The Amazing Thanksgiving PreTox

Woman Drinking A Green Smoothie.First, I want you to understand “what happens” that triggers weight gain and crushes energy.

WHY IS THE THANKSGIVING FEEDING FRENZY SO PERILOUS?

Let’s start toward the end of the meal.  After stuffing yourself silly, you eat pastries, desserts, and pies, and as glucose leaves your gut and enters the bloodstream, blood sugar spikes.

The blood sugar spike creates an insulin spike, a reduction in insulin efficiency, and overwork for the liver which valiantly tries to remove some of the excess glucose (sugar).

This isn’t necessarily a road to doom, as a restoration of “normal” eating will restore hormonal normalcy.

The challenge compounds when post-gluttony cravings creep in.  The erratic bouts of sugar ingestion prompted by sugar-induced spikes and radical drops in the neurotransmitter dopamine creates a blood sugar roller coaster and the body maintains a state of insulin dominance.

This isn’t good.  I mean, the treats taste good and all . . . but . . . it isn’t good if you’re going to react at all when the scale gives you a bit of good news.

Let’s put things in perspective.

All of this simply means . . . hormonally, after the meal and the residual binges, you’re in a state where energy drops become frequent, cravings become almost irrepressible, and the resultant inner environment becomes ideal for fat storage.

Now let’s back up a bit to understand what shifts preceded the blood sugar concerns.

YOU EAT A MEAL . . . AND OVERRIDE LEPTIN

Leptin is a hormonal messenger that serves to tell the brain what the gut is thinking and feeling.  Once enough food has been consumed to meet appetite’s request, fat cells release leptin which signals the brain with the simple message “enough.”

Both the anticipation and the visual stimuli of the Thanksgiving meal allow the prefrontal cortex to literally override the leptin signal.  You can eat beyond what would normally trigger the satiation signal, and overeating becomes par for the course.

In simple terms, once the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes exceed the size of a typical or normal meal, the digestive tract becomes overwhelmed and movement along the intestinal pathway is slowed.  An abundance of nutrients combined with a propensity for fat storage that might have been prompted by a few pre-meal drinks or appetizers leads to . . . well . . . the obvious.   Fat storage.

As the Thanksgiving eating frenzy continues to alter biochemistry, the liver is called upon to tackle some of the extra glucose circulating in the blood (not only from sugar consumed but also from the digestive potatoes, stuffing, and bread).  The liver’s “sugar storage capacity” (glycogen stores) quickly hits tipping point and it relentlessly works to convert sugars into triglycerides (fatty acids).

The whole mix is a perfect storm for anyone looking to gain some weight.

That’s right!  For anyone who wants to take up more room on the couch, haul more weight up and down the steps, and have a bit more trouble fitting into their favorite clothes, Thanksgiving is a nutritional dream come true.

For everyone else . . . you need an answer.

 

THE SOLUTION

Part of the solution lies in getting right back to nutritional normalcy ASAP.

Another piece involves “working off” the damage with some post-Holiday exercise . . .

. . . but there are some things you can do to “prep” the body to well handle the food onslaught before it begins, and that’s the intention of the “PreTox.”

 

MITOCHONDRIAL HUNGER

Fat is burned inside of a cell.  To be more precise, the power center of the muscle cell, the “energy factory” where fat is burned as fuel, is called the Mitochondria.

If you create a “need” for fuel, not with excessive exercise that unintentionally activate the body’s preservational mechanisms, but with “just enough” to create a mitochondrial “hunger,” the nutrients you eat in the big holiday meal are “demanded” by hungry muscle cells.  It’s harder to shift into a “storage” mode, when hormonally the body is in an “I need energy substrates” condition.

The exercise trick that works best to create the Mitochondrial Hunger I’m referring to asks you to do many repetitions of controlled muscular challenge in a short period of time followed by a brief aerobic session.

The “muscle training” exhausts stored glycogen and a post-anaerobic walk/run creates a need for fat release.

The exercise routine involves 6 or 8 different exercises performed in superset fashion.

15 reps of one, 15 reps of another.  Pause and recover briefly.  Repeat.

After momentary recovery (maybe 10 – 15 seconds) you repeat this 15, 15, rest process until 3 minutes have elapsed.

Then you choose two different exercises and repeat, 15, 15, rest . . . etc.

Total muscle training time: 9 – 12 minutes.

Yes, seriously, that’s it.

Then you immediately perform 6 – 12 minutes of aerobic exercise staggering the intensity (i.e. walk – run) followed by a cooldown.

If you do this routine for 3 consecutive days (ideally first thing in the morning) leading up to the big Holiday feast, your body’s going to handle the deluge of food quite differently than it would without Pre-Tox preparation.

 

BUT WAIT . . . THERE’S MORE.

Of course, you have to ensure that the mitochondrial hunger is not fully satisfied in the days before the eating orgy.  A random guess at the best approach might lead someone to simply stop eating for a day or two.

Starvation is NOT the path.  In fact, that will backfire massively.

If you attempt to starve leading up to a big meal, you’re likely to create a shift in thyroid activity and increase the likelihood of fat storage.

So . . . what’s the answer?

 

FAST . . . DON’T FAST.  FAST . . . DON’T FAST.

The nutritional adjunct to the routine I gave you involves a strategy falling under the nutritional strategy category of “intermittent fasting.”

If we’re going to truly “prep” for the big meal and the follow up binges, we want to not only create the nutrient need (cellular hunger), but we also want to optimize the course along which those nutrients will travel.  The digestive tract needs to be optimally primed.

 

A QUICK CLEANSING

The first course of action is to literally give the walls of the intestinal traverse a cleaning, not through a standard detox, but by asking the smooth muscles used to move food along throughout the digestive process their own simple workout, resistance free.  Normally, when these muscles are called upon, they push the food you’ve eating into the stomach, and after those foods are broken down in an acidic enzyme bath, the residual nutrient globs are moved along the digestive tract to be absorbed and remaining waste is ultimately excreted.  Those smooth muscles work hard.

In our Pre-Tox, we’re going to ask the esophageal and intestinal muscles to contract, but effortlessly.  Here’s how.  We’ll trick them into thinking you’re consuming a meal.  The muscle contraction starts and since the tract is free of . . . . well . . . anything, it forces a sort of cleansing of the digestive walls.  It also allows the entire system a well-needed break from moving food and waste along allowing for healing and recovery.

We do this by ingesting the juice of a lemon (organic) in warm water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  If you’re used to waking up and eating breakfast, you might experience hunger on the first day of the Pre-Tox process, but most people find by the second day appetite becomes shockingly accommodating.

4 or 5 hours after the lemon / water you’ll consume a smoothie that you make yourself (store bought concoctions are likely going to have too much sugar unless you shop at a natural market with a concern for optimal ingredients from a health perspective).

You’ll blend up (in a blender, not a juicer) celery, dark green leafy leaves (arugula, baby spinach, kale, etc.) and some spring water or coconut water.  I do have a specific recipe we use in the Pre-Tox, but any “loaded” green smoothie with fiber and an array of nutrients and phytochemicals will do.

The fiber continues the cleansing the smoothie is highly nutritious, and the “ease” of digestive muscular contraction allows the “healing” to continue.

WHEN DO WE EAT?

The idea is not to avoid food, but to maximize its impact upon healthy metabolism.  Near what would conventionally be considered dinner time, you eat.

The first actual food meal might be at 4:00.  You can have any sort of protein (salmon, chicken, turkey, whole eggs, etc.), grass fed meats are ideal (beef, buffalo, lamb) or a vegetarian meal containing soy, beans, and/or protein-rich grains (quinoa, amaranth, etc.).  You’ll also want to include either a slow release natural carbohydrate (i.e. sweet potato or the grains just mentioned) or a food supplying “healthy fat” such as avocado, grass-fed cheese, or coconut oil (note that there is “healthy” fat in grass fed meat and whole eggs).

Once you take your first bite of that meal, you have a four-hour window during which you’ll eat.  I know it runs counter to what you’ve heard about dieting, but . . . you want another “meal” which will conclude about 4 hours after the first bite of protein.

So, the day might look like this:

  • 7 am – lemon / water
  • Noon – Green Smoothie
  • 4:00 – Protein / Fat meal
  • 7:15 – Protein / Fat meal
  • 8:00 – Fast until 7 am next morning when you have the lemon / water

There’s a great deal more I can share, and in fact, I will in the “Pre-Tox” webinar scheduled for Monday, November 20, at 7 PM Eastern Time.

