8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Chronic pain is in part considered a neurodegenerative disease and is mismanaged in our country. We need to dig deeper into the biological and metabolic factors as well as the pathophysiology of chronic pain. This goes well beyond opioids and NSAIDs.

Rather watch or listen? 

What you need to know about chronic pain

Essentially, chronic pain will distort the cognitive and emotional processing of day-to-day experiences. The volume in chronic pain is dialed up, and our ability to inhibit or turn that volume down is decreased. Therefore, we have what we call sensitization. That means that our nervous system is hypersensitive. Everything is amplified, and the ability to dampen it is decreased.

In addition to that, it can be associated with anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, these may go hand in hand. Of course, it’s necessary and important to look at any type of adaptive movements or compensations that may be contributing. Beyond that, it’s important to look at toxin exposure, intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut, inflammation, dysbiosis in the gut, and hormone imbalances. Increased cortisol from chronic stress or decreased sex hormones, like DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, can influence our ability to perceive pain. 

Lastly, chronic pain does not equal tissue damage. With acute pain, there is often acute tissue damage which contributes to increased swelling, pain and increased white blood cells in the area. However, with chronic pain, there is no tissue damage. The tissues have healed, yet your brain is still perceiving that there is increased pain.

8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Let’s discuss eight things you can do to address your chronic pain.  

1. Stop the Opioids and NSAIDs

Long-term use of opioids can actually increase pain and your perception of pain. NSAIDs drive leaky gut, so intestinal permeability. That contributes to a release of lipopolysaccharides (LPs), which is considered an endotoxin. The more LPs that you have in your body, the more inflammation and the more pain you can experience. 

2. Support Key Nutrients

Chronic pain is considered a dysfunction of the mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells. You want to make sure that you’re supporting the nutrients for your mitochondria. Proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, for example, are crucial for the membrane health in your cells. 

3. Improve Glycemic Responses

Eat balanced meals with proteins, carbs, and fiber sources to prevent blood sugar dips throughout the day. If you’re eating a high glycemic food like candy, white bread, or enriched foods without any protein or fats, you can have poorly regulated blood sugar. You want to improve your membrane thresholds by stabilizing your glycemic response. 

4. Modulate Stress

This can be done through mindfulness practices, meditation, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, autogenic training, progressive relaxation, and much more. This is a crucial part of healing chronic pain and understanding your body’s signaling, which can be done through a variety of modalities. 

5. Purposeful Graded Exercise

It is important to start low and go slow in a very systematic progression. For example, if you were going to start walking, you would start walking for five minutes every other day. Once you’re able to do that without any increase in pain, then you can proceed to eight minutes. This will allow you to progress safely without getting discouraged.

6. Heal the Gut

Your gut is 70% of your immune system. This is what drives inflammation, and typically, chronic pain is associated with chronic inflammation. You want to get to the root of your gut issues. Gastrointestinal issues might not be obvious and could present as systemic inflammation, joint pain, and so on. 

7. Prioritize High-Quality Sleep

It is important to make sure that you are not only getting enough sleep, but you’re getting deep and REM sleep to fully restore and repair your body. 

8. Assess and Decrease Toxins

You can start by going to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website and begin to choose one product at a time to switch to a cleaner product. This could be something as simple as switching from plastic water bottles to stainless-steel water bottles. You could change the products you’re using on your skin or your hair. Toxins, including medications, are things that can continue to perpetuate the chronic pain cycle. 

You can get better! You can heal your chronic pain. Look beyond just basic physical therapy, exercises, cortisone shots, and surgeries. You have to dig deeper into all of the things that play into chronic pain. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

How Sugar Affects Your Pain

Is intermittent fasting for you?

Have you heard about intermittent fasting? Maybe you’ve had a friend or family member who’s been successful with it and you are wondering if you should, too? Let’s dive into what intermittent fasting is, the types of fast, its potential benefits and adverse effects, and how you can incorporate it safely into your life.

Rather watch or listen? 

Intermittent fasting is a broad term defined as periods of feeding and restricting. This can include many different forms. Think of intermittent fasting as an umbrella term.

Here are four common ways to intermittent fast:

1. Time-Restricted Feeding

This involves prolonging the amount of time that you’re not eating and shortening the time that you’re feeding. The most common example of this is a 12 hour fast from night until the next morning. For example, eating dinner at 7:00 p.m. and then eating breakfast at 7:00 a.m. If you were prolonging that further, you could fast up to 16 hours. A 12 to 16-hour fast is most common, although more is an option as well. 

2. Alternate Day Fast

This involves eating your normal calories on one day and on the next day you have a decreased caloric intake of approximately 600 calories.

3. Modified Fasting

This could involve reducing your caloric intake by about 10 to 20% on a day or multiple days a week. You could go as little as 600 calories. 

4. Fasting Mimicking Diet

This is typically done one time per month for five days. During the five days, you would consume a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, low in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. This would be done on five consecutive days once a month as a means of a cyclical fasting-mimicking period. 

Benefits

The next big question is what the benefits of fasting are, and there are quite a few. It is important to recognize that there are a lot of mice studies and some human studies, so there needs to be more research with greater human subject samples.

