Category: Health (Page 2 of 2)

What’s The Deal With Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water: Real or a scam?

It is the big talking point these days. Those shopping at Wholefoods market are buying alkaline water, while those at Ralph’s are buying cases of ‘non-alkaline‘ or as i’d rather call it, ‘acidic’ water. I have personally tested numerous brands of bottled water and the results are pretty shocking. Everyone in the global community is affected by the quality of our water resources. The water we drink should be free from harmful chemicals to ensure good health. The purity of ground and surface waters in our environment is vital to ensuring sustainable use. Process waters must be kept clean from contaminants to ensure product quality and acceptable exposure levels.

water bottle pouring into glass

What is pH?

pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 0-6 is acidic, a pH of 7 is neutral and a pH of 8-14 is alkaline. Pure water has a neutral pH and human saliva is close to neutral, while our blood is slightly alkaline. Seawater is between 7.7 and 8.3 on the pH scale, and products like hand soap, ammonia and bleach are more alkaline in the range from 9.0 – 12.5.

pH levels

Our ideal range as humans is 7.365. A simple pH saliva test will tell you what your range is, but a urine analysis is also key to zoning in on your range. Both of these tests are done in our offices to determine what needs to be done nutritionally to move towards a more alkaline environment. Making pH shifts are simple but they take time and sometimes a lifestyle change. It is not only what to start incorporating into your diet, but even more importantly, what to stop shoving down your throat!

Stay away from the following foods:

1. Cola/Soft Drinks: colas contain sugar. Loads and loads of it. About 10 teaspoons per 330ml can. It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging and many more negative side effects. Most sodas include over 100 percent of the RDA of sugar. Phosphoric acid is known to interfere with the body’s ability to use and absorb calcium, this is one of the main reasons why cola is linked to osteoporosis. Aspartame is used in soda’s and is the worst of the worst when it comes to sweeteners

2. Ice Cream: Dairy is acidic so stay away from it as much as possible. It would take 20 glasses of alkaline water to neutralize 1 glass of milk. Not good!

3. Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats/ Trans Fats: Trans fatty acids are a artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine. It’s found in all of the most acid-forming foods like fried foods, refined foods, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and chocolate snacks, chips, pizzas etc.

4. Artificial sweeteners: PLEASE stop using these carcinogenics! Replace with stevia or agave.

Trying to give you advice on what to consume to push you more towards alkalinity is an article on it’s own, but the obvious one is water. We are made up of about 70% water so feed that system wisely! Start buying alkaline water or get a machine for your home. I do not endorse specific company’s but I bought mine from Life Ionizer and have been extremely happy with it. What about when i’m at a restaurant you ask? Always ask for lemon in your water. Remember it’s not the pH of whatever you are consuming, it’s the pH that your body turns it into, that counts.

life ionizer

It’s simple. You are either acidic or alkaline. Take this seriously, as inflammation and disease (especially cancer) thrive in an acidic/low oxygen environment.

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Can you say ‘YOG’ with an ‘A’?

Following up from our post on preventive wellness, I thought it would be a good idea to delve into one of the most effective methods of relieving pain, preventing injuries and maintaining physical and mental health…YOGA.

Even though yoga has been around for thousands of years, it has recently grown rapidly in popularity. In LA especially, it seems people never leave home without their keys, iPhone and Yoga mat. Lululemon yoga gear is everywhere, even on people that don’t do Yoga.

Celebrity Yoga collage

But while the many aspiring film stars of LA practice yoga to tap into their Chi, it’s also a great way for a YOG (not to be confused with Yogi) to stay on top of his game and provide some balance for the mind, body and spirit.

Health Benefits

Having poured over recent studies and articles on yoga, and also experiencing it for myself, the number of health benefits are staggering. I’ve narrowed it down to 7 so you can spend less time reading and more time in ‘Downward Dog’.

1.  Strength & Flexibility

The kind of strength which is developed during a yoga class is much more functional and consistent with our every day activities than just lifting weights. Using only your bodyweight and gravity, yoga encourages a more total body strength workout which also engages core muscles and stabilizers around joints, helping us to prevent onset of chronic pain issues and also acute injuries.

indian yogi 1947

As you build strength, you’ll also improve your flexibility and posture. This means that it’s important to mix yoga in with your weekly training schedule, particularly if you hit the weights often as this can often lead to muscle imbalances and tightness, leaving you prone to injury.

