Diet for Exercise

Exercise will only do so much-you have to change what you eat in order to help your body build healthy muscle and reduce body fat, while not giving up nutrients and energy. Sound impossible? Well, if you listen to the large corporate food companies that specialize in processed food, it is. The food you put into your body has a immediate as well as cumulative affect on your body. Yes,food does both. Think about it-a cheese burger will fill you and make you feel full, but long term, the saturated fats and cholesterol will accumulate in your body, and continued exposure to these types of food can have negative affects on your overall health.

So if you can build a negative affect over time, shouldn’t the opposite be true? Of course it is. I know healthy food is expensive, but so are medical bills for heart by-passes and cancer treatments. Not to mention medications for high blood pressure and diabetes. There are multiple studies that tie diet to heart disease  and colon cancer, among other things. So what is your health worth to you?

What I’m saying is that if you could prevent having to take these medications and treatments, would you? And how much is it worth to you? Make smart choices, do your research and have fun with it. Food should be delicious, and preparing and eating it should be an enjoyable pastime shared with family and friends- after all it is a huge part of many people’s history. So try different recipes, experiment, do things from scratch. You know, like we used to do before chemicals. Change from a meat based diet to a vegetable based diet that has meat as a side dish. You  will be amazed by how much lighter and more energetic you feel, your skin and hair will improve, (not to mention your “regularity”) and the money you will save on all that meat will more than pay for the vegetables. Yesterday I saw a Ribeye steak at the store and they wanted 13$ for one steak. I could feed a family of four on that with healthy food.

Don’t forget to eat your carbs! Carbs are important for your body and your mind. Yes , your mind.

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your brain needs carbs to function so don’t go cutting carbs out of your diet. Just make sure they are healthy carbs.

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Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and nutrients so in the beginning I would say indulge, you have some catching up to do. Remember food is fuel so just like your car only give your body the best fuel you can and don’t overfill your tank.

One of my favorite recipes is for Brussel sprouts

Shred two cups of sprouts very thin

Sautee sprouts with 2tsp of olive oil

1tsp of chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste’

Cook on medium heat till soft.

this will make a nice side dish and can compliment anything.

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Core Training and Martial Arts

I have been training in Martial Arts for about five years in Uechi Ryu or Pang Gai Noon. This is not considered a popular style in the United States probably for the fact that it is a traditional style that requires body conditioning that probably looks a little insane to the average person. Uechi Ryu  requires receiving body shots (lets face it,in a fight nobody gets away without taking a hit) and then moving into attacks. For this reason a type of Iron Shirt Kung Fu, or Iron Body, Depending on your history, is practiced. This practice means that there is a lot of focus on core strength. This focus is essential in the ability to refocus the attack back to the attacker. (See Qi Gong)

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The reason I’m writing this is My beautiful wife has lost her mind and decided to start training in Uechi Ryu also. Before she begins her training next week, she asked me about a month ago if there was anything she could do to get ready for training and the only thing I said was core strength and diet. So she began a light training regimen of crunches and leg lifts to help build her core muscles and a diet high in vegetables and a small amount of meat protein to build muscle and lose fat around her abdomen. Immediately she saw results in weight loss and core strength. Two weeks into the program she had lost 15 Lbs. and had increased her core workout to include a variety of exercises that included her arms, shoulders and legs. Over the last several weeks I introduced her to the heavy bag hanging in the garage.

heavy bag 2.JPGShe took to it like a fish to water and enjoyed hitting the bag with a combination of kicks and punches. The work out on the bag is intense and although it only lasts for fifteen minutes it will leave you drenched in sweat. Over the next few weeks she combined her core exercises  with the bag work and lost an additional 10 lbs, hit her goal weight, and you can now see her abs.

I know the bi weekly work outs will be tough but when I started I didn’t prepare and the first six months were an ass kicking experience. Hopefully the preparation my wife has done will make it easier for her in the beginning. If you are considering a new exercise regimen make sure you set realistic goals-nothing will  keep you from moving forward faster than setting unrealistic goals. Remember, it will take time. Patience and focus will carry you through the times when you feel like you aren’t making progress. Trust me, when you start to see a difference in the way your clothes fit, it will help drive you forward. Treat yourself to a gift when you reach your goals. I find new clothes are a great gift-enjoy your new self and keep your passion alive.  And remember, all the exercise will not do anything for you if you don’t change your diet. Diet is 80% of the equation! Please read my articles on proper diet.

