Health and Fitness

Types of Eating

So many activities in our lives can be better if we approach them with intention. This is true for watching television, having a conversation, sleeping and of course eating, just to name a few. Intentional eating is about eating mindfully and choosing to consume foods that make us feel good and reflect our values.

The opposite of intentional eating is emotional eating. Gaby Vaca- Flores, A registered dietitian states that “Stress is one of the main culprits behind emotional eating. Stress eating is a form of emotional eating, which is defined as eating in response to an emotion instead of hunger.”

Turning to foods that taste good or are comforting can provide temporary joy. Manufacturers intentionally make foods hyper-palatable by adding excessive salt, sugar and flavors. These lead to a temporary boost of the feel good hormone dopamine.

Unfortunately, emotional eating can have negative health effects and lead to significant weight gain. Mindless or emotional eating when you’re simply bored or upset and not even hungry can easily lead to consumption of a whole box of cookies or bag of chips before you even realize it.

Whether savoring a shot of bourbon from a custom decanter or eating a delicious piece of salmon, I always remember how special and precious it is that we have enough food and that we have the ability to savor the taste and smells of great cooking.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Food Fads

This past week I was proud to represent the Akron Canton district in Chicago for the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates. It was a three day meeting that brought Osteopathic physicians and interested parties together to discuss a wide range of issues and policy affecting the lives of Osteopathic physicians and our patients.

We discussed and voted on policy related to issues ranging from education to public safety.I am repeatedly amazed by the dedication and devotion of the American Osteopthic Association and its members to the health and safety of our patients.

While there, an article was published in the AOA Daily Report regarding Five Fad Diets. This is a common topic as patients seem to always be looking for new ways to lose weight and stay healthy. Proponents of fad diets however often make unreasonable claims to fast weight loss. Be careful eliminating one complete food group as it is important to eat a large variety of foods to get all the nutrients that you need.

The Adkins diet and the ketogenic diet in particular are two diets that place you at risk for not consuming all the nutrients that you need. They are only appropriate for a short term jumpstart of weight loss and are not healthy long-term diets .

Vegan days have some is appeal but it is difficult on this diet to consume enough protein. They often fail because people substitute too many simple carbohydrates to satisfy their hunger.

Two of the most healthy fad diets include the Paleo diet or the Mediterranean diet. These are vegephile diets that emphasize low glycemic fruits and vegetables, small portions of lean meats or fish, nuts and seeds and healthy oils. These are diets that you may remain on your whole life and feel satisfied and energetic.

Add a walk on your local Towpath and you’ll always look and feel great!

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

When to Eat

This past week I found a great book in my local library which I was able to check out and read through the Kindle app on my phone on the airplane. This is a technology that provides great convenience. No more needing to drive to the library to search for and request a book you may want.

The book was titled “What to Eat When” by Michael F Rozien , MD and Michael Crupain, MD, MPH. In it, they wrote that you should eat at least 75% of your calories before 2 PM. There are many reasons why this is true. Insulin resistance becomes worse throughout the day and is worse late at night. This decreases our ability to metabolize food and the subsequent increased insulin in our system stores more fat.

Further, the levels of the hormone leptin which helps us lose weight compared to ghrelin which makes us gain weight, worsen throughout the day. A large, rich breakfast just does not have the same negative affect on our weight and metabolic balance has the same food eaten after dark.

I’m not saying that there is never exceptions to this rule. Obviously the joy and love that comes with the rare late night holiday meal is worth every bite. Christmas Eve meatballs with people we love or homemade delights can remind us of the joy of eating.

But as a daily rule, when it comes to nutrition, “timing is everything“. In addition to what you eat and how you prepare it, when you eat is essential. The authors state that this is critical for maintaining a good weight, preventing and curing some diseases, and living a long energetic and happy life.

Ultimately, what you choose to put into mouth is most important. Close behind however is when you choose to consume your nutrition. Timing your food consumption with your circadian rhythms and eating majority of your calories before the mid afternoon will lead to better health. As a general rule, never eat after the sun has a set.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship

Today I completed my 12 months’ long Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship (OHPF). It was capped off by my capstone project in which I wrote a policy brief and delivered testimony to our class on the topic of pharmacy benefit managers.

The OHPF is a year-long training program designed for Osteopathic Physicians and other individuals with an established connection to the profession to develop the skills they need to analyze, formulate, and implement health policy on the local, state, and national levels Our class was filled with talented and interesting people, led by intelligent, engaged leaders. I was lucky to be part of it.

Two of the the most important topics were foundations of health policy and policy analysis. These issues really hit home with my topic of pharmacy benefit managers. They were created to be the middlemen in this complex and expensive market, but they write there own rules and have realized outsized profit. More transparency needs to be injected into the pharmacy benefits system.

If you want to make the world a better place, you have to get involved. It is easy to sit back, and complain, but if you want things to change, you need to act. Learning about policy creation and policy analysis as well as advocacy this past year has armed me with the tools to do just that.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Blue Zones

I was struck this week with a realization of how much you can learn by examining someone’s hands. They’re amazing part of our body used for grasping and holding objects or to another hand of someone you love. They provide much insight into the health of their owners through clues such as muscle tone or the health of skin and nails. If you’re so inclined, they also may be used to read your fortune!

Today I found myself becoming frustrated observing the snacks, drinks and food that was served at the local hospital and nursing homes. We all know what we should eat but it is rarely reflected in what we actually do eat and serve to others. What we eat, makes a difference. Evidence from the “Blue Zones” proves this point.

The Blue Zones are home to the happiest and healthiest populations in the world. Every day activities such as gardening, walking, and climbing hills and mountains, in conjunction with a healthy diet are the key to exceptional longevity of people living in these regions. Many of these places have high concentrations of individuals over 100 years old as well as clusters of people who had grown old without health problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes.

Some of the healthy eating habits include a Mediterranean diet which is heavy in vegetables and healthy fats and contains small amounts of dairy and meat products. In Japan, healthy food staples include sweet potatoes, soy beans, turmeric and bitter melon. One Blue Zone here in United States in Loma Linda California has a diet of primarily grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Inspired by these findings, a Blue Zones project was created to change the way people experience the world around them. This includes community-wide, well-being improvement initiatives to help making healthy choices easier for everyone in the community.

To be successful however, the entire community needs to participate. This includes healthy food and work environments at work as well as schools and healthy food options in markets and grocery stores. Everyone needs to believe that they can make a difference.

Stay well !