The Secret to Great Looking Skin

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Do you guys ever wonder why we always have to make things so complicated?  

Most good things in life don’t have to require drama or endless scientific study and analysis. When we look to our past, its obvious our ancestors had little to no time for this.  They just paid attention. They had too, they spent most of their time working so that they could stay alive.

What in the world does this have to do with great looking skin you ask?  A few months ago, a very pretty, young colleague of mine told me I had very few wrinkles for someone on the cusp:) That would be a guy in his mid forties according to her, lol. Thanks Q if you’re reading this! My secret? Read on.

One of the things that people did intuitively back in the day was cook their meat on the bone. You know like for Thanksgiving? Only they ate it like that most of the time, and for good reason.

In her book, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” Dr. Catherine Shanahan reveals what all past, healthy cultures had in common that allowed them to thrive, while their neighbors did not.  She identified four pillars of health, only one of which I am going to briefly discuss today.  All of the robust, super healthy cultures in history practiced these four pillars. 

Turkey Pick Ya that’s right, one of them was cooking meat on the bone.  The more the entire animal stays together: bone, fat, skin, marrow and other connective tissue, the better.  Not only does it taste WAY better, it’s also much more nutritious and delicious.  As long as you don’t overcook it, all the nutrients and flavor compounds survive, and are gently released into the meats juices.

The connective tissue in skin, ligaments, cartilage, and bone are released including glycosaminoglycans. They include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid…all found in nutritional supplements for joints.  However, there are many, many more members of this family of molecules. So much so, that joint supplements do not hold a candle to the real thing.  Just yet another reason to JERF.

Everyone has heard of collagen right?  Well eating meat this way is not only fantastic for supporting our joints, but for all of our connective tissue, including skin.  That’s because we get a large dose of collagen every time we eat that bird on turkey day. Problem is once a year is not enough.

Collagen works wonders when it comes to skin health.  It helps keep skin tight and elastic regardless of age.  That means a lot less wrinkles. Collagen nourishes and supports, allowing skin to be soft and have that healthy glow.  It’s one reason I always have a pot of bone broth in the fridge.  I also use a grass-fed collagen protein powder in my smoothies and other drinks.

Collagen is also found in your bone, arteries, hair and many other places. Believe it or not eating meat on the bone and preparing bone broth on a regular basis is about the closest thing to the fountain of youth you will ever find.  Bag the expensive, and chemically ridden creams and lotions, and instead apply the ancient wisdom of our fore bearers.

It will keep your skin looking awesome regardless of age, and you out of the doctors office for unnecessary prescriptions and surgeries.

Older healthy skin

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about taking charge of your own health, please visit my website, breakfreewellness.net  If you are ready to get started today, please fill out your individual health history and I will be in touch soon!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

Pinto or Porsche? Optimize Your Engine

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I should know as I’ve driven both cars…and felt like both cars.

The above picture was taken in Las Vegas last year just before doing a few laps in a Porsche 911 GT3.  Several years before I was super stressed out with school, a bad relationship, eating too much crap, depressed, not exercising enough and I was carrying around nearly 20 extra pounds. I even developed a weird medical condition my doctor could do nothing for. You get the picture, I ran like a Ford Pinto….lame.

Many people stay on the path I was on for their entire lives until they reach the breaking point. Then they go to their doctor and are given a pill, cream or liquid drug to manage their symptoms.  Things naturally get worse not better over time so a more powerful pill, cream or liquid is prescribed.  Again because this is not addressing the root cause the downhill slide continues and chronic disease of one form or another develops.  They feel and look like the random, lonely, unhappy Pinto below.  The worst part is they ACCEPT this and see it as normal.

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Part of the reason I ran terrible was because my body wasn’t detoxifying optimally.  Not only was I treating myself poorly but I was also being exposed to the many chemicals, toxins and other pollutants in our environment.  Talk about a double whammy.  Everyday this happens through the air we breath, water we drink, food we eat and the environment we live and work in. It’s just a part of our modern world.  In the past 20 years alone we have been exposed to hundreds of new, loosely regulated chemicals that are being linked to numerous health issues.

The Porsche I drove was fast, high performing, cornered on a dime and basically ran flawlessly. She was obviously well taken care of (oil changed, fed high-octane fuel, tuned for ultimate performance and shown a lot of love). Just like her we need our oil changed, we need the right fuel and we need to show ourselves enough love.  One way to do this is making sure we have more toxins and other junk coming out of our bodies then going in.  Optimizing and tuning up our detoxification pathways is vitally important in order to feel, look and run like a Porsche 911 GT3.