 

Foot Care

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be one of those old men wearing black socks and sandals

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I don’t know when this became a thing, but this is a fashion I will never accept. Summer is coming and lets face it as men we rarely think about foot care. Your feet say something about who you are. Now, I’m not saying go get a pedicure, but lets clean them up and show them off. Having well groomed feet in sandals is something you should never be ashamed of. With a little care and “Trimming” you can escape from this horrible look. You wouldn’t walk around with a bad hair cut, or wear a shirt with food stains all over it so why are we so willing to do this to our feet.

Most of use don’t even have to look any further than our wives or girlfriends for the tools we need. But, if they are not willing to share, or you are embarrassed to ask, you can purchase a kit for about twenty dollars. Beware your kit will be ransacked by your female partner in a heart beat so make sure and hide it well.

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men’s tool kit for feet and nails

I take good care of my feet because I do martial arts and I keep my toenails well groomed so that I don’t injure someone unintentionally. I also have callouses on my feet that protect them while doing martial arts that will shred bed sheets so I have to wear sport socks at night so that my wife won’t kill me in my sleep. If you have calluses you might consider using a callus removal tool. Just be careful and go easy, you don’t want to remove to much the first time out, the result can be painful. Ask for help you might be shocked at how long your partner has been waiting to do this for you.

I could post pictures of ugly feet, but I just ate breakfast and I’d like to keep it down. I will post a picture of healthy feet, that are well groomed.

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Imagine having feet that you can show off this summer. You will also notice that your feet will feel better at the end of the day. I work on my feet, sometimes twelve hours straight and having well groomed feet makes a difference at the end of the day. You wouldn’t buy cheap shoes to go with a suit, so when enjoying a day at the beach or park with your family why would you wear ugly feet. Believe me this will make a difference in how you view yourself. Everything you do to improve your self view will improve your journey to better health and quality of life. Your significant other will appreciate the effort too, showing that you care how you look will make a difference in how others perceive you. One of the most attractive qualities in a man, according to women, is self confidence, so be confident in every aspect of yourself.

Skin Care For Men Over Fifty.

I would like to address some thing most men ignore. You are watching your diet, exercising, but you, like most of use, have totally ignored your skin health. Your skin is not only the largest organ on your body, but it will tell you what you are doing wrong. If you are not drinking enough water, your skin will look dry. If you are lacking certain vitamins in your diet, your skin will tell you. If you are ignoring your skin you are ignoring your health. I know we have all been told that you shouldn’t go out in the sun without sun block, (didn’t hear that when we were kids). This will help to keep any further damage from occurring, and don’t just pick any one, go for max protection. A daily regimen is important also. I have been testing several products over the last three months and can make some recommendations.

If you are exercising then you are showering more than the normal person (I hope) and most of us think, “We are men we use soap!” well yes we do but you don’t have to use any soap. Nivea makes a range of products for men that are not that much more expensive than plain old soap. Nivea Men Pure Impact 3-1 body wash is great.

download (1) I have tried a couple of different body wash products but this is great. Nice fresh scent without any heavy perfumes, and it leaves your skin clean without feeling oily. Nivea Men original Moisturizing Face Wash is my favorite product

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Every morning and every night before bed I use this to wash my face it leaves my face feeling clean without feeling tight, I follow this up with Nivea Men protective lotion to keep my skin protected from excessive drying and damage throughout the day. There are other products out there but from the ones I’ve tried these have given me amazing results. My skin has become much younger looking and the wrinkles around my eyes and ears and the sun spots on my cheeks were beginning to fade. Try a few things see what works best for you, these are only recommendations. Remember the most important thing you can do for your skin is drink water followed by a well balanced diet. The more vegetables you add into your diet the more your skin will improve. If you are losing a lot of weight keeping your skin as supple as possible will help to keep the skin sag to a minimum. No one wants to look like a Turkey Necked Basset Hound. Remember there are no quick fixes anything that is worth while will take effort, commitment, and time.

Back and neck pain.

