Blog – Wexford Chiropractic Centre

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Advice for New Patients: What to Expect from your visit

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Thinking of Coming in to see Dr. Ray Vactor at Wexford Chiropractic Centre?

That’s great! We can’t wait to see you!

Here’s some things to expect:

1. Friendly and informative Care

Dr. Ray Vactor and his staff are happy to meet you and assist you in your Integrative Care Journey. We want to help you feel the best you possibly can.

2. Alignments

Alignments/spinal adjustments can be a bit daunting to a first time patient. Just remember that you are in good hands!

3. Nutritional Assessment

Not all Chiropractors give you a thorough nutritional assessment. Dr. Ray Vactor will find out what your body is deficient in and give you the supplements you need to balance your body and help you feel better, more energized and overall more healthy!

4. A thorough follow up
Dr. Ray Vactor isn’t interested in getting you out of the door…he’s interested in getting you out of the door feeling better and back in for your next appointment.

Chiropractic Care is not a one time thing, or fix, it is a method to get you as healthy and happy with your body as you can be with a better aligned spine and a better performing central nervous and endocrine system.

So what are you waiting for come see Dr. Ray Vactor at Wexford Chiropractic Centre today!!!

The Biggest Misconception about Chiropratic Care: Scooby Doo

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Many people have some crazy ideas about what Chiropractic Care means.

They even fear coming to the Wexford Chiropractic Centre with visions of “Witch Doctors” in their heads.

That is a famous character on Scooby Doo…not anyone you’ll find practicing Integrative Medicine,

So let’s focus on taking this Misconception based on a stereotype and find out the truth.

Integrative medicine focuses on body, mind, and spirit sure, but it’s not a scary pseudo-religious thing like on Scooby Doo, instead Chiropractic Care is about systemic medicine, how each part of the body reacts and effects the other.

An aligned back, relieves the tension and stress off of joints and muscles, making you feel better.

Testing you for what nutrients you are deficient in and creating a nutrition plan with vitamins and a diet and exercise plan is a vital part of chiropractic care AND a way to get your body working better as a whole.

So never fear! Dr. Ray Vactor is here!

Come on in and find out how integrative care can benefit (not scare) you.

How can Stress throw off your efforts to eat healthier?

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Story at-a-glance

  • Stress may counteract some of the benefits of a healthy diet
  • When women had low stress levels, they had higher markers of inflammation after eating an unhealthy meal but not after eating a healthy meal
  • When women were stressed out, their inflammation levels were elevated even when they ate a healthy meal
  • Women with a history of major depressive disorder also had higher post-meal blood pressure levels than women without a history of depression

By Dr. Mercola

Your mental state, including negative emotions like stress as well as depression, and your diet can alter levels of inflammation in your body.

Health problems such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, stroke and heart disease are all rooted in inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation that may fester out of control in your body.

Ordinarily, eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to keep inflammation in check, but recent research suggests that even that may not be enough if you’re also under stress.

Does Stress Counteract the Benefits of a Healthy Diet?

A study of 58 women, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, showed the impacts of stress on health, even in the presence of healthy eating.1

The women were given two meals, one healthy and one not, and filled out questionnaires assessing symptoms of depression over the prior week and stressors over the past 24 hours.

When women had low stress levels, they had higher markers of inflammation after eating an unhealthy meal but not after eating a healthy meal. When women were stressed out, however, their inflammation levels were elevated regardless of which meal they ate.

Women with a history of major depressive disorder also had higher post-meal blood pressure levels than women without a history of depression.

There are some potential issues with the study — namely the researchers’ definition of what constitutes a healthy versus unhealthy meal — but the results showing that stress is associated with higher levels of inflammation are not surprising, nonetheless.

In a study published in 2015, the researchers also found daily stressors were associated with changes in metabolic responses that could make a person gain almost 11 pounds a year.

“These findings illustrate how stress and depression alter metabolic responses to high-fat meals in ways that promote obesity,” the researchers explained.2

Eating Junk Food While You’re Stressed May Compound the Problem

The take-home message is certainly not that eating healthy is futile if you’re feeling stressed out. Certain healthy foods may help to improve your mood when you’re stressed but, unfortunately, nearly 40 percent of Americans report overeating or eating unhealthy foodsas a result of stress.3

This will only make matters worse. For instance, among a group of chronically stressed women (those caring for a spouse or parent with dementia), eating foods high in unhealthy fats and sugar led to concerning health effects, including a larger waistline, increased abdominal fat, more oxidative damage and more insulin resistance.4

The combination of junk food andstress was particularly dangerous, as low-stress women who ate similar foods did not experience such profound changes over the course of the study.

The study’s lead author, Kirstin Aschbacher, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said:5

“Many people think a calorie is a calorie, but this study suggests that two women who eat the same thing could have different metabolic responses based on their level of stress.

There appears to be a stress pathway that works through diet — for example, it could be similar to what we see in animals, where fat cells grow faster in response to junk food when the body is chronically stressed.”

Why Stress Is so Detrimental to Your Health

Stress is a known trigger for systemic low-grade inflammation, and the fact that this negative emotional state may counteract some of the beneficial effects of healthy eating is revealing.

Stress clearly affects virtually your whole body, but according to neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., in the documentary “Stress: Portrait of a Killer“, the following are the most common health conditions that are caused by or worsened by stress:

Cardiovascular disease Hypertension Depression
Anxiety Sexual dysfunction Infertility and irregular cycles
Frequent colds Insomnia and fatigue Trouble concentrating
Memory loss Appetite changes Digestive problems and dysbiosis

Further, stress has a notable impact on your gut, including affecting movement and contractions in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and increasing inflammation. It’s not surprising that it may also alter the benefits your body receives from healthy foods, as the stress response is also known to cause:6

  • Decreased nutrient absorption
  • Decreased oxygenation to your gut
  • As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism
  • Decreased enzymatic output in your gut — as much as 20,000-fold!

Anti-Stress Foods to Add to Your Diet

Your diet can support or derail your positive mood, which is why when you’re under stress it’s especially important to eat well. One of the worst choices you can make is to go on a sugar binge, as sugar consumption promotes chronic inflammation.

In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression. Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains also contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health.

