Restore/Thrive Turns 1

The year that was. And what’s to come.

partys-over

74 blog posts. 32 YouTube Videos. 2,178 visitors.

363 days ago (the blog’s official b-day is 5/28/2016) we launched this site with one goal in mind: to speak directly to you, internet reader, and help guide you on the path to a better life. Whether you had an injury to rehab or were looking to get bigger, faster, and stronger, we’ve been putting down work to help you achieve your goals.

Year 2 promises to be bigger and badder: The gym opens. The first self-assessment and performance guide goes live. We can’t wait to share it all with you.

In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to link to a couple of our most popular posts from year one. If you’re a new reader, consider this a primer on what we’re all about. If you’ve been following all along, feel free to share with friends and family who you care about.

#1: “Why We Train”-Be Strong to Be Useful.

#2: “Are You Ready to Run:?Part VII”-Whether you run or not, if you sit more than 3 hours per-day, master this standard.

#3: “Treating Concussions”-The new standards for treating concussions.

#4: “Why I Hate Physical Therapy”-The genesis of the blog and the gym.

#5: “Research Update”-A convincing case for personalized medicine and hope for those of us trying our best to avoid dementia-related illnesses.

A big “Thank You!” is owed to all of you who’ve read, watched, and subscribed to our blog and YouTube channel. We hope you all have a great holiday weekend and spend a moment or two in silence to remember and be thankful for the good men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who paid the ultimate price for us to make the most of every day of freedom they purchased on our behalf.

Something For Mom

For all the mom’s this weekend, we love you.

I wanted to give all of my mom readers a heart-felt gift today, but I am not the world’s best gift-giver. Generally, I figure that if someone wants something for themselves, they’ll go out and get it. I don’t recommend this approach if you have a spouse who expects to be surprised. But I digress.

Growing up with a strong mother was one of the greatest blessings in my life. As a young boy learning how to become a man, I didn’t worry much about how much my mom loved me, what I looked like, or what I was going to become. I can say without a doubt that my mom’s influence is stamped all over my life, at a professional and personal level. Mom was passionate about her family, her faith, her physical well-being, her education, and her ability to love and serve other people in need. Which makes it all the more sad that my mother is suffering from Fronto Temporal Dementia. FTD has eviscerated my mom’s mind and heart.

Yet out of ashes a phoenix has risen. My mom’s dementia has driven me to this platform, spreading the word on how other folks can arm themselves to avoid the same fate, optimizing their health, and hopefully spreading the word to the ones they love along the way.

So today, I wanted to share with you another gold nugget. This time in the form of a podcast. Who’s podcast, you ask? This one:

If you aren’t familiar with the term “Paleo” or the “Paleo Diet”  then the name Robb Wolf won’t mean much to you. If you’re thinking about moving out of your house and into a cave, you probably have been influenced in some way, shape, or form by Mr. Wolf or one of his acolytes. Either way, I highly recommend giving this episode of the Paleo Solution Podcast a listen:

IMG_1672

You can listen to the episode in a couple of different places:

https://robbwolf.com/2017/05/09/episode-364-jason-seib-body-image-and-fat-loss-for-women/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/paleo-solution-episode-364-jason-seib-body-image-fat/id340221970?i=1000385241633&mt=2

Normally a podcast devoted to the topics of health, nutrition, and fitness, Robb stepped outside of his normal programming to offer one of the best discussions on body image, self-talk, and matters of the heart that I’ve heard.  The funny thing about listening to this one, as I was taking it in, I recognized some bad habits I have been harboring in regard to my self-talk and self-image. This discussion bridges the gender gap and exposes a lot of the lies and half-truths we’re prone to believe and torture ourselves with.

I hope you all have a great Mother’s Day weekend, whether you are a mom being celebrated or are the one loving on your moms. Share this with someone you love who needs a stong dose of love and truth about who they are.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

Why Your Health Matters 

Hint: It’s not just about you.

I’ll get straight to the point: the biggest threat to the national security of the United States of America is the rising cost of health care. Metabolic Syndrome (you have this condition if you have high fasting blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL, central obesity-that’s fat around your stomach-and high blood pressure) and more specifically the diseases that result from it-namely Cancer, Stroke, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes-by the year 2040 will cost FOUR TIMES the U.S. Gross Domestic Product to treat.

