Category Archives: Dealing with Stress

How stress shows up in the body and what to do when it’s noticed

BRAIN BUILDING BASICS

memory puzzle picture

There are three primary neurotransmitter’s (brain chemical’s) associated with learning. They are noreadrenalin (NA), Dopamine, and Acetylcholine (ACh). NA is responsible for learning the information. NA is typically reduced in blood sugar problems and is the main brain chemical associated in most ADD challenges. When blood sugar drops the brain is unfed and basically won’t retain the material. One becomes unfocused and unattentive. May even lead to petite mall seizures.  Limiting sugar, treating yeast, and eating Blood Type beneficial foods are often helpful in this condition.

Dopamine is responsible for retaining the material. Dopamine is a precursor to estrogen and is typically reduced in hormonal imbalances. You have experienced the benefits of Dopamine if you have ever experienced the “runners high.” This is part of why cardiovascular exercise is beneficial to learning, happiness, and contentedness. Exercise also enhances the health (neuroplasticity) of the brain. With poor diet and lack of exercise the brain literally gets mushy.

exercise for the brain

Acetylcholine (ACh) is the brain chemical for um, um, um, um, ah … Oh yea, Recall. When ACh is low then the good news is the info is in there, one just can’t access it. ACh is the brain control for the liver and gallbladder. So often “recall” problems are actually a detox problem. You may have heard me say this before… I find tomatoes to disrupt ACh metabolism potentially causing memory problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Trans fatty acids and processed foods can disrupt this pathway, as can B6 or choline deficiencies.

Chronic stress is a huge contributor to dementia type brain deterioration.  True dementia is quite often a literal atrophy of the brain due to the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol. This is minimized by maintaining proper balance in life. Taking a Sabbath day, and vacation’s to allow the body (adrenal’s) to restore. Vitamin’s like B5, zinc, eleuthero, and adrenal glandular’s are a few consideration’s.

Excitotoxins like MSG and aspartate also can literally kill brain cells leading to memory loss. These fake foods excite nerve cells (open calcium channels causing the nerve to fire) to the point of death. The damage may be irreversible but minimized by nutrients like B6, folic acid, or B12.

Autoimmune problems of gluten sensitivity can also cause damage to the brain if untreated as the brain and the gut function are very closely related.

Take care of your brain. It is the only one you have. Fortunately, we have billions of brain cells since we are all losing them to some degree. The rate at which we loose them can be very determined by your lifestyle choices. Will you choose to flourish in those “golden years,” or flounder. The choice is now in your hands.

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RIDE FROM LAGUNA TO SANTA CRUZ, Day’s 3-4

Day 3’s breakfast was the best of what I could consume at Holiday Inn Express Lompoc. As continental breakfast’s go it was decent. I had a banana, pancakes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, OJ and lots of water. I had located a neat little store on Google maps called Lassen’s Health Foods for day 3’s lunch. I enjoyed a GT Kombucha, turkey sandwich on sprouted wheat, fresh fruit, more water and stocked up on some nice honey baked walnuts. The honey provides initial energy, while walnuts provide the necessary dense calories for a ride like this. Also the lectin’s in walnuts are a great blood sugar stabilizer. Such a perfect long ride snack.

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This is the view from our room in Gorda Springs Resort, Ca. It is about twenty miles into the south side of Big Sir. As you can see the view was spectacular, as were all the views rolling through Big Sir. Certainly a highlight of the adventure. The entire Big Sir coastline was majestic when I was able to lift my head from the winding, climbing road and take it in. This was between all the rented convertible Mustangs and motor homes that were also cruising the coast Fourth of July week.