Additionally, restricted eating, intermittent fasting, carbohydrate restriction, and caloric restriction can all have similar effects on the body. Autophagy, our natural cell recycling program, can be improved through all three of these.

Shorter-term studies on mice and humans show that there can be a positive effect on insulin resistance, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids, as well as inflammation, weight loss, and even brain health. There’s no doubt that longer-term studies on humans are needed to support the long-term benefits of sustained weight loss. 

Who should use caution?

Now, who should use caution with intermittent fasting?

First, I believe that you should work with a health practitioner to guide you and coach you to make sure that this is the right time and the right plan for you. Anyone that is frail, pregnant, has a previous eating disorder, has disordered eating should not fast.

If you have low blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, or insulin-dependent diabetes, you also should not fast. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that is overlooked is if you have an HPA Axis dysfunction, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal dysfunction. This is our main stress pathway in our body.

If you’re under chronic stress, it is not a good idea to do intermittent fasting. This perhaps may be the sole reason why I choose to not put many of my patients on intermittent fasting because. It can be yet another stressor on their body that they can’t tolerate at this time. I’m also very cautious to do intermittent fasting with women, especially if they are dealing with existing hormonal issues, such as cortisol dysregulation, estrogen dominance, or low progesterone.

For men, however, I have found that it can be very helpful, but there are some things to think about even beyond the things I just mentioned. It depends on your specific goal if intermittent fasting will help you achieve your goal. For example, if you are lifting to build muscle mass, you have to eat more calories. Intermittent fasting may not be the best fit because it may be very hard to get in all the calories that you need in a condensed period of time. It is important to think about what your goals are, your current health conditions, or the concerns that you’re working with. 

Tips for successful fasting

If you decide to give it a try, track how you’re feeling for at least one month. If fasting is helping you meet your goals, stick with it. If it’s not, stop. It’s that simple. If it’s a way of life for you, fantastic, but it’s not and your body’s not responding the way you thought, it’s okay to change gears and move in a different direction. 

  1. Make sure that you’re drinking a lot of water. 
  2. Clean your gut and health up first. 
  3. If you are waking up and drinking bulletproof coffee with ghee and MCT oil, you have already broken the fast. If you put creamer in your coffee, you’ve broken the fast. 
  4. Build up tolerance slowly. Start at 10 hours, 11, 12, and so on. For women, I would recommend no more than 14 hours and for men up to 16. 
  5. If you feel unwell at any point, stop the fast and reconsider if this is the right approach for you? 

Having metabolic flexibility, being able to fast and feed is very powerful and is evolutionary in nature.  If you decide to, make sure you are taking all the necessary steps and track your journey.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

Are you suffering from food intolerances?

Optimize your testosterone

Change your life in 20 seconds

Vagus nerve hack: visceral sympathetic release | celiac plexus, superior/inferior mesenteric plexus

Did you know that stress can inhibit the vagus nerve? When we are stressed, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” system.

We can access the sympathetic nervous system through our viscera. We can do specific visceral techniques on ourselves that can down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system so that we can upregulate the vagus nerve, which is the cornerstone of our parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” system.

Rather watch or listen? 

How stress affects our viscera

Stress can affect us in so many ways, but let’s specifically speak to how it affects our viscera.

Stress inhibits or turns down the vagus nerve, which is what innervates our entire digestive tract. If we are stressed, blood flow moves away from the digestive system. If we’re in a sympathetic state, we are not able to digest, assimilate, and even eliminate our food as well as we should.

Additionally, if we have a high vagal tone, then we will have good protective epithelial or gut barrier function. If we are in a constant fight or flight system, then, unfortunately, we don’t have that protective barrier that can contribute to things like leaky gut, IBS, and even inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

So what can you do about it?

The visceral sympathetic release technique is something you can do on yourself that can downregulate your sympathetic nervous system. You can target the celiac plexus, the superior mesenteric plexus, and the inferior mesenteric plexus, which are all nerve bundles part of this system

While you’re lying down, you want to assess each of these three areas. 

  1. You will start about an inch under the xiphoid process, which is the bone right under your sternum. That is your celiac plexus. 
  2. Then, move down to halfway between your xiphoid process (bottom of your sternum) and your belly button to your superior mesenteric plexus. 
  3. About one inch above your belly button is your inferior mesenteric plexus. 

Assess for a temperature, edema, or tenderness in each of these areas. Wherever you notice any kind of restriction, decreased elasticity, swelling, or soreness, then that’s the area you want to address. As with any type of release, you want to have a very gentle approach, especially with the viscera. You are manipulating fascia, which does not need to be aggressive. You want to be very intentional about your technique and your pressure.

This is a great opportunity for you to tune in to your own body and viscera. As you move through the technique, you’ll find the key areas that you want to release and proceed to hold each spot. You can use both fingers, one on top of the other, to sink into the tissue until you feel one of those shifts in what you’re assessing.

Is there a decrease in tenderness? Does it feel like there’s less swelling around the area or is it more elastic?

You can assess for any change in the tissue or does it feel like a sense of relaxation?  That could feel like a sigh, swallow, yawn, or just a sense of calmness in your body. 

