Get Yourself Tested: 5 Blood Tests For Health

Health No Comments »

Blood tests are a great objective fitness tool.

Weight changes as fat and muscle ratios change.  Pictures and the mirror change subjectively.

But a blood test… you can compare this year’s blood test to last year’s blood test and see exactly how you compare.

The tests below are a good starting point for you.  Your first test will show you how much room for improvement you have.  Subsequent tests will show you exactly what improvements you’ve made.

All of these are important indicators of your health and longevity, and you can use them for an accurate self-assessment.


So here are 5 blood tests you should have done regularly:

Blood Test #1: Fasting Insulin

This test involves an overnight fast.  It might be the most important test you can have done.

Your fasting insulin is a direct indicator of your metabolic health.  In fact, insulin levels are so key to your health that they can predict the outcome of many other tests.

High fasting insulin levels are associated with other negative health signals, like high triglycerides, hypertension, high bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol, high inflammation, and leptin resistance.

Plus, insulin tells you a lot about your fat storage.  High fasting insulin levels means you’re more likely to store fat and have dangerous visceral fat deposits.

Doctors won’t usually test your fasting insulin levels unless they’re looking for a specific problem, so you will probably need to ask or go to a testing lab and order it done for yourself.

Blood Test #2: Testosterone

Testosterone levels are declining rapidly in both men and women.  (In fact, adults now have about a quarter of the testosterone of their grandparents)

Low testosterone is associated with low muscle, increased body fat, moodiness, depression, hypertension, low strength, low energy, and a slower metabolism.

Age-related decline in testosterone is largely preventable with the proper diet, workout, and lifestyle factors in place.

Chronic cardio and stress both will lower your testosterone.

Blood Test #3: Cholesterol

Usually you get a report of your total cholesterol.  That number is basically useless for assessing your health.  What you need to know are your “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels.

HDL (High density lipoprotein) is the good cholesterol.  Higher HDL levels are associated with increased longevity and improved health.  HDL carries fats to your liver where you can break them down and use them for energy.

LDL (Low density lipoprotein) is the bad cholesterol.  LDL oxidizes (turns rancid) very easily, blocks your blood vessels, and contributes to lesions inside your body.

If you have a high total cholesterol but most of that is HDL, you’re sitting pretty.  If you have elevated LDL, you’re about to run into a lot of health problems.

Blood Test #4: C-Reactive Protein

C-reactive proteins are a sign of inflammation in your body.  Unfortunately, most doctors won’t test your C-reactive protein levels unless they think you’re at risk for a heart attack.

C-reactive protein (CRP) testing is more accurate at predicting a heart attack than either triglyceride or cholesterol levels.  Elevated CRP levels means you’re at risk for developing diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Having a high percentage of CRP is directly linked to higher levels of body fat.  The increased inflammation from the fat stores taxes your body’s immune system and damages healthy tissues (like your brain, liver, and kidneys).

Blood Test #5: Triglycerides

High triglycerides are almost always signals of a metabolic disorder.  This test tells you the levels of fats that are circulating around in your bloodstream.

When you’re insulin resistant, the fats just keep circulating and building up, causing all sorts of problems – from becoming rancid to blocking bloodflow.

You should measure both your triglyceride level and your ratio of triglycerides to HDL.

Getting Blood Tests

Until recently most of these tests had to be ordered by a physician, but now you can start taking a more proactive role in protecting your health.

First, ask your doctor and see if you can get these tests done there and covered by your insurance.  If that’s not available, there are many local testing facilities that will take blood samples and send them into a lab where the tests you order are carried out.  (I use Direct Laboratory Services Inc.)

Even if the tests are covered by your insurance you should still invest in them, they provide an invaluable view into your current health and show you your risks for future disease.

Getting tested twice a year is a good baseline, but you can get tested over even shorter periods if you’re experimenting with changing certain levels.

For instance, a client of mine had a blood test done and discovered she had low vitamin D.  She went on a vitamin D raising plan and was tested again at 4, 8, and 12 weeks.  At 12 weeks her levels were in a healthier range and she could take on a more moderate program for maintenance.

But here’s the kicker: at 4 weeks there was no change, so it would have been easy to quit.  Instead we made a few tweaks and at 8 weeks her levels were rising.  After 12 weeks she was where she needed to be.  If we had waited 6 months or a year to get a follow-up test done, who knows what kind of results we’d have seen – good or bad?

So use testing as an assessment tool.  If you have no specific issues, every six months is a perfect place to start.

blood test diagram

Science Isn’t Bohr-ing: How To Deliver More Oxygen To Your Muscles

Exercise, Health 1 Comment »

Since Carson City, where I live, is located at 4,800 feet elevation friends and family who come to visit notice they get tired much faster.

And up in even higher cities, you might notice that just a minimal workout will lead to extreme shortness of breath – almost like you’re breathing through a straw and can’t get enough air.

But in just a few days your breathing gets easier and you carry on as normal.  It’s just a short acclimation process.

