Monday, December 31, 2012

No More New Years Resolutions

Here it is folks, the end of 2012, and the beginning of 2013.  As always, it's a great time to review, reflect, and most importantly, re-focus!  I'm not fan of New Years Resolutions though.  According to surveys, 92% of New Years Resolutions are not kept, and 80% are gone by January 20.  Not a fantastically successful rate is it?  I agree.  I am however, a fan of setting goals, in a productive way, that improves the batting average of goal setters, and makes them more likely to be a goal GETTER!

I think goals should be broken down into categories.  You can create your own, but here are some of the areas I work on:  Physical, Business, Spiritual, Personal.  I'm not saying those are the best for you, I'm just saying that's what I use.  Under each area I might have 3-5 goals set.  I don't set them by just sitting down on January 1 and saying "what do I want this year?".  I take some time, sometimes a month or so in advance, on a regular basis to start thinking about, and (here's the key) writing down possible goals.  I spend time thinking about what I really want to accomplish in the coming year.  After all, if you're going to design your life, it's probably best to not just go off willy nilly writing things down in my opinion.

Once I have them written down, I review them and think or pray about each of them toward the end of the year.  I want to make certain that this is the direction I want my life to go, the direction God is leading me, and a direction that will provide a challenge for me, but not an insurmountable one.  I just completed a serious review this morning of my 2013 goals and feel like they're pretty well set.  So, now what?

It's one thing to set a goal.  But if we really want to accomplish those things, they need to be in the forefront of our mind.  I can't expect to just jump in a car and drive without focusing on where I want to go, and so it is with my life.  In becoming a goal getter, laser sharp focus is needed.  This focus is developed by a habit of reviewing my goals every day.  How often?  EVERY day.  What does EVERY day mean?  It means, EVERY day.  Is that clear? :-)   So every morning I should be rising early and spending 10 minutes reviewing my goals, AND setting up my daily plan for getting me one step closer to them.  My to do list should include steps for moving in the direction of goal achievement.

Finally, I'd suggest re-evaluating the goals quarterly.  Mostly they shouldn't change much if I spent a lot of time setting them.  But my plans for achieving them might easily change if I find I'm not getting closer to the goal.  But sometimes even the goal may have to change if it's become abundantly clear it's not the right goal. That should be a rarity if we've done appropriate goal setting.

Setting and achieve goals is part of a wellness lifestyle. It's fun, it helps keep us focused on becoming the person we're designed to be, and helps us connect with our sense of purpose.  I wish you an amazing 2013!

Until next time...Be Well!!

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Make Resolutions That REALLY Count

I've spent the past week contemplating a lot.  The brevity of life has been thrown in my face from far away places (Newtown Conn) to very close by (a 34 year old neighbor across the street dying in a car accident Tuesday).  During this time my own son has been away in Chicago.  It's the first time he's been that far from us (he's 16), first time we feel he's been way out of our realm of protection.

It sure has made me want to appreciate the people in my life more.  My family, my friends, employees, patients, and those that are "on the fringe" where I know them maybe only in passing each other in life from time to time.  The frenetic pace at which we tend to live in our Western culture, which is exacerbated 10x during this Christmas season, sometimes gets the best of me.  I take people for granted daily.  Yes I know that we can be here one minute, and gone the next.  That's been painfully obvious this week.  On a mental level, I think I get that.

But do I really?  Sometimes I'm not so sure.   If I were really grasping how significant that concept is, I'd never, ever take for granted one moment I get to spend around those I love.  I'd not take it for granted that a friend, or family member that lives far away is only phone call away, and I'd make that call regularly.  I'd make sure that I don't get frustrated or lose my temper over silly things my family may do, no matter how many times I've asked them not to do that.  I'd spend more time with my family doing life. .  I'd turn off the computer in the evenings when I got home and have real conversations with my family.  The list could go on. And I fail regularly much of the time on that list. I spent this past Thursday afternoon shopping with my teenage daughter (never done that before with her), and then we wrapped presents together on the living room floor (never done that before either). We didn't do anything spectacular  But those are the moments that our life should be made of.  For one brief instant, I feel like I hit the mark. I wish I felt that way more often.

There are so many changes I know should be made when reality hits home like it has for me in the past 7 days.  How about you?  This is a time of year that is often used for reflection, for making plans and goals or resolutions for the upcoming year.  My challenge to myself, and you, is to make plans for life, real life.  Life that is lived moment by moment with people, friends, coworkers, family etc.  Life that impacts and leaves little regret.  Oh sure, losing weight and being healthier are important things, but that's only in our physical body, and undoubtedly that will pass away.  The relationships we have, or more correctly, the legacy we leave behind through them, are lasting.

Make resolutions this year that will have a lasting impact, resolutions that count.  Merry Christmas.

Until next time....Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Don't Understand

I really don't.  I don't know how anyone can take the life of another without there being a life threatening situation.  I really don't know how one can take the life of a young child.  I can't understand the pain the parents and families of those that lost loved ones today in the Connecticut shooting spree.  I can't begin to understand the amount of fear that must now be in the lives of the little kids that survived the shooting.  I don't understand.  I can't.

Prayers for the families.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Health Care Reform May Kill Us

Health Care Reform will not make us healthier as a nation, and in fact may make us less healthy as a nation.  Yes sir (or m'am) it's true.  This new thing called Obamacare our country will most likely experience in the coming few years will not fix our health crisis.  And, it will most likely create more problems for us, including health problems.  Why is that?  I'm glad you asked.  Read on.

First of all, and I think I've said this before here, what is being promoted as health care reform, is NOT health care reform.  The term has a nice ring to it so it's the one that is used.  What is being bandied about as health care reform is actually health INSURANCE reform. And mostly, it's health insurance COVERAGE reform.  The goal is to assure health INSURANCE for the masses.  A ideal goal in it's purest form for sure.  Unfortunately, the main winner in this whole deal will be health INSURANCE COMPANIES.  They WILL be paid for covering more people.  And guess who pays?

