Education

This is Sherry's story of beating inflammation

Beating Inflammation

Today we have a guest post from Sherry Worthington, a nurse, who didn’t realize the connection between sugar and inflammation until it was almost too late. Here is her story of beating inflammation:

My breath wouldn’t come. Numbness surged through my limbs. I heard nothing more after the doctor said, “I don’t feel comfortable treating you any more, due to your immune system.”

The tiny sparkle of hope that had been there a moment ago tumbled into oblivion. I was speechless. My dark world was mirrored by the night sky when I left his office.

The Darkness of Lost Hope

No more medication to treat the crippling rheumatoid arthritis that fettered my days and seared my nights? No more relief from the tiny hammers beating inside my body incessantly? How was I to sleep? Or dress? Or eat? I was going to deteriorate inch by inch into lifelessness!

My tears blurred with the days. But there was no other option. Accept it. Just accept it.

But how could I? How could I descend any lower? In addition to RA, I had hypertension, osteopenia, stasis dermatitis, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, reversal cervical lordosis, B-12 deficiency and sleep apnea. Shots in my neck and back for pain relief had been largely unsuccessful. My high-powered pharmaceuticals with devastating side effects had only been minimally effective in managing symptoms. And even these had been withdrawn when my weak and compromised immune system had descended into pneumonia, followed by sepsis. It was too dangerous to take them now, the doctor thought.But how was I to cope?

Just showering and dressing fatigued me so drastically that I fell asleep at work – or threw up. My fingers tingled constantly. Sometimes my pulse would suddenly spike to 110. Dizziness and nausea haunted me. At night, I would wake up every hour or two, trying to coax my body back into repose.

At some point, I found an RA support group on Facebook. Women from another country started talking to me about diet and holistic approaches. That spurred me into research, where I absorbed massive mounds of information. Confusion reigned initially as I sifted through the flood of suggestions.

The Beginning of Beating Inflammation

Unsuccessful at finding a local support group, and hoping for more personal conversations, I started my own. As I posted the information I was finding, it became clear:

I could do this! I could find relief if I just kept educating myself!

My self-treatments started with herbs: boswellia and turmeric. With some minor degree of success, I kept going. A breakthrough came when I purchased the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott. It urged an elimination diet. Would I need to do that? If certain foods really were not good for me, then why were they on the grocery store shelves? But I was desperate.

I took out refined sugars and felt a difference! Then I removed processed foods, and the improvement heightened. The dizziness and nausea were diminishing. I added vitamins, minerals, Omega 3’s and started massage therapy and essential oils. I was beating inflammation!

A year later, I have moved from the highest pain patch available to the lowest. My bad days are few and far between – and when they come, I can get relief within a few hours.

I cannot go back to the medications. There is another way: the way of hope! The way of beating inflammation with food and holistic approaches. If you don’t know where to start, contact a nutritionist, and eliminate sugars. And may my story inspire you to believe things can get better!

The Diet Brain Connection

The Diet Brain Connection

What you put in your stomach directly impacts how you think and how your learn. By enhancing your Diet Brain Connection, you can increase your concentration and memory. That’s because the foods you eat can increase or decrease brain fog, distractibility, depression and anxiety.

Too Many Refined Carbs Hurt the Brain

Your brain is an energy hog. It uses more energy than any other organ in the body. Taking up only 2% of your weight, it uses 20% of your fuel. So, if there’s a disruption in your fuel supply, the brain is going to feel it first, before other parts of your body. Sugary, low-fiber foods, and processed carbohydrates create a roller coaster effect on your blood sugars. First, they raise blood sugars well above normal. Then with an equal an opposite reaction, your blood sugars crash. As a result, you have a hard time thinking clearly. But there is an even more insidious problem than bouncing blood sugars.

Sweet & Processed Foods Inflame Your Gut

Crackers, chips, pasta, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, pastries, fruit snacks, fruit juice, soda and other convenience foods cause inflammation. But unfortunately, what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut.