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I was very happy that the third night was the night that my wife and daughter’s were joining me since I broke my rear derailer cable just before beginning the climbs of Big Sir :(. At that point I was about 90 miles into the longest/biggest day and ended up climbing miles 95ish through 124 adjusted into my 3rd cog. PS, there is virtually no cell service through most of Big Sir. Fortunately I was able to get a hold of my wife in time for her to catch a shop and buy a new cable on her way to meet up, phew! I REALLY appreciated my revitalized gears for day 4.  Day 3 totals were 124 miles with 6240′ elevation. http://app.strava.com/activities/64672445

The Gorda Springs Resort was the one venue that did not posses a continental breakfast, so I was relegated to starting day 4’s adventure on 4 Cliff Bars for breakfast. Those and one gallon of water cost me $17. The salmon and salad dinner at their attached restaurant dinged me $48. Location, location, location. Lunch was delivered by my wonderful wife who due to my miss-communication did not catch up to me until Carmel at about 70 miles into the day with a custom burrito and smoothie from Big Sir Riverside resort. This was partly because I started busting out some miles after getting through the rugged coast line while riding on some fast paced freeways. Oops, one of which was off limits to riders and I was safely escorted off. There are many section’s in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Monterrey counties were Ca 1 and 101 merge and provide a bike lane. For me, these lanes provided a good opportunity to bring my average speed closer to my projected pace. I am very happy to have completed this long standing bucket list item. It went smooth and I would be happy to have the opportunity to do it again. Maybe going south in fewer days or starting farther north. Day 4’s total’s were 105.5 miles and formidable 9857′ of elevation. http://app.strava.com/activities/64564243

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RIDE FROM LAGUNA TO SANTA CRUZ WITH ME, Days 1-2

photo.JPG I was happy to have a few of my Linked and Rockform buddies help get the adventure started. Jim Bishop was behind the camera. Departing from Rock N’ Road Laguna Niguel, we promptly headed to PCH where I would be spending the next 4 days. For me, the first 3 were unsupported so as you can see my jersey pockets were loaded to the hilt. I started the day with a densely blended protein shake consisting of almond milk, pineapple juice, walnuts, chia seeds, omega 3 oils, 3 scoops of protein powder, kale and spinach and chased it with a oat based food bar. This had me feeling a bit slow to start, but I certainly wanted to preload. photo.JPGphoto.JPG My size 12 flip flops dominated my tail section. Also in tow were enough Shotblocks, Vitargo, Skratch Labs, vitamins, nuts, toothbrush/paste, third water bottle, chargers for my phone and Garmin, wallet, and the lightest shirt and shorts I could locate to minimally meet potential needs for the first 324 miles. Not pictured, and highly recommended were my roadside tool kit, tubes, patches and the shift cable I wished I had brought.  All rolled into plastic bags stuffing the Niblewear pockets. Impressively, there was no compromise to the integrity of the jersey riding this way for 4 days. While riding I was focused on energy efficiency, knowing that I had 4 long days ahead. It was not time to be going after KOM’s. As if? Day one’s average speed was compromised by all the summer Sunday beach traffic as I enjoyed the people watching while peddling through cities like Huntington, Malibu and Venice. I thought the reduced pace compromise was worth the cultural experience of Venice. The route from Laguna to Ventura presented little of the nasty head winds I was warned of. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Ventura  was comfortable and presented a nice harbor view for only about $125, including a decent continental breakfast. With temps in the mid 80’s I consumed 1 bottle with Vitargo, 2 with Scratch Labs and five with ice water acquired from Subway’s soda fountains (temp’s were high 80’s on the first day). Calories were maintained by 3 packages of Shotblocks, a parfait at one stop, and trail mix (no peanuts for me!). I intended to stop for lunch in Malibu, which would have been an ideal point for a break. I stopped at 3 fish walk up restaurants, but God has not granted me patience for lines yet, so I passed and road onto Ontario where I stopped for some Mexican food. Kind of silly since I was only 10 miles from completion. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it though since I used up my Garmin battery with the mapping feature and my phone was in my jersey with 12% battery left. The day was completed at about 99 miles with 3468′ elevation gain. My evening shower was extended by hand washing my kit in the shower with hotel shampoo to freshen it up for the next day. I then rolled all of the washed gear (gloves, jersey, bib, bandanna, and socks) into towels and jumped on them before laying them out to finish drying. Before laying them out to finish air drying, I sprayed everything, jersey, bib, gloves, bandanna, shoes, socks and helmet with a cool new product called DeodorALL.  I carried the 8 oz bottle in my jersey pocket.http://deodorallsport.com/products/8-oz-bottle  This stuff is the bomb. It even passed my wife’s very sensitive sniff test. They were ready to go and fresh as ever in the AM. Dinner at the attached hotel was yummy macadamia crusted mahi mahi and salad.