Here are some quick tips on how to do just that:

  • Get between 7-8 hours sleep MOST of the time, this has to be a priority
  • Invest in a high quality air filter for your bedroom and water filter for your home (stay hydrated)
  • Clean up your personal care products and avoid phthalates, parabens, fragrances, and sulfates.  I just wrote a newsletter on this topic, sign up here for more info.
  • Avoid the dirty dozen and eat a nutrient dense, real food diet
  • Move towards glass and steel kitchen ware instead of plastic and teflon
  • Sweat heavily 2-3 times a week through exercise and sauna use (sweating helps to excrete toxins)

These are just a few things you can start doing to perform better, live stronger and tune up your Porsche.

Starting in mid-June I will be offering a beginner detox 8 week group workshop.  We will personally be meeting as a group (for those who are local) multiple times and/or over a conference call format on the phone for those out of the immediate area.  We will be learning among other things how to stimulate and support our bodies natural detoxification systems, the best foods for detox, how to make it sustainable (as in for life), the role career, relationships and spiritual practice plays in this process and many other important ‘non-food’ ways to detox. You can expect to lose weight, gain more energy, improve your brain function and sleep better for starters. I am just starting to put the program together so more info to follow soon!

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to live strong and own your health then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here.  As a thank you I will send you a free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Ready for a free health consultation now?  Click here and fill out your health history and I will be in touch promptly!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Healh

Carbohydrates & Cholesterol…Good or Bad?

A few years ago when I began to really dive deeper into nutrition and wellness, the same theme continued to pop up: What we had been told to eat for the last 40 years or so to be healthy was not based on sound science.  When you look at how much sicker we are today than in the 70’s for example that becomes very clear.  Diabetes and all manner of chronic auto-immune diseases are reaching epidemic levels. Carbohydrates and cholesterol have both played a critical role in the mess we find ourselves in.  Are they good or bad for us?

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Although many diet fads have come and gone in that time, (and many more are sure to follow) in general it has been recommended that we eat much less fat and cholesterol in favor of a lot more carbohydrates. Again, it’s quite clear this is not working.  Even in the 70’s there was real evidence showing that basing ones diet in whole grains and other carbs was not in our best interest from a health perspective.  Especially in relation to diabetes, inflammation and weight gain. One big reason this data was ignored was because it didn’t make anyone a lot of money. It didn’t fit the governments nor farmers agendas very well.  Its much more profitable to grow grain and corn in excess (and put it in everything…I mean everything) than fruits and vegetables.

sad-bucs-fans-bags-on-head-550x385Cholesterol and fat have been blamed for everything from obesity to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never winning a Superbowl.  Again this is based on flawed science and big business. The evidence is there for anyone who wants to look at the available science that high levels of cholesterol in our blood have very little to do with the cholesterol we eat in our food.  It’s also very clear there is no hard proof supporting the fact that higher cholesterol levels means a greater risk of heart disease and other coronary problems.  An excellent read on the subject is “Cholesterol Clarity” by Jimmy Moore, but there are countless other books and sources of information on the subject.

My Dad took a Statin drug to lower his cholesterol artificially like thousands of others.  After doing my research and completing relevant coursework in my studies, it became obvious that based on his numbers this was totally unnecessary.  Even my brother, a Harvard trained physician now agrees with me.  Statins, like antibiotics and pharmaceutical drugs in general are over prescribed to an alarming degree. Studies link this behavior to modern-day health issues like poor gut health, neurological problems, allergies and many, many more). Luckily, Dad was on a low dose statin so has hopefully experienced fewer side effects, if any, but that may never be fully known.  He doesn’t take them anymore.

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A little over a year ago the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new cholesterol guidelines essentially declaring that millions of more healthy Americans need to start taking statins.  An article from the New York Times quotes both the above associations, although non-profit are heavily supported by drug companies.  The connection here is obvious and is nothing new.

So if basing our diet on carbohydrates is a bad thing and cholesterol is not nearly as bad as once thought what is the plan of action? Not surprisingly it comes back once again to just eating real food, but in ratio’s that better suit most people.  Carbs are not inherently evil, far from it.  They provide glucose which is fuel for energy. However, they need to come from clean sources and in conjunction with activity levels. Refined, processed, simple sources of carbs (most cookies, crackers, chips, pastries, cereals, breads, etc.) should be drastically reduced along with sugar (all carbs turn to sugar).

Look to sweet potatoes, yams, squash, plantains and green veggies instead as some healthy complex carbohydrate sources.  Even whole grains, while much better than refined grains tend to be inflammatory for many. If not prepared properly they can also inhibit absorption of other nutrients. Then of course gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye can be very troublesome as well.  Lastly, if you are not very active be careful as those excess carbs have to go somewhere.  If you don’t use them for energy they tend to make your butt, thighs and belly expand.

