal cord that project directly to areas in the limbic system of the brain, the area concerned with instinctual drives and and basic emotions. It is thought that these pathways enable sensory information from the body, including pain, to effect autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral functions.

A randomized, placebo-controlled single-blind study utilizing subluxation-based chiropractic care was implemented with 98 patients from a residential treatment facility for drug addiction. One group received adjustments, one received placebo adjustments, and the other followed the general policies of the residential program. All of the chiropractic group completed the 28 day program, while only 75% of the placebo group and 56% of the usual care group did. After four weeks of treatment, the usual care group and the placebo group tested more likely to relapse, and the group receiving chiropractic care had a significant decrease in anxiety levels the other groups did not. Also, among the chiropractic group, only 9% made one or more visits to the nurse, while 56% of the placebo group and 48% of the usual care group spent time in the nurse’s office.

Chiropractic is not a treatment for addictions and successful recovery requires an addictions councilor, but it should be considered as an adjunct to every cessation program. Chiropractic adjustments are performed to allow the nervous system to express proper function. For an individual with RDS, this may increase their ability to cope with stress and decrease cravings, depression, and anxiety. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, holistic treatment protocols for Reward Deficiency Syndrome should include supplementation, auriculotherapy, proper nutrition and exercise.


Molecular Psychiatry: Increasing retention rates among the chemically dependent in residential treatment: auriculotherapy and subluxation-based chiropractic care

The American Chiropractor: Addiction: A Unique Chiropractor’s Pursuit of the Source

The Handbook of Abusable Drugs: “The Reward Deficiency Syndrome”:

Breakthrough Brain Research Links Chiropractic Treatment to Addictive Behaviors

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Chiropractic



1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction.

A patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it presents as a problem and they show up in a chiropractor’s office. In addition, the absence of pain is not health. While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it still persists. Muscle, ligament and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term biomechanical dysfunction, sometimes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.

2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.

Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage last year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system.

The nerves that travel through and control every function of your body originate at the spinal cord and their transmission may be disrupted if the joints of the surrounding spinal column are not moving properly. This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation. Below is a chart that illustrates the relationship of the spinal nerves exiting the vertebra branching off to the various organ systems. You can see why it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to treat a patient with mid-back pain who also suffers from irritable bowel system, a patient with a subluxated sacrum who has been unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, or a patient with an upper back fixation and acid reflux.


4. Doctors don’t do the healing.

Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never fix your back. What we are able to do is restore proper motion in the joints, which relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently made to do. As chiropractors, we believe that the body is a perfect organism in its natural state, and all disease comes from a disruption in the body’s proper transmission of signals by the nerves which affects its ability to heal and to defend against disease-causing agents. We never treat disease. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the disfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages.

Many seniors aren’t aware of the benefits of chiropractic care which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors check infants moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birth process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.

6. We know about more than your backbone!

This surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics and lifestyle, screen for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to other practitioners when necessary. Chiropractors are also able to complete specialties in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehabilitation, neurology, clinical nutrition, and addictions and compulsive disorders.

Other than particular specialties and the differences in learning to adjust and learning to prescribe medication, our training hours are not dissimilar from that of medical doctor. The following are the classroom hours for basic science requirements compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic schools and 22 medical schools.


7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility.

When somebody says that they tried chiropractic and it didn’t help, I cringe and get the feeling that they really missed the boat. Of course, there are cases with complicating factors, but I have heard this from people with straightforward chiropractic problems when it is very clear what has happened here. In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night. If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, I would expect an adjustment to provide relief, but once the condition is no longer exacerbated, I would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. I might also suggest we evaluate your nutrition if I suspect an inflammatory diet may be wiring you for pain. Sure, I’m always happy to adjust someone and make a living, but if you’ve been given homework and you don’t do it, I better not hear you blame chiropractic when you’re hurting again!

8. Chiropractic may help you get sick less.

Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense. As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data. The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.

9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth.

You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Of course, many people still choose to see their chiropractor weekly or monthly for wellness or maintenance care.

10. Adjustments don’t hurt.

There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.




Getting Whey Smart



The scoop on whey protein shakes: Who should use them, why, when, how much, and what to look for in a powder.