After you perform the technique, reassess to see how that tissue feels. You can reinforce that with diaphragmatic breathing to up-regulate your parasympathetic nervous system even more. This can be a great technique to do before you go to bed or before you eat, especially if you have gut issues. 

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

Vagus Nerve Hack | Trapezius Twist

Vagus Nerve Hack | Sphinx

Vagus Nerve Hack | Breathing Before Eating

Are you suffering from food intolerances?

Did you know that 15 to 20 percent of people suffer from some type of food intolerance? It is important to understand the differences between food sensitivity, food allergy, food intolerance as well as what specifically you can be intolerant to.

Rather watch or listen? 

There are three different types of adverse food reactions that you can have.

The first is a food allergy which is considered an immunologic IgE mediated hypersensitivity. Essentially, this causes a fairly immediate immune response. The second is considered a food sensitivity, which is an IgG-mediated response, also causing an immune response. This is a different antibody, which has a much longer half-life, an average of 23 days, compared to IgE, which has a very short half-life.  Lastly, food intolerance is what we’re going to focus on today. This is a non-immunologic reaction that causes an intolerance to a specific component of a food. 

8 Food Intolerances You May Be Experiencing

Let’s dive into eight different food intolerances that you may be experiencing. Let’s use lactose as our example. 

Lactose is referred to as a FODMAP (Fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.) If you have lactose intolerance, it will draw in osmotic pressure in the intestine, which means that it can create bloating, diarrhea, and cause pain because it is a poorly absorbed fermentable carbohydrate. 

Essentially, someone with lactose intolerance does not have the enzyme lactase to break down the food. Now let’s discuss the different types of food intolerances.

1. FODMAPs

FODMAPs can be different carbohydrates. Oligosaccharides, for example, include things like onions, garlic, and wheat. Disaccharides can include yogurts and cheeses. Monosaccharides can be things such as honey, apples, fructose, etc. 

Polyols can include different types of sugars. All of these can attribute to poor digestion in the gut. If we are not able to break down FODMAPs then that means that there’s probably something going on with our gut like dysbiosis, leaky gut, SIBO, and so on. 

2. Histamine

As I mentioned with FODMAPs, there’s typically a reason why someone is having some type of histamine intolerance. It is often due to dysbiosis in the gut, GI inflammation, and/or SIBO. There also could be a genetic predisposition to histamine intolerance, which means someone may not have the enzymes to break down the histamines.

Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is the enzyme that is required for the metabolism of histamines. This can cause sensitivity to things like wine or age cheeses. 

We’ve all had histamine responses, whether you’ve found a bug bite or you’ve had an allergic reaction; this is a normal response. However, some people can be very intolerant to histamine foods. 

Addressing the gut is number one and a DAO enzyme can be helpful. It does not necessarily fix the entire problem, but it can be helpful if you’re consuming histamine foods and you have an intolerance. 

3. Tyramine

This is a naturally occurring trace amine that’s derived from the amino acid tyrosine. It can be found in plants, animals, fermented, and even foods such as aged cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, and so on. Just like the other foods, you can eliminate them for a period of time including things like leftovers. Any kind of spoiled food or leftovers can be rich in tyramine.

Once again, you want to try to uncover any potential root causes. Medications like antidepressants or antibiotics can make you more sensitive. 

4. Lectins

Lectins are found in most plants, meat products, and legumes. Although many people eliminate these, research doesn’t fully support this as key food intolerance. Lectins are such an important food group because it is in most of our plants, so we have to be careful when eliminating them.

5. Nightshades

Nightshades are comprised of many healthy foods like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes. This is also somewhat of a controversial food intolerance. There are people who definitely report that nightshades can make them feel worse and present with general inflammation, specifically joint inflammation. It’s also something that is often included in an autoimmune protocol like the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet. Some elimination diets are focused on eliminating nightshades as well. The evidence here is definitely lacking in showing that this can cause a problem. It can be worth exploring if this is suspected for you, however.

The good thing about nightshades, among some others, is that you can eliminate them for a very short amount of time to be able to assess. If it’s something you’re eating regularly, you can eliminate them for a few days and then reintroduce them and see how you do. 

6. Oxalates

Oxalates are also a common one that you see in a lot of different diet protocols and this can come from oxalic acid. Ultimately, it could come from three sources: your diet, fungi, and possibly Candida. If there’s a candida overgrowth, that can increase your oxalic acids. It can also come from your metabolism. Vegetarian diets tend to be higher in oxalates. If Candida overgrowth is present, which is very common in that population, there can also be a higher oxalic acid content. 

We normally hear about high oxalates with kidney stones. That is one of the biggest drivers of a kidney stone. So how can we treat this? Hydration is critical, so make sure that you’re drinking a ton of water. You can increase things like citrate foods such as lemons and limes. You can also focus on potentially decreasing oxalate foods, but just remember that those are very healthy foods, such as our berries and spinach. Most importantly, address your gut and systemic inflammation, especially if there is Candida.  

7. Food Additives

This could include things such as MSG, gums, and nitrates. These are all things that don’t have enough literature to support them. That does not mean at all that they don’t exist. Some people can determine just through their experimentations with food that they are sensitive to very specific ingredients in these foods.

