A Deeper Look Into Vitamin O

air 2

Excerpted, in part, from The Slow Down Diet by Marc David

Author: Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating

People often talk about burning calories but few realize that a calorie is simply a measure of heat released when something is burned. Food scientists determine the caloric value of a food by placing it in a special apparatus that essentially torches it to a crisp and measures the heat given off. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that just about everything has a measurable caloric value. A fortune cookie contains about 30 calories. A page of a typical book you read has at least 60 calories. The chair you’re sitting in has upwards of 200,000 calories. And all of these calories need oxygen if you want them to burn. So if you’re interested in maximizing metabolism, breathing is one of the most effective tools because the greater your capacity to take in oxygen, the higher your metabolic “burning power” will be.

Breathe in more oxygen and you burn food more fully.

It’s really that simple. The digestive system is hungry for oxygen. Certain parts of the stomach lining consume more oxygen than any other tissue in the body. The intestinal villi, our site of primary nutrient absorption, are charged with the job of extracting large quantities of oxygen from the blood during the breakdown of a meal. When the blood lacks oxygen for the villi to pick up, absorption decreases.

The more we eat, the more the body naturally wants us to breathe. After a meal, the parasympathetic nervous system generates synchronous changes in breathing, blood circulation, and oxygen uptake. In other words, the brain automatically increases air intake to accommodate the need for more oxygen. Breathing more if you eat a lot is the same as exercising more if you eat a lot. If you interfere with the body’s natural switch to deeper breathing because of anxiety or overstimulation, you limit your ability to burn calories. The simple rule here is this: If you eat more, breathe more.

To further examine the relationship between oxygen and calorie burning, have you ever had the experience of going on a low-calorie diet and not losing any weight, or dieting and losing weight with the first week but leveling off despite continuing your low-calorie fare? Many people are perplexed by this mysterious phenomenon, but the reason is quite simple. Your metabolism changed. The body learned to tolerate the meager portions of food you served it by lowering oxygen uptake—decreased oxygen means decreased metabolism. In many cases, weight loss diets actually teach the body to need less oxygen. So by going on a low-calorie diet you may think you’re doing what’s right for shedding pounds, but you’re actually working against yourself.

Another way to think of this phenomenon is to consider that the act of eating creates a “demand” on metabolism. Just as lifting weights puts a demand on your muscles to grow bigger and stronger, eating puts a demand on your metabolism to grow more powerful and efficient. Food is literally like a weight that your body lifts. So it’s not just the nutrients in the food that determines the nutritional and metabolic value of a meal; the value is also determined by the process your body goes through to break the food down.

Indeed, the simple act of eating, by itself, raises metabolism. If we looked at one of the most common measures of metabolism—body temperature—we’d see that each time we eat, body temperature automatically rises. That’s the reality behind the old folk-medicine adage to “starve a fever”—if you already have a high body temperature, don’t eat because that will raise it even more.

It should come as no surprise that if chronic under-eating can lower the amount of oxygen we use, and hence lower metabolism, then eating more food for such individuals could increase metabolism. Indeed, many people I’ve worked with who honestly had weight to lose and were on a long-term, low-calorie diet without success lost their weight once they ate more food. Do you know someone who’s had this unusual experience? Eating more food literally created a demand for metabolic force and hence for oxygen uptake. The resulting increase in calorie-burning capacity far “outweighed” the extra food on their plate.

Certainly, many of us gain weight simply because we eat too much food. But when we shift to the opposite extreme—eating too little food—we will likely slow down our calorie-burning capacity. On any given day approximately 80 million Americans are on a diet. If low-calorie diets—meaning 1,400 calories a day or less—were truly effective in the long-term, then we’d see a lot more success and a lot less dieters. The point is not to overeat and expect to lose weight. The point is that neither extreme—too much food or too little—will take you where you want to go.

So if you truly want to achieve your optimum weight and metabolism, you can’t get there by denying yourself and going against biology. Losing weight means gaining life. Eat while relaxed and breathe while full generosity and you access nature’s plan for greater health and inner satisfaction with food.

