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Chaffeur or Teacher - Which are You?

Well this will likely get me run out of town by angry moms but heres goes...

Your kids are overscheduled. They are too busy with too many activities. And silly because they have a whole lifetime ahead of them for fun activities with friends. The time you have with them is short, soon they we will have flown the nest, now is your chance to teach them critical life skills and bond with them while you do it. 

And what better way to bond than the family kitchen. You can start with a new tradition, a big family dinner every Sunday eve. Be a grown up, wall it off, make it sacred and then get cooking. But not alone, each week involve the kids, from recipe planning, food shopping to cooking it all up together. 

The results will be a fine family meal, everyone at one table talking about the week passed and the one ahead - a time of true connection. Beyond that though, you will be passing on critical life skill to your kids - how to take care of themselves and stay healthy. Is there really any better gift you could give them? And it sure beats driving all over town rushing from thing to another. They can do that themselves once they get their license. For now though, its your time together - make the most of it, cook together - your kids will thank you for it someday.

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Fat Jokes

We are not allowed to make fun of anyone in America today, it's not socially acceptable to mock or judge anyone based solely on their appearance...unless, they are fat. Why this exception?

Sadly the perception is that fat folks are lazy and immoral, given to gluttony and sloth, both sins by the way - nice. Even science seems to pile on - fat is simply an imbalance between calories in vs calories out - that's what Food Inc says every time we criticize soda pop or sugar coated cereals. It's your fault fat folks, show some restraint and maybe pry your ass off the couch and hit the gym tubby. Geez! 

But wait just a minute...... have you ever tried their prescription? Losing weight by increasing exercise while cutting calories? It doesn't work! Clinically proven to fail most every time. It actually it triggers greater fat storage! It also comes with more shame and self blaming which equals stress which by the way makes things even worse.

So here's the big "secret" that Pepsi and Wonder Bread hope never gets out - it's not you or your moral compass, it's not simply how much you eat vs how much you spend - it's actually what you eat! Thats right, reaching and maintaining your healthy happy target BMI is a matter of focussing on what you eat which directly affects how much fat gets stored around your belly vs calories that are burned or expelled. 

Gary Taubes! writes and researches this topic so well. He points out that adding sugar to a population gets you exponential increased rates of obesity and diabetes just like adding cigarettes drives lung cancer rates through the roof. Food Inc continues to push the "all calories are the same / calories in vs calories out" mantra but clearly thats off. They cause the body to act differently, to store or burn / expel. They also come with varying levels of nutrients. 

This was once common knowledge, look at Harvard or Stanford obesity texts from the 40s - avoid breads, pasta, cakes, cereals - anything made of flour. Skip white potatoes, corn and rice. Avoid all added sugar - soda, sweets, etc. Instead focus on well sourced clean protein - grass fed meat, wild caught fish, pastured poultry and eggs. Veggies, lots of them and some fruit and certainly good fats. They knew this worked, they had no idea why though.

Now we know why - foods with high glycemic loads trigger a hormone cascade (insulin, leptin, on and on) that leads to fat accumulation. Here's worse news - if you are above your target BMI you will store more calories from high GL foods than you would if you were at your optimal BMI. Thats right, high GL foods are like the high school bully, picks on the fats kids, leaves the jocks alone. Gulp.

So what to do - eat low glycemic load foods, ie stuff that does not cause your body to freak out and store calories as belly fat. No expensive pills or potions required - it can be done with food, damn tasty and delicious food. 

Start by eliminating added sugar and the quick carbs - ditch PBR - not the cheap beer but potatoes & pasta, bread & baked goods and rice. Don't panic, you can add some of this back later but for now - go Paleo and get your system working right again.

Lots of veggies, enough clean protein and some good fats too. 1 drink a day max. Take a walk everyday. Love yourself - positive affirmations each evening.

The foods on this very site are here to help you, as am I. if you get stuck or confused email me and we'll talk. Remember though - you can reach your goals. You have all you need today so get started - every step in the right direction is a win - for you!

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Quick Start Guide

Join our mailing list and receive a free 40 page Quick Start Guide to Clean Eating!

