👉 Tip #1 Anyone out there over winter yet?

 I for one hope that the cold NEVER stops, that we continue to get a meager 6 hours of natural light a day, that I can continue to dress like an eskimo emerging from her igloo to get my ice-fishing on,  and that my metabolism continues to slow down to keep up my hard won winter blubber. NOT. Let’s talk about a few things you can do to get you through to spring when life is worth living again. I know, so dramatic!!

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Studies show that SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder affects up to 14% of people each year, especially if you live in northern climates.  SAD can be just as debilitating as having a depressive mood disorder. Patients with SAD respond well to environmental light in contrast to other forms of depression.

Symptoms include: depression, carb cravings, increased sleep and more than normal weight gain in the winter. Serotonin and dopamine pathways seem to be affected in SAD and there may be a genetic predisposition.

Action Step:  Move to Florida.  Kidding. Get your Light therapy on with a Light Box.  A light therapy box mimics outdoor light.  The light exposure causes a chemical change in the brain that can improve your mood.  Make sure your light box provides 10,000 lux of light and gives off as little UV light as possible. Start using it within the first hour of waking up in the morning for about 30-90 minutes. Don’t look directly into the light, but have your face exposed from about 16-20 inches away.

Exercise

I know.  Can’t I just take a pill or something? Even though this may be the last thing on your agenda, studies indicate that the link between exercise and mood is pretty strong.  Some experts report that usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect. Studies show that exercise can also help alleviate long-term depression.  

Action Step: Get those running shoes on, or bop around to your favorite music at home, or get that parka on and avoid slipping down your icy front steps and get to that gym class.   I’m going on record to say I only slipped down my steps twice this year which is a 75% decrease from last winter, so….it’s a win!!!

Steam or Sauna

Sweat it out in a steam bath or sauna.

  • Sweating stimulates circulation, eliminates toxins through the skin, and gives you a respite from that chilled to the bone sensation.
  • Lots of research shows that saunas can make you feel euphoric. Saunas are somewhat stressful on the body, so your brain produces and releases more euphoric hormones to deal with it. Check out my prior post for details on why saunas a good for you.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, has completed two studies in which he had people with major depression sit in an infrared sauna.  In his first study, the participants had just one infrared sauna treatment and it reduced their symptoms by about 50%.  In his follow-up study, he found that a single session caused a rapid and powerful antidepressant effect, and the benefits continued for six weeks.

Action Step:  Go sweat in a sauna or take a steam.  You can get an at home, assembly required infrared sauna if you like.  I love mine. It literally is a chair with a heating device enclosed in what looks like a toaster cozy. It’s absolutely ridiculous to sit in there, particularly when your husband puts an aluminum tinfoil hat on your head and snaps a photo.  This isn’t exactly mine, but it gives you an idea of how idiotic I look while in it. Add a tinfoil hat for completion. 

Where’s my supplement advice?

My posts wouldn’t be complete without some supplement advice.  So here you go!

B Vitamins

B6, Folate, B2, and B12 are essential co-factors for making your own feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. Now a word of advice. 50% of the US population has a genetic variant known as the MTHFR mutation that doesn’t allow you to process cheap synthetic forms of B vitamins.  Get in a lot of leafy green veggies and natural forms of folate, but if you ARE going to take a B complex supplement, avoid those containing FOLIC ACID and CyanoCobalamin. Look for methyl-folate varieties and methyl-cobalamin ingredients.  

Actions Step: Find a good B complex vitamin and take 1 capsule daily. I’m a fan of Pure encapsulations and Xymogen brands.  Consider checking your B12 levels as they are often not optimal.  Aim for a serum level of 600 or more.  Most blood ranges in labs are between 200 and 1200.  Where would YOU like to be?  At the top or the bottom of the range?

Tryptophan

L-tryptophan can work just as well as light therapy in helping improve SAD and in fact, may be a great addition to light therapy if that alone is not doing the trick.  

Action Step: Try 500-1000 mg of L-tryptophan 2 or 3 times daily with a meal that contains moderate amounts of carbs. This allows L-tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier where it’s converted into serotonin.

Okay folks, get out of those winter blues and get your happy on!!  See you in the spring.  Or actually I’ll check in next week for my next 2-tip Tuesday post.

👉 Tip #2: Why Snacking Is Bad For You.  

I’m just going to get right to it today.  I have a lot of snacking, I mean packing to do as I return from vacation.  So here we go…..

Snacking makes you fat…..

Grabbing a snack between meals is practically an American pastime.  We grab a sugary latte in the afternoon for an energy boost or throw down an energy bar or 100-calorie snack to get us through to our next meal or if you are health conscious a handful of almonds.  For years nutritionists have been telling clients to eat every 2 to 3 hours so as to keep their metabolism going. Not only is this WRONG, but there literally couldn’t be WRONGER advice.  Just take a look at where this advice has gotten us…

In the US 25 to 35% of the population is OBESE.  Not just overweight but actually obese. And if you live in the South, you are at highest risk. Compare this to 1990 when less than 15% of the US population was obese.

Why the heck did we start snacking so much anyway?

