Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Exercise from Two Different Standpoints

When it comes to health and nutrition, it should be straight forward: exercise regularly and eat a well balanced diet. However, there are different philosophies on the subject matter depending on the expertise and background of the professional. This is why I wanted to interview two different fitness and health instructors who hold expertise in two different backgrounds. The comparisons between the two are very interesting to say the least.
First, I interviewed an allopathic physical fitness trainer whose own training and views of fitness and nutrition come directly from the Centers of Disease Control nutrition and physical activity guidelines. Next, I interviewed a yoga instructor whose approach to complete health and nutrition stems from ancient Ayurveda traditions, where she commits to a vegan lifestyle, meditates, and emphasizes on physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
In fact, that was the biggest difference I noticed between the two: the one fitness trainer focused on purely the body as a mechanism to be sculpted, while the other worked on the entire mind-body-spirit connection. This difference was seen in every aspect of their work. The allopathic fitness trainer asks her clients their goals and then creates a customized fitness plan in order for them to achieve their goals. She keeps in mind their safety, needs, and wants during each session. She advises her clients to make healthy choices as far as nutrition, and shows them exercises to do. On the other hand, the Ayurveda fitness instructor encourages her clients to do some form of exercise for a minimum of an hour at least three days per week. She encourages her clients to do any kind of activity and then build up to an hour every day. She also believes in experimentation with different forms of exercises in order to provide variety and enjoyment to the activities. She also recommended yoga as the primary exercise, especially when a person starts their program.
Why is exercise so important? Both experts agree that exercise begets health. For the allopathic fitness trainer, physical exercise is important to burn calories, increase muscle mass and stay fit. For the holistic fitness instructor, exercise, especially yoga, is for a multitude of factors including: stress relief, pain relief, deeper breathing, flexibility, increasing strength, weight management, improved circulation, cardiovascular conditioning, presence, and inner peace. When done correctly, exercise can be very beneficial to the health and well-being of every individual. However, without proper training or supervision, it is easy to hyperextend ligaments and joints, pull muscles, and even break bones. With any activity, there are risks of injury. Both instructors are trained to teach clients proper techniques and methods during their clients' workouts. Safety is of the utmost important when working with clients.
Nutritional needs of clients are just as important. The allopathic fitness trainer encourages clients to eat a healthy and well balanced diet, complete with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, and watch fat and caloric intake; the balance for maintaining weight is “calories in” and “calories out” are equal. To lose weight, it is important to decrease caloric intake while increasing caloric expenditure. Low calorie foods can often take place of higher calorie foods, especially when consuming beverages. Food journals often help to track calorie intake and exercise regimen.
The holistic fitness instructor prefers to go by a different set of dietary rules including buying organic foods when possible; buy locally grown whole foods, naturally produced, mostly raw, and minimally packaged. Consume mostly raw vegetables, only whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds , and fruits. Eat for your Ayurvedic constitutional type when possible. It is also important to stay away from processed foods, such as foods in cans and boxes, packaged with preservatives, and modified chemical composites of food. Her main points, however, were specifically foods in raw form, nothing deep fried, not cooked with olive oil, no carbonated beverages (including diet), no artificial flavors or sweeteners, no coffee or other beverages with caffeine, alcohol only in moderation, never microwave food, eat only natural and holistically derived meats, consume good fats, and eat flax seeds regularly.
One major point the holistic fitness instructor differed from the allopathic one is in the fitness of whole aspects of the being, including the mind and spirit. In allopathic physical fitness, the point is to train the body by overcoming the mental roadblocks and proving to yourself that there are no real limitations except the ones which are constructed mentally. In holistic physical fitness, it is viewed that there is an inner balance between the physical body, the mind, and the spirit. It is important, in this paradigm, to go through a mental and emotional detoxification by letting go of anger, negativity, jealousy, hatred, and hostility. It is viewed that these feelings are toxic to the mind and soul. Through the practicing of mindfulness, the thoughts and emotions absorbing life can be lifted and genuine gratitude replaces it. Positivity induces a positive lifestyle where one can thrive and flourish. Plus, through prayers and positive affirmations, this positivity can be enhanced, where thoughts actually become reality. Prayer is a very powerful tool to reunite the mind-body-spirit, reciprocate love, find inner peace, show gratitude, and heal.
So how applicable is exercising to lay people? The allopathic fitness trainer finds that some people need more motivation than others to continue with the training. Some people have to be pushed to work out, some people give excuses to why they can't work out. The clients are worked at their own pace, and that is why it is important to listen to them to plan for their wants and needs during each session. The cost can be quite reasonable depending on the facility, hours, and type of physical fitness trainer hired. When personal trainers become expensive are when they are part of an exclusive gym, or club, or require a long-term contract. Although these methods can get costly, it is always important to note that one does not need to hire a professional trainer to walk, ride a bicycle, swim, or play sports with friends.
On the flip side, the holistic fitness instructor has found that her clients do not subscribe to such a strict diet or lifestyle, however she challenges them to make baby steps toward such a healthy lifestyle. She doesn't charge for her yoga classes, and sometimes meets with people afterwords to follow up on some healthy living basics. Holistic exercise, in general, can cover a broad spectrum of exercises including, but not limited to: Qigong, T'ai chi, zero balancing, water aerobics, and yoga. Easiest way of finding a qualified instructor is to do so online. Sometimes being referred to a class by a friend is a fantastic way of starting an exercise routine. Some instructors charge more than others depending on facility and their qualifications, and if their instruction is private or not. It is important to scrutinize the instructor's qualifications to make sure they have the proper training and certifications.
Keeping this in mind for my future practice, I will need to establish a knowledge base of the variety of exercises, and specifically know the specific functions of each type of exercise so that I am able to make recommendations to my clients. Knowing which type of exercises, whether it be a type of allopathic or holistic, my client would benefit from the most is very important to establishing a lifestyle change that would last a lifetime.
Thus, I close this by saying that no one type of physical trainer or fitness instructor is better than the other. The perfect fitness instructor depends on the individual, their needs and wants, goals, budget, and even their mindset. It is important that opinions of nutrition are just that, opinions, and genuine concerns about nutritional needs should be taken up with a specialist, either allopathic or holistic. Staying healthy is important no matter what, so eating healthy, staying active, being positive, and being grateful are all necessary in achieving that goal. Achieving a healthy lifestyle through a fitness instructor can be a fun experience, but it is always important to remember that the best exercises are free.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011) “Physical Activity for Everyone: How Much Physical Activity do you need?” Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011) “Nutrition for Everyone.” Retrieved from

Jakicic, J; Winters, C; Lang, W; Wing, R. (1999) Effects of Intermittent Exercise and Use of Home Exercise Equipment on Adherence, Weight Loss, and Fitness in Overweight Women: A Randomized Trial [Electronic version]. JAMA. 1999;282(16):1554-1560.