You’ll want to be there.

If you’re registered for the 21 Day Metabolic Reboot program or you’re in my ALIVE Across America Human Betterment group, you’re already registered.  If not . . . you better hurry and send me an email telling me you want to attend.

Email phil@philkaplan.com

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Forget Genetics! “Fix” Metabolism

DNA molecule conceptual imageThe “Metabolic Reboot” is a program that changes bodies, but it isn’t aimed at the physical, at least not initially. It shocks people with the outcomes they achieve because the physical change, be it weight loss, fat loss, or a new look of athleticism, is the manifestation of the change within. We bring about a change in neural wiring, mindset, the microbiome, access to Life Force, and the health and function of the cell. The program is fully grounded in a mix between the wisdom of the ages (often ignored by modern medicine) and the newest revelations of genetic science. The “Reboot” works because it changes . . . get ready for this . . . the way your genes express themselves.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t get weird and we don’t perform scientific experiments on people. It’s a program aimed at betterment designed to be implemented with simplicity.

Is there exercise? Of course we incorporate exercise, but it’s far from conventional. It starts with a 9-minute routine focusing on breath and lymphatic activity. Sure you change the way you eat, but you begin a journey through what I’ve termed Circadian Nutrition, the farthest thing possible from a conventional diet.

The program rests upon 42 principles involving neuroscience (we change the programs run by the control center of the brain), endocrine science (we utilize strategies for restoring hormonal balance) and we call upon the rarely addressed parasympathetic system to activate a new level of “healing.”

The Metabolic Reboot results in a dramatic physical change, especially among those struggling with Weight Loss Resistance, because, regardless of what your parents or grandparents struggled with, it allows you to make adjustments in your own genetic expression.

As I take people through the program, I introduce powerful concepts and attempt to make the complex simple. Along the way I explain what the science of epigenetics has revealed and how those revelations serve us, but I have to admit, this video, a bit offbeat and goofy, does a killer job of explaining epigenetics in a way that people “get it.”

If you’re still of the mindset that you’re stuck with your “genetically inherited flaws,” watch this video.

“The hardware of your DNA is going to be the same for your entire life,” but you have control over how the genes express themselves, thus, despite your genetic inheritance, you can create a body you love.  The word “epigenetics” means “above genetics,” and as it becomes commonplace for us to witness descendants of obese parents find lean bodies, as we help people with “sluggish metabolisms” and “thyroid issues” to reprogram via a Metabolic Reboot, we’re forced to realize, nobody is “locked in.”

Some people just need a “Reboot.”

Just Cut Carbs?

slice of whole wheat bread for backgroundAre Carbs Really the Culprit . . . Is “Cutting Them” The Answer?

Would you like to lose weight quickly?  Do you presently consume breads, pastas, and an occasional donut?  OK, just stop.  You will lose weight.

When the scale is used as a gauge, cutting carbs may be the most effective way to drop pounds quickly, and in that lies much of the trap.

Yes.  A trap.

Before I explain why “cutting carbs out of my diet” is an all-too-common and all-too-ineffective way of ending any battle with excessive body weight, allow me to speak to the athletes who have mastered the science and benefits of intermittent fasting, of carb manipulation, and of managing, monitoring, and functioning in a ketotic state.  These strategies are not the same as “just cut carbs.”  My condemnation of the practice I see promoted in posts at weight loss sites, is not in any way a reflection of careful, strategic nutrition aimed at performance, physique, or athletic goals.

THE BASICS

Let’s start by understanding that, with few exceptions (i.e. lactose), carbohydrates are foods that come from plants.  No, you’ve never seen a donut tree, but a grain grows from the earth.  In fact, carbohydrates are miraculous in that they originate, in nature, from photosynthesis.

We exhale carbon dioxide, and a plant uses carbon dioxide (and sunlight) to make carbohydrates (and oxygen).  In terms of survival, it’s a perfect cycle.  We exhale what the plant needs to manufacture a source of human fuel.  The plant returns the favor.

Plant-derived fuel, in its simplest form, is glucose.  The sun, carbon dioxide, and mineral-rich soil manufacture our most efficient form of fuel.

Of course, we no longer live in a world where the simplicity of nature dictates simplicity of outcome.  Today we have grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and smoothie shops, and we can eat carbohydrates for a lifetime without ever seeing an actual plant.

Often, as we navigate supermarket shelves, we’re forced to use standardized labels (far from reliable but the best we have) as guides to nutrient content.  Whenever we confront a word on a label that ends in -ose, we’re looking at something we know better by its deliciously common name, sugar.

Glucose of course is a sugar, and it is the foundational building block of every carbohydrate food.

So . . . glucose = sugar = carb.

Simple science out of the way, now we get to the questions.

 

QUESTION: Is sugar good? 

Well, it certainly tastes good . . . and . . . if it is the “sugar” in blood sugar, it’s clearly vital to our survival.

 

Let’s try another question.

 

QUESTION: Is sugar bad? 

Consuming sugar may be the single greatest reason for our obesity epidemic and the culprit underlying our population’s unfathomable rise in blood sugar related diseases (diabetes).

What quickly becomes clear is this.  If we’re addressing sugar, the categorization of “good or bad” simply doesn’t work.  It’s a bit more complex than that, and if “good vs bad” can’t answer the question of sugar’s role, categorizing carbohydrates can’t simply be a question of good or bad.

We can begin by separating refined and processed carbs from those in their natural form.

A cookie is a sugar-laden carbohydrate made from grains, but because you can’t plant seeds and grow cookies, processing of the grain is necessary.  Flour and table sugar, key ingredients in pastries, snack foods, and even breads and pastas, create wonderful interactions with our taste buds and tiny little sensory organs that create a pleasurable “mouth feel,” but comparing a cookie to a sweet potato is an absurd exercise in overstating the obvious.

For now, for the sake of this article remaining brief enough to “digest” without creating overwhelm, let’s simply establish that there’s a vast difference between a natural carbohydrate food that grows and one that comes out of an oven, a factory, or a processing plant, the former being the option that better aligns with optimal human metabolism.

The reality that needs to be stated is, even the processed foods are a source of energy.  Energy, in an aerobic physiological state (which is really any time you’re not under excessive physical strain) can be fueled by sugar and/or fat.  That doesn’t mean these foods are healthy, nor does it mean they won’t have a long term negative impact on biochemistry and metabolism.  It simply means they can meet momentary energy demand.  By that token, it’s understood that if someone gets much of their momentary and daily energy from processed foods, the removal of those foods will require another energy substrate, that being either a natural carbohydrate or a fat if they are going to “fuel” metabolism and activity.

From this point forward, we’re going to proceed with an understanding that eliminating processed foods is a massive plus from a health perspective and that an ample supply of proteins and natural energy substrates is going to be a necessity to build and repair tissue and meet metabolic energy demands (I’ll share a bit more on this shortly).

Now, back to the sweet potato.

If it’s grown organically, we can call it a natural carbohydrate.  Because its glucose composition is in the form of “glucose chains” we can call it a starch, a complex carbohydrate.  Unlike the cookie (which we’re no longer talking about) it has a vital and complementary mix of micronutrients including antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C and its mineral content includes the big three, calcium, potassium, and magnesium all in their natural and bioavailable form, we can call it healthful and nutritious.  Because it is a starch, the slower release of sugars has the propensity of providing a slower release energy without a radical insulin spike, it becomes a highly nutritious source of fuel.

Here’s where I have to pause.  Based upon your prior education in this realm, you’re either ready to jump all over me and tell me about the glycemic index of potatoes being high, or you’re already so dismayed by where you think I’m going that you just want to hit me over the head with a “carbs-make-me-fat” hammer.  I want to take a brief detour to discuss three relevant and related subject matters.

  1. Protein-sparing energy substrates
  2. Glycemic index and rendering it irrelevant
  3. Pancreatic hormones

Before you go any further, take a breath.  This is not going to be a dissertation in food and nutrient composition, but rather a concise discussion helping illustrate why “carbs-are-bad” is a flawed belief for dieters.  I know I said I want to keep this brief enough to be digestible, but these are important elements of discussion, each meriting its own rabbit trail, so . . . inhale . . . slowly exhale . . . and here we go . . .

