Category Archives: Blogs

Fad Dieting

fad dieting

A friend of mine recommended a great article The Weight Loss Trap:  Why Your Diet Isn’t Working.  It’s about why diet fads don’t work for everyone.  I’d be lying if I didn’t include my newly adopted veganism as a fad.  The truth lies in the fact that no one diet works for everyone.

A particular diet that used to work at one stage of your life, may no longer serve its purpose later in life.  For example.  Most teens and young adults simply exercise more and restrict calories to for weight management as oppose to most middle aged adults who tend to utilize a more nutrient dense approach.

As we grow, age, and live in this world with its many exposures to toxins and chemicals what we need to maintain a healthy weight changes, and our perception of health in general changes.  Ultimately we tend to gravitate to what makes us feel the best.

Recognizing the need to change is key.  It’s not a one size fits all or even a one lifetime fits all approach that we need to take.  We must constantly reassess how our body is reacting to the foods we eat and adjust accordingly.

As I teach my patients, make your own recipe for life.  My recipe will not work for your health and weight loss goals.  Your goals can only be met by an effort that is reflective of you, something custom built—so custom, you are the only one that can do it.

The TIME HEALTH article points out that, dietary staples such as eating breakfast every day, daily exercise, weekly weigh ins, and limited screen time consistently contribute to a healthy weight.  Everything else is quite variable among individuals to produce success.

From my perspective there are several key questions to ask yourself when assessing your diet:

  • How is your inflammation today?  I check to see how easily my rings come on and off, how easily my knees can bend.
  • How is your overall pain today?  If I make a poor food decision for my body, I’m often achy and have increased pain.
  • How is your mood?  Is it fluctuating?  Do these fluctuations occur before or after eating?
  • What are your energy levels like throughout the day?  I take note if I am experiencing mid-day or early evening crashes.
  • How is your sleep, and how do you feel when you wake up?  I notice if I slept solidly or tossed and turned as well as whether or not I wake feeling rested or exhausted.

By making it more about how you feel, you will gravitate to a diet that will naturally promote a healthy weight.

This is not an exhaustive list but can be applied to any diet or health decision you may be making from quitting coffee, to cutting gluten or dairy.  Some people function perfectly fine on 3 cups of coffee a day, others have severe mood fluctuations.  Some can drink alcohol, some can’t, some can enjoy chocolate daily, and others can’t.

For me, right now, I feel veganism is the right way to go!  Please note that I have tried many dietary approaches, that produce effective results; however, it’s a constant evaluation process—don’t forget change is the key when something doesn’t feel quite right.

I strongly encourage you to check out The Weight Loss Trap:  Why Your Diet Isn’t Working at http://time.com/4793832/the-weight-loss-trap/ for more details and all the scientific explanations!

You can find me on the web and FB at www.AlternativePTFortWorth.com and on Twitter and Instagram @alternative_pt.

Check out some pretty awesome vegan nutrition, skincare, and makeup at www.AmandaHazel.Arbonne.com

Reference

Sifferlin, Alexandra.  The Weight Loss Trap:  Why Your Diet Isn’t Working.  TIME Helath.  Accessed June 15, 2017.  http://time.com/4793832/the-weight-loss-trap/

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Brain Food

post-it

Here’s a list of food to help the brain.  What inspired this?  A post-it note asking for natural remedies for Parkinson’s Disease.  I love being a reference for a holistic and alternative approach to healthcare.

This list was composed while listening to the re-play of Anthony William and Restoring Brain Health. 

The Grocery List:

Chaga Powder

Turmeric and ginger

Gotu Kola (herb)

Restore glycogen with

Wild blueberries (most powerful medicinal)

Apples

Oranges

Cilantro (medicinal)

Parsley

Rosemary

Potatoes

NO ASPARTAME!!!

