[LIVE EVENT] Sleep Hacking 101 – April 22

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night?
Do you feel tired in the mornings even after a full night’s sleep?
Do you find yourself hitting a “wall” every afternoon after lunch?

The solution: Hack your sleep for the best nights rest of your life!

Using the latest information and technology,  we will explore the steps you can take to radically improve your sleep and sleep habits.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 6:15pm – 7:30pm
Intouch Chiropractic – 580-555 West 12th Ave, Vancouver BC
LIMITED SEATING!

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Research has shown that a quarter of all Canadians are chronically sleep deprived. Unfortunately, unlike nutrition and fitness, once your missed sleep it is very difficult to make up for it later.

Sleep deprivation has also been shown to be just as deadly as smoking and can literally take years off of your life! Here’s why:

• A person who has not slept for 20 hours has a level of impairment equal to someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 per cent, over the limit of 0.05, at which a driver is considered legally impaired in Ontario.

• A non-typical sleep schedule from shift work disturbs the body’s natural pattern of rest and rejuvenation, which can lead to physical and mental problems, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma, diabetes and depression.

• Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other medical conditions. The amount of sleep and the quality of sleep have been shown to affect appetite, weight control and the effectiveness of diets for weight loss.

• An extra hour of sleep a night appears to decrease the risk of coronary heart calcification, or hardening of the arteries, an early indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Is It Possible To Be Overweight And Healthy?

healthy obesityOver the past decade, a controversial new topic in healthcare has emerged. The idea that it may be possible to be overweight and healthy at the same time has rapidly gained many supporters as well as detractors.

At the source of the debate are recent studies and observations that showed people traditionally labeled “overweight” can have no signs or symptoms of being metabolically unhealthy.

In one study, individuals that were considered overweight, had normal lab tests (blood lipids, insulin, glucose, blood pressure) and were no more likely to die early than their leaner, normal weight counterparts.

This, of course, has generated much controversy since it flies in the face of research going back to the 1950’s that traditionally linked weight gain to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia and certain cancers.

Recently, a couple of Canadian studies have once again ignited the debate and challenged the notion of “healthy obesity.”

Citing flaws in previous studies, they found that so-called “metabolically healthy” obese people were still at greater risk of developing heart disease and diabetes later on in life.

So who is right? Can you be healthy and overweight? Or should simply being overweight be considered a health condition, even in the absence of current signs or symptoms of disease?

The answer is not a simple one.

First, it is important to define your terms. Being overweight and/or obese has typically been measured using Body Mass Index (BMI, average weight over average height). Often criticized for being overly simplistic, it is the standard measurement on which most studies are based.

When measuring BMI, there are many people on the margins of “overweight” category, who could be considered healthy. However, all studies show that being in the worse “obese” category always had a negative health outcome.

Second, if you measure metabolic health only by lipids, BP, glucose and insulin, then the answer is yes. Other tests such as body fat percentage, heart rate variability, MRI to determine fat around the organs, blood markers of inflammation such as A1C, CRP, homocystein and LDL particle size are newer tests that are not commonly measured, but will likely help answer this question in the future.

Finally, the major criticism of the “healthy overweight” movement has been that these studies only looked at mortality (early death) and failed to properly study quality of life and morbidity (rate of disease) in those later years.

Asking if an overweight person can be healthy, is missing the point. Body composition, weight loss and physical appearance should not necessarily be the goal of any diet or fitness program. They should be considered favorable side effects, of a healthy lifestyle.

The quality of life should be the real goal and could very well be independent of weight in some people.

The WHO defines health as: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In other words, Health isn’t just about being “not-sick,” it is about maximizing your physical potential, mental state and healthy relationships.

In my opinion, this is a better definition of health, regardless of weight or BMI. If a person is living a healthy lifestyle, then it is unlikely they remain obese or even overweight for long.

Twinkies Anyone?

twinkiesVisit any high school cafeteria and you will see a veritable sea of junk food available to students. There are chocolate bars, french-fries, potato chips and a wide assortment of high fructose corn syrup candies.

Lately, school lunch options include the choice between either too much sugar or too much salt. Is it any wonder why many teachers report tired and irritable students immediately after lunch hour?

As bad as school lunch food can be, there is one junk food that stands out as the absolute king of all other junk foods: the classic Twinkie.

Barely a food, the Twinkie has become the stuff of urban legend. With a rumored shelf life of 25 years (actually, only about 25 days) it is the ultimate junk food simply because it is made mostly out of “junk.”

Many of the Twinkie ingredients are derived from petroleum and petroleum products which includes the coloring that gives Twinkies their warm, golden color. The lone mineral in it, ferrous sulphate, is made from running steel at a steel mill through a bath of sulphuric acid, yum. Of course, let’s not forget the cane sugar and its derivatives, polyurethane foam, polysorbate 60, wheat flour, bleach and much more!