This PDF guide is packed full of nutrition information, healthy eating tips and tricks, recipes and more!

 

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Dr David Katz

Great video - watch as Dr David Katz - the heart, soul and brilliant mind behind the True Health Initiative and the College of Lifestyle Medicine lays out a path forward for nothing less than saving humanity 

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Getting Off The Couch

Perhaps I will never make the Lumberjack World Championships. Splitting wood is fun though and gets me off the couch and outside in the fresh air. All good things. 

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Templates - Better Than Recipes

Your Goal - enjoying healthy home cooked meals that spool up quick for the busy work week ahead. 

The Plan - this weekend plan out 3 dinners for the coming week. Select recipes, dump them onto a shopping list and head to the farmers market or the family freezer.  

Aim for a 30 min total meal prep time so you will actually make it, even after a full day at work. You can cheat like a chef by doing all your slice and dice, your soaking and sauteing, etc on Sunday. For a fuller discussion of this genius approach see - Well Fed 1 and 2 here 

Recipes are great but templates are infinitely more adaptable. 

Meat - Even if you go with veg proteins for breakfast and lunch, dinner in America usually means meat so let's make it good. Plan on aprox 3oz per person. Avoid high / dry heat - especially for long durations. A quick searing, a slow gentle saute or long slow simmer in a crock pot...all good. 

Vegetables - Serve at least two. Add good fats like olive oil, butter or nuts, make them fun. 

Grain / Legume - farro, quinoa, beans, etc. Soak them overnight, takes just a minute before bed. Rinse next day, then refrigerate or cook and enjoy. The cooking part will go much faster thanks to the soaking. Makes them easier to digest too.

Flavor - Herbs and spices often grouped together to form an ethnic palette; Italian, Moroccan, etc. Recipes list spices of course but you can also cheat by having ethnic spices mixes on hand. Like going out for Indian food? Amazon search for "Indian spice mix" and bam, you are making chicken korma. 

Know your flavor palette, it helps when you are faced with plain fish, chicken, veg without a recipe. i like olives and bacon, add it to chichen and boom, it tastes good to me. i like cinnamon and molasses, add it to oatmeal or sweet potatoes - boom i like it.

Adopt restaurant tactics to make home cooked meals super efficiently - first rule is the economies of scale - never cut up just one item - you have the cutting board and knife ready - slice n dice everything. Never cook just one item, never prepare just one serving. Whether it's omelettes, grilled sweet potatoes, oatmeal, etc - make several servings and refrigerate for super quick meals later on. 

Stove top efficiencies - saute peppers, then greens, then sweet tators, then an omelette - same skillet, it's already hot, no wash each time. Same with the oven - bake fish, sweet potatoes and some carrots - 3 dishes in oven at once, hyper efficient. 

You can do this - once you try the system above you'll see how easy it can be ;-)

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10 Food Traps... and how you can overcome them

  1. Getting overwhelmed - Food and nutrition can quickly feel overwhelming, you can get discouraged and suddenly beer and Oreos look tempting. Deep breath, each small step you take in the right direction is a win. Keep moving forward, you got this.  

  2. Buying into the PHD myth - No need for a lab coat and a degree in nutrition science, who has time for that. No need to know the nutrient count of every food. Just eat real food, food that your great grandma would recognise, buy it and cook it yourself and you’ll be on your way.

  3. Watching the news - This week eggs are good, next week they are bad. Hmmmm, it’s almost like they just want you to tune in each day, like they only care about eyeballs and ad revenue and not your families health. Don’t look to the media or the “news” as your source for objective info on healthy eating.

  4. Thinking good food is only for the rich and famous - Nope, that’s BS. Grow a garden. Cook at home. Beans, greens, cornbread and some chicken are way more healthy than piles of feedlot meat, boxed food and eating out.

  5. The organic or starve mentality - Eating real whole food, including lots of vegetables and fruits - that’s top priority. If you can find and afford organic well then great. Regardless - eat real foods, the benefits vastly outway any chemicals.