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It is shocking that cholesterol ever got such a bad rap. Its found in every cell of our body, forms the building blocks for our hormones, is part of the myelin or sheathing that protects our nerves, is vital for vitamin D production, our brains are full of it…need I go on? So eat those egg yolks, that grass-fed butter and beef and clean animal products in general!  The latest science is connecting too much carb intake with high levels of LDL pattern B cholesterol, high triglycerides and low HDL which is a very ugly trifecta you do not want. Yes, you read that right, eating too many carbs (especially the processed, refined kind) very well may be a big reason we are fat, sick and heart disease is rampant.

So the takeaway message here? Eat the right kinds of carbohydrates in conjunction with how active you are and do not “base” your diet on them.  They should occupy about 20% of your plate on average with plants taking up 65-70% and protein the last 10-15%.  Oh and eat lots of cholesterol, if you are like most people it will do wonders for you!

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn how to live strong and own your health then please sign up for my newsletter here and receive a free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Ready for your free health consultation now? Click this link and fill out your health history and I will be in touch promptly!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

Top Ten Other Weight Loss Strategies #3

Believe it or not exercise can contribute to your weight loss struggles!  The wrong kind of exercise or to much of it can make you feel terrible and not allow for the results you want. You see them, (or maybe you are one of them) the people who spend 1-2 hours on the treadmill 5-7 days week and never seem to get any smaller and/or they plateau…sometimes the opposite even happens.  Now that is frustrating.

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Exercise: #3

The prevailing thought here is the more you exercise (which often goes along with eating too little) the more calories you burn and therefore the more weight you lose.  Problem is our bodies are not a simple math problem.  That might work initially but it rarely if ever works long-term, it’s not sustainable at all.  Who wants to be hungry all the time? Who wants to feel weak?  Who wants to just suffer through their workout day after day staring at a mind numbing TV? Not eating enough and exercising too much is a recipe for disaster not to mention you just might tear the head off of anyone who gets in your way.  This behavior can tell the body hey you’re starving me so I’m going to start conserving fat and any other available resources I can and hence the plateau or even weight gain. This is something programmed into us from times of starvation and famine which is hardly the case now.

A few symptoms of over-training:

  • Lower performance (you feel way too tired during and/or after working out)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Aching joints/inflammation
  • Frequently get sick
  • low libido

For those who don’t have a weight issue yet still exercise like their training for the Olympics all the time, they still need to be careful as well.  Along with the above mentioned side effects constantly stressing out the body this way can put undue stress on the adrenals as they churn out the hormone cortisol which helps us to deal with and manage external and internal stress on the body.

It’s a wonderful hormone and very effective unless we are always calling upon it to help us in the stress response.  If it stays high enough long enough not only will you experience symptoms of over training but other, more serious side effects of adrenal dysfunction and fatigue.  Cortisol is best released in emergency, flight or fight and/or other adrenalin pumping situations after which it then goes back to normal levels. Not only can over training mess with cortisol but any stressors, especially chronic background stress that is always present can have the same effect.

The latest science on weight-loss, fat burning and fitness in general shows that it is best achieved through burst fit or high intensity interval type training.  In fact studies have shown that as little as 5-10 minutes of this type of activity can produce as good or better results than going at a steady pace for 60 minutes for example.  I have began to experiment with this and love it.  I have a favorite hill near where I live and I run up it resting every 90-120 seconds or so until I reach the summit (so 3 times). Then I walk down and do it again!  It feels great and only takes about 30 minutes to complete including warm up and cool down (which actually takes longer than the workout itself) AND I get to feel like I’m in the movie, “The Last of the Mohicans”.

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The same type of idea can be applied to just about any discipline including running, swimming, cycling, hiking, rowing, yoga, weight training, etc.  Another favorite of mine is to do a circuit of 4 different strength training routines in quick succession.  For example pull-ups, push-ups, squats and dead-lifts rotating from one to the other and only stopping when necessary even if in the middle of a set.  When I feel I can continue at the same intensity then I pick up where I left off.  Again this does not take very long (about 12-15 minutes) and has the same effect as running up my hill.  It’s all about quick, short bursts of very intense effort.