Athletes train at high altitudes because they want to improve their oxygen uptake and then take their improved cardiovascular system back to sea level and destrominate the competition.

Thirty something african american man in the outdoors getting fit.  MR#23.pdf

Most people would totally agree with this – that their breathing at high altitudes gets easier because their lungs are picking up more oxygen.

Science Time

In fact, you breath more easily after acclimation because your oxygen uptake has gotten worse.



See, oxygen is passed from your lungs to your blood, where it is picked up by hemoglobin molecules.

Hemoglobin binds to the oxygen and carries it along your bloodstream to where it is needed in your body.


The problem with this system is that when the hemoglobin/oxygen combo reaches your tissues, the hemoglobin bond is so strong that it doesn’t give up the oxygen easily.

That’s right: your blood doesn’t want to give up its oxygen to the rest of your body.  Selfish.

You can adapt though, and decrease hemoglobin’s attachment to oxygen in a way that lowers oxygen uptake in your lungs in order for you to get better delivery to your body’s tissues.

This is known as the Bohr Effect.

Here’s the definition:

Hemoglobin’s oxygen binding affinity is inversely related both to acidity and to the concentration of carbon dioxide. That is to say, a decrease in blood pH or an increase in blood CO2 concentration will result in hemoglobin proteins releasing their loads of oxygen and a decrease in carbon dioxide or increase in pH will result in hemoglobin picking up more oxygen.

So training at altitude DOES have the potential to increase your performance, just not in the way you’d think.

And now it’s time to get even more cool with science…

When you exercise really hard you produce lactic acid.  The hydrogen ions from lactic acid spread through your blood vessels (that’s the burn you feel during hard exercise) and change the shape of your hemoglobin so that the hemoglobin is less sticky to the oxygen.

got acid

In short, hard training leads to improved oxygen delivery inside of your body.

Repeated training at a high enough intensity leads your body to make a chemical called… wait for it… 2,3 diphosphoglycerate.  This chemical works like the Bohr effect – but the results last longer

2,3 diphosphiglycerate is made in high amounts in people who live at high altitudes and in people who regularly work out at a high intensity.

What’s high intensity?  Where you go so hard that your body’s demand for oxygen momentarily exceeds your ability to deliver it.  (Panting breathing and muscle burn)

So, the moral of the story is:  Training super-hard or at elevation (or both!) will increase your ability to deliver oxygen to your body… while absorbing less oxygen from the air.  How cool is that!

Sleep, Weight Loss, And Health

Health, Strategies, Weight Loss 5 Comments »

Lack of sleep and chronic stress come together.

Not sleeping makes you stressed and stress makes you lose sleep (which leads to more stress…)

Here’s some bad news: sleep deprivation and stress both play a role in struggling with weight loss and health problems.

Most people who are trying to lose weight never stop to think about the effects that missing sleep can have on their body.

Some people think that staying up longer can help them lose weight because they might be able to burn more calories. In fact, the opposite is true: a good night’s sleep actually helps you achieve a healthy weight, while a lack of sleep makes losing weight more difficult. (And people don’t realize one of the clearest truths about sleeping – when you’re asleep, you’re not eating!)

Not only does sleeping refresh your brain – so you can make clear decisions about food choices the next day – sleep (or a lack thereof), affects your metabolism, your hormones, and your immune system. All together these have a powerful affect on your health and weight.

Consider the following:

– A large study that followed more than 68,000 women for 16 years showed that women who slept less than 7 hours per night put on more weight than those who slept at least 7 hours. Additionally, women who slept only 5 hours per night were 33% more likely to gain significant weight (33 pounds or more).

– Sleep deprivation impairs insulin sensitivity, impairs carbohydrate tolerance, increases ghrelin (appetite hormone), decreases leptin, and increases cortisol.

– Research has shown that about 7 hours of QUALITY sleep are necessary for weight control and good health. Chronic sleep deprivation accelerates the onset and increases the symptoms of aging – including memory loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

– Less than 4 hours of sleep in one night, or chronic sleep loss, has been shown to have a negative effect on carbohydrate metabolism. Put simply, carbs make you fatter if you’re missing sleep!

– A study found that adults who slept 4 hours or less per night are 73% more likely to be obese than those who slept between 7 and 9 hours per night. Sleeping between 5 and 6 hours per night leads to a 50% greater risk of being overweight and a 23% greater risk of being obese.

Missing sleep occasionally can be overcome, missing sleep every night (or almost every night!) is what starts to damage your body.