Heavy metal detox with:

Barley juice grass powder

Cilantro

Spirulina (Hawaiian)

Dulse (blue green algae), Kelp

Artichokes

Celery Juice (fresh pressed extremely powerful medicinal)

Cucumber juice (fresh pressed)

Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach)

Walnuts

Hemp Seeds

Coconut and coconut water, coconut butter, coconut meat

Aloe Vera

Bananas—only thing that kills HIV/AIDS in a petri dish!!!—HUGE antiviral, helps with sleep too.

Salmon, Halibut, Haddock

Minimize animal proteins each day (don’t have to quit just lower it)

Vitamins:

Melatonin (you WILL NOT get addicted to it)

Vitamin C

Curcumin (from Turmeric)

Burdock Root tea or Fresh burdock root

Magnesium glycinate

L-threonate

L-glutamine

Pharmagaba

Examples to live by:

Eat a banana everyday

Breakfast:  Fruit Salad, or smoothie and celery juice

For dinner sprinkle turmeric powder and ginger on as seasoning

Cut up ginger and boil it:  Drink the water.  You can also juice fresh ginger

Lunch:  EVERYDAY:  Have a raw salad with a mixture of greens, vegetables, nuts, and berries.  Top it with a dressing made from blended orange juice and avocado.

Dinner:  Baked potatoes with Himalayan salt, pepper, topped with braised cabbage and avocado.  Also utilize the squash family (butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and crooked neck) to replace pasta and meat.

References:

Life Changing Foods by Anthony William

Medical Medium:  Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal.  Anthony William

Vertigo: Why You be Trippin’?

ear

Why you be trippin’?  No really.  Physically, why is it that the world is spinning and your body can’t keep up?  Vertigo is similar to riding the loop de loop roller coaster, unable to get off.  While on the loops there’s a sense of giddiness and excitement as the whirling loss of body awareness attacks your sensory system.  Some people experience these symptoms in the absence of a roller coaster but in the presence of inner ear dysfunction.  This whirling sensation is distinguished from dizziness, which is another topic that warrants a separate discussion (see causes of vertigo below).

The inner ear houses our vestibular system (see picture), which is a complex roller coaster ride of loop de loops, fluid, crystals, and membranes precisely calibrated, working in conjunction with body and brain perceptions to keep us on our feet in the presence of uncertain terrain.  The vestibular system keeps our body and brain in check with gravity.  Life is filled with uncertain terrain that challenges our balance and vestibular system.  Examples include:  walking over gravel, jumping on a trampoline, walking on sand or cushioned carpet, maneuvering in bed, and walking through crowds.

Causes of vertigo include:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV):  Episodic vertigo specifically triggered by positional change.  This particular cause is often adequately treated through a specific physical therapy intervention called the Epley Maneuver.

Meniere’s Disease:  Large collection of fluid (endolymph) in the ear, causes largely unknown.

Vestibular neuritis:  Inner ear infection.

Head Injuries and Migraines:  Any sort of trauma that may have caused a head injury, also history of migraines.

Mystery Illness:  Underlying, possibly medically undetectable, viral load compromising the immune system.

In my experience, aside from BPPV for which the Epley Maneuver is used, medical treatment often offers little to no relief.  Often a patient will simply heal naturally, and other times patients will learn to live with the symptoms.

THERE IS HOPE!  When I see no glimmer of hope in my patients, we must start to discuss alternative treatments and solutions to vertigo.  Luckily, there are many avenues we can explore.

Diet:  It is severely underestimated by the general public the vast impact our diet has on EVERYTHING.  Try a cleanse, eat produce every meal, do something drastic.  Eliminate dairy and gluten.  Keep a diary of your symptoms compared to what you ate.  The cure may reside on your plate.

Environment:  Eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides.  Stop wearing perfume and using heavily scented cleaning and beauty products.

Social support:  A good social network keeps your feet on the ground.  Living an isolated lifestyle is similar to floating in outer space.  There is no connectedness, and the body responds accordingly.  Seek out a support group, yoga or meditation group, church group, or volunteer.

Relationships:  Relationships can push you both physically and emotionally in directions you’d rather not go creating a sense of vertigo.

Spirituality:  Believing is something greater than yourself, your path toward the best version of yourself.  Without this, our physical body is untethered and lost.