PROTEIN SPARING ENERGY SUBSTRATES

Within my programs (A.L.I.V.E. and The Metabolic Reboot) I discuss the four pillars of physical betterment, the first one involving what we eat.  Aside from pleasure and social connection, we eat for two primary reasons, to ingest the material we’ll use to build and repair cells (amino acids) and to consume fuel for energy.  Simplistically, protein provides us the building blocks of our cells and fat and carbohydrates serve as our bodies’ preferred source of fuel.  If energy substrates are not sufficient to meet energy needs, the body metabolizes proteins (amino acids) robbing cells of their “building material.”  It therefore becomes important that we consume “protein sparing nutrients” (carbs and fats) to allow our ingested amino acids to be used for cellular protein synthesis.  In the absence or in the case of insufficient energy substrates, we run the risk of cannibalizing lean body mass (muscle tissue).

GLYCEMIC INDEX AND RENDERING IT IRRELEVANT

Glycemic Index was created and is referenced in order to determine or illustrate how severely or radically an ingested food will spike blood sugar.  White bread, oatmeal, and potatoes all have high GI’s which would suggest they’re off limits for anyone seeking to manage blood sugar.  That appears to put them in a category with candy bars.  Off limits for anyone who understands the links between blood sugar spikes, energy, and body composition.  Interestingly, ice cream has a lower glycemic index than those foods I mentioned.  Can ice cream be “better” for fat loss or weight reduction than a potato?  There must be more to the equation than a concern for Glycemic Index.  There is.  Ice cream brings a far less radical blood sugar spike than a potato because blood sugar doesn’t spike upon ingestion.  It spikes when sugars pass through the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream.  Because ice cream contains sugars in delicious harmony with protein and fat, the release of sugar is slowed.  Although a potato is a starch, and contains “chains of glucose,” without any other macronutrients present, the enzymatic dissolution of the chains is rapid, and without the slow release chains intact, glucose gets absorbed rapidly creating a sudden blood sugar spike.   Here’s where it all becomes unimportant.  If you consume the potato with a protein, fibrous vegetables, and a bit of valuable fat, the glycosidic bonds (glucose chains) dissolve slowly, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly, and you are not subjected to a dynamic or sudden interruption in blood glucose.  If we realize that Glycemic Index only relates to a food’s impact on blood sugar when it is consumed alone, we also realize it has little or no relevance when natural slow-release carbohydrates are consumed as components of multi-nutrient meals.

PANCREATIC HORMONES

Insulin is manufactured by the pancreas.  The role of insulin is to deliver sugar to the  cell(s).  It’s fair to call insulin a storage hormone.  It happens to be one of the most anabolic hormones there is, but in terms of ordinary nutrition, insulin shuttles glucose into the insulin receptor of the cell so that glucose can be held in the muscles and the liver as glycogen, a fuel reserve.  The pancreas also manufactures the hormone glucagon, which has an importantly opposite function of insulin.  Glucagon plays a vital role in the release of cellular material, and for our purposes, it’s important to note that it plays a vital role in the release of fatty acids trapped inside an adipose cell.  In plain English, insulin stores, glucagon releases, and if we’re going to burn stored body fat, we have to release it from a fat cell.  When we consume simple sugars and/or processed / refined carbohydrates (or as you now understand, when we consume high GI foods by themselves), we experience a rapid spike in blood sugar.  This stimulates a metabolic process whereby the pancreas shifts into a state of insulin dominance.  As the demand for glucose storage is escalated, glucagon becomes less immediately important.  In essence, the body shifts into “storage mode.”  The more often we spike blood sugar, the more we tend to “lock-in” stored bodyfat.  Long-term or frequent insulin spikes lead to a series of maladaptations that may reduce the effectiveness of insulin and escalate propensity for fat storage.  Ideally, we want to stabilize blood sugar allowing us stability of energy and ongoing and consistent ability to release and burn fat.  We want to hormonally balance the ability to store and to release.

CUTTING CARBS

With a baseline understanding of how carbohydrate ingestion relates to the hormonal environment, we can explore the short and long term effect of deeming carbs the enemy.

FACT: For every gram of glycogen insulin stores in muscle, we hold 2.4 grams of water.  Because muscle is predominantly water, shifts in glycogen storage can quickly affect muscle weight and thus, the scale.

If someone obtaining a fair amount of energy from carbohydrate based foods “cuts out carbohydrates,” intake of glucose is reduced.  This creates a demand for glycogen release.  The fuel reserve in muscle is utilized.  We have a condition of muscles “feeding” blood sugar.

As glycogen is released from muscle, so too is water, and a significant drop in weight is a given.  Because most seeking weight reduction judge their progress by their pounds, this creates short term elation, and the “diet” appears to be working.

I mentioned early on that athletes trained in nutrition will learn to find protein-sparing energy from complementary fats, and will also learn to reintroduce carbohydrates per design, and with careful and strategic “carbohydrate manipulation” the body can be coaxed to release and burn more fat during “carb-reduction periods.”  When weight loss wanters, however, see a blanket plan of “cutting carbs” as the entirety of the strategy, beyond the initial water loss, they often run into a series of traps.

Cravings are the first of the traps.  In a state of energy deficit, innate mechanisms for survival drive us to hunger for two substrates, the one we can live off of the longest (fat which supplies 9 calories per gram) and sugar which provides the quickest energy (but only 4 calories per gram).  The cravings will typically become overbearing, and once the “no carb” strategy is broken, a blood sugar spike follows.

The cravings, submission . . . and then . . . the binge.

THE BINGE

The Binge is not a lack of willpower.  It is a biochemically driven survival mechanism.  The carb-depleted individual gives in to cravings, blood sugar spikes, insulin spikes, and because more insulin is produced than is needed to restore blood sugar to normal, the struggling dieter winds up with residual low-blood sugar. The hypothalamus, the control center of the brain, then senses blood sugar must be restored, and it drives neurotransmission to create . . . you guessed it . . . sugar cravings.  And so the cycle goes.

If you summon superhuman willpower, and battle the cravings head-on, you’re likely to suffer a bit of brain fog, impaired cognition, and irritability.  These are not insurmountable if weight loss is the goal (although the folks around you may disagree) but you’re not, by any means, free of the traps.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Even with the strategy of “just giving up carbs,” within a week or so, cravings diminish.  This is explained as “ketones” being produced to meet energy needs, which may or may not be true depending upon a number of individual variables.  What this “cognitive resurgence” represents is a shift in energy production.  The absence of glucose the body was accustomed to forces an adaptation.  A part of that adaptation, if a systemized strategy of protein sparing is not implemented, includes the breakdown of muscle tissue.

The body has an ability to convert amino acids into glucose.  The brain, unlike muscular system cells, cannot utilize dietary fat as fuel.  It requires glucose.  In a carb-deprived state, a process of gluconeogenesis begins, the breakdown of muscle tissue converting the branched chain amino acids into usable glucose.  Brain fog clears a bit, cravings may be reduced, but this indicates breakdown of lean body mass.

Perception wise, as muscle breaks down, all appears wonderful.  The scale applauds.  More weight is lost.   This is a case of flawed evaluation, again the mistake of using the scale as a gauge of progress.  The scale can only tell you how many pounds you weigh under gravity at a given moment in time.  It cannot distinguish between temporary water weight loss, detrimental and costly muscle loss, and the lasting loss of adipose tissue (fat) which is far more elusive than most strugging dieters think.

If you recognize that the genius of the human body includes anti-starvation programs, you’ll understand why, as biochemical shifts take place, the endocrine system adjusts to allow “maintenance” on fewer calories.

The body “adapts” to a reduced caloric load.

We might call this a metabolic slowdown.  Naively dieters call it “the plateau.”

METABOLIC ENTROPY

The further someone moves into a state of metabolic compromise (entropy), the more dramatic the weight gain will be when “carbs come back.”

Because continued bouts with carb depletion are often the path frustrated dieters embark upon, the “I-ate-carbs-and-gained-weight-overnight” syndrome is misperceived as an innate or individual sensitivity to carbohydrates.  It is, in fact, a self-induced condition leading to ongoing frustration usually accompanied by periodic fluctuations in body weight.

With each “gain-and-cut-carbs-to-lose” cycle, the sensitivity to carbohydrates appear to increase.  Over time, with ongoing repetition of “cut-and-binge” we are likely to see a chain of metabolic changes leading to a shift in genetic expression, an acutal change in DNA programming.

SO . . . WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

A better strategy involves the elimination of simple sugars and minimization of bleached, processed, and refined carbohydrates combined with a “training” of the metabolic machine (digestive-endocrine-nervous system) so that natural carbohydrates can be accepted, digested, and utilized as a fuel source without causing any significant shifts in endocrine function or neurotransmission.