Researcher Sarah Ballantyne explains that inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers) produced in the gut in response to dietary stimuli travel through the bloodstream to every cell in the body. They cross the blood-brain barrier and activate brain cells that sustain inflammation. “An inflamed brain has fewer and slower nerve connections, which manifests as stress, depression, or anxiety,” she reports in her book, “The Paleo Approach.”

How Do I Enhance the Diet-Brain Connection?

To avoid learning difficulties and prevent memory hiccups, the first preventative strategy is to balance macro-nutrients. Americans typically get 60-80% of their food in the form of refined carbohydrates. So you can swap white carbs for colored ones and increase the ratio of natural fats and high quality proteins in your meals. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate vegetables, not more than 1/4 of your plate starchy carbs (such as grains or potatoes), and at least 1/4 of your plate protein.  Dress liberally with natural fats.

balanced macro-nutrients feed a healthy diet-brain connection

You can also make sure you are eating anti-inflammatory foods. The least inflammatory foods also happen to be the ones that are most nutrient rich. They include:

  • Berries, lemons, limes and papaya
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, and chives
  • Wild games such as duck, quail, pheasant, elk, bison, and deer
  • Wild-caught seafood, including salmon, herring, halibut, sardines, oysters, and anchovies

Smart Snacking Keeps Your Thinking Sharp

Keep your diet-brain connection strong by avoiding empty calorie foods between meals. If you must snack, try a boosting combo that pairs a nutrient-rich carbohydrate with a natural fat. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bell peppers and olives
  • Dates and goat cheese
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Snap peas and tahini
  • Grape tomatoes and hard-boiled egg
  • Celery and sunflower seeds

For more ideas on taming brain inflammation, check out our free inflammation e-guide!

Onions & red cabbage or 2 beneficial winter vegetables

Winter Vegetables

Nature knows. When gray days and dark nights bring the sweet indulgences of New Years, Mother Nature provides some of her most powerful foods. Winter vegetables, primarily in the cruciferous family, restore your vitality in several ways.

Liver Tonic

The vegetables that thrive in cooler weather (not above 70 degrees) include leafy greens, plants in the onion family, and crucifers. For instance, spinach and chard (leafy greens), garlic and leeks (onion family), and cauliflower and cabbage (crucifers) are highly frost-resistant. In fact, they may even be sweeter when the temperature dips below freezing. While the crucifers have a reputation for smelling and tasting strong because of their sulphur compounds, it is these nutrients that benefit your liver. They help the liver detoxify your blood and they protect your liver from damage. Other crucifers are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnips, and bok choy.

In addition, onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and garlic have sulphur compounds. So, they are tonic to the liver as well.

More Benefits of Winter Vegetables

The cool season vegetables are high in fiber. Not only does this include the vegetables above, but also stalk vegetables, such as celery and fennel. Fiber normalizes bowel movements, regulates blood sugars, lowers cholesterol, and aids in weight management.

Winter vegetables – especially leafy greens and many of the crucifers – are high in chlorophyll. Therefore, they are blood-builders and detoxifiers. Also, cold-tolerant produce runs high in antioxidants and is cancer-protective.

How to Eat Winter Vegetables

Steaming or roasting, then dressing with butter and lemon are delicious and healthy ways to serve cold-hardy vegetables. Crucifers yield their sulphur compounds more readily when cooked. I enjoy splashing them with a bit of balsamic vinegar in place of the lemon. A mix of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram sprinkled on these winter offerings makes them even more appetizing.  You might enjoy this recipe for oven-roasted vegetables that includes turnips and broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

For an exotic Diner en Blanc, you can try cauliflower dressed with anchovy fillets and Pecorino Romano cheese. But if the thought of vegetable anything turns you off, perhaps you’ll like moist chocolate cake that uses cauliflower as a secret ingredient.