What you need to do is make a plan for getting at least 7 hours of restful sleep every night. Here are some tips to help:

  1. No TV near bedtime and ABSOLUTELY no TV in the bedroom
  2. Make sure your bedroom has good window coverings (for darkness), is uncluttered, and well ventilated.
  3. Create a “wind-down” ritual before bed.  Try herbal tea, dimmed lights, journaling, or a warm bath.
  4. Take calcium and magnesium before bed.
  5. No working or studying in bed.  Beds are for sex and sleep.
  6. Try aromatherapy – lavender helps with relaxation.
  7. Avoid eating right before bed, and try to have 3 hours between bedtime and your last big meal.
  8. Alcohol lowers sleep quality, so limit or avoid alcoholic drinks within a few hours of bedtime.
  9. A cooler room helps promote deeper sleep.
  10. Leave your worries outside the door – make your bedroom a stress-free zone.
  11. Guided imagery, progressive relaxation, meditation, and breathing exercises can all help with sleep.
  12. Caffeine interferes with sleep (it is a stimulant and also affects your production of the sleep hormone melatonin).  Time your intake so you can fall asleep easily.  This might mean no caffeine after 3pm, or it might mean no caffeine after 11am.  Everyone is different.
  13. Try using a sleep mask for perfect darkness.
  14. Invest in a comfortable pillow and mattress.
  15. Get a quality alarm with a back up battery so you won’t stress about sleeping in.
  16. Have white noise.  A fan, air purifier, or white noise machine are all good choices.
  17. Put blue light filters on all electronic screens in your home.  The blue light from monitors, laptops, and TVs simulates sunlight and blocks the release of melatonin.
  18. Paint and decorate your bedroom with serene and restful colors.
  19. Practice regular rhythms of sleep.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  20. Keep your room dust-free.  Keep pets out of the bedroom at all times and consider getting an air filtering system.
  21. Get exposure to sunlight on your body and face as soon as possible after waking.  This helps tell your body it is time to wake up and enhances your sleep rhythm.
  22. Use a hot rice pack on your solar plexus (just below your rib cage) – this helps trigger your body chemistry for sleep.  (Cuddling a partner works too)
  23. Try herbal supplements before bed: Valerian Root, Kava Kava, Passionflower, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm all help with sleep.
  24. Get tested.  The most common and underdiagnosed sleep disorder is sleep apnea.  If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatgiue, snoring, or have been seen to momentarily stop breathing during the night, get tested by a sleep lab.  (Sleep apnea greatly raises your risk of hypertension and heart disease)

Getting enough quality sleep will not only make you healthier, help you de-stress, and speed up weight loss, it will recharge you so that you can enjoy everything that life has to offer.

Is Sugar A Ninja? Sneaky Ways Sugar Is Creeping Up On You

Health, Nutrition No Comments »

Sugar reminds me of a ninja.  It sneaks in when you least expect it and does some serious damage.

ninja cat

In order to help you guard yourself from the sugar ninja menace, here’s a list of other names for sugar, ways it disguises itself to sneak into your food:

  • Agave syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar

ninja dog

  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose

ninjas in living room

  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Barley malt

ninja cat 2

  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar

Did you know that because of sneaky sugars, the average American eats more than 6oz of sugar a day?

Keep yourself safe from ninja sugars, when you see any of these names on a label, think twice before putting it in your mouth.  It might just be waiting for its chance to attack…

Check out some of these other posts on Wold Fitness about sugar:

Sugar Cravings Taking Over Your Brain!

99 Ways Sugar Is Poisoning You

Sugar Primer

Chemical Warfare: Lectins Attack!

Health, Nutrition 1 Comment »

Before modern chemical pesticides, nature developed its own powerful defense system: lectins.

To keep themselves from being eaten to extinction, plants evolved dangerous anti-nutrients to attack the digestive systems of the animals that fed on them.  These anti-nutrients are essentially low-grade toxins – not powerful enough to kill instantly, they are more of a passive-aggressive defense.  “Go ahead and eat me, I’ll mess you up.”

Lectins are a mixture of proteins and carbohydrates that can bind to almost any tissue in our bodies and start causing trouble.  This “stickyness” really takes place in your small intestine, where they bind with your intestinal villi.

The result of lectins binding to your small intestine is cellular damage with a reduced ability to repair themselves, cellular death, and compromised villi.  All of this leads to you developing “leaky gut” syndrome, as well as reducing your ability to absorb healthy nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This lectin binding also leads to problems with your gut flora, the beneficial bacteria that support digestion and keeps your immune system healthy.  When your good gut flora is suppressed, bad bacteria like e coli is allowed to run rampant.

(And it doesn’t take a medical degree to figure out that a leaky gut plus bad bacteria equals health problems)

When lectins are causing problems with your digestive system, your immune systems and bodily resources are all redirected to fixing these problems and won’t be able to focus on basic growth and repair processes (such as building lean muscle, metabolizing fat, repairing organs, and keeping your energy levels high).

Back to leaky gut and lectins.  Once the lectins open holes in your digestive system, rogue particles are free to move around in your body and bind to anything they come across – thyroid, pancreas, kidneys, etc.

Your body then reacts to these particles (and whatever they have bonded to) as a foreign invader and attacks them.  This leads to autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis.

Some lectins are definitely linked to certain autoimmune disorders – such as wheat to rheumatoid arthritis – but it remains a new area of study.  Your best bet is to avoid lectins as much as possible.