So what should you eat when you’re under a great deal of stress? Here are some top anti-stress foods to consider.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark leafy greens like spinach are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. One 2012 study found people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression than those who ate the least.7

Not to mention, research from the University of Otago found eating fruits and vegetables of any sort (except fruit juice and dried fruit) helped young adults calm their nerves.8

2.Fermented Foods

Unhealthy gut flora can have a detrimental impact on your brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Beneficial bacteria have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve.

For instance, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to have a marked effect on GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.9

3.Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon, Sardines and Anchovies

Found in salmon, sardines and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being.

One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3,10 while past research has shown omega-3 fats work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects.

Why choose Dr. Ray Vactor?

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Dr. Ray Vactor is one of the best chiropractors around and there is good reason for it.

His knowledge of chiropractic care enables patients to feel relieved of their pain, more stable posture, moods, chronic pain levels and have a better understanding of what it means to take care of your body.

What we love about him:

#1 His chiropractic adjustments

After a session with Dr. Ray Vactor, your body feels more aligned and chronic health problems are alleviated.

#2 His Friendly Quality Care

Dr. Ray Vactor is kind and helpful for the whole family.

Whether it’s Dad’s football injury, or mom’s anxiety with every visit and kind word, the whole family feels better!

#3 Supplements

Dr. Vactor had a way with supplements. He knows just what supplements your body needs to bounce back.

If your feeling low or unmotivated supplements may need just what you need and Dr. Vactor will know exactly what to give you.

Adjustments, Quality Care, Supplements, what more could we ask for in a chiropractor?

Drugged Driving Now Causes More Fatal Crashes Than Drunk Driving

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Drugged Driving Now Causes More Fatal Crashes Than Drunk Driving

One in 4 Americans reports knowing someone addicted to opioids, and driving under the influence of these and other drugs has become a serious problem, now causing more fatal car crashes than drunk driving
Prescription and/or illegal drugs were involved in 43 percent of fatal car crashes in 2015; 37 percent involved illegal amounts of alcohol, highlighting the need for law enforcement training in identifying drug-impaired driving
Drugs metabolize in very different ways and at different rates, making testing using blood, urine or saliva challenging — nor can any single test measure all the possible drugs a driver might be on
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By Dr. Mercola

One in 4 Americans (and 1 in 3 millennials) reports knowing someone addicted to opioids,1 and recent statistics reveal driving under the influence of these and other drugs has become a serious problem, now causing more fatal car crashes than drunk driving.2

Many who go on to develop an addiction to opioids start out merely seeking relief from their aches and pains. Back pain is a leading cause of opioid use, but many also get hooked on these potent painkillers after receiving a prescription following a sports injury or a minor surgical procedure such as a tooth extraction.

Little did they know the painkiller they were taking would lead them down such a dark and troublesome path. For years, drug makers misled doctors and patients about the addictive nature of their narcotic painkillers. As it turns out, opioids are highly addictive and have become the No. 1 gateway drug to heroin.

While the rising death toll from opioid overdoses has received much-needed attention in the last couple of years, another related problem is now surfacing. Millions of people are driving under the influence of opioids, yet law enforcement has few reliable tools to identify drugged driving, or for measuring opioids and other drugs in someone suspected of driving under the influence.

Drugged Driving Is a Leading Cause of Fatal Car Crashes
According to a report3,4,5 compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, prescription and/or illegal drugs were involved in 43 percent of fatal car crashes in 2015, while 37 percent involved illegal amounts of alcohol. The findings highlight an urgent need for law enforcement training in identifying drug-impaired driving. As reported in the Chicago Tribune:6

“The drugged driving report, which summarizes findings from multiple studies, said law enforcement officers often have a hard time recognizing drivers under the influence of drugs, who are more difficult to assess than those driving drunk.

‘Officers need to know more than they do for alcohol how to suspect drug impairment, and know that it can exhibit itself in different ways,’ [lead author and former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official Jim] Hedlund said in an interview. ‘Drug impairment has different signs and symptoms — think of the difference between uppers and downers.’”

Many drivers also make the mistake of not taking their drug use into account before getting behind the wheel. Illegal drugs are far from the only drugs capable of impairing your judgment. As noted in the report, hundreds of medications can impair your driving ability, including some sold over-the-counter (OTC). Opioids are certainly part of that list. Drugs — both prescription and illegal — in combination with alcohol is particularly risky.

Identifying Drugged Driving Poses Unique Challenges
When it comes to measuring the amount of drugs in a person’s system, the fact that different drugs metabolize in very different ways and at different rates makes testing of blood, urine or saliva extremely challenging, not to mention the fact that no single test can measure all the possible drugs a driver might be on. An alternative is to use other types of tests to evaluate whether a driver might be impaired by drugs.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is giving out $100,000 in grants this year to train police officers in five states on the identification of drug-impaired driving. The U.S. Drug Evaluation and Classification Program, for example, teaches law enforcement to use a 12-step evaluation. The drawback is, it’s a 90-minute procedure that is not easily done roadside.

Adding to the dilemma is that while “driving while impaired” is illegal in all 50 states, the specific definition of “drug impairment” varies. There’s also no uniformity in what drugs are actually screened for when impairment is suspected. Testing for all of the hundreds of drugs known to cause impairment is hardly feasible either.

Crash Risk Associated With Drugs
According to the report, marijuana accounted for 35 percent of fatally injured drivers found to have drugs in their system; amphetamines accounted for 9 percent, while more than half were caused by “other drugs.” In terms of crash risk, European studies have found the following associations, assuming a driver with no drugs or alcohol in their system has a relative crash risk assessment of 1:7

Marijuana is associated with a slightly elevated risk, with a relative risk of 1 to 3 (increasing your crash risk by anywhere from 22 to 36 percent according to different studies)
Opioids, cocaine and benzodiazepines are associated with a medium increased risk, with a relative risk of 2 to 10
Amphetamines and/or multiple drug combinations are associated with a highly-elevated risk, with a relative risk of 5 to 30
Drugs in combination are associated with an extremely elevated risk, with a relative risk of 20 to 200
Opioids Versus Marijuana — Don’t Lose Sight of the Greater Issue
While the report and most subsequent media articles have homed in on marijuana, let’s remember that the majority of the fatal crashes, over 50 percent, involved “other drugs,” and that opioids have a higher relative crash risk than marijuana.

