Quick Note on Biochemistry and Your Muscles: Myostatin

Going through physiology class in college was a great experience, what a fascinating piece of work the human body is that even our emotions can be boiled down to chemical changes in our body.  Theoretically, changing the body's biochemistry can change even the personality.   Rats, truly one of the most non-monogamous creatures, can be changed to monogamous creatures simply by altering the levels of Oxytocin in their brains.  And Biochemical research shows that our body can change with regard to its Biochemical make up. 

Enter Myostatin.  As a female, I want to be toned, but not overly muscular.   This is nothing against body building women who are boldly changing the face of female fitness – I actually love this.  It has more to do with my personal body structure not really well suited for too many muscles.  A constant myth women hear is that the female body can’t get too bulky or women are not set up to build huge muscles; which is a generalization that is partially true, but not 100% true. 

Myostatin is a naturally occurring hormone in most everyone.   Myostatin prevents the formation of muscle tissue, and while women tend to have higher levels of Myostatin than men, there are always women that are on the spectrum of this scale.  Some have high levels of Myostatin which means that no matter how much they pump iron, their body’s own chemistry does not allow muscles to build, while other women naturally have low levels of Myostatin and can bulk up relatively quickly. 

There have been several famous male body builders that have genetic disorders which do not allow them to stop building muscles – their Myostatin producing gene is either missing or damaged.  As babies, people with this deficiency show amazing muscle definition without even trying.  There is a famous toddler in Germany who could hold 7 pound weights with his arms extended at barely 5 years old.  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5278028/ns/health-genetics/t/genetic-mutationturns-tot-superboy/#.V2Alb_kguM8

But Myostatin deficiency has a lot of health issues associated with it.  The concentration of the body building muscles decreases the amount of fat in the human body.  And as much as we hate fat cells, there seems to be a health effect of having some healthy fat tissue, in small amounts it is protective of the heart.   So people with Myostatin deficiency tend to have heart problems as they grow older.

Myostatin is a hormone that is seen across the animal kingdom as well.  Cows, dogs, and many wild animals can have the mutation that does not allow Myostatin to form in the blood

Myostatin is a hormone that is seen across the animal kingdom as well.  Cows, dogs, and many wild animals can have the mutation that does not allow Myostatin to form in the blood

People wanting to bulk up and increase muscle mass can do so naturally with the addition of more Vitamin D to their diet and there are some preliminary results that show that an increase of dark chocolate in the diet can decrease the levels of Myostatin in the blood.  The act of even lifting weights can decrease the levels of Myostatin in the blood.  Since all of this can be done naturally, I never recommend that someone wanting to bulk up take Myostatin inhibitor supplements.   Throughout human history the most egregious health problems have arisen when we mess with the body’s natural hormones. 

So if you are a woman that tends to have low levels of Myostatin naturally, what do you do to tone up without bulking up?  Simply use lower level weights.   Your muscles grow in response to your demand on them, the higher the demand, the more growth your muscles can achieve – if we remember that our bodies want us to be successful at whatever task we give them, giving the muscles heavier weights signals the body that we need to increase the muscle mass to do this task, conversely, decreasing the weights lets the body know that the muscles need to be maintained.  

The fitness industry is rife with generalizations which work maybe 90% of the time.  The “women don’t bulk,” is one of my personal pet peeves (I have a few others).   While these generalizations tend to serve the large majority of people, it can be frustrating for people who don’t fit into the general mold.  So go to a Yoga Sculpt class, go to a Resistance training class – these are wonderful ways to add tone and health to your body…just know your goals and adjust the weights accordingly.  The body is an amazing machine, at the base of almost every process is a chemical reaction or the rise or fall of a certain chemical in the blood - a highly complex machine that can change with mood, diet, sleep pattern and more - so the next time some well meaning person throws out one of those fitness generalizations that you don't fit into...remember "my body is far too complex to fit into your mold."

DANGEROUS INFLUENCES: How Media is Making Young Girls Turn to Anorexia by Guest Blogger (14 years old) Seattle Briscoe

            Imagine that one of your good friends has been acting strange lately.  She never wants to eat no matter what you offer her.  You didn’t take it seriously, but after a while you notice that she is becoming really thin.  Concerned, you confront her about it, but she shrugs you off and says not to worry.  Obeying her wishes, you don’t obsess over it until one night, something goes wrong.  You received a call saying that she had been hospitalized for being malnourished.

Photo by ttatty/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by ttatty/iStock / Getty Images

 

            Soon after the incident, you go to visit her.  She didn’t look much better, and so you asked her if she felt like she was receiving enough help.  The smile that greeted you when you walked in disappeared and she said, “I’m trying to fix this, but I just can’t.  You don’t understand how hard it is.”  So, you asked her how this started and she said, “There are all of these girls in magazines, I just wanted to look like them.  I became so obsessed, and this was the only way I could achieve my goal.”  The body image your friend wants was caused by the influence society has.  The ideas created by society, the fashion industry, and other influences are reasons why anorexia develops in many teenage girls.

I’m trying to fix this, but I just can’t. You don’t understand how hard it is.

            Due to the glorification by society, anorexia isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.  As anorexia patients’ brains become starved, so does their ability to think rationally, so they become susceptible to other mental disorders (Alexander).  Anorexic teens usually experience anxiety, self-doubt, guilt, shame, severe depression, and even suicidal thoughts (Teo).  In fact, “one in five people who die prematurely from anorexia nervosa do so by suicide” (Alexander).  Eating disorders such as anorexia are actually the most lethal illnesses, with a death rate of 10-20% (Kirkey).  Not only do sufferers experience mental effects, but it also does harm to their bodies.

            “Without treating anorexia, people can experience low blood pressure, slow heartrate, irregular heart rhythm, hair loss, infertility, and structural brain abnormalities” (Teo).  All of these are caused by severe malnutrition due to the lack of food sufferers take in.  Anorexia is also followed by bulimia, where they are forced to eat and then purge (Teo).  Bulimia has even worse side effects, because of the stomach acid that comes up with the food.  It can eventually destroy a person’s organs and put them in the hospital for the rest of their life.

            The thing is, once someone starts, they can’t stop.  After they have triggered the habits of anorexia, it’s hard for them to start eating again, which is why 50% or more hospitalized anorexic patients that are discharged will relapse within a year (Goode).  A study done on anorexic women showed that there is more activity in the dorsal striatum, an area of the brain involved with habitual behavior, which suggests that they acted automatically due to past experiences (Goode).  This is why treatment is so hard to accomplish.  Even if doctors and therapists are able to treat the patient, that old habit is easy to come back to because it was triggered earlier in life.