What does that mean for you, your children, and your grandchildren? There will be no money for anything else. Roads, schools, military, police, fire, food subsidies, all left at the doorstep as we drown in medical spending.

What’s almost as troubling as this news is that there’s not much the government at a federal or state level can do about this problem. The U.S. medical system is a for-profit venture, and we the consumers are going to pay the price of rising health care costs. When the fastest growing cohort of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is children under 12 months of age, it’s fairly safe to assume that the nation’s spending on health care is not going to regress back to the mean anytime soon. Those fat babies are going to become fat adults, and a childhood spent being significantly overweight exponentially increases the speed at which your body arrives on the doorstep of Metabolic Syndrome.

That’s the bad news. We are not a healthy country, and if something significant doesn’t occur to change the direction of our country’s health and well being, the end isn’t going to be pretty for anyone.

One of the biggest lies you’re most likely to believe is that your life, your decisions, and your daily habits don’t matter to the people or the world around you. If you believe that lie, you’re dead wrong.

Now the good news. YOU can do something about this. As is the custom in most of the discovered world, most revolutions in thought, culture, and tradition begin at the grassroots level. YOU can decide to be the change you want to see. YOU have the opportunity to build up yourself and others every single day.

Every day is Monday. A new day. A new start. So get after it. Dream big and then chase those dreams down until they are the life you’re actually living. Fight the good fight for yourself and the people you love. Speak the truth in love. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep believing.

I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes. One I used to keep on my desk at my day job until it was burned into my mind. The other I always come back to when I feel like giving up on the venture I’ve begun on this website:

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”-Edward Stanley

“Never forget, a small group of people can change the world. No one else ever has.”-Micah Sifry


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

The Keto Challenge, Part II

How much bacon can one man eat?

99675e10cc7db873dc440dde81ea8e38

About four years ago, in mid-2013, I was a younger middle-aged man. JC and I had one child (the advantage was still ours). I was active and apparently healthy, lifting weights 3-4 times per-week, doing some sort of cardio another 2 days a week, eating a generally clean diet, but splurging when I wanted to. Except there was one problem. I was getting heavier. And less healthy. My cholesterol numbers in particular were headed the wrong direction. I had resisted taking drugs (statins) that my doctors had recommended for the last 5 years. Eighteen months before this point I finally gave in and started taking the statins, and though my cholesterol numbers started to lower, I was not well. My energy levels were in the tank. And my testosterone levels were tanking, despite a vigorous exercise routine and a low fat, multi-grain, lean protein dominant diet.

I was desperate, to be frank. I felt like my youth was escaping me and I had no idea what I could do to reverse this train that seemed to be leaving the “Health” station and heading on to “Fat, Sick, and Slowly Dying” town.

And then, I came across an article from a blog I had been reading for the past 6 years, The Art of Manliness. This particular post was written about increasing testosterone without drugs-a big selling point for me as I wasn’t wild about the idea of taking more pills to fix problems that I had a sense of having deeper causes. Within this post there was a link to another blog post (see Internet rabbit hole: enter here) titled “The Straight Dope on Cholesterol”. This 2-part series that took me less than 2 hours to read, and in that time taught me more about the role of cholesterol in human health than I had learned in 4 years of undergraduate studies as a science major, and 3 years of graduate work in the field of medicine. The author of this series, Dr. Peter Attia, wrote a larger, multi-part series on the nuts and bolts of cholesterol metabolism and it’s relation to human health and longevity on his own blog, The Eating Academy.

Armed with more information than my primary care doctor could explain or put into context, I immediately decided to do two things:

  1. Fire my primary care physician.
  2. Eat a ketogenic diet.

Brief primer: ketogenic diet= 60-80% of calories derived from fat, 10-15% from protein, 10% or less from carbohydrates. I know, it’s crazy. Hang in there, I’ll explain.

Point #2 is what brings us to the reason for this blog post today. When I switched to a ketogenic diet a funny thing happened, I had to buy new pants. Smaller pants. Like 2 inches smaller. In 3 weeks. I was 18 pounds lighter. And all the weight I lost was around my stomach and waist.

Before you run off and start eating keto to fit in those pants you haven’t worn since high school, let me finish the story.

