A client recently asked “What are the five most important things you do every day to positively impact your health?” It’s an excellent question, and my response may surprise you. As a constant self-experimenter, I’ve been known to use some unconventional methods in seeking my best possible health. I fought a long battle against mercury poisoning and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), and through much trial and error eventually got my life back. It was only through these challenges that I was able to learn the information needed to restore my health and support those I now coach. I’m truly grateful for the sufferings; not only for the life lessons they imparted, but also because of the health strategies I came across that I would have never learned otherwise. Turning 50 this year is a milestone, and a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey. I’m actually healthier and leaner now than in my younger years, with clarity of mind and plenty of energy to keep up with my teenagers, results that have only come from practicing what I preach. I call these 180° Solution™ strategies because they take an opposite approach to increasing health, challenging mainstream culture codes and ideals. In a five part series, I’ll share these timeless tips and tricks in hopes that they will transform your health and life as they have mine.
Top 5 Strategies for Your Best Health Ever!
180° Solution™ Strategy #1: Controlling Blood Glucose
The first key to living a longer and healthier life is controlling blood glucose (blood sugar). As I like to joke, it’s the 800lb gorilla in the room: the obvious truth that is being ignored. Many well-intentioned folks are constantly seeking the next pill or potion to increase health, but the bottom line is if your blood sugar is out of whack, you’ll never maintain significant weight loss or your best health. And since so many Americans suffer from blood sugar challenges, it’s an extremely important topic. But why does our blood sugar level have such an impact on overall health? Let me explain…
Spikes in blood sugar contribute to accelerated aging.
If you want to age faster than anyone in your neighborhood, simply raise your blood sugar. A repetitive blood sugar roller coaster produces substances called AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) via a glycation reaction. AGEs are aptly named since they cause cellular oxidation and inflammation by literally accelerating the aging process from the inside out, contributing to an array of degenerative diseases. Think of glycation like rust forming on a car bumper, but it’s slowly eating away at YOU. Furthermore, constant blood sugar spikes shorten something called telomeres, parts of cells that act as a human “biological clock” and affect how we age. Science has shown that by looking at the length of your telomeres, you can understand the age of your cells. You may be 45 years old, but your telomeres could show your cellular age clocks in at 65. In effect, out of control blood sugar ages you prematurely AND shortens your telomeres thereby shortening your life.
Blood sugar spikes dysregulate hormones.
Hormones are directly affected by our blood sugar levels. And when it comes to anti-aging, weight-loss, and optimal cellular function, hormones are the real answer. Blood sugar spikes equal cellular inflammation, and cellular inflammation equals hormone problems that are typically not solved by taking more hormones. As an example, think of diabetics: they suffer from cellular membrane inflammation which consequently triggers hormone dysregulation and the host of problems that go with it. To explain, hormone receptors reside on the cell membrane, including receptors to the hormone insulin that allows your body to use glucose for energy. When the cell membrane is inflamed, hormones cannot communicate with the receptor to get the message into the cell where it needs to go for normal function. Simply put, the cell cannot “hear” the message from the hormone insulin to bring the glucose needed for energy into the cell. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood leading to elevated blood sugar levels and more inflammation. This is the state of hormone resistance, or in the case of diabetes, insulin resistance.
Moreover, remember that diabetics do not die of diabetes. Rather they age prematurely and develop other inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, and more. Diabetics literally age faster at the cellular level, evidenced by outward signs such as age spots and wrinkles, and symptoms such as necrosis (lost appendages due to nerve degeneration). Once AGES are produced due to out of control blood sugar, the degeneration process begins and disease soon follows.
Most diabetics end up with thyroid problems because the thyroid hormone receptors, like most hormone receptors, are also on the cell membrane and are blunted by glucose driven inflammation. This is why many people take thyroid hormone and the blood work improves, but they don’t feel any better. If the message from the thyroid hormone (T3) can’t get in the cell, due to inflammation, then the blood levels of hormones can be normal, but your hair keeps thinning, energy dropping, and weight going up (or at least stalling despite what you eat). You must get to the real cause. Hormones can be crutches, but are no long-term lasting answer. I’d like to emphasize that regenerating and decreasing inflammation of the cell membrane are so important they are included as two of the five steps in my 5R’s of True Cellular Detox and Healing™ approach I use to get very sick clients well (read more here).
Blood sugar levels are massively affected by grain consumption.
Now, I know most everyone recognizes that sugar should be avoided for good health, but did you know your morning bowl of oatmeal spikes blood sugar as much as a 12 oz. can of soda? Most Americans, even the “healthy” ones eating a daily bowl of steel cut oats or twelve grain toast, experience major blood sugar spikes throughout the day due to grain consumption, and this includes whole grains. Imagine a typical day: cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta or pizza for dinner . . . This diet creates a blood sugar roller coaster that contributes to cellular inflammation, premature aging, and chronic disease. Grains are simply not the healthy food we have been led to believe.