            “Neither psychiatric medications nor talk therapies that are used successfully for other eating disorders are much help in most cases” (Goode).  Eating disorders develop from low self-esteem, dependence on physical attributes for self-confidence, mood problems, and struggles with stress management, which is why their psychological needs have to be confronted (Teo).  Therapists struggle greatly because of this.  “Therapists often feel helpless to interrupt the relentless dieting that anorexic patients pursue” (Goode).  Even if a person has already lost a lot of weight, they are only able to see themselves as overweight.  “‘They come into treatment saying they want to get better, and they can’t do it’, says Dr. Joanna Steinglass” (Goode).  Things like social media shouldn’t influence anorexia on teenage girls, because anorexia is just too difficult for anybody to overcome.

            “‘Social media and mass media influence the way we react and interact with our world and potentially influence the perception of our own body image’, says psychologist, Amanda Swartz” (Mulliniks).  “Chronic dieting and restrained eating have been said to be a way of life for girls and women, one that is supported and encouraged by peers as well as social media” (Mulliniks).  There are online communities which are popular on social media that are pro-anorexia and dedicated to controlling or losing weight (Mulliniks).  The images that these platforms are using blur the lines between healthy women and starving women.  These images are lowering women’s self-esteem, which drives them to intense methods like starving themselves.  “Erin VanEnkevort says that the ‘increasing use of social media sites combined with mass media messages heightens women comparing themselves to other women’” (Mulliniks).  “‘People are on Facebook or Instagram and they’re constantly comparing themselves to other people’, adds Dr. Swartz” (Mulliniks).

            Another problem social media causes, is that it starts trends which can threaten someone’s body image.  For instance, about three years ago, people were focused on the almost impossible, “thigh gap”.  “‘You have to be severely underweight for [the thighs] to separate, but that’s not the message that’s being perceived by teens’, says Angela Guarda” (Mascarelli).  Social media is a contributor that allows obsessions for a thigh gap or orthorexia to become extreme or harmful (Mascarelli).  “‘The issue of focusing on a particular body part is very common.  What is new, is that these things have taken on a life of their own because of the internet and social media’, says Claire Mysko” (Salter).

            Not only does social media lower women’s self-esteem, but general media does as well.  “Experts believe that exposure to online images of extreme beauty standards and the drive to compare, does increase the risk of eating disorders” (Salter).  Even if media images don’t contribute to the development of anorexia, many have said that it did increase the sufferer’s duration and strength of the illness (Marquand).  These images would make a smaller impact, but more and more people see the images on social media every day.  “‘Although mass media has been producing images of society’s idea of beauty for years, the increased use of social media allows users to compare themselves to their peers, not just celebrities of models’, says Dr. Swartz (Mulliniks).

            Local society also has an influence on anorexia.  “Stress factors, such as peer pressure, academic stress, and social norms where thin is considered more beautiful, are linked to the rise in eating disorders” (Teo).  “‘Women are getting messages of what our bodies have to look like when we’re in our 20’s.  Women feel out of control, not just of their lives, but their emotions’, says Berlin-Romalis” (Kirkey).  That body image that society sends out is nothing but negative, which doesn’t help someone with an already poor body image.

            “Body image concerns play a strong role in the causation and perpetuation of eating disorders, and therefore have to be addressed” (Teo).  If someone has no self-esteem and a bad idea of what their body has to look like, it only leads to negative thoughts.  Many people like this have obsessions with “body checking” (Mascarelli).  This means that they are frequently checking their appearance in a mirror.  These actions only reinforce dissatisfaction with themselves.

            Other influences like clothing brands play a big role in setting a negative body image as well.  Big brands publicly support a bad standard of beauty, which adds pressure to be thin (Mulliniks).  For instance, Urban Outfitters has produced graphic t-shirts with words like, “eat less” on them (Mulliniks).  Mike Jefferies, the CEO of Abercrombie, has even stated that they don’t sell extra-large sizes, because they don’t want larger people shopping in the stores (Mulliniks).  The fashion industry puts the most stress on being skinny.

            The glossy magazines that advertise “stick-figure” models have a disproportionate influence on people predisposed to developing the illness (Alexander).  Researchers have found that young women are trying to slim down to the unrealistic body image portrayed by the fashion industry (Knapton).  People, especially younger girls, see models are role models that they need to look like, but it just influences an eating disorder on them.  “Microsoft has completed research in Israel and the US that found a clear connection between the exposure of young people to overly-thin models and the development of [anorexia]” (Knapton).  Agencies also Photoshop models that are already thin to look even skinnier, and it praises thinness as a sign of beauty (Knapton).  Many of these models have anorexia themselves, so for young minds to see them publicized is extremely dangerous.

            “Dr. Veran has stated that, ‘agencies congratulate girls who lose weight and recommend taking laxatives’” (Knapton).  These models see weight loss as such a positive thing that they don’t see what it is really doing to their health.  The average runway model’s BMI is below 16, which is actually considered medically dangerous (Knapton).  France especially experiences these problems.  Some underweight models are even referred to as “Paris thin”, because of the weight problems that the fashion industry has in France (Knapton).  The image that France has created has caused about 30,000-40,000 people, who are mostly adolescents, to suffer from anorexia (Knapton).

            So, picture this.  That friend that was hospitalized because her anorexia grew out of hand didn’t end up feeling better.  After almost 12 years of treatment, she was given her nutrients from only a bag, because she wouldn’t eat.  She tried to be better, but it wasn’t working.  Everything that she dealt with caught up to her and she became severely depressed.  You tried to be there for her, but she felt so much shame that she refused many visitors.  Eventually, after those 12 years, she couldn’t take it anymore and snuck out of the hospital to jump off a building and end it.

            Anorexia controlled her life, and nobody could do much about it.  Anorexia is influenced by many things that some people overlook, but others obsess over.  Many of the things society says cause women to surrender to an eating disorder.  The fashion industry especially affects a girl’s body image negatively, and other influences contribute to it too.  We need to understand how serious these issues really are.  The ideas created by society, the fashion industry, and other influences are reasons why anorexia develops in many teenage girls.

SELECTIVE STRETCHING The key to creating the “synergistic” effect. by Guest Blogger David Ross

One thing I use as a Yoga instructor to influence a good class is the concept of arranging the postures or asanas in a way that allows the most beneficial movement of flowing blood as it courses through the body. This is achieved by systematically stretching the larger muscles of the body first, which in turn opens a free flow of blood to the smaller muscle groups. Using gravity to influence a certain direction of blood flow is one of the other ways to enhance the yoga practice. By doing these two things in class the instructor creates the “synergistic” effect.

