Environmental Toxins: Are They Real?

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I grew up in a small town in Idaho, surrounded by farms and wide open spaces.  When I got older I worked in the fields moving pipe, driving truck, and managing other equipment.  The crop dusting planes used to fly right over my house, spraying the fields just behind our neighborhood.  Don’t tell anyone, but one bored summer day I shot a bottle rocket at one, and it actually hit the cockpit then exploded!

Over the years two of my cousins, my brother, and others developed strange cancers.  Who knows for sure, but more and more we seem to read and hear about the links between toxins in our environment, and disease and poor health.  There is no question that in an agricultural area like that, and drinking well water to boot, that there was definitely exposure to chemicals that the body does not know what to do with.

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The thing is, toxic chemicals are much more prevalent now (no matter where you live) than 30 years ago.  Did you know that the very outdated safe water drinking act from 1974, only regulates 91 out of 80,000 registered chemicals?  This kind of thing happens all the time, as the FDA is totally underfunded and understaffed. The nations water treatment infrastructure dates from the 60’s and 70’s, and was never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, narcotics, synthetic estrogens, pesticides and other chemicals.

I am in the middle of an in depth environmental toxins course right now, with a focus on education and empowerment.  People seem to fall into one of three camps when it comes to toxins:

1) Screw it!  Everything gives me cancer and makes me feel like crap so why even try?  I’m not going to do anything about it…

Ecological threat. The little boy in a respirator.

2)  OMG I need to wear a surgeons mask, shower 5x a day, not go outside because the sun will kill me, eat nothing but the plants grown in my sterile bubble in the basement harvested under a full moon by virgins…

3) I actually have A LOT of control over what I expose myself to, therefore will empower myself to do so, and stack the cards in my favor big time.  As it says on my website, “Good health is a choice”.

My coursework, taught by toxins expert Lara Adler gets right to “the meat” when it comes to protecting ourselves.  Much of the professional development I’m required to attend as a teacher on the other hand is overwhelming to the point its difficult to extrapolate anything useful from it.  Or its totally irrelevant to what I do. That’s why I’m a fan of “the meat”.  Just give me something I can do right now!

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One of the main things I focus on with my clients is to help them understand that health is a process.  You cant do everything the first day.  One by one I coach them to implement small changes into their lives.  After a few months, they realize they are doing all kinds of things that have allowed them to feel much better, and get closer to optimum health.  This is easy when you add something new, only after you’ve mastered the previous change.

 

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit http://www.breakfreewellness.net to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

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Kale and blueberries won’t fix your life

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One of the most important things I have learned in my functional and holistic training is the idea of primary food.  This is food that does not go in your mouth.  I share with my clients that you can eat all the kale and blueberries you want, but if you hate your job for example, food will not “fix” the problem.  In fact you can have the perfect diet for you, but if you are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, in your relationships, have no spiritual practice, and don’t move your body, you will be unhealthy and unhappy too much of the time.

Most of us could use some serious work in one or more of these areas, and don’t realize just how much power they have over our ability to truly thrive.  Maybe you have the movement part down. You feel fit, have great energy, are confident in your body, etc., but are not happy with your relationships (partner, or anyone else you spend time around). Or you have a great career, and enjoy a deeply loving connection with your partner, but do not move your body in the right ways, and have no consistent spiritual practice.

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These voids severely limit what I like to refer to as “background peace”.   How much noise is in the background of your life?  Do you feel heavy? Stressed out? Have existential angst? Always think about the past and future?  Worry too much?  You get my drift.  The list goes on and on and on.

In the past I used to think diet and exercise were all that mattered…now I know better. Over the last couple years I have focused intently on these four areas in my own life with wonderful results.  I have changed teaching positions at the school where I work, I have began to learn to move my body in different ways, and I have developed a consistent meditation practice.  I’m also working on the relationships in my life.  I cant begin to describe how much this has helped to increase my background peace, and reduce the “noise” in my head.

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Its a constant work in progress, but a priority of mine and something I help my clients to focus on in their own lives.  Its also a balancing act, but balance is required.  It may never be perfect but there cannot be any gaping holes in your primary food or your happiness will suffer, a lot.  An unfulfilling career is one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness.  This is also the area most people ignore the longest, many their entire lives.  All the money in the world wont help much if you hate your boss, and/or what you do is meaningless for example.

Career

 According to a non-profit New York based research group, 52.3% of people in the United States are unhappy at work. This number indicates that millions of people everyday drag themselves into work.  What kind of toll is this taking on their health?  Stress like this is constantly being linked to all kinds of diseases.  That’s right, you can literally make yourself sick, even die, because you opted to not make a change, or actively manage your stress.  Is it worth it in the end to spend everyday doing something you don’t want to just to pay the bills?

