Monthly Archives: March 2016

John’s Health Transformation

At Longevity, we believe that while detoxification and supplementation are important, good nutrition is crucial to optimal health.  To demonstrate the impact of switching to a nutrient-dense whole foods diet, we interviewed John S., a Longevity client who transformed his diet in 2016 by doing the Whole 30 Program, and has already seen life-changing results.  If you’re thinking about overhauling your diet this year, feel free to ask one of our staff members for recommendations and programs to help you get started.  
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Describe your health history and how you’ve felt the last few years.  
After starting my career, I began to struggle with my weight and overall health.  It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but a snowball effect impacted primarily by 15 years of poor eating, added stress and minimal exercise.  At 40, my weight pushed the 240 lb mark, my triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose levels were elevated, and my energy levels were way down.  I started to watch portions a little and ran for a couple of months.  My weight came down some, but by blood work was still an issue.  My doctors had seen enough and were ready for me to get the numbers under control or get on medications.
 
Why did you decide to do the Whole 30 Program?  
My wife had heard of the program and was going to start it at the new year.  What better time to try something?  I read up on the program and just made up my mind.  I decided to go all in and really do it right.
 
What was the hardest part about doing the program?  
The first 10 days.  I ended up reading every single label on salad dressings, condiments, and other packaged foods, looking for options that would be considered approved.  Very few are available, which made decision making even easier to some extent.   My first 10 days included a business trip to Las Vegas.  The first obstacle I ran across was that there were no approved options on airplanes.  For the flight back, I planned ahead and had some approved snacks and fruit with me.  Dining out was another very interesting experience.  I’m not a picky eater, so I usually order what is on the menu without any changes or special requests, but not during Whole 30.  Veggies steamed, no butter…salad with no cheese, croutons, dressing (because you know based on reading all those labels the odds of an approved dressing being available are slim to none), no breads etc.  I also asked for slices of fruit to be added to salads to add some additional flavor without dressings.   I ate all the time on Whole 30, but stopped grabbing easy grab-and-go snacks like chips and crackers, and started eating carrots, nuts and fruits to get through hunger spells.
 
When did you first start noticing changes in how you looked and felt on the program?
It didn’t take long before my clothes started to get a little baggy.  Coworkers were taking notice as well.  I didn’t weigh myself, so I had no clue what kind of results I was getting, but I knew my weight was coming down.  I didn’t add exercise during my Whole 30 until after the first 30 days, so my results are strictly from eating better and smarter.
 
Describe your current health picture.  
During the program my weight dropped to 209 lbs.  I started at 221 lbs after losing some weight the previous year, but a 12 lb drop in one month is astonishing.   I lost 3 inches in my chest, 4 inches in my belly and over 2 inches in my waist.  I loosened up with the diet and added exercise the second month and have lost another 4 lbs.  I had my blood work redone and was shocked!  Years of having bad numbers were erased with one month of healthy eating.  My levels were not just barely within the range, but had come down to below the halfway point of the range in every category that was elevated in prior test.  This was the best part for me.  I validated this as more than just a weight loss program, which I want to be clear…it is not.  It’s a lifestyle change.  It’s changing how you look at food.  
 
What supplements are you currently taking to maintain your healthy lifestyle?  What healthy habits are you maintaining?  
Today, I would say I am still eating the Whole 30 85-90% of the time.  I take fish oil, adrenal support, a probiotic and a multivitamin daily.
 
What have you learned about the importance of a whole foods diet when it comes to your overall health and well-being?  
More than anything, I’ve learned what a healthy lifestyle truly looks like.  The 10-15% of the eating I do now that is not Whole 30 approved is a decision I make every time I decide to go off plan.  I say no to the “bad” choices way more than I ever thought I could or would.

How to Stop Seasonal Allergies Before They Start

By Cristina McMullen, Certified Wellness Coach, Bio-Energetic Practitioner

Cristina McMullen

Spring is just a few weeks away!  The time of year when the days are longer, the air is warmer, and birds are chirping everywhere.  If you are anything like me, you have been eagerly awaiting this time of year since the first cold front last fall.  But if you are one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may be dreading the upcoming pollen that causes your head to spin, your nose to run, your eyes to itch, etc.

Mainstream medicine recommends that those who suffer from seasonal allergies take over-the-counter drugs like Claritin and Zyrtec the second things begin to bloom.  While these mask the symptoms, European research has shown that this approach leads to more chronic, long term illnesses that develop later in life such as asthma, skin rashes, arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.  Instead of masking the symptoms of allergies, why not get to the root cause(s) of why you may have symptoms in the first place, and then fix the underlying issues?

In order to know how to eliminate allergies, we first have to understand exactly what allergies are and what is going on in the body during an allergic response.  By definition, an allergy is a hyperactive response of the immune system to certain substances that are ‘foreign’ to the body.  Airborne allergies are caused when pollen, a foreign protein, enters the body and causes the IgA antibody of the immune system to over-react.  This starts an inflammatory response in the body, releasing the chemical histamine, which causes the all-too familiar allergy symptoms of sneezing, itching, eye irritation, and runny nose.

We see more and more people suffering from the effects of seasonal allergies because the immune system has become severely compromised.  Whether we are injecting damaging chemicals into the body through vaccinations, taking pharmaceuticals, or dealing with the everyday exposure to dust, metals, and other environmental chemicals, our bodies are becoming more and more toxic.  Combine these environmental exposures with poor nutrition and lack of exercise, and you have a recipe for disaster.  The immune system cannot keep up, and it begins to hyper-react to just about everything, producing even more histamine and causing even more severe allergic reactions.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE ALLERGY SEASON HITS

Excessive amounts of histamine in the blood can be toxic, and the liver is the organ responsible for removing it quickly.  The rate at which the liver can remove this histamine determines the severity of allergy symptoms.  This is why the number one thing you want to do when getting ready for allergy season is to support the liver!  This is done by reducing your exposure to environmental toxins and repairing any potential damage that has been done to the liver.  Certain foods that help to protect and detoxify the liver include apples, beets, carrots, red onions, garlic, eggs, brown rice, artichokes, dandelion, spinach, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.  Milk thistle is one of the best herbs for detoxifying and even repairing the liver.

It is also important that we strengthen the immune system to that it does not hyper-react to the proteins found in pollen.  Again, decreasing our exposure to environmental toxins takes stress off of our immune system.  Supplementing with colostrum is also a great ideas as it is a sure way to build up the immune system.  You can also use raw, local honey to ‘desensitize’ your immune system to the pollens specific to your area.  The honey, which is made from pollen, exposes your body to very low levels of what the immune system reacts to when it is exposed to large amounts.  So much like an immunization or homeopathic remedy, low doses of what typically causes a response by the immune system can actually help alleviate the symptoms.  I recommend that you ingest 1 tablespoon of the most local honey you can find every day starting now and continuing throughout pollen season. (We sell raw, local honey in our Walk-In Nutrition Shoppe!)

WHAT TO DO DURING ALLERGY SEASON

If you begin to feel the effects of pollen season, there are natural remedies to help your body combat the excessive levels of histamine in the system.  These include anti-inflammatories like quercetin, bromelain, and turmeric.  These tend to have a synergistic effect when they are combined into one formula, much like the AI Formula and D-Hist that we carry in the Nutrition Shoppe.  There are also other Chinese herbal combinations that help relieve the symptoms of hayfever, but without the nasty side effects of conventional over-the-counter allergy products.

Be proactive about allergy season this year!  Call or stop by our Nutrition Shoppe for supplement and lifestyle recommendations to stop your symptoms before the pollen arrives!  Many of the products mentioned in this article are 15% off this month (March, 2016).