2.  Lower stress levels

YOGs tend to live jam-packed lives, and are always on the go. The calming nature of yoga together with the meditative element helps our mind achieve a peaceful state by slowing down the mental fluctuations of anger, fear, frustration, regret and desire which all cause stress. And we all know what stress can do to us, if not, READ THIS for an example.

businessman beach yoga

3.  Better Sleep

A study from Harvard found that subjects with insomnia were able to improve the quality of their sleep with just 8 weeks of yoga. Another study showed that the sleep quality and well being of cancer patients dramatically improved after completing a short weekly program of Tibetan yoga.

YOG man down

4.  Pain Relief

Trade in those prescription drugs for some ample doses of yoga. Several studies show that Asana combined with meditation reduced pain in people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and other chronic conditions.

back pain

5. Boost Sexual Performance

I’m not just referring to the effect on arousal levels being surrounded by hot, sweaty women performing suggestive body positions (you’re not supposed to be looking around the room). Studies have found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, confidence, orgasm and performance in both men and women. This can be attributed to increased blood flow to the genitals, strengthened pelvic floor (core) muscles and also the control of the mind and breath.

Bed Feet

6. Enhance your mood

Not only do some of the poses force you into powerful, confident body positions, yoga produces a positive chemical change also.

One study showed that consistent yoga practice increased Serotonin levels and deceased levels of cortisol improving depression. More dramatic left-sided brain activity by meditators has also been found to correlate with greater levels of happiness and strengthened immune systems.

be happy

7. Improve brain function

To maintain his level of success, the YOG needs his noggin firing on all cylinders. Practicing yoga helps you focus on the present, making you less distracted with your constant looping thoughts about past and future worries. Recent studies have also shown enhanced coordination, memory, reaction time and even IQ through Yoga.

brain yoga

Different Yoga Styles

There are so many different styles of yoga out there from Ancient Indian methods to Westernized boot camp style adaptations. The following common styles should cater to all of the YOG’s needs:

Ashtanga

Based on ancient teachings, this is a rigorous style of yoga which follows a set sequence of postures and links every movement to a breath. Be prepared for a physically demanding session. YogaWorks has a number of locations around LA offering many different styles of yoga including Ashtanga. Great for beginners.

http://www.yogaworks.com/

Power Yoga

Referred to by many as “gym yoga”, this is a fitness-based approach to the Vinyasa-style yoga. It is also similar to the intensity and flow of Ashtanga yoga, without the repetitiveness as no two classes are the same. If you want a work out while improving your strength and flexibility without the routine this is your vibe.

Bryan Kest Power Yoga in Santa Monica will kick your ass, particularly if Bryan himself drops by to run the class, which is pay by donation too…

http://www.poweryoga.com/

Bikram

Around 30 years ago, Bikram Choudury developed a school where yoga classes were held in artificially heated rooms.

A great option to work on flexibility, but take a couple of towels and plenty of water with you because you’ll sweat like Joseph Fritzl on MTV cribs as you’re taken through a set series of 26 postures in 105°F (40.6°C). A good option to rid yourself of toxins from boozing the night before.

The good people at Bikram Yoga in Marina Del Rey will get you in shape fast and normally have great introductory offers if you’re not quite sure and want to try it out.

http://bikramyogamarina.com/

So there you have it, now you should be ready to add an ‘I’ onto ‘YOG’. For all you LA YOGs, stay tuned for our post featuring  some of the million places to do yoga in YOGtown.

Namaste dudes,

M

Pain Management vs Preventive Wellness

You only have to turn on your television and watch any commercial pushing another drug to see how out of control the health ‘care’ system has become. I keep thinking I’m watching an episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ when they list all the side effects, but there is nothing funny about it! The FDA seems to approve anything if the price is right, without considering the long term consequences.

I would love to ask them this: “So let me get this right: You want me to accept ten dangerous side effects to help me lower my blood sugar levels? Here’s an idea – how about funding commercials that let people know how to lower their blood sugar levels naturally? Oh right, there’s no money in that.” It’s absolutely maddening.

In fact, instead of hiring Monsanto employees to saturate all levels of the FDA, why don’t we sponsor commercials that educate people on what pain really is? Perhaps if we explain that pain is a good thing and that it is simply our body’s way of communicating to us that there is a problem, we’d have a much healthier, happier society?

I know I’m ranting a bit, but it’s still the truth. Pain has been misrepresented in modern medicine. Pain should be embraced as a sign to cure the cause of an ailment, instead of simply numbing (silencing) it or treating the symptom. Pain is our internal warning sign and if we ignore and simply silence it by pumping ourselves full of synthetic drugs, we are only going to spiral downward towards a premature death.