8. Salicylates

This can be naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, gums, and cosmetics. These can cause a whole host of symptoms such as asthma, gastric issues, tinnitus, headaches, and nasal and sinus polyps. This is something that is found in foods as part of our essential fatty acid breakdown. We can have a dysregulation of arachidonic acid metabolism, which can be inflammatory. 

It is important to know what we are eating and how it may be affecting us. 

If it was helpful please give it a share. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Muscle is the organ of longevity

6 ways to improve your sleep

Muscle is the organ of longevity

Did you know that muscle is your organ of vitality and longevity, and we need a lot more of it?

As we think about optimizing our health and our longevity, we have to critically think about our muscle mass and strength. In fact, it can start declining in our late 30s and 40s. There’s so much opportunity to be able to build and maintain muscle mass as we move into our older years. You can even gain muscle mass after 50 and 60.

We want to think about preventing sarcopenia, which is a loss of muscle mass. That is one of the biggest predictors of poor recovery from falls as we get older. Let’s dive into why muscle is your organ of longevity, what are some things that can happen with poor muscle mass, and what you can do about it.

Rather watch or listen? 

Quite simply put, increased muscle mass will have improved health outcomes, not only from a physical standpoint but from a metabolic standpoint. Conversely, low muscle mass is associated with fatigue, injuries, frailty, falls, and even death.

Why is muscle mass important in the body

Now let’s go through why muscle is so important for our body. 

1. Provides Structure 

Perhaps one of the most obvious things is that it provides us with a structure and integrity to allow us to move dynamically through the world.

2. Reduces Systemic Inflammation

Increased muscle mass decreases inflammation. Conversely, increased adipose tissue or fat tissue is inflammatory in nature, especially coming from the visceral fat. Visceral fat will increase inflammation as well as insulin resistance. So you can see how increased muscle mass will decrease those factors and optimize our blood-sugar metabolism and hormonal function. 

3. Regulates Our Metabolism

It is necessary for fat oxidation, glucose metabolism, and detoxification. This is, quite frankly, one of the most important functions of muscle.

4. Whole-Body Protein Metabolism

It plays a central role in whole-body protein metabolism. This is where protein synthesis occurs. Think of it as this reservoir that contains all of our amino acids. We have to consume proteins to be able to optimize our amino acid intake, as well as muscle metabolism. 

How to preserve our organ of longevity

As I mentioned, we are all losing muscle mass as we age. When we’re younger, we rely more on things like testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone to optimize our muscle mass. As we get older, we have to rely more on things like nutrition, training, and perhaps for some, supplementation. Now to get into what we need to preserve our organ longevity. 

1. Consuming Enough Protein and Essential Amino Acids

As it relates to protein synthesis, we have to consume enough protein. But what does that mean? That’s always a big question.

Consuming enough protein means that for women you are consuming at least 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and for men 30 to 40 grams per meal. That is assuming that you are eating at least three meals a day.

Now if we want to get a little bit more specific, you can say 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Now, the next aspect of this is that we have to consume all of the essential amino acids. There is some controversy over this. That means that if you are a vegetarian, you have to think about combining protein sources.

For example, brown rice and peas will make a complete protein. Chicken, fish, or turkey is already a complete protein. We want to think about having all of these essential amino acids consistently throughout the day so that we’re feeding this positive nitrogen balance, which is ultimately our amino acid balance. 

2. Progressive Overload Training

You have to have some form of training with progressive overload. That means that it is a structured program where you are consistently changing either the intensity, duration, volume, or weights.

We have to be able to constantly break down protein and build protein. It is a beautiful cycle that changes every day based on what we’re doing.

Essentially, your muscles need to be constantly stimulated. If they’re not stimulated, there’s no way for us to increase or shift our muscle to fat ratio.

Regardless of age, if we take a 20-year-old for example, we know that a 20-year-old is going to be able to build bigger and stronger muscles than an 80-year-old. However, an 80-year-old with proper resistance training and progressive overload is still going to be able to develop larger muscles. We want to consider that age should not be a factor in this and wherever you are right now is a great opportunity to start.

3. Supplementation

Last but not least, there’s supplementation. Supplementation does not work alone, and it is absolutely necessary to have an optimal diet with enough protein as well as a proper training regime. There is enough scientific literature to prove that creatine is a promising supplement that can help with building muscle mass. Essentially, it’s bringing water into the muscle cell to enlarge it which will develop more muscle force and mass. 

There you have it… all the reasons why muscle is your organ of longevity. It is so important to think about how you can live into your older years the way that you want and to feel strong and healthy from a metabolic, hormonal, and physical standpoint. My entire career, I’ve been trying to get anybody that will listen to me to strength train because I think it is so valuable. I hope that you consider this if you’re not already.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

Optimize your testosterone

5 Ways to Improve your Mobility

6 ways to improve your sleep

Optimize your testosterone

Did you know that testosterone in men can decrease at the age of 30? However, that does not necessarily mean that you need hormone replacement. Today we are going to talk about the science of low T, the causes, and what you can do about it.

