Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Heart Health
Your heart is an essential part of you. It moves blood throughout your body. It is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise to keep your heart strong. A strong heart begins with diet and exercise.

Tips to aid your heart
                 Learn the nutrients that are vital to your heart.
                      Your Heart and Cardiovascular Health

I’ve received many requests about heart health and strengthening the cardiovascular system over the last year by high performance athletes, and particularly those around the world in war torn areas. Many are finding their lung capacity to be less than ideal, running short of breathe, and concerned for their welfare, and that of their team mates, families, and friends.

This is a viable concern, as carrying heavy gear, over long terrains, for unspecified amounts of time will wear even the best down, over weeks, and months of activity. I write todays article with the hopes of helping you get a better hold on things.

You can have mighty lung capacity, and strength, yet, if the heart is struggling it will take it’s toll all the same. The reverse is also true, strong and healthy heart with lungs that are compromised due to smoking, environmental allergens, chemicals, lack of sufficient training, and so forth, will bring poor to mediocre performance, yielding less than ideal results.

One needs to pay attention to diet, exercise, stress levels, and anything both ingested, breathed into the body, or absorbed through the skin. Do this starting immediately. Pay attention to what’s in your environment, what you’re putting in your cart and/or from the mess hall, or what you’re equipping yourself with while on duty. Be leary of products for skin that contain harmful chemicals which pollute the bloodstream. 

Your blood is your lifestream.

First off, realize your heart is performing 24/7.

“Both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems innervate the heart. The parasympathetic nervous system functions in regulating heart rate through the vagus nerve, with increased vagal activity producing a slowing of heart rate. The sympathetic nervous system has an excitatory influence on heart rate and contractability, and it serves as the final common pathway for controlling the smooth muscle tone of the blood vessels.”

Reference: Porth, C M (2007) Pathophysiology Concepts of Altered Health States, 2nd Ed. (p. 344) Lipponcott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

A healthy heart heart also means having healthy circulation. Wearing clothing that’s constricting, belts that are heavily weighted, and gear can easily slow the flow of blood in various parts of the body yielding to less than ideal oxygenation.
Be mindful when loading packs, cinching gear, stacking belts, etc. The same for your everyday business man, except his is more likely to be seeded from tight clothing, belts, and more often than not, poor posture and high fat foodstuffs. Something as common as crossing one’s legs, leads to slowed circulation, and less effective oxygenation. 


- Makes pumping of the heart smooth, continuous and rhythmic. - Supports nerve transmissions.
- Aids in regulating the heartbeat.

Natural Sources of Potassium
- White beans
- Dark leafy greens
- Baked potatoes (with the skin) - Dried apricots
- Baked acorn squash
- Salmon
- Avocados
- White mushrooms
- Bananas
- Kiwi

Vitamin D
- Can lower the risk of heart failure.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Aids in pumping the blood efficiently

Natural Sources of Vitamin D - Shiitake and Button Mushroom - Mackerel
- Sockeye Salmon

- Herring - Sardines - Catfish
- Tuna

- Cod Liver Oil - Eggs
- Sunshine

- Keepsthetissuesofthebodyflexible.
- Selenium is a trace element found in soil, and is required in small amounts to

maintain good health. 
-  It is essential for many body processes and is present in nearly every cell but  
   especially in the kidneys, liver, spleen, testes, and pancreas.
-  Selenium acts as an antioxidant against free radicals that damage our DNA.
-  Selenium contributes to good health by promoting normal liver function.
-  Other benefits of selenium include the protection against heart disease, primarily
   by reducing the "stickiness" of the blood and decreasing the risk of clotting, in turn,   
   lowering the risk of heart attack, and stroke.
-  When combined with vitamin E, selenium appears to have some anti-inflammatory
  • Natural Sources of Selenium
    - Brazil nuts
    - Seafood oysters
    - Cooked una
    - Whole wheat bread
    - Sunflower seeds
    - Pork
    - Cooked beef and Lamb
    - Cooked turkey and Chicken - Crimini mushrooms
    - Whole grain rye

    - Magnesium helps the heart with its muscle contractions by regulating the neuromuscular activity that assures a regular heartbeat.-  It also helps the body to make the most out of potassium and calcium - both of which also affect heart health and function.
  • -  Magnesium improves heart health by regulating the endothelium, a thin layer of cells that helps control the dilation of blood vessels. If the endothelium doesn’t receive enough magnesium, blood vessels constrict, which can cause blood flow to slow or stop. 

    1. Natural Sources of Magnesium
      - Dark leafy greens
      - Nuts and seeds
      - Fish
      - Beans and lentils
      - Whole grains and Brown rice

    - Avocados
    - Low-fatdairy
    - Bananas
    - Dried fruit (figs) - Chocolate (dark)

    Other items that are heart healthy are:
    - Omega 3 fatty acids - Quercetin
    - Folate
    - CoQ10

    - Vitamin C - B Vitamins 

    Ingesting whole, natural, and ideally pesticide, herbicide, hormone free, cage free, and non-gmo, is best. Whole foods come with the benefit of synergetic properties. In other words, you have everything you need to digest (for the most part, unless you already have poor digestion), the whole food, and nutrients become bioavailable upon proper chewing, fluid balance, and low stress levels.
    If one chooses to supplement, do your homework, and/or consult with a knowledgable person. I would say your doctor, however, many doctors are not familiar with supplementation, rather they are trained in the field of diagnosing, prescribing drugs, and so forth.