All right, so how do lectins do this? When you normally eat food, all of the proteins are broken down into their basic amino acid building blocks and are then absorbed in your small intestine.  Lectins are different.  Instead of being broken down during digestion, they attach to the cells where nutrient absorption should be taking place.  “Barring the door,” so to speak.

Usually, specific immune cells immediately take care of foreign bacteria and un-broken proteins.  But lectins are like sneaky little Trojan Horses, they slip past your defenses and then make your intestines easier to penetrate PLUS they impair your immune system’s ability to close holes in your digestive track.

High amounts of lectins are found in all grains, soy, legumes, nuts, dairy, and nightshade plants.  (Nightshade plants include eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers)

And there are even more lectins in genetically modified foods, because additional lectins are added to increase “pest” resistance.  (Yes, they genetically added things that cause your body to attack itself.  Thank you, Monsanto!)

So, what can you do to minimize damage to your body from lectins?

First, stop eating the worst foods!  This includes grains and soy for sure, but I would take out legumes and grain-fed dairy as well.  Here is some more info on grains and soy:

Reasons Besides Weight Loss To Cut Out Wheat And Grains

Grains Suck!

Soy, My Nipples, And Your Health

Soy Tried To Kill Me! (Profanity Warning)

Ok, once you’ve cut out grains, soy, and legumes, the next step is to eliminate all Genetically Modified Food (GMO).  This can be tough to do at the supermarket, your best bet is to get friendly with your local farmer’s market and get local, natural food.

Next, diversify your diet.  When you take away grains, soy, and legumes, most people get into a standard rotation of foods.  3 types of protein, 3 types of fruit, 4 kinds of vegetables, 1-2 kinds of nuts.  The problem is that consuming only a small number of foods will maximize your sensitivity to any lectins (or allergens) in the food.

Studies have shown that mixing up your primary food sources will limit lectin damage, so a healthy diet based on low-lectin foods will minimize any damage caused by occasional higher-lectin sources.

And finally – this is very important – take care of your digestive system!  Minimize use of antibiotics, take probiotics, eat prebiotics (garlic, onions, dandelion greens), get rid of ibuprofen, and de-stress.

Minimizing lectin damage is a big step towards improving your health and changing your body, so get started on the steps above right away!

[EDIT: Check out this post for more cool info on lectins!  Your Blood Type And What NOT To Eat]

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another: Scoping Out Nutrient Deficiencies

Health, Nutrition 1 Comment »

Why take supplements like a multi-vitamin if you’re eating a great and varied diet?

Even with a perfect nutrition plan, it’s likely that you’re going to be lacking in some vital nutrients.

For example, soil depletion means that even locally raised organic veggies have one-tenth the amount of nutrients that they used to.  (For a scary look at what soil depletion has done to the value of our food, read Empty Harvest by Dr. Bernard Jensen)

Eating a less-than-perfect diet for a long time can lead to deficiencies that need to be built back up.  A fast-food junkie with a severe shortage of omega-3s who starts eating wild salmon in her 30s will still need big doses of omega-3s to make up for 35 years of suboptimal eating.

Medications can cause nutrient absorption problems, so supplementation is necessary to keep a balance.

And finally, certain types of exercise can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to overtaxing your biochemical systems.

Here are some medications/drugs that can cause deficiencies, if you take (or have taken) any of them, supplementation may be the final key you need to start getting your health and body right where you want them.

Drugs And Nutrient Deficiencies

Drug: Clenbuterol

Used For: Asthma, Weight Loss

Deficiencies Caused: Taurine, Magnesium

Drug: Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids

Used For: Muscular Growth, Immune Disease, Athletic Performance, Wasting Disease

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins B-6, B-9, B-12, C, & D

Drug: Metformin

Used For: Type 2 Diabetes

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid

Drug: Anti-inflammatories

Used For: Pain, Adrenal Insufficiency, Rashes, Asthma, Hepatitis, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Eye Inflammation, Arthritis

Deficiencies Caused: Calcium, DHEA, Magnesium, Melatonin, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins: B-6, B-9, B-12, C, D

Drug: Anticoagulants (Coumadin)

Used For: Preventing Blood Clots, Atrial Fibrillation

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins E & K

Drug: Anti-psychotics

Used For: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins D & B-2

Drug: Chemotherapy

Used For: Cancer Treatment

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid

Drug: Nitrous Oxide

Used For: Recreational, Anesthesia

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-12

Drug: Cholestyramine

Used For: High Cholesterol

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins A, D, E, & K (all fat soluble vitamins)

Drug: Anticonvulsants

Used For: Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder

Deficiencies Caused: Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-6, D, & K

Drug: Heartburn And Anti-Ulcer Medications

Used For: Heartburn, Ulcers

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-12 & D, Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Zinc

Drug: Alcohol

Used For: Recreation, Heart Health

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, Thiamine, Vitamin B-6

Drug: Antidepressants

Used For: Depression

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-2

Drug: Antibiotics

Used For: Bacterial Infections

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, B Vitamins, Vitamins D & K

Drug: Stimulants (including caffeine)

Used For: Alertness, Recreation

Deficiencies Caused: Molybdenum, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamins B-5 & C

Drug: Oral Contraceptives

Used For: Birth Control

Deficiencies Caused: Zinc, Magnesium, Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-2, B-6, B-12, & C

If you are taking or have taken any of these drugs, a simple supplement to address any deficiencies will allow your system to start working the way it is supposed to, making health and a healthy weight MUCH easier to maintain!