I have touched on my struggle with back and neck pain and I am ready to say “I am pain free”. Yes I am pain free for the first time in 30 years. For the last three years I have been working towards a goal of pain free, medicine free health. Well I was able to achieve a success in some measure due to a very simple belief that my body could repair itself to some degree if given the proper care and nutrients. Now there isn’t any easy path, or quick fix, or miracle drug. They don’t exist! The real key is steady growth and constant care of your body and mind to achieve your optimum capacity for health. Some of you have read my post on back pain and exercises to alleviate some of the pain. I have also touched on the importance of diet in the equation for better health, also you have to stay positive mentally with your goal always in sight,  and the final ingredient is staying active.  You have to stay moving in a positive direction as much as possible.

In this article I am going to touch on a little bit of each aspect. I am going to go old school and quote a little Hippocrates.

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Excess in any aspect of your life is never a good thing. To achieve my goals I had to remove anything that was taking to much of my life and find a balance. I also had to address the issue of food and nutrients. A well balanced diet is the key to giving your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Don’t waste your money on some nutrient rich supplement when you can actually eat food that is good for you and lose weight at the same time.

Exercise: I have talked about finding an activity that will keep you active and flexible for about four hours a week. I chose Martial Arts, but Yoga, Dance, anything that will keep you moving and active is a plus.

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Focused exercises on the area of injury are also a must. You have to work the area of damage in order to activate the bodies repair mechanism and build a stronger guard against further damage.

Keeping a positive attitude during this process is as important as diet and exercise. When you are stressed and depressed your body doesn’t produce the proper amount of chemicals to allow for nutrient absorption and muscle growth. Something as simple as just saying to yourself ” You can do this” is all it takes. Seems pretty easy, but can be the most difficult hurdle. See “Happiness and Letting Go”

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It sounds strange but sometimes we can create or own disease. Yes through stress and poor lifestyle choices we can make ourselves physically ill. Make the choice to live a healthier happier life and you will find yourself making good positive choices and  living a pain free, drug free future like me.

 

Self Realization and Fulfillment

I have found in my life that many times I have changed paths of attaining happiness. Some paths were spiritual, Some were physical, and some were mental. The problem I had in my youth was the fact that I listened to the people that had different views of what was important to them. This however was not what was important to me. The “Question” then becomes what is important to you? Well…. I thought, when I was younger, that career was important, but that can be confusing when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. (not sure I’m there yet) I spent my youth going from One job to another, and college was a waste of time for the most part. Colleges need to streamline their curriculum to only include the courses you need to get your degree and quit adding bullshit courses that have nothing to do with your area of learning. Its just a waste of time and money.

As I got older money , I was told was the most important thing, and the ability to acquire money was the path to happiness. In my search for the almighty dollar I meet a lot of like minded people and came to the realization that I wasn’t happy and I was constantly stressed and the people I met weren’t happy either. As I got older most of these people are now trading in their wealth to try to regain their health and happiness. Seems a little backward to me, trading your youth and health for money that you will then use to pay to try to heal all the medical problems you got from the stress and long hours you had to give to attain your money. Does anyone else see the problem with this, or is it just me? On a side note I always found this study interesting. This is a chart of diminishing return for money spent vs. happiness

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As I got older and got married, started a family, I realized I was spending less and less time with my family and more and more time at work. This was not the family model I wanted for myself or them. Growing up in a family were my father worked a lot and was gone for days at a time I remembered what that was like. I would have gladly given up all the nice things we had for a better relationship with my father. With both parents working it becomes even harder for a child to have a healthy relationship as they grow when all they see growing up is two parents chasing their careers and fighting over money when they were home at the same time. I didn’t want that as my son got older than four so my wife and I talked about it and came to the conclusion that we would choose happiness over wealth.

Now that being said I am not suggesting anyone live in poverty, no what I’m suggesting is scale back your life style, cut out the extras that don’t mean anything to you. Spend more time with the ones you love and build strong positive relationships with the ones you love. By doing this we discovered that we could cut back our hours at work by almost half. This is huge! My wife was able to cut back to only 20 hrs a week from forty plus and I could cut back to forty five hours a week from my usual seventy two hrs a week. We still had more than enough money to pay the bills and money for retirement and vacations. Our marriage was stronger and we had more time to spend with our son.