Too much of anything including exercise tends to be bad for us.  Past a certain point, our bodies simply do not adapt as well and we will create all kinds of chaos if rest and recovery are not made as much of a priority as working out.  This chaotic state can be just as bad as eating poorly and sitting on your ass on the time.  Just listen to your body, as long as  you feel good go for it but be very mindful of what your body is trying to communicate to you.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how I can help you lose weight and exercise the right way then please follow my blog (left side of any page on my site) and/or subscribe to my monthly newsletter.  I will send you an excellent, free eBook on the 5 critical pillars of health as a thank you for doing so!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

Top Ten ‘Other’ Weight Loss Strategies (#2)

Do you eat real food or food like substances?  When I first heard the phrase, “food like substance” it really struck a chord with me.  The majority of the American diet is precisely that. People everyday put things they believe to be food into their mouths without really thinking about what it is doing to them on a physical, mental or even spiritual level.

What we eat becomes an expression of ourselves, its information and instruction for our cells to do this or that and it is something we have control over. The study of epigenetics hypothesizes that we actually have the ability to turn genes on or off. Cancer genes, diabetes genes, heart disease genes, weight loss genes, etc., etc.  Were beginning to understand that just because Grandpa and his family had disease ‘x’ it doesn’t mean you have to as well.  Same goes for weight loss.

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#2: Refined & Processed Foods

So what does it mean to process a food?  Things like smoking, drying, dehydrating or freezing for example are all ways to process the things we eat.  These forms of processing can be quite healthy and make food last longer if done right.

We all know what junk food is and what it looks like.  You have all seen the super colorful bags, boxes and cans displayed at the local grocery store.  I used to work for 7-up and there was a lot of marketing that went into displaying things in a certain way so as to entice consumers to buy our product.  From gizmos, to gadgets to free giveaways and even a lame pin-up calendar of the 7-up truck drivers!  Trust me that was nasty and you do not want to be subjected to it:)

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Not eating junk food may seem like a no brainer when it comes to weight loss yet too many people still believe that if what they eat is low-calorie and/or low-fat it will prove to be an ally in their weight battle. Nothing could be farther from the truth.  These franken foods are full of garbage our bodies do not recognize and overtime can wreak havoc as our internal systems attempt to adapt (including blood sugar fluctuations leading to insulin resistance which promotes weight gain and eventually a lovely case of type II diabetes). These lab made foods are created to be quickly and easily consumed which makes us eat more than we should.

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All the junk food companies want their product right at eye level so you don’t miss them.  These are the very definition of food like substances (Oreos, Doritos, sodas, pastries, crackers, cookies, cereal the list goes on and on).  Flip them over and check out the ingredients and you will find stuff like: enriched flour, phosphates, sodium bicarbonate, corn syrup, sodium diacetate, (ya I spell checked it) artificial flavor, soybean oil, sugar, vegetable oil, raisin paste, modified cornstarch, etc. Ingredients like these are loosely regulated and vaguely labeled and there is very little knowledge of how they truly affect us.  The only proof is how much better you feel once you stop eating them and opt for real food.  This should be a HUGE indicator that they are doing damage and contributing to the health crisis in all modern economies.

Some of the above ingredients are banned in Europe and other countries as a whole list of health problems are linked to them.  Guess where I found these particular ones? In the elementary school where I teach.  It’s some of what my students eat for breakfast in the form of pizza, corn dogs and something resembling a cookie.  Yes, for breakfast and we wonder why so many kids are overweight, act out all the time, are moody, have ADHD, ADD and a host of other acronyms we like to slap on them in order to make prescribing drugs a lot easier.  I still remember one of my students who was a handful.  They put him on Ritalin and he became a ghost of his former self, almost zombie like.  It was as unnatural as anything I’ve witnessed.

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I can eat an entire box of crackers if I want to.  That is a crazy amount of calories and yet I’m still hungry.  Why? Because I have the calories and no nutrition. This is exactly what junk food companies design their products to do. Larger companies even have “food scientists” who engineer foods to appeal to our natural cravings. We love sweet and salty things and as you know most junk food is chock full of one or both. These so-called scientists turn processed foods into drugs which makes it very hard to stop eating them.  A lot of people experience withdrawals when they cut back or quit cold turkey just like with alcohol or street drugs which speaks to how proficient these scientists are at their craft.

Real, whole, nutrient dense foods taste just as good and without question are much more satisfying. When you eat this way you naturally stop when full and your cravings for junk food diminish over time as you crowd them out.  This leads your body to its natural “set point” that Jonathon Bailor talks about in his book, “The Calorie Myth”.   If you’re looking to achieve your natural, healthy set point (weight) look no further than eating real food (including plenty of healthy fats like real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, avocado, lard, etc.)  It will change your life…and allow you to lose your excess baggage.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about all things health and wellness then please follow my blog (left side of any page on my site) and/or subscribe to my monthly newsletter.  I will send you an excellent, free eBook on the 5 critical pillars of health as a thank you for your newsletter subscription!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

What price do you put on your health?

