What’s all the buzz about this cell regenerative diet called Prolon?

Let me ask you this…


Have you been having trouble with your blood sugar? Has it been hard to lose the extra few pounds even though you’ve been doing a good job with cutting out processed foods and excess carbs, plus you’ve been exercising regularly? Is your belly fat impossible to get rid of? Do you want soft ‘younger looking’ skin? Have you been toying with different kinds of intermittent fasting diets and just don’t know what’s what?


The Fasting Mimicking Diet will address these concerns with positive outcomes, as studied by Valter Long, PhD. It’s all shared in his book Longevity Diet which is a great read. He started off with researching the diets and lifestyles from the blue zone locations, where they have the highest numbers of centurions. One of the components he finds out is that these people undergo some kind of fast or fasting mimicking diet.

Since then he’s done extensive research on The Fasting Mimicking Diet which has the following benefits found in mice:
– shrunk tumor size in half
– decreased bone density drop
– decreased skin inflammatory disorder
– decreased weight without losing muscle mass ( a big problem for other fasting diets)
– improved cognition

He’s since found similarly compelling results with humans.  I tried it myself 1 month ago with 20 other clinicians and have found amazingly positive results. Since then I decide to do it again, so I want to share with you my 5 day experience here with you. But first, let’s learn more about fasting.  Don’t forget to check out my 5 day personal experience with 5 days of fasting mimicking diet in the bottom of this article. 

First, what is fasting?

Fasting is avoiding food and calories, so that your body can switch from burning glucose for energy to burning fatty acids and ketones, an alternative source to energy in our body.  When we make ketone bodies, that’s when we are in a fasting state.

With that said, research points to the following three benefits of fasting:

  • Weight control and weight loss
    • These factors are accomplished because you are forcing your body into a caloric deficiency. You know the saying, “calories in and calories out”? One of the most basic understandings of weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. This is true in many cases, however sometimes underlying health imbalances and diseases are the root cause for an individual having issues with weight loss. So as always, be sure you are working closely with your functional medicine practitioner or healthcare professional of choice to get tailored support to fit your needs.
    • Beyond the weight loss, many fasts may also improve cholesterol, triglyceride levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and even insulin resistance.
  • Activating biological fasting
    • When we say “biological fasting” we are talking about the way that your body is forced into survival mode because no external nourishment is available. Think about your evolutionary ancestors in the middle of winter or drought. There was no food. This was before fasting was on the cover of Cosmo and it wasn’t practiced for any health benefit. It was simply a reality of the times.
  • Triggering cellular optimization and cellular rejuvenation
    • When your body is stressed for a long enough duration of time, deeper phases of survival mode can be triggered. This is when your body starts working on cellular optimization and rejuvenation. In addition the body goes into autophagy.

There’s many types of fasts.

The many different fasts vary in terms of protocols, procedures, and even benefits. Since all fasts include caloric weight loss- you can expect weight loss on basically any fast. The question is if that weight will actually stay off once you complete the fast. If weight loss is your main goal, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare professional. Many fasts only trigger the first phase of fasting benefits as discussed above.

The ProLon mimicking fast however, is proven to allow you to enter all three fasting phases while still eating a uniquely crafted plant based diet. This fast was created by Professor Valter Longo, Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.  The ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet is known to help you to experience the significant health, wellness, and longevity benefits of a full 5-day fast while still eating some foods.

Look at this chart below to compare popular fasts: What are different types of Fasting?

Time Restricted Fasting

  • Fasting during specific hours, of using a specific time pattern
  • For Example: 12 hour fasting (Eat between 8am  to 8 pm)
  • Or 16:8  16 hour fasting and 8 hour feeding.  (noon  to 8pm)  2 times a week
  • Can impact weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose
  • But not good to miss breakfast regularly, and long term can cause increase gallstone.
  • These has not been shown to trigger autophagy and apoptosis (that helps unhealthy cells die or be removed), or stem cell based regenerations