Kraft, Jessica, personal communication, October 21, 2011.

Lee, I; Djousse, L; Sesso, H; Wang, L; Buring, J. (2010) Physical Activity and Weight Gain Prevention [Electronic version] JAMA. 2010;303(12):1173-1179.

Tate, Beverly, personal communication, October 22, 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seabuckthorn in Modern Medicine

The consumption of sea buckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides, has come to the forefront as a popular supplement in recent years. This popular supplement, derived from the orange-yellow berries of the actinomycetes plant species, can be found in extract pill form, as well as in candies, beverages, jams, and even cosmetics, (Michel, et al, 2012). Beyond its popularity as a supplement, it has proven itself to be beneficial in medicine. In fact, H. rhamnoides has been used in many regions of Europe and Asia in traditional and folk medicines, including in the Tibetian, Mongolian, and Chinese cultures for many decades, (Guliyev, et al, 2004). With sea buckthorn's extensive amounts of nutrients, polyphenals, and a diverse amount of chemical constituents with healing properties, this herb has many potential uses in both complimentary and alternative medicine and preventative medicine alike.

Origins and ethnobotanical background
The deciduous plant itself comes from the Elaeagnaceae family, growing up to six meters in height with a thick main stock and elongated leaves attached to thin, gray branches. Leaves of the plant can grow either in cluster or alternating formation, with a light green color on top of the leaf and a shimmering gray underside. When in bloom, the heterosexual male or female plant pollinates via wind dispersion, and later bears a yellowish-orange berry which is powdered in a silver dust. The berry, when ripe, is sour to the taste with citrus notes (Guliyev, et al, 2004).
There are seven primary species in the genus Hippophae and eight subspecies exist of H rhamnoides L. Hippophae rhamnoides, Hippophae salicifolia, Hippophae tibetana, Hippophae rhamnoides L. are the most commonly known (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011).
Native to Europe, H. ramnoides is a hardy plant, grown in higher altitudes and frequently survives the bitter cold and long droughts (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). This plant can be found in many areas across Europe and Asia, including Italy, Spain, Britain, Russia, India, Turkey, and Tibet.
More recently, it was domesticated in Canada and British Columbia (Guliyev, et al, 2004).
From an ethnobotanist's perspective, H. rhamnoides has been used in traditional and folk medicines in many European and Asian cultures. Sea buckthorn was used in traditional Chinese medicine since the Tang Dynasty; Scandinavians used the plant as an agricultural necessity, providing food, medicine, veterinary care, and domestic tools; in other regions, ancient cultural uses of the plant included fencing, fodder, timber, herbal supplementation, and livestock feed (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). In Chinese medicine, sea buckthorn has been used as a cough suppressant, digestion aid, and pain reliever. In other traditional medicines the plants are used in the treatment of colitis, gastrointestinal upset, and diarrhea. The hemostatic actions of the plant made it useful in India and Tibet for aiding in pulmonary, cardiac, blood, and metabolic disorders. Other cultures have used the plant creatively for dermatological disorders and rheumatoid arthritis (Guliyev, et al, 2004).
H. rhamnoides consists of many vitamins, bio-flavanoids, phytosterols, and fatty acids essential for human health. Many of the constituents contained within H. rhamnoides posses therapeutic actions such as immunumodulatory, hepato-protective, and antioxidant properties, (Guliyev, et al, 2004). The tiny berries are considered to be a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as vitamin B complex. The fruit also contains adequate amounts of riboflavin, folic acid, zinc, coumarins, triterpenes, essential fatty acids, α-carotene, β-carotene, δ-carotene, lycopene, malic acid, oxalic acid, tocopherols and polyphenolic compounds (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). H. rhamnoides contains six cyclitol isomers, neo-inositol, myo-inositol, D-chiro-inositol, L-chiro-inositol, scyllo-inositol, and muco-inositol (Yang, et al, 2011) The phytosterols in sea buckthorn include campesterol, clerosterol, lanosterol, sitosterol, sitostanol,α-amyrin β-amyrin, Δ5- avenasterol, Δ24(28) – stigmastaenol, A stigmastadienol, Δ5,24(25) - stigmastadienol, lupeol + gramisterol, Δ57 - sitosterol, cycloartenol, cycloeucalenol, Δ7- avenasterol, 28 - methylobtusifoliol, 24 – methylenecycloartanol, erythrodiol, citrostadienol, uvaol, and oleanol aldehyde, (Li, et al, 2007). Of the oil found in sea buckthorn, 32.8% is palmitoleic acid, 17.3% is oleic acid, 9.1% is vaccenic acid, 9% is linoleic acid, and 3.4% is α-linolenic acid (Mathew, et al, 2011).
Impacts of geographical variations
Hippophae rhamnoides, as with any plant, may vary in physiological and physiochemical characteristics depending on a multitude of factors such as climate, weather, participation, and local variety of genotypes (Yang, et al, 2011), (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011) and (Ercisli, et al, 2007). Thorough research is constantly being conducted in order to investigate the composition and phytochemicals of the world's sea buckthorn. The research has focused on primarily the fruits and seeds, such as sterols, phenolic compounds, vitamins, minerals, tocopherols, fatty acids, and carotenoids (Yang, et al, 2011).
Hippophae rhamnoides' pharmacological and medicinal uses
Because of the H. rhamnoides ability to produce large amounts of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, phenolic acid, and tannins, the fruit exhibits a high anti-pathogenic properties. The antioxidant properties exhibited in the fruit are also well noted in medicinal literature due to the berries' high amounts of ascorbic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, (Michel, et al, 2012). The oils from the berries and seeds have been shown to stabilize membrane structures and slow down the overall oxidation process in animal studies. The antioxidative effects of the seed oil decreased malondialdehyde levels and increased sialic acid both in the liver and erythrocyte membranes in rats and guinea pigs, while protecting them from cold-induced tissue damage. The oil also had increased activities of gluthathione peroxidase, Na, K-ATPase, superoxide dismutase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrase (Yang & Kallio, 2002).
Studies have also concluded that the phenolic compounds within the fruit pulp inhibit Gram- negative bacteria, prohibit tumor growth and gastric ulcers in rats, plus it has demonstrated health benefits for dermatological disorders, (Guliyev, et al, 2004).
