Only when you know the question, will you know what the answer means

42.

The answer to life, the universe, and everything.

I’ve used this joke a lot, but I’m about to be a Dad, so get used to me re-using jokes.  I think that’s part of becoming a Dad.  That, and I can rarely think of a better way to exemplify what I’m trying to say when I come across broad, over-arching answers.

This topic tends to come up with me one of two ways:

  • I’m making fun of something that is being touted as the new answer to everything (or is being advertised that way to do one thing… get you to buy and consume whatever it is).
    • My call for this year is tea.  No one particular tea, but ones with cool names in general, not the “normal” teas we’re used to seeing (like orange pekoe, earl grey or english breakfast), but the exotic sounding ones, like matcha, yerba maté, and other crazy stuff that might not even be tea but is being sold that way because we don’t know how else to conceptualize it otherwise.
  • I’m trying to explain the “Wellness and Lifestyle” model of healthcare.  Which, if we’re watching the slow decline of society into chronic illness, and chronic illness management, we desperately need.

Todays post is the latter of those two options.  Reading through research lately has been fun/tedious, but every once in a while you come across something seriously awesome.  I’m embarrassed I haven’t come across this sooner, to be honest.  but here it is:

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned... (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned… (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health promoting factors

This article is simply awesome.  Here is laypersons summary of their abstract:

  • Nrf2 is short for nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (yeah… Nerf 2 is a little easier to say/reference)
  • It’s a “transcription factor”, meaning it leads cells to “read” certain parts of our DNA and causes certain physiological cascades afterwards.
    • And this one activates the transcription of over 500 genes!
  • Things that it does:
    • detoxifies the body of molecules that can be toxic when accumulated to unhealthy levels as well as toxic metals
    • Anti-oxidant activities (reduces “bad” oxidation of molecules that can lead to mutations, aging, or unnecessary waste)
    • Produces anti-inflammatory changes (think, Advil, or fish oil)
    • Stimulates the creation of new mitochondria, and improves the function of already existing mitochondria (think, more energy, easier)
    • Stimulates autophagy – a cleaner for your cells, that gets rid of “trash” that can be problematic if not kept under control
  • Things that increase our amount of Nrf2:
    • Phenolic antioxidants, like plants, herbs and (wait for it…) tea
    • gamma and delta-tocopherols, tocotrienols.  Vitamin E – healthy fats, olive oil, avocado, etc.
    • Long chain Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA – from fish, krill, squid, grass-fed meats, etc.
    • Carotenoids like lycopene (in tomatoes and grapes)
    • isothiacynates from cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
    • Sulphur compounds from allium vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots, etc.)
    • Terpenoids (herbs like cinnamon and ginger)
    • Low level oxidative stress (low intensity exercise, like walking)
    • More intense exercise
    • Fasting/Caloric restriction
  • Chronic Inflammatory Diseases that are prevented/treated by increasing Nrf2?
    • cardiovascular diseases
    • kidney diseases
    • lung diseases
    • Diseases of toxic liver damage
    • Cancer [prevention]
    • Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome/Obesity
    • Sepsis
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Epilepsy
    • lesser evidence also points to the improvement of 16 other diseases

Sounds pretty impressive eh?  I like part of the conclusion, “Nrf2 is argued to be both lifespan and health span extending.” [emphasis mine]  FINALLY a focus on not just increasing the length of our lives, but also the quality of those years.

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

The authors also speak to the potential of having TOO much Nrf2 (which is smart to hopefully nip the “if some is good, let’s crank the knob up to 11!” bud), as it can cause a type of acne in certain cases, and more life-threatening risks in very extreme situations (in mice with a gene removed from their body that would regulate Nrf2, so it just continues to accumulate).  So it DOES NOT follow a, “if some is good, more is better” model either.  Very interesting… Almost like all those things that improve it should be employed, but not to excess.

News Flash – Being reasonable is healthy.

So if we want to improve our bodies detoxification pathways (which are a real thing, that your liver and kidneys help with), tidy up our cells, improve our mitochondrial health and generally improve our lives doing the things that help improve this particular transcription factor is not a bad idea.  What are those things?

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit (of various colours and textures) and quality meats and fats
  • Use some herbs and spices to make your food a bit more interesting
  • Consider long term side effects of steroids supplementing a modest amount of Omega 3 fats from high quality sources
  • Move your body at a low, steady pace, most of the time.  Then at a hard pace every once in a while.
  • Avoid overeating, and maybe consider fasting or taking on the mindset from Okinawa of “Hara Hachi Bu” – meaning to eat only until you’re 80% full

Stay Healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

What You Need to Know to Get and Stay Healthy

Hey Folks!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted!  Apologies for that.  So I’ve been thinking about what sets Chiropractic apart from other professions, and why we’re crucial when we DO share so much of our scope and skills with many other professionals (physics, massage therapists, osteos, athletic therapists, etc.) and it ultimately comes down to our philosophy.

But I’ve spoken about that numerous times before like what do proteins do for the body

.  So while I may hint at it throughout the rest of my life (and this post), I’ll attempt to tackle a different topic today.

Today I’d like to speak about how the truth isn’t sexy.  The true, and ultimate answers with regards to health (and fitness, really) isn’t particularly sexy.  I’ve mentioned that there are no shortcuts before, but that truth continues to shine through time after time throughout the years. There is exceptions like if you smoke and switch over to vaping and try out box mods then you can see the difference quickly. A great brand is the trademark of glass blunts by smoke cartel on this market.