  6. Calling it breakfast - That can get you boxed in and marketers of junk food know it. They sell cookies and crap cereal as “breakfast” but don’t fall for it. Instead call it “my healthy first meal of the day” and suddenly you are free to choose better more wholesome food that powers you right into a productive day.

  7. The siren song of perfection - don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Incremental steps in the right direction are way better. Add veggies to your morning eggs making it a nutritious and delicious omelette - thats a win! Add blueberries to your yogurt - you win again.

  8. Mixing food with politics - you vote with your fork 3 times each day and that’s a vote that really counts. What you buy sends a powerful market signal up through the food chain. The grocer orders more grass fed beef, the farmer plants more greens, the kombucha isle expands, the soda isle shrinks. Your choices trigger real change

  9. Trying to solve all of the world’s problems - Start by taking care of yourself and those you love. The environment, animal welfare, our messed political system - they will all be made better off by your very smart buying and cooking choices.

  10. All or nothing thinking - you don’t have to buy a farm, do back breaking labor to harvest veggies or milk a cow. No need to live in a cave and hunt big game each morning. It’s easy to get great food direct from farmers, ranchers and fisherman without ever getting your hands dirty or breaking a sweat. It's helps our farmers too.

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A Dozen Gifts for Your Fave Foodie

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A Dozen Gifts for Your Fave Foodie

  • Garlic press - no peel no mess - a bomb proof press here 

  • Tea strainer / infuser - my fave here  Sturdy and easy to rinse

  • Tea kettle - XOX here  Sexy shape, looks good, boils fast

  • Coffee bean grinder - here  Fresh ground beans make better coffee

  • Cutting boards - sweeet here  These are so nice, we have 6

  • Knife sharpener - super easy here  Sharp knives are safer

  • Bread knife - my fave here   Pre-sliced bread, oh how pedestrian

  • 10” Calphalon stainless steal skillet - here  Toss the teflon mama

  • Salad dressing cruet - here  store bought dressings are mostly sugar, cheap oil

  • Vegetable Brush - the skins are where much nutrition lives, scrub vs peel love this little guy right here

  • Glass containers - never use plastic to for hot food - here

  • Stainless steel bowls with sticky rubber bottoms (giggle) - my fave here

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A Template for Killer Salads

Eating a salad for lunch each day is a great way to get your veggies...

Salad Template

  • Dark Leafy Greens - baby kale, micro greens, spinach, chard, etc

  • Legumes - cold beans or whole grains - farro, quinoa, barley, etc

  • Protein - tuna, chicken, salmon

  • Nuts or seeds - pumpkin, pistachios, pecans, etc

  • Veggies - sliced peppers, beets, veggie salad from deli

  • Fruit - berries, kiwi, melon, plums, grapes, citrus

  • Cheese - feta, goat, etc. From grass fed / pastured animals.

  • Avocado

Dressing

Dressing is the key to tasty salads Step 1 is to drop commercial salad dressings - they are usually nothing more than sugar, artificial flavors and unhealthy oils. They cost a lot too.

Buy an OXO salad dressing cruet / shaker / container.  Make your own fresh in under 2 minutes. Start with this ultra simple recipe and experiment adding stuff you know you like. This is all healthy stuff, use a lot, make it taste great.

  • olive oil - this is the main ingredient, the others are for flavor

  • balsamic vinegar

  • apple cider vinegar

  • maple syrup

  • lime juice

  • Additional items many people like to add...
  • dijon mustard

  • chopped herbs - thyme, parsley, tarragon

Tossing - always make salad in a big bowl, I like satinless steel bowls with a rubber non slip bottom. Always pick one plenty big to make tossing easy. Mix dressing in and on so each leaf is lightly coated with your custom made house dressing.

I make enough to cover 3 salads, saves time. 

If taking a salad to work for lunch reserve dressing in a separate container. This keeps salad crisp and fresh - just add it right before eating and "toss" in the container then eat up.

 

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7 Primo Plant Protein Sources

Split your protein intake 50/50. Get half your protein from animal sources and the other half from plants.

My Top 7 plant protein picks below. A few might sound foreign but all are delicious and nutritious too. 