Must See Video: Minding Your Mitochondria

Health, Nutrition, Strategies 2 Comments »

Imagine going from being a tae kwon do champion to having stage two multiple sclerosis and being confined to a wheel chair.

Now add in chemotherapy and extensive drug treatments only to keep getting worse…

What if you could fix yourself and reverse your disease with… food?

That is exactly what Dr. Terry Wahls did.

This video is definitely a must-see if you want to take care of your health, your energy, and your vitality.

Please check it out:

I watched it twice, the second time to take some notes for you:

2000 diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Took the latest drugs.

By 2003 it had progressed to stage 2. She took the chemotherapy and got a motorized wheelchair.

Tried more drugs, became more diasbled.

Afraid of becoming disabled.

Found out that brains with MS shrank.

Started finding more research about shrinking brains, found that the mitochondria don’t work well, which leads to shrinking brains.

Found studies that showed mouse brains and mitochondria had been protected by using fish oil, creatine, and co-enzyme Q 10.

Slowed her decline by translating the mouse-sized doses into human sized ones.

Was happy, but was still declining.

There are a billion cells in our brains, with trillions of connections. All of those connections must be insulated by myelin.

In order to make myelin, your body needs B vitamins, especially B1, B9, and B12. It also needs omega 3 fatty acids and iodine.

For your body to make neurotransmitters, it needs vitamin B6 and sulfur.

The energy for each cell in your body comes from mitochondria. Without the energy from your mitochondria, you would be no larger than bacteria.

In medical school, Dr. Wahls learned all about mitochondria, but she wasn’t taught what her body could make compared to what she needed to consume to make those mitochondrial systems run properly.

She found that out mitochondria need lots of B vitamins, sulfur, and antioxidants in order to thrive.

First, she added in the nutrients with supplements, then came to the realization that getting her nutrients from foods would provide her with hundreds, maybe thousands of trace compounds also needed for health.

Medical and nutrition textbooks didn’t tell her food sources, but internet research led her to design an eating plan that would support her brain and mitochondria.

She then quizzes the audience on how many fruits and vegetables they ate.

Then she shows how Americans are eating too few nutrients and too many starches.

“We are all starving ourselves. We are alive because of complicated chemical reactions. If you’re not providing the building blocks – that is the vitamins, minerals, essential fats – those reactions cannot happen properly. Leading to the wrong stuctures being made… or structures simply not being made at all, which sets the stage for chronic disease.”

Due to lack of nutrients children are born with smaller brains and smaller jaws that lead to crooked teeth.

This is why blood vessels become stiff as you age.

This is why children will become obese or diabetic as children or young adults.

This is why the number of children with learning problems and behavior problems are becoming more common each year.

For 2.5 million years humans ate what they could hunt and gather – leaves, berries, meat, and fish.

Hunter-gatherer foods were locally obtained, fresh, in season, and of course, organic.

People in the arctic ate differently than people on the savannah, but both groups exceeded the RDA of nutrients by 2 to 10 fold.

“These ancient peoples know more about eating for optimal health and vitality than we physicians and we scientists.”

The hunter-gather diet has more nutrition than any modern health diet.

Dr. Wahls started on a paleo diet, but she structured it to make sure she was supporting her mitochondria and brain health.

Here is her diet: 3 cups of green leaves, 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables, 3 cups of bright color, grass-fed meat, organ meat, and seaweed.

3 cups is a dinner plate piled high.

Greens are high in vitamins B, A, C, K, and minerals. Kale has the most nutrition per calorie of any plant.

Plus, a plate full of greens will dramatically lower your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

3 cups (plateful) of sulfur-rich vegetables every day to support your brain, mitochondria, and to remove toxins.

The cabbage family is rich in sulfur – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussells sprouts, turnips, rutabegas, radishes, and collards.

Onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, and chives are also all rich in sulfur.

3 cups (plateful) of colors, preferably different colors.

Colors are flavonoids and polyphenols. These support your eyes, mitochondria, brain cells, and toxin removal.

Get colors from vegetables like beets, carrots, peppers, and red cabbage.

Or get your colors from berries and brightly colored fruits.

Eat high quality protein that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. This will help build the myelin to insulate your nervous system and is essential for proper jaw formation (straight teeth).

Good sources are wild fish – salmon and herring in particular – and grass fed meat.

Ancient societies all valued organ meats. Organ meats are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and coenzyme Q.

Organ meets are very potent for supporting your mitochondria.