Chiro’s are different because we’re the only profession that is based on the idea that there’s nothing wrong with you.  Intrinsically, you likely have the genetic blueprint to live a long, healthy, happy life.  Some folks (a small percentage… though it seems to be growing) have gene-based alterations in their set point, but, luckily for us, the overarching treatment plan is largely the same.  Assuming you’re physiology is good, and providing the necessary ingredients to provide health to your body isn’t nearly as sexy as rushing you into an Operating Room to cut you open and pull out your ruptured appendix, preventing the immediate risk to your life.

Medical doctors do AMAZING things.  They literally SAVE peoples lives and prevent deaths that would be imminent without them.  We should be grateful for it (and in those situations, people typically are).  The problem, is that nowadays lifestyle illnesses are responsible for most deaths.  So while Emergency interventions with Medicine can save your life (in the right situation, unfortunately not everyone lives) in the event of a heart attack or stroke, the cause of those issues didn’t happen suddenly. One thing I highlight here is to take care of your teeth as early as possible, many people don’t have money when things get out of control, check out must read for clean teeth and stay healthy.

I’m totally borrowing this analogy from James Chestnut, but you can think of the Medical Community as the “fire department”.  In this analogy your body is your house.  When your house is on FIRE, you call the fire department.  Given good timing and adequate staffing, the fire department saves your house from burning to the ground, but there is likely damage that will need to be repaired to make it “new” again.  When that time comes, does it make sense to call the fire department to come fix your house up?  Would the fire department become frustrated with your calls to them to help fix your house?  Absolutely.

This is where we are right now.  The medical community is overwhelmed and frustrated with the number of people who are “pre-diabetic”, “at risk” for heart attack and stroke or cancer, but don’t actually HAVE those problems.  Makes sense, right?  You have the tool that helps when that situation arises, but it isn’t quite there yet, and you can tell that by the way the person is headed, that they’ll likely get there over time.  If only there was a way to help turn those people around.

Well there is.  The PROBLEM, is that it isn’t very sexy – so it doesn’t appear like it could be the answer.

And thennnnn…

You want to get fit.  You want to pack on some muscle, but you enjoy being able to go for a run, play volleyball on the beach and you don’t want to put on any fat while you get stronger.  Welcome to the goal of everyone.  Some people get past this issue and reorient their goals.  That’s what leads to elite performances in sport.  Strongmen, Throwers and Powerlifters don’t CARE how fast they can run 800m, unless it makes them better at their sport/tasks at hand, which it doesn’t.  Sprinters don’t care if their shoulders lack range of motion and that gymnastics would help make their shoulders stronger and healthier… because it doesn’t help them sprint faster.  One goal – be the best in the world at ONE thing.  For most of us, this isn’t the goal.  And to be honest, it isn’t particularly healthy – but when the stakes are olympic gold, or high salary contracts, I can understand when it’d be worth it.

To prepare for true fitness, you’ll get a million different opinions.  it is likely impossible to be the best at absolutely everything.  Who knows, maybe that will be proven wrong one day, but until then it seems like it’d be true.  So to improve your level of fitness, you need to lift heavy things, move your body in progressively more complex ways, sprint every so often and otherwise move about with a good amount of frequency.  You need to eat well, too, but we’ll cover that next.  There’s no “This ONE move you AREN’T doing and your trainer WON’T tell you about!”  It doesn’t exist.  There’s hard work at intelligent tasks and that’s it.  Work the short time domain and the long one.  Work the heavy stuff, the fast stuff AND the slow stuff.  Use gymnastics, kettlebells, medicine balls, barbells, rings,  and as many other implements as you can.  Give EVERYTHING you have sometimes.  Other times focus on quality and perfection in movement (though that should be the goal for ALL movement).  Work on moving hard and fast when you’re moving, and resting when you need to.  THAT, creates fitness.  No BS, no secrets.

And thennnn…

You want to know what to eat.  We were told fat was bad, and then that maybe it isn’t.  But what about vegetable oils, omega 3 oils, saturated fat and so on?  We are CONSTANTLY barraged with recommendations for supplements to take.  Whether it’s a commercial, a multi-level addiction marketing agency, we never know what to take seriously and what not to.  There is SO much information and contradictory claims out there with regard to nutrition that it has been the topic of hundreds of books.  And it will continue to be.

BUT, this is where that Chirpractic view of HEALTH comes in.  This is where we develop our BS filter.

Most Chiropractors are of the opinion that we don’t need more people trying to put out fires on their own with a garden hose and store-bought fire extinguisher (still speaking in metaphor here… those are actually good things to have around in the event of a real fire).  We don’t want to be responsible for putting out uncomplicated low back pain fires.  We want to increase your health.

Improve movement, mobility and stability in the spine and extremities, and you get healthier people.  Fine tune peoples nutrition to help them provide their body with what it NEEDS, and you get healthier people.  Teach people about the value of friendship, family values, being grateful, and positive thinking and you get healthier people.  THAT is what chiropractors like myself specialize in.  Your back/neck/shoulder/hip/knee/whatever pain will “magically” go away when you cover all these bases most of the time. Just search and read, the delfogo review. You can get some tips and advice there.

Devote yourself to getting HEALTHY, not just avoiding disease.  Be the healthiest, happiest person you know.

Stay Healthy friends,

Dr. Adam Ball

Whole Life Challenge – January 2016

Hey Friends!