The polyunsaturated fatty acids within the fruit offer immunomodulatory and neuroprotective activity, while the organic acids lower the risk of heart attacks, stroke prevention, anti-ulcer, anti-arthritic, and wound healing properties (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). In a double-blind, randomized, controlled study, twelve healthy, normolipidemic males between 20 and 59 years of age were asked to consume 5 grams per day of a random fatty acid blend of consisting of sea buckthorn berry oil and fractionated coconut oil for a period of 4 weeks, then separated by a 4 to 8 week washout. Out of the twelve participants, eleven completed the study. Fasting (12 hour) venous blood samples were drawn both before and after each supplementation equaling four samples per participant. The blood samples were centrifuged and then analyzed. It was concluded at the end of the study that the oil influenced platelet aggregation, especially aggregation induced by adenosine-5'-diphosphates (Johansson, et al, 2000).
Sea buckthorn extracts have shown to provide hepatoprotective activity, including the leaves and seed oil. In studies using CCI4 induced hepatic damage in animals, the constituents in the leaves, such as myricetin and quercetin were shown to significantly protect the liver from further damage from CCI4 induced hepatic damage (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011).
The tocopherols within the fruit acts as an anti-oxidant, minimizes lipid oxidation, and reduces pain (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). The majority of the tocopherols and tocotienols in H. rhamnoides are found in the fruit and seeds, 10 – 150 mg/kg and 100 – 300 mg/kg respectfully (Yang & Kallio, 2002). Other antioxidant compounds, such as carotenoids, also aid in cardiovascular health, decreasing the development of atherosclerosis, and increasing HDL cholesterol levels. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel design study, sea buckthorn juice was administered to thirty non-smoking males with history of cardiovascular disease and either hematological, hepatic, renal, diabetes, or hormonal dysfunction for an 8-week period. Blood samples were obtained from each participant after a 12 hour fast; tests were conducted on the samples, including LDL oxidation analysis, sICAM-1 measurments, and plasma lipid levels. Of the thirty participants, twenty completed the eight-week study. Although there was no observable changes in LDL cholesterol following the trial, there was increases in plasma TAG and HDL-C levels in the group taking the sea buckthorn juice (Eccleston, et al, 2002).
Carotenoids are known for their ability to help with collagen synthesis and epithelialization (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). The concentration of carotenoids are found in the fruits, as well as a lesser concentration in the seeds. The amount of β-carotene is highest in pulp oil, 100 – 500 mg/100g; and are the lowest in fresh berries, 1 to 120 mg/100g (Yang & Kallio, 2002).
Phytosterols have shown promising results in lowering serum cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease (Li, et al, 2007), while improving microcirculation in the epidermis, regulating the inflammatory process, and playing a role in anti-tumor, anti-ulcer and anti-atherogenic activities (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). The flavones of the fruit have shown to inhibit platelet aggregation in multiple studies, both in vitro and in mice; demonstrated rapid heart repolarization periods in rat myocardial cells and guinea pig papillary muscle cells; as well as shown to increase lipoprotein-cholesterol and tricyglycerol concentrations within blood plasma in humans (Guliyev, et al, 2004).
In addition to the phytochemicals, the coumarins and triterpenes within H rhamnoides helps with the control of appetite, sleep patterns, memory retention, and learning. Vitamin B complex aids in nerve and cellular regeneration; vitamin C aids in collagen synthesis and cell membrane integrity; vitamin K aids in ulcer prevention (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011).
H. rhamnoides contains concentrations of D-chiro-inositol, which patients with diabetes mellitus have a reduced dietary intake of. In studies with diabetic and insulin resistant rhesus monkeys, administration of D-chiro-inositol improved their sensitivity to insulin as well as activated muscular glycogen synthase. Similar studies in humans with insulin sensitivity due to polycystic ovary syndrome, saw improvement in ovulatory function and a decrease in androgen levels, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels (Yang, et al, 2011).
Extracts of the seed oil contains essential fatty acids including omega-3 (linolenic acid), and omega-6 (linoleic acid). The oil provides a 1:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fatty acids. The oil also contains a high concentration of omega-7 (palmitoleic acid) and rich in omega-9 (oleic acid), (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011). Fatty acids contribute to the health of epithelial cells, including repairing epidermal barrier system. In a placebo-controlled, parallel, randomized, double-blind experiment at the University of Turku, Finland, 22 patients with atopic dermatitis were randomly divided into three groups which were either assigned to take sea buckthorn seed oil, sea buckthorn pulp oil, or paraffin oil. Ten oil capsules (5 g) were prescribed to each patient per day and asked to maintain their normal diet and skin care regiment throughout the four-month trial. Of the 16 patients who completed the study, those who took the seed oil shown dramatic results in the production of docosapentaenoic acid, while those who took the pulp oil treatment shown an increase production of stearic acid epidermically (Yang, et al, 2000).
In addition to improving the symptoms of atopic dermatitis with the increased production of docosapentaenoic and stearic acids epidermically, the topical application of H rhamnoides oil has proven effective in healing wounds, burns, and radiation exposure. H. rhamnoides has been shown to possess antimicrobial, tissue-regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties (Yang & Kallio, 2002).
Studies evaluating the antioxidant and α-flucosidase inhibitory activities of sea buckthorn extracts showed promising results in anti-cancer research. Compounds, including 1-feruloyl-β -D-glucopyranoside and kaempferol-3-O-β-D-(6'-O-coumaryl) glycoside, among others, were extracted from the leaves of H. rhamnoides. These specific extracts showed high antioxidant activity and cytoprotection against oxidative stress in lymphocytes; nicotine induced oxidative stress in rat liver and heart; plus H rhamnoides flavones at a concentration levels of 100 μg/ml restricted induced apaptosis in lymphocytes by decreasing calcium levels intracellularly. Furthermore, Hippophae rhamnoides lowered the caspase-3 expression, thus protected against H2O2 induced apaptosis on vascular endothelial cells (Suryakumar & Gupta, 2011).