Well, there are two ways insurance companies can get paid.  1.  By raising the premiums, copays, and or deductibles on all of us that pay for our insurance (hey they've been doing that all along, while paying health care providers less and less).  2.  The government will pay them.  (how does the government get the money to pay them when we as a nation are teetering on economic collapse you say?  hmm, just think on that for a bit).  Rest assured, they will get paid for the extra coverage.  So the winner in the whole health care reform thing is not the American people. It's not the health care providers   It's the insurance companies.  Feeling better yet?  The CEO's of the insurance companies are I'm sure.

So how can this kill us? (I will refrain from political lines of thought on this).  Unfortunately, it's very simple.  So, every American will now have coverage (ideally).  Great!  Now we can have access to all the drugs and surgery we need when we need them. Awesome.  Why do we need drugs and surgery?  Because of some kind of health crisis in our lives.  From where do most health crisis moments arise?  Most arise from our....choices.  Ouch.  Yes, most of the diseases that require ongoing care (drugs and/or surgery) are known as diseases of lifestyle.  Sure, some people are born with health issues (cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome etc), but most are diseases that arise from our choices in how we eat, move think and rest.  For instance, more and more studies are coming out showing that our lifestyle choices can significantly affect, and often times cure, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  I see more articles than ever speaking of how Type II diabetes is totally curable with lifestyle changes.  Heart disease can be reversed by lifestyle changes.  All good news.

But my fear is, with easier access to drugs and surgery, people will be even less likely to take appropriate care of themselves than we already do.  We already look for the easy way out, the pill for every ill.  Every year we see new meds or supplements designed for weight loss, and the public runs to them as the panacea for their ills.  No one in our government is sounding the bell for wellness.  No one is standing up to fight against the special interests that shape our policy on health and well being.  No one there mentions that the government recommendations for diet include things that actually CREATE more illness and disease (read my previous post about "healthy whole grains").  No one there  mentions that our nation is sick, and our health care system is actually a sick care system that functions to provide after the fact care, and that their version of wellness care is NOT wellness care at all.  Instead, they opt to create something that will sound and sell better, instead of handling the tougher topic that would solve the issue.

Real health care reform occurs in your home.  It occurs when you change your lifestyle to a wellness way of living.  It occurs when you raise your kids to not run to a drug every time they are sick.  It occurs when you sound the bell of wellness and let others know there's a better way.  In other words, it's not up to the government to create health care reform. It's up to us.  Any other way only kills.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Whole Wheat"? "Whole Grain"? Wholly Unhealthy!!


Ok, now I feel better.  Well not really.

I just read an article that asked about whether or not heart disease is reversible.  The short answer is yes, with appropriate lifestyle changes, particularly what we eat.  I have no issue with that, it's great information, it's empowering, it's uplifting and everyone should know this and have it shouted from the streets. It's all good.

However, the article I read then went painfully and obviously well beyond the author's area of expertise as he listed, and I'm sure at the recommendation of an established health care provider, what foods to focus on to reverse heart disease.  The article started well:  fruits and vegetables.  Probably the number one thing we all need to eat more of.  But it not only crossed a line, but it ran 50 yards past the line, when it listed "healthy whole grains" as another thing to focus on eating.

So, you say, what's wrong with whole grains?  They're "whole", they're a grain, they're natural aren't they? Didn't Jesus eat wheat and bread?  Isn't bread what my grandparents ate so often?  Um, well no.  The wheat we eat now days, is not your grandmother's wheat.  It's been genetically modified, with the intent of growing faster, into something that doesn't behave in your body anywhere near how grains used to behave in the body.

These days, your "whole grain" or "whole wheat" bread behaves badly in your body.  That healthy bread now breaks down into sugar in your body at an alarming rate.  It also behaves like a narcotic, attaching to pleasure centers in the brain where drugs like morphine attach.  So it acts like a drug in your body, providing pleasure, and yes, creating a desire for more of the product.  Sounds like an addiction doesn't it?  Exactly.  And the effect on your blood sugar?  More intense than table sugar actually, since wheat has a higher glycemic index factor than does sucrose (table sugar).  So therefore, when we consume wheat in any of its forms, we are doing more damage to our bodies than eating straight table sugar!!  It leads to inflammation in the body, belly fat, diabetes, and heart disease.

Recommending whole grains, is to recommend the same way of eating that started in the 80's, and has led to massive increases in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  And I'd suggest that our never ending consumption of all things whole wheat or whole grain, has been a big part of this.  Bread, in all it's forms, is a contributing factor in much of our most common chronic, and reversible diseases in our country.

If you don't understand this, or don't believe me, please investigate the book "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis.  It has numerous studies described in it, as well as other evidence, that would support my feelings on this matter.  I believe we should stop consuming any bread for prevention of illness, and particularly if we already suffer from one of the illnesses we discussed above.  If you try this, I'd bet you'll be surprised at what  symptoms of ill health actually disappear in your life!

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Day After....

Any regrets?  Wishing that last serving of pie hadn't been consumed?  Shocked at the scale this morning?  Are you out shopping and eating sweet treats and fast food already today?

Well, as I said before, "Tis the season" right?  Here's what I know.  We can't do anything about what we ate yesterday.  Can't change the fact that we sat around all day watching football eating tasty morsels and sipping calorie laden alcoholic beverages.  That's done.  All we can affect is the here, now and future.

So with that said, it's important to understand that the holiday season is the holiday season, and there will be moments you partake of festivities a bit more than you should.  I'm no Debbie Downer, I want people to enjoy the holiday, I want people to taste some amazing foods and celebrate with friends and family.  But if someone wants to enjoy the season, AND maintain some semblance of a wellness lifestyle, I want those people to know it's possible.

To that end, I say we can't change what we did yesterday.  We can choose differently today.  And as I've said before, with proper planning, and commitment, one can enjoy the various opportunities to eat great food, AND still live a wellness lifestyle.  Remember to look for healthy recipes. We cooked a new recipe yesterday called "Paleo Stuffing".  It was very tasty and very healthy.  There are many great variations of treats that are made in healthy ways.  Remember to cook appropriately when you can, and cook some extra so you can have healthy foods more than just on one night.  Head to the gym today, and once or twice this weekend too.  Just as there are always opportunities to eat the bad stuff, there's opportunities to offset it and eat well and move well!