What’s the point of this rant? While it is easy to poke fun at a cultural icon, like the Twinkie, the reality is many of the foods offered in today’s high schools are barely food at all.

Parents need to realize that giving your child money for lunch, while convenient for mom, may not be the best option for your child’s health. Junk food has become the norm now and healthy lunch choices are limited in school cafeterias.

A better solution is to prepare a bagged lunch that consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy meats. Not only will this provide your child with the proper nutrients they need to get through the rest of the school day, it will also keep them alert and focused on their studies.

Feeding your child proper, natural food, will help keep them fit and healthy in the long run.

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SPECIAL EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Advanced Nutrition Workshop – with special guest speaker: Dr. Ahren Roy — May 24th, 6:15PM @ InTouch Chiropractic

This optimal nutrition workshop expands on the concept taught at last month’s Total Health Makeover and digs into the specifics of the Advanced Nutrition Plan:

• How to identify good fats vs bad fats

• Identifying and avoiding toxic foods

• Hormone balancing for optimal fat loss

• Maintaining and energy levels throughout the day

• Where to shop

and much more….

Limited Seating, CLICK HERE to reserve your spot today!

How To Get 8 Hours Of Sleep Without Drugs

sleepGetting 8 hours of restful sleep can be quite difficult for some people.

Early on in my career, I remember meeting a patient who came to my clinic with a variety of health concerns: digestive troubles, migraines, pain and other inflammatory symptoms.

Having recently moved to Winnipeg for work, she could not figure out what had gone wrong since, according to her, she was doing everything right when it came to her health.

Her nutritional profile looked good – a strict, no refined sugar, no refined carbohydrates, no toxin diet. She exercised daily (sometimes twice a day) and would proudly state how important it was for her to take care of her body with regular chiropractic care.

Stumped, I was preparing myself for a “tough case.” As we began our case history, the topic of sleep came up. Me: “How many hours of sleep do you get a night?” Her: “Sleep? Who has time for that?”

Sleep deprivation is a common problem and most people do not achieve eight hours of quality sleep each night. Without proper sleep, all systems of the body are thrown out of balance: The immune system is depressed, hormones are disrupted, digestion is compromised and the effects of sleep deprivation can mimic many elements of the aging process itself.

In her book: “Lights Out! Sleep, Sugar and Survival”, T.S. Wiley points out that sleep deprivation is also on the CDCs list of known carcinogens. Sleep deprivation has also been known to contribute to weight gain, depression and anxiety.

The primary purpose of sleep is repair and recovery. Unfortunately my high stress, very active patient was driving her body hard during the day with very little recovery at night. This is a recipe for disaster.

Contrary to popular belief, the brain is extremely active at night. The Central Nervous System actually speeds up at night to facilitate healing and repair. The brain will cycle through three phases of sleep (REM, light and deep sleep). It’s during deep sleep that the body will restore itself.

As a result, the quality of sleep is equally important as the amount. Here are three tips for achieving a deep, restful sleep:

  1. Sleep in a cave – A dark, quiet, cool room is essential for a good night’s sleep. Make sure all light is blacked out (including TVs and alarm clocks) and its not too hot in the bedroom.

  1. Minimum 8 hours – Get at least 8 hours of sleep, 9 would be better. Early riser? Try going to bed sooner.

  1. Stimulants – Alcohol, caffeine computer screens and TVs are all stimulants and should not be used at least 2 hours before bed.

Finally, after 3 weeks, my patient who claimed to be “too busy to sleep” was symptom free and on her way back to optimal health. After an honest reassessment of her time, she realized that her 3 hours of late-night TV watching before bed was stealing her sleep time.

While there are many factors involved in getting a good night’s sleep, often it is the simple changes that have the greatest benefit.

Advanced Nutrition Workshop – with Dr. Ahren Roy

nutrition2Advanced Nutrition Workshop – with special guest speaker: Dr. Ahren Roy

This optimal nutrition workshop expands on the concept taught at last month’s Total Health Makeover and digs into the specifics of the Advanced Nutrition Plan:

• How to identify good fats vs bad fats

• Identifying and avoiding toxic foods

• Hormone balancing for optimal fat loss

• Maintaining and energy levels throughout the day

• Where to shop

and much more….

Limited Seating, so reserve your spot today!

Top Foods That Cause Inflammation

Inflammation

Inflammation is rapidly becoming one of the most studied topics in mainstream health care and with good reason.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer. Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia, to name a few. In fact, inflammation is rapidly becoming the most widespread illness of the 21st century.

Inflammation was even featured on the cover of the Feb 2004 edition of Time Magazine where it was dubbed “The Secret Killer.” Secret, because where once, chronic inflammation was seen as the effect of these conditions, many in healthcare are now looking to inflammation as potentially the primary cause of these chronic degenerative conditions.