Hope you enjoyed this article!  To your health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Advertisements

Want to Beat The Winter Blues?

 winter oak tree

By Autumn Pappas, CHHC, AADP

Do you find yourself feeling a little low in the winter time? Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the shorter days—but somehow you just can’t seem to get out of a funk. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that affects 25 million Americans each year. Symptoms include loss of interest in activities, oversleeping, irritability, sadness, poor sleep, low self-esteem and anxiety. Whether you suffer from SAD or not, here are some great tips on how to beat the cold weather blues and start looking on the bright side of things.

Exercise. Exercise is a natural stimulator of serotonin and dopamine, two very important mood boosting hormones. Serotonin also regulates hunger. Physical movement increases metabolism, and stimulates the digestive tract which can help prevent bloating, constipation and indigestion.  Not in the mood to exercise? Find an exercise buddy this winter and hold each other accountable. Start a new exercise class, dance around to some holiday music, or take a brisk thirty minute walk. This will get your heart rate up and help trim your waist line at the same time.  Don’t wait until January to set some fitness goals.

Stick to a healthy diet. Sadness can increase food cravings and send you rummaging for sweets.  Caffeine suppresses serotonin and can have the same effect. Stick to serotonin-boosting foods like bananas, flaxseed, wild fish, high quality eggs, buckwheat, and free range turkey so you don’t get caught up in a vicious cycle.

Stay on schedule. It’s hard to stay motivated when the weather is cold and it’s dark outside.  Sticking to a normal schedule will keep you upbeat and focused, as well as keep you from procrastinating. Surprisingly, procrastination in not only linked to stress but depression as well.

Invest in good lighting. Our serotonin levels drop due to the lack of light in the wintertime. Sitting within three feet of a 300 watt bulb for 20 minutes a day can help. You can also purchase a UV lamp or a Happylight. These lights mimic sunlight and encourage the production of Vitamin D. Furthermore, spend time outdoors during the peak hours of daylight.

Increase your Vitamin D intake. Check with your doctor to see if you should up your dosage in the winter. Vitamin D is a key contributor to our overall health. It supports our bones, brain, nervous and immune systems.

Try a new activity this winter. How about a painting class, cooking some new healthy recipes, or volunteering for a local cause?

Lastly, start a gratitude journal. It’s important to notice the beauty of our world, kind gestures and the little things in life. Gratitude can have an immensely positive effect on your self-esteem, health, career and relationships.

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

*This  article was written by me, and featured in the December 2013 Issue of the Port Ludlow Voice.

 

 

Oh Omega 3’s — How I love you!

walnuts

Have you had your daily dose of Omega 3’s yet today?

Omega 3’s are essential for every cell in your body!  We don’t produce them naturally, so we must eat food sources that are rich in Omega 3’s or take an Omega 3 supplement.

Why do we need Omega’s 3’s?  Omega 3’s promote brain function and reduce inflammation in our body.  They also improve memory, boost mood, decrease depression and anxiety, decrease eye dryness and make skin glow.  They can lower your chance of heart disease by 1/10th if you consume them regularly.  Furthermore, they assist your metabolism and weight by improving you body’s ability to respond to insulin.   Additionally, they are a key component of keeping a healthy digestive tract.

There are some fabulous foods that are rich in Omega 3’s!  Walnuts, flaxseed, fish, Grass Fed Beef and Tofu are on the list.  Trout, sardines, mackerel, and wild salmon all have high levels of Omega 3’s. 

What conditions indicate a need for more Omega 3 foods and/or fish oil??  Fatigue, Type 2 Diabetes, Depression, Cardiovascular Disease, Joint Pain, Brittle Hair and Nails, those who have trouble concentrating, and those with dry skin.   Don’t take Fish Oil if you have a fish allergy or if you are on blood thinners (it can thin the blood).

Omega 3 Supplements are also available at the store.  I recommend looking for high quality fish oil in a dark bottle (so it doesn’t go rancid) with at least 600mg of DHA.  Store it in your refrigerator.

To your health! 

Autumn  (check me out at pacificnorthwesthealth.com)