COVID-19: A Powerful Wake-up Call To Finally “Own Your Health”

The data continues to come in.  If you are a healthy human you have little to fear from the Corona Virus.  Awesome.  How sexy is that?  This is empowering, exciting and frankly makes a lot of sense.  Resilient people (as I wrote about previously) always deal with any kind of challenge much better. 

I will say it again, if you are healthy you can stop stressing out about COVID-19 harming you physically.   Are there exceptions to this?  Of course but there are exceptions to everything and they are extremely rare.  It’s like worrying about that meteor landing on your head.

For example in an article about why we need to re-open the country Dr. Scott Atlas says: 

“In children, despite exceptionally rare cases, COVID-19 is not a significant risk — even compared to influenza. The CDC stated on May 15 that “for children (0-17 years), COVID-19 hospitalization rates are much lower than influenza hospitalization rates at comparable time points during recent influenza seasons.”

Wow OK, so the yearly flu is more dangerous to kids than the Corona Virus.  It would be nice if this kind of information was shared with such vigor and shameless promotion as all the negative news spewing forth from the various media outlets liking this to the black plague.

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The news, however, is also excellent with respect to healthy adults:

“There has been a failure to educate the public that the overall fatality rate is not only far lower than previously thought but is extremely low in almost everyone other than the elderly (and those with underlying health conditions).”

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition  Science & Policy at Tufts University wrote an opinion piece on how nutrition can help to flatten the curve.  This again goes back to how being healthy, strong, and resilient can protect you from COVID-19 or anything else:

“…experience from other infectious disease outbreaks makes clear that malnourished individuals (not hungry individuals, those that eat a poor diet of unhealthy foods) have a higher risk of becoming ill, a longer duration of illness, and greater risk of death. In the current crisis, feeding people who are at risk is even more important.”

Making bad choices when it comes to what goes in your mouth kills an estimated 530,000 people annually in the U.S., every year.  Every….year. That is a completely unacceptable amount of preventable suffering and death, not to mention the billions of dollars spent caring for this population. 

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It is time to break free of the broken medical care paradigm that is set up to manage disease, not prevent it.  Those who are lining their pockets (big pharma, big food and others) at the expense of your health do not want you to die of course, but they do not want you to be well either.  That is strictly up to you.

If you would like to learn more about how to own your health please reply to this blog post with your question(s).  You can also fill out your health history here.

Once I receive your history we will discuss your health challenges and goals in a free wellness consult.  The next step will be to start creating a personalized, bio-individual health plan perfect for you. 

See below for a snapshot of what is included:

  • learn to exercise smart, improve sleep quality and increase energy
  • learn to powerfully manage your stress and why this is so important
  • learn how to incorporate clean, whole foods into your diet
  • understand your specific dietary needs based on your own bio-individuality
  • work to achieve and maintain your ideal weight
  • set and accomplish goals in a way that is empowering and exciting
  • understand and reduce your cravings
  • engage in proven protocols to greatly assist you in achieving a higher level of health
  • improve relationships and achieve more balance in the many areas of your life

Some of what your specific program may include…

  • two 50-minute sessions per month
  • e-mail support between sessions
  • nutritional interpretation of lab work to help uncover your hidden stressors & imbalances
  • cutting edge, powerful, actionable information on environmental toxins and their connection to poor health.  Learn how to protect yourself
  • recipes that are healthy and simple to prepare
  • coaching and support to help you make the dietary and lifestyle changes you want
  • simple but informative handouts that will increase your nutrition knowledge
  • access to my blog & newsletter focusing on many different wellness topics
  • my personal commitment to your health and success

I offer health coaching packages to fit every need and budget.  Sessions are held virtually or at the Cafe of Life Chiropractic and Massage office.

To learn more about me and what I do please visit breakfreewellness.net

 

Break-Free,

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC, AFDNP
Functional Health Coaching
Cafe of Life Chiropractic
1325 Dry Creek Drive #307
Longmont, CO 80503
Office: 720-849-0124
www.breakfreewellness.net

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Building a kick-ass immune system: Part I

What kind of shape is your immune system in?