Never, ever, ever ever give up (My apologies to Sir Winston Churchill).

Until next time...Be well!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tis The Season

For celebrations, for giving thanks, for family, for fun, for food............and weight gain......ugh.

Yep, it IS my favorite time of year.  I love the holidays.  Right now we've already got Christmas lights on the house (no, not lit up yet, we have an official lighting of the house on Thanksgiving night).  My kids are out of school, as is my High School Teacher wife, we are planning foods for Thanksgiving in 2 days.  We've already bought some Christmas gifts.  The turkey is defrosting in our fridge.  I am ready for Christmas music (though I am ritually avoiding it until Thanksgiving).  I love this time of year!!

But yes, even as thin as I am normally, I struggle with watching my weight during the holiday season (for my Christian friends, don't be offended by my term of "holiday season" please, I use it to describe the entire season, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years).  There have been seasons where I've put on 8-10 pounds.  Yep, that's the truth.  But in more recent years, I've been able to stay within 1-3 pounds of my weight as the season starts, but it takes a plan.

That's the key.  If you have read much of my FB or Twitter or blogs before, you know a saying I have is "People don't mean to plan to fail, but they fail to plan, which IS, of course, planning to fail".  So as I sit here 2 days before Thanksgiving, and knowing I already had a chaotic day yesterday that included eating.....ready for this.......FAST FOOD last night, I am seriously contemplating my plan and focusing on making sure I hit it hard going into this season.  Later this morning a trip to the gym is on the agenda, a healthy breakfast is on the agenda, and maybe some juicing for this afternoon.  But what can YOU do to offset the temptations that you'll most likely fall prey to this year?  What kind of planning will it take?

How about let's start with shopping.  Make sure, that as you are shopping for some of the sugar/calorie filled goodies, you also make a concerted effort to keep healthy snacks on hand for you and your family.  Stop in at the produce section of your store every time you go to buy food. Buy a variety of fruits.  Buy some nuts and seeds.  Keep these on hand all the time and encourage your kids if you have them, to partake of them when they're reaching for that candy that seems to always be available right now.

Which brings up another point.  I think we should indulge in some tasty sinful decadence from time to time this season.  But why not put a cap on what you consume?  Don't purchase all that you normally purchase.  Don't keep it available all over the house, or better yet, don't put it out in easy reach.  Keep your selection of fruits and nuts in easy reach instead.  If your kids want to have some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, limit their intake, and make sure that they get to eat an orange or banana, or seasonal pomegranate too.  Have fun shelling pecans or walnuts together, and of course eating them afterward!

Also take the time to plan healthy meals for yourself with some meat, some good fresh roasted or grilled veggies.  Planning this out makes it more likely to happen.  And while you're cooking it, why not cook extra so that two days later you can have leftovers without having to cook again?  This way you only cook once, but you get to eat two healthy meals.  Simple idea that is very effective!

Alright, speaking of planning, don't let the busy holiday schedule cut out your gym time.  Get your calender out on Sundays, look at your schedule.  Yes it may get tough to get your gym time in, but learn to be efficient once you get to the gym.  Or just decide to work out at home to save time.  A round of pushups, crunches, lunges, dips,  and jumping jacks can get you a decent workout in, especially if you decide to combine two of the exercises together and do 3 sets of each without stopping (ie 10 pushups, 10 lunges, 3x, with no rest between each set).  That will get your heart rate up AND give you resistance training.

Friends, enjoy this season, but honor your God given body too.  Plan things out so that you CAN indulge and enjoy, but still manage to keep things under control and not be regretting what you did or didn't do on January 2, 2013.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time... Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beating The Holiday 5......Or 10

A timely reprint....

Yes the holidays are upon us. In just about a week, turkey with stuffing, apple pie, pumpkin pie, candied yams and more will be available to us, along with many alcoholic libations. Tasty and enjoyable stuff for sure. I look forward to my first taste of pumpkin pie in almost a year.

However, when left unchecked, the holiday celebrations lead to the dreaded "Holiday 5", or in some cases the "Holiday 10". We are talking about the extra pounds put on because of the excess calories, and the poor quality of foods that we have available to us more commonly.

Over the last 2 years, I've worked hard on limiting the holiday poundage with some quality wins. Here's what I do now and recommend.

1. Understand that plenty of opportunities to splurge will occur. Accept that fact and be prepared for it.

2. Before going to a situation where you know you'll have sweet foods, alcohol, or high quantities of calories, have a snack. Yes, eat a snack. But, make it a healthy snack. Some pumpkin seed and a piece of fruit for example. Eat this about 30 minutes before the party so you don't arrive famished and ready to consume the first pretty looking food that appears (and most food looks much prettier when we're starving). Have your snack and 8oz of water.

3. Indulge in your favorite recipe. Don't completely ignore the pie or candy you love so much. You'll not enjoy yourself. But, limit the quantity. Eat it slowly and enjoy it. Plan ahead to only have "x" amount.

4. Don't fill your plate. This is a good rule all the time, but especially at holiday time. There's so much to choose from as you go down the line at Thanksgiving or Christmas. So put food on your plate, eat it and enjoy it, and then see how you feel. Again, take your time so you stomach starts to feel full.

5. If you know you want to taste everything, just take smaller quantities as you go through the line. Often we fill our plates with large servings and feel bad that we don't have room for something else we like, so we go back and get round two of the rest of everything.

6. Keep up with your exercise. Plan it out weekly so that you're getting the calorie burn you need. It's more vital than ever to do this now, especially since you know things will come up to get in the way of your exercise plan.

7. Finally, EVERY chance you get to eat healthy, DO IT! The next opportunity to indulge in sweets is just around the corner for you, so behave every second that you can!