Unlike acute inflammation from trauma, infections, allergies, burns, or cuts which can heal within a short period of time, chronic inflammation is more systemic in nature and can become a repeating cycle of flare ups over the years.

The problem with inflammation is that it is almost entirely due to lifestyle and environmental factors. A toxic environment, poor of sleep, stress, lack of movement will all contribute to inflammation. However, poor nutrition may be the biggest culprit.

Many of the foods we consume on a regular basis, promote the spread of inflammation throughout the body. For example:

Sugar – Diets high in refined sugars tend to produce a large rate of inflammation throughout the body due to their acidic load. Refined sugars are found in almost all packaged foods especially in concentrated forms like high fructose corn syrup.

Vegetable Oils – Industrial fats and vegetable oils produce trans fatty acids that can increase inflammation and damage blood vessels. Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soy, safflower and cottonseed oils are also found primarily in packaged foods and restaurant applications.

Grains – Most grains eaten today, including their whole grain varieties, are refined, processed and treated with pesticides and other chemicals. More importantly, wheat, rice, corn, etc. contain gut-irritating proteins that cause inflammation along the digestive tract. Gluten intolerance is an example of this process.

Food additives – Often used as flavor enhancers and preservatives. There is some speculation that these additives, such as MSG and colorings found in processed meats and packaged foods, will trigger an inflammatory response in people already suffering from chronic inflammation.

Reducing inflammation form food sources is potentially a simple solution to a number of different illnesses and chronic degenerative conditions.

By eating a clean, nutritionally dense, whole food based diet consisting of vegetables, lean organic meats, low sugar fruits, nuts and seeds, we can begin to gain control over a condition that has limited the lives of so many.

Examining The Science Of Weight Loss [Part 2]

col-maxhealth-march6In my previous column, we examined the science of weight loss. While conventional wisdom states that eating too many calories will cause us to gain weight, the science supporting this idea doesn’t always hold up.

As we continue to investigate, we find that the current obesity epidemic is a complicated problem, with multiple causes and individual differences in susceptibility. In other words: What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.

However, there are a few simple principles of health and nutrition that may be true for the majority of people seeking to lose weight.

The first and most important step a person can take is to begin by eating natural, real foods. This would include foods found on the periphery of the grocery store – vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean proteins – and not the packaged and canned foods down the aisles.www.drchrischatzoglou.com

Packaged foods contain high amounts of sugar, salt and hydrogenated fats, all of which have been shown to contribute to the obesity epidemic by stimulating pleasure centres in the brain.

In his new book, “Salt, Sugar and Fat,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Moss investigated the practice of the packaged food industry to chemically engineer addictive food products.

“The optimum amount of sugar in a product became known as the “bliss point.” Food inventors and scientists spend a huge amount of time formulating the perfect amount of sugar that will send us over the moon,” he said.

Avoiding foods that are chemically engineered to make us eat more of them would be a good starting point.

The second most important factor, when it comes to weight loss, is understanding that the problem goes beyond food. Frequent movement and exercise may be as important as what we eat.

Considering the fact that only 15% of all Canadians meet the required amount of daily exercise, it is clear there are other factors at play in the obesity epidemic.

Take time for 15-minute fitness breaks throughout the day. Exercise does not have to be difficult or painful. It could be as simple as a walk around the block, playing with your kids, taking the stairs instead or playing sports. The key is to move frequently.

Finally, a discussion of weight loss would be incomplete without acknowledging the role that stress and sleep deprivation play in weight gain.

The fact is, most Canadians are stressed and sleep deprived. The average person gets only 6.9 hours of sleep a night. This is simply not enough for proper rest and recovery from a stressful day.

Chronic sleep deprivation changes affect how hormones like leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and insulin store fat. Fortunately, getting eight hours of sleep, proper nutrition and exercise can reset these hormones over time.

Weight loss fads may come and go over the years, but basic principles of health and wellness such as proper nutrition, exercise and sleep, will always withstand the test of time.

Remember that healthy weight loss should always be a product of a healthy lifestyle and not necessarily the main objective.

Examining The Science of Weight Loss [Part 1]

Weight lossMost Canadians, approximately 61%, are considered overweight or obese. Weight loss is a billion-dollar industry consisting of how-to books, fat-burning supplements and surgical procedures designed to curb appetite and shed pounds.

While there are many diets and programs that claim to help you lose weight, very few of them have stood up to scientific scrutiny and have withstood the test of time.

Early weight-loss diets focused mainly on caloric intake. Researchers thought that weight gain was exclusively due to eating too many calories.

Simply put: We were consuming too much energy from food and not expending the same amount of energy through daily activity. Consequently, the leftover calories were then stored as fat.