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New Year, New You

Learn how to live strong in 2015

This time of year many people think about their priorities and what will help make them happy. Then they start down that path after setting a few New Years resolutions and by February its back to the status quo.   Frustrating for sure and a big reason this happens is because they do not have the support they need. Someone to empower, coach and hold them accountable until they have, “learned to fish” and can feed themselves.

My Facebook page states, “The Groundwork For All Happiness Is Health”, words that I live by and deeply believe in.  Physical health yes, for sure but health is much more than just that. Eating kale all day and working out will only get you so far if you hate your job.  Anybody with me here?  In the past I have been super fit but absolutely loathed my career which greatly affected my happiness.  We spend most of our time working so its critical we enjoy what we do for a living or our health and happiness suffer.  Same with our relationships. If you can’t stand your partner try eating more kale and see if it fixes the problem.  Not going to happen.

People will drop $600 for a new iPhone, $175 for new shoes or the cable bill but freak out if they have to spend an extra 75 cents on an organic apple or pay a few more dollars per pound for grass-fed beef.  What the hell?  Can you enjoy your shoes, your new gadgets and watching TV if you feel like crap all the time?   How much money have you wasted on drugs, surgeries, doctor visits, hospital stays, etc., much of which is preventable?  What are you missing out on in your life by accepting sub-par health on any level?

Most of us just don’t realize how much control we have over our health.  Yes it may cost you more at the grocery store. Yes it may mean giving up or cutting back on some things you think you can’t live without.  Yes you will have to exercise and get some sun. Mostly it means taking your life back, saving thousands on future medical expenses, being a whole lot happier than you are now and just kicking ass when it comes to life.  Are you ready to break free?

If you or anyone you know could use a little hand holding in the above areas then please send them to www.breakfreewellness.net.  Its my job to guide my clients in improving their quality of life…for life.  If you don’t have your health your missing out on a lot of things you should be enjoying. Your missing out on life.  Empower yourself, I’ve got your back.

Om Shanti,

Bart Thurman–Break-Free Wellness
FDN & IIN Nutrition Practitioner
1507 18th Ave
Longmont, CO 80501
720-849-0124 Office
Break-Free, Own Your Health
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30 Day Intro Real Food Challenge!

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Happy New Year!

Are you ready to break free of the current paradigm?

Your journey to health starts small…with just one step.  I remember several years ago deciding okay, I’m going to not eat anything with high fructose corn syrup after researching its many negative effects on the body.  I figured this would be ALL I did because what a pain in the a$$ that was!  Fast forward to today and I can honestly say its much easier.  It took me awhile to get to where I am and my quest continues.  I feel great, I maintain a nice lean weight without obliterating myself working out, my focus, clarity and mood are vastly improved, my tennis elbow is all but a non-factor and I have healed myself from a health condition my doctor could do nothing for among many other things.  We have SO much more control over our health than we realize. This all started with one small step that is allowing me to live a fuller life than I was previously.

Think about everything you put in your mouth as a choice.  Over time making small healthy choices can have a profound impact on your health. With this in mind I decided to create the 30 Day Intro Real Food Challenge and invite my clients, newsletter subscribers, my blog followers, friends and anyone else in the universe to join the JERF (just eat real food) parade. Starting Friday January 9th we will begin with a simple 3 day cleanse and then slowly start to eat more and more real food.  In fact the first few weeks are dedicated to this so its okay if you don’t know how to eat 100% real food yet.  The important part is to just take that first step.

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The point of the challenge is to help you begin to crowd out the less healthy foods with better choices as the month progresses.  As you eat more real food you will naturally eat less garbage. The last week of the challenge, week 4, the goal will be to eat 100% real food the entire 7 days using the recipes, ideas, experimentation and knowledge you’ve gained from everyone in the group up to that point.  To help us get started I will be including a 1 week meal plan to give you an idea of how to rally up and do this. If there is one takeaway from everything I have learned in my nutrition studies and hours of research is that it always comes back to eating real food…always.

We will work, communicate, support and share within the Facebook group, 30 Day Real Food Challenge.  Lastly don’t forget to join my newsletter for monthly articles, tips and advice on the latest in health and wellness. Upon doing so you will be entered into a drawing to receive a free bottle of doTERRA essential oils and you will get a fantastic free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Om shanti,

Bart Thurman–Break-Free Wellness
FDN & IIN Nutrition Practitioner
1507 18th Ave
Longmont, CO 80501
720-849-0124 Office

Break-Free, Own Your Health