While 1 in 8 American adults (13 percent) reports smoking marijuana,8 the opioid problem surely outweighs recreational marijuana use. More than 259 million prescriptions for opioids are written in the U.S. each year9 — an astounding 1 in 5 patients with a pain-related diagnosis is prescribed opioids, and in some states opioid prescriptions outnumber the residents.10

More than 12 million Americans report using prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes11 and 2 million Americans over the age of 12 are addicted specifically to opioid painkillers.12,13 One in 4 Americans and 1 in 3 millennials reports knowing someone addicted to opioids.14

Homing in on how the legalization of marijuana may impact road safety without saying a single word about the impact of opioids is just reprehensible. We cannot continue sweeping the matter of opioid overuse and addiction under the rug and simply point fingers at marijuana.

Clearly, you should not drive if you’ve been smoking pot (CBC-based medical cannabis is different, as CBC does not have a psychoactive effect), but you also clearly should not drive if you’ve recently taken an opioid, even if you’re taking it as prescribed. The recent arrest of Tiger Woods15,16 highlights this common-sense advice.

Tiger Woods Arrested for Drugged Driving
According to a CNN report,17 Jupiter, Florida, police found Woods asleep at the wheel in his car on the side of the road. The driver’s side had minor damage, and both front and rear tires on that side were flat. When the officer woke him up, Woods’ speech was slurred, and he said he didn’t know where he was. He was arrested and charged with DUI. A Breathalyzer test revealed he had no alcohol in his system, however, and he admitted he was taking “several prescriptions.”

In a public apology,18 Woods blamed his impairment on “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.” He’s recovering from surgery, so the medications he’s referring to may have been prescribed in relation to that.

“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” Woods said — a comment that highlights the social stigma of drinking and driving. But we now need to recognize that medications are just as dangerous when you’re behind the wheel. A prescription is not a “free pass” to avoid personal responsibility. You still have to make sure you are in fact not impaired before driving.

The same goes for over-the-counter drugs. Certain allergy medications and cough syrup, for example, can make you drowsy and the side effects may linger well into the next day. A California man was even charged with DUI resulting from excessive caffeine intake earlier this year.

The man was arrested for “erratic, reckless driving” and charged with DUI. When testing failed to reveal drugs or alcohol, he was cited for driving under the influence of caffeine — the only substance found in his system. The charges raised many an eyebrow and were eventually dropped, but not without some legal wrangling.

Carefully Weigh Your Need for Narcotic Pain Relievers
It’s extremely important to be cognizant of your level of impairment when taking ANY drug. Also beware of the addictive potential of opioid drugs. I urge you to seriously weigh your need for them. If you have not seen it yet, watch the documentary “Chasing the Dragon” before filling that prescription. There are so many other ways to address pain.

Below is a long list of suggestions. If you are in pain that is bearable, please try these options first, before resorting to prescription painkillers of any kind.

If you need a pain reliever, consider an over-the-counter (OTC) option. Research19 shows prescription-strength naproxen (Naprosyn, sold OTC in lower dosages as Aleve) provides the same pain relief as more dangerous narcotic painkillers. However, while naproxen may be a better alternative to narcotic painkillers, it still comes with a very long list of potential side effects,20 and the risks increase with frequency of use.

Non-Drug Solutions for Pain Relief
Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet

Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat

Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, by manipulating prostaglandins.) Good sources include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies, which are all high in healthy omega-3s while being low in contaminants such as mercury. As for supplements, my favorite is krill oil, as it has a number of benefits superior to fish oil.
Optimize your sun exposure and production of vitamin D

Optimize your vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. Sun exposure also has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects that are unrelated to vitamin D production, and these benefits cannot be obtained from a vitamin D supplement.

Red, near-, mid- and far-infrared light therapy (photobiology) and/or infrared saunas may also be quite helpful as it promotes and speeds tissue healing, even deep inside the body.
Medical cannabis

Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 28 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.21
Kratom

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is another plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.22 In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.23

Kratom is likely safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should not be used carelessly. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next.

Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

EFT is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the principles of acupuncture in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, and negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.

Meditation and Mindfulness Training

Among volunteers who had never meditated before, those who attended four 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique called focused attention (a form of mindfulness meditation) experienced significant pain relief — a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness.24
K-Laser, Class 4 Laser Therapy

If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis or other inflammation-based pain, I’d strongly encourage you to try K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers.

K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation and enhance tissue healing — both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments or even bones. The infrared wavelengths used in the K-Laser allow for targeting specific areas of your body and can penetrate deeply into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.
Chiropractic

Many studies have confirmed that chiropractic management is much safer and less expensive than allopathic medical treatments, especially when used for pain such as low back pain.

Qualified chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians are reliable, as they have received extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate health care training, which lasts between four to six years. These health experts have comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management.
Acupuncture

Research has discovered a “clear and robust” effect of acupuncture in the treatment of back, neck and shoulder pain, and osteoarthritis and headaches.
Physical therapy

Physical therapy has been shown to be as good as surgery for painful conditions such as torn cartilage and arthritis.
Foundation Training

Foundation training is an innovative method developed by Dr. Eric Goodman to treat his own chronic low back pain. It’s an excellent alternative to painkillers and surgery, as it actually addresses the cause of the problem.
Massage

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Pain Medicine included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia pain and spinal cord pain.25

The review revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.
Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and you may need 8 milligrams (mg) or more per day to achieve this benefit.
Ginger

This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
Curcumin

In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.26
Boswellia

Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Bromelain

This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.
Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)

This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and carpal tunnel syndrome. I used a topical preparation for this.
Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils

These contain the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is particularly useful for treating arthritic pain.
Cayenne Cream

Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Methods such as hot and cold packs, aquatic therapy, yoga, various mind-body techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy27 can also result in astonishing pain relief without drugs.
Grounding

Walking barefoot on the earth may also provide a certain measure of pain relief by combating inflammation.
Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.