Below are the simplest ways to prepare several of the most common winter vegetables. A guide to winter vegetables and fruits

kale vs. candy

Kale vs. Candy

Can you be healthy simply by limiting calories? Or does the type of food you eat matter? In a kale vs. candy debate, Dr. Mark Hyman, founder and director of the UltraWellness Center, discusses how calories from refined carbohydrates react differently in your body that calories from nutrient dense food. Here is his view.

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

If managing weight were as simple as calories in and calories out, we’d all be at our ideal weight.

But it’s clear that’s not the case, since nearly 40% of our population is obese, and  2 out of 3 adults in the US is either overweight or obese. That’s because food is more than just calories. Food is information that our cells need to function. You metabolism uses that information to either run efficiently or sluggishly trudge along.

One of the biggest food lies of all time is that all calories are created equal. Even a child could tell you that the calories you get from kale are going to have a completely different impact on your body than calories from candy.

Let’s look at what those calories from candy actually do to your body:

How Candy Impacts Your Body

When you eat candy, processed and refined carbs (such as bread or cereal) or even fruit juices, your gut quickly absorbs the fiber-free sugars, fructose, and glucose. These spike your blood sugar. Now, your body starts a cascade of hormonal responses that kick bad biochemistry into gear. The first hormone to go askew is insulin, which rockets in response to high blood sugar. Did you know that high insulin increases storage of belly fat, increases inflammation, and raises triglycerides. Not only that, it also lowers HDL, raises blood pressure, lowers testosterone in men, and contributes to infertility in women.

Insulin increases your appetite because it changes your brain chemistry. It blocks your appetite-control hormone leptin. So, the brain never gets the “I’m full” signal. Instead, it thinks you are starving. Since sugar triggers your pleasure-based reward center,  you consume even more sugar, fueling your sugar addiction.

There’s another issue when we examine kale vs. candy. Today, many processed foods are might not only with sugar, but also with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose just makes matters worse. It goes right to your liver, where it starts manufacturing fat. These fat stores in the liver make it insulin resistant, triggering even higher blood insulin levels. Then, chronically high insulin drives your body to store everything you eat as even more belly fat. You also get a fatty liver, which generates more inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes still more weight gain and diabetes/obesity.

Another problem with fructose is that it doesn’t send feedback to the brain to signal that a load of calories just hit the body. Nor does it reduce ghrelin, the appetite hormone that is usually reduced when you eat real food, like kale.

How Kale Works In Your Body

Kale is rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar. You have to eat a buckets of leafy greens to reach the same amount of calories that just one small bag of candy provides. Thanks to kale’s fiber, you get full long before that ever happens.

When you eat a nice hearty helping of kale, there is no blood sugar spike, and no insulin rush. That means there is no fatty liver, and no hormonal chaos. The fiber causes your stomach to distend, sending signals to your brain that you are full. Kale does not trigger the addiction reward center in the brain. It helps optimize metabolism, lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, and boosts detoxification from all the phytonutrients it offers.

Quality Matters in Kale vs. Candy

Remember that in the kale vs. candy debate, eating well isn’t just about calories. Quality matters, too. Real foods like colorful vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, etc.), gluten-free whole grains, legumes, and responsibly sourced animals proteins and seafood give your cells the information they need to function at their very best.

So choose kale vs. candy; focus on quality more than quantity. It will change your relationship to food. Your health will thank you.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD

Pre-diabetes, like an iceberg, holds dangerous risk

Dangerous Risk

An iceberg is a dangerous risk because of what you don’t see. Likewise with pre-diabetes. Today, more than 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but most of them don’t know it.

Are You Pre-Diabetic?

You can take a one-minute quiz to find out if you have certain risk factors for pre-diabetes. But, the biggest factor – the one not in any assessment – is eating a Standard American Diet.

Setting risk aside, here are some actual symptoms of pre-diabetes:

  • a waist that bulges over your belt a little
  • difficulty losing weight
  • rising triglyceride levels
  • a high blood pressure reading
  • inability to free yourself from sugar or carb cravings
  • chronic tiredness, especially after meals
  • facial hair or gestational diabetes (female) or low testosterone (male)
  • irritability, especially if meals are delayed
  • memory issues

You only have to experience one of two of these symptoms to be pre-diabetic.