This article is the first of a 5 part series where I will be going over exactly that. Your immune system is everything when it comes to being resilient.

The dictionary defines being resilient as, “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”  Vocabulary.com defines it as “the ability to stay intact”.  While there are many ways to articulate it, it comes down to being able to withstand or bounce back from any and all challenges that are thrown at you.

As we continue through the COVID-19 situation this is being bore out in a number of ways.  What have you learned about resiliency in the last 6 weeks physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for example?  I see examples across the spectrum as I’m sure you do too.  Which sources do you surround yourself with?

How resilient are you right now? Are you where you want to be?

Not surprisingly those of us who are less resilient tend to fare much worse when challenges come our way.  I chose the name Break-Free Wellness for my business because I believe so strongly in not accepting health challenges (or anything really) that I don’t have to.

Do we have to accept the Coronavirus?  Yes, we do.

Do we have to accept what it can do to us physically if we happen to catch it?  Absolutely not.

Do we have to check the news every 15 minutes, much of it fear-based and sensationalized by the media?  No.

Do we have to sit on our hineys all day?  No.

Do we have to stay up late watching TV?  No.

Do we have to eat garbage?  No.

Do we have to avoid the sun, fresh air, and exercise?  No.

This is not “staying intact”. This is not being strong in the face of adversity.  This is what it’s like to live in the disease-promoting inflammation fest of the fight or flight response.

This is the opposite of being a resilient human being.  This is you nuking your immune system.  This makes you weak, sick, and ages you without mercy.  This is not your finest hour, Homer.

The hard truth is that many of us have been doing these types of things too often for too many years anyway.  The hard truth is that for the vast majority of us who don’t feel healthy in one way or another and/or have developed an underlying health condition, well, it’s our own fault whether we are aware of it or not.

This puts us at a much higher risk of suffering through a subpar life of just getting by, instead of thriving.  This puts us at a much higher risk of dying slowly, and well before our time. Those with the worst outcomes to COVID-19 (OR ANYTHING ELSE) are those that are less resilient.

Modern medicine can increase your “lifespan”, but what about your “healthspan”. That is up to you my friends and no one else.

Well over 1 million people die each year from preventable illness in the U.S. I will say that last part again and capitalize it, PREVENTABLE ILLNESS.

Millions more feel like crap all the time which is no way to live. Being resilient is about not accepting things we don’t have to.  In the case of our health, it’s about living strong, productive, happy, awesome lives…because we can.

It’s up to you to live strong, not your doctor

OK, let’s get to the top thing on my list when it comes to having an immune system like Captain America’s shield, sleep.

Researchers in Germany have discovered that getting enough sleep improves our body’s immune cell’s ability to kill their target. To quote Science Daily:

“T cells are a type of white blood cell that is critical to the body’s immune response. When T cells recognize a specific target, such as a cell infected with a virus, they activate sticky proteins known as integrins that allow them to attach to their target and, in the case of a virally infected cell, kill it.”

Awesome.  Lets reference some more people smarter than me to help us do precisely that!

Dr. Daniel Gartenberg, Ph.D., has come up with what he calls, “the eight elements of restorative sleep”.  Most of us have just been told to get our 7-9 hours, but there is much more to it than that.  Here are the 8 elements at a glance:

  1.  Sleep duration:  According to Dr. Gartenberg optimal sleep duration is very individual, with some people needing as little as 6 hours a night.  Bottom line is, you need enough.
  2. Sleep efficiency: This is the difference between the amount of time you are in bed and the amount of time you are really sleeping. 90% or more is what you want, and anything less than 85% is not good.
  3. Awakenings:  The more you wake up during the night (and remember them), the worse off you are. Anything over 20 minutes is a problem.
  4. Sleep onset latency:  Falling asleep in 10-20 minutes is ideal.  Less than 5 and you may be sleep-deprived, more than 20 and you may have trouble falling and staying asleep.
  5. Deep sleep duration:  As adults, 1.5 hours is pretty good, but as we age this gets harder unless we do something about it.  Deep sleep is where muscle repair and regeneration take place, as well as powerful detoxification and cleansing of the brain.
  6. REM sleep duration:  20% of your total sleep at least is the goal, but more can be better.  REM sleep is huge when it comes to memory consolidation and mood.
  7. Brain arousals:  During sleep, your brain arouses a few times per hour, but any more than that can disturb deep and REM sleep.  This is not the same as awakenings as they tend to occur with changes in your sleep environment that don’t fully wake you (i.e. thunder)
  8. Timing:  Your circadian rhythm is highly dependent on when you go to bed, so having a consistent bedtime is extremely beneficial when it comes to keeping your body’s clock accurate.

The Groundwork Of All Happiness Is Health
-Leah Hunt

A sleep tracker is a fantastic tool “to track” Dr. Gartenberg’s recommendations, but if you don’t have one it’s okay.  There is plenty you can do starting tonight.  Here are some of the top ways of nailing the kind of sleep he’s referring to:

  • Avoid blue light at night – This is the light that emits from your phone, tablet, TV, street lamps, and LED lights.  Turn them off around 2 hours before bedtime.  Blue light blocking glasses can help, and download f.lux on all your devices.  At my house, we have installed orange bulbs that we turn on after dark, or enjoy the fireplace and candles.  We also installed blackout curtains to help create a sleep cave.
  • Meditate daily – Our minds are always racing from the day.  Did I send that email?  What are we eating tomorrow? Am I making a difference?  When am I going to start working out?  A fantastic start to meditation is the 4-7-8 breath by Dr. Andrew Weil. Quick, easy, powerful.  Do it when you need to.  Many of my clients swear by it!
  • Eat healthy fats – Your brain is mostly fat, and what you eat matters when it comes to sleep.  Help it repair itself, as well as control your blood sugar by eating wild-caught salmon, grass-fed butter, and olive oil, etc.  If you are like me, however, getting “some” high-quality carbs, especially for dinner, can be important too.  If I don’t my sleep is noticeably affected.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium helps many people sleep more deeply by calming the body down.  Many people (especially women) enjoy an Epsom salt bath at night.  This last method is very effective at absorbing magnesium, not to mention incredibly relaxing which is what you want before trying to sleep.
  • Learn your sleep chronotype – Dr. Michael Breus has classified 4 categories here. Are you a bear, wolf, lion, or dolphin? Most of us are bears as we follow the sun. Wolfs need to go to bed later so there is less restlessness. Many people find Lions annoying as they always wake up early and must hit the hay early as well. If you are a dolphin you have a hard time falling asleep and wake up often.  Working on your anxiety can be very helpful.
There are many other strategies for hacking your sleep but these are some powerful ways to get started without overwhelming yourself, causing more stress, and weakening your immune system even more!  Those who sleep like superheroes are in many ways just like Captain America.

If you would like to learn how to be more resilient please fill out your health history here.  We will sit down and discuss your health challenges and goals in a free 45-minute health consultation over Zoom or at the Cafe of Life Chiropractic and Massage office.

To learn more about me and what I do please visit breakfreewellness.net

Break-Free,

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC, AFDNP
Functional Health Coaching
Cafe of Life Chiropractic
1325 Dry Creek Drive #307
Longmont, CO 80503
Office: 720-849-0124
www.breakfreewellness.net

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Are you waiting to be sick?

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There are literally millions of people in the world who are not seriously sick but at the same time are never seriously “well” either.  They all suffer things that keep them from ever functioning at 100% and these “things” prevent experiencing a full life. The sad truth is that most people just come to accept their suffering and rationalize it away blaming it on age or something else they cant control for example.  What they MUST realize is that they do have control! However because they do not understand this they go to the doctor and he/she prescribes a pill, potion, cream etc., and they just deal with it and see it as normal.  Trust me, its not. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sweet cravings and roller coaster blood sugar levels
  • Digestive distress of all kinds (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc)
  • Struggling to lose weight
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Low level, chronic background stress that never really goes away
  • Flat out high intensity stress/anxiety
  • Up and down energy levels including the afternoon crash
  • Skin issues

What many people don’t see is that these symptoms are anything but normal and instead are signs that your health is slowly declining and your body is malfunctioning.  They rarely tend to go away on their own and if left unchecked can lead to very serious health conditions farther down the road of life. This is because they are warning signs that something isn’t running right inside your body.  Your body is amazing and will do everything in its power to adapt and continue the fight but eventually you will break down if something doesn’t change.