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit http://www.breakfreewellness.net to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

 

 

How Walking Barefoot Can Help You Fight Disease

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I remember as a kid running around barefoot a lot.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time, it felt good…it felt natural.  Well it turns out nothing has changed!  Even as an adult walking barefoot (which I didn’t do much) felt really amazing, and now there is research that suggests why.

You may have heard of “grounding” or “earthing”, which are words that are becoming more widely known all the time.  Basically, it is the idea of connecting with the earth, because there is evidence pointing to the fact this practice may lower free radical damage (oxidative stress), inflammation, pain and stress.  This is very important because all of those things lead to disease in one form or another, if not managed properly.

Connecting to the earth’s powerful, all natural energy is healing for everyone. If you don’t believe me go try it:)  It’s about syncing our own innate healing abilities, with those of the earth, and the best part is that its super easy. Pretty much anytime, anyplace, you can find a patch of grass or soil to walk around in for a few minutes.

From The Journal of Environmental and Public Health:

It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.

So our bodies run through a type of electrical current, and are able to absorb these charges from direct contact with the earth.  Our skin is the “conductor”. The balls of the feet are believed to be especially well placed at receiving the earths electricity.  By allowing our skin to come in contact with the earth, it can help fight free radical activity and lower body inflammation, thereby stacking some cards in our favor when it comes to poor health.

The problem is our modern environment.  We always wear shoes, and live and work above ground a lot, so our lifestyle isn’t conducive to grounding. We are rarely in touch with the earth like our ancestors were. Our brain, heartbeat, and neurotransmitter activity all depend upon electrical inputs.  If the electricity is off…it’s possible for our health to suffer as a result. However, by aligning our bodies electricity with that of the earth, it becomes more stable, more consistent.  Think about how great it feels to be in nature under the sun.  Walking barefoot helps produce a similar result, thanks to the surge of healthy compounds that may flood your system as a result.

Early human walking

In 2012 the Journal of Environmental and Public Health also stated:

Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.

Awesome.  So to sum up earthing can:

  1. Help reduce stress hormones
  2. Help you sleep better (a study published in 2006 in the Journal of European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics showed sleeping patterns improved)
  3. Increase your energy levels
  4. Lower pain (inflammation) like arthritis for example

How to start earthing then?  If you are at the beach, just lay on the sand instead of sitting in a chair or towel.  You can also garden, mow the lawn, get the mail, barbecue, and play at the park, all in your bare feet. You can even buy special “grounding” products like earthing mats and earthing bands.  I think these may have merit, but so far I prefer to walk around outside 20-30 minutes a day at the park, or in my yard (as my neighbors wonder what the heck I’m doing:)

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit http://www.breakfreewellness.net to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

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.

Nutrient-Dense-Foods

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

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

Guys have skinny pants too (and how to fit into them without killing yourself)

Skinny or fat pants

No the answer is not to steal the above, lame pair of pants from your partner (that she can wear on her fat AND skinny days).

Seriously.  When I hear the phrase, “skinny pants” it is always associated with women but I am here to say that us guys strive for (suffer with) the same thing.  For example I have a pair of sweat pants in my bedroom from High School that I have donned from time to time over the years just to see if I can still fit into them comfortably.  Is that not the point after all?  Well for most of us anyway, see fail picture below…

Skinny guys in fat pants

It makes anybody feel good to rock their skinny pantalones. This past year I was for the first time able to fit nicely into my “summer skinny pants”…in the fall and winter.  You see other than my nasty mothball sweat pants I have typically owned a couple of pairs that only fit me just right during the late spring and summer months.  This was due to the fact I was training hard on my bikes and eating more carefully (and usually a little hungry to boot which isn’t any fun).  The bottom line is that it took a lot of work.

Not anymore.  I have my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and my training at FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition) as well as countless hours researching and learning about all things health and wellness to thank for this.  The biggest factors for me were diet, detoxification and learning how to exercise intelligently.  I can honestly say that it takes MUCH less work these days to slide into my guy flaco pants (I have two pair) and actually they fit better than ever.  How cool is that?

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To be completely honest I am still in shock that I can keep my racing weight year round now without all the sacrifice and suffering.  It’s incredibly liberating and every week I chuckle as I get dressed and reach for the fifth hole (the last one) in my belt loop.  Dont get me wrong, it isn’t effortless but compared to what was required before its nothing.

The best part of this journey into my skinny pants is that I learned it isn’t necessary to be hungry all the time and I eat more fat (healthy fats like real butter, coconut oil, olive oil and clean animal fats) than I ever did before!  It does not require hunger to make this happen.  That’s a huge reason why fad diets NEVER work long term.

If you want me to help you dust off your skinny pants contact me and I’ll teach you how:)

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health