Everyone wants to get in shape, but what if you’re one of those people that is totally out of shape and hasn’t worked out in months or even years? There is hope. We all get off track, and quite frankly, some people are just not as physically inclined as others. Even since childhood there are those of us that never felt especially excited about gym class in school or any other physical activity. No matter how many times certain people try to get excited about working out, they simply can’t. 

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Many people have heard rumblings about colloidal silver, but it is still unclear for some just what it is and how it works. Colloidal silver kills fungus, bacterium, and viruses by disabling their ability to metabolize oxygen allowing the body to then flush out the toxins once they are killed. 

There are many different brands out there and it is a good idea to do some research on the best ones. Like other supplements, they are not all created equally. Regarding dosage, it is a good idea to speak to your health provider and find out what the best dose is for you. If you have recently been catching a lot of colds or had the flu or needed to take antibiotics for any reason, colloidal silver may be just what you need. It is best to take this with the guidance of a health care provider. 

There is evidence that silver can help boost the strength of antibiotics when taken with them. Diseases like MRSA and other antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria tend to react better when silver is combined with the antibiotics under the supervision of a health care provider. Colloidal silver can also be used for myriad reasons. Among them, common cold, rash, anti-bacterial, wound care, sinus issues, pink eye, and pneumonia. 

One thing to keep in mind if one decides to use silver is that there is a possibility of experiencing what is called the Herxheimer reaction. This is when for a short time the symptoms may seem to worsen and can include headache, rash, and even fever. As the pathogen dies off these symptoms present and can last from a couple of hours up to 10 days. While this period can be very uncomfortable and sometimes feel like a bad flu, it is also indicative that the silver is doing what it is supposed it. If it’s tolerable and your health care provider is one board, it may be a good idea to ride it out and stay on the silver until those symptoms are gone. 

If you think Silver is something that can benefit you, read up on it as much as possible. Find out from your health providers what they think, and as usual, be your own primary care provider. Everyone has an opinion and can give guidance, but at the end of the day you are responsible for your own health and wellness. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. 

*Please note that there have been reports of people experiencing side effects from colloidal silver and it is best to talk to your primary care health provider before starting on a course of silver.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS—There’s no turning back. The Holidays are here. Stress less, is my advice for this harried … and hurried … season. Here’s how: 

  1. Don’t force yourself to buy the perfect gift. For starters if you’re not sure if someone is going to buy you a gift or not, and you feel that if they do you want to return the favor, just ask! Call or text your friends and family and be direct. Ask if they were hoping to exchange gifts and suggest that if they are you just get each other something small. Avoiding big crowds and busy malls during this time of year is a great way to lower your stress and save time. The best gift you can give yourself right now is more down time. 
  1. Continue to work out. It’s rather easy during this time of year to skip the workouts. One of the keys to managing stress and staying healthy during the winter is to continue to exercise. We don’t need those long intense workouts like we do in the summer when there is more light and warmth. A shorter work out where we simply get our heart rates up for 20 to 30 minutes and lift some light weights should do the trick to keep you slim and produce the healthy chemicals needed to manage stress. 
  1. Don’t isolate. While it is always tempting for those of us that are single to say no to social events and parties, try to attend a healthy amount of events. This is obviously a subjective thing, but you know when you are isolating and staying home too much. The social anxiety of all the parties can seem overwhelming, and while knowing when to say no is crucial, spending time with people we love will help us stay happy during the holidays. 
  1. Flip the script on the diet. Every year around the holidays the junk food and sugar is flowing. It’s a great time of year to practice your will and keep the junk food intake to a minimum or try to eliminate it all together. If we start working on saying no during the holidays, it will make us that much stronger and more likely to reach our health and wellness goals in 2017. I find that firming up my commitments to myself in the winter helps ensure that I am in great shape come spring and summer. 
  1. Use common sense while driving. Regardless of the known dangers of driving under the influence, every year around the holidays more people are killed in motor vehicle accidents and arrested for DUI’s than any other time of year. Be sure to take a car service or have a dedicated driver when you attend parties and plan ahead so you don’t get stuck in a situation that you will regret later. 