Woman trying to sleep

Lets use an airplane analogy.  If the pilot see’s warning lights on the dashboard indicating there is an engine problem he is going to land and address the issue.  If he ignores the warning it isn’t hard to figure out what might happen.  Lets talk for a second about why you shouldnt ignore these symptoms:

  • Digestive problems.  Most people accept constipation, loose stool, bloating and gas as routine but they can lead to serious, deeper problems.  Everyone has heard by now how important gut health is, it truly is a place from which much of our health begins.
  • Low Libido & general fatigue.  Do you have a hard time just getting through the day? Do you crash all the time after lunch?  Is it extremely difficult to get out of bed most mornings? Is your sex drive non-existent much of the time? Again most folks see these things as rather normal and part of the aging process but they are important to address and correct in order to avoid more serious pitfalls.
  • Aches and pains.  Do you constantly have aches and pains in your joints/muscles?  This is very likely a sign of underlying inflammatory processes and might just be simply something your eating.
  • Weight problems.  Approximately 1/3 of Americans are obese and another 2/3 are overweight.  The health problems associated with being over weight are well documented.
  • Sleep problems.  Studies show that people who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep are at higher risk of death and have a harder time keeping the weight off.  Poor sleep is a sign of distress (physical, emotional, mental, etc).
  • Background chronic stress, depression, anxiety, brain fog.  We now know that cognitive & and mood disorders can be caused as least in part by inflammation inside the body.  Stress itself can increase internal inflammation.
  • Skin breakouts.  Most of the time skin issues can be traced back to whats going on internally.  Breakouts are another sign of underlying inflammation inside the body.

Hopefully the above symptoms are not something you deal with frequently but if they are there is good news.  I have read account after account of individuals who have suffered these problems as well as more serious conditions and everyone of them will tell you that there were a handful of “controllable” variables that played the largest role in their healing process.  I’m talking basic things here that just simply get taken for granted.  Things that we do not understand the power of so do not make them a priority in our lives:

  1. Exercise/movement.  We were born to move, it’s that simple.  The exciting thing is you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym to move.  Start by just finding any opportunity you can to move more.  When you do exercise keep it short (10-20 min) and include intense bursts of movement that really get your heart rate up no matter what kind of activity your engaged in. Research is showing that this type of exercise is much more effective than plodding along on the treadmill for an hour at a steady pace for example.
  2. Diet.  Eat more nutrient dense, real food.  If you give your body what it needs it will function at a higher level…the level is up to you.  Cut back on the processed, fake, sugary foods that are so abundant in our country. If it has more than 5 ingredients think about finding something else.
  3. Sleep.  Your body has to recover on a daily basis.  Deep tissue healing and recovery need to occur each night and it does not happen if you’re not sleeping.  Make sure your room is dark, take at least 30 min to wind down before going to bed, keep the gadgets and electronics out of the bedroom, don’t eat a large meal right before bedtime, and start a simple breathing/meditation practice before hitting the pillow.  Start by making sleep a priority, few do. There are many, many steps you can take to enjoy a more restful nights sleep.
  4. Manage/control stress.  Again a simple meditation practice can work wonders when it comes to stress like the 4-7-8 breathing technique (inhale four seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for eight seconds, repeat for a total of 4 breath cycles twice daily at least).  Read books like, “The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle which instruct on how to be more aware and conscious of what we are doing so we can stop negative behavior in its tracks.

Do you suffer with any of the above symptoms?  What have you tried? Please share these and any other thoughts in the comments section.

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health