Yoga offers help to victims of sexual abuse

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Story at-a-glance

  • Yoga has been shown to improve mental health, including depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood trauma and sexual abuse
  • Yoga is uniquely suitable for treating trauma, as regulated breathing calms your parasympathetic nervous system, and the mindfulness required helps counteract dissociative effects of trauma
  • In teenagers, yoga has been found to strengthen emotional resilience and ability to manage anger; in the elderly, it’s been shown to stave off cognitive decline to a greater degree than aerobic exercise

 

Yoga — a form of moving meditation that demands focused attention on your body — has many physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual benefits that can be helpful for those struggling with pain- and/or stress-related health problems. As you learn new ways of moving and responding to your body, your mind and emotions tend to shift and change as well.

In a sense, you not only become more physically flexible, but your mental outlook and approach to life may also gain newfound flexibility.

Yoga appears to be particularly beneficial when it comes to mental health, with studies showing it helps improve psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.1,2,3,4 Some of these studies suggest yoga can actually have an effect similar to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.

In studies with teenage participants, yoga has been found to strengthen emotional resilience and ability to manage anger.5 In the elderly, it’s been shown to stave off cognitive decline6 to a greater degree than aerobic exercise.7,8 Most recently, gentle yoga practice has been identified as a valuable aid in healing childhood trauma, known to be a source of not only poor mental health but also a contributor to chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.9

Read the Full Article

 

How to Live to Be 100

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Dr. Vactor best chiropractic PA geriatric chiropractic for seniors live long longevity doctor chiropractor pittsburgh how to live to be 100 how to live longer ways to live longer pittsburgh long life center pittsburgh anti-aging wexford chiropractic nutrition geriatric

Story at-a-glance

  • Sardinia, which boasts the highest rate of centenarians anywhere in the world, has 6 centenarians for every 3,000 people. In the U.S., that ratio is 1 centenarian per 5,000
  • Centenarians tend to have positive attitudes, optimism, a zest for life and a good sense of humor. Other commonalities include an active lifestyle; a fresh-food diet, often homegrown, and a strong social network
  • Strong social support has been scientifically verified as being the No. 1 factor that determines longevity and survival. Its influence on mortality is so great, it surpasses the influence of weight and even eclipses the influence of smoking

 

Original source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/06/10/longevity-secrets-from-centenarians.aspx

 

 

By Dr. Mercola

At a time when half the population in the U.S. is struggling with chronic illness and life expectancy is on the decline, the idea of living to 100 may seem like a pipedream to most. Yet, in many other areas, life expectancy is actually rising, and centenarians are far more commonplace than you might imagine.

In 2015, there were 679 people at or over the age of 100 living in Wales. Sardinia, which boasts the highest number of centenarians anywhere in the world, has 6 centenarians for every 3,000 people. That is literally 10 times more than in the U.S., where the ratio is 1 centenarian per 5,000.1

While you’d think most centenarians — people who have lived a century or longer — would advocate a certain diet, their longevity secrets typically center around social and emotional factors, such as expressing love, nurturing strong family and social ties, and being involved in your community. Centenarians also overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to manage.

Centenarians Age Slower — But Why?

As previously noted by Israeli physician Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine:2

“The usual recommendations for a healthy life — not smoking, not drinking, plenty of exercise, a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight down — they apply to us average people. But not to them. Centenarians are in a class of their own.”

The majority of centenarians do not feel their chronological age; on average, they report feeling 20 years younger. They also tend to have positive attitudes, optimism, a zest for life and a good sense of humor. As cheerfully noted by a centenarian in Sardinia, the secret to living to 100 is to “not die before then.”

Or as Doris, 105, says, “Living is easy — if you’re willing to do it. People [say] life is awful to live. I don’t think so. It’s what you make it. If you want to make it a good life, it’s up to you.” Could it be that personality characteristics and world views play a more significant role than genetics, diet or exercise? Based on years of data from studying centenarians, Barzilai reports that when analyzing the data from his particular pool of centenarians, at age 70:

  • 37 percent were overweight; 8 percent were obese
  • 37 percent were smokers (for an average of 31 years)
  • 44 percent reported only moderate exercise and 20 percent never exercised at all

Despite this, centenarians as a population have lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Depression and other psychiatric illnesses are almost nonexistent. Barzalai is quick to emphasize you should not disregard the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices (such as keeping your insulin level low). He explains:

“Today’s changes in lifestyle do in fact contribute to whether someone dies at the age of 85 or before age 75. But in order to reach the age of 100, you need a special genetic makeup. These people age differently. Slower. They end up dying of the same diseases that we do — but 30 years later and usually quicker, without languishing for long periods.”

Food Then, and Now

It’s well worth noting that our diet has undergone enormous changes just in the past 50 years or so. An individual celebrating their 100th birthday today was raised on a very different diet than a child born now, or even a few decades ago. I believe these differences are a major reason why people in their 30s and 40s are struggling to stay alive today while centenarians seem more or less impervious to health issues that plague the rest of us.

Public dietary guidelines, issued for the first time in the U.S. in 1980,3 have also done a great deal of harm by leading the entire population down the wrong path, diet-wise. The guidelines have even had international ramifications, as nations that don’t have the resources and scientific expertise to duplicate the process simply model their own guidance after the U.S.

In 1965, Americans ate about 40 percent of their calories as carbohydrates, and another 40 percent of their calories came from fat.4The first edition guidelines issued in 1980 called for a diet lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates, and by 2010, Americans had brought their fat consumption below 35 percent, and increased carbohydrates to 55 to 65 percent. The advice to eat a carb-based diet low in saturated fats has been followed ever since, and the results have been devastating.

Skyrocketing obesity and type 2 diabetes rates are a direct result of following these recommendations, as are rising rates of heart disease. Today, overwhelming amounts of evidence show sugar, especially fructose, and hydrogenated vegetable oils are primary drivers of metabolic dysfunction and disease — the very ingredients we’ve been told to load up on for the past 37 years.

What Are You Eating, Really?

To that you also have to add the rise of genetically engineered (GE) food, which started with the Flavr Savr tomato in 1994.5 The first insecticide-producing crop was approved in 1995, followed by the first herbicide-resistant crops in 1996,6 after which pesticide use skyrocketed and health statistics took a nosedive.

In terms of diet, today’s centenarians have had a clear and distinct advantage. To put it bluntly, they were not raised on artificial crap. For the first 50 or 60 years of their life — the majority of a lifetime for most of us — they ate real food, and when it comes to creating a foundation for health, I can think of little that can compete with a whole food, unadulterated, non-GMO diet.