Many already know that drinking protein shakes can benefit their health, but there is a lot of confusion over how to choose a proper protein shake. While adding a shake to your regimen can be an worthwhile investment in your fitness, if you choose the wrong one, you might be throwing your money away and actually doing your body a disservice. Picking out a protein powder does not have to be a daunting experience, but protein shakes are still a processed food, so we need to learn how to read the label.

Unless you avoid dairy, whey is the way to go. Whey has become so popular because it is the protein component of milk most efficiently absorbed and utilized by the muscles for protein synthesis — i.e. “to get swole”. For individuals with dairy allergies, whey is often still tolerated. It is best to have 20-30 grams within an hour of working out, before, or after, if you’ve done strength training, or both. There are benefits to either way you time it, so it comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel the best. Drinking whey protein before a workout provides a fat-burning boost that lasts long after the workout ends, and having it after a workout helps build muscle mass.

Protein shakes aren’t just for musclemen anymore! A whey protein shake is excellent to have on hand if you’re someone who is on the go a lot and tends to fail in your nutrition for convenience foods. Whey protein has all of the essential amino acids our body requires to thrive that we can only obtain from our diet. Leucine is one of the most notable branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) that whey is especially high in and is responsible for initiating mechanisms of protein synthesis and muscle building, with help from isoleucine and valine. Leucine also gives your thyroid a boost and prevents post-exercise decline in testosterone, but your body depends on amino acids to carry out every process efficiently. Eggs, the famous muscle-building food, have 1.4g of leucine per 100g, while whey protein has 8 grams. This doesn’t just provide benefits for bodybuilders, leucine can help to combat the natural muscle-loss associated with aging.

Whey protein increases a peptide, GCP-1, which promotes satiety and healthy insulin secretion and utilization. It helps keep insulin levels low to avoid becoming insulin resistant, which leads to many health issues including type II diabetes. Almost everyone could benefit from more stable blood sugar. Drinking whey protein with carbohydrate foods has been shown to lower the glycemic response to the carbohydrates proportionately to the amount of whey ingested. So, try having a shake first before the next time you plan to indulge. If you’re not munching on many colorful vegetables each day, it is essential that you add a greens blend powder to your shake.

For individuals very sensitive to dairy, or for vegans, pea protein and hemp protein shakes are good options. Always try to choose the most minimally processed product available, with the fewest additives. Soy is not a good option. It is usually genetically modified, and eating too much soy is known to result in some serious hormone imbalances.

Whey protein concentrate is preferable to whey protein isolate. Isolate is more expensive and is successfully marketed to bodybuilders because it is supposedly a more “pure” form of whey with higher protein content per gram. Whey protein isolate is also sometimes touted as a better choice for those with lactose intolerance or who experience bloating or other issues with concentrates because the processing removes any remaining traces of lactose. However, this also produces a more highly processed food product which causes it to become overly acidifying and to lose many nutritional co-factors, including alkalizing minerals, naturally-occurring vitamins, immune complexes, and healthy fats. Isolate still may be used for a quick source of protein, but if consumed a lot, as an athlete may, can lead to metabolic acidosis with serious consequences, including muscle wasting and increased vulnerability to degenerative disease.

It should be made from raw milk, cold-processed and water-soluble. It may say something like “non-denatured” or “minimally-processed”. High heat does irreversible damage to the majority of components of milk and may cause intolerance even in individuals with no history of milk allergy. Most protein shakes are processed from ultrapasteurized milk using acid, which damages the proteins and makes them insoluble in water. Substances are added to restore solubility, such as genetically modified soy letchin, chemical surfactants used in soap, and hydrolyzed proteins (AKA: MSG!). It’s going to be hard to find a product that doesn’t have a few additives to improve the solubility and mouthfeel of the powder, but as a general guideline, make sure you recognize 95% of the ingredients and don’t eat anything in a package that has more than ten ingredients.

High quality whey protein concentrates should retain the the immune-boosting and regenerative nutritional components of raw milk. They will provide important protein components, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, active peptides and growth factors. They also contain the precursor to a powerful anti-aging nutrient, glutathione, as well as glycomacropeptides (GMP), immunological components that are beneficial for healthy gut flora.