So the gym/clinic has signed up for the “Whole Life Challenge”.  It’s a lifestyle challenge/game that is meant to help catalyze some changes to lifestyle habits through Nutrition, Exercise, Mobility work, Hydration, Sleep, Lifestyle (changes weekly), and Reflection/Journaling.  It’s something I toyed with created WAY back when I was still in Chiro school, but it’s a LOT of work – and I like that Andy (the creator of the whole life challenge) has made it into a bit of game.  The ultimate goal is to install some new habits and hopefully live life a little healthier afterwards from then on until FOREVER 🙂

I’m going to dig a little deeper into each facet of the game to hopefully give some context and background info for everyone.  SO, that being said… let’s tackle “nutrition” – Click here to see the chart of the various levels of the challenge.

Kickstart:

  • If you’re pretty new to the whole health & wellness game, then this is a great place to start.  For people who constantly eat out, or eat a lot of what our parents would call, “junk”, switching to cooking your own meals is a big (and VERY effective) way to install positive changes in your life and on your health.  Seeing these small, but very important positive steps successfully, is more important than worrying you might have eaten too many bananas.

Lifestyle:

  • Not quite the strict-ness of the “Performance” level, and as such, is more inclined to develop lifelong lifestyle changes.  Knowing you will occasionally kick your heels up, or that your time is limited for adding in new activities/practices.  This is good if you’ve been contemplating tidying up your diet, and eliminating many less nutritious choices (grains, sugar, dairy, bad beverage choices, and artificial ingredients), in addition to dialling in your other lifestyle habits.

Performance:

  • If you are a, “ALL OR NONE” kind of person, if you’re helping to make some more profound changes with regards to your health or performance, than this is where you want to be.  That makes it sound somewhat attractive, but it means less room for error, and in some ways this is where there is more risk of “failing”.  Many of us fall into the “darn it, I messed up and had oatmeal for my breakfast…. I guess I’ll have pizza for lunch!” – Queue complete tailspin into crushing snickers bars and rockstar drinks.  So this is like a big risk/big gain situation.  If you feel ready, or you’re that all or none person, then this might be the challenge you need to bump you up a bit.  Keep in mind, this isn’t meant to be a permanent change (unless you just really love it), it’s meant to be a “reset” or a “boost”, so you can push into those edges and develop some healthy, long-term habits.
  • I would suggest keeping legumes out of your diet for this level, and consider adding in Potatoes if that is a deal breaker (with an upper carbs/day limit of 150g).

You can also always dig into some of my older posts for more info:

Navigating the Paleo World

Ok… So I’m ready to start eating paleo

Alright – That’s it for this post – on to the next piece!  Stay Healthy Friends!
Dr. Adam Ball

OK… So, I’m ready to start eating Paleo…

Awesome! I’m glad you’re willing to make the changes necessary to improve your health and prevent (or help heal from) a myriad of chronic diseases. Depending on where you’re coming from, you will face some cravings, some questioning, and possibly even some detox style symptoms (headache, constipation/diarrhea, etc.) Take that as the disclaimer it is. You may also experience even-keeled energy levels all day long, better sleep, less sinus congestion, less headaches, loss of fat and water weight, less bloating and gas, and the list goes on.

So… here are the steps you need to take.

1. Empty out your fridge, freezer and pantry of all the items that are not fit for human consumption.
a. This includes: Bread, pasta, rice, beans, milk, cheese, candy, chocolate bars, quinoa, cous cous, and pretty much anything that involves a package, or a list of ingredients.

2. Find some recipes you already know/want to try that happen to be Paleo:
a. These meals will consist of Meat, Vegetables, Fruit, nuts and seeds.
b. Add some spices for flavour.

3. Write down what you need in a list and head to the grocery store:
a. You’ll generally stay along the periphery of the store to pick up your produce and meat. Some of the items (spices, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.) will be in the middle aisles.
b. Avoid the aisles with the junk previously considered, “food”.
c. Make sure you bring a list of sriracha recipe and eat before you go – don’t buy anything not on the list!

Tips:

• Buy meat in bulk – Buying directly from a farm is ideal (Eat Local Sudbury has some great resources) but when that isn’t realistic for you, Costco has pretty good quality meat and it can be more economical – and then portion the meat into 1 pound increments, put them in ziplocks and freeze them

• Wash and chop your veggies that need it when you get home. Ziplocks/tupperwares are good for storage for these as well.

• Make what you can ahead of time; breakfasts are nice to have ahead of time for a quick warm up in the morning – the slow cooker will become a good friend.

The variety of meals you can make is mind-boggling. You’ll find a few you love and generally stick with them, maybe even a dozen different meals. Making changes and tinkering with meals is easy once you get the hang of it as it’s fairly simple to cook up some meat and veggies at each meal. You’ll find the list of ingredients you need is fewer (depending on how complex you get with the spices).

If you can follow the above guidelines, a majority of you will be set for a life of health and happiness.
But what if, despite the simple guidelines, you still don’t know where to start? I understand completely; It’s nice to have someone tell you what to eat and when to eat it. It takes the guesswork out of it, and it makes adhering to the diet and lifestyle just a little easier, which is important when making these changes as they can be challenging.