However you celebrate this season, I wish you happiness and GOOD HEALTH. My holiday gift to you is this advice: Adhere to my five tips. Stress less and enjoy this special time of the year.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--It’s wintertime and the cold outside air affects our bodies. Adding cold raw foods on top of the already cold winter weather can be tough on the system. Our bodies are more drawn to warming foods instead of cooling during the cold months. When people here warming they often think of the actual temperature of food, but what we are talking about here is the constitutional temperature of the food. Let me explain. 

Take for example spicy food. Even if you eat the food cold, spicy food is still internally warming to your organs and entire system. The other most obvious warming foods are onions, garlic, ginger and alcohol. 

The most cooling foods are leafy greens, cucumbers, watermelon, sushi, fruits and vegetables. Certain drinks are cooling as well like Kombucha and certain teas. Here’s a complete list of warming and cooling foods.  

Patients often ask me about how to eat in the winter months, and the best way is to cook your foods and steam your vegetables. If you do insist on raw veggies, be sure to add a little bit of ginger or some pepper to help to warm them up and balance out the cooling effects. 

There is no magic diet for any of us. Our bodies are the labs and we are the experimenters. I can’t tell you to avoid all salads and raw veggies all winter long. What I can tell you is to listen to your body and notice what it is telling you. When you drink that green juice in the winter, does your digestion still work efficiently, or are you getting gas and bloating and possibly loose stool? I hear all the time how difficult it is for people to know how and what to eat, but the truth is, our bodies have infinite wisdom and if we pay attention and listen to them we will see that we already know exactly what we need. 

Questions to ask yourself in regards to your diet are; am I getting a lot of gas after I eat? Are my bowel movements formed and normal, or do they tend more towards loose? Do I deal with constipation instead of loose stool, and if so, do I need more oils and water in my diet? Do I have enough energy to get through my workday and my daily workout? 

Keep in mind that the raw food movement touts that we are destroying the enzymes and cooking out the good when we steam and cook food. The reality is if we are not able to digest that raw food, there is no point in eating it in the first place. Steaming and cooking it, while it may reduce the enzyme and vitamin levels, allows our bodies to break down that food and use it as energy.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--We all have access to our breath but it’s so easy to forget to use it. How many of you notice that you are simply forgetting to breathe throughout the day, or not breathing deeply and completely? The benefits of breathing put it at the very top of the list of self-care activities needed to stay healthy, and it’s free! 

The breathing we are talking about here is diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing by inhaling completely through the nose to fill the lungs and diaphragm and exhaling out the mouth. Ten minutes or more of this type of breathing will give you the most bang for your buck. 

Breathing makes us calmer. Stopping during the day to breath deeply for at least 10 minutes slows down the heart rate and calms our mind so that we can focus on the issues at hand. Also, short shallow breathing can prevent the body from getting the oxygen it needs while deep breathing detoxifies our systems. The increase in oxygen that we take in during deep breathing helps to oxygenate and detoxify the lungs and blood. 

There is also some evidence that deep breathing can help with pain. It’s not clear if the relief is due to a drop in anxiety, which in turn helps the patient focus less on the pain, or if there is an actual decrease in the pain response. Either way, having health care providers teach their patients about deep breathing and how to do it can have benefits extending beyond the pain response.   

Breathing makes you happy. When we take some time during the day to focus on our breathing we instantly feel more present, less stressed, and more happy! There are studies indicating that deep breathing techniques can be a great adjunct to a treatment protocol for depression.  

Setting an alarm on our phones is a great way to remind us to breath throughout the day. Once we start paying attention to our breath, it is surprising how often we are doing shallow lung breathing only or actually forgetting to breathe all together for short periods of time. 

Many people find it easiest to have a set time during the day that they sit and breathe. A morning and evening session is often the most effective way, but if you are in a high stress job, taking time throughout the day to breath can also benefit. By sitting in a quiet space in your home or office and breathing you are also meditating. 

That’s really all there is to it, so make time for yourself and set aside 10 minutes a day to begin, and start your deep breathing exercises.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--What if I told you that it’s possible to workout shorter and get a greater benefit? Would you think it was some type of fad workout or scam to get you to buy something? Truth be told, most of us are wasting time with long drawn out workouts that give back little benefit. It’s time to get off the ineffectual gym hamster wheel and start doing the HIIT (high intensity internal training) workout. 

Please note that if you are new to interval training be sure to check with your doctor and get a physical first before training with HIIT as it is a more intense way of training your body and heart. 