  1. Lentils - 18g protein per cup 
  2. Beans - 16g p cup
  3. Quinoa - 8g per cup
  4. Steel Cut Oats - 8g p cup
  5. Pumpkin seeds - 9g p oz
  6. Almonds - 6 g p oz
  7. Cashews - 5g p oz

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Powdered Protein Power

Yes, it's best to get all you need, including protein, from real, whole, natural foods. However, to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, to get a quick protein bump timed just after a weight workout or to maintain muscle mass one you get up in years….

Whey is widely accepted as a good supplement for success. Buy smart though - these few paragraphs below are spot on. Brazenly stolen from Eat This, Not That! website - check them out Here

“When you're looking for the proper animal-based protein powder, look out for words like cold processed, concentrate (isolate only if you're sensitive to lactose), hormone-free, grass-fed, tested low for heavy metals, and does not contain sucralose or any artificial color, flavor or sweetener. ( GK - Stevia is cool though )

If you want a "fast acting" protein that will stimulate protein synthesis after a workout, go with whey. While a whey protein concentrate has a lower percentage of protein than whey isolate, it contains more bioactive compounds found in the milk fat that positively influence metabolism and immunity—just make sure it's low-temperature-processed (raw or cold-processed). This method allows the protein powder to retain many of its fragile immune factors and nutrients leaving it loaded with the ideal blend of easily-absorbed amino acids, anti-inflammatory compounds, essential fats, energy-replenishing carbs, metabolism-boosting peptides, potent antioxidants, and alkaline minerals.

You'll get even more of these nutrients when your powder is made from pasture-fed cows, which have a higher concentration of inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their corn and grain fed counterparts. CLA provides a variety of health benefits like burning fat and maintaining lean body mass. Besides toning your body, these two sources of dietary fat will also improve absorption of key vitamins and carotenoids. Not to mention, grass fed cows are less likely to be treated with antibiotics than grain fed cows, meaning you'll have a lower risk of building up antibiotic resistance or gaining unnecessary weight.”

Remember - it's a supplement, real food is better, and cheaper ;-)

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Lunch n Learn - Corp Wellness Seminars

As most of you know, in America today we are experiencing an unprecedented epidemic - obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Millions of people young and old are suffering while healthcare costs escalate.

 

The Good News...

The science shows we can mitigate or fully prevent 80% of all disease just by making just a few lifestyle changes — a healthier diet being most important among them. Good food promotes wellness, improves quality of life, improves productivity and lowers healthcare costs.

 

A Clear Consensus...

We struggle as a society with healthy eating and conflicting media reports don’t help. Fortunately our time tested culinary traditions supported by the latest nutrition science offer us a proven path forward.

 

As a cancer patient trying to save my own life, I discovered nutritious and delicious foods that best support optimal health and wellness. Now healthy and well, my mission is to share what I learned with those who seek wellness not only for themselves but also for the ones they love.

 

Empower Your People...

I’ve created an engaging 45- to 60-minute presentation, “What to Eat”. Perfect for lunch-and-learns, this seminar focuses on eating for optimal health and wellness. Each participant receives a free, step-by-step implementation guide plus a monthly newsletter.

 

All the information presented is peer-reviewed nutrition science. It’s all mainstream information but presented in a fresh and memorable way. As a result, audiences engage, feel empowered and get motivated to make positive changes in their lives.

 

The Presentation...

Introduction: My personal story and path back to health and wellness

A quick history of food: Where we've been and what we learned

The consensus: wise culinary traditions plus the latest nutrition science

The way forward: Identifying and enjoying full-flavor, high nutrition foods

Resources: Implementing a step-by-step, personal wellness plan

 

It’s All Free...

My talk, the companion website and step-by-step implementation guide are, for a limited time, all 100% free. There’s no catch — I’m a grateful man on a personal mission to inspire and inform those who seek wellness.

 

Contact Me...

To schedule a 45-60 min seminar or a one on one meeting to learn more, just email or call 636.207.8000 and we’ll connect.

Here’s to your good health!

Greg Kiger

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Quick Start Breakfast

Steel Cut Oats and Banana Blueberry Smoothie

Like most stuff in life, breakfast takes just little proactive planning and bingo - things start going your way.