    A couple years ago, I had a doctor who told me it was crucial I triple my calcium intake. It was a mistake. My heart began to seize up here and there, especially during cardio. I did my homework and was fortunate I didn’t have a heart attack.

    “If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.” 

    Magnesium is perhaps critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. According to Dr. Dean, your heart has the highest amount of magnesium in your body, specifically in your left ventricle. With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart simply cannot function properly.

    Reference: Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D.

    Current stance on the calcium /magnesium ratio is: 1:1. It used to be 2:1. You can easily identify why too much calcium is not a good thing. This could prove a catastrophe in the field, or in your sport. Watch your ratio’s.
    With this in mind, and my previous article: 


    You have a good base to build on for high performance cardiovascular health. I have your requests for an update on the lung article, and hope to update it soon. In the meantime, get started with what you have.

    Keep the blood clean, circulation clear, plenty of good water, the foods listed, and keep your bowels moving, regularly. Get out in the fresh air and sunshine, and move aggressively enough to open the lungs and get the heart rate up for 15-20 minutes, daily. 


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Recovery: 25 Tips to a Speedy Recovery

Every bit as important to your training, is your recovery. 
What makes for the best   recovery?

Just as anything else worthwhile in life you desire to achieve success at, recovery is no different. Your recovery is ultimately planned with the end in mind, therefore, one must start planning their recovery before they even begin to train, be it for their daily routine, an event such as a race, spartan, and so forth, or especially if they our new to training, or have been off training, for one reason or another, for a length of time.

Extreme and elite athletes are my forte, whether military, or not. These individuals have gained much knowledge about their bodies, and their body’s response to various climates, terrains, cuisine, hydration levels, and the effects of rest, sleep, stress, and attitude, as well as, how they all play into recovery well before they even begin. They have learned to tune into their body’s and listen. The have also learned the art of flexibility.

Let’s touch on these:

Listen: Our body’s are constantly sending us feedback: How rested we are, if we need more sleep, more food, more water, more space, more quiet, more activity, more challenge, so on and so forth. It’s our job to be paying attention to the signals our body is sending. If one is pre-occupied with an over scheduled calendar, they are highly likely to ignore all signals until they have a chance to catch their breathe. In extreme cases, or what most people would refer to as ‘Type A’ personalties, who are always on the go (and literally choose this for themselves or they have become conditioned to do so), they typically do not stop to assess the situation until either 1) they become ill, or 2) they become injured. Many, even at that point, do not make the connection of their predicament as having anything to do with listening to their body.

So, first, I encourage you to assess your lifestyle and habits. Second, assess if you are overdoing it anywhere: work, training, play, school, late nights, etc., and work on making the changes that will bring balance to your life.

Lastly, take note when you’re starting to feel overly fatigued, easily agitated, to pains here or there, headaches, muscle tightness, tweaks, and so forth. These are all warning signs. Take heed and many times you’ll never encounter the illness or injury, keep pressing forward and you could be asking for an unnecessary setback. It’s better to take a a day or two off training, and get other productive things done that are less demanding, than end up feeling lousy for a week or more, with low productivity.

Flexibility: Allows one to ‘go with the flow’, to make changes as needed, and be willing to do so at a moments notice. Elite athletes find they make these changes daily in order to meet the needs and demands of the next day’s agenda. No two days of ‘prep’ for recovery are the same. You do not need to become an elite athlete to master this skill, you simply just need to listen to your body, and be willing to make the appropriate changes (flexibility), to bring it back into balance, as soon as possible.

Helpful Tools to Aid Recovery

To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha

25 Tips to a Speedy Recovery
  1. Rest/Nap
  2. Sleep
  3. Hydrate
  4. Take in electrolytes
  5. Wholefoods
  6. Juice: fresh, homemade, mostly vegetable
  7. Ice and Heat
  8. Massage
  9. Walk to keep circulation active
  10. Vitamins B (Complex), 6 and 12, and Vitamin C get used abundantly, restore
  11. Vitamins A, D, and E as needed for injuries
  12. Keep meals satisfying but moderate. Overeating taxes the digestion system, and
    in turn the immune system. Under eating leads to malnutrition, slows healing,
    and mental sluggishness.
  13. Use an inversion table to encourage blood flow to harder to reach places.
  14. Use compression, as needed
  1. Stretch daily
  2. Hot and cold water therapy
  3. Proper pre and post workout nutrition
  4. Proper timing of pre and post workout nutrition
  5. Additional supplementation, as needed: BCAA’s, L-Glutamine, and so forth.
  6. Consume extra protein (casein), before you go to bed and a regular whey first
    thing in the morning
  7. Although many athletes turn to ibuprofen for inflammation, usage over a
    period of time, or high doses has been found to cause liver damage. Try
    tumeric, cinnamon, or ginger instead.
  8. Fish oils
  9. Creatine post training
  10. Warm-up properly (yes, this is prep for recovery, daily)
  11. Ditch sugar and alcohol


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Stress Free Daily Living

       15 Ways to Start the Day off Stress Free and Stay that Way

Man is that he might have joy?