Six months later, I was cruising along not missing bread, pasta, rice, or any other carbohydrates, as I stuffed my face with bacon, eggs, cheese, heavy cream, full-fat milk, and meat, meat, meat. I was nearly 20 lbs lighter than I was a half-year earlier, I hadn’t lost any of my strength or stamina in the gym, and my mind was razor sharp from the time I got up until the time I went to bed. I could go 16 hours without eating, then go lift heavy weights for an hour, and slam down a “Fat Shake” (8 oz. heavy cream, 8 oz. half & half, scoop of protein powder), and be good to go for another 16 hours without feeling one pang of hunger.

Yet beneath this dramatic change, was a lingering concern. My libido had left town and hadn’t left a forwarding address. I didn’t get it. I was living each day like my hair was on fire but felt flat emotionally. Depression set in. Deep, anxiety-inducing depression. The kind that people can’t talk you out of, cheer you up from.

It was time to stop playing doctor and ask for some help. To turn the ship around, I turned to the good folks at the University of Kansas Integrative Medicine Department. And I learned a few valuable lessons.

First, no matter what you think you know about yourself or how to take care of yourself, you need an objective 3rd party to help you sort through your health concerns. I say it to my patients and clients all the time: we all need a coach. You’re not objective enough or smart enough to handle everything on your own.

Second, test, test, test, and test. And then re-test. You have to have some objective data to make important decisions about your health and figure out if you’re headed the right direction. As it relates to diet, it is extremely helpful to have advanced cardiovascular, micro-nutrient, and genetic testing done to figure out exactly what the proper air/fuel mixture is to help your body perform its best. For me, when I got those tests done we found out a few key things:

  1. Wheat, gluten, and dairy don’t agree with me (goodbye, Fat Shake) in such a way that they actually were the cause of my tanked testosterone levels.
  2. I don’t metabolize certain vitamins and minerals efficiently, and in some cases, at all. Supplementing to help support my crappy genetics was actually one of the big keys to helping me feel my best.
  3. My risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease is somewhere between 10 to 20 times higher than a person who doesn’t have my specific genetic characteristics (in this case, I am a member of the rare ApoE 4/4 allele) .

Which brings us to our conclusion. After all the testing I switched from a true ketogenic diet to a low-carbohydrate cousin of it. And for the better part of two years, I’ve motored along pretty well. But as of late, I’ve been a little less than my best, mentally and physically speaking. I can’t tell you exactly what is off, except to tell you I’m just not as sharp as I previously have been.

And so, I’m back in ketosis. But this time, we’re being a little smarter about it. No dairy fat. More mono-unsaturated oils. More non-starchy veggies. Paying more attention to the lifestyle details: good sleep hygiene, dedicated stress-relief work every day, and (gasp!) no alcohol.

You may ask me, “Won’t you miss the fruit, the sweets, the booze?”.

And I will tell you this:

Compared to living long enough to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding, teaching my boys to be real men, and growing old with the love of my life, no food or drink holds a candle to them.


Post-Script

If you’re curious to hear more about this story, please feel free to e-mail me directly at restorethrive@gmail.com and I’ll fill in the gaps and give you the road map I followed. And if you want to learn more about yourself before you start making dietary changes on a whim because some yahoo with a blog told you about how you could fit into your high school jeans, please get some help. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my colleague and friend Robyn Johnson is one of the premiere integrative dietitians in the country. Click on the link, get the help you need.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

Treating Concussions

Current treatment approaches for treating Post-Concussion Syndrome.

activebrain

This probably doesn’t sound like the post you’ve been waiting for. This is, however, a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. As the only PT at my clinic who treats patients suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) I want to write about this topic for a few important reasons:

  1. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities every year. You probably know someone (or are someone) who has sustained a concussion.
  2. We spend, directly and indirectly, over $60 billion per-year treating concussions in the U.S. on a yearly basis.
  3. Many folks who sustain a concussion don’t seek immediate medical advice or treatment.

It’s that third point that I intend to address now. Reducing concussions is, to a certain extent, a fool’s errand. Accidents happen. People are going to play sports, run around and have fun, and occasionally slip/fall/run into something leading with their heads. The most important component in a traumatic brain injury situation is that the victim of the injury receives immediate treatment. Sitting in a dark room and waiting to feel better is a recipe for disaster. Seeking professional help and restoring your normal day to day functional abilities should be priority number one.