Start the night before... cook up a batch of steel cut oats. Best oats here Bob's Organic Steel Cut. These bad boys are hot and chewy and infinitely more pleasing than rolled / instant oat gruel suitable only for toddlers.

Just bring 3 cups of water to a boil, dump in your cup of oats, stir occasionally as it gently bubbles and simmers until done. And since you are at the stove anyway, cook up dinner or something else while you are there. Store your oat goodness in the fridge in glass container, like these not plastic - never hot food in plastic. 

The next morning you are in a sleepy head haze and don't have all day to play chef fancy pants, gotta get to work dude. Mix the following and gently nuke stirring periodically.

  • Precooked oatmeal in a bowl. Add the following and nuke and stir...
  • Butter, a big hunk like a 1/2 tbs oh yeah
  • 1/3 cup kefir, (grass fed, whole milk, plain no added sugar)
  • Raisins and nuts
  • Molasses or honey 
  • Cinnamon
  • Extra credit - a teaspoon of ground flax seed, tastes nutty, keep immune system oh so happy

Meanwhile, pop the top on that high dollar blender that has been gathering dust in the corner - dump in the following and whip it into sexy smooth goodness.

  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Whey protein powder (from grass fed cows, cold filtered)
  • Kefir - as needed to get consistency they way you like - try 1/3 cup to start
  • Honey or Stevia - if needed
  • Extra Credit - add chia seeds

As you are eating, think about this - you just got 1/3 your daily protein, from a clean source. You got slow burn clean carbs to fuel you through your day. Some good fats so your brain works. And that kefir, its rushing reinforcements to your gut to man the front lines of your immune system. You rocked it !

+A  Now get out there and take over the freaking world !  

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Reach Your Ideal Weight

Two main points to start with, both important...

#1 You are beautiful, just the way you are, right now, today.

Yes, you may want to lose 10, 20, 30 lbs or more but take a day trip to an art museum and notice that society's idea of beauty shifts with the sands of time. Look up the works of Ruben, his painting glorify the most desired woman of the day, all very chubby by our current societal norms.

Ignore the fashion trends and remember - you are beautiful. 

#2  If you are above your "healthy BMI target" - fully commit right now to reaching your ideal weight. This has nothing to do with beauty or fashion - it's more serious than that. Turns out those extra pounds are anything but an inert spare tire around our belly, they have an active and highly negative impact on our overall health.  

BMI, your Body Mass Index is an objective and much studied indicator. To find out your BMI use this super simple CDC online calculator. If you are outside the "normal" range of 18-25 it is time to make some changes. ( Ideally you are in the 20-23 sweet spot that correlates with the best health outcomes ) 

Take action but remember to be kind to yourself in the process. Being outside your optimal BMI has nothing to do with your self worth or your moral character, it's about what you eat and properly managing your stress and activity levels. You can do this.

Slimming Down into your own BMI Nirvana

Start by tracking your food, there are many online / app based food trackers. Studies show that just tracking what you eat improves your diet by making you much more accountable to yourself. It can be a bit depressing if it calls attention to what you recognise as a crappy diet but defining the problem is often a big part of the solution. 

If you are like most Americans your are overfed and undernourished and those two are directly related. Your body turns up the cravings and says keep eating, we are way short on nutrition. The good news is once you switch to a delicious, satisfying and super nutritious diet the cravings stop and make things much easier to manage.

Tactics

Consider "going Paleo" for a few months. At their core paleo diets emphasizes eating lots of veggies and lean clean meats while cutting the carbs. It may not be sustainable or even optimal long term but for a 1-6 month period it can really slim you down to your healthy BMI target range.

Really watch glycemic load of foods you eat. Grains, pasta, rice, bread, cookies, cake, cereals, bagels, donuts - cutting out all these carbs will pay off. Same with any added sugar from soda to high fructose ketchup. Same with beer and wine. If that's your stress relief mechanism, find another one, like exercise, time in nature or meditation. Ramp up the veggies and clean protein and cut carbs and you'll get lean fast. 