Now I want to touch on the spiritual side of my journey. I was raised an Irish Catholic and consider myself recovering Catholic now. I realized at a very young age that there might be more than one answer when it came to spiritual happiness. So I embarked on a journey of self discovery of spiritual realization. And yes I dabbled in mind altering psychedelics in the seventies. I lived in the Haight- Ashbury district in San Francisco for a while I dabbled in other religions and beliefs, and ended my journey realizing that everything I needed was within me. I settled on Buddhism as a belief system because through the years I saw that life gives you back what you put into it. I wanted to have a happy, positive existence so I figured I had to put happy, positive thoughts and actions into my life. Buddhism seems to be the closest thing to this belief system. So when someone asks I simply say Buddhist and wait for the look of disbelief on their face. I’m not going to get all warm and fuzzy here I just wanted to explain my position.

My physical journey began when I started buying slip on shoes so I didn’t have to bend over to tie my shoes. Some times something so small can be the trigger you need to make a life changing decision. I made the decision to try to reverse the damage I had done trying to attain some imaginary dollar amount before it became a medical issue. I embarked upon a journey of physical health through proper diet and exercise. I also found a sort of spiritual peace through this fitness program centered around Martial Arts.

Now, lets pull all this together into something that makes sense. Three things had to happen for this to work.

  1. Focus on whats really important to you. Family, relationships, etc.
  2. find a spiritual belief system that works for you.
  3. Make a commitment to take care of yourself through a proper diet and exercise.

You will find if you can pull these things together you will have a life filled with love and possibility. You will also have time to pursue your passions what ever they may be. You stress levels will go way down, you wont try to control every aspect of your life and the lives of the people around you. Also you will have time to give to others that need your help because for what ever reason their life is out of balance. There is no greater joy in life than being of service to others. So live your life with purpose and joy and it will positively affect everyone around you.

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“The Devil Is In The Details”

Some of you have read this blog before and know that I am a student of Uechi Ryu a Okinawan style of martial arts that is based on southern style Chinese boxing. As I go into my 52 years of age I am hoping to accomplish one of my lifetime goals, a black belt in martial arts. I am testing in May and I have all my requirements learned, now I’m fine tuning the small stuff. “The Devil is in the Details” one of the hardest things is the position of the body as you move through a set of attacks known as Kata. In the style we only have eight Kata, some styles have as many as fifty, so we really put a lot of time perfecting each Kata. Even the most basic Kata known as Sanchin is never perfected in ones lifetime.

That being said, learning this style can be a very humbling experience. But I am going to talk about transition in movement, and body position, not about my many failures in martial arts. Transition and body position is everything. The position of everything and every muscle from head to toe. (literally) I like to compare it to ballet, When a great ballet dancer moves through the performance the will seamlessly move from one position to the next making it appear effortless and stop and hold poses during the performance.

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A martial artist will do the same thing focusing on foot position, hand position, center balance, head and neck position and even facial expression. You have to be very aware of every muscle of your body and how it moves, sets, and flexes. You don’t just throw a punch, every aspect of the movement from the chamber of the strike and core position to the extension of the strike and the finishing position of the body. as with anything in life over extension will leave you exposed and under extension will leave you short of your goal. Sounds like Sun-tzu in The Art of War but it is true in everything in life. Where I struggle is not anticipating the next move. Like a chess player I have to be patient between moves and not rush to begin the next move. You don’t want your attacker to know what your next move will be.

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The other thing that I struggle with is shoulder and core position specifically my hips. Most people don’t realize or even care that all the power in a punch or kick doesn’t come from the limb involved but from the hips. That’s right the power of the punch comes from the hip and one of the hardest things to learn is whats called the hip twitch. By twitching your hip forward and back during the punch or kick can double the power transfer from your core to your hand or foot. Think of a Bull Whip and try to reproduce that quick whip-like motion. You will notice when your hip moves your arms will automatically move with with the hips.

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The patience required to achieve these methods is beyond the average person, which is why so many people quit. I think it takes a certain type of crazy to want to dedicate ones self to the advance of martial arts. This may be why there are so few Americans that teach traditional martial arts. Most people ,unfortunately, give up learning and try to create or change the style and create their own style. The proliferation of the Mac Dojo here in the United States is saddening to any true martial artist. I can’t imagine anything worse than spending years and thousands of dollars on some made up martial art that has no place to go and no real use in a fight. But enough of that, the subject at hand is the details and the importance of these details in the application of the moves.

SeiyuShinjo

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Is your core centered, are you balanced what is your hip and shoulder position, are your feet in proper position to move in the direction you need without compromising balance. these are my Great White Whale. But, I know, With hard work and determination I can get this down in about Five or Six years.