Intermittent Fasting

  • Extended periods of time like 16-48 hours with very little or no energy intake followed by intervals of normal eating
  • For example:  Alternate Day Fasting or 5:2 Diet, Eating normal 5 days, and 2 days with 60-70% calorie restriction (around 500 calories) on alternative days or 2 consecutive days
  • Follow continuously every week
  • Can impact weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose
  • These has not been shown to trigger autophagy and apoptosis (that helps unhealthy cells die or be removed), or stem cell based regenerations

Periodic Fasting

  • 46-100% calorie restriction for duration of your periodic fast
  • Total usually less than 5 days per month
  • 5 days per month for 3 consecutive months

Fasting Mimicking Diet

  • 5 days of plant based food designed to mimic the benefits of fasting per month
  • 800-1100 calories per day
  • Designed to promote healthy longevity by
    • switching all cell to a protected anti-aging mode
    • promoting autophagy (‘self-eating’ parts of the cell) and replacing damaged cell components with newly generated functional ones.
    • Killing damaged cells in many organs and systems and replace them with new healthy ones
    • Shifting the body into an abdominal/ visceral fat-burning mode, which continues after returning to a normal diet.
  • A good analogy is to think of the body as an old wood-burning steam locomotive low on wood.  To reach the next fueling station, the fireman can start burning the train’s oldest and most damaged wooden seats and walls, making the train lighter when generating the steam needed to keep it going Just as the seas can be rebuilt once the train reaches the fueling station the streamlined cells, systems, and organs can be rebuilt by activating stem cells.

So, ProlonFMD is a product that uses that model and made a gluten free, dairy free, plant based all in one food kit. I’m doing it again as a 2nd time after last month, and I want to share with you my experience.

Let’s explore these phases of fasting a bit deeper:

  • Fasting Phase 1: Day 1-2

    • Your body goes into survival mode about 24-30 hours after your last meal. Your body will then start tapping into the glycogen reserves in your muscles (while generating new liver glucose) and it will also start using your fat reserves.
  • Fasting Phase 2: Day 3-4

    • When your body goes two days without food, you enter this second stage of survival mode. Autophagy is triggered on day two or three.
    • Dr Ananya Mandal describes this process in the following way:
      • “The word autophagy is derived from Greek words “auto” meaning self and “phagy” meaning eating. Autophagy is a normal physiological process in the body that deals with destruction of cells in the body. It maintains homeostasis or normal functioning by protein degradation and turnover of the destroyed cell organelles for new cell formation. During cellular stress the process of Autophagy is upscaled and increased. Cellular stress is caused when there is deprivation of nutrients and/or growth factors.”
  • Fasting Phase 3: Day 5

    • When your body goes four days without food, things are getting serious. Your body (rightfully so) is worried about dying. At this point your body has already consumed your fat reserves (aka stored energy) and improved your cellular function, however your fast is still continuing. So what might your body do under this major stress?
      • Your body eliminates old, inefficient, and damaged cells.
      • Your body increases the number of stem cells that are circulating in order to create tissue that is strong, new, and young.
      • This final fasting stage has been proven to assist with the biological aging of the body’s internal clock.
      • Some studies in mice have shown this process to prevent or even reverse some diseases.

When done under professional guidance, going through all these three phases of fasting may have incredible health benefits for your body. You may even come out stronger, leaner, biologically younger, and healthier on the other side. This again is due to the process of autophagy and stem cell-based regeneration.

What is the ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet?

As displayed in the chart above, The ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet helps your body to reach deeper benefits beyond just weight loss. It is also beneficial because you are still eating a little bit each day which can help to protect your body from some of the negative and dangerous associations that occur when not eating.

This is completed with five days of consecutive fasting while also eating the specific pre-formulated ProLon foods. These will help your body to maintain lean body mass. Research has shown fasting mimicking diets to have many positive impacts including those listed in this chart:

Hers’s My Journal On The Fasting Mimicking Diet

Day 1: Click Here To Watch My Video 

  • First, I collected some data yesterday:  pre-weight, visceral fat, body fat and muscle %, and also general sense of sleep and wellbeing.
  • The kit came with a Meal Program card, so it’s easy to follow the plan.
  • I had tasty nutty food bar and tea in the morning.  I didn’t feel hungry at all throughout the day
  • The crackers and olives taste really good. (My kids took a couple.)
  • The kit came with an algae oil and a multivitamin.
  • Today, I am priming my body to transition into a fasting state and begin cellular optimization.