No, man, woman and child are surely meant to have joy, and with it, inner peace.

"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy,
not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work."
- Thich Nhat Han

15 Ways to Stay Stress Free Daily:
  1. Get out in the sunshine for 10-15 minutes. Even if it’s a cloudy day, bundle up and head outdoors. The sun will still reach you.
  2. Get fresh air. While you’re outdoors (preferably away from high density areas), take time to breathe deep. Visualize fresh air entering, and on exhalation, stagnation leaving.
  3. Positive thoughts: Whenever I hear one of my athletes stating something negative about them self, I insist they then speak three kind things about them self. It works. Positive thoughts can change a grim situation into something very tolerable, which can then be dealt with.
  4. Acupressure: Pressure applied on various acupuncture points relieves stress (built up energy), and soothes the nerves, muscles, and tissues. You do not need to be experienced to put pressure on points, just apply firm, even pressure in intervals that work for you.
  5. Space: Stress collapses space. It makes one feel as though the room is shrinking. We all need space at times. Whether it’s being alone to curl up with a book, write a letter, be alone, or in a grander way, we each need to actually go to a location where there is plenty of space, such as hike a tall peak to take in the view, surf the waves and take in the spacious ocean, walk the beach, or simply, look up into the sky... be it day time or night.
  6. Sleep more: The majority of Americans do not sleep enough, nor rest enough. Rest means, to relax the mind and body. Get a good nights sleep. Your day will become much more productive when well rested. You are better able to handle the unexpected’s in life when well rested, and your immune system appreciates all efforts on its behalf.
  7. Eat clean: Eliminate sugars, excess sodium, unhealthy fats, flavored waters, energy drinks and so forth. Your body will save a tremendous amount of energy not having to deal with these items. Your organs will heal up and rejuvenate.
  8. Eat organic as often as possible. Pesticides and herbicides mimic estrogens in the human body, causing hormones to become out of balance. If you cannot buy organic, use a wash to remove residues, or add a couple Tbs. of apple cider vinegar to your sink, add your produce, let sit a couple minutes, gently wash off and store.
  9. Eat like a Rainbow: Get a variety of color in each meal, red peppers, orange carrots, yellow squash, green kale, blueberries, purple eggplant, and so forth. There are all sorts of fruits and veggies to choose from, switch them up.
  10. Drink pure water: As clean as possible. Tap water isn’t what it used to be, check with your city to find out exactly what’s in your tap water. You can buy a straw that filters out pollutants, or get a system that filters water, or simply do your homework on bottled water. I’ve found Fiji water to be the best at present.
  1. Drink herbal teas: Those of you who know me well, know I’m a Master Herbalist, and am always mixing some type of herbal concoction. Herbal teas have been around a mighty long time. Drink them hot in the winter, cold in the summer. Do a bit of research to find a tea that would be helpful for your particular issue, if you have one. If you need assistance, let me know, I’m happy to help.
  2. Laugh: Laugh every day. I’ve gotten so good at this I can just sit and make myself laugh. LMAO!!!!! My kids think I’m out of control, but they laugh, too, and it changes the atmosphere in 30 seconds. Rent a movie, go to a movie, go to a comedy club, listen to a comic on iTunes, or YouTube. Challenge yourself to find humor in at least one thing every day, your child, your self, spouse, stranger, not poking fun, just looking at life a little differently.
  3. Find time to be Carefree: Free from the cares of the world and your normal responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be an official vacation.... it can be a walk in the mountains, a swim in the lake, playing games or wrestling, etc., with kids, and so forth. De-stress DAILY.
  4. Bodywork: Get a massage, soak in a bath, foam roll, ball roll, etc., loosen up tight muscles and allow the energy to freely flow.
  5. Time management: Learning how to effectively plan our use of time can save one a tremendous amount of stress. We all know the feeling of ‘running late’ for something. Now, think of the feeling when you haven’t rushed and are there five minutes early, prepared. Like night and day. Plan your day the night before, be realistic. It’s not necessarily about quantity but rather quality. With poor planning one can be running around like a frazzled chicken and yet accomplish close to nothing, and what they did accomplish wasn’t enjoyable because they were rushed. Proper planning allows one to maneuver through the day, calmly, putting in quality, and making thoughtful decisions, yet they have the ability to remain flexible.
Life is to be lived to it’s fullest. Live with no regrets. Live with happiness and peace.
If you want to be happy, be.
                                      - Leo Tolstoy