Mainly, it's important to be prepared and to think about what you're doing. I want you to enjoy the holidays and the tasty foods, but not to the point of regretting it on January 2nd. I enjoy the challenge though. I weigh myself on Thanksgiving morning and monitor it all throughout the holidays, then have a final check on January 2. Last year it was only 1.5 pounds heavier, and I did enjoy my holiday. I hope you can find a way to enjoy and not regret it as well. Have a great holiday season!

Until next time...BE WELL!!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So You're Sick.......What Now??

I have had two incidents recently where a sick friend has come to mind.  One is very sick with cancer, the other was sick with a typical infection.  While there are obvious differences between the two, the commonality is that their immune systems are in a battle, albeit one much more serious than the other.  It made me think of what I'd do in similar situations, and what I've done when I have gotten sick with some kind of infection (no I've never had cancer, praise God).  In both situations, the immune system needs to be boosted, because in both situations the immune system has been overcome by the illness and has, hopefully only temporarily, lost the battle with the disease.

The first thing I'd do is to make sure I am not doing anything that further compromises my immunity.  I'd remove all toxins from my body, and this includes toxic thoughts and relationships.  Sugar is a major culprit that lowers the immune response and must be removed in totality (shouldn't be there anyway).  Sugar creates inflammation in the body and that is the breeding ground for infections and other diseases, including cancers.  A study I read recently showed that one sugary drink has measurable negative influence on the immune response.  So I'd totally cut out sugar and processed foods (which break down into sugars).  Stress also influences immunity and slows down it's response, so I'd be sure to remove myself from as many stressful situations as possible.

Why do we feel so sleepy when we have the flu?  Have you ever thought of that?  It's our body's innate intelligence telling us to slow down, power down so that the body can focus on repair and restoration.  So it becomes more important to get appropriate rest when we are ill, whether with a simple infection or cancer.

Finally, I'd fill my body with as much good stuff as I possibly can with regards to food.  I personally would no longer eat fake foods.  I'd focus on living food, preferably organic, as well as good grass fed, free range meat/chicken and wild caught fish.  So my diet would include unlimited veggies and fruit (juicing would be an even bigger part of my life than it is), and good healthy meats.  I'd consume only water and tea, unsweetened of course.

These are the same procedures I use with my kids when they are under the weather, they know to eat more fresh food and get rest and increase their water intake.  They know to avoid any junk food that they have access to throughout the day.  In reality, this is how we should live anyway to promote optimum wellness.  If we did, the chances of us contracting infections, or worse yet, cancers, would be significantly decreased.  And, in the off chance we did fall ill, our immune systems would be built up as strong as possible and thus give us a head start on beating our illness.

Until next time....Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Juicing For Life!!

Ummm no, I am not doing only juice for every day for every meal.  I am not ready to make that kind of life change and don’t see the need for it currently in my life.  However, I am a fan of juicing and will be a fan, for life.  And, I think it’s vital to eat live food like fruits and veggies as they GIVE life to our body (a double entendre for “juicing for life).  I’ve had plenty of conversations with people about juicing, read a lot of articles about the pros and cons, and I am asked a lot of questions about it by my patients, friends, and people that follow my wellness information on Facebook, Twitter or the blog.  So because of that I am dedicating this article to the topic of juicing, and maybe next post too, depending on how much info I come up with to share!

Why juice?   Have you gotten your 8-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet today?  No?  When is the last time you did?  Never?  If you’re like most people, probably never is the correct answer.  While juicing isn’t a replacement for eating your fruits and veggies daily, it helps to get you closer to the optimum levels.  Let me reiterate that NOTHING takes the place of eating the real deal, however with some forms of juicing (or types of juicers) you still are getting the real deal.  Let me explain.

One type of juicer extracts juice.  The result is you are left with the pulp or fiber NOT in the juice.  The other type of juicer pulverizes the veggie or fruit so that you get the entire food in the mixture.  I’d prefer people do it that way, but certainly the extractors (which are cheaper) aren’t totally bad for you.  The challenge with the extractors is that by removing the pulp or fiber, you remove a “control rod” if you will, that slows down the rise in blood sugar that occurs naturally by eating even complex carbhohydrates like a fruit or vegetable.  So there is a MAJOR caution here for those with blood sugar issues or full blown diabetes.  Consult your dietician or doctor if you have those conditions and use caution when juicing.

So how do you get started with juicing?  First one needs to figure out what they’d like to juice.  Then there’s the little matter of having a juicer!  Let’s tend to the latter first.  You can get entry level juicers for about 100.00.  Some of these have good reputations for reliability like the Jack Lalanne juicer.  It is an extractor type and you can pick it up in many different stores or online.  The price range goes up from there to the 500.00 range approximately for the strongest of the “pulverizing” juicers.  It depends on what you want to do, and what you are willing to pay for it.

Getting started picking your items to juice can be interesting.  I’d recommend a simple start if you’re not sure about it by trying a combination of apples and carrots, and if you’re a little adventurous, some ginger (a very small piece, it’s strong in flavor).  If you like that, don’t stop there, as that is not the healthiest of juices around as it is very high in sugar content, but a good way to break yourself in.  As soon as possible start adding in greens such as celery, kale, mustard greens, spinach etc.  Now you’re getting to the good stuff that makes it much healthier:  GREENS!  Experiment with a little at first then more as you go along.  There are unlimited recipes and Facebook pages to find new recipes and new ideas on how to juice.  Check out the documentary “Fat Sick And Nearly Dead” online, you can view it for free on  Also, find my clinic name “Chiropractic Massage & Wellness Center” on facebook or follow me on twitter with @docbruce65.  You’ll get plenty of good wellness information from me on those sites I promise, you won’t regret it!

That’s about all I have space for now, tune in next time for more info on juicing and several recipes for your juicing adventures!