What happened to 3 square meals a day?  It was certainly not based on any scientific evidence.  It actually had more to do with the American food lobby.  Snacking is Big Business…..

Federal records show that corporate organizations such as the American Beverage Association spent $15.3 million lobbying on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) guidelines in the second quarter of that year.  The Congressional Representatives who were signatories to the letter to the Secretaries, themselves, received over $2 million in contributions from food and agricultural interests in 2013 and 2014.  

What the heck are we snacking on anyway?

And for your information, I will be limiting my use of the word “heck” from here on out.  Oops, used it again.

Snacks are basically sugar, wrapped in chemicals, glued together with weird processed protein isolates with a helping of added sugar.  Read a nutrition label people!  What IS this “snack” actually made of? And don’t be fooled by code words for sugar (agave, honey, nectar, maple syrup, cane sugar, natural sweeteners).   If it has more than 3 ingredients, it’s 2 ingredients too much.

Call it what you want, but most of these so-called healthy snacks are loading you up with sugar and causing the release of insulin.   You can try to wrap it up in a bow of “gluten free, no fructose corn syrup and non-GMO, organic blah di blah”, but if it’s in a box or a bag and doesn’t require refrigeration, it’s a processed sugar bomb.   

Throw out everything in your pantry. Ta-dah!!!!  

The insulin effect….

Every time we eat, we have to raise insulin to deal with the sugar coming into our bloodstream.  Of course insulin is vital to our survival. But insulin is also responsible for converting sugar into FAT.  So when you eat 3 times a day (ie. regular meals with no snacks), you boost insulin 3 times a day. When you eat 2 snacks and 3 meals a day, you boost insulin 5 times a day.  That’s 5 opportunities to lay down fat. You do the math.

Snacking also prevents you from actually tapping into your fat stores for energy.  Our body can absolutely burn fat for fuel, if given the opportunity. But in the land of never miss a meal, clean your plate, and snack availability everywhere you turn your body NEVER has the opportunity to try to burn fat.  So by missing a meal or going longer between eating, your body will be able to fat burn.

You stress your body out every time you eat…..

When you eat, your body needs to expend a lot of time and energy to break down food into smaller pieces that can be absorbed. This process can take six hours or more to complete. When you eat snacks in between meals, you are creating more of a burden on your body.  It has no time to actually repair the gut lining and get ready for the next round of eating. 

Research shows that eating frequently is actually unhealthy and detrimental to weight loss….

 A 2014 randomized study looked at the benefits of eating five to six small meals a day versus two larger meals (with the same caloric intake) and impact on body weight, liver fat content, insulin resistance, and pancreatic cell function. The study showed that fewer larger meals reduced body weight, hepatic fat content, fasting plasma glucose, and increased insulin sensitivity.  Less is More.

Here’s What To Do…..

Cause that’s what I do over here at Redefining Health Medical.  Dispense meaningful, profound, life changing advice.  And I’m also very humble.  Like, the most humble and gracious person. Ask my mother.

  • Throw out the snacks in your pantry.  Go ahead. Get it over with. Keep things that have only one ingredient on the label.  Those are allowed.
  • Eat ONE ingredient foods.  Can you name a one ingredient food?  Apple, chicken, lettuce, you get the idea.  Oh, and juice doesn’t count.  Juice is also a sugar bomb. Stop giving that to your children.  A juice box makes me want to throw up. So do kid’s menus.  Why are kids subjected to pasta, mac and cheese, hot dogs and chicken nuggets? and pizza?   Oh my God, I’m getting a hot flash thinking about this. 
  • If you’re hungry, eat a real meal (preferably one with protein, fat, and fiber to calm hunger).  
  • If you are hungry between meals that means your prior meal was too carby and you didn’t have enough fat to satisfy your hunger.   It could also mean you are just used to snacking and your mind is sending your stomach signals to eat. It’s a habit, not a need.  Try drinking a big glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If the hunger signal doesn’t go away and you feel nauseated, pissy and light-headed, have a snack. But make it a good one.
  • What should a meal look like?  It should include a carb WITH a protein WITH a fat. Examples include:
    • Apple slices with peanut butter
    • Guacamole with cut up veggies
    • Hard boiled eggs with mayo
    • Organic salami slices with mustard wrapped in lettuce leaves
    • Full fat organic grass fed yogurt if you tolerate dairy with nuts
  • Fun fact: Carbs and Protein will raise insulin. Fat does NOT.  So make sure to get some fat every time you eat. When I say fat, I mean healthy fats, not horrible fats.
  • Get your fat on!!!  Please don’t eat Fat free anything.  It’s the worst. Fat makes you feel full. Stop avoiding it.  Skim milk should be shot!!!
  • Eat Healthy fats to each meal: Add 2 tablespoons to each meal:
    • Organic grass-fed butter or ghee
    • Nuts/seeds
    • Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil
    • Olives
    • Avocados
    • Fatty fish (sardines/anchovies/salmon are best)
    • Seafood (shrimp, scallops, lobster)
    • AVOID: vegetable, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower oils. They are highly inflammatory and bad for you.

And now back to my snacking, I mean PACKING, I’m Packing!!!!!

Please Share the Health if you liked what you read.!!!  

For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com.  Look! You are already here. Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!