 

 

Upper Back and Neck Pain

In previous posts I wrote about lower back pain but many of us suffer from back and neck pain. Most people feel the pain during movement of their neck and shoulders. These pains can be stress related, Sleep related, work related, exercise related. but the cure is the same, and if you don’t treat it as soon as possible it can lead to disc damage, nerve damage etc.I suffered from neck and shoulder pain when I was younger working as a pastry chef. I would stand twelve hours a day six days a week looking down at my work table. This caused the disk to shift in my neck and pinch the nerve causing pain that began in my neck and radiated down to my shoulders. I went to my Physical therapist, “Mom” and she gave me a booklet. This booklet gave a few exercises that increase mobility and help put the disk back into the proper position. I don’t suffer from this problem anymore and haven’t for years but I am very conscious of my neck and any possible injuries. I have noticed lately that my neck makes an audible clicking and grinding noise when I rotate and  turn my head so into the internet I go looking for answers, and this is what I found.

The real reason for this was fighting, I was having difficulty in my training keeping my chin tucked in, I noticed that I had some minor posture issues also and when I began to do exercises to correct the problem I felt and heard the popping and cracking in my neck. It sounded like breakfast cereal had taken up residence in my neck (Snap, Crackle and Pop). This was a serious concern because the last thing you want during a match is to have your chin sticking out. So Possible causes

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Proper posture in the neck is a big reason most people have neck and upper back pain. Working on my feet and having  my head in a downward position for 10 to 12 hours a day, I have done some serious damage to my posture but it is correctable.

Cervical Osteoarthritis, although this often goes un-diagnosed, it is common to have a stiff neck and pain occasionally and most people just think they slept wrong, or they strained there neck (Somehow). fortunately this condition is not degenerative and neck exercises can help with this condition.

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I do these exercises as part of my martial arts warm ups and it does help with my flexibility and seems to ease the pressure in the back of my neck. but I still have the popping and grinding when I roll my neck. So on with the search for answers. Next up is probably one of my favorite subjects, Diet. A diet high in omega 3 fatty acids and high in antioxidants,fiber,  Calcium and Vitamin D can aid in the building and maintaining good skeletal health. This is also the diet for high blood pressure, Diabetes, weight loss, In other words,and I know this is getting old, A proper diet is the biggest and best thing you can do for over all health.

Water is another key ingredient. Drinking plenty of fluids aids in keeping your fluid filled inter skeletal structures healthy and flexible.

There are other things that can lead to skeletal degeneration. The big two are alcohol and tobacco products. The alcohol depletes the  calcium and magnesium, and tobacco products is damaging to your bones.

 

 

 

Outdoor Health

Some of you out there like to go to the gym for your workout. Me , I like to exercise outdoors when I can. I am lucky enough to live in a place that has the perfect set up for keeping fit. We have great weather and all the hills you would ever want to climb.  We have beaches and dog parks and plenty of other places to go. Id bet most of us have things we can do around town that would facilitate a top level work out with just a little imagination and drive. I’d like to share some of the fun things I have come up with and I would like to hear from some of you out there. Sharing information and ideas is the only way we can help each other through this time in our lives.

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This is Morro Bay Beach. Three miles of flat hard sand at low tide and soft sand above the high water mark. From one end to the other and back is about the same as a 10 K If you only go half way and back, its a good twenty minute run. If I do the short run I like to do wind sprints in the soft sand dunes that lines the beach.camp-keep-273

Nothing will get your heart rate up faster than wind sprints on a sand dune. If a stair master is your thing, I have some thing for you. here you have a few options.Cerro Cabrillo Morro Bay

this is the view of black mountain, literally in my front yard. It’s about a 35% grade straight up and the climb usually takes 20 minutes from my front door to the top. For these hikes I like to pack a snack because the sandwiches taste better with a view like this.

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I know some of you like rowing machines and I think its a great work out but I think my version is a lot more fun.

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And we have a great cheering section that bring their own snacks.sea-otters

And every once in a while one of the big neighbors stops by to say Hi! and show off a little.

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Now some of you are saying, “We don’t have anything like that in my town ” well of course you don’t, other wise you would be living in my town and then we would have traffic.  That’s not the point, look around you can find plenty of ways to get out and make a fool of yourselves. Its just as important to get out and act like an old fool as it is to exercise. Not only is it hard on your ego it will bring you joy and a little humility is good for the soul. I cant forget the looks I got from people on our street as the time I got out on my son’s skate board and did a few runs on the ramp I built in the driveway. I told my wife I had to test it. She just shook her head and walked away. I don’t believe there is nothing around you that wouldn’t facilitate some of this .