Eat integrated meals combining quality proteins, natural slow-release protein sparing nutrients, and quality organic produce without any consumption of snack foods, refined foods, or sugar-laden meals.  This, as you’d expect I’d say, only results in lasting positive shifts in body composition if you also integrate a sound program of exercise moving the body through space and challenging  the muscular, circulatory, and respiratory systems.

If you believe the paragraph above makes it simple . . . I only wish it were true.  To complicate things further, Genetic Modification and hybridization of grains and edible plants grown for large-scale human consumption have created franken-foods unrecognizable by the human digestive system as healthful nourishment and natural energy.   Add in the chemicalization of crops and it gets even uglier, but that’s an entirely different discussion for an entirely different article.

Rarely is a sudden shift from a ritualistic or habitual way of eating instantly traded for “the solution.”  The shift normally requires a bit of education and some retraining of mindset.  With a desire to learn, a willingness to recognize approaches that are failing you and adjust accordingly, and an unbreakable belief that you can gain control with the proper guidance and steps, you can completely recreate your metabolism, your reflection, your health, and your well-being.  And if you need a coach or mentor . . . well, I’m here to help.

While I’ve made it sound difficult, it need not be.  It’s just that the want for “a tip that changes everything” is a weakness making you a target for the next “just cut something” offering.  Change requires change, and my programs are designed to guide people from a place of desire to a place of true change.  It’s just  not an overnight and sudden transformation.  It’s what I call a TransGenesis and the nutritional piece is a vitally important part.

THE RIGHT STRATEGY

Without disregarding anything I’ve shared, we are all individual, and if you’ve found a low-carb diet to be supportive of your health, energy, weight, and body composition, there’s no need to question a thing I’ve said.  Just realize, you found what works for you.  The larger scale challenge lies in people seeking a simplistic plan based on avoidance, as with some exceptions, avoidance of anything bio-science calls a nutrient is going to lead to compromise in most people.

Those who have not ever experienced significant weight gain, weight loss resistance, or metabolic pathology will likely find a nutritional program integrating proteins, slow-release protein-sparing natural carbohydrates, fibrous carbohydrates (yet another topic for another article), and healthful fats sufficient to meet their metabolic needs.

Those who have suffered metabolic shift or endocrine imbalance may need a plan or system designed to firstly move them back toward balance, and secondly, to provide adequate material for anabolism and fuel, without perpetuating further compromise.

My programs incorporate a system I’ve called “Circadian Nutrition” which integrates strategic periods of carbohydrate manipulation with other complementary eating strategies aimed at healing, cellular recovery, and human betterment.

To stay connected to the strategies incorporated in the A.L.I.V.E. program and The Metabolic Reboot, join the FREE Facebook group, TransGenesis: The Metabolic Reboot.

The “Best” Diet

Best Foods High In ProteinHe sat at the next table choking down grilled chicken breasts.  That wouldn’t be unusual were it not 7:00 AM, breakfast time.  He explained to the skinny waiter that the key to building muscle was protein, protein, protein.  Mike, the heavily muscled personal trainer who hadn’t learned not to speak with his mouth full seemed to be enjoying the chicken as much as I’d enjoy eating the placemat.

While I believe I had better table manners, I understood Mike’s evangelistic promotion of protein.  I was there once.  Obsessive.  Bodybuilding is an excessive pursuit and bland egg whites, grilled chicken breasts, and cold baked sweet potatoes carried in a cooler (protein sparing) are regular fare for those in quest of muscle.  Yummy?  No.  Functional?  Yes, if muscle is the goal.  Bodybuilders eat for function and the desired function is protein synthesis, the development of new muscle.

My concern in listening to Mike’s morning monologue wasn’t for the skinny waiter.  He could afford to make chicken breast milk shakes with ice cream and coconut oil if he chose to, as his body clearly was not about to store fat.  My concern was for the three overweight women at the next table listening in, especially when Mike’s amplified conversation with his server went on to announce, “I have all of my clients eat six times a day, proteins and veggies.  If they won’t eat that way, I fire them.”

Yes, while I understood Mike’s maniacal protein raving, my concern extended to anyone who might be in search of weight loss who intentionally or unintentionally wound up on the receiving end of Trainer Mike’s advice.

Bodybuilding nutrition, obsessive or otherwise, is great for bodybuilders, but in cases such as I witnessed, it inadvertently lends itself as an answer to the question, “what diet is best,” and that is a very flawed question opening the door to a host of flawed answers.

THERE IS VIRTUE IN FREQUENT MEALS AND ADEQUATE PROTEIN

For years I encouraged people to consume frequent meals, balanced servings of lean protein, slow-release natural carbohydrates, and vegetables, and it worked incredibly well . . . when it was combined with a strategic exercise regimen incorporating resistance and aerobic exercise . . . and . . . periodic dietary shifts.

Weeks into my programs I used strategies for “glycogen depletion” during select periods to amplify fat loss and prevent adaptation.   Anyone who has ever gone through my TRANSFORM program has a love-hate relationship with “Protein Days.”  Also, of paramount importance was the avoidance of simple sugars and bleached and processed carbohydrates.  Habitual insulin spikes prompted by sugars were the single greatest culprits in creating resistance toward fat loss.

The “synergistic” relationship between the exercise and eating plan worked well, as long as the program wasn’t stagnant.  It moved.  It changed.  It used a cyclical system of going through distinctive phases to keep the body from adapting . . . and in that lies the key to finding “the right diet” for weight loss.

It has to move.  It has to change.   Not randomly.   Scientifically.  Strategically.  By design.

THE BODY ADAPTS AND SO . . . YOU GET STUCK

The sole reason bodybuilders can add muscle via a path of exhaustive weight training workouts is . . . the human body miraculously adapts.  If you ask it to do more than it can handle . . . granted it’s provided adequate material from which to build new cells and adequate fuel, muscle develops to handle the new load.

Conversely, the 30-something man who comes home from work, plops himself on the couch with a soda and the remote control, finds reverse-adaptation.  Because the body is asked to do very little in terms of physical output, it “mal-adapts,” sacrificing muscle, softening, and becoming less calorically efficient.  Feed that mal-adapting body more nutrients than it’s going to require and it fattens, weakens, and speeds the process of cellular entropy, reduction in cellular integrity.

So what does this have to do with dieting for weight loss?  Everything.

It’s that innate ability of the human organism to adapt that creates the phenomenon of the dietary plateau.  “Cutting calories” is the most common approach to “treating” weight excess, and inevitably, after a brief period of weight reduction, the weight loss ceases.

The reason?

Adaptation.

The body learned to live on fewer calories.  Adaptation, in this case, equals an innate program for survival.  The hypothalamus, the control center of the brain, doesn’t understand why the dieter isn’t getting as much food as was “usual,” so to prevent starvation, an adaptive process activates.  Pituitary output of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone may be reduced.  Metabolism-regulating thyroid hormones become less active.  New biochemical conversions take place to reduce metabolic energy.

When the adaptive process is undesired, we can call it mal-adaptation.  When it’s allowing for betterment, we can call it progressive adaptation.

Whatever you do habitually, will lead to an adaptation.  Without an understanding of how changes in nutrition will be perceived by the brain, endocrine system, and digestive system, outcomes become random.

We can adapt positively, if we align our nutrition, energy, activity, and desired outcomes, or . . . we can mal-adapt by failing to understand the relationships between our bodies and our food programs.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM FOR THOSE SEEKING WEIGHT LOSS

A majority of American adults have some level of hormonal mal-adaptation resultant from inactivity, ingestion of unsupportive foods, and . . . stress.  Once the endocrine system is corrupted, or imbalanced, movement along a continuum has begun.  The body abandons its innate fat-release programs and develops a host of conditions including but not limited to insulin resistance, blood sugar elevation, adrenal fatigue, and reduced thyroid output and any disruption in nutrition may drive the mal-adaptation rather than correct it.

If someone who has progressed along that continuum adopts Mike the Trainer’s system, some improvement is possible, but adaptation is inevitable.  If the dietary approach is stagnant, adaptation will in all likelihood prevent a return to balance, a restoration of metabolic excellence.  It isn’t Mike’s system that’s at fault.  It’s an attempt to repair a flawed metabolism with an inflexible approach.

In short, a systemically maladapted body will “plateau” on any program unless there is a strategic methodology of change.

