April 2018

Every year more than fifty thousand health studies are published containing data that is biased and flawed. The need for skepticism has never been greater. The common thread, running through accurate data gleaned from multiple sources, arriving at the same answers, contains the truth.

This is what the data tells us:

  • Those who do exercise are at the lowest risk for disease
  • Those who do not exercise are at the highest risk of premature death
  • Most chronic illness is related to being sedentary
  • Optimum health requires regular physical fitness
  • Our genetic makeup requires us to challenge our bodies with regular,vigorous exercise
  • Eighty percent of North Americans do not get enough exercise
  • Higher levels of  physical activity is associated with increased life expectancy

Overweight people, who are not obese, who engage in proper physical activity, live longer than inactive people who are in the suggested weight range.

The optimum amount of time to exercise is about one hour a day, at a strenuous level, at a moderate intensity. That is, all muscles challenged at an increased heart rate that causes the body to perspire.
Simply put, the greater the effort, the greater the benefits.

The postures of yoga, especially hot,  give you the opportunity to achieve a complete cardio, strength and stretching, rigorous exercise.

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”  -  Plato

March 2018

There is a tsunami of science driven evidence debunking the long held belief that eating fat makes you fat. The opposite is true. 

Consuming proper amounts of healthy fats are essential for optimum health.  Olive oil, fish oil, flax oil, avocados, grass fed red meat, butter, eggs, coconut oil, nuts, to name a few, actually promote fat loss. There is a direct correlation between the low fat diet promoted by government and food industry of the past , and an increase in obesity. 

Fat wasn't the villain, it was sugar (refined carbohydrates in the form of flour and high fructose corn syrup), all along. 

Similar to protein, fat is very satiating and increases the metabolism which causes weight loss. Healthy fats are crucial for positive gene expression, hormonal balance, brain chemistry, immune system, and gut bacteria. Eating fat does not increase fat in the bloodstream. The fat that appears in the bloodstream (triglycerides) that is linked to heart disease is produced in 
the liver following excess consumption of carbohydrates and alcohol. Trans fats (Hydrogenated fat) is toxic and should never be eaten. Most vegetable oils (soy, peanut, canola, corn, sunflower, etc) do not promote health and are empty calories. Industrial solvents are used in their production. Olive oil and coconut oil can be cold pressed and do not require solvents. Keep the protein up, get the carbs out, get the fat in and let the biological magic begin. Eat fat, get thin. 

Fact- Only 5 % of people that lose weight keep it off. The 5 % that do succeed have 2 things in common. They maintained muscle mass while losing weight (eating protein) AND they maintained a consistent exercise (hot yoga is ideal) program during and after weight loss.

February 2018

To obtain optimum health, your microbiome (gut bacteria) must be functioning at 100%. It directly affects your immune system, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, nutrient absorption and hungry or full signals; just to name a few. 

The importance of the coexistence and symbioses between your body and your microbiome cannot be overstated. Eg. The brain is the most sensitive to changes in the microbiome. The hormone Serotonin (the happy hormone) is the mood stabilizer for the brain. Not enough serotonin can cause depression and anxiety disorder. The brain produces serotonin, however, the microbiome, when operating at 100%, will produce much more, up to 90%, thereby giving the brain maximum amounts of the mood stabilizer.
Everything about our health (mental and physical) hinges on the state of our microbiome. What we eat or don't eat controls the health of the microbiome. A diet high in fibre (vegetables) with ample healthy fats (fish, flax, olive) and avoiding sugar and gluten is ideal. 

Antibiotics can harm a healthy microbiome. After completing a prescription, ensure you replenish with a pro-biotic. Taking pro-biotics on a regular basis is optimum. When buying pro-biotics, you get what you pay for. The higher the bacteria count, the better. Minimum of 10 billion, all the way up to 100 billion. Regular exercise and proper sleep are essential for a healthy microbiome. 

Another Latin quote from eons ago
"Mens sana in corpore sano"
"A healthy mind and body are inseperable."