Why is Pre-Diabetes a Dangerous Risk?

Pre-Diabetes heightens your risk for heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, that is not the biggest concern. “Pre-diabetes is not ‘pre’ anything,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution. “It is a deadly disease.” This disease causes organ damage every second it goes untreated, including injury to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

How to Escape This Dangerous Risk

You may hear this advice from a doctor or dietician: first, eat right; second, exercise; and third, lose weight. That sounds great! However, eating the highly-touted low-fat diet in many cases increases triglyceride levels even more. Further, you have difficulty losing weight and are too tired to exercise because you’re pre-diabetic (see symptoms above). Like the Titanic, you seem to be sinking hopelessly.

Luckily, Nutritional Therapy Practitioners work from the inside out. Our focus is to reverse, not just treat, the condition. We make sure you can absorb the nutrients from your food and that you have high quality nutrients available to you. This foundational work gives you energy to exercise. Our therapy also balances your body so that it sheds its excess pounds naturally, even effortlessly.

If you are ready to change your life, I am ready to work with you!

feeling foggy, fatigued and inflamed

Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed

Are you feeling foggy, fatigued, and inflamed? This cluster of symptoms is common in many conditions from blood sugar imbalance to infection. But, autoimmunity is perhaps the least recognized of these conditions. So, learn to reverse and prevent autoimmunity by knowing more about brain fog, chronic fatigue, and inflammation.

Do I Have Autoimmunity if I am Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed?

Having these 3 symptoms does not mean you have an autoimmunity. For example, you can experience brain fog when your blood sugars are too high or too low. Further, you can feel fatigued because of insomnia, stress, or nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause inflammation, but only the latter is an autoimmune condition.

Although autoimmunity is difficult to diagnose, it usually causes other symptoms besides brain fog, fatigue, and inflammation. Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • forgetfulness
  • racing or fluttering heart
  • depression
  • digestive issues

In addition, many who suffer from autoimmune conditions complain of:

  • swollen glands
  • chemical sensitivities
  • food allergies
  • headaches

Why Feeling Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed is Dangerous

First, you may be oxygen-deprived if you can’t think clearly and are excessively tired. Second, your fatigue may be a sign that your immune system is not keeping up with clearing toxins from the body. Third, when your inflammation causes water retention, puffiness and pain, it suggests that you might have  gut dysfunction.  Like the tip of the iceberg, fog, fatigue, and inflammation are not the problem themselves. Together, they are the indicator that you have a bigger, deeper issue.

Clearing Your Fog, Fatigue and Inflammation

Briefly, you have to remove your triggers AND strengthen your barriers. Triggers can be:

  • Things to avoid (food and airborne allergens or emotional stressors).
  • Substances to detoxify (heavy metals).
  • Nutrients that are deficient (essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals).

Because these are so tricky to identify, you may want to work with a health practitioner to identify them.

You strengthen your barriers when you heal your gut. Start by removing the most-damaging elements: sugar, stress and environmental toxins. Then, add these Super Six Gut Enhancers:

  1. Water: Staying hydrated helps you make gastric juices and purge waste and toxins. Water aids digestion of soluble fiber, which in turn feeds your healthy gut bacteria.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients: Omega 3 Fish and Krill oils turn on anti-inflammatory processes. You might consider a high-quality fermented cod liver oil. Also, turmeric and enzymes such as bromelain and papain help turn off inflammation.
  3. Probiotics: You enhance your gut and immune system both with probiotic supplements and probiotic foods.
  4. Bone Broth: Glutamine, glycine, and cysteine are all amino acids that help rebuild your gut lining. Bone broth contains all these amino acids.
  5. Vitamin D: This essential immune-boosting vitamin has a positive effect on the good bacteria in your gut. It works best when you take it with magnesium, which may help relieve anxiety.
  6. Minerals: Zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum assist the enzymes that help you digest, detoxify, build up the gut lining, and squelch inflammation. Putting trace minerals in your drinking water helps your body absorb what it needs.
Skin tags are a sign of insulin resistance.

