A shift in thinking about diet

For many, many years, I have been able to eat pretty freely, indulging my sweet tooth with cupcakes after dinner, sugar in my coffee, candy when I felt low in energy in the afternoon.

Something started happening with me about 7 years ago.  I started getting more aches that stayed longer than the typical soreness after a workout.  My energy declined, and I was less able to work out without wondering if I would suffer unexplained soreness.  Doctors would tell me that it was the result of too much activity, and that I had basically worn my body out.   I have always believed that the body was made for movement, and actually “wore out” when not being used.   As I began to talk to more and more natural healers, conversation would always shift to my diet.   They would say that this is the most important area of concern when looking at your health.  In the past I have glossed this over, as I always thought I ate reasonably well.  I shop at Whole Foods and buy mostly organic.  I eat fruit and vegetables.  I rarely ate much processed bakery goods.    Now, my thinking has changed.  I was running around 30 miles a week, and lead a very active life.  Because of my activity level, I thought it gave me license to eat sweets like jelly beans or chocolate or cupcakes after every meal, because I felt that I burned several thousand calories a week in exercise, and I was swapping exercise for sweets.  Now I’m understanding that there was a penalty for this behavior.

In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin tried to answer the question: When is a food a food and when is it a poison? His working definition of “poison” was: “Medically: Any substance applied to the body, ingested or developed within the body, which causes or may cause disease. Physically: Any substance which inhibits the activity of a catalyst which is a minor substance, chemical or enzyme that activates a reaction.”1 The dictionary gives an even broader definition for “poison”: “to exert a harmful influence on, or to pervert”.

Refined Sugar

Dr. Martin classified refined sugar as a poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals. “What is left consists of pure, refined carbohydrates. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Nature supplies these elements in each plant in quantities sufficient to metabolize the carbohydrate in that particular plant. There is no excess for other added carbohydrates. Incomplete carbohydrate metabolism results in the formation of ‘toxic metabolite’ such as pyruvic acid and abnormal sugars containing five carbon atoms. Pyruvic acid accumulates in the brain and nervous system and the abnormal sugars in the red blood cells. These toxic metabolites interfere with the respiration of the cells. They cannot get sufficient oxygen to survive and function normally. In time, some of the cells die. This interferes with the function of a part of the body and is the beginning of degenerative disease.”2

Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as “empty” or “naked” calories. It lacks the natural minerals which are present in the sugar beet or cane.

In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes upon one’s entire system. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables), and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutral acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state.

Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin. Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thigh.

This article is extracted and edited from the book, Sugar Blues, © 1975 by William Dufty. The book was first published by the Chilton Book Company, Padnor, PA, USA. Warner Books, Inc., NY, published an edition in 1976 and reissued it in April 1993.

Getting Ready For Hip Surgery

I don’t know what I expected to feel when I needed a new hip.   It certainly was not what I was feeling. Yes,  it didn’t feel good to run or jump rope, but I kept feeling that muscles were overworking,  and that there was compensation going on in my gait.  That’s what the various Physical Therapists and body workers were telling me. I did see an Orthopedic doctor at Kaiser, and according to the x-rays, it was only a matter of time before I would need a hip replacement.  That was in August of 2012.  I continued to see various chiropractors and therapists who I was honest with, and some still felt that because of my good range of motion in the hip, there was a possibility that I could avoid surgery.  I always felt better after the therapy, but the relief would only last from a day to two or three days.   I was slowly losing more function, and saw another Kaiser Ortho (and got an updated hip x-ray).   The doctor was kind and direct, saying that the x-ray showed much more deterioration in the hip, and surgery was recommended.   So, after a couple of years of doing many types of repairative work, I now have to wrap my head around the total hip replacement I have scheduled for June 13.

Getting Ready For Hip Replacement Surgery

From what people tell me who have gone through the surgery, I am going to be happy once the surgery is over, and the healing begins.  There have been so many things that I have not been able to do, or that have been painful to do.  Going out for walks, going up stairs and hills, carrying my dog, many yoga poses all have difficult or painful.  I became so  fearful of physical activity because I could not predict what would cause pain later that day, or the next.

These types of things should be a thing of the past, once surgery is complete.

It takes an act of faith to say that I am done trying to fix this myself, with alternative therapies, or avoiding activities.   When you have a structural problem, things are going to get worse, your body is going to compensate, and you could potentially cause damage to other joints.   There is a time to wait and a time to act.   Now I have to take a leap of faith and trust my doctor and his team to do their work.

Dandelion Greens are Great

I got some dandelion greens in my weekly CSA box, and came across this posting about uses and benefits.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions, let me know.


Combining Organic Healthy Diets with Exercise

I just got back from the 31st Eco Farm conference in Pacific Grove, California. I have been intrigued with farming, and now organic farming ever since I was a kid, when I grew flowers and vegetables around my house in Wisconsin. So, when I heard about this sustainable agriculture conference that is held each winter near Monterey, I just had to check it out. So here I was, a personal trainer from San Francisco among hippies and farmers and people who work very hard to grow high quality food.

I loved what I heard. There were seminars focusing on successful growers, giving tips for new farmers, seminars on attracting bees and other pollinators to your crops, composting, identifying beneficial insects…you name it. The people were generally in good shape, as organic farmers do alot more physical work keeping the crops weeded and generally doing everything without the benefit of pesticides and man made fertilizers, and maybe even heavy machinery.  People were gentle, well-spoken, and eager to share information about what they do.  I learned that community for these farmers are very important.  You want to foster relationships as a way to share information, as well as to share tools and labor, when needed.

This conference helped  me realize how interconnected the fitness industry and the sustainable food industry could and should be. Good health is a combination of what you put in your body, and how you move your body.   Knowing where your food comes from and knowing the benefits of organic food versus conventionally grown food leads to making conscious, healthy choices.    Organically grown food tastes better, has higher nutrient value because it is grown on healthier soils, and you are not ingesting harmful pesticide residues that are used on conventionally grown food.

Holiday People Connections

During the holiday season, Many of us will be visiting, or
having visitors over. This time of year can be very charged,
emotion wise. You might want to pay special attention to your
connections with people. When greeting loved ones and friends, take a
little time to think about what is happening in this interaction.
You have the opportunity to look at someone in the eyes, and see
into their soul. You can take in their scent. When you touch, you
can feel their warmth, their life-force, the softness of their skin
and the hardness of their bones. In the hub-bub of the day, it is
nice to slow down and take in the moment, and notice the miracle that is every
one of us, and the gift of life that is so precious.