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On Day 2 I enjoyed some touring in Santa Barbara as I enjoyed a few scenic roads that actually caused me to circle around adding a few miles, but it was beautiful. I found the touted winds at mile 86 of day 2. As I turned off of highway 101 and headed up Ca 1 toward Lompoc/Vandenberg AFB I was presented with a head wind and 5-8% grade. My primary thought as I climbed was, “What goes up, must come down!” The decent helped ease SOME of the labor to climb. Day two’s total’s were 106.5 with 6540′ elevation gain via the Strava phone app. http://app.strava.com/activities/64125756 The Holiday Inn Express in Lompoc was adequate. The journey has been very pleasant and doable. Time for me to go stretch and prepare for tomorrow’s adventure to Ragged Point Ca, the hotel/resort I am most looking forward to on this trip.

WHAT ARE THE FINGERS SAYING?

Regrettably the left hand picture were my fingers after a few very long bike rides which created an EFA (essential fatty acid)  deficiency for me. This is evidenced by the dry, peeling skin on the ends. The good news is that this is very temporary when understood. When my fingers look like this, I take and extra 1-2 fish oil capsules and they skin is better within hours.

The white spots in the right hand picture demonstrate a zinc deficiency. This sometimes magnified by a need for HCl (stomach acid). Zinc is necessary to make stomach acid, it helps the hormone system, and it helps the immune system. Notice the poor circulation and immune problem of the last 2 fingers. Sugar consumption and stress depress zinc levels.

Cracking or brittle nails are often a need for calcium and HCL which will help one metabolize the calcium.

Perpendicular ridges across the nail are periods of protein deficiency. A sign that you need more protein in the diet. Don’t let this continue or you will end up quite ill.

Loss of the half moons at the nails beds are an indicator that there may be some hypothyroid issues. This needs to be correlated with symptoms and appropriate testing.

Anemia is another issue that may show up as spoon shaped nails or possibly as deeper longitudinal lines. Correlate with signs like a lack of redness in the “life lines” of the palm, slow color recovery after squeezing the finger and lab tests.

finger's EFA

Need for EFA’s

white spots in nails

White spots, need for zinc and maybe HCl

ARE THE RED DOTS ON MY SKIN CAUSE FOR CONCERN?

 

The Good :) and Bad :(

The Good 🙂 and Bad 😦

Little red dots on the skin are called Cherry Angiomas or Petichia. In and of themselves they are not harmful, but what they tell about your body is a very different story… There are two pathway’s in the liver associated with this problem. When one of them does not function properly, then a person ends up with high homocysteine. Homocysteine levels above 11.4 are dangerous. In fact the further above, not only does one’s cardiovascular risk increase, but the likelihood of a cardiovascular accident being fatal also increases. Yuck!

Typically, the larger and/or more numerous the dots, the higher the likelihood that there is strong cardiovascular accident family history. A seminar attendee, where I was once teaching this had a large, raised, red mole sized red dot. Both her parents had died of heart attacks in their fifties. I find them to often show first in the sternal (cleavage) area.

The chart to the left outlines the foods or nutrients that can make this pathway not function properly and the nutrients that can help it work right. When it works right, you live. Capish?

Take the time to keep an eye on your spouses skin, regularly checking for these danger signs. If present, determine which of the above nutrients is missing in their diet and which of the offenders are being consumed and make appropriate changes while you still can.

homo dots w arrows

Medical Emergency, or Minimal Risk?

Medical emergency or minimal risk?

Medical emergency or minimal risk?

Fortunately, lipoma’s like this rarely represent a medical emergency as long as it is relatively soft and movable. They do often tend to return after being surgically removed unfortunately. The most common nutritional cause is an iodine deficiency, especially if there are multiple lipoma’s. Another commonality I see with these is significant emotional triggers stored directly in the mass. With much N.E.T. (Neuro Emotional Technique) and possibly iodine supplementation  these can respond to care.