Insulin Grows “Funny Things”

“First you grow up, then you grow out, then you grow funny things!” That’s what my sister said to me when I observed an odd bump on her skin below her chin. She pretended to be a toad, and we all laughed. Now, I am haunted. If only we had recognized the weight gain and the skin tags as signs of insulin resistance.

I wish we had known that what heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases have in common is insulin resistance. What hope it would have given us to understand that insulin resistance can be reversed. My sister might have taken a second look at her diet. She might have made changes before the doctor found leukemia. She might have lived past 65.

It’s easy to think that diet choices don’t make a big difference in our health. One Pepsi, or one more cookie don’t matter that much. So, one pop becomes a pattern and one cookie becomes a chronic splurge. The frog is swimming in the proverbial pot and the water is hot. He is getting cooked, but he doesn’t even know it.

You cannot eat modern foods and avoid modern disease!

The first step back to better health is awareness. Please wake up to the fact that insulin resistance is the most common disorder worldwide. Roughly half of the adults in the United States are insulin resistant! You are most likely insulin resistant if you have two or more of these symptoms:

  • a waist that bulges over your belt a little
  • difficulty losing weight
  • rising triglyceride levels
  • a high blood pressure reading
  • inability to free yourself from sugar cravings
  • chronic tiredness, especially after meals
  • facial hair or gestational diabetes (female) or low testosterone (male)

Why do these symptoms matter?

According to Dr. Ronald Rosedale, a forerunner in insulin research, insulin initiates the aging process. The higher your insulin, the more susceptible you are to diseases of aging. Your quality of life is at stake. You become a candidate for migraines, early Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, fatty liver disease, and even osteo arthritis. The symptoms of fatigue and weight gain are only markers for serious health issues.

How can you reverse insulin resistance?

To prevent or to reverse insulin resistance, you must avoid repeated spikes of insulin throughout the day. What triggers a rush of insulin? Rising blood sugars.

So, ask yourself what increases your blood sugars. If you answered food and stress, you’re right, but let’s qualify which foods cause blood sugars to rise.

Carbs get a bad rap, but not all carbohydrates are villains. If a carbohydrate converts to glucose more slowly, it will have less impact on blood glucose levels. Therefore, eat fibrous, nutrient dense options moderated with fat or protein – such as asparagus with butter. Avoid “quick” carbs, such as white flour and white sugar products. Certainly, don’t drink your calories. Beverages are one of the top causes of high insulin. Eat whole foods, as close to nature as possible. Real food rarely comes with a bar code.

Be proactive about managing your stress, too. Did you know that just one anxiety-causing incident can raise blood sugars 200-300 mg/dl? Gary Scheiner, author of Think Like a Pancreas, details how this happened to him not only with a flat tire on his way to work, but also with a thriller movie. So, take the time to decompress. I detail 50 ways you can do this in just a minute or two in my Stress Hacks course.

Be conscientious about sufficient sleep and regular exercise as well.  Weight training and interval training are both effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity.

5-Star Breakfast with protein, fat, fiber, and antioxidants.

Do You Eat a 5-Star Breakfast?

You stay in luxury hotels, pick dentists and restaurants according to their reviews, and buy name-brand clothing. Your coffee is imported and your boots are made in America. But is your first meal of the day on par? Take this true/false quiz to find out if you eat a 5-star breakfast.

What I eat is as important as when I eat.

Breakfast isn’t just about preventing the embarrassing growls and gurgles during your team meeting. Breakfast sets your metabolism for the day and provides nutrients to keep your thinking sharp through every stressful encounter. If you grab only a muffin, cereal, or coffee, you will tank before 10 a.m. The rest of the day, you’ll be on a roller coaster. You’ll stuff quick carbs into your mouth to retrieve some energy, then hit a wall as those carbs burn out like tinder. It would almost be better to skip breakfast than to have sugar-spiking waffles and syrup. It is vital to break your fast with whole, unprocessed food.