January 2018

The big 4s

The big 4 things to increase 
•a complete exercise at least twice a week. Challenge every muscle, joint, tendon and ligament to ensure strength and mobility. Hot yoga is ideal.
•complete nutrition. Proper amounts of complete proteins, good fats, fibre from fruits and vegetables, vitamins and minerals
• proper amounts of sleep and rest and quiet thought (Meditation)
• proper amounts of water (tea and coffee do count)

The big 4 proteins to avoid
•farmed salmon
•factory produced meat
•cured meat
•processed soy

The big 4 fruits to increase
•avocado (yes, it’s a berry)

The big 4 things to avoid
 •body movement that creates inflammation and injury
 •foods and drinks that cause inflammation
 •excess sugar and alcohol

The big 4 fats to increase
 •omega 3 (fish oil)
 •MCT oil ( medium chain triglyceride)
 •olive oil
 •coconut oil

The big 4 vegetables to increase
•broccoli sprouts
•collard greens

The big 4 proteins to increase
 •wild salmon
 •whey (isolate)
 •organic eggs
 •hemp hearts

The big 4 fats to avoid
 •hydrogenated oil
 •vegetable oil

The big 4 supplements to increase
 •a complete vitamin/mineral
 •extra D3
 •beta glucan

December 2017

Several years ago I heard a brilliant man speak.  Dr. Becker, a cancer survivor, said anyone who wants to avoid cancer, has cancer, or has had cancer, should be taking a Beta Glucan supplement.  Anyone who is anticipating chemotherapy, is getting chemotherapy, or has had chemotherapy, should be taking a Beta Glucan supplement. I wrote down “Beta Glucan”  thinking, that someday I would read more about it.
Later, on an airplane,  a conversation began with the person seated next to me. The man was an immunologist with a specialty in oncology and immunotherapy. He worked for a major pharmaceutical company and his job included speaking at seminars to oncologists about the latest research in cancer immunotherapy. Serendipity!

We talked at length about the importance of exercise and nutrition on the immune system. I asked him about Beta Glucan and why it wasn’t more prevalent in the medical word. His answer: Beta Glucan is an excellent immune system modulator. It is a natural product that works. You can’t get a patent on a natural product, therefore, there is no money in it.

I went on a quest and this is what I learned:
Beta Glucan is without a doubt one of the most underrated medical finds. Mention it to the doctor who practices allopathic medicine and the response is likely: “Beta what?“ The only reason for this lack of knowledge is that beta glucan is a natural product found in food; an area where doctors and pharmaceutical companies fear to go. Beta Glucan is the most powerful immune booster known to man. In the words of medical expert, Professor Somsak Varakamin, MD, Dr. P.H., “If you were limited to one disease fighting substance, without a doubt, Beta Glucan would be the choice.”

If everyone increased their consumption of Beta Glucan, the pharmaceutical industry would suffer a devastating loss in profit across a whole spectrum of healthcare products. Beta Glucan is found in very small quantities in every living cell. Life would not be possible without it. The optimum Beta Glucan with the highest medical efficacy is found in yeast and certain mushrooms. It enhances the action of white blood cells that  devour unnatural cells, such as those found in cancer.

Do some research on Beta Glucan. I recommend the book “Beta Glucan - A 21st Century Miracle?” by Doctor Christopher Hertzog.

November 2017

Exercise is the best "smart pill".  
Much has been written lately about nootropics - smart drugs that improve brain function. Exercise is the best brain drug of all. Moderate physical exercise (hot yoga) improves brain health and function, and delays or stops the decline in mental performance that occurs with age.

Exercise improves the ability to learn, remember, think and reason. It can over come the negative effects of a poor diet on brain health and promotes the creation of new nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and throughout the nervous system. It provides protection against injury and degenerative conditions that can destroy neurons. Exercise increases levels of BRAIN DERIVED NEUROTROPHIC FACTOR (BDNF), which helps brain cells grow, strengthens the synapses that connect neurons and improve brain function.

Exercise enhances the nervous system's ability to change and adapt. In the brain, spinal chord, and nerves, this means developing new pathways for transmitting sensory information and motor commands. Exercise has a protective effect on the brain as people age, helping to delay or even prevent the onset of neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. 