Your shake should be naturally-sweetened and low in sugar. Context is helpful when thinking about grams of anything. If a cup of mixed berries has about 10 grams of sugar, your protein shake should have less. My shake has 3 grams of sugar, and I probably wouldn’t use anything with more than 6. Many products are sweetened with stevia now, which is a natural sweetener from a leaf and is almost calorie-free, with no effect on blood sugar or associated toxicity. Do I need to write “don’t buy a shake with aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin”? Don’t make me. Don’t go have a great workout and get your cells all prepared and excited to gobble up a bunch of nutrients and then shuttle poison to them. 3 grams of sugar is equivalent to roughly three slices of apple, it’s not worth replacing with an artificial sweetener.

It should absolutely be from grass-fed cattle, rBGH-free, GMO-free and organic. Even if you’re not the most mindful label-reader and don’t already shop this way, I think your protein shake is somewhere it is critical to make the investment. The greatest allure of drinking whey is that it is rapidly absorbed into the muscles within minutes. I certainly don’t want bovine growth hormone, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetically modified ingredients included in my nutritional supplement. Cows are not meant to eat corn and raw milk from grass-fed cows has much higher levels of CLA, healthy bacteria, enzymes, and the ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. CLA is an important nutrient for improving body composition, blood sugar regulation, bone health, vascular health, promoting healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels; it’s basically good for everything.

Adding a whey protein shake is a great way to get some essential nutrition, not only for fitness fanatics, but for anyone who wants to improve their health. If your shake doesn’t fit the above criteria, you’re not getting the full benefit of whey’s nutrients. Maybe that’s acceptable if you simply want a quick source of protein, but if you can’t invest in a higher quality product right now, my suggestion is to instead keep some hard-boiled eggs ready and have 3-4 of those with a handful of veggies before or after your workout. If you choose a lower quality shake, you may just be adding another processed-into-garbage food to your diet, and that’s never the way to achieve optimal wellness.


10 Holiday Gifts for the Fitness Enthusiast or Future Fitness Enthusiast



10 days until Christmas! Are you still trying to finish your shopping? Here are some ideas inspired by my home gym collection as well as my own holiday wish list that would be great gifts for those on your list of all levels of fitness. Of course, if your loved one is not already a fitness buff, you may be concerned that your gift will be interpreted (correctly or incorrectly) as telling them that they really need to get in shape. Truly, the greatest gift you can have is your health, and if you match your loved one with the right piece of equipment that makes fitness fun and a real treat for them, they will appreciate it forever. This could probably just as easily been titled something along the lines of “10 Recommendations for the Minimalist Gym”, but ’tis the season.

10. A Solid Jump Rope

A good jump rope is hard to find! You want something with durability, swivelability, good handfeel, adjustability, and not too kinky. A quality jump rope is a great gift for anyone looking to get fit because they can start doing it at any level, it’s super effective, and they can take it anywhere. If you’re short on time, maybe traveling, and aren’t sure you can fit in a workout today–Man up! No excuses! You can get some serious sweat on jumping rope in less than ten minutes! See, this is an extremely thoughtful gift. It’s also the perfect gift for your friend whose New Year’s resolution is to start doing Crossfit.

9. Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence by Dr. Eric Goodman

I’ve recommended this book to multiple friends and family members and personally bought it as a gift for 3 people this year (Don’t tell them). It’s is a very effective core strengthening technique that anyone can use anywhere with minutes a few times a week. It balances musculature, stabilizes the spine, and teaches your body to move as nature intended. The photos and step-by-step instructions are superb. It’s an excellent gift for anybody who suffers from back pain and needs to increase their mobility or who wants to maintain healthy core strength and stability, so I think it’s a great gift for everybody!

8. Weighted Gloves for Turbo Kick

If someone on your list takes a Turbo Kick class with me, these gloves will take their jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts to the next level! Each glove is just under a pound. I’ve used mine for 8 years and they’ve held up great. They would be handy for a number of cardio routines, including P90X, ChaLean Extreme, and most of the other BeachBody programs. I imagine they would also be a cool gift for the Zumba enthusiast in your life, although I’ve never seen them used that way.