Day 2: Click Here To Watch My Video

  • My body is switching to fat burning. Cellular recycling and clean up (autophag) begins!
  • I am enjoying the taste of all my food. Olives and Tomato soups are my favorites.
  • The L-drink is tasty especially after I added the hibiscus tea to the water.
  • Going from 1100 calories to 800 calories, some other group members shared they noticed the difference in terms of feeling a bit tired. I feel less this time compared to the first time I did Prolon a month ago. 
  • I consciously slowed down my day so I don’t feel as stressed.
  • I went to bed feeling hungry, but slept for 8 hours.

 Day 3: Click Here To Watch My Video

  • Today many people will reach full ketosis.
  • Hump day, but I am feeling more energy
  • I had a moment of feeling tired from low calories during the day, but that went away after an hour. I drank more water as a result.
  • amazing to have all this extra time when I don’t have to think about food or food prep!

Day 4: Click Here To Watch My Video

  • I woke up with high energy, and I didn’t think about food at all today.
  • The hunger feeling from day 1 and 2 is all gone, feel like I can fast for a lot longer.
  • I do miss my veggies and broths, so I can imagine creating a similar diet by cooking my own in the future.
  • i feel my  stem cells regenerating right now!! ( theoretically)

Day 5: Click Here To Watch My Video

  • Last Day. Yay! I woke up feeling great. Still enjoy the food immensely.  Today I get the kale crackers again, which I liked the most, since it’s salty.
  • My waist has thinned significantly, no bloating.  Had a busy day at work and managing it wrll.
  • My body is being rejuvenated from within and my skin has been extra clear. 

Final results:

  • I’ve lost 3% body fat, of those 2% visceral fat and 4 pounds in total.  I eat smaller meals since I’m not as hungry in between the 2 Prolon fasts.  And I also did maintain my muscle mass. A success!

ProLon is different than other fasts:

ProLon has been shown to give you many of the benefits of fasting while reducing the potential problems that come with not eating. Again, these benefits include improvement of age-related biomarkers due to the cellular optimization and stem cell regeneration. Overall, it is a fasting mimicking diet, which means you will still be eating food during these five days. The food is small, specifically designed meals, and low-calorie. The idea is that you complete ProLon for five days every 3-4 months for the goals of improving your person’s metabolic health and improving your age related biomarkers. However, if you are on insulin, are pregnant or have certain conditions listed here (onnalomd.com/prolon) you would not be a good candidate or need to check with a health professional first. 

Don’t forget to click here and sign up for my 14 days to health free video series that helps get your health a reboot in 4 weeks. Or join my community on Facebook. 

 


References:

[i] Wei, M., Longo, V., et. al. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Science Translational Medicine 15 Feb 2017: Vol. 9, Issue 377.

[i] Brandhorst, S., Choi, Y., et al. A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan. Cell Metabolism 22, 86–99 July 7, 2015.

[i] Wan, R., M., Mattson, M.P., et. al. Cardioprotective effect of intermittent fasting is associated with an elevation of adiponectin levels in rats. J. Nutr. Biochem. 2010. 21, 413–417.

[ii] Trepanowski, JF, et. al. Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jul 1;177(7):930-938.

[iii] Johnson, J.B., Mattson, M.P., et. al. Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthma. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2007. 42, 665–674

In addition, this blog was written in large part thanks to the ProLon Ebook- “Not So Fast.”

Want To Stay Healthy As The Season Changes? Here’s Our Top Favorite Autumn Autoimmune Paleo Recipes!

Are you looking to make some healthy recipes that are also festive?

Do you want to make family-favorite treats that are nourishing and even kid-friendly?

If you’re one of the many who usually gets the flu and adds on a extra couple of pounds along with all the holiday stress- have no fear!

It is possible to eat delicious treats AND have them be good for your body, mind, and spirit.