Seaweed is a valuable source of iodine and selenium.

Your brain needs iodine to make myelin.

Iodine also removes toxins – particularly mercury, lead, and heavy metals.

Plus, iodine lowers risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

80% of Americans have low iodine, so eat seaweed at least once a week.

Eat the fruits and veggies BEFORE you eat any grains or starches.

Eating fruits and veggies will dramatically lower your risk of food allergies.

Grain and dairy allergies are associated with a wide variety of health problems including excema, asthma, allergies, infertility, irritable bowl, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, chronic headache, neurological problems, and behavior problems.

It will cost more to eat veggies and berries. But you’re going to pay the price either way. Wither you’ll pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality or you will pay the price for doctor visits, prescription drugs, surgeries, time off work, early retirement, and nursing home care. The choice is yours.

With 3 months on the hunter-gatherer diet Dr. Wahls could walk with only one cane.

A month after that, she could walk without a cane.

After 5 months on the paleo diet, she got on a bike for the first time in a decade and rode around the block.

Nine months into paleo and she rode her bike 18 miles.

The Story Of Omega-3s

Health, Nutrition 4 Comments »

You should be taking Omega-3 supplements!

Most people don’t know that omega-3s are the most deficient nutrient in the American diet.  This lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to almost every major disease, weight problem, affective disorder, and learning disability.

When I say omega-3s, you might think “fish oil.”  Or if you’ve been studying healthy eating, you might say “salmon” or “grass-fed beef.”

But the omega-3 story doesn’t start with the fish, cow, or bison… it actually starts in a part of leafy green plants called the chloroplast.

Inside these chloroplasts is something called alpha-linoleic acid, the source of the essential fatty acids we call omega-3s.

And they truly are essential, we can’t make omega-3 fatty acids in our bodies, so they must come from the foods we eat (or supplements we take).

When plankton is eaten by a fish or grass is eaten by a cow, metabolic conversions take place to turn alpha-linoleic acid into EPA and DHA. (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexanoic acid respectively)

So here’s the story:

plankton -> krill -> salmon ->you


grass -> cow -> you

Why Do You Need Omega-3s?

Well, they are essential to your hormonal functioning, which you need to get in balance if you want to be healthy and lose weight.  (Check out this post for more on hormones and fat storage: Hormones Are Tricky Devils)

And the news has labelled fish oil capsules as “smart pills” because omega-3s make up the highest percentage of fatty acids in the brain, and if you’re not getting enough, your brain isn’t going to work right.  Omega-3s are needed for visual and cognitive functions in your brain.

Plus, omega-3s form the receptors for neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which make you feel good.  No omega-3s to form receptor sites, no happiness.  This is why fish oil is routinely prescribed to people with depression.  (Depression is not a prozac deficiency!  See this article: Natural Nutrition To Fight Depression And Anxiety)

There’s no way for your body to work right if you are low in omega-3s.

Some Problems Linked To Low Omega-3s:

  • Cracked Skin
  • Irritability
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Non-cancerous breast disease
  • Carbohydrate/sugar cravings
  • Hypoglycemia
  • PMS
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Dandruff
  • Dry skin
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Eczema
  • Cancer
  • Memory problems
  • Violent tendencies
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Weight Gain
  • Dyslexia
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Cracked skin
  • Learning disabilities
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry eyes
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry hair
  • Fatigue
  • Lowered immunity
  • Brittle nails

Taking fish oil helps with ALL of these!

Balancing 6s and 3s

So, making sure you get enough omega-3s is very important.  Raise your metabolism, reduce anxiety and depression, healthier skin and hair, and stay healthy.

But, the magic isn’t just in taking omega-3 supplements or eating more fish/grass-fed beef.  To really cause amazing changes in your body and health you need to try and bring omega-3s into the right ratio with omega-6s.

Back in human history, we consumed a ration of 1:1 to 1:3 of omega-3 to omega-6.  Today, even the healthiest people are at least 1:20, most are at 1:50, and the worst offenders are at 1:100.  The ratios have totally skewed toward omega-6s and it is causing weight gain and health problems left and right.

Where omega-3s come from leafy green plants, omega-6s come from seeds (grains, nuts).

Not only have we moved from eating lots of leafy greens to eating staggering amounts of grains, we have moved our livestock down the same path.  Remember, you are what your food eats!

Eating grains changes the fats in cattle and fish from omega-3s to omega-6s, further throwing us out of balance (and one of the reasons we are now so deficient in omega-3s)

Now, you might not get all the way down to a 1:1 ratio like our paleo ancestors, but you will transform your body as you bring the ratio closer and closer.

What Do You Do Now?

The first, and easiest step is to start taking fish oil.  Keep it in the fridge (capsules will turn cloudy… don’t worry, it’s normal) if you have a problem with fish burps.  Spread it out during the day.  Maybe start with one capsule with breakfast and one capsule with dinner.

If you start taking a lot of fish oil from day one, your poop will turn squishy and gray – not fun.  Ramp up your dosage slowly.