Do you have an auto-immune disease? Are you still experiencing odd symptoms that won’t seem to go away? Are you pre-diabetic, completely diabetic, or “at risk” for diabetes? Are you concerned with preventing cancer or getting ready for a surgery? Do you want to improve your athletic performances? We can fine tune and personalize the paleo diet to your specific needs and situation. It can be for an acute situation (like an upcoming surgery or race day) or for the rest of your life (like preventing cancer or supporting high activity levels). I can work with your specific needs and wants to help build your specific plan, if you’d like.

There can be a lot of questions to consider, are you an athlete or are you gearing up for a surgery (or both)? Do you need to eat high/low carb, moderate or lower protein? Which are the healthy fats? Do you play with fasting? When would be appropriate to do that?  Let me know if you want to dig in deeper, and we’ll work on a plan for you.  Click “Book appointment” at the top of the page – or click here

Stay Healthy Friends!
Dr. Adam Ball

 

3 Issues with Going the “One Way”

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.

After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.

Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”

– Bruce Lee

 

Hey Folks!

 

Today we will address something that has been plaguing CrossFit, Chiro, and life in general since I learned of its’ existence.  That thing is that there is NO ONE WAY.  I know what you’re thinking – That’s not a new idea, Adam.  I know it isn’t, but it never takes long for us to convince ourselves that maybe… just maybe there IS ONE WAY.

Oh I need to get my squat up, I have to do the Smolov method.  Oh, the warm up suggests jumping from 75% to 90% of our working weight, I’ll just slap these 45’s on then.  I’m not feeling great; it must be my serotonin levels.  I’d love to lose some weight, but you can only do it if you do the super mega cleanse, and I’m not ready for that.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.

 

Issue #1:   We want there to be only one way. 

You have this infection, you need this anti-biotic, and you need to take it for this long.  You want to lose 10 pounds so you need to eat this magic-berry this many times per day before you have your water and air to eat.  We want it to be true.  The number of times I’ve heard, “well just tell me what stretch I need to do”, or, “how many treatments does it take to cure this???” is quite honestly, too many.

 

Issue #2:  People don’t like for there to not be ONE WAY.

People want there to be ONE fix.  ONE stretch they aren’t doing.  ONE piece of food they need to add or omit from their diet that will cure their IBS, add 200 pounds to their back squat and get them an A in their Nuclear Biophysics course at University.  They want that “AHA! THAT is what I’ve been doing wrong!” moment.  They WANT easy.  But easy doesn’t exist – simple does.

Eating veggies, meats, tubers, fruits, and adding in some nuts and seeds is simple.  Coming to the gym and doing the work is simple.  Working on your mobility with a Lacrosse ball, foam roller and some stretches is simple.  Getting adjusted regularly to ensure a healthy nervous system is simple.  Unfortunately simple does not always or usually mean easy.  Endeavour for simplicity, it isn’t always easy, but there is a certain beauty in it.

 

Issue #3:  Many a person has gotten rich off selling you the idea that there is only one way. 

Want to know a surefire way to know when you’re hearing/reading good advice?  When the speaker/writer isn’t going to fight you on adhering to what they suggest.

“I can’t eat ‘paleo’ because I have to have yogourt/milk/oatmeal/etc.”, is a common response I hear to my recommendation for most folks to start with a stripped down paleo approach to eating.  Do you know what an appropriate response to this comment is?  “Ok, then have it – and if or when you’re ready to try going without that item as well, you can”.  Many of the truly successful people are not shoving their rules down peoples’ throats.  Mark Rippetoe doesn’t care if you want to compare Starting Strength to Wendlers 5-3-1.  Robb Wolf doesn’t care if you want to go all primal and add some dairy and wine in with your paleo diet.  Most Chiropractors don’t care if you want to come in once a month instead of once every 2 weeks.  What we do know is that if you stray too far from a plan, it doesn’t work as well, and we know what we know because we do it every day.

 

Notes to provoke your thoughts:

Want to know when you’re being sold something that may be suspect (products, services or advice)?  When the person wants to convince you of its’ truth.

I don’t want to pick on anyone as broad brush strokes are just that, broad, but two examples that come to mind are:

Vegans.  You can’t be “kind of” vegan.  From my experiences they will do everything in their power to convince you of the evils of meat and the saintly power of juicing or kale or whatever.  You can see this in the paleo world too with the “is it paleo” debates, which in my opinion are largely a waste of time.

“Evidence-based” healthcare practitioners.   They are typically extremely confident that their way is the only way.  That is until they learn more.  Until they learn about Crazy Bulk and Dbal Max supplements review at Male Fitness from researchers, from where funding comes from, from bias in statistical analysis (and it’s interpretation), and from poorly written conclusions, abtracts and introductions.  Until they learn about outliers, and paradoxical findings (and responders) and articles that conclude, “while this particular study does not support generally accepted findings, we still suggest that people follow XYZ” and wonder why doesn’t the study support it?

Please keep in mind, these are generalizations, and by far not all vegans or “evidence-based” practitioners are like this, but they come to mind first.  How will you know if the person you’re speaking to is unworthy of your trust?  They don’t listen to your side of the conversation.  Not even a little.  They speak louder to get their point across.  It’s painful to speak and debate with these people and we all get sucked into it from time to time.  Don’t’ waste your time or energy here.