Hippophae rhamnoides' dietary and nutritional benefits
Since there are over 190 beneficial compounds contained within the plant Hippophae rhamnoides, it is arguably one of the most nutritional herbs ever produced. The fruit of the H. rhamnoides contains high levels of vitamin C, some species of which can contain as much as 12 times the amount of oranges. The fruit also contains high levels of vitamin E, 481 mg/100 g for some of the Chinese species of plants; and the berries are also rich in vitamins B1, B2, K. Mineral elements in the fruit and seed of H rhamnoides include iron, manganese, phosphorus, nitrogen, silicon, aluminum, boron, calcium and potassium (Bal, et al, 2011).
Consumption of myo-inositol, which converts to chiro-inositol, is an essential part of human health. Not only does it play a role in metabolism, but also plays a role in insulin production. In patients with diabetes mellitus, it was noted that their was a physical impairment of myo-inositol conversion to chiro-inositol and an increase of urinary secretion of D-chiro-inositol (Yang, et al, 2011)
H. rhamnoides fresh fruit also contains bioflavonoids as high as 1000 mg.100 g, carotenoids as high as 2139 mg/100 g depending on the species, organic acids as high as 9.1 g/100ml, and carotenolipoprotein complexes which act as a bridge between polar proteins and non-polar carotenoids (Bal, et al, 2011).
The fruit of H rhamnoides contains 18 of the 22 essential amino acids including aspartic acid (426.6 mg/100 g); serine (28.1 mg/100 g); glutamine (19.4 mg/100 g); glycine (16.7 mg/100 g); alanine (21.2 mg/100 g); cysteine (3.3 mg/100 g); valine (21.8 mg/100 g); ammonia (41.8 mg/100 g); tyrosine (13.4 mg/100 g); isoleucine (17.4 mg/100 g); methionine (2.3 mg/100 g); proline (45.2 mg/100 g); phenylalanine (20.0 mg/100 g); histadine (13.7 mg/100 g); lysine (27.2 mg/100 g); threonine (36.8 mg/100 g); and arginine (11.3 mg/100 g). Additional amino acids in the subspecies sinensis includes tryptophan (0.51 mg/100 g); leucine (1.94 mg/100 g) and glycin (0.64 mg/100 g) (Bal, et al, 2011).
The moisture content of the fruit varies from 80% - 87% depending on origin and climate, and even higher for the fruit pulp, 85% - 98% in the Indian varieties of sea buckthorn. The total soluble solids within the fruit pulp range from 8.86 – 22.74 depending on the subspecies and region, however the juice from the berries ranges from 10.7 – 13.2 TSS (Bal, et al, 2011).
The sugar content of H. rhamnoides is comprised of glucose, fructose, and xylose. The Chinese species often show higher concentrations of these sugar compounds than in other species, such as the Russian and Finnish species. The glucose and fructose in the berry usually accounts for 60% - 90% of the sugars within the fruit. Frequently, the percentage of glucose and fructose contents of the berries from a specific plant will change annually, explained by the collecting dates and weather conditions during the growing season. Sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol have been seen in the species Hippophae rhamnoides ssp. sinensis, rhamnoides and mongolica (Bal, et al, 2011).
Sea buckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides, has been an important part of human history. It has been included in almost every culture ranging from Asia to India, Russia to middle Europe, and from Scandinavia to North America. This extraordinary plant has been included in many different traditional and folk medicines, including Chinese, Tibetian, Mongolian, Nordic, and Indian cultures for the treatment of coughs, pain, gastrointestinal disorders, immunosuppressive disorders, wound healing, gynecological conditions, and cardiovascular disorders. Today, H rhamnoides is used for its antioxidant and pharmacological activities. However, with its cytoprotective, hepatoprotective, and immunomodulatory properties, plus its anti-microbial, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory benefits, sea buckthorn is a plant which must become a medicinal mainstay in complementary and alternative medicine and preventative medicine.


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Eccleston, C; Yang, B; Tahvonen, R; Kallio, H; Rimbach, G; Minihane, A; (2002) Effects of an antioxidant-rich juice (sea buckthorn) on risk factors for coronary heart disease in humans. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Vol 13, Issue 6, P 346-354

Ercisli, S; Orhan, E; Ozdemir, O; Sengul, M; (2007) The genotypic effects on the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) berries grown in Turkey. Sientia Horticultuae, Vol. 115, Issue 1, P 27-33.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Can I Eat Anything I Want?

I remember quite a few years ago someone told me that you can eat whatever you want as long as you work it off the next day.  At that time, was mommy to my toddler son, playing mommy to his father, had two online classes, worked a desk job, never had enough time, and was under a lot of stress.  I literally had no time to workout and barely had enough time to take a short bathroom break between work and school.  The jarring sound of the alarm clock woke me up at 6am only to remind me that I had another 17 hour day; again, to only go to bed feeling tired and defeated, dreading what the morning would bring.  My existence was to be subservient to the social constructs of American lifestyle.
At that time in my life, I was my heaviest.  I had always struggled with my weight, but this time it had overtaken my life.  I avoided the scale after surpassing 235 lbs.  I felt miserable, had no energy, and had no self-esteem.  To my dismay, my body started to look hideous, and my hormone levels were out of control.  I started growing dark hair under my chin, started to show signs of diabetes, was winded after just climbing one flight of stairs, and I broke a blood vessel in my cheek trying to get out of bed, which it made a visible, and ugly, red line a centimeter long across my cheekbone.  My doctor started prescribing medications for high cholesterol, diabetes, plus he warned me that he would put me on blood pressure medications.  Overwhelmed with this reality, I managed to carve out time to go to the gym twice a week.

What happened next changed my entire life.  Details of the three week catastrophe are moot now that it has been over three years passed, but I can say that the events which unfolded left me homeless with a young son. Was I lonely?  Yes.  Was I upset?  Hell yeah, I cried almost every night for months afterwords.  But I picked myself up and moved forward.

During those months of hardship, I lost a lot of weight.  It was then I decided that what I was going to do was put me first.  I had spent 7 years tending to the needs of other people, and forgetting about myself in the process.  My son suffered, my family life suffered, I suffered, thus I paid the price.