Enlist the help of a dietician or wellness coach, they are cheap to see weekly or every other week. Email them your diet tracking data and they can guide you toward subtle shifts and substitutions that keep you on track toward your goals.  

Food alone won't do it though. Start walking a brisk 30 min a day every day. Get a dog or a walking partner. If you have a computer screen based job get up and move 5 min each hour while at work.

Reduce your stress load - it's directly linked to weight gain. Get a good counselor or read books. Join a meditation group. Do whatever works for you but down-rev to a Zen state at least part of each day and watch the pounds drop away.

Hang around with slender healthy people more often. We are all human and our peer group effects us, our outlook and choices. 

Once you reach your target BMI, gently switch to a healthy consensus mediterranean diet like the one outlined here at What to Eat. Keep exercising. Stay Zen.

You'll enjoy seeing that slimmer healthy you in the mirror each morning. And the proven benefits / the reduction in all types of disease risks, that you will enjoy for a lifetime.

 

 

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An American Classic - Reborn

Cheeseburger, fries and a soda please...

Oh the lust and the guilt that sweeps over us just hearing those words let alone actually downing a Big Mac, Coke and fries. It's the textbook example of an unhealthy trainwreck of a meal.

The good news is you can rewind the clock to a simpler time, a time before Food Inc f@#%ed it all up , a time when this American classic was a wholesome and healthy meal. 

Here's how...

Step 1 - Bake a sweet potato, hell bake three. I always have several in the fridge rebaked and ready to rock. Slice it longways into fries. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil, lay on the fries, broil on high, flip them a few times, get um all slippery and oil up, cook until a few brown edges appear, just a minute or two on each side. Salt with chunky himalayan pink sea salt.

Step 2 - Saute some sweet red onions in olive oil, then shiitake mushrooms, then a 1/4 lbs patty of bison or grass fed beef. Add slices of real hard cheese made from grass fed cows milk - infinitely better nutrition than plastic wrapped "american cheese" crap. 

Step 3 - Toast a slice of stone ground multi grain bread from your local artisan baker. Sure that dude is kinda weird but hey, his bread rocks. Dab it with a hunk of grass fed butter like Kerrygold. Way better than a white flour bun slathered in industrial oils. 

Step 4 - Reach in the fridge and pour a cold glass of the original soda pop - Kombucha. Fizzy and shyly sweet Kombucha is all natural and chock full gut balancing bugs that power your immune system unlike Coke which is full of sugar that turns straight into belly fat. 

Step 5 - Throw in some apple pie, recipe here. It's only got 1/3 cup of sugar and tastes amazing!

Chow down my brother. Cherish one of the joys of American manhood. And then, after you have put your dishes away and cleaned up the mess you made in the kitchen, get your ass to the gym.

Thats right, if you are gonna eat like Spartacus you gotta train like Spartacus. So pack your sweats and head that way, don't worry, I'll spot you bro.

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GMO Oh Nooooooo

There are no awesome studies that prove GMO crops are bad for us. On the flip side; who would pay for those? Who would defend against the lawsuit cascade that would follow? Who stands to benefit from showing GMO to be terrible for our health - nobody. Who stands to benefit from GMOs dominating - several multi billion dollar companies.

So are GMOs bad? I don't know. Conceptually it looks like "oh here we go again" with mankind screwing with nature and paying a steep price.

GMO Rodeo

And ever wonder where most GMO wheat winds up? As flour in processed foods and restaurant foods. Cookies, cakes, baked goods, crackers, bread, pasta - many folks now avoid all prepared / boxed foods skipping the white flour, trans fats and GMOs. 

Most GMO grain though gets fed to animals stuck in confinement feedlots. Skip the cheap meat and skip the GMOs. 

The good news is that if you avoid processed foods - restaurant or store bought foods like baked goods, bread, pasta, buns, cakes, cookies, crackers, cereal etc - you avoid GMOs. If you avoid cheap meat fed GMO grain you are good there too.

It's a beautiful world, eat healthy and skip the GMOs.