Rather watch or listen? 

Let’s first start with this — testosterone can affect men and women. However, we will focus mostly on men. The signs of low T in a man can be anything from low mood, low energy, erectile dysfunction, low libido, fatigue, poor sleep, decreased strength, and muscle mass among other things. This is something that most people associate testosterone with, but it’s important to recognize all of the other symptoms that correlate with low T. It can also lead to things like brain fog and irritability.

Many things can affect low T and it is important to dig deep to see if this is a possibility for you and how you can improve it. 

Causes of Decreased Testosterone

Now we are going to get into things that decrease testosterone. 

1. Chronic Opioid Use

One of the biggest drivers is chronic opioid use. This happens in up to 74% of chronic opioid users. That means if you are going to go play golf or work out and you pop a couple of Advil’s, remember that could be associated with your low T.  

2. Insulin Resistance

Increased visceral body fat (belly fat) is inflammatory in nature and drives insulin resistance. This can cause elevated blood sugars and lipid issues. Also, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can all be associated with low T. 

3. Poor Sleep

This is what I see the most in my men with low T; they are experiencing poor quality sleep. That might mean not getting enough sleep, watching TV before bed, sleeping with the TV on, using their phone right before bed, or drinking alcohol right before bed. All of these things are going to tank your testosterone. 

4. Inflammatory Diets

The Standard American Diet is what many men consume. High-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods. All of these things often drive food sensitivities, inflammation, and then begin to spiral into affecting our sex hormones. In this particular case, your testosterone. 

5. Stress

Stress is what drives high cortisol. Whenever we’re thinking about how our sex hormones are affected, we want to think about adrenals first. This produces our stress hormones and an imbalance can affect the thyroid and then sex hormones. If you have high levels of stress, this may be an area to focus on. A lot of times I’ll see men that are in their 30s to 40s that are experiencing high-stress lives that have low T simply because of their lifestyle. 

6. Low Protein Diets

Men need to have at least 30 to 40 grams of high-quality, essential amino acids in every meal. This is key for optimal hormone health. We also need healthy fats!

What You Can Do About It

So, what do you do about it? First, you should get properly evaluated by a functional medicine practitioner, a hormone specialist, or a professional that can guide you and coach you through this journey. With that said, if you decide to pursue hormone replacement, you want to make sure that your lifestyle factors are dialed in.

If you are experiencing high stress, poor sleep, inflammatory diet and you decide to start hormone replacement for low T, I can assure you it will not be as effective. It is so important to address the basics first so that you can optimize your natural T before approaching your potential hormone replacement. So what other things can you do?

1. Moderate Intensity Strength Training

You want to be performing over 200 minutes a week of exercise, most importantly coming from your strength work. Strength training will naturally boost your T. It’s such an easy way to do it, but it has to be consistent just like anything else. 

2. Proper Sleep

Addressing sleep is so imperative. This requires a journey. It can be starting by just looking at your sleep hygiene and picking one thing that you could change such as blue light blockers after seven o’clock, having a set time that you go to bed and wake up, and turning the TV off 30 minutes before bed. There are lots of things that you can do to begin to shift your natural circadian rhythm so that you are optimizing your repair and restoration.

Ultimately, we want to think of testosterone as a growth and repair mechanism. When you have rotator cuff injuries, stenosis in your spine, or degenerating discs, you want to be thinking about testosterone, especially when that’s happening in your 30s, 40’s, and 50’s. Sleep can optimize your natural repair process. 

3. Intermittent Fasting 

This has been shown to be very helpful for optimizing testosterone in men. This can be done in a 16-8 window; fasting for 16 hours and feeding for eight. This has to be highly individualized to the person and their activity level. This is not for everyone. However, just know that it is something that could be explored to see how that works for you and be objective when you’re able to; look at blood work or saliva when you are testing your hormones.

4. Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are key to helping you optimize inflammation and supporting other functions in the body. One thing you could do is eat fatty fish at least two times a week if not more. Also, things like walnuts and flax seeds are great sources of omega 3’s. For a therapeutic dose of EFA, you want 3-6 g of EPA/DHA in a supplement. 

5. Zinc and Vitamin D 

These are key for low T. So please make sure that if you’re not getting enough in your diet that you are supplementing as well.

6. Botanicals

Botanicals can be very valuable in supporting natural testosterone. 

There are a lot of things that you can do to address the basics in terms of lifestyle to naturally support testosterone before you explore testosterone replacement. I think there’s a continuum and you want to make sure that you’re doing things at the right time for the right reasons and with the right guidance. I cannot stress that enough.

If you need help, please make sure to reach out. I will make sure that we take great care of you, educate you, and make sure to get you in the right direction. We also have a great support team that can also help you depending on what you need.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

6 ways to improve your sleep

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Jaw-Emotion Link

6 ways to improve your sleep

I am going to start with a bold statement: sleep is more important than exercise and nutrition combined. Whether or not you are one of the 50 to 70 million Americans that suffer from some type of sleep disorder, snoring, waking up feeling not well-rested, trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, then this is definitely for you.

