Category Archives: Fitness
This is a compilation of posts I put on https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal in Oct-Nov 2014.
KNEE CAP AREA PAIN
There is a very common food-like substance that can cause both knee’s to hurt near the kneecap. The food-like substance that causes both right and left quadriceps muscles to “turn off” is _____?
Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin. What that means is that it excites nerve cells to the point of death. Your brain is the main place these nerve cells die, but in the case of aspartame it can cause peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs and arms). In higher doses it can cause Multiple Sclerosis-like symptoms (Pseudo MS). One of the most common places I see this show up is in a weakening of the thigh muscles on both legs. It is so consistent that if both knees hurt at or near the knee caps I’d consider it a guarantee that there are artificial sweeteners (aspartame) in the diet somewhere. If this is something you struggle with, prove it to yourself. Stop all gum, breath mints, and diet anything to then enjoy improved memory and likely no knee pain. If the pain is on the back of the knee, the cause is likely caused by ________?
As described yesterday, the quads on both legs get weak with aspartame consumption. If you have historically consumed artificial sweeteners (aspartame) then you may want to consider taking a B6 supplement like B6 Niacinamide from Standard Process Inc. B6 is used up in metabolizing Aspartame and this is likely where a lot of the nerve problems come from, including memory loss and depression. B6 is water soluble, thus posses very little risk of toxicity. If the pain/weakness is just one side and especially if it is in the VMO area you may do better to consider and good digestive enzyme product. FYI Bicycling is the best exercise for the VMO.
PAIN BEHIND THE KNEE(S)/WEAKNESS
This pesky little muscle behind the knee, called the popliteus muscle gets weak and spastic when the gallbladder (GB) is congested. The GB receives toxins from the liver and delivers them to the small intestine to help digest fats with bile. Toxins and/or wheat can congest the bile causing pain and weakness behind the knee as well as dry skin on the heals and possibly right sided headaches. Beets help thin the bile and are very good for the GB. The GB even has emotional paradigms like anger, frustration or resentment that can be stored and congest its optimal function.
PAIN ON THE INSIDE OF THE KNEE
Many of you may have had surgery for a medial meniscus tear or have worn a brace for a period time for pain on the inside of the
knee. There are three muscles that attach there and support the area when they are firing properly. Unfortunately two of these muscles (sartorius and gracilis) dysfunction under adrenal stress. Therefore when we are under the stress of intense physical activity, under rested or emotionally stressed the inside of the knee becomes vulnerable to injury. Methods of reducing the knee strain potential (stress management) are _______?
~Get appropriate sleep
~Don’t skip meals. Eat frequent, small meals.
~Balance intense physical training with cardiovascular based low intensity training.
~Minimize sugar/simple carbohydrate consumption.
One other muscle that can cause inner knee pain is a weakness of the adductor (groin) muscle. This muscle gets compromised when the uterus or prostate (not in the same person lol) are not optimally functioning. This is yet another pair of glands that take a hit when blood sugar is not as it should be. Ladies, if you are prone to PMS, etc. see how much better it is after not eating sugar for a month.
KNEE PAIN PRIMARILY WITH ACTIVITY
If the knee primarily hurts after you have been walking or on your feet, then there is a good chance that unstable blood sugar is causing your feet to not work properly. If you do not sleep through the night there are likely blood sugar concerns. Cut sugars and see how you feel and sleep. If you still have cravings then there are probably blood type “avoids” that are triggering them.
I posted on this aspect of knee pain a while back, but it is always a good review. The muscle on the outside of the leg, called the iliotibial band or tensor fascia lata muscle gets weak and tense/tender when the colon is unhappy. Trigger foods like many different grains, corn or dairy often trigger pains in the IT band, thus causing pain on the outside of the knee. If you are challenged in this area, pay attention to what you had eaten just before the pain exaggerated. There will emerge a pattern… Or you can contact your local, highly effective Kinesiologist to help you figure it out, haha
The knee, like every other area of the body is trying to tell you something when it hurts. Through the muscle-organ correlations as laid out in Applied Kinesiology by the late, great Dr. Goodheart one can learn a lot about their health when pains are appropriately evaluated for the true cause. Listen and learn what your body is trying to tell you.
If you’ve ridden long enough you have likely hit the dirt or pavement at least once. It is part of the learning process unfortunately. When I first started riding mountain bikes in the early 90’s I had no fear and no skill which was a bad combination. My wife would give me the once over after each ride to determine what I had done this time. After countless abrasions, a separated shoulder and helping literally thousands of injured athlete’s this is what I find helpful.