Until next time…Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

10 EASY Tips for Health and Wellness!

Brief Succinct Tips

1. Have a big glass of water before each meal.

2. Eat slowly.

3. Have fun in what you do.

4. Leave the table feeling you can eat more.

5. Park your car in the furthest spot at the shopping centre and use the stairs.

6. Tend to your relationships.

7. Do slow deep breathing each day.

8. Eliminate soft drinks and fruit juices from your diet and replace them with water.

9. Get adequate sleep.

10. Minimize foods, which come from a manufacturing “plant” and maximize food, which come from plants that grow in the ground.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

There Ain't No Shortcut

Yes, I said Ain't.  My elementary school English teacher, Mrs. Sims would have a fit if she saw that in my title.  But it just seemed to be the right choice.  I promise I ain't going to use that word in this post though, so I hope you ain't deterred from reading further. Onward we go.

It happens monthly, maybe even weekly.  I see/hear of another shortcut for weight loss.  Sometimes it's a supplement.  Sometimes it's a weird diet.  Sometimes it's a weird activity of some sort. And yes, sometimes it's even surgical intervention (which while I don't like at all, may be necessary in extreme morbid obesity cases I think).

Well guess what?  I heard of a new one recently.  What it is doesn't matter, it just goes to show that our Western culture's infatuation with the shortcut to health still exists.  The magic pill, the long sought for panacea, the fountain of youth, the.......the.....well you get the point. 

And guess what?  It probably works to reduce fat and make one look better.  Yep that's right, they look better.  The key word here is LOOK.  Notice I did NOT say be healthier. 

In 1984, I owned a 1973 VW Beetle.  It was a sight to behold.  It was mostly blue.  It had a yellow door.  It had 2 gray fenders.  It had rust.  I spent about 400 dollars to have it reworked and painted, (yes all one color).  It looked much much better, just like new.  However, if I didn't change the oil from time to time, clean the carburetor (remember those?), change the spark plugs out when needed etc. then the car would die.  It would still LOOK good on the outside, but would be ill on the inside. And no one would notice as I drove it that the engine was about to blow.

Yep, our bodies are the same. In our culture we want to look good on the outside (botox anyone?).  We want the appearance of health so badly, that we focus on the outside instead of on what makes us truly healthy (or for that matter, what makes us truly sick).  So billion dollar industries are created on this farce of health and wellness.  Yes it's a farce.  And it's a suicidal farce at that.

The reality of it is, while we slowly commit suicide by lifestyle in our culture by running to the next magic cure, the answer is really oh so simple.  Simple?  Yes, simple.  And if you read any of my stuff you should know the answer by now.  Eat well, Move well, Think well and Rest well.  That's it.  There is no other answer.  Oh sure, surgery for some of our self inflicted illnesses is necessary at times when things are too out of control.  But that only puts out a fire, it doesn't rebuild the structure.  My formula listed above does rebuild the structure.  It's the only way.

Ok, one more time, repeat after me:  There ain't no shortcut (my apologies to Mrs. Sims).

Until next time... Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Staying Hydrated, Staying Well

It’s mid-May as I am writing this and for the first time in a long time, I looked at the 10 day forecast and saw 90’s as the predicted high temperature.  That can only mean one thing: Summer is right around the corner and the long timeframe of 90+ degree days week after week after week looms ahead.  Summer is a time where we spend a lot of time outdoors, and great memories will be made this summer for many, but it’s important that we also keep a very important thought in mind:  Hydration.

Intake of fluids is vital for our daily health, even in the winter, though it certainly increases in the summer months as we work outside in our yards and schedule outdoor events/play time.  On the hottest of days, when it’s impossible to avoid being outdoors (while working for instance) it even becomes vital to our safety and our lives.  60% of our body weight is made from water, and when it gets out of balance, significant alterations in important physiological reactions in the body occur than can be life threatening. 
So we obviously know staying hydrated is important, but how do we do it?  The best way of course is water, plain pure water. I recommend filtered water. Bottled water is acceptable as well.  Drink it often, drink it regularly and make it a habit.  Don’t like water?  Try adding some lemon or lime squeezed into it for flavor.  Yes you can get water from other drinks, but most come with added ingredients that are deleterious to your health.  You can try juicing for instance.  I am a fan of tea (unsweetened, with lemon or lime again) but it shouldn’t be something you drink all day long.  There really is no true replacement for plain good old fashioned water.

How much should we drink?  Different authors vary, some sticking with the eight 8-ounce glasses/day, but I don’t believe that one size fits all.  If you’re 6’5” and weigh 250 pounds, you probably have a different water intake requirement than a 5’0 110 pound person.  One formula says to divide your weight in half, and drink that number of ounces/day.  Let me say that is a lot of water and you’ll surely stay hydrated at that rate (and you’ll surely stay in the bathroom a lot).  It’s a great goal to shoot for though, and I have managed to hit that level with some frequency.  

However the best thing is to constantly be sipping on water throughout your day.  Keep a large bottle with you in your office, keep one at home too and drink and refill throughout the day.  I keep a 32 ounce bottle at my office and I try to go through 2 of them/day.  If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are most likely under-hydrated already so don’t wait that long.  A great way to tell if you are hydrated or not is (seriously) the color of your urine.  It should be a pale straw color at most (remember this saying “Pee Pale”).  If it is dark colored or bright colored, you are certainly under hydrated (unless you are taking vitamins, or have had beets or beet juice recently).  It’s a simple way to assess where you are.  And, in the summer, if you’re sweating a lot, or exercising a lot, of course you’ll need more water.

Caution signs for dehydration include dry mouth and swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, confusion, sluggishness or fainting, inability to sweat and decreased urine output.  More significant dehydration that requires calling for emergency services include fever higher than 103, headaches, seizures, no urine output for 12 hours, fainting or difficulty breathing.

Water is vital to our health. Remember “The solution to pollution is dilution”, so keep yourself well hydrated for optimum health too!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The End Of The Weekend...Bummed or Pumped?

Sunday evenings are a time in most households where people start wrapping up the weekend and thinking about the upcoming week. Some people dread the end of the weekend, and are already looking forward to the following weekend.  I find it sad, that people live lives that are based on living for the next day off and hate Mondays so much.  I think people should enjoy their weekends, rest and rejuvenate, so that they are ready to attack and not just survive Mondays.  I would hope that everyone would be grateful for having some down time on weekends, and look forward to Mondays as they strive to make a difference in their career, in overcoming challenges with/for people, and leaving a legacy via their calling.