Here are our most favorite Autoimmune Paleo recipes from our favorite kitchen wizards. Explore these amazing anti-inflammatory ideas and have some fun! They are sure to meet your desires and make the whole family smile as they say “Mmmm….”!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (AIP, Gluten Free)

This amazing recipe and photo are compliments of Unbound Wellness. Michelle has so many wonderful recipes and this one is a tried and true delight! Click here for the recipe and instructions. 

Turmeric Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe with Zoodles

Mmmmmm here another awesome recipe, especially when a loved one is feeling  under the weather. This one is a favorite for the whole family and is a zesty play on the classic chicken noodle soup. Click here for the recipe and instructions.  Photo and recipe compliments of Paleo Hacks.

Bulletproof-Style Dandelion/Chicory Coffee

Bulletproof coffee has been all the rage recently, and this is a yummy mix to enjoy! The health benefits of dandelion and chicory come with a might boost for your body and taste buds alike. Click here for the recipe and instructions. Photo and recipe compliments of Autoimmune Wellness.

Garlic Rosemary Breadsticks

The perfect addition to holiday meals! AIP friendly breadsticks are indeed possible! These are a must try and a great addition to any potluck. You’ll be surprised by how fluffy and light these are too. Photo and recipe compliments of The Paleo Mom. Click here for recipe and instructions.

Frozen Yogurt

If you want a healthy dessert, look no further! This is a perfect way to end any meal. Sometimes Autumn season brings heavy dinners, so what better way to finish than with this refreshing treat?! Photo and recipe compliments of Autoimmune Wellness. Click here for recipe and instructions.

Ginger Turmeric Smoothie

Want to wake up and give your body pure nourishment and energy? Look no further! This smoothie is packed with superfoods to keep your immunity strong and your heart happy. Picture and recipe compliments of PaleoPlan. Click here for recipe and instructions.

Stacked Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots & Herb-Infused Oil

This is one of our favorite salads for fall dinner gatherings. It is beautiful to the eye and healthy for the belly. Plus, it is a wonderful way to get lots of fresh veggies into your dinner while also pleasing your company. Photo and recipe compliments of HeartBeet Kitchen. Click here for recipe and instructions.

We hope you enjoy a most delicious and nutritious Autumn season! Do you have a fall favorite recipe that you’d like to see in an AIP form? Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!

 

Is your blood sugar affecting your brain? Guide to boosting your cognitive health part 5

The Importance of Diet and Lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle are significant contributors to dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Fortunately there is a growing body of scientific evidence to prove this as well. For example, a study in February 2018 found that high blood sugar levels are associated with cognitive decline. This was true even in people without diabetes, which suggests that even “high-normal” levels of blood sugar could be problematic. Pioneering doctors and researchers like Dr. Dale Bredesen, Dr. Terry Wahls, and Dr. David Perlmutter have done important work on revealing the many different dietary and lifestyle mechanisms that contribute to neurological and cognitive disorders.

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

Why Blood Sugar Matters

Poor blood sugar regulation is a key contributor to many diseases and disorders. It is essential to maintain a healthy and balanced blood sugar for optimum health. Mismanaged blood sugar literally prevents the healing process. There are many signs and symptoms of poorly balanced blood sugar. Some of these signs are brain fog, low energy, poor sleep, cravings for sugar, worsening of autoimmunity, skin tags, cancer, anger when hungry, and many more. Furthermore, when blood sugar goes up it can promote more cortisol in the body too, which has a corresponding impact on insulin. This leads to another host of issues such as weight gain around the mid section, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hormone imbalances.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

How to Monitor Blood Glucose

Many functional medicine practitioners are starting to recommend the monitoring of blood glucose for all patients, even those without diabetes. This is important because it helps you to give a more comprehensive view of what your blood sugar is on a continual basis. By using a simple glucometer, you too can check your blood sugar at home. The benefit is that it is easy to do on your own and it is readily accessible. Since blood sugar monitoring is one of the most important markers for your cognitive health, this is a wonderful idea for anyone looking to avoid the consequences of dementia and Alzheimers.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Diabetes and Cognitive Decline

Many research articles are drawing the connections between diabetes and cognitive decline. For example, in the Archives of Neurology there was a study that showed mild cognitive impairment was connected with earlier onset, longer duration, and greater severity of diabetes. Mild cognitive impairment represents noticeable cognitive impairment challenges (ie: I forgot where I put my keys….again), but they do not interfere with everyday tasks. Some people may consider that part of “normal” aging, but it may also be indicative of early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to cognitive decline, diabetes also increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke- which can then in turn promote more cognitive issues. It can become a vicious cycle of sorts. Additional studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can have as much as a 1.5- to 2.5-fold increase in the risk of dementia and that even Type 1 diabetes can lead to an 80%  higher likelihood of developing cognitive dysfunction, compared with those without diabetes.