 

Bruce Lee is still viewed with starry eyes.  He was a genius.  He knew that there was no one way, and that the more you learned, the more you realized you knew very little.  After understanding how little you know, you can fully acknowledge the breadth of the subject and how best to approach it.  The important thing to take into account is that we’re all trying to get on the highway to greater health and fitness, but few of us will be driving on the exact same onramp or will be driving the same speed, in my case I always check out the flexmastergeneral, Their newest machine is the Bowflex HVT and it is an awesome tool for my fitness goals.  Where you get on and how fast you go isn’t what matters, heading in the right direction is.  So when you begin to doubt yourself from time to time (and you will), remember, there is no one way, there is only the way you are going – just make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

As always – stay healthy, Friends, and make sure to take a heat protectant yo tour trip with you!

 

Dr. Adam Ball

Strategies to avoid being SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

It’s a cold day in Northern Ontario today (-1 degree Celsius this morning!) and as the warmth and summer weather retreats until the spring, the prolonged daylight goes with it.  Shorter, colder days mean much less time spent outside, as well as less time exposed to direct sunlight.  What does this mean for us?

It means we aren’t connecting with nature as often as we would in the summer (raking leaves just doesn’t have the same allure as laying on the dock by the lake, does it?), which can have a profound effect on our mood.  There’s just something that incites a peaceful feeling about spending time outside.

Not being outside also means we aren’t exposed to the suns rays as much (as well as the changed angle of the sun entering the earth), which means our bodies don’t synthesize as much Vitamin D in the fall and winter as they would in the spring and summer.  Vitamin D is STILL a “hot” vitamin/hormone being studied for numerous connections to both mood and health in general.

The colder weather and lack of sunshine can mean some simple but meaningful changes in our lives.  More time spent indoors.  More time spent looking at screens (TVs, Cell phones, computers, etc.).  Less motivation to get out and move (outside or at the gym).  Less time spent connecting with friends and family.  Like everything in life, these things add up.  The problem is, they add up in a bad way.

Seasonal Affective Disorder exists on a gradient (like most psychological/affect diagnoses), and can affect different people in different ways.  Most people simply report they don’t feel as great in the winter as they do in the summer and depending on severity if they need Family Counseling.  Others succumb to outright depression.  The lack of motivation, fatigue and general malaise that plagues SAD sufferers can be improved upon and sometimes alleviated all together.  The desire to change must be there, which is often the hardest part, but it can be upended by starting small.

I’ll outline a number of ways to approach improving your mood and your life – I suggest you pick and choose which ones work best for you, then, when possible, add in another – until you’ve gone through the whole list.  I don’t suggest trying to do them all at once, unless you already do most of them. There is so much information online about Lasik in Singapore but it is really worth your time to spend a few hours researching and making the proper calls to get the answers that are necessary.

1. Move away from digital screens and fluorescent lighting at night

  • The blue light present in these bulbs and screens send a signal to our bodies through our eyes and skin that it’s “daytime”.  When it isn’t daytime and we’re exposed to blue light our bodies don’t unwind properly and our quality of sleep is affected.  No, it doesn’t matter if you can fall asleep immediately – the quality of your sleep is still affected.
  • Read a (paper) book or spend sometime journaling about 30-60 minutes before bed to the light of some candles, or an incandescent bulb.  Or find some other activity to do in the dark before bed, we’re just looking to reduce your exposure to light here.
  • Turn your clock/phone around/away and get some good quality blinds/drapes
  • These will help to reduce the amount of light you’re being exposed to while sleeping, which will improve the quality of your sleep

2. Get to bed at a decent hour and get enough sleep

  • Getting more sleep in the colder months makes sense, as the sun isn’t up as long.  Ever been camping?  Didn’t you feel pooched earlier than you’d expect while sitting around the campfire?  It’s because you’ve only been exposed to natural light since sunset.  Aim for 8 to 10 hours each night.  I know it’s a lot for a busy person but play around with as much as you can get and gauge how you look, feel and perform

3. Wake up grateful

  • Wake up and try to start your day with gratitude.  Be thankful you’re waking up in a bed, in a room, in a house.  That it’s warm.  That you have at least some food available to you for breakfast.  Many aren’t nearly as lucky/wealthy and are simply thankful to wake up in the morning.

4. Eat breakfast

  • It doesn’t need to be a lot, but have something for breakfast.  Start with something fresh, like some fruit, or veggies in an omelet.  If you’ve got veggies already cut up from last nights dinner, throw them in the pan with some eggs and voila, omelet!
  • Have some grapefruit with your coffee to help the caffeine burn a little extra fat.

5. Take your wellness essentials

  • Vitamin D, Fish oil and probiotics are necessary for everyone, everyday.  I wish this weren’t true, but it is.  We’ve affected both the environment, and our food chain to such a degree that it’s made these supplements necessary in everyday life.  You don’t need a lot, a few droplets of Vitamin D, a teaspoon of fish oil (or a few capsules), and a single small capsule of probiotics will set you up for success.
  • The vitamin D is like a shot of sunshine, the fish oil helps to balance out your mood, mental clarity and level of inflammation, and the probiotics will keep your gut populated with friendlies, reducing the chances of an infectious bacteria to set up shop.

6. Get some exercise

  • Get outside for a walk, do some squats and push-ups, some sit-ups and lunges.  Play sports you enjoy.  Come out to CrossFit and join a group of your peers trying their best to accomplish the same things.  Lie out or pack your gym/exercise clothes the night before.  Have everything you need ready – don’t give yourself the opportunity to make an excuse at the time of decision.
  • Movement through your joints and an elevated heart rate will help with your ability to cope with stress.

7. Have fun with friends

  • Get out to socialize, have a beverage, go skiing, whatever.  Just do something you enjoy, preferably with some people you like.  Vent about what’s bothering you, boast about your successes and laugh.  If there’s anyone you can be completely candid with, it’s friends and family.