My breakfast includes ample fiber, natural fat, amino acids and antioxidants.

You know the importance of real, nutrient-dense foods when you’re fixing a family dinner. Why should breakfast be any different? In fact, start your day with the nutrients you need for your active life, rather than fueling just before bed. Include vegetables and fruits, meat, nuts and seeds, and whole grain in your 5-star breakfast. At a loss for what to eat besides donuts? Try leftovers, or check out traditional recipes from other cultures.

I avoid anything artificial at all costs.

If you put premium gasoline in your vehicle, why do you put artificial foods, trans-fats, colors and preservatives into your menu? You cannot eat modern foods and avoid modern diseases. If you want pristine health, you must consume pristine foods. A bowl of neon-colored ground corn and partially hydrogenated oil floating in cocoa-flavored milk product with high fructose corn syrup just does not compare to blueberries, coconut, almonds, and buckwheat with an egg sunny side up.

Smoothies and oatmeal are dessert.

Yes, you put fruit and leafy greens in your smoothies. Certainly, you grab oats because they are high fiber. But have you considered that these constitute an all-carbohydrate meal, not moderated with a balance of fats and proteins? Therefore, they cause a blood sugar surge. Further, smoothies often contain several fruits, not just one, contributing to a greater blood sugar burden. When you blend them, you absorb them even more quickly. To top it off, you may sweeten your oats with various forms of sugar and fruit. While I don’t think you need to forego carbs, they don’t constitute a balanced meal!

I am free of cravings, hunger, brain fog, energy slumps, and irritability for four hours after eating.

When you feel “hangry,” experience mood swings, or run out of steam, your body is telling you it needs more nutrients. Use these cues to evaluate your meal. Did you eat a 5-star breakfast or was it only 2 stars? You can make gradual improvements by listening to your body’s signals.

How did you score?

Give yourself a star for each one of the statements you marked true. If there’s room for improvement, remember you are on a meal continuum, not a meal plan. Know that you are worth that 5-star breakfast!

Do you need some ideas on how to implement changes to your morning meal? Contact me for mentoring.

 

 

Did You Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat, and Depressed?

There is a deadly epidemic in America, and odds are that either you or your buddy has it. It is making you fat and sick, but there’s a 90% likelihood that you don’t have any idea it’s there.

I’m talking about insulin resistance, a totally reversible condition that is the single most important phenomenon leading to premature aging, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer. In its early stages, it triggers weight gain, inflammation and oxidative stress, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, anxiety, and depression.

How Do You Know You Have It?

Key indicators of insulin resistance are:

  • difficulty losing weight
  • belly fat
  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • carb cravings
  • hormone issues
  • irritability when you don’t eat
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • water retention
  • facial hair if you are female, erectile dysfunction if you are male

If too many of these symptoms are familiar, you will want to ask your doctor for a fasting insulin blood test. If your results are double digits, you are on the path to diabesity – those metabolic issues that create diabetes and obesity, along with other chronic diseases mentioned.

In Case You Don’t Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat and Depressed

The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible! But you need to be dedicated to all five pillars of diet and lifestyle:

  1. Choose good food. There are no if’s, but’s, or and’s about it. Sugar is out if you’re serious about getting your body’s metabolism back to healthy. Refined foods and products made with flour get the boot, too. Fill your plate half full with vegetables. The other half of your plate should be divided between good quality, lean protein and slow-burning, high fiber carbohydrates, such as berries, black or red rice, quinoa, green plantains, or cassava root. Use natural, unprocessed fats for cooking and dressing your meals. Foods that don’t require labels are best!
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can increase insulin resistance. You are much more prone to overeat and to have sugar cravings when you are tired, so getting 8 hours of shut-eye per night has to be a priority.
  3. Take appropriate supplements. As much as I support properly-prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food, your body may be so out of balance that it cannot heal itself without the assistance of some high-grade nutrients. It is common for individuals with insulin resistance to be deficient in vitamin D, Omega 3’s, chromium, B vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. But taking supplements is only part of the story; absorbing them is the rest. For that reason, it is critical to work with a practitioner to make sure you are getting what your body needs.
  4. Get moving. Aside from diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for insulin resistance. Start with walking for 30 minutes a day. Add in 10 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance training with weights or bands as you are able. Spending hours is not important. What matters is that you work vigorously, getting your heart rate up to 70-80% of its maximum.
  5. Take time to relax! In the face of chronic stress, insulin output increases, driving insulin resistance even higher and creating even greater inflammation in your body. Passive downtime watching movies or surfing the internet is not enough. You must actively connect your body and brain to each other and to the present, through sensory stimulation, through breathing, and through mindfulness and gratitude activities. If you need some help, check out my stress hacks that can be performed in two minutes or less, anywhere, anytime!

Together, we can upset the odds. Let’s take your 50% chance of having insulin resistance down to zero!

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

A little indulgence now and then isn’t a bad thing, is it? After all, moderation is a virtue. What’s the harm in having a treat occasionally? Well, that depends on your definition of moderation.

What is Moderation?

To one person, having only 32 ounces of pop per day might sound reasonable, if they’re cutting back from consuming a 6-pack. To another person, having a dessert after dinner might seem excessive if they rarely finish any meal with a treat.

Historically, our use of sugar has climbed almost exponentially from around a few pounds per person annually 200 years ago to nearly 200 pounds per person per year today! So is moderation eating only 100 pounds in a year – a quarter of a pound per day – instead of the  half a pound we’re consuming daily? It seemed excessive  to the rest of the world when the lords and ladies of upper society were putting sugar in their tea at a rate of less than 10 pounds per year during the height of the British Empire.

No, moderation is not the answer to knowing how much sugar to eat because it is such a relative term. Perhaps it would be better to determine your use of sweeteners by whether they are damaging to your health.

Is Sugar Causing Symptoms?

There are times, I’m sure, when you know you’ve had too much sugar, because you feel wired and can’t sleep, or you have a stomach ache, or your acne flares up. But what about those symptoms you can’t see? What if the damage to your body goes undetected for 20 or 30 years? Over-consumption of sweets contributes to the following conditions that take years – sometimes decades – to manifest:

  • Food cravings, addictions, and then, sadly, intolerances.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products, often called AGE’s, which are sticky, cross-linked proteins that create brittle tissues when they are used in the formation of skin, eyes, arteries, and other body parts.
  • Insulin Resistance, an insidious disease that has been implicated in the development of obesity, heart disease, cancer, mineral deficiencies, autoimmunities, hypothyroidism, and other chronic illnesses. You can read more about Insulin Resistance here.

But if you’re eating so much now that it might be causing disease to manifest down the road, you can’t really know in the present.  Therefore, symptoms are not a good gauge of sugar consumption, either!

What If You Just Cut Back a Little?

If you suspect that your sweet tooth has grown too large, you could curtail it a bit. That’s no guarantee that the damage to your body will stop, though. Sugar acts like a drug. How much of an addictive substance can you use without affecting your physiology? There’s also the insulin resistance problem: If a mother has insulin resistance during her pregnancy, she can pass it on to her child, and if that child is female, her eggs are predisposed to insulin resistance, too! So does your cutting back a little reverse the impact of generations?

If you simply didn’t ever eat refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, you obviously wouldn’t need to ask whether you were getting too much. But would you miss it? Well, if a person never takes up gambling, smoking, or drinking, does he feel deprived of addictive behaviors? Of course not! So it is with sweets. Living life without them can be fully satisfying. But you can’t know what it’s actually like unless you do it.

The Real Question

Instead of asking, “How much sugar is too much?” isn’t it better to ask, “How little can I eat?” I challenge you to find out how good life can feel without added sugar.