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Supplements

Food vs Pills

Supplement. Right there in plain sight is the issue many overlook. Vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts - at best these pills are meant to supplement a healthy wholesome nutritious diet of real food. It's wishful thinking or worst to believe that downing a "Centrum silver extra chewable Flintstone fruit flavored energy booster One a Day tablet" will in any way compensate for a crappy diet. That's BS / marketing, don't fall for it.

Study after study show that food is much more than the few nutrients we can currently identify. Give one group 1000 mg of vitamin C daily and the other an orange containing 1000 mg of C and which does better - the orange group every time! 

And that's if the C pill really has 1000 mg, many don't. Supplements are a largely unregulated industry. Then there is the issue of synthetic vs natural, which is more effective? And bioavailability, will it be absorbed or pass right through? Some are better taken with a fatty meal, or in the morning, but not with certain foods. 

And the 800 lbs gorilla - are supplements really helpful and at what dosage in what circumstances???? For pharma grade drugs there are FDA regulations, clinical trials and double blind studies - and still they regularly get it wrong. With vitamins no such rules apply so it's the Wild west / Buyer Beware.

Pay to Play

Undeterred? If you are still eager to dive in with supplements then break out your wallet because this may very well be worth it - but it's going to cost you. If you ever complained about the cost of buying all organic produce or thought grass fed beef was expensive wait to you see the monthly price tag really good supplements come with.

Don't go cheap here though, buying the very best is the only prudent way to proceed. The difference between cheap drug store fish oil and the best omega 3 rich alaskan krill oil harvested from pristine waters, processed promptly, without heat or chemicals etc - it can be huge. One may actually be damaging and the other very healthful. 

The List

Here are my consensus picks arranged from cheap and proven beneficial to expensive and probably helpful. All the standard caveats apply - consult your physician before taking these, etc. Personally, I have never had a doctor raise an eyebrow over this list other than to question if I was wasting my money.

  • Aspirin 81 mg - not really a supplement but cheap and effective across so many pathways. Google it. 

  • Olive Oil - 2-4 tablespoons a day. No need to put in a pill, use in salad dressings, dip bread in it, cook with it. Delicious and proven health benefits earn it a spot on the supplement list.

  • Vit D 2 - cheap, almost everyone is way low, critical to good health. They recommend taking 5000 iu  per day for a month or two, then get the cheap and easy blood test - optimal range is 50-80, bump dosage up or down to get there. 

  • Fish Oil -  Contains DHA / EPA. shoot for 1-2 grams of each per day. Krill oil is the platinum standard with a price tag to match.

  • Zinc - 25 mg pd immunity etc, missing in factory fish, some veggies, cheap meat.

  • Vit B complex - helps manage blood sugar spikes amongst other good stuff

  • Magnesium - 400 mg pd you need it, many soils missing it

  • Selenium - 200 mcg  missing from many soils

  • OK, these next ones are expensive but still show great promise...

  • Curcumin - found naturally in an Indian spice called Turmeric, curcumin reduces inflammation etc. Tons of good studies point to its effectiveness. Bioavailability is the challenge here. Either mix 1/2 tsp of turmeric with some olive oil and black pepper and add to steamed veggies etc or choose a supplement, one with enhanced absorption. 

  • CoQ10 - 100-400 mg ubiquinol form - heart and immune booster, often recommended to folks taking statin drugs

  • Vitamin E -  d alpha tocopheryl succinate, 400 iu p/day

  • Resveratrol - 250 p day. 

  • GLA - 300mg 

  • Reishi or Maitake mushroom extract

  • Ginseng  - getting the real stuff is a challenge, my advice is to consult a good Chinese acupuncturist. Mine is Dr. Shanna Zhang is a licensed Acupuncturist and Oriental Medicine Doctor  here.

  • Personally, I avoid cheap drug store supplements and high end multi-level marketing brands too. A good source I use but have zero financial interest in is here. They have a silly name but their rigorous science based approach, high quality supplements and wealth of free info make it a good place to start. They offer an 800 number with "advisors" on call. They are of course in the business of selling supplements so weigh out the cost / benefit ratio for yourself.  

  • Remember - eat an awesome diet first and foremost. If and only if you have the extra cash and want to / need to cover all the bases then proceed with caution and buy only the best. 