What are some indications that you may not be getting the most optimal sleep that you can? You could have memory issues, mood changes, yawning during the day, irritability, heart disease, or high blood pressure. All of these can be associated with poor sleep, both quality and/or quantity.

Rather watch or listen? 

Sleep is a naturally reoccurring state of the mind and body. We have decreased use of our voluntary muscles, inhibition of sensory activity, and ultimately reduced interactions with our surroundings.

Here’s the take-home – sleep is one of the most overlooked and undervalued methods to recovery, overall health, and well-being.

We want to think about sleep as our time to rest, restore, and recover. If we are not doing those things, how could we possibly have a great workout? How can we have the energy to go work out? How can we have the desire to want to eat healthily and not crave carbohydrates or sugar-rich foods?

We have to sleep well in order to make optimal health decisions. Additionally, all of our systems are restored when we sleep. Our immune system, skeletal system, and hormonal system are all affected. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, memory and mood issues, depression, and/or anxiety then sleep is imperative. This is when all of our tanks are filled. While your REM sleep is helping with your brain, think of your deep sleep as helping with your body. 

Now let’s talk about six of my favorite sleep hacks. 

1. Blue Light Blockers

Put these on at seven o’clock if you are using any type of electronics: TV, phone, or iPad. Make sure to turn your electronics off at a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to bed if not an hour. Also, when you go to bed if your phone is in your room, put it on airplane mode, Wi-Fi off, and place it at least eight feet from you. Here’s a link to my favorite blue light blocker.

2. Foot Recovery

Check out Naboso technology for their splays or socks to stimulate and help recover your feet. These will stimulate the small nerves in the feet and optimize circulation, which is a great way to restore and recover before bed. 

3. Develop a Routine

You’ll want to focus on downregulating the nervous system and preparing for sleep. If you’re not doing anything, start with five minutes of a pre-bed routine. Diaphragmatic breathing is a great start. If you’re already meditating, that’s fantastic. If you’re not meditating, try breathwork. Start at one minute and then gradually move up until a longer period of time. You could also try taking a bath or reading a book. There are lots of ways that you can begin to downregulate your nervous system and prepare for sleep. 

4. Optimize Your Airway

Whether you snore, wake up with your mouth open, or have a dry mouth in the morning, then you can consider nasal dilators. You can use Mute nasal dilators which is one of my favorite brands. This will help to open up your airway and makes it easier to breathe diaphragmatically. Additionally, if this is appropriate for you and if you are a mouth breather, you could consider mouth taping. There are lots of different tape brands that you could use, I like the Nexcare tape because it is gentle. Mouth taping forces you to breathe in through your nose. If you have some type of structural airway dysfunction, then you might want to start during the day just for a short amount of time such as 30 minutes to test it before you try to go sleep with it. 

5. Not Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Think of digestion as a very complex metabolic reaction. Think of sleep as our time to restore and recover. We can’t do both of those well at the same time, so you want to stop eating and drinking alcohol within that three-hour window. Alcohol is something that destroys the quality of your sleep. You will sleep through the night for sure, but the quality will definitely be affected. This is one of the biggest things to consider if you’re trying to optimize your sleep.

6. Setting up Your Environment 

We want to think about your sleep environment as clean, without distractions, electronics, a dark room, black shades if possible, and hypoallergenic sheets. Make sure that everything is set up to provide a nice environment for you to rest and restore. 

Although there are many different sleep hacks, I would suggest just picking one of these things that might be appropriate for you that you could work on. If you don’t have a routine, start there. If you are not wearing blue light blockers, start there. Find out what resonates with you and give it a shot. Then week after week as your sleep hopefully continues to improve, you can begin to add another layer to your sleep regime. 

We want to try to optimize everything about sleep so that we can heal, recover, and perform at our best. If this was helpful, please give it share with a friend or family member. As always make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Sleep well!

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Other things that may interest you:

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Jaw-Emotion Link

10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Did you know that leaky gut otherwise known as intestinal permeability has been researched for nearly 30 years and is one of the leading causes of chronic disease?

You may be wondering what is leaky gut? We have an epithelial lining of the gut mucosa which functions as a protective barrier. Simply put, it helps to get the good things in and keep the bad things out. 

Rather watch or listen? 

In this lining, we have tight junctions. These tight junctions are regulated by a protein called Zonulin and some other proteins. 

In a healthy gut, the tight junctions allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the small intestine but keep the toxins, pathogens, viruses, and bacteria’s out. 

When we have a leaky gut, these tight junctions are altered. Therefore, the pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and so on get into the bloodstream. Once this happens, our immune system is activated.  

Think of our immune system as the detection of strangers and dangers. Once these antigens from the bacteria are crossing into the bloodstream, then our B cells are activated which can in turn attack the body. That is why a leaky gut can cause knee osteoarthritis. It is creating this systemic inflammatory response. It can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation, whether that is localized to a joint or body part or more systemic. This is also what leads to autoimmune disease.

So what are some causes of leaky gut? 