Eventually, you should aim for one gram of fish oil for every 15 pounds of your body weight.  Weigh 150 pounds?  10 capsules a day.

I know this sounds like a lot, and it is.  But you are fighting poor farming practices, depleted soil, and years of being out of balance.

Step two, start reducing your intake of grains.  This includes whole wheat, rice, corn, etc.  Your goal is to completely get rid of all the grains from your diet.

Step three, start eating wild caught fish and grass-fed meats.

Step four, YOU start eating more leafy green vegetables!  You won’t get much omega-3s from the plants, but they will greatly help you absorb more of the omega-3s from your main sources.

These four steps will improve your health, help you lose weight, make you happier and more energetic, and improve the appearance of your skin, hair, and nails.

A bonus step is to start taking other sources of omega-3s.  I personally take fish oil, salmon oil, and krill oil to make sure I am not relying too much on any one source.

If you’re ready to start experiencing real health and fast weight loss, start taking omega-3s today!

For more info, check out these other posts:

Fish Oil Reduces Body Fat (Study)

Drop Triglycerides 93%

Fish And Fat Loss (Study)



Carson City Bootcamp: 7 Foods For Lean Muscle

Health, Nutrition No Comments »

Lean muscles are what give your body its shape.

So when somebody says, “I want to get in shape,” what they mean is “I want to build some lean muscle and lose the fat covering it.”

If you really want to get in shape, exercise is important, but nutrition is your key to unlocking an awesome body.

(For more benefits of lean muscle, check out this post: Get Some Firmness On Your Frame)

Since you have to focus on nutrition in order to lean out and shape up, I put together a list of 7 foods that should be in your food plan if you want a fit body as fast as possible…

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #1: Almonds

Almonds not only raise your metabolism, they are a great source of antioxidants as well.

See, almonds are a perfect source alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, the form that your body absorbs best.

When you exercise hard, you want the muscle-saving power of almonds to prevent free radical damage after your workouts.

The less damage you get from free radicals, the faster your muscles will recover and be prepared for your next adventure at boot camp :)

As an added bonus, your body stores “bad stuff” in fat… things like pesticides, plastics, and food additives.  When you lose fat, this bad stuff is released into your body.  This is why it’s especially important to include antioxidant foods such as almonds in your fat loss food plan.

If that wasn’t enough, eating good natural sources of vitamin E (not just supplements), can lower your Alzheimer’s risk by up to 67%.

And don’t worry about the nuts making you fat – just keep it in moderation.  A study from Toronto University found that adding an ounce of almonds a day (about 24 nuts) won’t lead to any weight gain.

I’m watching you though, no double handfuls of almonds mixed with chocolate chips and dried fruit :)

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #2: Salmon

Salmon is a great source of quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  I’ve written about the benefits of fish and fish oil for fat loss before:

But the omega-3s and protein are essential for lean muscle as well.  Protein, sure.  But why do omega-3s help?

Omega-3s decrease muscle protein breakdown after your workouts, so you will recover faster.  This means you will store muscle protein faster than you break it down.

When choosing salmon, always ALWAYS get wild, not farm raised.  Farm raised fish is fed corn and other grains that change the fats and proteins in the meat so that you lose the benefits you were going for.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #3: Water

All right, water isn’t really a food, but it’s essential for fat loss and lean muscle building.

80% of your muscle IS water.  If your muscle cells are fully hydrated, they will make muscle proteins faster.  The converse:  If you’re dehydrated, you’ll build muscle more slowly.

Being dehydrated as little as 1% can negatively affect your exercise performance, so if you want to maximize the results you get from your gym time, make sure to drink plenty of water BEFORE your workout – not just during when you get thirsty.

If you’re not sure how much to drink, start with the old-school recommendation of 8 glasses of water a day.

For bonus points, aim for drinking your weight in pounds in ounces of water.  Weigh 150 pounds?  Drink 150 oz of water.

Besides helping you build muscle and lose fat, drinking water will also help lower your risk for a fatal heart attack – just five glasses of water a day will reduce your risk by 54% compared to drinking 2 or fewer.

So drink up!

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #4: Olive Oil

Yeah, my bodybuilding friends rub olive oil on their bods to show off their muscles, but that’s not why they’re lean and toned.  For best results, eat the olive oil, don’t rub it on your skin :)

The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are “anti catabolic”, which means they help prevent muscle breakdown.

Plus, these fats also help prevent muscle weakness, so you’ll get more out of your workouts on low energy days.

Now, while all olive oil is high in monos, extra-virgin is your best bet.  It has more of the antioxidant vitamin E than other varieties.  But beware, not all brands labeled “extra virgin” really are.  Out of the big chain stores here in Carson City, Costco’s Kirland Organic gets the best grades, according to a report from UC Davis.  (You can see the whole report here: Olive Oil Standards)

Olive oil is best used as a dressing/topping over salads or meats, if you use it for cooking the heat of the skillet changes the structure of the oil and takes away almost all of your benefits.

