Category Archives: Nutrition

Brain Health: Effect of Wheat and Aspartame (17 min video)

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Dealing With IT Band, Low Back or Thumb Pain?

This was an article I produced for the Orange County Wheelmen’s newsletter:

IT band_bikeThere 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 isIT Band 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.

LI 4

LI4

There are some therapeutic points that may give you some relief while trying to ID the true cause. IT band pain rollerThere 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.

Ever Experienced a “Food Coma?”

grandcanyon-colorinthecanyonWhile on a bus tour to the Grand Canyon, we were offered our boxed continental breakfast. It contained a large muffin, peanut butter crackers, chocolate chip cookies, an apple and OJ. Being “others centered” I was relegated to the 1/2 seat left next to a gentleman that took up 1.5 seats.  Fortunately I long ago learned not to count on meals like this, so I had consumed a filling, balanced breakfast befor enjoying the tour. Therefore I was awake and intrigued by the stories and information our fine tour guide had to share.

Remember when you were a child playing the Jello game in the car? Whenever the car turned the objective is to lean and squish the person next to you as if you were a large, unsupported mass of Jello. This game provides hours of entertainment for children, unlike my two hour bus ride. My Jello game partner was a large lifeless, formless mass after consuming a large quantity of simple carbohydrates unbalanced by any sort of protein or good fats. He was in a deep “food coma!”

After the unbalanced, hthe_jello_kingigh carbohydrate meal my Jello game partner certainly experienced a large insulin dump which led to very low blood sugar in the brain (hypoglycemia). Unlike literally every other organ in the body, the brains only energy comes from blood glucose.  The other organs can metabolize proteins or fats for energy when necessary. Since the brain does not, low blood sugar symptoms are primarily mental emotional. Symptoms like the inability to stay awake. poor focus, anger, frustration or even minor seizures can manifest when the brain becomes unfed in a hypoglycemic state. I’ve heard expert criminal witness’ testify that virtually every hate crime done occurs while the offender is in a hypoglycemic state.

Another intriguing concept that my Jello partner experienced is the accumulation of fat. Insulin is a self preservation hormone. When insulin is secreted it causes nearly 40% of that meal to be stored as fat, like triglycerides. The perceptive mind can then recognize that this is part of why the 1980’s low fat mentality led to the fattening of America. If my Jello Partner had simply consumed a good source of protein like eggs, or turkey with some good fats like olive oil, avocado, or almonds he may have also learned from our fine tour guide and if done consistently, would not likely require 1.5 seats.

The take away: When you get sleepy after a meal, something in that meal caused an insulin dump. That insulin dump starved your brain of energy and will likely be stored in large part as fat. The better you learn to manage this experience the better you can capitalize on this God given life and the better your long term health outlook will be.

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.

Is This Spot on My Skin Cause to Worry? How Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

Darker, multicolored skin lesions, especially with borders that vary and look like they are consuming the skin near it should be evaluated. Another thing I look for is activity. Has it changed or does it flake?
There is a pathway in the liver collectively called the P450 enzymes. This pathway gets disrupted from sun (radiation) damage. It is fed (helped) by… You guessed it… vegetables and berries. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in berries and veggies facilitate the proper functioning of these enzymes, thus reducing the potential for skin or many other types of cancer. Supplementally, the best nutrients for these enzymes are S.O.D. (superoxide dismutase) which is called a free radical scavenger. As a free radical scavenger it is very effective in minimizing the “side effects” of treatments like chemo and radiation as well as damage from over exposure to sun. The sun is not as much an issue as our poor nutritional ability to deal with its effects. Take the opportunity to keep an eye on your spouses skin and Eat your organic fruits and veggies.fig14 fig28

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