Back to food!  For most of my life, I ate junk.  Processed, unnatural, JUNK!  When I was in my teens, I just didn't eat everyday.  I lived off of no-calorie seltzer water and chocolate candy bars for several years.  When I moved out of my parents' house, all I could afford to eat was cheap noodles.  I would scour the parking lots near my apartment for change in order to buy the noodles, and of course, if I didn't find enough change, I didn't eat.  Once, I was so hungry, I stole an apple out of the fridge at work and almost was fired for it.  I was rather thin at the time and was able to join the military even though I was borderline in failing the BMI.  Showing mid-drifts was in style at that time and flat bellies were emphasized as being healthy (; this in the time Britney Spears was the hottest thing alive.  I, unfortunately, was far from "sexy."  My stomach was always round and chubby, later made worse by my pregnancy and c-section, thus leading to my drastic decision to get a tummy tuck and liposuction.  Still, even after dropping $8,500 my stomach remains round and pudgy.

My food habits did not improve much while I was in the military.  In fact, I dieted with all sorts of dangerous pills (now off the market) and shoved them down my gullet with diet soft drinks.  I was addicted to all sorts of diet crap.  I starved myself, took laxatives, was bulimic when I did eat anything with calories, and ran 3+ miles per day.  Did it work? No, my tummy was still round, and when it all came down to the military's weigh-ins, I was still considered fat.  So on my last day in the military, I went to the fridge and grabbed the last piece of chocolate cake and ate it in front of everyone.  I remember one of the guys saying to me, "So, Rains, now that you are out, that means you are just going to give up?"  I told him yes.  I moved back to Colorado with my son and mooching spouse, starting my three year voyage to becoming the heaviest I had ever been, and eventually finding my world turned upside down because of it. 

Fast forwarding almost seven years from the moment I ate that historic chocolate cake, which was not that good to begin with, my diet changed drastically.  It consists of mostly natural, healthy, and nutritious foods.  Instead of diet pills, I take several supplements and an Oligo multivitamin.  I look back at my history of food abuse and realized that I can't eat anything and everything all the time.  My body just does not like processed junk that I had eaten for 25 years.  I know several friends who would beg to differ, one whose diet consists of hamburgers, pizza, and soda.  However, I realized that everyone is different, and our bodies all respond differently to the foods we eat.  Knowing what your personal diet should be and accepting your body as is is important.  For me, I needed to switch to a natural, healthy, and nutritious diet because my body runs more efficiently that way.  More importantly, I do not deprive myself, I eat things that I crave in moderation and I don't think twice about the calories because they really don't count.  I discovered that it is okay to eat that cookie, but I eat an apple too.  I slowly switched my thinking so that I actually want to eat for the health of my body.  I replaced the soda with water and the cake with carrots.  Lastly, I found time to exercise everyday.  I laugh and enjoy myself; I got rid of the bad and focus on the good.  I learned that you have got to change what is making you miserable, otherwise you end up sitting in your own rut.  It is most important to be grateful, be thankful, and fill yourself with love.

So to answer the question:
Can I eat anything I want?  Yes I can, because what I want is to eat what is healthy.                          


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Would Ayurveda Work For You

How could something so old be so new?  Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old health modality which is used world-wide although its therapeutic techniques differ slightly geographically.  Ayurveda, which has gained popularity in Asia, is also slowly gaining steam Western society as a branch in the newly popular Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).  According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, more than 200,000 U.S. adults used Ayurvedic medicine in the previous year (

I never hear of it, are you sure it is effective? Since it is relatively new, not many studies have been extensively conducted, and unfortunately modern science often has trouble translating this 5,000 year old modality into today's scientific analysis.  Since researchers also point out that the emphasis of Ayurveda is on providing different kinds of treatments for different people having the same disease; the ability to draw generalizeable conclusions is often very limited.   However, with the advancement of technology and as the popularity of Ayurveda spreads, new methods in research will be developed to study Ayurvedic extensively, and bring it to the forefront of Western medicine.  

What is the difference between Ayurvedic medicine and the medicine my doctor prescribes?   The practice of Ayurveda involves the use of medications that typically contain herbs, metals, minerals, or other materials.  While other countries have taken steps to address some of the concerns about these medications, such safeguards in America has not been actively implemented yet.  Efforts are required to improve the standards of Ayurvedic medications.  

What does the science say about this?  Ayurveda has shown to be successfull in treating asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and ischemic heart disease.  Yoga and meditation has been known to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders.  Best of all, the Ayurveda diet has been shown to slim the waistline.

How can I get more information?  While there is a lot of information out on the internet, it is important to get the correct information.  I recommend the following website:
To find a practitioner near you, visit:


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  Accessed November 11, 2011
Patwardhan B, Warude D, Pushpangadan P, Bhatt N. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A comparative overview.  eCAM. 2005;2(4):465-473.
Manjunath NK, Telles S. Influence of yoga & Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. Indian J Med Res. 2005;121:683-690.
Rastogi S. Building bridges between Ayurveda and modern science. In J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(1):41-46.
Furst D, Venkatraman MM et al. Well controlled, double blind, placebo controlled trials of classical ayurvedic treatment are possible in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2011; 70: 392-393
Prakash V, Prakash S et al. Sustainable effect of ayurvedic formulations in the treatment of nutritional anemia in adolescent students. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010; 16(2): 205-211
Falkenback A, Oberguggenberger R. Ayurveda in ankylosing spondylitis and low back pain. Ann Rheum Dis. 2003;62:276-277.
Singh, RH. Exploring larger evidence-base for contemporary Ayurveda. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(2): 65-66.
Walash, H. The efficacy paradox in randomized controlled trials of CAM and the placebo trap. Journal of alternative & complementary medicine. 2001;7(3):213-218.
Miller FG, Emanuel EJ, Rosenstein DL, Straus SE. Ethical issues concerning research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. JAMA. 2004;291:599-604.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yin & Yang

The light and dark side of the mountain: the symbolism of energy within and without.  The two opposing forces which consists in every aspect of being, yin and yang, impacts our very existence. Within our existence, is our life force energy, or qi, which flows in everything and through everyone.  Maintaining a proper balance of qi, particularly yin and yang, creates harmony, a sort of homeostasis; similarly, an imbalance begets disharmony. It is this imbalance that allows our entire being to succumb to disease, our organs to fail and increases our susceptibility to disease.
Understanding a little more about qi:
Master Duan Zhi-Liang Wuji Qigong
Master Shur Qigong Master
One major disease yin and yang imbalance is associated with is cancer. It is suggested that lin28/let-7 signaling link can be viewed much like a yin and yang balancing act. Consistent with this concept, lin28 and let-7 have been shown to have opposing expression patterns suggesting that this yin and yang imbalance is mainly associated with tumor progression and functions in development and tumor progression.  In mast cells where the suppressor and activator roles of mast cells in allergic inflammation are opposites. During allergic exacerbations there is an imbalance of mast cell functions which result in the symptoms related to allergic asthma and food allergy. During remission the balance is restored.  