Emotions:  Are you reacting to the world from a place of fear?  Fear creates stress and anxiety and translates to ischemia (a lack of blood flow), which can initiate symptoms.  Meditation and decluttering will help here.

Habituation:  The vestibular system will habituate, or normalize.  The key here is empowerment.  Once the symptoms of vertigo are aggravated, stay in that position, do not move, keep your eyes open and focus on a target until the symptoms resolve.  Avoidance of the situations that cause vertigo, give it power and allows it to take over.

Resources

11 Easy Home Remedies for the Treatment of Vertigo.  http://www.homeremedyshop.com

Netter, FH.  Atlas of Human Anatomy:  3rd edition.  Icon Learning Systems, Teterboro, NJ.  Pg 87.

Vestibular Disorders Association.  www.vestibular.org

William, A.  Medical Medium:  Secrets behind Mystery and Chronic Illness.

Wait, I may have PTSD?!

ptsd

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is becoming a cliché term thrown around in dramatic, charismatic conversation.  Many people question if PTSD is even real.

My grandfather fought in WW II and experienced night terrors and sleep disturbances until the day he died, a common symptom of PTSD.  Medical professionals tend to reserve the PTSD diagnosis for military vets and victims of extreme trauma or violence, which may be appropriate.  But what about the individuals who suffer with no major cause often begging the question, “What the heck is wrong with me?!”

PTSD involves a traumatic disruption in the nervous system resulting in continued release of stress hormones.  Obviously war, extreme trauma, and violence are credible sources to initiate this disruption.  There are four major symptoms of PTSD paraphrased as follows:

  1. Unwanted thoughts:  This may take the form of reliving negative events via memories, day dreaming, nightmares, and flashbacks.  These thoughts intrude without warning or preface.
  2. Fear avoidance:  Simply avoiding people, places, and situations that may remind the individual of the trauma.
  3. Poor memory and negativity:  Forgetfulness, brain fog, constant blame placing, inability to see things in a positive light, flat affect (no emotion).
  4. Hyperactivity and poor reactions:  Aggression, poor value of self or others, inability to sleep and relax, hyper-alert and aware.

Anthony William, The Medical Medium suggests in his blog that there is an “epidemic of hidden PTSD.” It’s hard not to agree with this as a medical professional.  It is not uncommon to see these exact four symptoms in individuals with no preceding traumatic or violent event.  As a physical therapist it is my responsibility to restore normal physical function but with symptoms of hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, and disrupted mood it’s difficult to believe that simple exercise is the full answer.  May it get the ball rolling?  Yes, but the underlying cause is a mystery.  Or is it?  From my point of view, the death of a spouse or child, failure in school, and parental disappointment are a few of the so-called “minor” traumas that may have started a downward tailspin into Stress Hormone City, eliciting one or more of the above symptoms.  Recognizing the signs and symptoms that mimic PTSD is the first step in creating and cultivating a cure.

The national library of medicine (NIH) and biotechnology (NCBI) house a host of articles supporting the usefulness of meditation to combat PTSD in soldiers.  In my opinion, meditation can be an educational point for anyone presenting with one or more symptoms of PTSD.

Besides meditation, Anthony William suggests a dietary approach.  Glucose acts as a protector of the brain and nervous system.  Glucose is readily available for muscular use through the liver, its own glycogen storages, and fat metabolism but not for the brain.  The brain is extremely sensitive and prefers blood glucose from just eaten carb sources favoring fruits and vegetables.  When glucose is not readily available, it will attempt to get what it needs from the liver but this is not an endless supply.  The brain is quite sensitive to just the right amount of glucose.  Utilizing unhealthy, just eaten, glucose laden food (such as grains, soda, and sugar) actually damages brain tissue—kind of like over-watering a plant, the brain becomes over-glucosed compromising neural health.  Hello hangry, brain fog, and memory problems!

Because PTSD is a disorder of the nervous system, providing it with the right sources and amount of glucose may help.  Great brain food can be found in the produce aisle!