Prescription Medication Spilling From an Open Medicine Bottle

We live in extremely stressful times and it has long been proven that stress is the cause of most, if not all pain and disease. As beings, we are wired in a very specific way. Constant, low-level stress causes a destructive pattern within our brains, and our bodies follow accordingly. We “lateralize” into our dominant brain hemisphere – meaning that one hemisphere seizes control as a defensive, survival mechanism, and you begin operating from one hemisphere. This causes one side of your brain to be overly taxed, and the other hemisphere to become passive.

Our right brain hemisphere controls the left side of our body, and the left hemisphere controls the right side of our body, so when you’re stressed, and locked into one hemisphere, it creates an imbalance muscularly as well as structurally, because your brain causes your body to distort – or pull up – on one side. The passive side shows weakness and the overly active, stressed side shows tension. Naturally, pain comes next.

Walking around in this out of balance state creates further problems the longer we leave it. Every step we take in this state puts a massive, unbalanced load on our bodies. The longer we ignore the warning signs, the worse it gets and the further we spiral away from health. I maintain that we are either in a state of repair or a state of degeneration.

We are self-healing beings so the solution would be to remove this imbalance, and be put back into a state of balance and homeostasis. If this can happen, and be maintained we will naturally repair and heal. It is sad and unfortunate that we live in a society that is so quick to shut the communication out with drugs and surgery, but I believe it is because there is more money in treating the symptoms instead of the cure.

The cycle is never-ending. Drugs lead to more drugs, and surgeries lead to more surgeries. The average American home has at least five or more different prescription drugs in their home and yet we are the most unhealthy country in the world. We have been told for years that an aspirin a day is good for us but this a joke! Again, let me get this right… we were created with an aspirin deficiency? When are we going to wake up and take a stand against the corruption? When are we as Americans going to stop supporting the corporate medical system?

Prescription drugs and the

Of course, this is easier said than done, because we as a society, have largely become drug addicts that rely on the drugs to get through our day. Is it because we are too lazy to look for alternatives? Or are we simply not educated about natural ways to get back to health? I believe it is both.

If we can ‘exist’ in out of balanced, unhealthy bodies, imagine how we can ‘live’ in balanced, healthy bodies, free of drugs. It is my belief that in years to come, we will look back at the barbaric system we were forced into and shake our heads in shame. I believe many holistic medicines and preventive wellness systems are the solution to our epidemic, and are becoming increasingly popular in some big cities. This is good news, considering that the middle of the country generally follows trends set by bigger cities. There are many ways of taking our health back, but it is up to us to go out and search for what works best. I encourage you today to consider the long term effects of your approach to wellness, and choose long term, holistic solutions instead of temporal pain management.

Man doing Yoga on the Beach

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Why You Need To Give and Receive a Hug Immediately!

So apparently it’s National Hug Day here in the US, and boy is it needed here with tension levels rising as people return to work after the holidays, or as for many parts of America, because it’s just so damn cold!

But hugs should be a prominent feature of our daily routine. Research shows that hugging, just like laughter, is extremely effective for healing sickness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, disease and stress.

A deep front on heart to heart hug can benefit you in the following ways:*

1. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels which decreases feelings of anger, loneliness and isolation.

2. A nice long hug can boost serotonin levels which elevates moods creating happiness.

3. Hugs can build trust and a feeling of safety which can lead to honest and open communication.

4. Gentle pressure of the sternum during a hug activates the Solar Plexus Chakra, stimulating the thymus gland which regulates and balances white cell production, hence boosting our immune system.

5. Hugs can relax muscles and relieve pain by increasing blood circulation to soft tissues.

6. Hugs balance out the nervous system. There is a galvanic skin response when giving and receiving a hug which shows a change in skin conductance, affecting moisture and electricity in the skin.  This basically shows a more balanced state in the nervous system.

7. Hugging boosts self-esteem. There is a somatic connection to our hug-filled childhood years, when we felt most loved by our parents and family. This triggers our ability to self love.

8. Similar to meditation and laughter, hugs teach us to let go and be present in the moment. This connects us to our heart, feelings and breathing.

9. Hugs teach us to give and receive. There is an equal value between  being receptive to warmth and giving or sharing that warmth.

10. Hugging creates synergy between people, meaning the whole equals more than the sum of it’s parts leading to more win win situations. Group hug everyone!!!