While this model appeared to be correct at the extreme ends of the spectrum, restricting calories without paying attention to food quality proved to not be the healthiest approach.

www.drchrischatzoglou.comBy the 1970s, researchers believed that overconsumption of saturated fat was the reason people became overweight. Partially based on the work of Dr. Ansel Keys, saturated fat became Public Enemy No. 1 for the next 40 years.

Canadians were encouraged to do away with traditional cooking oils, such as lard and butter, and replace them with vegetable oils and margarine. Unfortunately, obesity and heart disease rates skyrocketed during this period of fat phobia, especially among children.

There has recently been renewed interest in low-carbohydrate diets. The first recorded use of a low-carbohydrate diet to treat obesity was in 1863 and was the standard of care up until the 1940s. Today, many people who have incorporated a low-carbohydrate diet have already experienced incredible results.

This is because the Standard Canadian Diet consists of a large refined carbohydrate intake from bread, rice, pasta, sugars, sodas and juices. The Canada Food Guide even recommends that the majority of our calories come from refined carbohydrates.

Unfortunately, excess carbohydrates (sugars) are quickly stored as fat. Also. many new studies have shown that excessive carbohydrate intake leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even certain cancers.

It would seem that replacing refined carbohydrates with healthy proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and good fats could dramatically improve overall health and keep the weight off.

However, this is only one piece of the obesity puzzle.

Newer studies point to certain packaged foods as a culprit in the obesity epidemic. They are cheap, readily available and these “foods” are now chemically engineered to stimulate pleasure sites in the brain.

Essentially, food companies are now creating addictions in adults and children and some people can’t help but eat foods that are unhealthy.

As time goes on, we find that obesity is a more complicated issue than simply what and how much we eat. Additional studies have shown individual differences in weight loss due to vitamin D levels, stress, quality of sleep may also play a role.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to weight loss. However, there are some basic principles that hold true for (almost) everyone.

In my next column, we will review simple lifestyle changes you can make to for healthy weight loss.

You Are What Your Mom Ate

mother's nutritionA growing number of researchers believe a mother’s nutrition status before and during pregnancy may be one of the critical periods in our lives.

Influencing everything from brain function, IQ and even fat metabolism, what mother’s nutrition during pregnancy (and even before pregnancy) may be the single most important factor in determining lifelong health for your child.

The idea that a mother’s nutritional status can have an effect on a child’s future health is not a new concept. The theory, first proposed by British researcher David J. Barker in the 1980s, has even spawned a new field of study called “The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.”

Many conditions such as certain cancers, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, mental illness and some degenerative conditions have already been studied for their fetal origins.

In short, the environment – particularly the environment within the womb – has the ability to re-write your genes and determine your future health.

Unfortunately, other that suggesting they take a multivitamin and folic acid supplements, moms-to-be are given very little nutritional advice. Hardly any are given “pre-conception” nutritional advice.

Here are some general nutritional recommendations during pregnancy. Everyone is slightly different so make sure you speak to your healthcare provider for more specific recommendations:

  1. Do not diet. Now is not the time to go low calorie. You are, in fact, eating for two. Weight gain is a natural part of the process.

  2. Eat green, leafy vegetables every day. Include some fruit, such as berries.

  3. Increase carbs, but make sure they are the right kind. Pastas, rice and grains while high in carbohydrate content, carry very little nutritional value compared to vegetables and starchy tubers, like sweet potatoes and yams.

  4. Increase good fats. Wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, nuts, butter, omega 3 supplements, olive oil are just some examples of good, healthy fats.

  5. Avoid sugar and packaged foods. Junk food carries very little nutritional value and is full of chemicals. To stave off cravings, opt for protein and fat instead.

These recommendations, based on whole, nutrient dense foods, will help give your child a head start in life.

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The following list is just a small sampling of the literature on the subject:

  • The metabolic syndrome. In a 2011 paper, Bruce et al showed that the onset of metabolic syndrome is “increasingly likely following exposure to suboptimal nutrition during critical periods of development”.
  • Heart disease & diabetes. In 2002, Barker, the father of the DOHaD hypothesis, published a paper suggesting that slow growth during fetal life and infancy – itself a consequence of poor maternal nutrition – predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension later in life.
  • Breast cancerHilakivi-Clarke, et al . “Thus, maternal diet and environmental exposure might increase the risk of breast cancer by inducing permanent epigenetic changes in the fetus that alter the susceptibility to factors that can initiate breast cancer.”
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)Dumesic et al 2007. This paper suggested that insulin resistance and resulting increases of testosterone during pregnancy promotes PCOS during adulthood.
  • ObesityKalliomaki et al 2008. These researchers found that simply by studying the composition of the maternal gut flora (influenced by nutrition, medications, stress, etc.) they could predict which children will be overweight by age 7!