One more disease viewed differently in Chinese medicine is diabetes, which is called xiao ke, or "wasting thirst syndrome". It is believed in Chinese medicine that there is a deficiency of yin, thus creating fake heat which affects the lungs, stomach and kidneys. The Chinese medicine understanding of what causes diabetes is very similar to Allopathic medicine in that those who eat/drink too much alcohol, sugar or fat (all yang foods) and live a sedentary life will develop xaio ke. Toxic heat develops which is thought to consume vital organs’ fluids and causes malfunction and disharmony between lung, stomach and kidney.
The combination of Allopathic and Chinese medicine can be shown in the example of insulin and glucagon:

We can ascertain by their functions, insulin would represent yin energy while glucagon represents yang energy.  One cannot function without the other, and without both in balance, the body becomes diseased.
Knowledge of yin and yang energy can help in the prevention, diagnosis, and cure of diseases, even where Allopathic medicine lacks.  It would behoove Allopathic medicine greatly to adopt this paradigm, and it would also benefit the millions of people who suffer from diseases in which there is no known cure for in Allopathic medicine. 

A.D. Kraneveld, et al., The two faces of mast cells in food allergy and allergic asthma: The possible concept of Yin Yang , Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2011)
Ageless Herbs. Traditional Chinese Medicine .Yin Yang Theory. Catherine Browne, L.Ac., MH, Dipl.Ac . Retrieved on 11/4/11
Ho, L. Robertson, M. The Yin and Yang of Diabetes. Exploring Chinese medicine's understanding of diabetes mellitus.
J.B. Soriano, A. Agustı, Eur Respir J 2008; 32: 1426–1427 COPD: or balancing repair (yang) and inflammation (yin)
Junfang Ji, Xin Wei Wang A Yin-Yang balancing act of the lin28/let-7 link in tumorigenesis
Journal of Hepatology Volume 53, Issue 5, November 2010, Pages 974-975
K. Maiese, Yin Yang: A Balancing Act for Oxidative Stress, Volume 3 (2010), Issue 4, Pages 227-227, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Monti, Daniel A. and Yang, Jingduan, "Complementary medicine in chronic cancer care" (2004).Jefferson Myrna Brind Center of Integration Medicine Faculty Papers.
Source: adapted from"Protein Power."
Diabetes Health, Investigate, inform, inspire. Yin and Yang: Balancing Insulin and Glucagon. Retrieved on 11/4/11 from
Shen-Nong Limited 2002-2005 “Understanding Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang” April 25-2009

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is Food Medicine?

I have said that food is medicine for years.  But I wanted to make the distinction between real foods, fake foods and functional foods.  We all know that proper nutrition is necessary for a healthy body. A diet with a variety of foods and a variety of colors will keep our bodies running well.  And we live in a society which all sorts of foods from all over the world can be obtained.  Science has taught us that no matter what, a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and complex carbs will help our bodies to run optimally. 
Real foods, as I call them, are foods almost in the raw.  Foods which don't take a lot of processing to make it what it is.  But I also consider real foods to be untampered with, foods that come from a source not injected with chemicals, not sprayed with chemicals, not molested with unnatural processes to make it bulky or Frankenstein-ish.  When foods are put through these processes, I call them fake foods. Fake foods come from a variety of sources, including factories, processing plants, and even some farms.  Identifying these foods can be as simple as looking at the ingredient lists and finding more than 4 ingredients in the product, or worse, finding unknown words in the ingredient lists.  Fake meat comes from animals which sit in small pens or cages, are fed by-products from factories or plants, stand in their own feces and urine for any length of time, and are injected with anything to make them healthier or better.  Avoid this group of foods when at all possible.
The third group of food I like to comment on is a group of foods called functional foods.  Originally starting as early as the '80s, functional foods, dubbed "neutraceuticals" by some, includes foods with essential nutrients necessary for the body to function properly. Some of these can be as natural as an organic blueberry, and some as synthetic as a diet aid.   I am really iffy on this third group of foods because most of them have a pharmaceutical element and can be harmful.  I do use synthetically produced functional foods to my advantage sometimes, but I research them extensively first.    
Furthermore, depending on which professional you ask depends on the exact definition and the preference for or against them.  In short, functional foods are only one aspect of the human diet, and diet is only one aspect of a healthy lifestyle.  Functional foods can sometimes be part of an effective strategy to promote good health, but they should never be considered a substitute for other good health habits and they should be cautioned when used in place of medically prescribed therapy for any health problem.

Keeping this in mind, we know that functional foods can, and do, offer health benefits over fake food.  Plus, it is important to know that most real foods and some functional foods are one in the same, and are fantastic foods to include into the diet; foods such as yogurt and organic dairy, organic nuts and seeds, lintels and beans, whole grains, herbs, organic fruits and vegetables, wild game, holistic meats, etc.  It is also important to note that  these foods are the primary foods we need in our diet on a daily basis.

Neutraceuticals, on the other hand, can be quite processed.  These include protein powders, diet pills and shakes, weight-loss/fitness items, enhanced milks, fortified food items, supplements, extracts, and tinctures.  I must make it clear that many processed products are not as healthy as they claim to be, and are not a substitute for real food.  An example would be soda pop with antioxidants, although it has benefits over other soda beverages, it still contains high amounts of HFCS, sodium, and other not-so-healthy substances.  This is not to say that when consuming soda, picking antioxidant enriched pop is a better choice than its counterparts. 