For example, starting the upper body with a good stretch and release of the latissimus dorsi using a double series of half moon pose will insure that the smaller muscle groups , the trapezius, extended obliques, rib cage, deltoids and neck muscles will all gain a greater benefit from any ensuing stretching. Standing postures with the arms up and extended allows gravity to pour the blood into the torso which can then be followed by a closed twisting type posture for an amazing cleansing benefit to the internal organs like the liver, kidneys, pancreas ,upper and lower intestine, and the reproductive organs to name a few.

In the lower body, the hamstrings are first along with the gluteus maximus in bent over postures with the legs straight.

The rest of the leg can now be stretched much more safely and with less effort. This is precisely why the three legged dog pose is used for gravitational flow of blood toward the upper body which is then followed by bringing that leg through, between the hands and flowing into a warrior two pose.

 In short, simple attention to methodology will greatly enhance the experience for your students and allow for a relaxing and fun journey. NAMASTE…

Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin…Know the Difference to Prevent Large Pores and Wrinkles

I fell into the trap myself.   Moisturize the crap out of my skin and hopefully prevent fine lines and wrinkles.   But over-moisturizing can be just as damaging as under moisturizing.   In fact, many times it can be worse!

What is the difference between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin…

The skin is way more complex than people give it credit for.   It contains multiple systems that work together to perform many tasks, like sweating, oxygen transfer, sun protection, goose bump formation – and so much more.  In this complex system is a delicate balance between oil and water.   And we all know from our salad dressing that oil and water never mix very well, but in our skin, they work in perfect harmony and problems only really arise with that system is out of balance.

Oil is a necessary lubricant for the skin.  It allows everything to slide across friction-less to protect the delicate skin cells.  Too much oil and the skin becomes shiny, and pores become clogged – making their structures so weak, the pores can gape open creating large pores, fine lines and wrinkles.  People lacking in oil however can feel extreme tightness in the skin and flakiness on the surface – especially in the cheeks where we tend to lack hair follicles.

 However, when you lack water, your skin can be tight as well, but you will probably lack the flakiness of dry skin.  Dehydrated skin can also look tougher and more compact as the water in the skin provides an almost halo effect on the skin leaving parts of it translucent.  Water is also a necessary component of many of the physiological functions of the skin, so breakdowns of systems can cause structural damage to the skin creating fine lines, wrinkles and misshapen pores.

If your skin is dry, your skin needs more oil.  Much of the base of facial moisturizers provides some sort of oil for your skin.   The goal is to have the lotion be pH balanced and accepted by the skin so that it does not sit on the surface causing clogged pores and other types of damage.  In addition to pH and skin acceptability, we want to also be sure that the color of the oil is correct.  The oil in human skin has a yellowish tinge to it, and many cheaper ingredients to replace oil in moisturizers tend to have a bluish tinge, which can age your overall look causing a greyish hue across the skin’s surface.  Once the oil in the skin is cared for, then we see if the hydration is there.  Often people are great at keeping hydration in the skin, so a simple correction of adding a little more oil to the skin is all that is needed for healthier more resilient skin.   But once the oil is replaced, if the tightness is still there, we can sometimes choose to boost a little hydration temporarily to get the systems working properly again.

Dehydrated skin needs three main ingredients to boost the hydration of the skin.  First, of course, we need water – the purer the better.   It should be the first or second ingredient on the product’s ingredient list.  But pay attention to the wording, if a company has taken the time to purify their water, they will state it on the ingredient list – so if there is no such statement, it is not a guarantee that the water will be pure. 

 Second, hyaluronic acid is a necessary ingredient.   Hyaluronic acid is a wonderful molecule that acts like a magnet to water molecules – making it “fluffier.”  Hyaluronic acid with less water molecules attached is considered “light” and can move down to the lower levels of the skin to hydrate the newly forming cells.  Add a few water molecules to a hyaluronic acid molecule and we considered it medium weight.  Hyaluronic acid molecules like this tend to suspend themselves within the skin’s surface – these molecules prevent the skin from becoming compact and keeps some space between the skin cell structures creating a “halo effect” on the skin.   Finally hyaluronic acid molecules with lots of water molecules attached – hyaluronic acid can attract up to 1500 water molecules – is considered “heavy.”  They are too big to penetrate the skin surface, but are considered very necessary when treating dehydrated skin as they offer a layer of protection to the skin allowing the water on the heavy molecules to evaporate first, protecting the hydration in the skin.

Finally Glycosaminoglycans (gleye –koh – sam –een – oh – gleye – canz), are necessary to both make Hyaluronic acid work better and they, themselves, hold water molecules like hyaluronic acid does and assists in creating a healthy structure to the skin.   It should be said at this point, that many skin care companies like to skip the addition of this ingredient because Glycosaminoglycans are actually quite expensive to create. However, they are the difference between a highly effective hydration and one that can be hit or miss – it may work sometimes, but not all the times, so you run the risk of placing an expensive lotion or serum on your face that is just going to be washed off next time you wash your skin.

Putting lotions whose main focus is replacing the oil in the skin on dehydrated skin can further exacerbate the issues of dehydrated skin as the oil can almost form a plastic wrap effect on the skin, basically evaporating whatever water is left on the skin out to the surface.  This can cause a temporary plumping of the skin which makes the skin appear more soft and moisturized (seen in the old days when people would be petroleum jelly on their feet, then wrap them in plastic bags), BUT this is only temporary, the water in the skin has moved to the surface and will evaporate off soon, which leaves the skin waterless and extremely prone to damage.  

oil can almost form a plastic wrap effect on the skin

Putting lotions on the skin whose main purpose is replacing water on dry skin can not only damage the skin as the oil correction has not been done, but it can actually accelerate the aging process.   We have systems in our skin that create oil, we have systems in our skin that create and hold water molecules in the skin.  We are all natural oilers and natural hydrators.  BUT if you continue to put a hydrator on the skin that did not need it, the skin no longer feels it is necessary to carry out of the function of being a hydrator and the skin can lose its natural abilities.  So you either need to keep putting on a hydrator for the rest of your life or do some sort of correction to get the system working again, but it will never be as good and efficient as it once was.     

Knowing the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin can be crucial to ageless, healthy and resilient skin.  Look for flakes for dry skin, or maybe a whitish cast on the skin – and lack of oil around the hair follicles, dry skin also can be quit itchy due to the skin irritation.   Look for tightness and compactness in the skin (without the flaking) for dehydrated skin.  If you are still unsure, ask an esthetician.  BUT FIRST, ask them if THEY know the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin…as many are not trained to know the difference, if they can’t tell you – find another person to ask.