EAT THIS FOOD TO LOSE YOUR BELLY FAT

veggies to loose belly fat

The Dr. V summary of this ground breaking paper is:

When one eats too many processed, low soluble fiber foods they create an intestinal environment that is conducive to storing belly (visceral) fat. When one consumes appropriate vegetable fiber it promotes a healthier intestinal environment that stimulates metabolism and virtually melts away belly fat. Clinically I have long understood that  fat storage in the lower abdominal area is a consequence of poor intestinal function. This paper confirms what we have known clinically for many years. The now confirmed conclusion is, if you want to loose belly fat eat fewer processed carbohydrates and more vegetables. Vegetables also help one feel satisfied longer from the food that is consumed, as opposed to the desire for further empty calories soon after the consumption of said empty calories. Eat vegetables to be lean and satisfied.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/nature11552.html

Dr. V’s Century Training Plan

Stage Coach CenturyAfter riding 4-6 centuries/year for about the last 10 years, I am occasionally asked about my training and nutritional preparations for an event. So I have put them together in this central location. The nutritional prep will be covered in a follow up blog.

The first step is to know the event vitals that you are preparing for. How much total elevation gain is on the course, and where in the event are the climbs located? What will the conditions be? Are there any specific rules, like no drafting for solo riders? Are there timed, king of the mountain segments? Is the whole event timed or is it a more recreationally structured event?

Then, depending on the goals and conditions of the event, I will begin structuring a plan several months ahead. If is a flat, recreational event like the Palm Springs Century I will continue long, flat “base mileage” type training that occurs at about 65% of my max heart rate predominantly. Then as the season progresses to the more aggressive  bigger climb events, I will incorporate far more higher intensity and climbing into my training while maintaining at least one longer ride per week.

Training leading up to the event shifts slightly. If it is a more recreational/training type event then my “taper” preparation for the event would simply be 3 days of very light rides at 65% for less then 1 hour. If it is an event I intend to truly peak for and intend to compete at my best, then I would “taper” for 2 weeks. This 2 week period might be as little as 1 60-90 minute ride in zone 2 every-other-day. This is less ideal for over all progress, so I only plan to peak like this for 2-3 events per year typically.

Thanks to the help of Big Red Coaching I have implemented “opener’s” the day before  events. Opener’s are done by going for a gentle zone 2 (65%) one hour ride. Midway during that ride I will take 2 one minute segments on a gentle grade where I aggressively progress from zone 2 to as high as I can get my heart rate (zone 6). If I am well rested, which is ideal for a competitive event, I will be able to get pretty near to my max heart rate. If I am poorly prepared and under rested, my heart rate will not get nearly as high. That is a bad sign if I am looking to peak for the event. By implementing these I have found that I can begin riding at a competitive race pace much faster at the start of the event. Meaning I need far less warm up before feeling “all in!”

These same principles work well for marathon and half marathon type training. I hope you find some value in this for your own training and I wish the very best in your pursuit of optimal fitness. Check out the next post which will cover my dieting/hydration shifts prior to and during an event. God bless.

DrV wheelie

Eat Corn, Feel the Pain

Remember when we were younger and would often find worms in the corn when we were peeling it to eat or boil? Why don’t we see them any more?

Man in their infinite wisdom has genetically modified nearly all corn. “They” have modified corn to grow the pesticides directly into the corn kernel itself so worms won’t eat it. Could worms be smarter then human’s?

I find corn to cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol. Most of the people I work with have far more of this hormone circulating then they should just getting through our daily stressful lives. Corn makes it worse and causes a weakness in the muscles that support the knees, ankles and low back.  It also wreaks havoc on the digestive system which can cause spasms in the flank area muscle in the low back. I will have virtually guaranteed low back pain the morning after consuming a food which contains corn.  It is also one of the most common trigger foods for ovarian cysts.

THE BEST TIME TO CONSUME SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES

As soon as exercise begins, the body down-regulates its need for insulin. The hormone used to carry blood sugar into the cells. Therefore, during exercise sugar intake produces smaller increases of this hormone because muscles become more sensitive to increased amounts of insulin and permeable to glucose, reducing the need for large amounts of insulin that normally are required to escort the sugar into the muscle. This is good news.

These same receptors are exponentially more sensitive for 30 minutes following, and up to 2 hours following exercise.  So the good news is that there is a “good time” to consume those yummy simple (sugary) carbohydrate foods. When not participating in exercise,  foods should be FAR more protein oriented. This will help to keep those nasty carbohydrate

Make good choices

cravings (and this one’s waistline) controlled.