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Study after study has proven that exercising this way helps to stimulate the release of human growth hormone and other chemicals that help to slow aging while strengthening the body and heart. 

In order to properly train with HIIT one needs to first figure out their heart rate maximum. You simply take 220 minus your age to get your maximum heart rate. From there you multiply it by 90 or 95 percent. We can use mine as an example. 220 – 46 = 174. 174 X .95 = 165. As high as I would ever want my heart to be beating during my training would be 165, and that would NOT be for a long period of time. 

They call it interval training because we only want to bring our heart rates up to our max for short intervals of 30 seconds or less unless you are a highly trained athlete. 

For beginners, it is suggested to train below your heart rate max at around 70 percent and only bring your heart rate up to 90 or 95 percent of your max once or twice for the first few times you try this and for less than 30 seconds each time. 

Each week, you can add one more interval of intensity until you reach 8 high intensity intervals of 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can work out for only 25 minutes and reach 8 without too much trouble as long as you already warmed up. 

Studies show  that people who train with HIIT are more likely to get stronger hearts that pump more efficiently as opposed to their slow plodding cardio friends. In addition to the positive heart effects, the release of healthy age slowing hormones is another huge benefit.  

People are paying upwards of $1000 dollars a month in human growth hormone supplements, and the HIIT workout will cause your body to produce it naturally and free of charge. This hormone helps to heal the body; brain and skin making us feel more healthy younger looking. 

Try the HIIT workout this week and let me know how it goes!

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--With Chinese Medicine we are taught that as the elements change and the cooler weather moves into our environment, it also moves into our bodies. Fall is in full swing, so we need to be mindful by taking certain steps that will help keep us healthy and well as we enter the cooling months. 

For starters, sleep more. Many people are noticing that they feel sleepier as we move into October and November. This is because as the days get shorter, there is more darkness and the brain picks up on the lesser amount of light. With less light during the shorter days, the pineal gland as apt to create more melatonin making us want to sleep more that normal. The best solution to this is to allow yourself more rest when possible. If you have kids, get them into bed a little earlier than usual so you can also get yourself to bed. If your single, pick an earlier and reasonable time to turn off the screens so your brain can start preparing for sleep. Your body and brain will thank you for the increase in sleep time. 

Regarding foods, eat more soups and stews. As the cold weather moves in, we don’t want it to move into our bodies. Warming foods like onions, garlic, and ginger become even more important to cook with in the winter months especially considering the antiviral qualities of those foods. Try to avoid too many cool drinks and cooling foods. Fall and winter is a great time to steam your veggies instead of eating them raw, and to drink hot tea and room temperature water instead of ice cold drinks. 

In Chinese medical theory, the spleen is like the gas burner on your stove and the stomach is the pot with the food cooking in it. The less cool and cold foods we add to the pot the less work the spleen has to do to heat it, so eat foods that are already cooked during these months. It will make it easier on your body to digest them and use them as energy. 

As the days get shorter and the darkness moves in, the chemicals in our brain also shift causing us to feel more sleepy and less energized if we are not taking proper care of ourselves. Because of this, the temptation for caffeine in the form of that afternoon cup of coffee or sugar in that candy or muffin grows stronger during the winter months. Add holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, and we usually have an abundance of sugar and processed foods at our fingertips. 

One great way to fight the urge is to find someone you work with that is also concerned about putting their health and wellness first, and create an accountability buddy partnership. Set some realist healthy goals with this person and be sure to include realistic goals without trying to be perfect. 

A great example of this is “every Sunday we can eat whatever I want, but during the week and at work we will not eat sugars or refined foods.” It helps tremendously to have someone you are accountable to, and actually makes the process fun. I love to use the fall and winter as a time of increased self care and wellness. That way, when the spring arrives, I feel like I already have a jump on my summer health goals!

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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Omega fats are a crucial part of any diet, but what’s the deal with these elusive compounds? For starters Omega 3’s and 6’s are considered “essential” because it is essential that we get them from our diet since we can’t make them ourselves. You may remember the word “essential” from when we talked about amino acids. It is used for the same reason. Both omega 3’s and 6’s are considered polyunsaturated fats. 