It is important to keep functional foods in perspective when they are consumed, not to assume that they offer the magic bullet against major health problems, but that they can offer vital nutrients otherwise lacking in the diet, or a better option than the comparative products. They provide an opportunity to enhance our nutritional needs, however they do not replace our cornerstone of good nutrition.  

In summery, here are some of my rules when considering what foods to include in your diet, and what not to include:

1.  Listen to your intuition.  If it sounds like a scam or hoax, it probably is.  

2.  Is it backed by science?  Always research the items you consume.  Some questions to ask are:
A) Where does it come from? 
B) Who makes it, what else do they make? 
C) How is it made?  
D) What is in it?  
E) Is everything that is in it safe? 

3. Pick up a book specializing in botanical pharmacology written by a CCH, FNIMH, AHG, ND, or MD.  My favorite author happens to be David Hoffman.  But other authors can also suffice as well.  Also, scholarly medical journals can offer insight into some products and their ingredients marketed.  Use the book(s) as a reference when buying products, or unsure of what foods can be used in order to enhance the diet.  

4.  Learn a little about anatomy and physiology.  Knowing how the body functions is just as important as knowing how the foods we eat help the body to function.  Learn a little about each organ, a little about the hormones the body produces, and a little about the body's functions and actions.  This way we are empowered to make the best choices when bombarded with sales tactics and marketing claims.   

5.  We should remain skeptical about whether these "functional" foods are useful for everyone.  Sometimes, we just don't need certain enhanced foods.  Everyone is different, and just because your friend/colleague/spouse takes something, doesn't mean you need to take it.  Know and trust your own body!  When in doubt, and many of us can be at times, ask a professional if you genuinely need it or if it is just a waste of your money; and in most cases, hyped products are.      

Clare M. Hasler, 2002 The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 132:3772-3781, December 2002 Functional Foods: Benefits, Concerns and Challenges—A Position Paper from the American Council on Science and Health
"Functional Foods." Encyclopedia of Food & Culture. Ed. Solomon H. Katz. Vol. 2. Gale Cengage, 2003
Meister, K. MA. Facts About Functional Foods retrieved on 11/20/11 from
Eat Right, The American Dietetic Assoc. Functional Foods, Volume 109, Issue 4, Pages 735-746 (April 2009)

The New York Times, Business Day. Foods with Benefits, or So They Say. Retrieved on 10/20/11 from
European Food Information Council. FOOD TODAY 12/1999 Functional Foods
Torpy, J. (2002) Medical News & Perspectives Integrating Complementary Therapy Into Care. [Electronic version] JAMA. 287(3):306-307.
Ebbing, M; Bonaa, K; Nygard, O; Arnesen, E; Ueland, P; Nordrehaug, J; Rasmussen, K; Njolstad, I; Refsum, H; Nilsen, D; Tverdal, A; Meyer, K; Vollset, S. (2009) Cancer Incidence and Mortality After Treatment With Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 [Electronic version] JAMA. 2009;302(19):2119-2126.
Zhang, S; Cook, N; Albert, C; Gaziano, J; Buring, J;  Manson, J. (2008) Effect of Combined Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 on Cancer Risk in Women: A Randomized Trial. [Electronic version]   JAMA. 2008;300(17):2012-2021.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Office-Chair Butt

Just recently, I had started my second-to-last semester for my MS-IHW.  I was really excited because I can see the finish line right around the corner: about six months away from accomplishing one of my life-long goals.  Unfortunately, reality hit me in the face as homework began to pile up and haunt me.  Only two weeks into the game when already I have put in almost forty hours of work into school.  Whats worse, all those hours have been spent plugging away in front of the computer.
On the flip side, nothing around the house is getting done.  Dishes are piled up in the sink, the floor is quite hairy, and a weeks worth of laundry is piled up next to the washer; outside is worse, the neighbors are starting to notice the jungle growth consuming the house.  My work has taken a toll as well, I have not talked to anyone about going green in the past two weeks, and my paychecks have suffered.
What is most horrifying, however, is my butt.  In the past two weeks, my butt has gotten bigger!  It is spreading out to fit into the chair I sit in for 50+ hours per week.  Now I do not believe in calories, or the fact that my eating has much to do with this phenomenon.  But what happened to me in the past two weeks has shocked me.  I have gained a whopping 13 lbs and a pant size.  Something has to give; other than a button I mean.
So today I really looked at what I have been eating.  Lots of fruits, some vegetables, a little tuna, a little chicken, bread, rice, and a few desserts every now and again.  I also have been drinking honey tea and soda a lot lately.  I have been eating my meals around 9am, 1pm, and snacking at 3pm and 630pm.  I also have been slacking on exercise which in not good at all.

After I took about 20 minutes to sit down and really think about a plan, I came up with this.  I am going to up the amount of vegetables I eat, and reduce the amount of fruits.  I also am going to switch from soda and honey tea to seltzer water and coffee.  I also bought a months supply of Attain bars (protein bars with crave blocker), and a months supply of Access powder (natural weight loss drink) to mix with my coffee.  Access is supposed to be used during exercise, however, I am curious to find out if it will work without exercise.  I will have to blog about that later.
My new routine is simple and works around my school and work schedule. 
Every morning, I wake up with a cup of coffee mixed with two scoops of Access powder. 
Then I do several chores around the house.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I hit the gym. 
I eat a quick Attain bar if I get munchy before lunch, then hit the computer to start work. 
For lunch, I am eliminating breads and including more vegetables, perhaps a chicken salad would suffice.         I eat a small dinner before 4 of vegetables with a little protein.
Then I take the dogs for their afternoon walk.
Dessert will be eaten after lunch instead of after supper, this way, the body is not forced to conserve the sugar while I am sleeping.

Since I have started this today, we will see what the results are by the end of this school semester.  I am hoping to keep the office-chair butt syndrome from appearing.  We will have to see what happens.          