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There is always something somewhere like these stairs people use along the beaches of southern California. get creative. I have a heavy bag hanging in the garage that is my stress reliever. Nothing feel better tan being able to kick the crap out of that bag for 15 minutes after a tough day at work and relieving stress is as important as the exercise. In fact exercise should help relieve stress. that’s why I like to exercise outside. I find that being in nature helps with stress relief better than any drug.

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It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something on a regular basis. I like martial arts to keep my balance and flexibility, but yoga

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Wushu Taichi Center - Liu Yu presents:Saturday in Meadow Park
Wushu Taichi Center – Liu Yu presents:Saturday in Meadow Park

Tai Chi, anything will work but I recommend that you try to do a little of everything , mix it up and find what you like. If you read my earlier blogs you will see that I recommend not joining a gym and saving your money for other things. well these are some of those other things. Sure they offer yoga at the gym. But you get a more diverse group of  people outside the gym that usually have a different view of health and fitness. Gyms can be so homogeneous and you end up with someone else’s  vision of health not your own remember this is about finding a way that works for you.

 

 

Arthritis Homeopathic Treatment

Several years ago I noticed that my hands were sore and stiff in the morning. I thought maybe I had just over stressed them while at work. Being a chef I use my hands constantly and constantly moving them between hot and cold my hands are often numb from working with refrigerated food items all day. The problem was the feeling in my hands began to spread to my elbows and shoulders, and my feet were becoming affected, as well as my lower back and hips. The question became what the hell is going on with my body and what can I do to stop it?  It was quite disconcerting to realize that my body was attacking itself from the inside.

So first I wanted to know what was going on. Not being familiar with arthritis I had some research to do so I turned to the usual source for my questions these days, the Internet. First I looked at symptoms, Pain, Stiffness, Swelling, Redness, and decreased range of motion. Then having verified that yes I might have early onset arthritis I paid a visit to my doctor. My doctor looked at the symptoms and did some tests and yes I had the beginnings of arthritis. Its always nice to have someone tell you your fears are justified. So my next question was what type of arthritis? was osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis? and what were the treatments?

That’s a  lot of questions and the doctor said it was probably rheumatoid based on the symptoms and from what he saw or didn’t see on the x-rays I had early onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. Well great, I started my research and found that family history is a great place to start. So I got on the phone with my mom and asked if arthritis ran in the family? “Oh yes , She says your grand mother had it I have it and your sister has it”. Well that seems strange, just the women? and then she goes on to tell me that she has been diagnosed with Lupus and Gout! Wait, what the hell, these are auto immune diseases! I thought heart disease ran in our family, what the hell was going on.

I was shaken to the core and not ready to give in to this future, so I was faced with the question what can “I” do to stop this. Well the doctor said that I could take a over the counter pain medication. (Taking Tylenol every day for the rest of my life was not an option)

Options:

Analgesics: reduce pain, no effect on inflammation

Non Steroidal anti inflammatory: Reduce  pain and inflammation

Counter-irritants: stops immune system from attacking joints

Biologics: Targets protein molecules involved in immune response.

Corticosteroids: Reduce inflammation and Suppress immune system

That all sounded fun! but none of them treated the disease just the symptoms. I was looking for a way to stop and possibly reverse the damage that had been done already. I started looking at immune system health and how this affects the body. I started noticing a trend in the causes of autoimmune disorders . Bacteria or virus, drugs, chemical, environmental, and hereditary. OK now this is getting interesting my Immune system can be affected by external influences. This I can do something about and If I can change my immune system I can change my symptoms.

Now before I go on, I am not a doctor, lets get that clear. Other than the medical training I had in the military, I don’t have a medical background. What I do have is a food and nutrition background with and unlimited amount of personal drive to affect my condition. I decided to attack this on all fronts. First I had to eliminate the possibility of a viral or fungal infection. With that ruled out I started looking at the other factors and came up with a plan to effect my environment, diet, any possible chemical toxins, and exercise. I realized this is a lifestyle change and I had to have the right frame of mind to accomplish this monumental undertaking.