Lord willing, your injury is just an abrasion, or minor loss of skin as I did in tonight’s race. By this point in your riding career, most of you likely already have what you have found to be helpful. Many like Neosporin or the other anti-bacterial, lubricating gels. Others say cover it and keep it moist. I say clean it and let it heal. After dealing with 100’s of personal abrasions I typically prefer to use hydrogen peroxide immediately and regularly during the first 2-3 days while the wound is still fresh. The bubbling you see is the oxidation of bacteria and contaminants. On the occasions that I have had a race or epic event the day after a sizable abrasion has been procured, I will then use one of the available clear sealing bandages to keep the area soft, clean, protected and heat sterilized while I complete the event.
My initial treatment is to first spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide, then scrub briskly with a soft brush in the shower and shave the affected area. This obviously is the least inspiring part of the process. Immediately after drying off I will again spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide. This is where many differing options come. I prefer to loosely cover the area with non-stick bandages to protect my clothes, other people and the sheets, trying to uncover and expose the area whenever possible. Then as a scar begins to form I may use a calendula cream or USF Ointment by Standard Process. FYI Using vitamin E before the scab is gone is more likely to exaggerate scarring. Vitamin E is most beneficial after the scab is gone for scar repair.
Now for more profound, less available insight. Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) can cause leaky gut syndromes, G.I. hemorrhage, decreased vitamin C and folic acid (both profoundly necessary for tissue regeneration), erosion of hyalin cartilage, and increased chemical sensitivity. NSAIDs inhibit the primary pathway in the liver (sulfation) in which new healthy tissue is regenerated. This is the process chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate hope to facilitate, though unsuccessfully if sulfation is dysfunctional.
A drastically better option is to take proteolytic enzymes immediately following an injury. Even better yet, take them before the injury. How? If you are engaging in an event where there is a high risk of injury, like football, take them before engaging in the activity. If you are scheduled for a surgery, take 1-2 capsules 3 times the day before the procedure. Since they facilitate recovery as well, try taking 1-2 before a race or epic training event. Then, the magic happens when you take them hourly, away from food immediately following an injury or surgery. Take them every waking hour for 1-4 weeks following the trauma until you begin to feel mild gastric distress. Then reduce to 1-2 capsules three times per day until complete recovery is accomplished.
Digestive enzymes, the main ones of which we are considering are proteolytic enzymes (protein digesting) have many beneficial effects. They reduce inflammation so synthesis, repair and regeneration of injured tissue can begin sooner. They reduce pain and edema, reduce scar formation and improve blood supply. All this combines to dramatically accelerate and enhance the recovery process, while minimizing pain sensations. See chart statistics from “Enzymes: What the Experts Know” by Tom Bohager and volumes of work by Dr. Evan Maladenhoff and his work with the Kansas City Chief’s.
Some of the commercially available sources of proteolytic enzymes are Wobenzyme, or Garden of Life makes a couple good enzyme products. You are looking for “Digestive enzymes” without HCl in them. Digestive enzymes without HCl taken away from food digest the protein byproducts of inflammation. Meaning they are naturally anti-inflammatory. This is what you want for injuries and training recovery. Some may contain the beneficial anti-inflammatory herbs of boswellia or turmeric which also aid in this process. Digestive enzymes with HCl in them are designed to aid in the digestion of meals and are used for a different clinical picture. Consider these if you have frontal or left sided headaches, sluggish digestion, bloating or constipation.
Another thing you should truly consider in a traumatic injury is good Chiropractic manipulation. Again after dealing with countless injuries both personally and professionally, manual manipulation as expertly done by a skilled Chiropractor shows tremendous benefit. I have treated many who have preferred that I use more conservative, passive style adjustments which I use often clinically. They get better. However, the outcome in full recovery, speed of recovery, and renewed proprioception (sense of balance) is far greater when specific adjustments are rendered.
Cycling is a wonderful sport and the best way to maintain health that I have seen. If you encounter an injury, take advantage of the great therapies available to get you back on the bike ASAP! Follow https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health insights.
This was an article I produced for the Orange County Wheelmen’s newsletter:
There is a common thread between some low back pain, Iliotibial band and thumb pain. When the large intestine is not functioning optimally pain, weakness and/or spasm can manifest in the thumb, the flank (quadratus lumborum) muscles of the low back or in the iliotibial band of the outer leg. IT Band Syndrome can produce pain in the outer knee or outer hip which effects many cyclists and runners alike. The good news is the problem is readily eliminated when appropriate lifestyle changes are instituted. Often the challenge is identifying the true cause. Is it bike fit, a food intolerance, or a nutrient deficiency?