Let’s talk briefly, and as plainly as possible, about what happens when you sustain a concussion in terms of physiology. I’ll start with a diagramConcussion Pathophysiology

This is your brain when it becomes concussed. For those non-science majors, note point #3 in the diagram “Calcium in the cell impairs ATP production in the mitochondria, worsening energy crisis”. Put more simply, your brain is running out of energy to perform it’s normal functions. ATP, the energy produced by your body for everything from sprinting performance to recalling your daily chore list in your brain, isn’t produced at adequate levels when you have sustained a concussion.

To the left of the diagram you see a description of the depolarization and neurotransmitter release. Hang in there with me. In a nutshell, this means your brain gets really incompetent at using glucose (sugar) for energy.

And here’s where we start with our current methods for treating PCS. Lifestyle modification is key. If you are suffering from a concussion, start with these modifications:

  1. Avoid any screens with blue light (that means computers, tablets, TV’s, cell phones, and the like). Blue light heightens brain activity (read: energy consumption), something an injured brain can’t spare.
  2. Sleep in a pitch black room. We’ve discussed the ins and outs of the importance of sleep here. It’s doubly important when you’re trying to set the stage for your brain to heal that you optimize your sleep hygiene.
  3. Modify your diet. Reduce your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates are not the friend of an injured brain (carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugar in your body, and simple sugar are broken down into glucose-the fuel your brain can’t use when you’re concussed).
  4. There is considerable research demonstrating that an alternative fuel source can fuel the brain for all of the functions it requires energy for. That fuel source? Ketone bodies. Ketones are produced in the liver during bouts of intense exercise (not recommended if you are concussed), low carbohydrate intake, low calorie intake, or untreated Type 1 diabetes. Initially I recommended that my PCS patients consider a ketogenic (low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat) diet to supply the necessary fuel substrates (ketones) needed for their brains to heal. I still support that recommendation. Within the last year, though, there have been several companies that have started making exogenous (synthetic) ketones that you can mix as a drink to derive the same cognitive benefits that previously only came about when following a strict ketogenic diet. There are a host of brands if you do a simple search on Amazon, but I would recommend one of the following three brands in particular: Keto O/S, Kegenix, or KetoCaNa. These supplements are not cheap, but they are a small price to pay compared to the lost earnings from missed work time and myriad of medical expenses you will incur after a concussion if you decided not to take personal responsibility for optimizing the healing environment for your brain. (Side Note #1: Please contact my favorite dietician, Robyn Johnson, here, if you need help sorting out the nutrition component)

After you accounted for your light exposure, sleep, and nutrition, it’s time to get to work in restoring the normal function of your brain. This can be a multi-disciplinary process. I have been trained to administer vestibular rehab (restoring the normal function of reflexes that occur between the eyes, the brain, and the 5 canals in each of your ears that gives you sense of your body’s position in space). Sometimes vestibular rehab isn’t enough. If a concussed patient has a particular vision deficit, I refer them out to a neuro-optometrist to address the visual changes they have sustained. (Side Note #2: If you live in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend Dr. John C. Metzger at Kansas City Vision Performance Center if you have any visual deficits after a concussion).

Each concussion patient has a different experience. Though an estimated 80-90% of cases “resolve” in two weeks, if you’re part of the 10-20% of cases that don’t get better, you need to seek treatment ASAP. Even if you’re “recovered”, if you haven’t had a thorough vetibular-ocular exam, it is entirely possible, if not altogether likely, that you still have some deficits that are effecting your physical and mental capabilities.

Don’t wait to get the help you need. Find a qualified professional to help point you in the right direction to recovery.

One last side note (#3, for the record): if you have sustained a concussion, or even if you haven’t sustained a concussion and participate in a contact sport such as American football or ice hockey, you should seriously consider avoid the consumption or administration by injection of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NDAIDS). This class of drugs has been shown to increase blood-brain barrier permeability. If you’re already concussed, receiving one of these drugs (Aleve and Toradol are two common forms) you’re making the problem worse. If you’re not yet concussed but taking these drugs, you’re opening the door for a more severe traumatic brain injury should you become concussed. Think long and hard about how much you enjoy your current mental capabilities before heading down the pharmaceutical pathway.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

Research Update

Share this post with someone you know and love.

Morning, Folks! Rather than try to summarize 11 pages of research, I’m going to give you the link and strongly suggest you follow it: Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A novel therapeutic program. Go ahead and click on that link and let it sink in.