–       Food triggers

–       Food sensitivities

–       Stress

–       Imbalance of the bacteria or bacterial overgrowth

–       Intestinal inflammation

–       Poor digestive sufficiency  (enzymes, low HCL, etc) 

–       Toxins

–       Nutrient deficiencies

–       Medications 

–       Many disease states

This ultimately can contribute to more food sensitivities, malabsorption, and uptake of lipopolysaccharide, which is an endotoxin. This is something that can cause significant disruption in the body. 

What to do if you’re not feeling your best

Whether you don’t feel your best or you’re dealing with some kind of chronic health condition, please know that this could be a possibility for you. Your first step is to reach out to a professional to be properly evaluated and treated. There is testing available, however is not always the most reliable.  We are happy to help you and would love to see you virtually or in person, so please reach out for any assistance. 

Leaky gut can be the root of so many chronic diseases whether it’s elevated cholesterol, osteoarthritis, or autoimmune disease. All of these things are related to systemic inflammation. Ninety percent of all chronic disease is linked to systemic or excessive inflammation. Please make sure that you are not just treating your symptoms and taking more medications which further contributes to intestinal permeability. Rather, seek the root cause. 

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Other things that may interest you:

Nutrition Nail Exam

What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

Do you want to hear about 10 of my favorite health hacks that you can do this New Year and, most importantly how you can be successful at them?

When each new year rolls around and everyone creates goals and resolutions, unfortunately most often are not successful. Why is that? It is because we have to align our subconscious mind with our conscious mind. Our conscious mind is telling us that we have this specific goal, however, our past experiences, emotions, actions, and activities of daily living are going to factor into our subconscious.

We as humans always seek pleasure over pain. This is why is it so easy to sleep in the morning rather than go work out. We want to seek what’s pleasurable, what’s easy, what’s comfortable, and something that is familiar. We have to be able to break out of those comfort zones and begin to align our subconscious with our conscious.

Rather watch or listen? 

Key Concepts You Need To Know

Before we get into all of our fun hacks, I do want to make sure that you have a concise, clear plan for the New Year. As my business coach, Dave Frees, always says, when you are setting a goal, it should be specific and you don’t want to put limits on it. For example, “I want to work out three days a week or more by June 1st or sooner. It speaks to our subconscious mind in a much different way.

Now we have to think about what is our goal and how are we going to align ourselves up for success. If you want to work out three times a week, you may have to start with five minutes, so that you can be successful. Then you can move that up to 10 minutes three times a week, and slowly increase it over time.

It is not ultimately about how much weight you lose or how many calories you are burning, it is consistency and forming habits. Are you going to make this a habit for a lifetime or is this simply a New Year’s resolution? 

The last key concept that I want to talk about is waking up your reticular activating system. This bundle of neurons is specifically in your brainstem and this is an area where it regulates sleep, wakefulness, and focus. It is something that we want to think about if we want to achieve a specific goal, whether that’s business, health, or whatever it may be, we have to bring our attention and our awareness to this specific thing.

For example, if I want a new Jeep and I begin to put that in my mind, I will see Jeeps everywhere. We could do that with our health. If you want to feel a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain way as it relates to your health, lose weight, improve your gut health, etc., then you want to bring your awareness, focus, and attention to those specific things. This will also work on our subconscious mind so that we can be effective in our goal setting and reaching. 

Now we’re going to get into my 10 favorite health hacks. Although I have many, these are the key things that I think make a profound difference in your life. 

10 Health Hacks

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

I recommend starting diaphragmatic breathing for one minute before sleep. It can help optimize your sleep, calm your nervous system down, and train your body to know how to tap into your superpower. 

2. Meditation

One minute of meditation a day can have a profound impact on your health. You can figure out the appropriate time of day to build into your schedule, not fit into your schedule. You could use an app, guide, or just do it yourself.

One minute of meditation allows you to begin to develop a consistent habit of meditation. Meditation can impact your brain health, actually changing the gray matter in your brain. It also impacts your clarity, focus, and attentiveness to be able to perform your daily tasks. The list goes on but starting with one minute is a fantastic start. 

3. Vegetables

Consuming one or more additional vegetables per day either raw or cooked is great for your health. It gives you a focus of trying to have more colors, variety, fiber while focusing on nutrient-dense foods rather than eliminating foods. 

4. Strength Training

You should aim for 10 minutes of strength training three times a week. If you are already strength training, fantastic! Add more weight, intensity, or variety. If you are not, try three times a week of 10 minutes of your basic strength movements.

Muscle is the organ of longevity, so the more that you are strength training and building muscle over time, which believe me is challenging, the better you are. The better your health is and the more resilient you are. Everyone starts somewhere, so starting with 10 minutes is fantastic.

5. Walking

You want to aim for walking outside in nature for at least five minutes a day. This way, you will get your Vitamin D exposure. Also, being in nature lends itself to things like gratitude and being more mindful, present, and grounded. If you could do this barefoot, even better, however, just starting with a five-minute walk outside is a great way to increase endorphins, and be more mindful/present. 

6. Limiting Blue Light

I recommend putting on blue-light-blocking glasses after 7:00 p.m. The goal is to decrease the amount of blue light stimulation that you’re having before sleep. Circadian rhythm disruption is one of our key inflammatory drivers. Everything that we do should be revolved around optimizing our sleep.