For the LOVE of ALL that is Good and Decent in this World…STOP Putting Coconut Oil on Your Skin!!!

For the LOVE of ALL that is Good and Decent in this World…STOP Putting Coconut Oil on Your Skin!!!

I know, an eye catching headline, but it completely underlines my complete frustration with a growing trend.   Look on Facebook on any given day and you will see homemade recipes for shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc., most of which are not written by doctors, skin care scientists and even make claims that are outright false. 

Major Problems with Online Recipes:

1.  The recipes are almost never are pH balanced!

2.  YOU are going to manufacture the product and there are BIG Problems with that…don’t get insulted, I’ll explain in a bit!

3.  Claims of the nutrients your skin will receive are outright false or completely over exaggerated!

4.  Study after study shows that you will NOT save money in the long run!

5.  The skin is WAY more complex than a sponge that just soaks up what you slather on it!

The Recipes are Almost Never pH Balanced!

pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity.  When something has a pH less than 7, we consider that substance to be acidic.   When something has a pH of 7 (like water), we consider that substance to be neutral.  When a substance has a pH of greater than 7 we consider it alkaline.  Our skin naturally has a pH of around 4.5-5.  This slightly acidic pH is necessary for normal skin function as the skin can act as the first line of defense in bacterial and fungal infections because many bacteria and fungus can’t grow in an acidic environment. 

When we put something on our skin that is not pH balanced, we throw the skin’s natural pH out of balance.  Too much acidity and our skin will produce excess oil to bring the pH back to the 4.5-5 range.  Neutral products do not tend to cleanse very well or be accepted by the skin very well and alkaline substances (like COCONUT OIL) force the skin to produce EXTRA ACID to bring the pH back down to the correct level.

So what does that do to the skin?  First, your skin cells will start to draw apart.  This will break their holding structures and release the skin’s natural water (or hydration).  The opened space between the skin cells will begin to allow environmental toxins and harmful sun rays to get UNDER the top surface of the skin.  So… HELLO WRINKLES!!!

Second.  The now compromised skin will be left defenseless against a bacterial infection, which can irritate the skin – causing more free radicals – and thus, accelerate aging.  In addition, the imbalance of bacteria can cause acne or rosacea.  So…HELLO ZITS!!!

You are Going to Manufacture the Product and There are BIG Problems with That…

The issue lies with your utensils and your work environment.   When skin care scientists formulate and later manufacture skin care products, they use sterile equipment and package products in a sterile environment.  The world is COVERED in bacteria.   And just as avocados and coconut oil can feed your body – bacteria will LOVE the smorgasbord you are creating for them.  Since you are not usually going to cook your skin care product, those bacteria will continue to grow and multiply.  Giving you a nice, bacteria-laden product to smother yourself with – BLECH!

Secondly we have the issue of metal contamination.  All materials in an actual skin care scientist’s lab or in a skin care manufacturing facilities room are typically high grade stainless steel to prevent contamination and for easy sterilization of the equipment. Also, to keep heavy metals like Nickel, Cadmium and Cobalt out of the manufacturing process.  For years, in our kitchen, we have gathered utensils that contain various metals to make them less expensive or they may be a porous plastic with little scratches for bacteria to hide.  That knife that you chop the avocado with, for example, probably was forged with some nickel so that it could be mass produced and sold at a lower price.  And each slice of the avocado injects that Nickel into your face cream.   What’s the big deal with Nickel, Cadmium and Cobalt?  The answer is allergies and irritation, both which compromise the overall health of the skin.

Claims of the Nutrients Your Skin Will Receive are Completely Over Exaggerated Outright False !

Think of the most exclusive night club in New York and picture the bouncer that hardly lets anyone in… your skin is that bouncer.   And that’s how it should be.   You can place a banana on your skin, your skin is not going to absorb that banana, no matter how long you sit there (but do this for too long and, instead people will question your sanity).

Let’s look at how your skin cell usually gets the Vitamin C from an orange.  You eat it.  Your body ingests it.  The Vitamin C in that orange is then processed so that it can be delivered to the cells – typically using an Enzyme, acting as sort of a UPS delivery man.  The skin cell gets the “knock” from the enzyme (UPS guy) – if it wants the Vitamin C – it will open a doorway in its membrane so that the Vitamin C can enter.   Does this mean that Vitamin C can only get into your skin cells through the food you eat?  No, I just use this example to illustrate how finicky your skin cells are, BUT you need to use some sort of method to get the skin cell to accept that package of Vitamin C. 

Skin care scientists will use enzymes, ingredient pairing and size manipulation to increase the chance that the nutrients are actually accepted by the skin – it usually takes special equipment and training to do that.

Also, many skin care formulations talk about Fatty acids – they are supposed to be the moisture in the moisturizer.  Fatty Acids are long hydrocarbon molecules that very rarely are accepted by the skin, because the skin has its own fatty acid that it prefers, it may allow some fatty acids in, but you should be aware of the color and pH level of the fatty acid you are putting on your skin.  Some fatty acids give off a bluish hue which can make you look older than you are.  Fatty acids that aren’t accepted can stay on the skin’s surface and clog pores.  Alas, there is no PERFECT Fatty Acid….yet.  It will probably be a mixture of several fatty acids that give off the right color, pH and size that will benefit your skin.

So all of the Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamins C and E that they claim to deliver to your skin will probably sit there until the next time you clean your skin so all of the “benefits” that your skin was supposed to receive from the homemade recipe never happen.

Study after Study Shows That You Will NOT Save Money in the Long Run!

When a skin care company wants avocado in their skin care – they buy it in bulk, they buy it in sterile containers and they have facilities that can store it in the perfect light, temperature and humidity.  The avocado is then processed to allow for good absorption to the skin so that the bang for the buck is there.  Something your store bought avocado probably isn’t going to achieve with the instruments you have available in the kitchen.  The fact that skin care companies buy in bulk should tell you that they are paying a whole lot less for that avocado that you are.

Typical skin care companies create a “cocktail” of everything the skin needs to be healthy, prevent aging and clear acne.  The 7-8 ingredients you buy for that “All Natural Face Mask” recipe cannot come close to matching all those ingredients without a pretty big grocery bill.

Finally, since you did not formulate in a sterile environment – it is always advised to use that product right away.   Otherwise, again, HUGE bacteria party on your face or body.  So the problem is you only get to use your mixture one time before it is compromised.