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A Cancer Game Plan

If you or one you love has just gotten a cancer diagnosis, take a deep breath, let it out, read on...

You can get through this. Yes cancer is scary as hell but it is not what it used to be. Treatment options have progressed exponentially in just the last 10 years and new / more effective options are coming online each day. I and many others are living proof of that.

Build a Success Team. Your #1 goal when you get a diagnosis is to find the doctors / centers / treatments specialized for you situation - this specialization critical to a successful outcome. 

Ask for Help. Enlist the help of a family doctor, a medical researcher, friends, family and others who may know somebody. Go public and put it on Facebook - do whatever you need to do to find and enlist the very best specialists and once found - listen to them.

Optimize Your Self Care - turn your attention to something you have a huge amount of control and effect over - your own self care. Optimizing your self care should be your sole focus once your medical team is in place. What you do here may sound squishy but the self care effect on your outcome really matters so dive in. 

Diet - use this website to dramatically improve your diet and your health. This is not the time for "comfort food". Choose olive oil over ice cream, kale over cookies and the chances of cycling through southern France when you're 90 dramatically increase. All the food guidelines on this site apply to cancer so get cooking. 

Stress - feeling stressed sets off a cascade of hormones that are not helpful. Replace traffic, tension and watching the news with massage, meditation and journalling - reducing stress has been shown to improve outcomes.

Journalling - three pages each day, longhand, on a legal pad of paper. Get those highly negative toxic thoughts and feelings out of your body and expressed onto paper. Studies show that it's highly effective, but only if written longhand on paper vs keyboarding / using a computer. 

Counseling - over-reacting, under-reacting, stuck in in denial, overwhelmed with fear, grief, anger - cancer is a major emotional challenge so get help. There are therapists who specialise in helping people who have received a cancer diagnosis. Get one, now. Join a group as well.

Connection - staying connected to those who love and support you is huge. Now is not the time to indulge negative or toxic personalities. Be selfish and selective about who you interact with. And make sure to express how much their love and support means to you during this trying time. 

PT - had or going to have surgery? You need PT. Get a script from your surgeon and go. Most all surgery entails some complications. PT pros can get you back on your feet again literally and figuratively. I never left a PT appointment without feeling more optimistic, hopeful and capable than when I came in the door.

Exercise - it reduces stress, helps physically too. Keep it moderate, do what you can but... move, get outside in nature, breathe in fresh air, hear the birds, sweat a little, take in a sunrise. Exercise removes stress byproducts and tells your body "we have work to do so let's get healthy."

Acupuncture - Managing side effects of drugs and various treatments is critical, it's often the difference between staying on a life saving regimen or washing out of the program. Acupuncture has shown clinical results, not for curing cancer but really helping deal with those nasty side effects. If possible find a practitioner who is Chinese, trained in China, speaks English as a second language etc. 

Supplements - from Chinese herbs like reishi mushroom and ginseng to vitamin D and curcumin supplements might be worth a try. They are not cheap, some are more effective than others and none compare with an awesome diet of wholesome real food but, if you have the cash and are employing an "all of the above" strategy. See my "Supplements" blog post. 

Affirmations - paint a positive picture with words - how awesome life will be once you are healthy again. Write it all in the present tense, as if it has already happened. Load it with feeling and positive imagery so you can see and feel it. Google affirmations. This is huge.

Purpose - cancer can brings gifts along with all the terror. For many it reveals a mission, a purpose, a reason for getting well and staying in the game. Book after book, all the studies show that having a strong sense of purpose Incorporate this into your affirmations. 

Spirituality - whatever your faith or spiritual leanings studies show spiritual grounding can help you get through this. Dive into book on Buddhism, talk with your church pastor, whatever resonates. The peace and calm that flow from a heartfelt spiritual framework is profound.  

Stay Focussed - you will not invent a cancer cure in your spare time - turn that over to the best doctors you can find. Instead, focus on what you control or can effect - that's where you have the most sway over your outcome. Your medical team is working overtime to save you - help them by taking awesome care of yourself.

 

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