I like to use Sunday nights, especially after my family goes to bed, for planning out the week.  This includes my "to do's" for work, as well as the times I am needed to perform family duties (cooking, driving, cleaning, errands) and of course times for my wellness.  I include times for exercise, plans for eating well, noting potential challenges to living in the realm of wellness (where I might struggle with eating, moving, thinking and resting in a wellness way).  When I note that a particularly difficult time is coming in regards to living well, I make sure that before and after I live appropriately to offset those challenging times.

For instance, tomorrow morning I have a breakfast meeting.  I can't control what they serve, but I can make sure that before I leave for the meeting, I put some good things in my body so that I am not starving and forced to "pig out" on whatever is available tomorrow.  So I will make sure I have my superfood shake in the morning as well as a boiled egg.  Then at the meeting I will eat minimally and definitely avoid the worst of the offerings. 

So, instead of being bummed that Sunday night is here, and that Monday morning is right around the corner, use Sunday nights to design your week, and thus your life!  You'll look at Sunday evenings and the end of the weekend in a whole new light!

Until next time...Be Well!!

Dr. Bruce

Friday, April 20, 2012

Maintenence, Prevention, or Wellness, Which Do You Want?

Wellness is the biggest buzz word on the health care front these days.  You read about it in the newspaper and online, you hear about it on commercials, you see websites developed all around the word.  Many times it is intermingled with the other two concepts listed in the title:  Prevention and maintenance.  It can be a bit confusing for people I am sure, and I think there are some significant differences between the three and I hope to delineate those here now.

The term maintenance is used a lot of times for health care purposes, even or especially in my line of work.  Some people like to come in for regular adjustments and what they call maintenance.  This is not a bad thing to try to maintain one’s self in general, unless of course you have a chronic or acute illness.  If you have high blood pressure, do you want to maintain it?   If your cholesterol or blood sugar level is out of the good range, do you want to maintain that?  No of course not.  But the idea of maintenance is used sometimes in conjunction with wellness and I just pointed out a glaring problem with that.  Maintenance is not wellness, it is keeping you right where you are, and most of us, me included, don’t need to stay right where we are.  We NEED to improve some, or all of our health.

Now, what about prevention?  The idea of preventative care is almost synonymous with wellness care in many circles.  I would strongly object to the linking of these two words.  If you have reached a certain age, and the stats say you need to have “x” test done regularly (mammograms, prostate exams, a certain blood test or the dreaded colonoscopy etc.) and the test comes back positive, then that means you have a disease process starting, it means you are not well.  Naturally that can NOT be wellness or wellness care since the purpose of the test is to find out if you’re ill or not.  Again, that does NOT mean these tests are a bad thing, in fact they are much needed oftentimes.  So don’t hear me knocking running the tests, and please don’t stop getting tested appropriately.  

Now, on to the topic at hand:  wellness.  The word is used in so many ways, some places call themselves wellness centers and they are doing botox injections.  How is that wellness?  Does it make a person any healthier?  Of course not.  Wellness is a word that implies action and responsibility.  Wellness to me should be defined as experiencing optimum health in all aspects of one’s life, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally etc.  It is something that I believe few, if any, attain for any great length of time, but it is a worthy goal to be striving for but it’s also something that takes constant attention and tweaking.  It should be an ongoing process where we are continually striving for optimum health. 

Can the pursuit of wellness include some maintenance care?  Yes.  Can it include getting blood pressure tested?  Yes.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Those two things are passive, in that the test or care is performed on us.  Wellness should require active involvement that we as individuals are responsible for doing like exercising, relaxing, learning to eat better and proper rest.  That is what we try to inspire at our office, people taking responsibility for where they are on the wellness spectrum, then learning and acting upon information that can move them forward and closer to true wellness.

So in summary, maintenance care and preventative care are passive things that happen TO us.  Wellness is something we PURSUE via our lifestyle choices, and it’s the way to optimum health and well-being. So with that in mind, take charge of where you are, decide where you want to be, and then take appropriate action steps to get there.  Where you are is only temporary if you decide to make it temporary.  Give us a call, we’d be glad to help you move forward in your pursuit of wellness!

Until next time… Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Thursday, March 29, 2012

5 Simple Stress Busters Anyone Can Do

Stress kills.  It's that simple.  It kills.  Dead.  Terminally dead.  It can kill you suddenly (or what appears to be suddenly) via a heart attack or stroke, or it can take a long time as your body deteriorates slowly but earlier and faster than it would have otherwise and you become ill with life threatening diseases.  It is said that the lion's share of visits to doctor's offices are in some way related to stress. But here's the kicker:  Stress will happen in our life, but the real issue is not the stress, but how we deal and combat the stress.  Here's a few simple ways to fight it off.

1.  Exercise.  Yep.  I just read yet another article today that most people with anxiety issues that began a good solid exercise plan benefited from exercise as much as they would have from prescription drugs, and the only side effects were better health from the exercise!  Get a good exercise plan in place pronto!

2.  Don't procrastinate.  Putting things off definitely creates more stress in your life. The next time you feel like procrastinating, remember the effect it has when you have to rush to accomplish whatever task it is you put off.

3.  Work on being grateful.  Anytime I have a patient feeling overwhelmed with stress, one of the things I encourage them to do is start a gratefulness journal.  They are to write down 5 things daily that they are grateful for from that day, and why they are grateful for each thing.  It takes your mind off of what's not right in your life, and puts it on what IS right in your life and how blessed you are.

4.  Serve others.  You want to feel better about your own life?  Invest some time in the lives of others.  There is no shortage of needs for volunteers at places like food pantries, women's shelters, tutoring underprivileged  kids etc.  Find a way to give back to the world that benefits others, with no strings attached.