Off the subject, but along the same lines, having dealt with co-ops that do fair trade deals for ingredients, I am a little sensitive to food waste, knowing that some of the countries have serious famine issues.   I often wonder what they feel about seeing people mash up bananas, avocados, oatmeal and slather it on their face only to be washed down the drain and wasted forever.  Is it truly sustainable for us to waste food in such a manner?

The Skin is WAY More Complex than a Sponge That Just Soaks up What You Slather on It!

We have really low standards for companies that formulate skin care here in the United States.  Many countries would never allow someone without at least a science degree to put a personal care product on the market.   The factory that manufactures a lot of the products we sell is in Italy where there are 6 doctors on staff whose primary purpose is to work and rework formulations according to the latest scientific findings on skin care and aging issues.  Their doctorate degrees are actually a pharmacology degree that educated them to determine the best care for a specific person’s skin and how to formulate products to match.  

I could bore you with the process of how the skin forms a collagen molecule and what minerals are used to make sure that process happens.  I could go on for hours on the chemical reactions, signals and internal cell processes that are involved in aging.  Heck, an entire college semester of mine was dedicated to cell and molecular biology.  Add to that, people that scientifically formulate skin care (even with natural ingredients) must be aware of the physiological processes across the membrane of the skin.

With a little education you can quickly realize that those home skin care recipes are not only ineffective, but a drain on your pocketbook – wouldn’t you rather spend your money on a good skin care product that is pH balanced and is formulated based on the latest in scientific research?

GUEST BLOGGERS!! Dave Ross and Shlomit Oren-Ross The Ultimate Post-Yoga Yummy Dinner!

The ultimate post-Yoga yummy dinner!

By David Ross &Shlomit Oren Ross

 

After your hot Yoga practice, first and foremost, Yogis should make sure to hydrate themselves with water according to their body’s necessity. A good strategy to know how much water your body needs is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This should tell you how much water you should drink on a normal daily basis. For example, if your weight 160lb, you should make sure to drink 80oz of water throughout the day.  After the first hour following your practice, I recommended to eat a meal that consists of a high quality protein, vegetables, and a carb (NOT BREAD OR PASTA!!).

Many times when we think of protein meal, we immediately envision RED MEAT. Even though meat is delicious, it can have very unpleasant effects on the body. First, red meat can get caught in your teeth in a most annoying manner! Second, all the health facts such as; red meat is high in saturated fat which raises cholesterol in the blood, and so on. Third, red meat is markedly more difficult to digest than almost any other protein. Therefore, it leaves the person feeling heavy and simply ruins the flow and Zen you attained in your Yoga practice. The recipe I am about to share with you has been a staple of mine through twelve years of hot Yoga practice as a post-Yoga nutrition extravaganza. It will be nutritious and fulfilling, without leaving you weighted down and bloated. This recipe serves two hungry-happy Yogis.

The Trifecta Recipe                                                                               (A.K.A pepper seared salmon, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli)

Ingredients:

-12 ounces of fresh wild-caught salmon (farm raised, if you cannot get the wild-caught)

- 2 normal size sweet potatoes unpeeled.

- 1 large broccoli head, cut into flowers.

- 2 tbsp. of peanut oil. 1 tbsp. of olive oil.

-Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary

- 1 lemon

-1/2 a cup of sour cream (optional)

Directions:

1-    The potatoes will take the longest! Preheat oven to 425 F. Place sweet potatoes in a glass baking dish and bake them in the oven for 45-50 minutes (depending on the potato size).

2-    Cut the salmon filet in half. Generously coat the meat-side of the fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary (or any other spice you might enjoy). Fry the fish meat-side down in peanut oil until it is golden brown. Then flip the fish over for about 5-7 minutes.

 

3-    Cover the bottom of a 5 qt. soup pot with one half inch of water. Place Broccoli flowers in a ceramic bowl and insert it into the soup pot and cover. Use high heat to boil the water for steam. When broccoli becomes soft, sprinkle some salt, pepper, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.

 

4-    When the potatoes are ready, cut them open and add salt, paper, olive oil, and if you’d like some sour cream.

 

 

 

Serve and Boom!!! Enjoy the most euphoric meal you can ask for!

The best part about this meal is its price.  Two servings will cost you between 18-25$!

 

 

Nutrition values:

Salmon:                                   Sweet potato:                          Broccoli:

Amount per serving 6 oz.          1- 8oz potato                                  1 cup ~8oz

Calories 350                                      176                                          20

Total fat 20g                            0                                              0

Total carbs 0                           41g                                          4g

Cholesterol 10g                       0                                              0

Protein 38g                              3g                                            2g

Vitamin A 2%                         578%                                       43%

Vitamin C 10%                       27%                                         110%

Iron 4%                                   5%                                           3%

Calcium 2%                                      6%                                           3%

“I Hate Being Hot” and Other Funny Things Hot Yoga Teachers Hear :)

Hot Yoga is a newer way to look at fitness and it has unbelievable weight loss, strengthening, flexibility and healing results and is something that even really overweight people can do to lose weight without stressing the joints.   But with anything new there are always missed and unrealistic expectations.   This article is a little tongue and cheek, so please take no offense – many people probably never really analyzed what they were saying.

I am going to classify five variations of statements (“I Hate to Sweat”, “I Hate the Heat”, “It Makes Me Feel Nauseous”, “I’m Not Flexible Enough for Hot Yoga,” “I’ve Never Done Yoga Before, So I Don’t Want to Look Bad”) that we always hear as Hot Yoga teachers and illustrate why we can sometimes get a giggle from what people say to us.

“I Hate to Sweat”                                                                                 

Hot Yoga has kind of an unrealistic expectation that you are supposed to be comfortable at all times-  probably because we are under the classification of Yoga, but we are a strengthening, flexibility training and weight loss focused type of fitness.   What other fitness program do you have the expectation to feel comfortable?  The internet is full of funny memes about the soreness from “Leg Day” or “Ab Day,” but for us Hot Yoga teachers, we can have people upset that they didn’t feel relaxed during the entire class.   I’ll go right out here and say – if there was a strengthening and fitness program that allowed you to nap and lose weight –I WOULD BE ALL OVER THAT!!!  Unfortunately, gaining strength and losing weight takes work.  BUT the last couple of moves during a Hot yoga session are what keep people coming back for more – because they prevent the soreness that one would feel from “Leg day” or “Ab Day” and Hot Yoga is known to give a person a better night’s sleep following the class, further helping the body restore itself. 

Remember – Body changes only happen with effort and with you coming out of your comfort zone – this is true of Hot Yoga and ANY other fitness program.
 