Photo by Anders Nord on Unsplash

Pre-Diabetes and Cognitive Decline

Research is also showing that not only does diabetes have a strong correlation to cognitive decline, but so does pre-diabetes. According to Diabetes Journals, pre-diabetes, poor blood sugar control, and longer duration of the disease were associated with greater late-life cognitive decline. While patients with diabetes were at the most risk for cognitive decline, even patients with pre-diabetes had a cognitive decline at a much high rate than their counterparts with a HbA1c level less than 5.7%. On the bright side, if a patient is managing their pre-diabetes well, then they are doing their part to support positive cognitive health outcomes. For example, a study displayed that careful diabetes management with very well regulated glycemic control during midlife actually had a protective effect against cognitive decline in later years.

Photo by Kate on Unsplash

How to Promote Healthy Blood Sugar

1. Avoid dangerous carbs and sweeteners: These can spike your blood sugar and lead to major imbalances, especially over time. Instead opt for healthy fats and small amounts of high quality proteins.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

2. Eat an anti inflammatory diet. This means avoiding sugars, gluten, dairy, alcohol, excessive amounts of caffeine, and highly processed fats. Stay away from processed foods in general (ie: anything that comes in a package) and focus instead on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and high quality meats.

Photo by PHÚC LONG on Unsplash

3. Mange your stress. Life happens, stress happens. The important thing is to manage your stress. You can do meditation, exercise, art, family time, spend time in nature, and a multitude of other positive activities. Find something and make a ritual for what works to destress your day.

Photo by Riccardo Mion on Unsplash

4. Have an exercise routine. Exercise literally helps to manage blood sugar because it helps your muscles to take up more glucose (for energy and tissue repair) plus it also makes cells more responsive to insulin to prevent resistance.

Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

5. Rest with both quality and quantity. We have all heard it before, but sleep heals! Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night 7-11 hours, depending on the individual and also make sure you are not suffering from a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea. Too little sleep can literally increase your stress hormones as well as your appetite.

Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

In Summary

There are so many benefits to keeping your blood sugar balanced. We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Resources

AANDD Journal

Ann Intern Med

Diabetes Journals

Dr. Axe

Living Proof Institute

NCBI

PubMed

Springer

WebMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricks of the Trade to Keep Your Skin Happy and Your Body Healthy While On The Road

These are my top travel tips for staying happy and healthy on the road. 

I’ve been investing in lots of education to boost my practice as a practitioner so I can serve my patients better – and that means more travels to different time zones. It also means more nights spent in hotel rooms for conferences.

So how do I manage to stay happy and healthy while I am in different time zones and in different hotels all around the world?

Read below and I’ll let you in on my tricks of the trade.  

While these are wonderful tips for life in general, these are especially helpful in your home away from home. Once you try a few of these tips you’ll see lots of incredible benefits, such as brilliant glowing skin.

Here are my top travel tips:

1. Supplement with magnesium.

I take magnesium before I go to bed. I usually take about 400mg and sometimes more. It helps me relax my nervous system and to sleep better.  It also minimizes my muscles from stiffness from sitting around all day in conferences or on planes. Sometimes I like to start taking magnesium the day before I start traveling. Magnesium glycinate is my preferred kind, but magnesium citrate is also helpful if you get constipated from traveling.

2. Hydration.

This is essential always, but it is especially important to start increasing your hydration before traveling. By the time you see your lips are dry in the mirror, you are already playing catch up and dealing with a deficit. Stay ahead of the game and drink at least 10 glasses a day. I now carry a lime or a lemon in my carry on, since it’s a sure way to make any water more palatable wherever I go. Plus a splash of lime or lemon helps my kids to drink more water too. (One caveat: Citric acid in lemon is not good for the coating of our teeth, so drink lemon water shortly before or after a meal where your stomach acid is going to be high anyways.)