Perhaps this is why so few commonalities in terms of specific food choices can be found among centenarians. As noted in the documentary, most say they eat a bit of everything, including home-baked sweets and foods commonly shunned, like cheese and eggs (which are actually really healthy for you).

In Sardinia, which has the highest percentage of centenarians in the world, there are to this day no major grocery stores selling processed food and no takeout or fast food restaurants. Households grow their own fruits and vegetables, and food is always prepared fresh, from scratch.

This is what you would call a major clue. Another clue: The locale forces daily walking, and lots of it, up and down steep, sloping cobbled streets and hills. The Sardinian culture also favors socializing, which is another major, if not the most important, longevity factor.

What About Limiting Animal Protein?

Although the above video does not go into this, Dr. Steven Gundry’s new book, “The Plant Paradox,” has some compelling information about the value of limiting your animal protein intake to 2 to 3 ounces a few times a week to increase longevity. I believe this is solid advice and this is my typical strategy. I am convinced most of us eat far too much protein and it’s wise to replace most animal protein with safe fish like sardines and anchovies, and even then limit total protein to 30 to 60 grams depending on your lean body mass.

Gundry reviews how cattle, pigs and sheep all carry a sugar called Neu5Gc, which your immune system recognizes as foreign when you eat their meat. There is significant data suggesting that when your immune system is exposed to the foreign sugar molecule Neu5Gc from red meat, you develop an antibody to the lining of your own blood vessels, A radically reduced intake of animal protein could explain some of the longevity advantages.

An Active Life and Social Support — Keys to Longevity Gleaned From Centenarians

Failing to find any specific dietary influence (aside from the fact they’ve been eating real food for most of their life), what have researchers found when mining the minds of centenarians for clues to their longevity? In interviews and surveys with centenarians, including the ones interviewed in “How to Live to 100,” the following themes dominate: 7

Keeping a positive attitude and a sense of humor Strong social network of family and friends
Exercising moderately but regularly (walking, biking, gardening and swimming, for example) Clean living (such as not smoking or drinking excessively)
Living independently Faith/spirituality/having a sense of purpose in life
Staying mentally active and always learning something new An active lifestyle with (often hard) physical work and/or lots of walking

Indeed, the importance of social support, which most centenarians give credit to for their longevity, has been scientifically verified. As noted in the documentary, an American meta-analysis of published studies found strong social support is the No. 1 factor that determines longevity and survival. The influence of social support on mortality is so great, it surpasses the influence of weight and even eclipses the influence of smoking!

Rx for a Long Life: Joy

Happiness is another factor. Research confirms happy people live longer8,9 — about 35 percent longer, according to one study.10 So it’s no surprise that centenarians are a happy and optimistic lot. Positive thoughts and attitudes seem to somehow do things in your body that strengthen your immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease pain and provide stress relief.

In fact, it’s been scientifically shown that happiness can affect your genetic expression. A team of researchers at UCLA showed that people with a deep sense of happiness and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody responses.11

Indeed, while part of your longevity may depend on the DNA you were born with, an even larger part depends on epigenetics, over which you have a great deal of control. Your diet, physical activity, environmental exposures, thoughts and emotions all exert epigenetic influences every minute of the day, playing a central role in aging and disease.12

What Does Money Have to Do With It?

As noted by Chiappa, a common belief is that money has an influence on longevity. If you’re more affluent, you can afford to buy all the things that bring you health, right? Wrong. There’s not a shred of evidence to suggest this is true. On the contrary, living a “hard” life, meaning a life of physical activity, if not hard labor, preferably outdoors, is something most centenarians have in common.

Growing and/or eating fresh food, socializing with family and friends, appreciating life in general and cultivating a sense of purpose — a reason to get up every morning — are other commonalities that centenarians share, no matter where they live.

For many, the 21st century lifestyle is working against us, which means if you want to live to 100, you have to take proactive steps to not always take the easy way out, because “convenience” is largely what’s killing us — from processed foods that (presumably) cut our time in the kitchen to elevators that let us skip the stairs, to cars that transport us from point A to point B, even if the latter is mere minutes away, to social media that gives us the illusion of socializing while ignoring the person sitting right in front of us.

The tools to live to 100 are available to everyone, everywhere, and they’re really not complicated. But as Chiappa says, you have to implement them.

New Evidence supports the safety of Chiropractic Care

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Chiropractic care is safe and effective for people of all ages. Adults are recommended to visit a chiropractor before age 30 in order to prevent oncoming problems such as pre-mature spinal aging and slow bone degeneration present in many young adults.

 

In a U.K. survey of more than 19,700 patients who underwent more than 50,000 cervical spine manipulations, a team of researchers have concluded that your risk of having a serious adverse event from “getting your neck cracked,” is slim to none.

The manipulation technique at the focus of this safety study was defined as the application of high-velocity/low-amplitude or mechanically assisted thrust to the cervical spine. Patients were followed, and any adverse symptoms recorded immediately, and up to seven days after treatment.

There were no reports of serious adverse events, which translates to an estimated risk of, at worst, one per 10,000 treatments.

Minor side effects, occurring either immediately after, or within seven days after treatment, were slightly more common. Some of the side effects included:

  • Fainting, dizziness, light-headedness in, at worst, 16 per 1,000 treatments
  • Headache in, at worst, 4 per 100 treatments
  • Numbness or tingling in upper limbs in, at worst, 15 per 1,000 treatments

Sources:

Spine October 1, 2007, 32(21):2375-2378

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

I am an avid believer in the chiropractic philosophy, which places a strong emphasis on your body’s innate healing wisdom and far less reliance on band-aids like drugs and surgery.

Chiropractic, osteopathic, and naturopathic physicians receive extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate healthcare training, which typically lasts from 4-6 years. Due to their comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management, numerous sources of evidence have shown that chiropractic management is much safer, and less expensive, than allopathic medical treatments, particularly for low-back pain.

One such study, published in 1993, found that chiropractic management of low-back pain is superior to allopathic medical management in terms of greater safety, greater effectiveness, and reduced cost, concluding:

“There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of LBP (low-back pain) was transferred from medical physicians to chiropractors.”