“I Hate the Heat”

This can mean a couple of different things.  One, you may relate the temperature of the room to the same temperature outside in the daytime.  But each of those situations work on different parts of the brain.  When you are outside during the day time, the sun is bright, there is noise and all sorts of stimuli that don’t allow you to relax – you are fully in the sympathetic part of the nervous system – your body does NOT allow you to relax.  However in a Hot Yoga room, the lights are down, the humidity is high, the stimuli (noises) are kept low so you are fully in the parasympathetic part of the brain – the relaxation portion.  So Hot Yoga is more akin to relaxing in a Hot Tub in a dark room. 

But, there could be something else at play.  As Hot Yoga teachers, we become in tune with certain cues that may point to something different than a heat intolerance.  When we hear people say “I feel like I can’t breathe,” or “I feel like I am going to suffocate in the heat.”  That means something completely different.  What that means is that you are a shallow breather – someone who really only breathes at the top of the lungs and as soon as you enter the Hot Yoga room, the humidity and heat open the pores of your lungs and “forces” you to deep breathe.  While there are no health problems associated with shallow breathing, shallow breathers tend to have more tightness in their neck and shoulders as all the tension seems to remain there.  Our job as a Hot yoga teacher is then to teach you how to breath with ALL of your lungs – which can feel really alien at first.  So some shallow breathers are advised to just sit and practice deep breathing for their first couple sessions.  But if those people persist – they tend to be some of the best practitioners of Hot Yoga because they are more in tune with their breathing than others than may have started out without breathing problems.  Hot Yoga as well as Regular Yoga have the distinction of really healing the tension and stress of shallow breathers.

 

It makes me feel nauseous”

Again, I come back with “that is what is supposed to do.”  Again – we bump up against the unrealistic expectation that you are supposed to feel wonderful the entire time – yet many of those same people will perfectly accept having sore legs after a long run on the treadmill. 
The nauseous thing in Hot Yoga, though, means something different than the nausea you may feel after a long cardiovascular workout.  The nausea you feel in Hot Yoga has to do with the fact that we are holding muscles in a stretch position while in a heated room, so the principles are very similar to a massage.  You are going to release stress and tension knots – these knots sometimes have inflammation that surround them and the inflammation is no longer held in place and goes “loose” in your system.  Just as you can arise from a deep tissue massage and feel a little dizziness when you stand – the same thing can happen in Hot Yoga.

****THE ADDED AWESOMENESS OF NAUSEA (AND ONE WARNING TO HEED)******

Ok – so first we’ll deal with the warning.  We know that working out in the heat raises the levels of Glycogen in the blood.  Which, in turn, lowers the amount of insulin available in the blood.  So if you eat something sugary or starchy before class (1-2 hours before) you will have nothing in your blood to process the sugar, so the sugar “free floats” in the blood causing Hyperglycemia.  This will definitely make you dizzy and you will definitely need to rethink that candy bar before class next time.

BUT THE AWESOMENESS…In order to lose fat – you must turn a switch in your body to prefer using stored fat cells for energy rather than sugar in the blood.  To do this, you need to exhaust ALL of your glycogen stores (which are stored in the liver during normal activity).  Once the glycogen is depleted – the ONLY place your body gets energy from is stored fat – WOO HOOO!!!!!   And all you have to do is work out in the heat and you get this effect.   If you really want to take full advantage of this – you should also really avoid sugars, starches, caffeine, and alcohol for 1 hour after a Hot Yoga class.  Instead go for veggies and lean proteins.

“I’m Not Flexible Enough for Hot Yoga.”

This is akin to saying, I don’t have enough muscles to be a body builder or I don’t know enough Spanish to go to a Beginning Spanish class.  You come to Yoga to increase your flexibility.  BUT Yoga is a 50/50 Strength and Flexibility.  If you concentrate too hard on building flexibility – you sacrifice building strength.  If you concentrate too hard on building strength, you lose flexibility. 
This also can illustrate something I LOVE about Hot yoga (really any Yoga)  - Everyone comes into Yoga with a different level of strength, flexibility, stress, and even different anatomy.  So your poses are almost ALWAYS going to look different from your neighbors.  Truly, the ONLY Yoga you are ever expected to do is the Yoga that is meant for your body as it is right now.  Some days your balance poses are going to ROCK – other days you don’t have the strength to do one Plank.  But that is OK – the only way you can do a Yoga practice wrong is to try and do someone else’s practice.

“I’ve Never Done Yoga Before, So I Don’t Want to Look Bad”

You have lots of choices to learn Yoga, but Hot Yoga represents probably the easiest point of entry to a fitness based Yoga, because it needs to move so slow.  Traditional Hot yoga only has 26-28 poses over a one and a half hour session just to give you an idea of how slow we move.  So there is ALWAYS lots of time to look around or signal the teacher for help.  But if you really want, one or two private sessions with a Yoga teacher and you will be more than comfortable when you come to your first public class.


Finally – don’t worry about how you look.  Trust me when I say NO ONE IS CONCENTRATING ON YOU.  Sometimes you can come out of a class and not realize that your friend was across the room the whole time.  Yoga is so internal (in the mind) that you really focus inward instead of outward.  And besides – you are the most fantastic you that you can be right now – we’re just here to help you on whatever journey you chose.


Preservative Free Manufacturing vs "No Harmful Preservative" Products

Writer’s Note:  I felt the need to write this article a while ago because it has been coming up more and more during the course of doing business that people are misled to believe that their products are “preservative free” when in fact the labeling of “no harmful preservatives” is used.  Preservative free manufacturing is, in all actuality, a manufacturing technique more than a formulation principle.  First, we will discuss the need for Preservative Free Manufacturing rather than formulating with No Harmful Preservatives and then I will actually discuss how preservative free manufacturing works, and why it will take a sea change in the personal care industry for it to completely take hold.  But the benefits to going preservative free manufacturing go far beyond just the benefit to the product you are placing on your skin, your hair or even your baby’s delicate skin.

No Harmful Preservatives”

The rising chatter about Parabens has indeed forced many big name brands to make the commitment to Paraben Free formulations to keep their health conscious consumers who often times are also the consumers that are willing to spend a little more to own a product with a specific brand name.  The term “no harmful preservatives” is often used in this case, which is a game of semantics, as even Parabens have their sponsors who feel that they aren’t considered “harmful.” 

In place of parabens, we see Quaterniums, Methylisothiazolinone (and its related compounds), and forms of Benzoate (like Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate).  Many of those compounds can be sourced naturally through plant extracts, so companies claiming “all natural or organic ingredients” can do so truthfully.  But it is the contention of those who support preservative free manufacturing that there is really NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD PRESERVATIVE.