3. Beauty Sleep.

Anything that can maximize your sleep is key to all benefits! For example a deep sleep promotes better immune response, cell regeneration, effective learning rates, etc. Melatonin certainly promotes sleep and it is also a powerful antioxidant.

Here’s a list of what I do to promote beauty sleep:

4. Relax with Inner Balance by HeartMath.

This is an incredible piece of technology that I use this for 5-10 minutes whenever I feel I can’t do my usual meditation routine. I also use it if I wake up in the middle of the night feeling jet lagged. It’s a profound and simple tool that measures my heart rate and gives me immediate feedback on my breathing and relaxation response.

5. Skin Care.

Be sure to put on sunscreen before you go out, but be sure to invest in the safest sunscreen for you and your family. Also, it is a good habit to wash your face well at night. This helps to purify the face from toxins that you may have acquired throughout the day from cosmetics and air pollutants. Air pollutants specifically includes many harmful substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from gas fuels, fumes, and cigarette smokes. These harmful exposures are found to be just as damaging to our skin as UV lights.

6. Eat Light.

This is especially important when changing time zones. Did you know that it takes at least a few days to adjust your gut motility pattern? Your gut motility pattern guides your hunger and bowel movements. Thus, I recommend you avoid grains and sweets those first few days of traveling. Instead, focus on greens, a simple protein shake, and MCT oils as your gut takes time to adjust to the new time zone. That ensures that you are not hungry, as you’ll be eating healthy veggies, proteins, and fats. Furthermore your brain will be happy with the MCT oils and all the veggie fibers will keep your bowels moving too.

In essence, there are many strategies you have when it comes to keeping your skin healthy and your body happy while you are on the road.

When you supplement with magnesium, hydrate, sleep deeply, relax, take care of your skin, and eat light – you will be well on your way to traveling like a happy healthy pro. I hope you try at least one of these tips when you go on your next adventure. When you feel physically healthy and radiant from within, your skin AND your aura will glow! Plus as an added bonus, a simple outfit will show your beauty and your suitcase will inevitably be lighter too!

Happy Travels,

Dr. Onna Lo

 

 

Got Self-Care?

The Importance of Self-Care

When is the last time you took a moment purely for yourself?

Turns out, having some time for self-care is one of the best things that you can do for your health and happiness. Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not selfish. Self-care is actually essential for all of us in our healing journey.

The challenge is that all too often we prioritize other things above self-care (ie: doing the dishes, laundry, going to work, cleaning the house, paying the bills, watching tv, spending time with others, etc…).

The good news is that there are small and powerful ways that you can take care of yourself in a better way, starting today. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy one of the videos below.

In honor of your best health, we are sharing 5 of our favorite TED Talks related to self-care.


  1. Why we all need to practice emotional first aid by Guy Winch


  2. The power of vulnerability by Brene Brown


  3. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes by Andy Puddicombe


  4. Want to be happy? Be grateful by David Steindl-Rast


  5. How to make stress your friend by Kelly McGonigal

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

We’ve been discussing a number of ways that you can help support your best cognitive health the past few weeks. With proper brain function, you can be more equipped to live the happy and healthy life that you desire. In this series, we have discussed the importance of nutrition for your cognitive health as well as the impact that lifestyle has on your overall wellbeing. Furthermore, we have shared how to use the Kirtan Kriya meditation to improve brain performance as well.

Today we dive into the many benefits of the ketogenic diet on your brain health.

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

Have you heard of the ketogenic diet? You may have heard of it as the “Keto Diet.” At its core, this is a low carb diet, but it is also so much more.

Instead of carbs, it is centered on high quality proteins and fats. When you eat less carbs, your body is better equipped to enter a state that is more naturally print to breakdown fats (from your food and your body) which then results in ketones as you enter a state known as “ketosis.”

Most people are in a state where their primary form of energy is from carbs (glucose). However, for those who are in a steady state of ketosis, that primary fuel source switches from glucose to ketones. In other words, when successfully following a keto diet, your brain and organs will use ketones as their primary energy source.