Rugger Hug

 

 

 

 

* adapted from 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day by Marcus Julian Felicetti

How Stress Causes Weight Gain

The National Center for Disease Control recently provided data that shows two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, making people of ideal body weight the minority. Consider at the same time, the weight loss and fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar machine. There is no way the third that are of ideal body weight are buying all of the weight loss “remedies”, and fitness gear. People want to lose weight, and most are legitimately trying but there appears to be a dimension to the problem holding them back.

Since the 1950’s, health experts have been saying the solution to our obesity is simple: ‘Eat less and exercise more.’ This is obviously not working and something is clearly missing! Here is the missing link: Stress causes weight gain. It’s true and I’ll show why it makes perfect sense.

When we get locked into a stressed state we are constantly producing the hormone ‘Cortisol’ (also known as the ‘death hormone.’) Cortisol production leads to increased appetite and increased belly fat, since our body’s natural mechanism to fight stress is to begin storing reserves for what thousands of years ago might have been a very long winter, a scarcity of food or some other stressful state our ancestors would have encountered. Fat cells even have an enzyme called HSD that increases Cortisol levels within the cell as a way to encourage more fat storage, so you can see how the problem begins compound very quickly.

Hundreds of millions of people have tried the ‘eat right’ and ‘exercise’ routine. I agree that these two approaches are vital to the overall picture of health, but the key to true health and an optimal weight is living a drastically less stressed life. Stress management is the one weight loss strategy that society hasn’t addressed when evaluating weight gain. It is so dangerous to live in a constantly stressed state because it begins a downward spiral of chain reactions that compound over time. Look at the list below to see if you can relate to any of these symptoms:

Elevated Cortisol levels, caused by constant stress, leave you with the following conditions:

  • Increased appetite and cravings
  • Increased body fat
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased depression
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced libido (sex drive)
  • An impaired immune response
  • Memory and learning impairment
  • Increased symptoms of PMS (which also leads to an increased appetite)
  • Increased menopausal side effects (hot flashes, night sweats)

Of course, the scary part is that not only will stress and increased Cortisol levels cause weight gain, when you’re stressed you are more likely to suffer a heart attack, become depressed, or even catch the flu more often. What a dismal picture!

Obese man with measuring tape

So what is the answer? I present to you Alphabiotics.   What the ultra-safe process of the Alphabiotic alignment does, is instantly balance the brain, causing the muscular and nervous system to drop tension, which in turn balances your body. This release of this stress in the brain and body, ripples down to even the cellular level, causing your brain, and vital organs to receive a mass of previously misdirected blood and oxygen.

The need for Cortisol production is removed, and as a result, your mind feels lighter and your body instantly feels a greater wellness. This is an optimal state for weight loss.   Even when it comes to your fitness regimen, the Alphabiotic alignment removes tension, and you’ll instantly feel greater and more balanced strength and energy.

Almost everyone is walking around with one side of the body weaker than the other, which often opens you up to injury. Whether you’re doing cardio, weights or running, exercising in an imbalanced state, can create a massive load on one side of your body.   A strong, balanced, oxygenated body however, is a healthy body that repairs quickly after your workouts. Waste energy trying to get blood and oxygen to imbalanced limbs is removed, which even improves thought clarity.

Relaxed Man

It is my professional opinion that Alphabiotics will drastically reduce stress, causing a profound effect on your health and when you incorporate exercise and sound nutrition, your weight loss goals will be readily achieved.

B

 

 

 

Trust me…I’m a (witch) Doctor

As an Holistic Doctor I am all about preventive wellness. When sickness, pain or disease sneaks in, my plan of attack is always from a Naturopathic angle.

We are self healers if we are placed into a state of balance. Stay tuned to my weekly blog on health tips. It sure beats going to school like i had to do…

Bruce and his magic hands

Click HERE to learn about why i gave up a music career to make an impact on a deeper level.

Joe Cross in YOG mode

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

This is definitely one of our favorite YOGumentaries, demonstrating health transformations of epic proportions, using the simple concept of juicing fruit and veg.

The film follows Aussie banker Joe Cross as he travels across America on a 60 day juice fast, in an effort to regain his own health, while educating others on the benefits of juicing.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead CoverThe weight loss results and other health benefits featured in this documentary are quite astonishing. We of the YOG blog are huge advocates of juicing and you’ll see plenty more on the topic, including reviews of the best Juicers out there in future posts.

 

 

Welcome Yoggers!

Stay tuned – the YOGs are coming in 2014 to bring you laughs and inspiration from Los Angeles, arguably the YOG capital of the world…

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