Each one of the replacements of parabens named above have some scientific studies that show that they can be harmful not only to the skin, but the overall health and well being of the individual using the product.  But rather than go through each preservative and spell out the problems with it, we can boil everything down to a basic level.  The very nature of a preservative in a skin care or hair care product makes it non-beneficial to the skin and overall health of the consumer. 

The nature of a preservative is either to inhibit (or slow down) the growth of bacteria or fungi in a product or to kill bacteria as it comes in contact with the preservative.  Either way, the preservative has no way of telling what is a good or beneficial bacteria to the skin or overall health of the individual using the product from a bad bacteria that can contaminate the skin care product. 

To explain why we should be concerned about this, we are going to go back to Grade School Biology here and talk about DNA in each cell that makes up your body.  Each cell that is uniquely you contains DNA that was formed from your parents uniting, so to speak JKeep that in mind now, as you picture your entire body – everything that is you.  How much of the cells that make up YOU contain that specific DNA?        Scroll down to find the answer:

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15% !!!   Yes, the rest of YOU is a collection of bacteria, fungi and other little creatures that have become a part of you as you developed.  More and more we are finding out that these communities of organisms living within us are extremely important to our overall health. 

Your skin has a large community of bacteria that live very happily on your skin surface.   This bacteria can play an important role in keeping not only your skin healthy, but also keep you from getting sick.   Imagine a neighborhood of good bacteria living in little houses on your skin.  All of a sudden, the bacterial equivalent of a fraternity house moves in the neighborhood – with late night parties and loud noises and all sorts of trouble.  In a healthy bacterial community, they “starve” out the neighbors, taking their resources and the frat house never gets a chance to flourish (or recruit new freshmen).   Preservatives are the equivalent of dropping a bomb on that neighborhood – yes, wiping out the frat house, but also negatively affecting the “good guys.”

Messing with the balance of good bacteria has consequences in the structure of the skin, the resiliency of the skin and the hormonal balance of the skin.  It can lead to breakouts, oily skin, inflamed skin (which accelerates the aging process) and more.   

It is a common comeback from the industry pushing for keeping preservatives in personal care products that “would you rather have something full of bacteria or fungus on your skin?”  To this, your answer should be an emphatic YES.  We have thousands of years of human history that can deal with bacteria and fungus on the skin – with preservatives, some invented less than a decade ago, our skin does not have a lot of experience in, which increases the odds of negative consequences.  But that is really a false choice, personal care products can - and have for decades in Europe - be manufactured preservative free with very minimal risk of contamination.

WHAT IS PRESERVATIVE FREE MANUFACTURING

Preservative free manufacturing focuses on three major areas: Procurement (receiving of raw materials or ingredients), Manufacturing, and Packaging.

First of all, during the procurement process – all ingredients that are going to be used in the manufacture of personal care products are received in a separate room to prevent contamination.  Each ingredient is swabbed at several levels, then tested for contamination of bacteria or fungus (a few companies also test for heavy metal contamination like Nickel, Cadmium and Cobalt).   If an ingredient comes back testing positive for a bacteria or fungus, most preservative free manufacturers will send the ingredient back to the source (many times that very same contaminated ingredient is sold to a different manufacturer without a “preservative free” commitment.)     

 

Next, during the manufacture, the necessary ingredients are mixed together.   There may be as many as ten mixing processes, and each process represents another situation where the ingredients can be contaminated with a bacteria, fungus or heavy metal.  So periodically, throughout the process, the mixtures are tested.  If a batch comes back as positive, the ingredients can be recycled, but can never be in a personal care product from the facility.  The equipment is then emptied, washed down and sterilized, after which a small batch is run through to retest to make sure the source of contamination has been addressed.

 

Finally, just before the product is placed in its final container, the product is tested once again for contamination.  Again, if there is a contamination, the ingredients are recycled, but never placed in a personal care product, the equipment is then washed and retested until the contamination has been addressed.  If the end product comes sterile, the product is placed in a light proof and leak proof container and sealed to prevent contamination while on the shelves.  This is why many Preservative Free products are placed in frosted glass containers as they do not allow any air exchange or light exchange, keeping bacteria and fungus out.

So there are multiple processes where the products are tested that represent HUGE product loss.  That is why contamination is such an issue with Preservative Free manufacturers.  But with proper practices, this product loss can be kept to a minimum.  There is a minute savings in not having to purchase preservatives for the product, but for the most part, it is an investment used to create a level of trust in ingredients that keep customers loyal to a preservative free brand.

There are a lot of preservatives, many of which we haven’t named here – and you could research each and every ingredient in your skin care, read opposing articles on how they are dangerous or “not so bad.”  But, it is far easier, and in all actuality, better for your skin, hair and overall health to just go Preservative Free.

Scrubs and Peels: When should you use them...answer: Almost NEVER

Facial scrubs like microdermabrasion and mechanical brushes along with peels like chemical peels and laser peels are EVERYWHERE and have been around so long we never seem to want to question whether they are actually doing us good in the long run.  And, as it turns out, their promise of a “more youthful glow” has never been more scientifically false.  In fact – they may be doing more to accelerate the aging process.

What the difference between a harsh peel or scrub and a regular one -- if it causes redness, its too harsh

What the difference between a harsh peel or scrub and a regular one -- if it causes redness, its too harsh

While fine scrubs and gentle peels are great for removing dead skin cells and preventing pores from becoming clogged, research is now showing that the inflammation caused by harsher treatments that are supposed to be used to make skin look younger are actually making the skin AGE FASTER

To understand this, let’s do a blow by blow breakdown of what happens to the skin when it is stressed to the point of inflammation from a harsh peel or scrub.

1.  The skin will begin to flush with blood.  This is the “redness” that you see after a peel or harsh scrub.  That increased blood flow will temporarily swell the skin which decreases the fine lines you may see, but only while the blood is puffing up the skin surface. 

2.  Blood flow at the surface of the skin means hydration loss.  As a way to reduce the “heat” created by the friction from the scrub or chemical reaction of the peel – the vessels release water to “cool” the skin surface.  Dehydration causes extreme problems for the newly forming skin cells, making them less healthy and viable as they make their way to the surface of the skin in future days.

3.  Those growing skin cells are extra-stressed as all of the nutrients in the blood are being re-routed to the outer layers of skin (which normally are lower priority as they are essentially going to turn into dead skin cells very shortly, with or without a peel). 