5.  Deep breathing exercises.  Learn to get your body to relax by using techniques that slow your breathing, and allow your body to fully oxygenate with each breath.  It's a proven fact that when under stress we start taking short shallow breaths, and that does nothing but create more stress on our body.  Breathe in deeply through your nose, as deep as you can, and then slowly exhale til every bit of air is back out of your lungs.  Do just 10 breaths like that when under stress, or if your stress is chronic, spend 10 minutes a day doing this.

I promise if you practice these 5 things, the effects of stress will be minimized significantly, to the point where you might even be able to stop certain medications if you've been prescribed some for your stress.  Give it a go, you've got nothing to lose and a lifetime of health and wellness to gain!

Until next time...Be Well!!!

Dr. Bruce

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's It All About?

I get that question sometimes from others, and even myself when I think about tweeting, blogging etc as I do.  Why?  Because when you're talking about using the internet to spread a message about whatever topic interests you, you often don't really know if the message is just going out into cyberspace and not really even being seen.  It's can feel like no man's land, unless you happen to get some responses, comments, questions etc.  Several times recently I've had moments where something has happened that lets me know that all my blogging, tweeting, Facebook posting of wellness articles and information has some positive effect on people.  I have to say it's rather refreshing.

One thing that I've seen recently is several people re-posting some of the articles I link to on different social media sites. That is really encouraging because now I don't feel like a loner lol.  A couple of days ago a new follower on Twitter asked great questions regarding a post I had made there regarding Grape Seed Extract.  Yesterday a patient called me asking about Vitamin D3 that I had mentioned on our clinic page.  Just today, after posting a new recipe and picture of some fresh juice I had made, I had an extended "conversation" on facebook about juicing, juicers and recipes etc.  The "conversation" ended with him saying "thanks for all the inspiration".

In the long haul, that's what it's really about.  It's not about how many articles I can find to post (believe me, there is more than I can link to on any given day).  It's not about how many friends, fans or followers I can get.  It's about putting the word out there, and hopefully people taking it to heart, learning something new, being reminded to keep up their journey, or totally transforming their lives.  That's my vision, dream or whatever you might call it, for my time spent on the net. It's hopefully about helping people create life transformation with their body, and knowing they can do it.  It's about creating awareness so that more and more people spread what I refer to as "The Gospel Of Wellness". 

From the selfish end, it's an never ending reminder to me to keep up with eating well, thinking well, moving well and resting well.  Knowing there are people out there interested, searching and reading some of these posts and articles motivates me to work harder on my own well being, and on finding appropriate, solid information to put out into cyberspace.  I would encourage you to keep reading and researching.  If you do this regularly, it will be a constant reminder to up the ante on a daily basis, and in a few months or years, you will be on a whole different level with regards to your health. 

So, keep it up.  Find good people to follow and learn from.  Never stop learning about how you can do better with your daily decisions in your pursuit of wellness.  Don't stop finding new people out there that provide what you're looking for either, there are plenty of good ones!  If you follow me on twitter (@docbruce65) you can look to see who I read and follow, and you may choose to follow some of the same ones to broaden your sources of wellness information.  And re-send the information, you never know who is going to be really thankful you put it out there.  Go for it, there's nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

Oh yea, I am immensely grateful for you reading this blog, and I wish you well in your journey toward wellness.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Is Not A Diet, It's Your Life!

I saw the title statement as a subtitle in an article I read just recently and it really started my brain to going.  As much as I preach lifestyle changes, as much as I promote living a wellness lifestyle, I continue to see the masses searching out the "one thing" that they can take that will address their health issue.  It's sad, but it's a part of our culture.  Our culture has developed the medical mentality toward health:  "If I have a problem, there's got to be something I can take to make me healthy again".  "For every ill there is a pill".  So when their cholesterol rises, they get put on Lipitor, with it's myriad of side effects.  (See This Link for an article on statin drug side effects)  They make no change in their lifestyle, so the cholesterol numbers are artificially lowered, yet they're still dying inside.  Some studies suggest no change in age of death for those on cholesterol lowering drugs.  Yet people flock to the next "one thing" that can supposedly make them healthy, just like buzzards to road kill.  It's a shame.

So, when someone says they are on a diet, I have mixed emotions.  I am happy they realize something is amiss in their life that has made them less than optimally healthy.  Unfortunately, many of them, if they aren't turning toward some type of pill or surgery to help them, are on an unsustainable program of eating a certain way.  I've heard of all kinds of diets, one of which someone I know was on, included eating a pickle a day for some reason.  Some are fairly reasonable, some are so off the wall I cannot believe someone would even try it.  Here's the thing.  If you are on a diet of some sort that severely restricts eating certain food groups (candy is not a food group by the way), or severely restricts caloric intake, it most likely may help you lose weight, but it's not sustainable.  Thus, when you stop the "diet" and go back to your old ways, the weight returns, often with a vengeance, meaning you put even more back on.  Then, months or years later, a new diet comes along and the same yo-yo track is followed.  Sadly, this up and down cycle has deleterious effects on one's health in the long run too.

I can't state enough that when we think about weight loss, we need to think first about being healthy.  Health should be the goal, good health that is.  To get there we need to look at developing a wellness lifestyle.  A lifestyle is something that is sustainable for the long haul.  Yes you may fall off a bit from time to time (if you're like me anyway that will happen) but overall you live a life that is filled with things that move you toward optimum health.  So yes, one day you might have some bread pudding for dessert.  The holidays come along and there's a lot of treats to partake of.  I get that (I do that).  But the predominance of our lives needs to be eating, moving, thinking and resting in ways that produce wellness in our lives and (here's the kicker for me) in the lives of those we bring along with us (ie kids, friends etc).  Yes, how you choose to live your life affects the generations to come.  I hear people talk about wanting to leave a legacy.  Let me say this.  You ARE leaving a legacy.  You ARE influencing people.  That's not an option.  But, HOW are you influencing them?  THAT is the question.

So in reality, it's not a diet, it's your life, AND it's the lives of those you influence. So, what will you do with your life to influence the generations to come?