Additionally, researchers have also found that chiropractic adjustments affect the chemistry of biological processes on a cellular level! And that chiropractic care can affect the basic physiological processes that influence oxidative stress and DNA repair. So there’s a whole lot more to chiropractic care than just whipping bones into place.

Like many other traditional healing methods, such as naturopathic medicine and Chinese medicine, chiropractic promotes the idea that there are certain phenomena, including spinal misalignment, which create imbalances in the normal function of your body.

These imbalances, if left in place for too long, can result in pathology of one sort or another. To manifest true healing from a disease, traditional medicine says that these imbalances must be corrected. Once this is accomplished, your body will typically heal itself. I have seen examples of this process thousands of times in my practice, using a number of different therapies, either alone or in combination, that also help to re-establish balance in the body.

One of the most powerful methods I know of to balance the function of your body involves eating healthy foods that are right for your nutritional type. When my patients implement such changes, not only do their symptoms improve, but it is also easy to find objective proof that their bodies are changing for the better.

Additionally, many researchers believe that lower back pain is often caused by psychological factors, such as an underlying emotional issue.

Dr. John Sarno also believes this to be true (as do I). He is a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat low back patients with the worst type of back pain. His specialty is those who have already had surgery for low back pain and still have it. To me this is one tough group of patients, yet he has a greater than 80 percent success rate using techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

With such successful alternatives available, there are few good reasons to turn to pharmaceutical or surgical band-aids that do nothing to treat the underlying causes of your pain, but which will undoubtedly cause you additional harm in the process.

 

Original Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/11/01/new-evidence-supports-the-safety-of-chiropractic-care.aspx

Are you getting enough sleep?

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insomnia doctor wexford insomnia natural treatment pittsburgh natural sleep remedy home remedy homeopathic natural sleep improvement wexford vactor chiropractor sleep doctor sleepologistStory at-a-glance

  • The sleep onset latency test, created by the late Nathaniel Kleitman, Ph.D., can help you determine if you need more sleep
  • Lie down in your darkened bedroom to take a nap during the early afternoon. Hold a spoon over a metal tray placed on the floor beside your bed, noting the time
  • When you fall asleep and the spoon crashes down onto the tray, waking you up, immediately check the time and note how much time has passed
  • If you fell asleep within five minutes, it means you’re severely sleep deprived; if it took you 10 minutes to fall asleep, you could use more sleep, but if you managed to stay awake for 15 minutes or more before falling asleep, you’re probably well rested

 

Original Source:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/18/sleep-onset-latency-test.aspx

 

 

More info:

 

By Dr. Mercola

Are you tired? If your answer is yes, it would seem relatively straightforward to assume you’re not getting enough sleep. Yet, signs of sleep deprivation may not always be this obvious (and there are other factors besides sleep loss that can make you feel fatigued). The late Nathaniel Kleitman, Ph.D., professor emeritus in physiology at the University of Chicago, came up with one of the simplest tests to determine if you’re sleep deprived — and as a pioneer in sleep research, he was well qualified to know.

Not only did Kleitman co-discover REM sleep, but he published the first major textbook on sleep (“Sleep and Wakefulness” in 1939). He even stayed awake for 180 hours to figure out what sleep deprivation does to your body. Kleitman also spent more than one month underground in a cave — an environment without sunlight or schedules — in order to track changes in wakefulness and circadian rhythm.1 So when he suggested a way to test yourself for sleep deprivation, people took notice.

Sleep Deprived? Take the Sleep Onset Latency Test to Find Out

Kleitman’s sleep onset latency test sounds complicated, but it’s quite simple. And, “It’s based on solid science,” said Dr. Michael Mosley, who is both a physician and a journalist for BBC in the U.K.2 Here’s how it works: In the early afternoon, grab a spoon and head off to your darkened bedroom to take a nap. Place a metal tray on the floor beside your bed, and hold the spoon over the tray as you attempt to fall asleep.

Be sure to check the time as well. Next, when you inevitably fall asleep and the spoon crashes down onto the tray, waking you up, immediately check the time again and note how much time has passed.

If you fell asleep within five minutes, it means you’re severely sleep deprived, according to Kleitman. If it took you 10 minutes to fall asleep, this is still a sign that you could use more sleep. If, however, you managed to stay awake for 15 minutes or more before falling asleep, you’re probably well rested.3 If you don’t happen to have a spoon and metal tray handy, you can still take this test by setting an alarm for 15 minutes to see if you fall asleep before it goes off, Dr. Mosley adds.

More Signs You’re Sleep Deprived

How to AVOID gaining weight:

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What are the 10 Things that Can Pack on Pounds?

By Dr. Mercola

Woman Eating Vegetables

In today’s world it’s harder than ever to keep your weight under control, as evidenced by the fact that over 2/3 of all American adults are now overweight or obese.

In fact, an alarming bit of information came to my attention in 2009, when CDC statistics revealed that in the U.S. the number of obese people actually outnumber the amount of merely overweight people. And in 2011, one in three children is now overweight or obese; nearly triple the rate from 1963.

The plain, unvarnished truth is the US has predominantly become a nation of fat and obese citizens.

And any time someone voices an objection to the predominance of the high sugar and highly refined carbohydrate foods, the food manufacturers, politicians, and media shills who represent them, scream loudly and irrationally that any attempt to restrict nutritionally worthless junk food is an assault on American’s freedom of choice.

Really?

What about the billions of dollars spent marketing these foods to Americans using subliminal triggers along with the use of secretly hidden chemicals in food that are actually designed to distort your brain’s sensation of flavor (senomyx)?

Isn’t this also an assault on American’s freedom of choice through manipulation?

At any rate, I think we have become a nation that for the most part made the choice to trade convenience for its health. Indeed, the proverbial piper has been paid when we examine our expanding waistlines that we have willingly exchanged for the sake of “convenience.” The following 10 guidelines can help you prevent packing on extra pounds.

#1: To Lose Weight You MUST Eliminate Fructose from Your Diet

You’ve gone to all the trouble of getting some exercise. But despite sticking to your new plan you discover the pounds are not coming off.

You ask yourself, “Why?”

It is important to understand and know that while exercise is important and crucial for weight loss and I am a major fan, the foods you choose to eat are THREE times more important for controlling your weight than your exercise. It’s very easy to sabotage yourself with sugary foods and exercise beverages. Especially beverages containing HFCS.