Some of you are confused and have been given misinformation stating that omega 6’s are good and 3’s are bad. This is not the case. The exact ratio of 6’s to 3’s is still a bit unclear, but most professionals agree that at least a 1:1 ratio of omega 3’s to 6’s is required. As usual, every body is different so our needs vary, but it is widely accepted that a diet dominant in 6’s and deficient in 3’s is not healthy for our hearts, brains, and nervous systems. Studies show that people who get more 6’s than 3’s tend to carry more inflammation in the body and have a greater risk of heart disease.   

A big part of why we get more omega 6’s is because they are cheaper to obtain and they are often found in refined foods. Besides being found in nuts and seeds and some of the oil extracted from them, omega 6’s are also found in refined oils like soy and vegetable oil, which is used to make processed foods. In the United States, 90% of all oil produced is Soybean oil at 108 million metric tons. This oil has some Omega 6 fat, but it’s often hydrogenated meaning they add hydrogen atoms making the oil stay fluid even in cooler temperatures. That hydrogenation process makes the oil easier to cook with and much easier to store, but it’s very difficult for the body to break it down. Hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all times regardless of the type of oil that is being hydrogenated. It is extremely unhealthy. Omega 6 oils are also found in meat and chicken, but the Omega 3 content in these foods is much lower. 

Omega 3 oils come primarily from fish. Most of you have heard of the Mediterranean diet. This diet is comprised of lots of fish and vegetables and a low intake of meats. The 3’s can also be added and obtained from healthy fish supplements and krill oils. Try to get at least a 1:1 ratio. In other words, if you are able to look at the ingredients of your food and count the Omega 6 content, try to at least match the Omega 3 intake. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times a week. It is not always easy to prepare and eat fish, so for those of you that simply don’t eat a lot of fish or don’t like fish, taking a fish oil supplement rich in omega 3 is crucial for heart and brain health. The exact amount of fish oil each of us needs is varied and it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare providers to find out the right amount of oil supplementation for you. A good rule of thumb is to try to at least match the amount of 3 to 6 that you are consuming. 

In closing, omega fats are crucial for you brain, heart, and nervous system functioning. Be aware of your omega intake ratio, and for most of us, adding 3’s is necessary. Avoid vegetable and soybean oil and definitely cut any hydrogenated oils from your diet. If the food seems unhealthy but doesn’t have hydrogenated on the label, do some digging on line. More than once, I have found that the hydrogenated oil is hidden and not on the label at all. One example is Girl Scout cookies. Pay attention to labels, but also dig deeper to get all the information around the foods you are putting in your body. I am here for any unanswered questions you may have regarding supplementation and omega intake.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--Green tea has roots dating back 3000 years where in China Green tealeaves were initially chewed on before being used to cook with and eventually steeped to make tea. It has many compounds that make it special, primarily anti-oxidants and polyphenols. Anti-oxidants are molecules that help to protect other molecules such as Vitamin C and E. Polyphenols are a specific type of antioxidants found in plants and foods like chocolate and olive oil. 

Regular green tea can actually irritate the gastric system. Very often when people drink green tea they get upset stomach or digestive issues. This is because the tealeaves come from a plant and through evolution; plants have developed what are called antifeedants. Antifeedants are compounds that when consumed by animals cause gastric irritation. In turn, the plant is consumed less and is more likely to continue thriving. Oolong tea contains far fewer antifeedants than regular green tea making it easier on the gut.   

In order to minimize or eliminate the antifeedants all together, fermentation or oxidation of the green tea leaves must be done. The latter is done letting the leaves dry for up to 2 days until they brown. Green tea is not oxidized at all while Oolong can be oxidized from about 30 to 90 percent. Counterintuitively, oxidizing green tea by leaving the green tea leaves out for longer to dry actually makes the tea contain more antioxidants and less antifeedants eliminating gastritis. Oohlong also has one of the highest levels of polyphenols of all teas. 

There are other studies showing the effects of Oolong tea on weight loss. One livestrong article in Oolong tea help the body maintain a low BMI and keep off belly fat. Part of the way it does this is by binding dietary fat. There are specific ways to prepare the Oolong, most importantly steeping it for shorter period of time such as 3 minutes instead of 10 and by using hot water instead of boiling it; the special compounds in the tea are more likely to stay in tact. 

Finally, Oolong tea has been shows to act in a similar fashion to probiotcs by suppressing the bad bacteria in the gut while allowing the healthy bacteria to grow. When it comes to health and wellness, Oolong tea is a huge hit!

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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