If the muscle protecting benefits of olive oil aren’t enough to convince you, olive oil has been shown to lower risks of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #5: Coffee

Powering up your workouts with a jolt of caffeine can help you build more muscle and lose more fat.

A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before an exercise test were able to sprint 9 percent longer than when they didn’t drink any. (It’s believed the caffeine in coffee directly stimulates your muscles)

Since sprinting and weight-lifting are the best muscle building, fat burning exercises, doing better means more muscle and less fat.

You should always choose organic coffee, and stay away from decaf (decaf coffee has been linked to higher cancer rates).  As an added bonus, coffee drinkers have a 30% less risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease than non-coffee drinkers.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #6: Eggs

The protein in eggs has an incredibly high biological value… which means you need less protein from eggs to build muscle than you would need from other sources.

And don’t be scared of the yolks!  The yolk is a great source of vitamin B12 which you need for muscle contraction and fat breakdown.

Besides B12, yolks contain riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

When it comes to choosing eggs, terms like all-natural, cage-free, and free-range are basically meaningless, as there is no hard line defined by the government.  Anyone can print these on their egg cartons.

Organic and omega-3-fortified eggs are a little better, but still not the best.

The front-runner for healthy eggs is local farm-raised from chickens allowed to run free and eat bugs and weeds and stuff.

Below is a picture of an organic egg in the same bowl as a pasture raised egg:

You can easily see that the pasture raised egg on the right has a much darker yolk.  The color comes from all the nutrients that the chicken has eaten and then passed along to its egg.  Always remember, you are what your food eats.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #7: Beef

I might be prejudiced about beef because I come from a cattle-raising family, but there really are tons of benefits from eating beef.

Yes, that delicious steak has tons of protein that will help you build muscle and lose fat, but it is also a great source of iron, zinc, and selenium – crucial muscle building nutrients.

(Selenium also helps protect the prostate.  A study found that men with low levels of selenium are 5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer)

This might scare some people here, but it shouldn’t: beef is also a good source of creatine.

Don’t worry, every though creatine supplements are advertised in muscle magazines and most people think it is some sort of steroid, creatine is nothing more than a cellular energy source.  In fact, it’s the main fuel your body uses for explosive exercises.

So if you want to really get some work done on your next trip to the gym, start fueling yourself with beef!

When it comes to purchasing beef, you want to go with grass-fed/grass-finished as much as possible.  When the cows have lived on grass, their protein and fats are top-notch for your health.

If going with normal organic beef that has been fed grains, you want to get the leanest cuts possible (feeding cows grain changes the structure of their fats – not good for your body).

Ask your butcher or look for “rounds” and “loins”.  These are the leanest cuts.

Or you can try the “flat iron” cut.  It’s the second most tender cut of beef and very lean.  Win-win for your taste buds and your bod.


There you have it!  If you want to add some lean muscle to change the shape of your body and ramp up your metabolism, add these 7 foods to your Carson City Bootcamp eating plan!

Do You Have Crunchy Knees?

Exercise, Health, Strategies No Comments »

I always joke that I listen to music during workouts not to get pumped up, but to block out the crunching in my knees :)

“Crunchy knees” is the popping and crackling sound from inside the knee joint.  If you want to get a little more technical, you can call it crepitus.

Knee crepitus is a noise or vibration during knee movement.

You can get crepitus from a cartilage tear, arthritis, joint degeneration, scarred bursa, or adhered joint capsule.

Now, pain inside your knee joint is a bad thing, but if you have crunchy knees and no pain, crepitus isn’t that big of a deal.

Still, there a few things you can do to get rid of some of that crunching.

(Note: If you DO have pain inside your knee, see an orthopod or chiropractor before starting an exercise program)

A lot of times, loosening up your calves will help.  You’ll want to use a mix of stretching and foam rolling.  Here are a few things to do:

Straight Leg Calf Stretch (gastrocnemius):

Bent Leg Calf Stretch (soleus):

Wall Ankle Mobility:

Calf Foam Rolling:

Plantar Fascia Release:

You also need to loosen up the outside of your legs (lateral side) to keep your IT band and vastus lateralis from pulling your kneecap out of alignment.

Again, stretching and foam rolling are what you should be doing.

Illiotibial Band Stretch:

TFL Stretch:

Vastus Lateralis Stretch:

Foam Rolling:

Now the biggie: Strengthening your hips.

Whenever there is a problem in one of your joints, you need to look at the joint above and below it for issues.

If your hips are weak, they will not be able to keep your femur in alignment, which will result in knee issues.

Things like fire hydrants, hip circles, lateral band walks, etc. are great for strengthening your hips, but once you have that taken care of, you need to develop coordinated strength through your whole leg.  The way to do this is through exercises like lunges, split squats, pistol squats, and 1-leg deadlifts.

The Take Home Message is: You need to fix your whole leg to fix your knees.  Most of the above can be done at home and don’t require anything more than a tennis ball or foam roller.