There are many facets of wellness, and to fully heal from or manage PTSD one must create a positive relationship with spirituality, occupation, friendships, family, animals, and the environment.  Meditation is one suggestion to aide in transmuting negativity in any of these areas to positivity.

The evidence supports the use of multiple psychotherapeutic approaches as well, and these will also aide in returning the body to a de-stressed state.

*None of this information is to be a substituted for professional healthcare.

Catastrophizing: Why is it ALWAYS so bad?

Last week on @LoveinActionTV on the Periscope app my sister and I talked about PTSD.  Closely linked to PTSD is catastrophizing.  These two are similar to the chicken and egg theory.  Many catastrophizers experience PTSD and many people with PTSD are catastrophizers.  So what is catastrophizing anyway?

Catastrophizing is thinking something is much worse than it actually is.  Guilty as charged.  We all do it but some people get stuck in a catastrophic wheel unable to pull the breaks, stop, and get off, which tailspins catching a multitude of other problems along the way such as:

  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Missed opportunities and underachievement
  • Hopelessness
  • Irrational thought patterns
  • Constant pity parties and disappointment
  • Chronic or uncontrollable pain
  • Anxiety, depression, negative mood
  • Illness
  • Suicidal ideation

I see this situation all the time in my practice as a physical therapist.  When treating acute or chronic pain, the person’s outlook on their ability to improve, heal, and move on speaks more to their prognosis than the actual diagnosis.  Those who constantly think about the situation, depend on others to give them answers, and allow one injury to segue to multiple tend to have poor outcomes no matter how simple the medical and PT diagnosis may be.

These problems can be classified into three major categories, which identifies those exhibiting catastrophizing behaviors about a situation or the future:

  • Magnification: Having fear that a situation will worsen
  • Rumination: Unable to stop thinking about the situation
  • Helplessness: The feeling that you have no power to change or improve the situation

Simple techniques get out of catastrophizing:

  • You become aware that you’re doing it!
  • Fake it. Visualize the best possible outcome and begin to act, talk, and be the reflection of greatness.
  • Take charge. Be an advocate for yourself, empower yourself as your ultimate healer.
  • Draw a line between catastrophe and something very unfortunate that you can deal with.
  • Meditate, breathe, and pray. This will increase your ability to cope with negative situations.

References

Boyls A.  What is Catastrophizing?-Cognitive Distortions  www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201301/what-is-catastrophizing-cognitive-distortions

Grohol JM.  What is Catastrophizing?  https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-catastrophizing/

Quartana PJ, Claudia MC, Edwards, RR.  Pain catastrophizing:  a critical review.  Expert Rev Neurother.  2009 May; 9(5): 745-758. Doi:10.1586/ERN.09.34

**Catch Teaching & Talking with the Twins every Friday night on the Periscope app @LoveinActionTV!**

I am also on social media!

FB:  Alternative PT Fort Worth

Periscope, and Twitter:  Alternative_PT

Instagram:  Alternative_pt

5 Things Everyone Can Do NOW To Be Happy and Healthy

5 Things EVERYONE…despite disease, disability, and pain…can safely do NOW to create a happier, healthier life.  No need to wait until after Christmas or the New Year.  Let’s make some positive changes!

  • Eat healthy
  • Bike or swim
  • Yoga and breath practice
  • Meditate and pray
  • Create and help others

Eat healthy:  Many of you will skip this explanation because you’ve heard in a thousand times.  I hate to beat a dead horse but seriously…eat the produce aisle.

Bike or swim:  I don’t care what physical deficits or injury you may have.  One of these two will work.  In severe cases (those with para or quadriplegia or wheelchair bound) assistance may be required and the pool may be the only option.  The benefits of elevating the heartrate are phenomenal for hormonal balance, happiness, heart and lung health, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Yoga and breath practice:  If yoga is too difficult, begin with breath practice.  If you are conscious and breathing, you can perform breath practice.  Research beginners breath practice, slow steady breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or breath awareness practices.  Breath practice is a standalone practice or a great addition to a yoga practice.