8. Spend quiet time

  • Read, watch a movie, listen to music or an audiobook, go for a walk.  As a society we rarely take the time to do these things as it’s often viewed as “wasting time”.  If it helps you unwind and slow down your day a bit, then wasting time is something you need to make time to do, at least once a day.  It can be as little as 5 minutes, but is better off being in the 30-60 minute range.  Journaling and introspection I would put higher on the list than watching “The Avengers” for the 6th time.

9. Get Adjusted

  • Chiropractors and other manual therapists (Physio, massage, etc.) help to create, and maintain your full range of motion at the joints in your body.  The communication from your joints and surrounding tissues to your brain stimulates the movement-pleasure pathway, making you feel good.  More importantly, regular adjustments set you up with access to a full range of motion, so you can use it regularly on your own.  Using your full range of motion on a regular basis will help to maintain that range, and therefore keep you feeling great (and necessitate less frequent visits to your manual therapists – don’t worry we don’t mind so long as you’re being healthy!)

Use all, or some of the above suggestions and you should notice a difference with your mood, mental focus, physical health and even boost your immune system.  Our bodies are like an organic vehicle or house, and we want to maintain that vehicle with the best parts and ingredients as possible.  Take good care of your body; you only get one!

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

The 7 Super Secret Ways to Stay Healthy!

Hey Folks!

I have a special level of distaste for these sorts of headlines. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no 7 Secrets that is the answer to everyone’s problems. If only it were that easy!  What really makes people healthy doesn’t involve secrets, it also involves with their skin, and buying beauty products online is one of the secrets.  At one point or another you’ve always known.  It’s DOING the 7 (or 10, or 20, or 1, whatever) things that makes you healthy.  But let’s use an example to drive home this point…

So if we had a person who was:

  • Eating a diet of meat, veggies, some fruit and occasional nuts/seeds
  • Supplementing with fish oil, probiotics and vitamin D to shore up the deficiencies created by our food manufacturing practices and lack of interaction with nature
  • Exercising in a way that challenged their strength, flexibility, speed and cardio respiratory endurance
  • Visiting musculoskeletal focused healthcare practitioners like chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists to optimize and ensure quality movement and positioning in their life
  • Spending free time on hobbies, and with family/loved ones
  • Working on tasks that contribute and make a difference, feeling like an important part of the workplace and/or community
  • Getting enough, good quality rest/sleep – waking rested for the next day

Would this person be healthy or unhealthy? MORE importantly, would a person who was doing all these things, who stopped doing even just one of them get healthier or less healthy?

The answers to these questions seem obvious, but how many of us aren’t doing “all of the above”? Most, of the answers from the folks I help in the clinic and gym would probably be considered better than most, but far from complete. “Typical” answers from the general public hit on few, if any of these health producing necessities. It’s difficult asking someone to change such a significant part of their lives (sometimes ALL of it).

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So what is the solution? Achieve as many of these points as possible – EVERY DAY

1. Eat in a way that supports your goals, be they health-related or fitness-related.
2. See a variety of movement evaluating practitioners, Chiro, physio, massage. Get your tight spots evaluated and addressed properly – you aren’t special or perfect, we all have our tight spots.
3. Use your body! Exercise, play and try stand up paddle board sports, move frequently. We can help 😉
4. Respect your body – your health team can provide suggestions as to what you need to mobilize on your own, but experimentation and practice will reveal what you need to work on regularly as well.
5. No TV, cell phones or other lit screens for 30-60 mins before bed. Use this time to stretch, read or “exercise”. Make sure it’s early enough to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
BONUS 6. Keep a journal. Write out your goals, your thoughts and feelings. See how your life compares in reality to how you’d like it to be. Awareness precedes choices, which precede results (thanks Robin Sharma).
6. Take care of your skin because it will protect your body from any harm. We will help you remove skin tags easily.

So, if you are not achieving the level of success you’d like – evaluate your choices for areas you can improve and realize that how you eat, move and think affect your life in every aspect!

Ask me if you’re interested in Chiropractic & Wellness Lifestyle care, as well as if you’d like any suggestions for other Healthcare practitioners!

You can reach me by my contact form (located at the right of this text) OR phone (705) 521-4790.  You can also check my availability and book your own appointments through this link.

Stay healthy Friends!
Dr. Adam Ball

Navigating the Paleo World

Hey Folks!

SO!  Dr. Oz has finally decided to have someone from the paleo world on his show.  His guest today will be Dr. Loren Cordain – the author of, “The Paleo Diet” (among other books).  Dr. Cordain is probably the person most responsible for the expansion and popularization of the Paleo diet.  There were many others writing about it around the same time, but his book seemed to have the greatest effect.  Since Dr. Cordain published his book (and then later an updated version – to reflect some new research since the first publication), there has been an acceleration in the number of “paleo” books at Chapters (or barnes and noble or wherever you shop for books).

While it sounds simple, a diet based on “lean meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds” seems to be confusing for many people.  Let’s break it down a bit and do a little explaining as to what’s going on.

Loren Cordain

Lean Meats

The meat on wild caught, pastured and/or grass fed animals is typically more lean (i.e. containing less fat) then the meat we buy in the grocery store.  This is mostly because the meat we buy in the grocery store comes from factory farming.  This is where any amount of weight loss in an animal cuts into revenue – so exercise and nutrient dense, calorie poor foods are not the main source of food for those animals.  The animals are designed, and provided with a diet and lifestyle that will yield the most meat in the least amount of time.