ENTER CIRCADIAN NUTRITION

I’ve created a nutritional and exercise intervention that works to restore balance by driving continuous change.  It relies upon a 3-part approach, cyclically shifting from a program aimed at metabolic efficiency to one aimed at mobilizing toxins and healing the maladapted systems of the body.

It begins with a balanced consumption of 3 – 4 meals per day, free from energy disruptors (sugars, grains, bleached and processed carbohydrates) blending proteins, protein sparing carbohydrates or fats, and vegetables.  I call the approach “Supportive Eating,” as it’s supportive of metabolism.

Before the body adapts, while it’s responsive to adequate material for cellular healing and adequate substrates for metabolic energy, as it’s re-balancing pancreatic hormones and reactivating blocked insulin receptors, we shift.  We move toward short bouts of glycogen depletion, replacing slow-release carbohydrates with valuable fats and Omega 3’s, coaxing lipolysis and creating mitochondrial hunger for fatty acids.  In plain English that means, by manipulating carbohydrate intake by design, we coax the body to release and burn more fat.

The third phase or “season” of Circadian Nutrition uses a type of intermittent fasting incorporating high fiber organic smoothies to stimulate cleansing of the digestive tract and consumption of meals ample in natural fats (including grass-fed meats for those who consume animal-based foods) during limited windows each day.

This rotational approach, combined with exercise routines allowing for stimulation of the body’s healing and recovery systems delivers results that clients often perceive as miraculous.  The miracle is the human body.  It’s amazing ability to adapt can be the key to repair or the slippery slope leading to ongoing challenge.

In my recent experience, a strategy integrating varied modalities of positive change is the platform upon which we find “the best diet.”  I know that isn’t the quick and easy answer.  People want a single diet, a mindless “follow-the-diet” approach, or a trendy plan based on avoidance of a given nutrient or integration of a “super-food.”  As long as the desire for “a diet” pervades within the weight loss wanting community, diet programs will prosper, unfortunately, at the expense of people seeking change.

In conclusion, I have little condemnation for Trainer Mike.  When he speaks to the right audience, he’s clearly a force of direction and motivation.  It’s important, however, that the “specialist” be positioned before those who seek “the specialty.”

Speaking to the masses is an entirely different story.

Circadian Nutrition is seamlessly integrated into the 21 Day Metabolic Reboot

Uber Doober Doo

Hand Opening Car Door

For some reason, as I write this, I’m hearing Frank Sinatra sing “Uber Doober Doo” in my head, but this has nothing to do with Old Blue Eyes.  This is about Uber.  I love Uber.  Maybe the reason is, I love people.  Anybody who knows me, anybody who has hung around me for any length of time, knows I start conversations with . . . well . . . everyone.  They also know, I’m seriously interested in people, in what they think, in what they do, in what they say.

Having grown up in New York, and spending a great deal of time on the road in major cities, I’m no stranger to taxis.

I don’t love taxis.  They get me where I’m going, but I wouldn’t call it love.

So what’s so different about Uber?

The front seat.  It changes everything.

I hit the app on my cell phone, six minutes later, I’m opening the front door.  Sure, I could choose the back seat, but then it becomes a driver driving a passenger.  The front seat creates a sense of travel mates.  The driver is the driver, but I’m the buddy in the seat beside him.

There’s also the element of the driver being the owner of the car.  It isn’t a taxi with a sliding glass window and generic seats and signs.  An Uber ride comes with a sense of who the driver is.  When I sit in that front seat I notice things.  I can comment on the Pittsburgh Steelers decal, the solar powered snowman on the dashboard, the FSU cup in the cup holder, or the Panic at the Disco CD sticking out of the CD player.  I notice the satellite radio station they have on, whether they have an iPhone or an Android, and the pictures, notes, or parking tickets they have tucked into the visor.  One quick glance around the front seat of the car and I’m ready for conversation.

I want to tell you about some of my rides.  I haven’t any agenda here.  I’m not selling Uber.  I’m simply sharing.  This has nothing to do with fitness or health or protein powders or webinars.  It’s just conversation (which you’re free to engage in by commenting at the end).

Before I get into the Uberers I’ve met, let me say this.  I know Uber likely has policies that may have been violated by characters in some of the stories I’m about to share, so, let’s assume this is a work of fiction lest anybody be called on anything I share.

IT STARTS WITH THE FIRST ONE

My first Uber ride is probably one I shouldn’t write about, but if this is written with full disclosure (and we’re all aware it may be fiction), she was a single Mom, and she picked me up from a sushi restaurant in Hermosa Beach.  I had been dining with two friends who were staying at a different hotel than I was so the plan was to drop me off first.  I didn’t yet understand Uber so I offered to pay but one of my dinner-mates used his phone to call the Uber and he explained it was billed to his account.

I sat in the front.  I was intrigued.  The driver was pretty.  She introduced herself as Cassandra.  I don’t know that I’d ever had a pretty taxi driver so from moment one this was clearly different.

“How does this Uber thing work?”

“Oh, it’s awesome.  I just sign in when I want a passenger and I can do 10 or 12 rides a night.”

“Do you have another job?”

“I work in retail a few days a week but this is great for extra money.”

We talked.  I joked as I do (often referred to by others as flirting).  Cassandra laughed.   Nothing encourages me more than a pretty Uber driver laughing at my jokes.  I flirted . . . ummm . . . I mean I talked some more.

“You’re funny.”

From the back seat a voice said, “obnoxious, not funny.”  Hmmph.  Some friend.

I threw out another question, “Are you married?”

“Not anymore.”

The 12-minute conversation revealed she had an 8-year-old and 5-year-old, both little girls, her Mom watches the girls when she works, and her ex-husband sees them every other weekend and one night during the week.  Those are the nights she Ubers.

We made a right turn off of Rosecrans down the road that leads to the Manhattan Beach Marriott where I was staying.  I was to be the first one out of the car.

I said my “see ya soon” to my friends in the back seat, friends I’m very fond of and hoped to see soon, and as we pulled into the driveway Cassandra said.  “Have a great night.  That was a short ride.  You asked all the questions.  I’d like to know more about what you do.”

Jokingly I said, “OK, but we don’t have much time.  I leave town tomorrow.  I’m in Room 716.  Ask for Phil.”  I was kidding.  Really I was.

She left to drive the back seaters back to Santa Monica.

At 10:40 the phone in my room rang.  Cassandra was in the lobby.  Let’s leave it at that.  Just know that she stopped driving for the night at 10:40 and it was right then and there that I decided, “I Love Uber.”

Am I proud of that story?  No, but it was my first Uber experience, and I came to realize, every Uber ride was simply an opportunity to connect, in a different way, with an interesting human being invited to share some thoughts for a brief journey from location to destination.

I downloaded the Uber app the next day, but didn’t use it until a couple of weeks later.  I was visiting with my parents, about to fly to Pittsburgh, and I thought I’d leave my car at my parent’s house while I was gone.  I decided I would Uber to the airport.  Simple.  No parking.  I’d get dropped off right at the entrance.  I opened my app, confirmed the pin as the right location, and 5 minutes later the Mercedes pulled up with the Uber decal on the front window.  I must admit, my mind asked “Mercedes?”  It then moved past it.  I was about to hear an amazing story.

The driver was an older Latin man.   He introduced himself as Samuel.  I sat in the front seat and we started talking.  Samuel was from Columbia.  He was well dressed, had expensive looking jewelry, and I had to ask why he’s driving people around.  He appeared to be of retirement age and, at least based on appearances, seemed to be rather well off.

“I have to work,” Samuel began.   “My partner stole my business.”  That’s where the conversation started and it went from there.

I wanted to hit traffic, I wanted this to be a long ride, as I was so intrigued by the story he told me.  His partner stealing his business was only the icing on the cake, in fact, the icing I never got to hear any more about.  He had a story that Brian DePalma could turn into a movie every bit as compelling as Scarface.

We entered I-95 at Palmetto Park Road and Samuel, with my prompts, was off and running.

SAMUEL AND THE DRUG LORD

“I was a writer for the largest newspaper in Bogota and I ran my own successful marketing company.  I used to write a political column and when the communists started coming in, I’d write about it.  I warned people as they were being told the change was good.  At first I was being praised for my opinions and warnings, but then the drug money started pouring in and the government was flipped upside down and I started getting threats.  Death threats.  I ignored them.  I felt it was my job, as a journalist, to tell the truth, no matter how ugly, and that’s what I did.  I ignored the threats until one day I came home to an empty house.  My wife and kids had been taken.”