Friday, August 26, 2011

Treating ADHD Naturally

ADD, ADID, and ADHD are growing problems in the United States.  Although Colorado remains to have one of the lowest incidence rates in the nation for these disorders, the overall growth of these disorders are growing at an alarming rate. Being a developmental, psychiatric disorder in children, and now adults, it affects about 5% of children world wide.
Diagnosing these disorders may be difficult as the symptoms may mimic other disorders, such as PTSD, OCD, ODD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, among others.  Symptoms may be masked, overlooked, and even unrecognized if other disorders are present.  Caretakers, clinicians, teachers, or counselors who are not properly trained may also have difficulty differentiating the symptoms of these disorders from other disorders.  Often times, diagnosing males is often easier than females, however there is some argument as why this phenomenon occurs.  
In the U.S. medications are commonly used for behavior modifications.  Some children receive counseling and may undergo lifestyle changes as well to cope with the disorder.  In families where these disorders are not recognized, severe punishments, ridicule, and even abuse can be found.
The exact cause for these disorders is unknown, and actually may be a combination of factors which produce the symptoms of these disorders.  It is found, however, that there is a genetic component in most cases; where dopamine transmitters and receptors are less active.  One theory suggests that these genes played a part in human evolution where a nomadic lifestyle, hunting and gathering were an essential part of life.  Studies have recently concluded that the genes responsible for ADHD have been found in some nomadic tribes in Africa and offer an advantage over other more stationary tribes.
Treating ADD, ADID, and  ADHD naturally is under debate.  Although allopathic treatments, such as methylphenidates offer noticeable results, academic performance is not necessarily enhanced and often side-effects of the medication prohibits a normal lifestyle.  Addiction to medication is common.  Counseling may or may not help, but can't hurt in most cases.
Hypersensitivity to chemicals may be another cause to some of the symptoms.  Residues of cleaning agents, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals may enhance or aggravate these disorders.  Chemicals put in foods, bath and body products, and cosmetics also may aggravate or heighten symptoms.  Sodium Hyperchloride, for example, used in over 95% of American households as a cleaning agent, has been shown to disrupt brain functioning and aggravate pulmonary-respiratory diseases.
Common natural treatments for ADD, ADID, and ADHD, include diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.  Limiting food dyes, preservatives, sugars, and synthetic chemicals helps tremendously.  Stabilizing blood sugar throughout the day makes a noticeable difference in attitude, focus, and hyperactivity. Eliminating poisons and toxic chemicals  from the environment by switching to naturally derived cleaners and detergents also may help.  By increasing the amount of exercise/activity throughout the day makes a difference in most individuals; enrolling in sports, martial arts, dance, improv theatre, clubs, or other activities promotes camaraderie and allows for hyperstimulation which has a calming effect on many individuals with the disorders.
Treating ADD, ADID, and ADHD with supplements is another effective route.  Super-absorbent vitamins and phytonutrients provides the brain with supportive nutrients.  Proanthocyanidin, found in some plants including grapes, is an essential bioflavonoid necessary for eslastin and collagen production as well as proper blood vessel elasticity, and has been linked to more efficient brain functioning, including memory and mental focus.  Omega-3 fatty acids also help with cognitive brain function, as well as stabilizes mood patterns.  Valerian root has a calming effect on most with the disorders.  Ginkgo biloba has been shown to maximize cerebral circulation and enhance focus.
Other lifestyle changes, such as behavioral modification and discipline help.  "1. 2. 3. Magic" (  and "ADDitude" ( are fantastic disciplinary programs geared toward troubled and difficult children.  Other programs, such as "Love & Logic" ( and other traditional parenting strategies may or may not be as effective on impulsive and defiant behaviors.  Trial by error may be in order to find the perfect balance of discipline response and self preservation.
Maintaining health and happiness is best for any child, but it is extremely important for one with ADD, ADID, or ADHD.  Just remember, every moment counts.  Keeping a positive attitude is essential.  Moreover, love and respect can defy all possibilities.     


Monday, August 15, 2011


I recently read that the Center for Disease Control claims that Americans eat way too much protein.  But is this the case, or are we just eating too much altogether?  Nutritionists recommend that the average person eat about 60 grams of protein daily.  But which protein?  There are many different types of proteins, and the body metabolizes each type of protein differently (not to make it more confusing).  In early med school, I was taught that lean meat the size of a deck of cards, cooked vegetables about the size of my palm, and large spoonful of whole grains was a satisfactory dinner.  However, I must argue that not all people eat like this.  I sure as hell don't!  I enjoy a plethora of cuisine, including wild game, different salads, BBQ, and exotic palates such as sushi and calamari.  I can honestly say that I have tried some exotic dishes that would have the normal American's stomach turn upside-down.  
With that said, I also want to emphasize that eating for disease prevention must be an important attribute to anyone's diet, however, many Americans face the diet intervention as a consequence of obtaining a preventable disease.  I should know, I was pre-diabetic and I was put on a regimen of pills to choke on and was put on a low calorie diet to lose weight (may I add that it didn't work because calories are not the cause of obesity). 
But I digress.  Through many years of research and experimentation, I have figured out how much protein to consume and what types my body prefers.  I don't measure, I don't count, and I don't restrict my intake of protein.  Most importantly, I listen to my body's needs instead of listening to a "professional" telling me how much I need.  These are my personal rules, which can be personalized by anyone looking to slim down, prevent disease, and feel awesome.   

1. Eat protein in the morning.  Eating a plate-full of protein will level out blood sugar and help the body stay fuller - longer.  I personally like a ham & cheese omelet with fresh vegetables, or a protein shake on the go.  Limiting sugar, starches, and fruit in the morning will help your energy levels stay up throughout the morning.

2.  Eat legumes and lentils everyday.  These plant-based proteins do not cause cancer like animal-based proteins do.  Satiating a meal with a few spoonfuls of plant protein will help the body feel better in the afternoons.

3. Eat holistic meats and wild game when possible.  It is really important to eat the best meat possible from animals which are holistically raised and harvested, free from hormones, immunizations, synthetic chemicals, harmful by-products and pesticides, and only naturally fed on an open range. Wild game, which has been properly harvested can offer the best choice of meat, and help decrease cancer risk, cholesterol, and obesity.

4. Avoid animals with mercury.  Unfortunately, high levels of heavy metals can interlace with protein structures in fish and other amphibious-type animals (including some fowl, frogs, alligators).  These types of meats should be avoided since mercury and heavy metals can cause brain and central nervous system damage, liver and kidney troubles, and other damaging effects.  

5. Eat holistic meat as rare as possible.  Meats with char marks, cooked at high temperatures, can develop carcinogens within the meat.  When cooking meat, it should be cooked as low as possible for the least amount of time as possible.  A guideline for red meat is about 160 degrees on the inside, and 180 for poultry.