These drinks include “vitamin water”, energy drinks, and similar types of recovery drinks.You need to avoid these drinks and ignore the slick marketing messages that suggest you need them because you workout.

There is a myth in our culture that any exercise removes vital nutrients from your body that you must replenish before, during and after exercise. However, chances are you’re not exercising long enough to deplete your body of very much of anything! And sugar consumed just before or during exercise will only lead to a spiking and crashing of your blood sugar and insulin levels, most likely resulting not in increased hydration, but in reduced athletic performance.

Not only that, but sugar or HFCS eaten after a workout will completely shut down your body’s production of Human Growth Hormone!

The truth is, you don’t need to chug a sports drink unless you are severely dehydrated and are losing more than a quart of water in sweat in 30-45 minutes. Most people don’t work out this long with any sustained intensity, they also don’t lose anywhere near a quart of sweat!

So when it comes to sports-related hydration and athletic performance, what do I recommend?

Clean, pure water. If you’re doing a heavy workout you could supplement with a quart of pure clean water that has a quarter teaspoon of Himalayan salt and a teaspoon of baking soda in it. This will more than replenish any electrolytes you are likely to lose during moderate exercise.

The ticket to optimal athletic performance and recovery is in eating whole, biodynamic and organic foods. So next time you need a quick snack before or after a workout, forget about that energy bar or sports drink and go for these beneficial sources of carbs and protein:

Any vegetable (with the exception of carrots and beets, which are high in sugar), particularly dark, green and leafy varieties like spinach, kale or Swiss chard Organic free range chicken and eggs
Lean, grass-fed red meat Fruits that are low in fructose like apricots, cantaloupe, lemons, limes, passion fruit, plums and raspberries
Whey protein Raw nuts and seeds

#2 You MUST Plan Your Meals

It’s said that failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. When it comes to meals designed to promote your health and eliminate unwanted calories, you’re going to have to heed this advice.

The problem is, if you fail to plan your meals you are basically eating according to either your emotions or whatever whim may come over you around mealtime. Both of these can mean added calories, poor nutritional choices and a growing waistline.

I do advise some general principles to follow when planning your meals, but the takeaway message to this nutritional no-no is you need to think independently of your shifting moods about what you will be consuming for up to the next week in advance — in order to keep your plate free of unnecessary calories.

This means shopping in advance with specific meals in mind and it means putting your intended meals down on paper and sticking to your meal schedule.

You’ve probably discovered that both of these things are much harder in practice than they are in theory. There’s a reason for that. Processed food manufacturers are spending a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars each year, to convince you that their food will satisfy you emotionally.

Processed foods are not the answer.

Processed foods are part of your growing waistline problem. Remember this truth as you take on the billion dollar advertising industry while you take control of your health!

#3 Avoid All Sodas, and Especially Diet Soda

Soda, in my opinion, is the one of the primary health threats. Did you know that just one can of Coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar?!

This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake (which is more than double my recommended daily allowance to begin with). Within 20 minutes of drinking that soda, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.

It is a proven fact that sugar increases your insulin levels, which leads not only to weight gain, but also high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, premature aging and many more negative side effects. In fact, sugar is so bad for your health in so many ways, I’ve created an entire list outlining the ways sugar can damage your health.

But diet soda is even worse!

Billions of dollars worth of advertising tells you that diet soda gives you all the pleasure of a sweet beverage without any of the calories. But is the marketing too good to be true? Are the makers of diet sodas actually lying to you?

In a word, yes. In fact, just the opposite now appears to be true. Drinking diet soda actually is positively linked to weight gain. It turns out the latest research shows that your brain can tell the difference between real and artificial sugar, and not only are artificial sugars less satisfying to your brain at a cellular level, they also increase your craving for the real thing. So artificial sweeteners, and diet soda in particular, must be avoided if you don’t want to crave sugar.

By the way, craving sugar is one of the surest ways to add extra calories to your diet. So avoid diet soda if you care about keeping your weight in check.

#4 Be Sure to Eat PLENTY of Organic Vegetables

One of the best ways to improve your health is to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed high quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw. One simple way to boost your vegetable intake is to juice them. Juicing organic vegetables is something that I highly recommend to anyone working to restore or improve their health.

I am firmly convinced that juicing is one of the key factors to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health. I simply do not know of any other single nutritional intervention that has a more profound influence on health than eating and/or juicing fresh, organic vegetables. And for every vegetable you pack onto your plate, you’ll have less room for all those other simple carbohydrates that can expand your waistline.

You can review my comprehensive approach to how to juice on my vegetable juicing page.

Whether you’re munching them raw or juicing, some vegetables contain more health building nutrients than others. This list details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.

Highly Recommended Vegetables
Asparagus Escarole
Avocado (actually a fruit) Fennel
Beet greens Green and red cabbage
Bok Choy Kale
Broccoli Kohlrabi
Brussel sprouts Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf
Cauliflower Mustard greens
Celery Onions
Chicory Parsley
Chinese cabbage Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot
Chives Tomatoes
Collard greens Turnips
Cucumbers Spinach
Dandelion greens Zucchini
Endive
Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels
Beets Jicima
Carrots Winter Squashes
Eggplant Most fruits except for limes and lemons
Vegetables to Avoid
Potatoes

#5 Make Sure You Do Sprint 8 Exercises Once or Twice a Week

Your body has three types of muscle fiber: Slow twitch, fast twitch and super-fast twitch fibers. A major problem with conventional exercise is its inability to engage the fast and super-fast twitch muscle fibers. Conventional exercise merely engages your body’s slow twitch muscle fibers, which is your preferred mode of muscle engagement. To produce dramatic results when it comes to exercise you simply have to engage your fast and super-fast muscle fibers.

The best way to do this is through something called Sprint 8 exercises.

Sprint 8-style exercise has many benefits, the biggest being it naturally increases your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a significant role in the aging process.

I recently featured an interview with fitness expert Phil Campbell, in which he further expounds on this important topic. Phil is the author of the book Ready Set Go, which explains how exercises that engage your super-fast muscle fibers can increase your HGH levels. It is called Sprint 8 because if you graph your heart rate, you will see that it peaks eight times during the workout. This technique is exponentially superior to regular cardio workouts and you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you ignore it. The nice thing about Sprint 8 exercises is that you can perform them with many types of exercise; with or without equipment. So, while having access to a gym or exercise equipment will provide you with a larger variety of options, you don’t require either. You can just as easily perform Sprint 8 by walking or running outdoors.