Meditate and pray:  Again, if you are conscious and breathing, you can meditate and pray.  Incorporate this into your daily life.  A little bit of research on the internet or iTunes will get you plenty of free resources to use.

Create and help othersThis is the most important of the five. We must perform work to complete our human task.  It’s essential to health and wellness.  Holding a formal job is not necessary.  Each week commit a minimum of 1-2 days focusing on giving back.  Giving back creates an environment of enablement as oppose to the tangled forest of a disablement, disease, and dysfunction.  Your work can be in the form of a blogging, letter writing, and any kind of art creations to give away or sell, volunteering anywhere, or making phone calls to relatives that need social interaction.

Your schedule may look something like this:

Monday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes.  Eat Healthy

Tuesday:  Create for others (your work), meditate.  Eat Healthy

Wednesday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes

Thursday:  Meditate or breath practice.  Eat Healthy

Friday:  Yoga, create for others.  Eat Healthy

Saturday:  Have fun

Sunday:  Have fun

Strength vs. Endurance

strength

What is the difference between strength and endurance?  Simply put strength is the ability to generate force in the presence of resistance (moving something heavy) and endurance is the ability to perform prolonged, less forceful, contractions over time.  Type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers are associated with endurance and type 2 fast twitch muscular fibers are associated with strength.  We have the power to influence the abundance of each fiber, and this is depends on the type of exercise we perform.

Examples of strengthening exercises are performing heavy bench press, back squats, or dead lifts for 5-8 repetitions.  Examples of endurance exercise include running, swimming, jogging, or performing any exercise (bench, squats, dead lifts) with a high frequency (10 or more repetitions).

As with anything else, it’s important to realize that the power to change your muscle composition is yours!  Yay!  That’s empowering isn’t it?!  So first off, why do we need each type of fiber, and what fiber is the most important?

Endurance enables us to tolerate life’s activities such as caring for kids, walking to and from parking lots, and standing all day.  Endurance training also improves our cardiovascular health and endurance.  Muscle strength, on the other hand, enables us to lift and move objects.  Here’s the problem:  Many people focus only on endurance type training such as treadmill, biking, swimming, running, elliptical or light, high repetitive strength work, which is actually endurance training since the contraction becomes prolonged over time as oppose to quick and forceful for low repetitions as in strength building.

Here’s the kicker:  Endurance training does not significantly increase strength; however, strength training can significantly improve endurance.  For example–If you want to run a 5K or a marathon continuous running will improve your ability to run but it will not improve your ability to lift and move heavy objects.  I have evaluated many endurance athletes that exhibit strength deficits.  They are typically shocked at this revelation because they exercise every day.  When I question the type of exercise it is endurance training or light, repetitive strength training. This type of exercise does not correlate to strength improvements.  With prolonged endurance training type 2 fibers will convert to type 1.  Conversely, prolonged strength training will convert muscle fibers to type 2.

There are two categories of type 2 fibers.  One related to producing a quick force, and one relating to repeating the reproduction of that force over time (endurance).  With prolonged strength training, muscle fibers are converted to type 2 but because of the two categories of type 2 fibers (one for strength and one for endurance) the end result is improvements of strength as well as endurance.  This is why strength training correlates to the ability to perform endurance activities more efficiently.

Strength training also multiplies the capillary presence within the muscle promoting vascularization.  With improved vascularization oxygen and nutrients are better transported to and utilized by the muscle.

Muscle pumping action also improves hormonal release and utilization, which can have profound effects on chronic illness such as diabetes and chronic pain syndromes.  Strength building also works to prevent chronic overuse syndromes through muscular balance across multiple axis, reduces chronic pain via hormonal release, and improve vascularization and oxygenation.

Of course you will never run a 5K if you don’t practice running but the take home message is that strength training is essential to meet any type of aerobic, endurance, wellness, or fitness goal.

Life is all about balance, and both strength and endurance training have profound health benefits.  The additional caveat is flexibility.  Flexibility plays a key role in health as well.  The total package would be defined as strength, endurance, AND flexibility.  With this, please know that a weekly practice (even if just one day a week) focused at flexibility is also essential.