On the other side of the coin is wild caught meat (Moose, elk, deer/venison, fish, etc.), pastured or grass fed meats (pork, beef, lamb, etc.) and chickens raised on pasture as well.  These animals live a normal animal life, and as such don’t tend to overeat, tend to move around to get their food (the many plants available in the field they live), and don’t tend to store unnecessary fat.   This makes the meat “lean”.

The general guideline here when purchasing at the store – buy organic grass-fed and/or “wild” and/or “pastured”.  If you do buy conventional beef or pork – leaner cuts are better choices (although often more tough and less delicious – the slow cooker is your friend).

Vegetables

This should make up the bulk of your plate.  Spinach takes up a lot of room on the plate.  So does most other vegetables.  The fibre, vitamins and nutrients available in the vegetables you eat provide a lot in the way of nutrition, and very little in the way of calories.

Aim to eat a variety of colours and textures with your vegetables.  This can also mean cooking or eating raw.  I recommend both to my patients.  There’s no secret that eating vegetables is good for you.  Choose the ones you like – and purchase organic if you can.  Better yet, plant a garden.

Fruit

Fruit are much sweeter than they were even 50 years ago (ask your grandparents).  They also contain less fibre.  They also contain lots of vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy.  So while the sugar content of fruit may set some peoples weight loss goals back, there is still value in eating them.  Berries are generally one of the best choices.  Local and ripe is ideal.  You don’t need fancy acai or goji berries from halfway around the world.  Local blueberries have about the same level of “antioxidants” and other health promoters.

Fruit should be kept in the breakfast and post workout windows or as a “snack” to help deal with cravings for sweets.

Nuts & Seeds

These are optional – they contain some great minerals and can help in the maintenance of good health – but they can also be a double edged sword.  They’re high in calories and it’s easy to eat  a lot of them.  They also contain a skewed ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s (the fats in our body that help make our cells pliable like they should be – and help us deal with inflammation).

Used as a garnish and as the occasional snack, nuts and seeds can be a good addition to our diet.

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Common Questions:

So what about carbs?

They’re present in your fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  If you’re an athlete using the glycolytic pathway (working very hard) frequently, adding in starchier vegetables is a good idea (potatoes, yams, squashes, etc.)

So is it LOW-CARB?  Or HIGH-CARB?

It’s whatever you need it to be.  The various natural, healthy living populations from the distant and recent past, as well as those still in existence today have their food groups in common – but their macronutrient ratio is all over the map.  This means there are groups like the Inuit eating very little plant matter and a VERY low carb diet, and there are groups like the Kitavans, who eat a lot of starchy roots and tubers, and derive most of their calories from carbohydrates.  You will likely fall somewhere in between them – and the only way to know best where you should be is to experiment and if you feel the need, to consult with an expert in this style of eating.

What about fibre?

There’s plenty in the fruit and vegetables you’ll be eating.

What about calcium?

This is a longer question to answer – but the bottom line is that there are far more minerals in bone than calcium, and eating in this way will create an internal environment conducive to creating and maintaining strong bones.

Can I eat (insert food you know you shouldn’t have) while eating “paleo”?

Yes.  You can eat whatever you want.  BUT – first you should set aside 30 days and eat a strict paleo diet – THEN feel free to add back whatever you want (1 thing at a time) and see how your body responds.  Maybe ice cream gives you a migraine.  Does that mean you can’t have it?  No.  It means you can have it so long as you’re prepared to have a migraine.  At least now you’ll know to be prepared and you know the connection between your food, and how you feel.  Your level of buy-in is ALWAYS up to you.

What if I have other questions?

I work with a large range of people with how to best tune their diet.  You will help improve health, performance and longevity but most importantly – you’ll develop a healthy relationship with what you eat.

Feel free to contact me about working together to find the right nutrition plan for you!

 

Adam.Ball.DC@gmail.com

(705) 222-7213

In health,

Dr. Adam Ball

Research of the Day – Nov 22, 2012 – Fish versus Anxiety… Who wins???

Hey Folks!

Research of the Day!

Today’s Article:

Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

What they did:

  • Split a group of medical school students up into groups that received either ~2.3g of EPA + DHA per day, or some capsules containing ~2.3g of a mixture of palm, olive, soy, canola and cocoa butter oils (to mimic the average fatty acid intake in western diets).
  • They then took their blood 6 times throughout the 12 week intervention, once during a non stressful time and right before an exam (high stress time) without any supplementation and then twice again AFTER supplementation (or fake supplementation) right before a major exam, or during a less stressful time (beginning of a new semester, with many weeks until an exam, etc.)
  • They performed physicals at the beginning and end of the study that also included measurements of central adiposity (fat around the waistline), a food frequency questionnaire, a measure of sleep quality, a measure of physical activity, and a health review (to ask if the person had been sick at all, etc. over the last 12 weeks)
  • They performed two other tests to screen for depressive symptoms as well as symptoms of anxiety (as they are not the same) at each of the 6 visits
  • THey collected blood from the subjects at each visit to test them for their fatty acid profiles
  • They also checked for inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6 and TNF-alpha)

What happened:

  • EPA and DHA in plasma and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells increased significantly in the supplemented group
  • IL-6 and TNF-alpha were lower in the treatment group versus control after supplementation, but not to a significant degree
  • Anxiety, but not depression was reduced in the treatment group over the control group relatively by 20% (We are reminded that all subjects are healthy, young volunteers, that had low anxiety scores to begin with… although there was still a reduction in the treatment group)
  • They took ALL the blood samples and checked their omega 6: omega 3 ratio to check for correlations with inflammatory markers and anxiety scores and found an inverse relationship

So what’s going on?