Another benefit is in the time it will save you. Instead of doing an hour-long cardio workout, you’ll be done in 20 minutes or so. The actual sprinting totals only 4 minutes!

Keep in mind however that you should only do Sprint 8 exercises once to twice a week, occasionally three times.

If you do it more frequently than that, you may actually do more harm than good. Phil Campbell agrees, and also warns against overdoing it. We’ve found that, more often than not, when people do it more than four times a week they’re simply not pushing themselves hard enough. The key to performing Sprint 8 exercises properly is to raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold.

Keep pushing at maximum effort for 20 to 30 seconds, and then rest for 90 seconds

Repeat this cycle for a total of eight repetitions. Here is a video showing a demonstration of Sprint 8-style exercise:

Total Video Length: 22:17

Remember, ideally you need to use a heart rate monitor and it is physiologically impossible to measure accurately with the precision you need to know if you are over your target heart rate.

#6 Avoid Drinking Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is probably the most requested drink by children of all ages, not because it quenches thirst, but because it tastes good. And fruit juice, it turns out, is not one of the best things you can put into your body, especially for children.

Yes I can hear all the fruitarians screaming that I am wrong and there are unusual situations in which this isn’t true. For someone who is normal body weight with no insulin resistance it might not be a major problem, especially if you’re drinking freshly squeezed organic juice in moderation.

However, that is clearly a very tiny minority of the population.

Drinking fruit juice is only slightly different from drinking soda. Both deliver a massive dose of sugar to your body unbound by any of the slow-releasing mechanisms provided by nature.

So when you think of fruit juice, you should think of soda.

You should certainly by now be aware of the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, but please understand that simple fruit sugar extracted from fruit has virtually identical side effects and negative effects on your biochemistry. This means fruit juice will cause a major spike in your insulin levels.

This is important because elevated insulin levels are one of the primary drivers for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight gain.

This may be why drinking fruit juice has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, while fructose itself has been shown to increase your triglyceride levels. In one previous study, consuming fructose raised triglyceride levels by 32 percent in men. Forty years worth of research has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease. So when it comes to fruit juice, if you are overweight or obese, it’s my recommendation for you to avoid it entirely and limit your fruit intake to berries .

#7 Eating Outside of Your Home

There’s a reason your favorite restaurant food often tastes better than your home cooked meals: many times it’s loaded with extra calories in the form of sugars, hydrogenated fats and artificial flavor enhancers like MSG.

And since most restaurants purchase the bulk of their food in advance, and frequently rely on frozen, pre-cut and pre-cooked foods, the chances are high that your restaurant meal is simply processed food, nutritionally far inferior to anything fresh and organic you can make at home. And unless your favorite restaurant is advertising its free-range meats and organic vegetables, chances are also high that you’re consuming feedlot animals and conventionally grown vegetables that have been drenched in antibiotics and pesticides respectively. Neither is good for maintaining optimal health.

I’m not suggesting you never eat outside of your own home; I understand the pleasure and social importance of eating out occasionally. My suggestion is merely to keep eating out to a minimum, and try to frequent restaurants committed to buying organic and serving minimally processed meals.

The other very real hazard of eating out is the temptation to order an innocuous looking dessert that is anything but innocuous when it comes to the caloric punch it packs.

#8 Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is converted by your body into simple sugar, and it turns out the metabolic pathway converting alcohol into its simple sugar components is the same pathway your body uses to convert high fructose corn syrup into its component parts.

If you watch Robert Lustig’s video “Sugar:The Bitter Truth” in its entirety you will understand exactly what happens when you put both alcohol and HFCS into your body.

In a nutshell, you are basically ingesting fat. Both of these are converted by your liver into fat.

So any advances you may make by watching your diet will be more or less instantly wiped out by a night of binge drinking. I recommend no alcohol consumption at all, since it is a neurotoxin whose drawbacks far outweigh even the benefits found in a glass of red wine (one of the healthiest options when it comes to alcohol consumption).

But again, alcohol equals body fat (unless you are in the minority and have a super-production of alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH), the enzymes that break down alcohol in your body. Most likely you are not in this minority).

#9 Avoid Consuming Fast- or Processed Foods

This recent article by Time magazine has summed up the problem of fast food nicely, which I expanded on in this recent article. I encourage you to revisit both if you haven’t been keeping up to date on all the health problems associated with consuming fast food.

To summarize both of these articles: Avoid fast food if you value your health. It is loaded with sodium, sugar and feedlot animals who have been subjected to the absolute minimums in the areas of feeding and care.

#10 Avoid Condiments and Idle Snacks

According to www.fitsugar.com these are examples of sources of hidden calories you probably never even considered:

One pat of butter on your toast: 36 calories. One cubic inch of feta cheese on your salad: 45 calories.
One tablespoon ketchup with your fries: 15 calories. One tablespoon of grated Parmesan on your pasta: 22 calories.
One teaspoon or one cube of sugar in your coffee: 9 calories. One tablespoon of sour cream on your baked potato: 26 calories.
One tablespoon mayonnaise on your sandwich: 100 calories. Handful of M&Ms (10 pieces) off your co-worker’s desk: 34 calories.
One teaspoon each of oil and vinegar on your sandwich: 39 calories.

Cutting all of these things out would save you about 330 calories a day. That translates to a loss of about 1 pound every 10 days, or about 36 pounds a year.

How much weight do you need to lose? How long would it take you to reach your goal by cutting out these unnecessary condiments?

Some Final Thoughts about how to Avoid Packing on Unnecessary Pounds

If you’re like most Americans you probably have between a few and several unnecessary pounds you’d prefer not to be carrying around every day. I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible to take off the extra weight with a little thoughtful planning, it is also possible to keep the weight off simply by following a few sensible guidelines above and my more comprehensive ones.

Every purchase you make is a vote with your pocketbook about the kinds of food these manufacturers will continue to make.

The bottom line is very simple here, folks.

Think VERY carefully about what you’re eating so you and your family can take control of your health before someone else takes control of it from you.