A positive attitude is everything! Get your brain into the game, stress and a negative outlook will destroy all the positive things you are trying to accomplish. Remember you are fighting a war and you cant win a war unless you believe you are going to win. Stress directly affects your immune system. Exercise: find an exercise program that increases blood-flow and flexibility and muscle growth to support the joints. Diet: What you put in your body directly affects the health of your body. Environmental. Reduce the amount of chemicals your body is introduced to.

With this plan in mind and being a chef I first addressed diet and found that there are foods that can positively and negatively affect your immune system and affect your symptoms. Foods that will help your overall immune health and treat  your symptoms, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, fatty fish (omega 3), garlic, tart cherries, turmeric, vitamin C.

Foods that negatively affect your immune system and symptoms Night Shade plants (Tomato, eggplant,potato,most peppers) foods high in trans fat, red meat,fried foods, prepackaged baked goods, soda or high sugar drinks i.e.energy drinks, High fructose corn syrup.

This is also true for gout sufferers which is caused by the bodies inability to process uric acids crystals causing swelling and pain in joints. The diets are almost identical for arthritis, gout, type one diabetes, heart health and obesity. There is a definite  pattern to all of this and it was glaringly obvious to me that the solution was so simple. The question then became why are we not seeing this on the news, in government publications, and its only being talked about by the fringe of society and in the deep dark corners of the web. The answer was less than sinister and so obvious. Money! the medical machine cant make money off healthy people. The food companies where not willing to cut profits in order to make the food healthier and the government doesn’t get millions of dollars from the food counsels to tell people not to eat meat. It’s up to the consumer to decide and vote with the all mighty dollar.

Here is the food pyramid recommended by the Government circa 1970

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Here is the average Americans diet

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And here is the modern recommendationimages

But I was trying to go further, I needed to repair the damage I had done and rebuild my immune system and body to fight the disease that had taken hold of me. First I wanted to clean out my body and get rid of as much of the poison I had accumulated over the years. I decided on a strict vegan diet would be the best option because I wasn’t doing this for 24 hours, I was going for the big game, my life! One month was my target to get as much of the toxins out of my body and rebuild my immune system as much as possible. I also started an intense exercise program that included martial arts training and body conditioning. When I began I was 20 lbs over weight (according to my BMI) and I had other things like tinnitus, high blood pressure and chronic sinus issues to deal with. I held back for almost 6 months to start the diet because I was convinced that I needed to eat meat to be healthy for exercise. I had lost about 5 lbs from exercise but I had gained muscle at the same time so I thought I was doing well.

Diet is 90% of the Battle

When I started my diet I had a plan in place for meals and plenty of recipes to choose from including some of my own. There are a ton of cook books out there so I wont bore you with a list, just know the information is there for you if you decide to try this. One foot note Herbs and seasoning are your friends. The first week I lost 5 lbs, the second week I lost 5 more by the end of the third week I noticed I had not only lost 15 lbs and reached my goal BMI I noticed a distinct change in other things as well. My skin was softer and more healthy, My Tinnitus had all but disappeared, my joints were no longer stiff and sore, my blood pressure was normal, and my testosterone levels were climbing.  It was all connected, all of it. that’s when I had my “Ah Ha moment ” and set out to keep improving my quality of life. I am very careful about what I put in my body. I found I had an allergy to dairy ( not a lactose intolerance but an allergy) that caused abdominal bloating, Sinusitis, dandruff,skin irritation, and IBS. Gone! don’t miss that stuff or the dairy at all. I don’t drink sodas or eat food that has been processed. ( I found croutons in the store that contained high fructose corn syrup! Why?)  I read labels and wash my fruits and vegetables well, (Chemicals) I don’t use heavy chemicals to clean. Plain old soap and lemon juice work just fine. I make my own weed killers and organic gardening techniques. Like I said earlier this is a “Lifestyle Change” you cant go half way it doesn’t work like that, its all or nothing. Remember its a war with the battle being taken on with no quarter. I have added 3 oz of meat a day back into my diet but stay away from red meat completely. I eat vegetables as 90% of my diet and also add Beans, fruit, and nuts as much as possible. If you reduce the money spent on meat and buy vegetables instead you will have so much more food. I eat constantly but gain nothing in weight. I have gone from large meals to multiple small meals and my body processes food much better. Drink lots of water to help your body process your food and keep hydrated. Good luck on your journey but remember its all or nothing there is no half way when your life is on the line.