  • Supplementing with ~2.3g of EPA + DHA was associated with increases in their concentrations in plasma and in percipheral blood cells
  • This increase correlated with improved omega 6: omega 3 ratios
  • improvements in that ratio meant less inflammation at rest as well as less inflammation when inflammation was stimulated
  • Improvements in that ratio ALSO correlated well with less symptoms of anxiety at rest and during high stress environments (medical exams, in this case)

And thennnn:

  • I’m really glad they checked the Omega 6: omega 3 ratio… it was a smart move
  • It shows that you can’t cover up a crap diet with fish oil (the ratio probably wouldn’t have changed in this case), and that when you create sufficiency where deficiency exists AKA Improve that ratio, good things happen
  • The students weren’t overly concerned with ameliorating symptoms, other than maybe hoping to feel a little less stressed during exams and the fish oil has the potential to lower inflammation and reduce anxiety levels

Take away, Fish oil isn’t something you take to fix this problem, or cure that illness; You take it to create balance in your body and to provide the proper building blocks for health. No one is going to disagree that less baseline inflammation and less inflammation during stressful environments is a bad thing.

If you need some fish oil, and you all do (unless you already are taking some), ask me in the clinic OR at the gym – I have some of the best quality you can find available for a great price $42 for approximately 100 servings. That’s less than 50 cents a day to make a difference in your inflammatory pathways as well as to reduce any resting anxiety. If I can help you out let me know!

Stay Healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

p.s. As usual, if you’d like to book an appointment for Chiropractic Wellness & Lifestyle care, book an appointment here, or call me at (705) 586-7873

Research of the Day – Nov 21, 2012 – Wheat. It doesn’t just affect your belly…

Hey Folks!

Yeah, I didn’t post a “research of the day” yesterday. Turns out it’s far easier to read studies than it is to read them AND write about/summarize them. Oh well!

Today’s Article:

Improved Xenobiotic Metabolism and Reduced Susceptibility to Cancer in Gluten-Sensitive Macaques upon Introduction of a Gluten-Free Diet

What they did:

  • Took macaques and found 4 that were sensitive to gluten and 4 that didn’t appear to be sensitive to gluten
  • Fed them a gluten containing diet, and a gluten free diet – 10 weeks each
  • Measured changes in gene expression as well as in antibodies associated with gluten ingestion
  • Tried to relate the genes being expressed to their functions and make inferences as to why certain genes were being expressed while others weren’t

What happened:

  • The gluten sensitive macaques showed an antibody response to the gluten containing diet in the the form of anti-gliadin-antibody (AGA) and transglutaminase-2 antibodies (TG2) – Which frequently show up in those with Celiac Disease (in the human population)
  • There was a significant difference in the expression of genes when the macaques were fed gluten containing diets
  • They were labelled as important (due to previous studies making associations between certain genes and certain health outcomes) to cancer formation, a reduced ability to detoxify, and decreased actin and collagen producing mechanisms (to help with scar tissue formation, possibly)
  • They were right – Genes associated with killing cancer cells were down-regulated, those associated with sustaining life in cancer cells were up-regulated, detoxifying genes were down-regulated, as were the actin and collagen producing genes.
  • The macaques each took different amount of time to heal from the exposure to gluten, and 1 of the 4 was still not back to “baseline” gene expression after the 10 weeks.

Take away info:

  • HUGELY IMPORTANT – The genes are NOT responsible for the illnesses associated with them. Sure, it’s nice to label them “oh this ones the cancer gene, THAT one is the autism gene”, but really… they’re just genes, and when are they expressed??? When we live in a way that causes their expression. I feel like this study gets slanted toward genetics research as a LOT of the writing is about the genes, but they’re only being expressed because we are changing the ENVIRONMENT. Those “illness” genes weren’t being expressed until we presented the macaques with a toxic and deficient environment (the gluten containing diet).
  • Imagine a 3rd group – macaques living in the wild, eating, moving and thinking in ways wild, healthy, natural macaques do. Compare those macaques to the “healthy” macaques and see the difference in THEIR gene expression. I’m willing to bet it’d be a difference like night and day.
  • Gluten doesn’t JUST upset your stomach. It increases your chances for cancer and pretty much every other chronic illness associated with inflammation – THIS IS A BIG DEAL
  • Even the “healthy” macaques (the ones not sensitive, had more favourable gene expression on the gluten free diet)
  • We can’t CHANGE our genes, and while differences occur between how intensely one person reacts versus another to things like gluten doesn’t ultimately matter as gluten isn’t beneficial to ANYONE. Gluten didn’t help the “healthy” macaques, it just affected them less negatively.

It’s time to stop living “less bad” and start pursuing greater health. Avoiding gluten made the healthy macaques healthier, just not at as significant a level. We need MORE HEALTH, not less sickness… we’ve been trying to make less sickness for a long time and it hasn’t gotten us very far.

Have a great day and Stay Healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

Once again, for anyone interested in booking an appointment with me for Chiropractic Wellness & Lifestyle care, book here or call (705) 586-7873