For this article and group it will be assumed that you have already addressed bike fit. A saddle height that is to high may cause outer knee pain or flank area pain as one sways back and forth to compete the peddle stroke. Not to mention robbing valuable energy and power.
If any of these areas have given you grief chronically chances are pretty good that there is a food that you are eating which is causing the large intestine to dysfunction. A simple place to start might be to log your diet and note when the pain flairs. Did you eat whole wheat products, corn or possibly beef shortly before experiencing the pain? The food possibilities are diverse and different for many, but with determination and diligence can be identified.
Maybe the intestine has not been functioning properly since being sick or on an antibiotic regimen? If this is the case a good probiotic supplement may be in store. I typically find that probiotic supplements are best taken at bed time. Start with a high dose like six capsules for 1-2 weeks to initially repopulate the colon (intestine) then reducing to three at bed for another 1-2 weeks. Another supplement consideration for the colon is chlorophyll. Are you eating enough green leafy vegetables? They are one of the best preventers of colon cancer. Additional benefits for us aerobic athletes come from all the iron we derive from foods like spinach, kale and beets. Iron helps us carry that vital oxygen in the blood for enhanced stamina.
Got fiber? If you are not having 2-3 well formed bowel movements per day the colon is likely sluggish. You might benefit by consuming a good, not wheat based fiber product as well as increasing your veggie consumption. If there is also bloating experienced, digestive enzymes could well be the “Holy Grail” for you. The great news here is that digestive enzymes are also very anti-inflammatory.
There are some therapeutic points that may give you some relief while trying to ID the true cause. There is a very common acupuncture point named LI4 (pictured) on the thumb web which will be tender when active. Firm rubbing on the side of pain will often give some temporary relief of flank area low back pain, IT band pain or even head band pattern headaches. The popular rolling of the hip (pictured) also is a reflex area that helps to relax the colon.
I pray that this information is helpful in empowering you in the pursuit of optimal health. Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health pearls like these.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. 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.
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.
After 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.
There are anti-nutrient nutrients in oats called phytates that can leach your body of vitamins. By soaking the oats with spelt which is high in phytic acid to neutralize these negative effects we get a glorious, guiltless granola. By soaking nuts with it we add valuable, blood sugar stabilizing good fats and protein.
Step one soaking:
4 cups steel cut oats
4 cups spelt flakes
2 cubes (1 cup) butter
14 ounces of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
8 ounces of raw walnut baking pieces or 1-8 ounce bag of raw sliced almonds
In a saucepan gently melt the butter, mix in the vinegar, almond milk and water. Poor these blended ingredients into a bowl with the oats, spelt flakes and nuts. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cover and let them sit (soak) about 24 hours.
Step 2: Baking
3/4 cup organic honey
3/4 cup organic maple syrup
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4-6 scoops of your favorite protein powder (rice or pea based protein for most blood types)
After soaking time is complete, preheat oven to 170. Place a glass measuring cup in a saucepan of warm water. Mix in the above ingredients (minus the protein powder) warming to soften and mix them. Once they are liquid, with an oven mitt or pot holder, poor the honey mixture over the soaked mixture. Mix in thoroughly and then add the protein powder.
Once the ingredients are fully combined, evenly spread them over 2 Pampered Chef bar pans or pizza stones. The Nourishing Home recommends parchment paper on baking sheets. Baking time varies widely. In my old oven at 140 it took at least 8 hours. In our new convection oven that’s lowest temperature is 170 it may take 4-6. After 2-3 hours in the oven, break it into small pieces using a fork. This will speed cooking and give it that yummy, bite size granola feel. Cook to your desired crispiness. Therefore checking occasionally after about 4 hours. After cooked and cooled I put the guilt-free grand granola in 2 one gallon seal-able bags and store in in the refrigerator to preserve freshness, though it is fine outside for long periods of time.
I enjoy this fine granola as a post work-out snack/meal, breakfast food, dessert, or even sometimes before big rides when I have sufficient time to digest pre-ride. Enjoy it with almond, or rice milk and your favorite, highly beneficial berries. The original recipe from which I plagiarized this, along with many other great recipes can be found at The Nourishing Home.
B1 (thiamine) deficiency can cause lactic acidosis, thus making one smell fruity and attractive to the pesky mosquito. Yes, I am referring to the same lactic acid that builds up with over training and thiamine is beneficial there too. I have had many patients who had previously been attacked, get passed over by mosquito’s after adding a good B1 to their diet. A few other possible symptoms of B1 deficiency are spotting or frequent menses, emotional instability, fatigue, headaches, hypoglycemia, or slow metabolism.