October 2017

Why are yoga studios offering different types of yoga and why are changes being made to my tried and true class?

The answer is simple.

People around the world are becoming "yoga aware". They know that yoga done consistently makes them  better in many ways. They have also realized that changing their routine enhances the benefits. There is a physiological reason for this. The human body has a tremendous ability to adapt. If you do the same thing consistently, the body will adapt and become very efficient at performing the task. This applies to all physical movements, in particular exercise and sports. This is merely another survival mechanism. The body does not want to burn more calories than absolutely necessary. In other words, it gets easier with less effort and produces less results. 

It's called reaching a plateau and it's completely normal.

A plateau is defined as a time of little or no change. The way through a plateau is to make the yoga postures challenging. This can be done in two ways. The first way is to work within the type of class you have chosen. Make no mistake about it, you are in complete control of every movement in every posture in every class. The teacher is there to guide and assist with suggestions and recommendations. Utilize the teacher as your main resource for your personal adaptations. Vary your levels of exertion in different postures on different days. Do this with a constant awareness of not pushing to the point of injury. Keep your body guessing. It's called the "chaos principle" and will keep you moving through plateaus.

The second method is to take different class types. Wendy is endeavoring to introduce more options at Hot Yoga Sidney. These two methods will ensure the variations that your body requires to avoid plateaus. Let go of any biases you may have (I have a few) and embrace positive change.  

September 2017

The benefits of yoga for an injured brain.

A new science has emerged called  neuroplasticity, or brain regeneration. The realization that an injured brain can repair itself. What is an injured brain? Simply put, an injured brain can be defined as not completely healthy. The word injury means harmed or damaged in any way. The scale of injury can vary from minor to major.

There are many things that can injure a brain. The first and most obvious is called traumatic brain injury, or TBI. A TBI can be caused by a physical force, witnessing or being in a traumatic event, oxygen supply interrupted, or a drug, alcohol or toxic substance overdose. The second and less obvious is called insidious brain injury, or IBI. IBI creeps in over time but can be equally devastating. It's causes are chronic poor blood flow, chronic lack of nutrition, chronic lack of sleep, chronic stress, and chronic use of drugs, alcohol, and sugar. It would be safe to say that most people have suffered some level of brain injury sometime in their life.     
The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe. The brain is the only organ that has the miraculous ability to constantly renew itself. The process is called neurogenesis. It's the brain actually creating new brain cells called neurons and new pathways called synapses. Here's how it works. If given the right conditions, the brain produces something called brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. BDNF is responsible for neurogenesis, preventing the death of existing brain cells and supporting cognitive function. The #1 way to increase BDNF is doing strenuous and complex exercise, consistently.

Yoga to the rescue!

Yoga is the perfect exercise to activate BDNF. Yoga offers the person with an injured brain the ability to choose a level of strenuous that coincides with their level of physical ability without causing further damage. Yoga offers the person with an injured brain the ability to engage in complex body movements without causing further damage. Once a neuron, or new brain cell, has been created, it must find something new to learn, or it will die. This is why "complex" exercise is so important. A blend of compound movements combined with balancing will activate the most neurons. Just trying to balance on one leg forces the brain to coordinate an array of complex muscle movements.    

The 5 steps of an injured brain towards a healthy brain.Due to life circumstances, a brain is damaged.
 Yoga, the perfect exercise for creating BDNF is introduced.
BDNF stimulates neurogenesis
Yoga, due to its complex movements and balancing requirements, creates a need for neurons and synapses so they do not die.
The injured brain is in full repair mode. Increased levels of BDNF do not happen over night. 

It can take several months of consistent effort to obtain maximum levels. There is an element we can add to this already brilliant form of brain and body maintenance to magnify the effects of BDNF. Heat. Heat causes increased heart rate and blood flow. The increased heart rate and blood flow cause the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a recently discovered, barely detectable gaseous molecule that is produced in the walls of the vascular system. Nitric oxide causes vasodilation or expansion of the blood vessels. Nitric oxide improves function of neurons and synapses. Indisputably, increased blood flow is good for the brain.

In conclusion, the latest science and data affirms the ancient practice of yoga.