7. Indo Board Balance Trainer

The Indo Board is a handy little piece of equipment that can be used for fitness, functional rehabilitative exercise, or balance training and can be used to improve the fitness of children and senior citizens alike. Like a Bosu Ball, the Indo Board can be used to add a balance component to a multitude of your more traditional exercises to engage your core more fully and improve your balance–but it has a much higher cool factor. It’s compact, portable, and so fun. The website is full of resources for exercises to try with the board. You can *do tricks* on it! It would neat gift for your surfer or skater during the long winter months, and the longer Indo Yoga Board would be a stellar gift for a yogi, simulating the ultra core-engaging activity of moving your yoga practice to a stand up paddle board.

6. ChaLEAN Extreme by Beach Body

I pretty much love any of Chalene Johnson’s workouts and I always stay active, but this strength training program has definitely changed my body composition in 12 weeks as advertised. The premise is simple: Lift heavier, build bigger muscles, burn more calories, eat more food, and get lean. You can start lifting with 2 lbs or with 25 lbs as long as it’s enough to fatigue your muscles. It doesn’t matter if they’re 18 or 70 or if they’ve never lifted a dumbbell in their life. It’s a rotation of 3 strength circuits, interval training, cardio drills, abs and stretching. I love that the circuits change monthly, so you don’t have time to get bored with it and it keeps you from reaching a plateau. I’ve been able to stick with it while on vacations, staying in hotel rooms, and during my move from Florida to Massachusetts by using the resistance bands instead of dumbbells.

5.Bowflex Selecttech Dumbbells

This is a whole lot of gym in a little space for a pretty little price. Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 lbs. The .5 lb increments before 25 lbs is a great feature. Weight is adjusted quickly and smoothly during transition to the next exercise. It totally eliminates the clutter of an entire weight rack.

4. The Magic Bullet

No, it’s not a piece of equipment for your home gym, but I have found no way superior to assemble a post-workout shake or snack. My dad got me the Magic Bullet years ago and I thought it was the weirdest gift ever until I started making shakes and smoothies and nothing else compares. Cleaning a blender is such a hassle. With the Magic Bullet, you just unscrew the blade from your beverage cup, rinse it off, and screw on either the lip of the cup, or a cover to throw it in your lunchbox. Simple, and it takes up very little counter space. (Upcoming, I’ll share some of my recipes.)

3. Intelliskin

Intelliskin makes fantastic products some of which are at the top of my Christmas list this year. Intelliskin makes shirts and sports bras that improve posture and performance during sports, workouts, or just activities of daily life. They look pretty badass, too. Their website explains how they work, “Our garments are designed to stimulate and send specific cues to the brain that cause your tight muscles to relax and the opposing under-used muscles to simultaneously contract and tone. The flow of information back and forth from the nerve receptors in the skin to the brain provide subconscious “coaching,” instructing muscles to work together, function and protect joints from injury more efficiently.

 Muscle memory and improved postural awareness are created by maintaining improved alignment and balance during repetitive daily movements.”

2. Resistance Band Set

I got a great 4-piece set as a Christmas gift from my mom years ago. I no longer see the brand I have available anywhere, but there are plenty of options. My bands have held up and they’ve come on every vacation with me. They’re inexpensive and you can modify just about any upper or lower body exercise you would do with a set of weights for the bands. You can also make the resistance as light or heavy as you require. They sure aren’t as cute and sweet as they look! The only somewhat negative aspect is that you can’t track the exact weight you’re using as you can with dumbbells, but they’re still definitely one of the most useful gifts I’ve ever received.

1. Mini Trampoline

Trampolining is possibly one of the healthiest and easiest activities to incorporate into a routine, so I think a mini trampoline is a marvelous gift for just about anyone. It’s low-impact on the joints. Even the most exercise-resistant individual on your list probably wouldn’t be opposed to bouncing on a trampoline for a few minutes a day, and they’ll receive tremendous benefits for minimal effort. It is basically impossible to feel depressed and tired when bouncing on a trampoline. Trampolining can increase lymph flow, increase circulation of oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs, support healthy cardiovascular function, improve balance and coordination, and increase strength and bone density.