4.  The lack of water and nutrients for the newly forming skin cells caused by the peel or scrub will lower ability of the skin to properly form the structural components of collagen and elastin.  We’ve all seen someone with hardly any wrinkles on their face, but for some reason, they still look old.  These are usually people with thickened or more compact skin.  Collagen and elastin give our skin a sort of “fluffiness” that creates a youthful glow.  Forcing the skin into regenerating itself quickly with a peel or a scrub, further forces the skin to “cut corners” so the structural components are usually hit hardest.

5.  OH THOSE LOVELY FREE RADICALS.  Damaging or breaking apart skin cells can always set off a free radical firestorm.  Free Radicals accelerate the aging process as just about every one of the signs and problems of aging has to do with the formation of free radicals.    

6.  BUT WAIT, WE’RE NOT DONE WITH FREE RADICALS JUST YET   The Sun –something the skin may view as a free radical producing monster – is a documented and well researched aging machine.  UV Rays in particular can cause DNA mutations that set off the aging process deep within the cellular levels.  Harsh scrubs and peels leave the skin more sensitive to the sun and thus more prone to creating those aging-accelerating free radicals.

So why are there so many spas and med spas offering microdermabrasion and peels and why are so many companies selling those “skin  polishing scrubbers”?  The answer is one or a combination of three things.  One, they could simply be unaware.  The idea of cellular turnover was really only recently debunked with the study of cell senescence (cell aging) with regard to cancer formation, and the person may simply be unaware.  Two, there are a lot of companies that have a lot of money invested in such products and services.  Some laser machines can be as much as $80,000 and it takes a lot of treatments to pay off such an investment.  Three, microdermabrasion and peels have a place in acne treatment for youths and some adults yet to experience the first signs of aging, and there are some skin conditions that microdermabrasion and peels are the most viable option.  So many dermatologists will continue the microdermabrasion processes and laser and chemical peels well after the full understanding of cell aging is completely available.

So what’s the answer to skin aging?   There are a lot of exciting advances in skin care with regard to aging, and with much of the skin care industry beginning to look into the latest research in cell senescence,  we are going to begin to see a major shift.   So the answer to slowing skin aging is this, just as a person who takes care of themselves, eats right, exercises and is well rested looks younger than a person of the same age that smokes, drinks, eats junk food and leads a sedentary life, the little forming skin cells should be nourished from the inside out and the outer layers of skin protected and nourished from the outside in. 

Feeding those growing cells with nutrient rich and free radical reducing fruits and vegetables, a reduction of food containing inflammatories (sugar, alcohol, starches, fatty meats) and an increase in water intake will begin to feed those growing skin cells.  Wearing sunscreen during the day to prevent free radical formation from the sun will protect the skin from the outside.  And finally a nutrient rich, non toxic skin care regimen can keep all the skin cells top, middle and bottom, nourished and hydrated. 

And remember, anything you do to start having more healthy, younger looking skin is going to take at least a couple of weeks.  But when those newer, more nourished and hydrated skin cells reach the surface – your skin will definitely look (and feel) younger.

It's going to take time, but the results of a more delicate approach are long lasting

It's going to take time, but the results of a more delicate approach are long lasting

for more information and access to toxin free skin care go to www.profilingbeauty.com

Why Inflammation is MORE Important than Calorie Burn When It Comes to Weight Loss

We’ve all heard the “Calorie In, Calorie Out” model of weight loss.  If you eat less and burn more calories you will lose weight.  In the most simplistic of worlds, this would be true, but the complex machinery that is our Human Body this model remains one of the most insidious and false ideas in the diet and fitness industry.

There are at the very least four more components to weight loss, but the one we will focus on now is inflammation. 

Inflammation of the Knee

Inflammation of the Knee

We’ve all done it.  We’ve pushed ourselves too far – exercising more vigorously than necessary or even accidentally pushing ourselves too far– shoveling snow in a South Dakota winter until its done, only to finish with a sore back and shoulders.   Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to injury, disease, to stress, and to tension knots creating friction in the body.  It is for all intents and purposes poison to the tissues it inflames. 

There are two types of inflammation: chronic and acute.  Acute inflammation is the immediate response to an injury.  You break your collarbone and the tissues and muscles surrounding the break will begin to inflame.  This is a dangerous inflammation, but one that we actually deal with properly.  Often people with breaks or other sorts of injuries take pain relievers that help to reduce inflammation as the body heals.

Chronic inflammation is the one that we are most concerned with for weight loss.  Chronic inflammation can come from medical conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, and smoking.   But chronic inflammation can also be a response to stress and the knots in the muscles that are formed from stress and tension.  Further, research into sugars, starches and alcohols show that there are also foods that can cause a non-specific inflammatory response in the body. 

Chronic inflammation is sneaky.  You can have it and not really know it until there is some sort of change in the amount of inflammation or when the affected area becomes disturbed.  Most people walk around with some level of Chronic inflammation somewhere in their body.

To understand how inflammation effects weight gain, first we need to understand the hormone Leptin.  Leptin is the hormone released in your body that essentially tells the brain “stop eating, I’m totally stuffed.” 

Chronic inflammation decreases the body’s ability to “sense” the Leptin signal.  So you will eat more when you have chronic inflammation.  It is not some sort of punishment, think of it this way, the body is hurt, it needs nutrition to heal it.  

What is more, levels of inflammation in the body can make your body insulin resistant.  This condition of makes it hard for your body to control blood sugar.  And insulin resistance will make you tired, crave sugary starchy foods and bloat. 

With chronic inflammation your body is “switched on” to fat storage mode.  So lessening your dietary intake or creating more inflammation through vigorous exercise will have little effect.

Some steps to counter inflammation

-          Anti-inflammatories.  Medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are powerful anti-inflammatories, but they come at a cost to our stomach lining and the level of toxicity to the liver.  Natural anti-inflammatories like Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation without such side effects

-          Dietary changes – avoiding food that contain prostaglandins (high fat foods) is the first step, but adding dark fruits like cherries and blueberries or dark leafy greens can really help to counteract inflammation in the body

-          Regular sleep – in addition to the other weight loss benefits of sleep – sleep is anti-inflammatory.  It is the time when your body will heal, and the natural time for your body to seek out those areas in need of attention

-          Hydrate – another area that has other weight loss benefits, but in the case of inflammation, water can help to flush inflammation from your system.

-          Stress relief – Yoga and meditation offer stress relief and inflammation reduction.  Yoga in particular is exercise formulated to not create inflammation, but instead deal with the negative effects of such inflammation.  So much of what Yoga has to offer goes far beyond the calorie burn

Darker Fruits and Veggies usually have more anti-inflammatory properties  

Darker Fruits and Veggies usually have more anti-inflammatory properties