Other Troubles with Grains
An issue near and dear to my heart, I must mention a few other big problems with grains. Aside from spiking blood sugar, grains contain toxic anti-nutrients like lectins, gluten and phytates. Gluten may be the most famous, however all of these denatured proteins lead to problems for those who consume grains in large quantities or have leaky gut. Most of these denatured proteins in grains, like gluten, came from the hybridization of grain that took place in the 1970’s. After grains were hybridized to make them easier to grow and harvest, the proteins became a foreign invader to the humane immune system. This is especially true when they end up in our blood stream from a leaky gut that allows them to cross into the bloodstream un-digested. The grains (before the 70’s) did not contain these new proteins, and therefore were not the issue they are today. This answers the question we have all had…”why were we not sensitive to gluten in grains when we were kids?”
But there is two parts to this story. The second part of the story, or problem, is a chemical called glyphosate, or as most of us know it as Roundup. This chemical is being used in massive amounts today unlike when we were kids. Studies show that it causes holes in our gut linings (leaky gut). It has also been shown to disrupt our good gut bacteria, which affect multiple other functions from normal brain activity to immune function, and compromise detox pathways. This chemical is being used on all conventional grains and I believe leading to a modern day epidemic of unexplainable illnesses. The majority of this nasty chemical is being used on genetically modified organisms such as grain.
GMO’s are a much greater threat than gluten. Conventional grains provide a massive exposure to GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Unlike hybridization, where a gene is changed, a GMO is an organism that has been genetically engineered so that a new DNA is added to a specific plant or organism to change how it functions. For example, corn crops have been genetically modified to resist drought or the herbicide glyphosate. Monsanto is the creator of the Roundup Ready seeds that have been genetically modified to withstand large amounts of the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate, as noted above, is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s product Roundup. That’s right, they produce the seeds that can handle more of their chemical. That’s a profit machine at the expense of billions of lives!
The Gluten Craze: Good or Bad?
The current gluten-free craze is adding fuel to the fire. The market is now flooded with gluten-free products, with many folks endorsing their health benefits. These products are filled with starches from potato, rice, corn and tapioca which spike blood sugar just as much, if not more, than other glutinous grains or even refined sugar. Overconsumption of these “super sugar” ingredients can end up leaving you fatter and sicker than ever. I’ve found that all grains and sugars must be eliminated until blood sugar is controlled and cellular inflammation is reduced. Not to mention many of these products contain GMO ingredients like corn. If information on the dangers of GMOs can catch on like the gluten craze there is a chance this message can get out to the masses. Monsanto is fighting with everything they have to keep label laws from passing, which will make it law to label foods that contain GMO ingredients. After all, if they are so healthy and as great as Monsanto claims then what are they afraid of?
To look young, regulate hormones, have all day energy, and simply feel your best, control your blood sugar. Begin by removing, or strongly limiting, grains from your diet, following core principles of my Cellular Healing Diet. When I was sick, I didn’t consume grains for at least 5 years, which helped to decrease inflammation and heal my cells. Simply replace all the grains with plenty of organic vegetables, high quality proteins, low-glycemic fruits, and lots of healthy fats to keep you satisfied. Quality dietary fat is necessary for blood sugar regulation. I love to eat lots of good fat in the form of coconut oil, MCT oil, grass-fed animal protein, sprouted nuts and seeds, and raw, cultured, full-fat, grass-fed dairy. Increasing saturated fat and cholesterol from natural, whole food sources is a key 180 degree solution™ approach to controlling blood sugar and improving overall health. Yes, that means eating a spoonful of butter is A-Okay in my book (grass-fed, of course). For more info on why you need good fat, read the article here and for grain-free recipe ideas read the article here.
Also note, consuming a moderate, not high, amount of protein is critical to controlling blood sugar. Overeating protein actually spikes your blood sugar via a process called gluconeogenesis, which ends up creating the same problem you were trying to avoid in the first place. I’ve found a higher fat/moderate protein/lower carbohydrate ratio controls blood sugar very well, and therefore works to slow down the clock. Staying around or below 100 grams of healthy carbs a day is a rough estimate, and gender, age, activity level, genetics and other factors play a role so experimentation is key to finding the right range for your body. However, this carb amount and dietary ratio are NOT hard and fast rules, which lead to my next point – I believe that staying on the same diet could be the most destructive thing to your health…
Other Articles in this Series:
Strategy 2: Diet Variation
Strategy 4: Burst Training
Strategy 3: Intermittent Fasting
Strategy 5: True Cellular Detox™
- Control blood sugar by eliminating all grains and sugars, following core principles of my Cellular Healing Diet.
- Increase healthy dietary fat intake.
- Do not over-consume protein.
- R1: Removing the Source of Toxins
- When Detox is Dangerous: Cellular and Heavy Metal Detox Done Right
- Back to the Basics: The 5R’s of True Cellular Detox and Healing
- Top 10 Toxic Foods
- It’s Not Just Gluten -The Glyphosate Threat
- The Truth About GMOs
- Ground Zero: How to Heal Your Leaky Gut
- R4: Reducing Cellular Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat: Meal Ideas and Recipes
Controlling Blood Glucose – Top 5 Strategies for Your Best Health Ever
Edited by Meredith Dykstra