That’s right, there are now completed human trials that show that sleep, customized nutrition and supplementation, exercise, and stress-reduction can actually halt and reverse the process of Alzheimer’s and related diseases of cognitive decline.

If you all could do me one favor today, it would be to share this link with as many people as you know. Alzheimer’s is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. and will effectively bankrupt our country through the cost of medical care in the next 30 years. Dementia hits close to home for me personally, as I’ve had 4 members of my family suffer the awful progression of this disease in the last 20 years.

I want to say thanks to my friend and colleague, Robyn Johnson, for forwarding this research my way. You can check out her website here, and I strongly recommend you contact her if you have questions regarding personalized nutrition and supplementation.

Are You Ready to Run? Part X

Kick-starting your post-run recovery.

68015_10151199176137739_1161845327_nA quick review to get everyone up to speed in our series:

The Standards

#1-Neutral Feet

#2-Flat Shoes

#3-A Supple Thoracic Spine

#4-An Efficient Squatting Technique

#5 Hip Flexion

#6 Hip Extension

#7 Ankle Range of Motion

#8 Warming Up and Cooling Down

There are a variety of methods involving ice, heat, and water that many people use religiously to treat their bodies after their runs. But what happens when you don’t have time or access to these modalities and you’re facing 8 to 10 hours of commuting and sitting at work? It’s unlikely your boss is going to sign off on that hot tub request you made. Or worse, what do you do after a morning run followed by a transcontinental airline flight to ensure you don’t feel like your legs are unfolding like an accordion when you arrive at your destination?

Enter the ninth standard for our runners and a secret weapon in the recovery game:

Compression

You’re no doubt familiar with the nearly ubiquitous use of compression shorts and shirts by athletes trying to keep their bodies warm and supported during their sporting activities. Lower extremity compression is often times forgotten or relegated to the realms of clinical use for lower extremity circulatory impairments. We’ve known for decades that compression of the feet, ankles, and lower legs allows the body to operate the circulatory and lymphatic systems more efficiently.

What we’ve found in our practice is that the same compression of the feet and lower legs is an incredibly simple and effective tool to help you bounce back faster from your runs.

Here’s the simple application process:

  1. Once you’ve finished your run, properly cooled down, cleaned up, and gotten fired up for the rest of your day, put your compression socks on.
  2. Go on about the rest of your day

That’s it. It’s a simple and cost effective standard to meet.  You can find a good pair of compression socks for $20-$30. Look for socks that provide compression at 20 mmMg for the optimum effect.

If you’re sitting for the majority of your day, the systems that deal with muscle recovery and tissue repair (your circulatory and lymphatic systems) just don’t work effectively enough on their own. Compression keeps blood and fluid from pooling in your lower legs as you sit. Better circulation equals faster recovery.

And compression socks are a lifesaver on a long plane flight. After finishing my most recent Spartan Race last fall, less than a day later I limped onto a plane from New York City to Kansas City (a 3 hour flight), compression socks on and my calves screaming at me after running up and down a mountain for four hours the day before. By the time we landed in KC I actually felt looser than when I walked on the plane in NYC. Despite only being able to get up and move around a handful of times, being intentional about my recovery made the process 10 times easier than it would have been if I had just waited for my body to try to recover from that torture I put it through on my own.

There’s mixed evidence as to whether or not wearing compression socks while you run has any performance benefits. But there’s no argument that compression after a run helps the recovery process along. Yes, the socks can look dorky. No, no one actually cares if you’re wearing them. But your body will notice the difference. Wearing them under your business casual attire will be your secret weapon to help fuel your next hard training run or race, without any extra effort on your part.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

Lessons Learned and Fear-Setting

partyhatsAs 2016 comes to a close, I’d like to look back and reflect on the experiences that have shaped me this year and the life lessons I’ve been able to apply in my own life in the hopes that it will provide some encouragement to all of you. Continue reading “Lessons Learned and Fear-Setting”

Are You Ready To Run? Part III

Turkey and pie coma in the rear-view mirror now, it’s time to get back to work and get you Ready to Run. If you missed Part I and Part II of the series, you can click on the links to catch up.

Continue reading “Are You Ready To Run? Part III”

Are You Ready to Run? Part II

Today starts our 12-point systems check of your physical and lifestyle practices as we ensure you, dear reader, are actually Ready to Run.

Continue reading “Are You Ready to Run? Part II”