I sat with my jaw halfway down to my chest.  I was intrigued, in awe, and spellbound.

“Taken?  What do you mean taken?”

“Kidnapped.  I got a phone call telling me to be at a specific location.  I knew I’d have to pay ransom so I arranged for some money to be available.  I went to the location, a car pulled up, two guerillas got out with machine guns, they blindfolded me and drove me to a runway.  They took off the blindfold and pointed up the ramp to a private plane, and I knew exactly who was in there.  He was the biggest drug lord in Columbia.  I sat across from him on the plane with machine guns pointed at me the whole time.”

“The big guy smiled at me.  “Samuel, why do you write bad things about us?  We bring money into this country, we make people happy, what have you got against us?”” I couldn’t answer him. I had to ask about my wife and children.

“Where is my family?”

“I don’t know.  But I do know if you want to see them again you’ll stop writing about us.  You won’t write anything about us.  In fact, you won’t write anything at all.  Ever.”

“I agreed.  I was driven back to my home, and one of the guerillas drove off with my car.  I never saw the car again.  They didn’t ask me for money.  At least not then.”

I had to just do a quick reality check.  “Samuel, this is an amazing story.  Is it really true?”

“Es verdad.  Of course it’s true.  It’s so sad what happened to so many families’ lives in that country.  It used to be a beautiful place to live.  I’m thankful to be in America and I remind myself of that every single day.”

“OK, so they took your family and your car.  Obviously things worked out OK.  You’re here.  What happened next?”

“There was a man who came to visit me almost every day after my trip to the airplane.  He’d sit in my house, ask for coffee, and put a gun on the table.  He didn’t say very much but he came every day.  As he would leave he would ask, “no more writing, right?””

“Wow.”  I hesitated, but I needed to know.  “What about your family?  Did you ever see them again?””

My daughter is now 33.  She lives in Miami and she works, but she’s going through a lot of therapy.  What they did to her was terrible.”

I felt myself quiver at the thought.  He continued the story.

“My son had to work in the fields.  For 3 months he worked like a slave and then the man who came to my house told me if I gave him about $50,000 US, my son would come home the next day.  I did, and he did.  He was OK.”

“My wife was working indoors doing cleaning for some of the big guys’ families, and a month after my son came home my wife came home.  She cried so much I couldn’t believe she didn’t run out of tears, but she was strong for my son.  He only saw her cry once.  It was only when we were alone that she cried.  I never asked her what happened other than cleaning.  I didn’t want to know and she didn’t want to talk about it.”

“The man would come every day and always remind me not to write.  He’d sometimes touch my wife on the arm, just to let me know if I did anything wrong he could take her again.  One day, I started to crack.  I couldn’t be so strong anymore.  I begged the man to tell me where my daughter was.  I told him I’d give him everything I have to get her back.  He smoked a cigar and smiled.  I wished I could have killed him.  I would have.  Right there.  Right then.”

“Just keep behaving and you’ll see her again.”

Airport Exit, 2 miles.

Shit.  I wanted to know the rest of the story.

“Samuel, drive slow.  I want to hear how things worked out.” I saw him wince.  I realized, he gets paid per ride, so if I asked him to slow down, I wanted him to feel good about it. I handed him $20.  I could make every argument in the world as to why he deserved it.  He accepted it, slowed down, and went on with the story.

“They asked me to withdraw all of my money.   I mean all of it.  I earned a good living in Columbia and had a beautiful home, but it meant nothing if I’d never see my daughter again.  The man came as usual but he came in carrying a bag for the money and he came in a limousine with dark windows and he blindfolded me.  There were four other men, all wearing masks.  They took me in front of my wife and son and sat me inside the limo.  They made sure I heard my wife crying and then closed the door and we drove for a very long time.  I heard them counting money and I heard the sound of gun clips.  One of them held a gun to my neck and told me to pray.  I did.  I prayed for my little girl to come home, and then, suddenly, they took off the blindfold, pushed me out, had me lean on the hood of the limo, and they debated whether they should shoot me or not.  After about 15 minutes they told me to run, so I did and a bullet went right past my ear.  It grazed me.”

Samuel touched his ear and paused.  I think he was showing me a scar but it was the left ear and he was driving so I really didn’t see it.

“They drove away laughing.  When I got home my daughter was there crying with my wife and son.  Everyone was home.”

“Thank God.  You said they did something terrible to your daughter.”

“They did.  The first day they took her, they brought her to the fields, and in front of her they cut off a young boy’s head, and they made her carry the head walking behind a tractor for miles.  She still has nightmares, but she’s alive and is married and has a little girl and I thank God every day.”

We pulled up to the Southwest terminal.

“And after all that, your partner stole your business?”

“Yes, but that’s another story.”

I’m hoping at some point Samuel picks me up again.

What a story.  What a ride. I love Uber.

This was to be a double-Uber day.

THE BUDDHIST AND THE DEMON

After a short flight, replaying Samuel’s story in my head, I landed in Pittsburgh.  At Pittsburgh International Airport you have to go outside Door 4 at the Baggage claim to get an Uber.  I did.  There were about 8 other people waiting for Ubers.  You watch for the car the app tells you is coming and check to make sure it’s the right driver.  Mine was Dale.

Dale’s car was filled with incense, Buddha statues, and hanging things. Lots of ornaments.  I sat in the front seat, I introduced myself, he said I looked like I worked out, and the conversation started.

I don’t know how many more Uber driver stories I want to include here. This is beginning to become a book.  Maybe I’ll just tell you about Dale and his sexual apparition and then leave the 82-year-old-bigot who missed every turn, the drunk whose son followed us the entire ride, the NFL-almost working in the neurology lab at UCLA, and the stockbroker bodybuilder after whose trip I rushed to wash my hands for another installment.  That’s what I’ll do.  Let’s finish this one up with Dale and I’ll save the rest for another day.

Dale asked whether I do yoga.

“I have, but not regularly.  I’ve dated a few girls who were very into it and became somewhat intrigued but I guess I never made it to the point of really connecting.”

“I understand.  I’ve been doing it for 12 years, ever since I gave up my former life.”

“Your former life?”

“I was a partier.  No, that’s not right.  I was an addict.  I made a promise to my father the day he threw me out of the house.  I promised I’d quit.  I knew I needed something to replace it, an entirely new lifestyle, so I started taking a yoga class and it changed my life.”

“How?”

“I no longer cared about material possessions.  I became enlightened.  I didn’t need drugs or weed any more. I found silence.”

“Silence is better than weed?”

“Oh yeah, but it takes time to get there.  I struggled at first, but I learned to breathe, to control, to observe urges and let them pass, melt away.  I went to a retreat in upstate New York and that’s where I really found the beauty of meditation.”

“Meditation is better than medication.”

He laughed, but I think he really wanted to roll his eyes at my idiotic quips.  “Yes.”

The conversation moved into relationships.  He referenced the fact that I told him I only did yoga when I was dating someone who connected me with it, and told me that’s why he not only left the drugs, but left his girlfriend.  She was so deep into drugs he knew he’d have to leave her to experience her own journey, and that someday she’d find peace.

“Was that hard?”

“At first, but then I met a beautiful woman who I’ve been with for 10 years now.”

“Oh, are you married?”

“No.  We’re just together, as partners . . . sort of.”

“What’s the sort of?”

“Well, I’ve been celibate for 12 years.”

“Whaaaaaaaaaat?”

“Yes.  It’s actually blissful, and I know that when I meet the person I’m supposed to be with we will marry and enjoy the physical intimacy that is special between a man and woman.”

“You don’t sleep with your  . . . ummm . . . partner of 10 years?   Do you think about marrying her?”

“I did, but something held me back.  And then, one night we were in a yert . . . “

“A what?”

“A yert.  It’s like a lean-to, like an outdoor little treehouse without the tree, and we were looking up at the stars, and she suddenly became seductive.  I almost couldn’t resist her.  I shouldn’t be telling you this.”

“Why?”

“I’m just your driver.”

“It’s OK, if you can’t tell an anonymous stranger who you’ll never see again, who can you tell?”

“But you’re going to think it’s strange.”

“Dale, I’ve had more strange shit in my life than one person deserves, and I already think you’re strange because you’ve been celibate for 12 years.  I’m kidding, but go on.  You couldn’t resist her.”