We are multi-dimensional beings requiring a multi-dimensional approach to health, wellness, and physical performance.

Riding a Light Beam

einsteinpic

I’ve always had a fascination with Einstein.  Specifically silly pictures of him…and his crazy hair.  He kinda reminds me of myself.  If I were half crazy/half genius I’d roll the same way.  Plus his name starts with an A, like me, he’s a scientist, like I claim to be, and he had a mouth against authority, like me.  Although I’m no lab rat, I do possess a BS in Biology and a MS.  Unfortunately I had to get out from under the microscope into macro land to find vocational peace and happiness.  Spending a lifetime working in a land essentially nonexistent to 99.9% of the human race can and will make you a little kooky.

How to Think Like Einstein by Scott Thorpe landed in my lap while book shopping prior to a vacation.  I was immediately drawn to Einstein’s crazy hair peeking out from the bottom of the cover.  It was immediately tucked under my arm for purchase.

This book is great for anyone with a problem to solve.

The first basic concept is that Einstein was a rule breaker.  It was his rule breaking and maniacal imagination that issued his answer to quantum physics.  Essentially if you want to find a solution, you need to break the rules, think crazy and outlandish thoughts, and seek advice in places and people you’d typically refuse to learn from.  Here’s the catch.  If you want to break the rules, you’ve got to understand that you have placed rules on yourself that you may not be consciously aware of.  These are the rules that land us in ruts of thinking, which limits solutions (aka a rule rut).  You’ve gotten into a rut of thinking, and you don’t even know you’re in it!  Get out!  He offers magnificent tips on how to accomplish this.

To remain out of rule ruts, and closer to solutions, practice outlandish thinking every day.  Allow your imagination to run wild.  What is the craziest, most insane answer to your problem?  Now brainstorm how this may actually be the solution.  Even if it isn’t, it may lead you to something that is.  Next, ask for the solution from people and places totally unlike yourself.  In doing so make sure it is known that all thoughts and ideas will be received and considered.  The possible solutions will either be used or reserved for use in the future.

My favorite take-home message from the book is the fact the Einstein found his solution through imagining that he was riding on a light beam.  This has encouraged me not to judge my crazy day dreams but to welcome them and to actually practice them.  My Einstein genius will only be revealed in doing so.  How cool is that?!

Knee Pain: Look Above and Below

Alternative PT Fort Worth

“My knees never bother me”—said no one ever. Everyone has experienced either a complex knee injury or a simple tweak that is now haunting. “Oh great, my knee doesn’t hurt anymore”…<perform max squat clean>…”Never mind.” Here’s another scenario—”I’ve never had knee pain”…<gain 10 pounds>…”Why do my knees hurt all the time?!” The knees and low back are the middle ground, Switzerland, neutral territory. With neutrality comes comprise. Our knees and back compromise when the feet, hips, and upper body battle.

Look above and look below. What does this mean? It’s important to look at the joint or structure above the knee pain and below it to fully treat the problem manifesting in the knee.

In the foot, we’re looking for over-pronation (flat feet, knock knees) or under-pronation (rigid feet, bow legged). A simple correction to a neutral foot position may remedy knee pain. This may mean changing shoe type, getting…

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Spinal Strengthening, No Equipment Required

Alternative PT Fort Worth

Simple spinal strengthening is an important key to resolving neck and back pain. It’s all about symmetry. Not only symmetry right to left but front to back as well. As my OT friend says “the world is in front of us,” making it difficult to balance spinal flexion with extension. Over flexion promotes postural pain and overuse pain syndromes in the neck and back. One of my token soap boxes is that God made our bodies to move in all planes so we must continue to utilize every plane to prevent pain and treat pain. In the present age we utilize our extensors less for climbing trees and swinging and over use our flexors for sitting and reaching.

Done a back bend lately? Pretended to fly like superman? Well tusk tusk! Spinal strengthening doesn’t require equipment, and the exercises are simple but the difficulty is unbelievable. The deep and superficial…

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