Until next time...Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Problem Is Not The Problem

I wish I could take credit for that title.  I will have to give props to my pastor, Phil Herrington, for that though.  If I've heard him say it once, I've heard it a thousand times from him.  At first I thought it was just an interesting statement.  But I cannot tell you how many times over the past 10 years this statement has rung true in varying ways/scenarios that I've seen in my life and in others' lives too.  Today I want to take a look at this statement from a wellness point of view.

This statement came to mind to me last night as I was at a seminar.  There was going to be a presentation on weight loss/fat loss.  Some talk was going on about the use of lasers for fat removal.  This is all interesting in some regards.  I am sure there are benefits to using things to reduce one's flabby belly, hips thighs etc.  There are supplements that people use for fat loss, some are even natural.  In some cases, even many cases there are good results.  I heard a doctor talking last night of how many waist sizes patients are losing using his technique for fat loss.  I am sure they look much better, and there's no doubt that having less fat in one's abdomen is definitely a good thing, I am not disputing that.  But this line of thinking can be dangerous because in reality, the problem is NOT the problem.

For instance, just because someone has less fat (looks better) does that mean they are healthy?  The answer is no.  I have seen it in many lives.  There are plenty of thin people running around with high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.  There are heavier people running around with GREAT blood pressure and normal lipid profiles (not giving anyone freedom to become overweight/obese here).  So while a person may think "my fat/waist size is the problem", it's not.

This same line of thinking occurs in people in the area of energy.  Some say "I have no energy" so they load up with coffee, energy drinks, energy supplements etc.  This gives them energy in the short term.  So they feel better and can accomplish more.  However, they've only addressed the perceived problem, not the real problem.
The same thing goes for those that are sick often.  Many times they have fallen into a lifestyle that involves living off of antibiotics and antihistamines, ibuprofen and the like.  This gets them feeling better or in some cases at least keeps their symptoms down to a dull roar.  However, once again, the problem (sickness) is not the real problem.

Some people have issues sleeping.  They can't get to sleep til 2 in the morning.  Or, they fall asleep and then wake up.  Some fall asleep, but never get into deep sleep where repair and rest occur.  So they often turn to over the counter medications or even prescriptions.  This may again solve, or better yet, subdue the perceived issue.  But the problem remains.

So goes the life of many people. They can use supplements/procedures/medications to burn off fat, increase our energy temporarily, not run a fever or sleep better and for all appearances, things will appear rather acceptable.  From the outside they may appear great/healthy.  Much of this stems from our Western culture mentality of "for every ill there is a pill".  This line of thinking, pure and simply, kills. 

The problem is NOT the problem.  More specifically, the PERCEIVED problem is not the problem.  Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleeping issues, energy issues, are many times all just a symptom of our suicidal lifestyles.  We can take all the supplements available, have all the procedures possible done, take medications to artificially change our insides, and still be killing ourselves daily by how we live.  Sometimes certain procedures or medications are necessary to handle critical situations.  But without lifestyle changes, we will still be sick and growing sicker by the day.  That's THE problem, THE thing that needs addressing.  That's what we try to address in our patients so they can become truly healthy.

Remember, the problem is NOT the problem (Thanks Pastor Phil!)

Until next time... Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are There Tigers Around Every Corner In Your Life?

I had a conversation with a patient yesterday that was interesting.  I would have loved to talk to him longer but other patients were waiting so I had to stop before I could get all the way through the topic.  It started by him talking about how he's been dealing with sinus symptoms (pressure around the eyes) etc. for a while, and stuffy feeling in his head.  He's had no fever, his MD says maybe he has a viral infection (I don't think so) etc.  He was bummed about why this was going on and the fact that he's not gotten over it yet.  It transitioned into a really good wellness conversation.

First we talked about his present lifestyle.  He is working out twice a week, but he's also getting married/planning a wedding that is happening this spring.  We talked about stress and he admitted that over the past few months he had more stress in his life than usual.  This led into the effects of stress in our body, particularly the fact that it reduces the immune response, and in general makes us more susceptible to illness because when we are under chronic stress, the body is constantly in a "fight or flight" mode.  This response (fight or flight) is important to have when a tiger jumps out at us and we need to fight or flee for our lives.  At that point we need more blood to our muscles and heart, we need higher blood pressure and a faster heart rate.  We don't need to worry about digestion or immunity or blood flow to some of our organs.  We need all hands on deck for immediate survival. So when the timing is appropriate, this is a good response.

The problem comes about when our body senses a tiger around every corner.  Then it tends to stay in a state of heightened alertness.  That is when it's NOT a good thing.  When we are surrounded by deadlines, extra things to do, problems, new challenges etc., our body continually stays in a fight or flight status.  Unfortunately, in our culture, we tend to turn immediately to medications for the anxiety, the higher blood pressure etc.  In this way we artificially change our body's physiology, with damaging side effects.  We never address the causes of this heightened state of alertness, and thus never address the cause of the adaptations that the body is undergoing (ie the blood pressure etc).  It goes back to the "for every ill there is a pill" mentality that we, and many of our allopathic (medical) health care providers have.

He (my patient) talked about how he couldn't take the meds he had been prescribed for his cholesterol issues because of side effects too.  This led to further conversation about what I just described as the body's physiology being changed, but not the root cause of the problem (higher cholesterol).  I hope we can have further conversations about dietary changes, because there was not time then, though we did speak about juicing and whole foods etc.  So many of the recommendations patients get when they have hypercholesterolemia is to avoid fatty foods, fried foods etc.  but there is no mention of processed foods, foods that can sit on your on your pantry shelves for months and years without changing (non-real food) and their effects on one's physiology (PS they cause stress on the body daily).  Our culture needs to get back to eating the basics; protein from good sources, lots of veggies (this is where juicing can be a real benefit), fruit, and avoiding breads, pastas, and all things processed as much as possible.

Yes, I do enjoy a good dessert from time to time (my daughter loves to bake tasty morsels).  But to live this way is the problem with our health in America.  We don't need more medications, more surgeries.  We need to get back to the basics of eating well, moving well, thinking well and resting well.  That would go a long way to solving our "health care crisis".

Until next time...Be Well!