7. Lymph Drainage

You can check out my other videos on lymph drainage on how to perform this. You can either do it by tapping or dry brushing.  It takes less than a minute to perform and can have a great impact on the way that your body is detoxifying. I recommend performing this daily.

8. Sensory Stimulation

You can use something like the Naboso insoles, which is a textured surface that stimulates the small nerves in your feet. You can also use Naboso mats, sensory balls on your feet to do a foot release, going outside and grounding, or using a rock mat. Using some form of sensory stimulation will help drive optimal movement and it impacts our emotional regulation. 

9. Identifying Inflammatory Foods

Perhaps in the New Year, you could do a modified elimination diet of gluten or dairy to see how these things are affecting you. Food triggers are one of the most commonly overlooked drivers of many emotional and physical health issues. Gluten and dairy are the two most common food triggers.

10. Vagus Nerve Hack

Performing a vagus nerve hack throughout your day will allow you to regulate your nervous system. There are many variations and I’ve posted lots of them, so please check all those out.

You can do something as simple as the salamander. You perform this by interlacing your fingers behind your head, side bending to one side, and then looking with your eyes in the opposite direction. Hold that for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This can improve your cervical range of motion and stimulate the vagus nerve bringing you back to that state of social engagement.

Ultimately, these biohacks for health will optimize how we feel, live, and move through the world. If we can do them consistently over time, you’ll have the greatest results. In the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, it states, “Small changes compounded over time are what make you successful.” This year I hope you think about how you can become successful.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Other things that may interest you:

Interoception

Chronic Constipation

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Chronic Constipation

Do you experience chronic constipation and is it something that affects your life? You have tried everything, but you just don’t know what to do about it? It is important to know how that can impact your health. More importantly, we’ll discuss six key things you can easily do to negate some of the constipation.

Rather watch or listen?

We are meant to eliminate at least one to two times a day on average, and it should look like a type three or four on the Bristol stool chart, like a snake or a log. If we are not going regularly, then we can have what is called a redundant colon where the colon becomes stretched, and this can cause a whole range of health implications. 

Additionally, if we think about our main detoxification organs, such as our liver and kidney, for example, the primary needs of excretion of these toxins are our urine and our stool. If we are not excreting properly and regularly, this can cause a detoxification issue. 

When I am working with my patients, and I see that chronic constipation is an issue, I am immediately thinking about how well or not well they are detoxifying their bodies. It is one of the first things that I will address with someone and make sure that we are finding the root causes of their constipation and trying to eliminate some of the actual symptoms. 

6 Ways to Manage Constipation

Now let’s talk about six key things that you can do in your life to manage your constipation while you are simultaneously trying to figure out a root cause. 

1. Water

You want to be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. This is one of the easiest things that you could do and is always a first go-to recommendation. 

2. Fiber

You’ll want to consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber (women/men) per day. We also want to think of insoluble fiber, so things that come from nut butter and different flours that are less fermentable. People may not be able to tolerate a lot of high fibrous fermentable carbohydrates, especially in the case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is where low FODMAP-type foods or insoluble fibers can be more beneficial.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium citrate or oxide can be most helpful in this situation. I prefer using something like Calm which comes in a higher milligram dosage. I recommend with my patients is they start with 350 milligrams or less, which would be one to two teaspoons. Then, every three days titrate up to a dose that allows you to go to the bathroom regularly and comfortably. You want to make sure that you check with your physician to see if this is appropriate for you based on your current health conditions and medications. You can titrate up to a dose anywhere from 700 milligrams or up to 1000 milligrams for chronic constipation. 

4. Digestive Enzymes

To optimize your digestive enzymes you want to think about chewing your food a minimum of 15 to 20 times per bite to begin the proper digestive process. In your saliva, you have digestive enzymes that are released to begin to break down food. You can also test for your enzyme efficiency through stool testing, or do a home test with enzymes and/or HCL to determine if these may be valuable for you. You could use it temporarily while you are working towards identifying the root causes of it. 

5. Drinking Warm Water

This can be a great way to stimulate the gastric colic reflex of your large intestine to stimulate a bowel movement; a very simple and effective technique. Think of chewing the water.

6. Prokinetic

What happens often with the case of constipation is that the migrating motor complex located within the small intestine is not working as effectively as it could. That is what helps move things in a wave-like action through the small intestine.

When we use something like a prokinetic agent, supplementation, or a prescription drug such as a Motegrity, it can help reestablish this normal function of the migrating motor complex. It can be very helpful if you have been dealing with this for a long time, and especially if there are underlying gut issues like SIBO, yeast overgrowth, parasitic infections, etc. 

Other things you could consider are probiotics and prebiotics, but you do want to move gently with those and make sure you are working with a functional medicine practitioner, dietitian, or doctor to make sure that you are doing the right things for you. In cases of significant gut issues, probiotics might not be appropriate at that time; you do want to be careful. 

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share with a friend or family member who needs it. If you would like a virtual or in-person consultation, please reach out to us at themovementparadigm.com. We would love to help!

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Other things that may interest you:

Nutrition Nail Exam

What your pelvic floor has to do with your tight hips

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health