“No, I couldn’t.  I became so aroused I almost couldn’t control myself.  I never had that reaction to her before but something about the moment in the yert was so overwhelming I was completely overtaken by lust.”

“Was she as taken as you were?”

“She created it, but when I saw her, I realized what was happening.  Her truth came forth.  I saw her for who she was.  She was Mara!”

“Mara?”

“Yes, Mara the Seductress, a demon.”

“Your partner became a demon?”

“I suspect she always was.  I just never saw it until that moment.”

“So what did you do?”

“I resisted, and I went out into the night alone to meditate, and when I returned to the yert she was gone.  I knew what I had to do.”

“What?”

“I had to go home and make peace with my father, and on that day I signed up as an Uber driver.”

We pulled into the parking lot of Revelation Health.  I handed Dale a $20 bill.  I guess I’m a good Uber passenger.  The fact is, these people are providing a great service at a great price and I appreciate the human connection rarely offered by taxis.  Dale pulled away and I wished him luck in finding “the One.’  I’m not totally sure what I meant by that, but it seemed appropriate.  Perhaps it means, “I hope your celibacy ends in bliss . . . demon-free.”

Feel free to post your Uber experiences, or let me know if you want to hear more.  I’ll continue to Uber so more human interest stories shall no doubt flow to me.   For now, I’ll leave you only with the stories of Cassandra, Samuel, and Dale.  Just know, there are plenty more where they came from!

Aside from the untold stories I referenced earlier, I can tell you about the 79-year-old world traveler whose uncle warned Washington about Pearl Harbor before it happened (he wrote a book about it . . . I ordered the book on Amazon), the entrepreneur from Pakistan with the struggling Dollar Store and the problematic daughter, the gay pizza maker who moved from Wisconsin to Florida to find acceptance, or any one of a number of characters who drove me to various destinations and were kind enough to share stories of tiny fragments of their lives.

How Do We, Of Different Faiths, Pray Together?

Prayer

I was walking along Manhattan Beach today,  in appreciation of all the good that has come out of the many  relationships I’ve formed or been invited into, and I decided I was going to write a blog entry.  It was either going to be about God or Uber.  OK, Uber will be the next one.  I know how to put things in order of importance, so today I write about God, but not with authority.  I write today hoping to find an answer.  A legitimate answer to a very real question.

I’ll start by explaining from whence this question came. Not often do I get to use the word whence . . . which is a sort of a homonym of the last name of the bass player of Fall Out Boy, but I digress . . .

I have a unique and incredible working relationship with an outstanding organization of very very good people with very very good hearts.  We are all believers, although our beliefs may not follow the same clear lines.  We all believe in God, we all believe in the importance of fulfilling whatever we were put here to do or achieve, and we all believe in the power of prayer.  My question is, while some are devout Christians, others are Jewish, and when we connect in prayer, there’s a separation.  We pray anyway, and it feels both fulfilling and important, but I wonder if there’s a way to pray together in unity.

Jewish prayers speak to Adonai Echad (one God) and Christians pray “in Jesus’ name.”  My question isn’t one of right or wrong, but rather a question that comes out of a desire to unify, not necessarily in specific beliefs, but in prayer.  As soon as “In Jesus’ name” is spoken it changes the level of connection for those raised in Judaism, yet if its omitted Christians feel we have fallen short in our obligation.  As I understand it, the Christian belief is that a prayer spoken in Jesus’ name asks God the Father to act upon it because the congregation comes in the name of His Son.  I know this is supported by scripture, but I also know the same supporting words are interpreted differently among Judaic scholars.

Suffice it to say, our beliefs are different.  Some believe we should pray to the Son of God, others believe there is only one and feel obliged to pray direcly to the Creator.  I’m asking those reading this not to respond with the insistence that their beliefs are correct.  Perhaps that’s a different dialogue for another time, likely to be moderated by someone for more theologically trained than I.  I ask herein only for suggestions, suggestions not for belief change, but for interfaith group prayer that resonates with everyone.

WE ALL PRAY OUR OWN WAY . . . WHEN WE’RE ALONE

Prayer is personal.  I know it is.  I’ve spoken to many people about it.  Pastors.  Rabbis.  Ministers.  Buddhists.  Addicts in recovery.  Those who are infirm or unwell.  Athletes.  Celebrities.  Law breakers.  Law defenders. I’ve even had admitted atheists tell me, in times of fear or perceived danger, they pray.

Perhaps prayer is inherently human . . . or maybe its learned.  Regardless of its origin, it appears to be a human need tied in with faith in something bigger. Based on my own limited exposure to individuals of varied faiths, I think it’s fair to say, there is alignment in that at some point we all look to a greater power for guidance, protection, clarity, aid, or mercy.

Despite the individuality of “the relationship with the Creator,” we societally section off based on the intricacies of faith, heritage, and belief.  Observant Jews attend Shabbat services Friday at sundown at the synagogue, Christians gather in Jesus’ name on Sundays.  Our Holy Days are different, our relationships with the books of the bible are different, and our ceremonies, although at their core quite similar, separate in baptism, circumcision, communion, and Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  Funerals are different, healing services are different, and weddings are different, even though we all believe in God.

I was born into a Jewish family, my mother’s parents coming from an Orthodox background.  They were not only observant, they were good, realizing that underlying all of the tradition was a genuine passion for human connection.  Growing up, the Holidays were more family gatherings than they were religious ceremonies, and while we read about Moses freeing the slaves at the Passover seder, what we most connect with is food, conversation, laughter, and bonding.  It’s easy to bond when you can all read from the same book, all say the same prayers, and all accept the blessings that are ingrained into a shared culture.

Santa Confused By Menorah

There was at least a bit of confusion in sorting through the differences as a child.  It seemed a bit odd that I’d sit on Santa’s lap in Macy’s and he promised to get me electric football for Hannukah.  I didn’t at the time understand why we celebrated two New Years and my non-Jewish friends only had one, and I never understood why, depending upon the dates Passover fell, we’d eat matzah before the collective egg hunt and some friends would go home and eat a big ham for Easter dinner, a non-option in my home.  I’ll admit I’ve always wondered what the Easter Bunny had to do with eggs, but for the most part, I never saw conflict in interfaith discussions, just difference.

I have spent a fair amount of time with studied Kabbalists and marvel at their depth of knowledge in the Torah, the Talmud, and the underlying meaning of many of the words we read and letters we scan over in prayer.  I have spent a fair amount of time with strongly committed Christians who have respectfully preached the importance of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I have deep friendships with Messianic Jews who preserve the Old Testament borne traditions but include the New Testament in the formation of their beliefs and rituals.  I again ask, anyone responding, refrain from attempting to convince any other reader that change in belief is necessary.  I wonder, seriously wonder, if within those guidelines, within a respect for what may be a belief system that doesn’t fully align with yours, anyone can shed light on how, organizationally, we can pray.

I’d like to incorporate daily prayer into the start of our day, into the pre-game ritual of conferences and events, and in stating and reminding of our vision and our mission, and if we simply continue as has been the course, so we connect.  I sense, however, there is a way to create a deeper connection, a human connection as we speak to God.  Individually, we all will continue to praise God, to speak to God, and to listen for God.  I just believe there’s a way to “connect” as a minion does in the early hours in a synagogue, and as a Christian prayer group does when they gather.  In unity.

Thoughts?

 

You Can’t Reverse Metabolism . . . Unless . . .

Joseph called me yesterday.  He had a moment.  He just finished putting up the Christmas tree, a real one, and sweaty and exhausted he headed up to the bathroom to take a shower.  He stripped down to his boxers, looked in the mirror, and said out loud (to nobody but his reflection), “Merry Christmas you fat duck” (except he didn’t say “duck,” I’m just cleaning up his expletive).

He called me and told me the play by play leading up to the moment.  I told him he was sharing far too much information but he couldn’t stop.  The frustration and disgust were oozing out of him.  After sharing details of his gut and his boxers, he went on.

“I don’t want to wait until New Years!” 

Impatient was an understatement.  Joe was manic.

“I want to do something today, right now.  I know a guy who had that stomach bypass surgery and he lost about 50 pounds.  They say it’s reversible.  My wife’s friend told me when you do the surgery you have to go through a period where you eat tiny amounts and take supplements, so she kinda talked me about of it, and then she told me about this diet the celebrities use called the Master Cleanse.  It’s what the Jake Gyllenhaal used to get ripped for his last movie.  You drink lemon and maple syrup or something and it gives you energy and burns fat.  I’m really confused but I have to do something and I know you’re the expert but I don’t want to hear about becoming a fitness slave.  I’m just not wired for working out every day, and I don’t want to stop drinking altogether, so I need something quick.  I’m ready.  Just tell me what the best thing to do is.  I’m tired of seeing that big slobby pudge ball (he didn’t say pudge ball . . . but again, I’m “cleaning) with the huge gut and man boobs on the other side of my mirror.  I’m ready.  Just tell me what to do.”

“Joseph, you’re not ready.”

“I am.  I swear dude (yes, he really did call me dude), I’m friggin’ ready.”

“You’re putty.”

“OK, call me what you want.  I’m fat and I know it and I want to change.”

“No, I’m not calling you a name.  Just realize you’ve fallen into that irrational state where you’re ready to spend money on something worthless, or worse yet, potentially harmful.  Desperation rarely leads to good decisions when it comes to weight loss and health.”

“Well what should I do?  I can’t live this way.  No wonder I have to beg my wife, and we always have to have the lights off.  I’m being honest with myself for the first time.”

“Honest is good, critical is not.  Take a breath Joseph.  Realize this.  I’m protecting you now and giving you the opportunity to rediscover that uncommon sensibility (no longer “common” sense) that allows people to use a moment of anger as a trigger for change.  I’ll give you the tools, and you don’t have to be a “slave” to anything, but you’ve got to get your head out of this dangerous spin.”

Joseph will be attending my “Only Thing” webinar on December 29 at 7 PM Eastern Time.  Days before half of our nation changes the way they eat and move in line with ridiculous short-term New Year’s resolutions, I’m empowering those who are really ready and want to gain control.  If you’re even tempted to diet, join a gym, sign up for a program, give up carbs, eat low-fat, or start a walking, jogging, or running program, you must attend my December 29 event.  I’ll share the reasons almost everyone will fail, and I’ll also share THE ONLY THING that will work for anyone ready to seek betterment.  Yes.  THE ONLY THING!

Joseph is not an anomaly.  In fact, Joseph’s emotional turmoil over his physical condition is more common among Americans than the common cold.  And this is the time of year that Americans are most vulnerable.  That includes the smart ones, the wise ones, and those who know better.  Advertisers are masterful at influencing you beneath the conscious level and if you’ve felt the “unhappy-with-my-body” feeling, believe me.  They’re aiming at you!

Beginning right about now, marketers will start making promises, assuring you their “not-a-diet diet” will obliterate the muffin top, blast the love handles to smithereens, and turn your butt and abs into statuesque perfection.  Some will tell you the reason for your weight gain, the culprit behind your bodyfat woes, your growing waistline, or your thyroid challenges is an overabundance of cortisol, the stress hormone. Others will tell you the carbs have done it to you.  They’ll indict gluten, they’ll indict fat, and they’ll indict fast food.  They’ll vie for your attention promising you control, power, and most of all victory.

They’re lying.

Seriously.

They’re lying.

IF YOU’RE NOT IN A BODY YOU LOVE . . . THERE’S A REASON!

There’s a reason I’ve been helping people trade their sluggish metabolisms for new ones for over 35 years with an unmatched success rate.  There’s a reason your previous attempts failed you, and it has nothing to do with willpower, your genes, or some inherent limitation.  You’ve simply fallen for the biggest lie in the civilized world.

Until you know “the reasons” for failure, you’re doomed to either repeat what has proven to be an exercise in futility, or

In presenting you with some hard-hitting truth, I’ll start with this.  Obesity isn’t a condition.  It isn’t a genetic curse.  It isn’t the result of poor self-control.  Obesity is . . . . get ready for this . . . a chronic metabolic disease!!!

THE SLOW ROAD TO OBESITY . . . A SELF-PERPETUATING DISEASE PROGRESSION

Yes, by all definitions, excessive bodyfat accumulation is a disease state that both, comes as a result of, and causes, metabolic slowdown.  It is often accompanied by the onset of vlood sugar irregularities (often diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes) and shifts in thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism diagnosed and labeled by many names).  If you’ve gained 10 or 15 pounds and struggled to reverse the weight gain, you’re experiencing some endocrine and biochemical changes that perpetuate what I call the “disease continuum.”  In other words, obesity doesn’t happen overnight, but fat storage, compromised digestion, cellular maladaptation, and mood and energy shifts are clear signs of gradual movement along that continuum, and nothing being offered publicly this “Holiday Season” will address what biochemists and progressive scientists already know.

You have to do something differently if you want this to be the last time you make a health, fitness, or weight loss New Year’s Resolution.  In fact, unless you understand the true secrets, every diet you pursue will, despite short term weight loss, perpetuate the condition, amplify the problem, and lead you farther away from the lean healthy body you want to believe is possible.

Worse yet, as you progress further along that continuum, experiencing what you deem minor symptoms, slight aches and pains, muscle weakness, fatigue, and brain fog, you’re moving into a state where conventional exercise programs will actually hurt more than help.  Yes, without an understanding of THE ONE THING, exercise can make you fatter, sicker, and older.

In short, although mainstream exercise and positive nutritional shifts will work well for the already fit and the very-near-fit, for the bulk of adults over the age of 39, nothing offered on the shopping networks, the infomercials, the retailers, or the mall kiosks will reverse metabolic breakdown.  Nothing.  Except . . .

Magic.  OK, now you’re ready to jump ship.  I had you intrigued until now . . . but then I hit you with “Magic??!?!?!”

Magic is an interesting word.  It really means “marvels achieved with the use of unseen forces.”  Let’s make it less mystical.  Just as gravity is an unseen force, so too is metabolism.  So too is what we refer to as “stress load” (a vitally important term I’ll define in depth during the webinar).

When we speak of unseen forces, we must also acknowledge the life-force that, when blocked, causes cell receptors to collapse, digestive tracts to perforate (leaky gut), adrenals and thyroids to move way out of balance, and systemic oxidation to speed the aging process.

I’ll show you why these shifts are happening population wide in epidemic proportions, and then I’ll show you can move your body through space with ease, eat without deprivation, activate the body’s innate cleansing systems without any sort of fast, improve oxygen efficiency, and restore the relationship between food and healing that we can only call magical.  Yes, the magic is within you.  You just haven’t learned to access the power to release it.

I know this sounds a bit crazy.  I know the offers for “30 pounds in 30 days” are a lot sexier than an invite to attend a webinar where truth will be revealed, but I’ll ask you to grab hold of sensibility, to ask yourself whether what you’ve tried in the past has worked, and to consider whether a 35-year career built upon a foundation of results, ethics, and morality represents not only a knowledge, but a willingness to share it.  If you can summon either a hint of trust, or at the very least, curiosity, join me on December 29, from your own home, for a live interactive webinar where I’ll share . . .

The Only Thing!

Yes.  The “only” thing that “works” to reverse the disease continuum, to reactivate healthy metabolism, and to shift the body into a state where it readily releases stored fat and burns it as fuel will be revealed in depth in 75-minute webinar on December 29, 2015, empowering you to kick 2016 off the right way, watching your body improve from week to week, from month to month, without backsliding.

Register for my “Only Thing” webinar right now.  It’s only $20.15 with an unconditional money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

Joseph, and those like him, will only benefit by calling upon rational thought to combat emotional compulsion.  With rational thought, you realize, surgically altering the digestive tract (in many obese people, the one system that’s working well) cannot possibly lead to a true restoration of health.  Instead I’ll teach you to repopulate the gut with probiotics, to coax the gut lining to heal, and to ensure the foods you eat become sources of energy and cellular healing.

As far as “the next diet,” consider how many you’ve been on, and ask the rational mind to consider this.  “If any diet worked, would anyone need another?”

Cold things, hot things, bouncy things, bottled things and trendy things have not ever proven to be solutions, and the weight loss drugs released over the last 25 years have caused far more death and injury than “permanent healthful weight loss.”

There is something that works, and I’ll share it in a way that will not only enlighten you but empower you.  The webinar is 75 minutes long and I promise you this . . . if you don’t believe, at its conclusion, that you really have the power to gain control, that you don’t need anything outside of yourself with a new level of knowledge, I’ll refund your $20.15 instantly.

At this point, I’m handing the power over to you.  All you have to do to take it is REGISTER.

REGISTER NOW!

To Register Go To: http://yourhealthbeginsnow.squarespace.com/75minutesregistration

QUESTIONS?  Email phil@philkaplan.com