How Do I Know If I Am “In Ketosis”?

You can measure ketones in your blood and urine to ensure that your body is staying in ketosis on the ketogenic diet.

A Ketogenic Meal

On the traditional ketogenic plate, 10% of calories will come from healthy carbs (ie: leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables, and limited amounts of legumes and berries). Then 20% of calories will come from high quality proteins (ie: omega-3-rich wild-caught fish and
grass-fed/grass finished animal protein. The last 70% or so of calories will come from high quality healthy fats (ie: avocado,
unsaturated and medium-chain triglyceride oils, nuts and seeds, and coconut). This 10/20/70 keto suggestion includes all your drinks, snacks, and meals for each day. You are unique, so your macronutrient distribution may vary based of your health, physical activity, and practitioner’s expertise.

It is essential to remember that calorie size isn’t the same thing as physical size. For example, even though healthy fats is about 70% of your total plate, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a salad that is 70% filled with nuts and seeds, with only a few sprigs of lettuce. It is based off the total calorie content. For a handy tool to figure out the calories behind the foods you eat, download the free app My Fitness Pal. You can even make goals based on your macronutrient content such as the Keto 10/20/70 suggestion- and My Fitness Pal will help you meet those goals too! Great, right?

Check out this image below to see how the Ketogenic Diet differs from the Standard American Diet (SAD).

(Property of Metagenics)

The Benefits:

There are many benefits to being on a ketogenic diet. The most common benefits include weight loss, an increase in brain
performance, balanced blood sugar, and improved cardiovascular health.

Mental focus is improved with the ketogenic diet because the brain uses ketones instead of glucose as a source of fuel. Studies show that this switch can actually help the brain to grow more nerve factors and synaptic connections between brain cells. The benefit for you? More alertness, a better focus, and better cognitive abilities. Balanced blood sugar is promoted through the intake of less carbohydrates because this supports insulin metabolism in the body. Furthermore, the absence of carbs from the diet helps the body to focus on breaking down proteins and fats. When on a reduced calorie ketogenic diet, one can experience weight loss and it can also help to reduce cravings and suppress appetite. While carbs may help to increase energy during a workout, they are not the best form of energy for a smooth clean burn that lasts all day. Alternatively, in ketosis, the brain has a consistent stream of ketones to supply the body with increased performance. Lastly, a ketogenic diet supports optimal metabolism and cardiovascular health because it is shown to help blood lipid and fatty acid metabolism.

How To Begin

To start, you want to focus on simply reducing your net carbs to less than 50 grams a day. Be mindful to explore the variety of carbs that come from leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, and limited amounts of legumes and berries. Using an app like My Fitness Pal will automatically calculate your daily carbs for you. This list here has a comprehensive amount of ideas to try when first starting the keto diet: Keto Food List.

Some of our favorite recipe blogs to get started with the Keto Diet:

  1. Keto In Pearls
  2. Ketogasm
  3. I Breathe I’m Hungry

Keto Adaptation

As you begin the keto diet, you may notice some changes in your body. Be aware that it may take the body about  2-4 weeks to switch from burning fat as fuel as opposed to carbohydrates. For some people, this can leave you with a feeling similar to the flu. Symptoms may include feeling achy, nauseous, a sense of withdrawal, or drowsy. If you experience this, don’t be alarmed. The switch from burning fat instead of glucose is a revolutionary transition for your body. This starts for some people a few days after being on a ketogenic diet and it typically ends one or two weeks later. Then you’ll start feeling all the positive effects of the new diet.

If you’re facing a challenging keto adaptation, try this tips: drink more water, increase consumption of electrolytes (be mindful to avoid those sweet “sports” drinks), eat more healthy fats, participate in more exercise, sleep more, try an exogenous salt supplement, and practice stress reduction/ mindfulness activities.

In Summary

There are so many benefits to being on a keto diet. Many people love it and feel that it has forever transformed their life for the better. Of course, it is important to note that everyone is different and that there is no one-size-that fits all. While some people may be the ideal candidate for a keto diet, others are not. Thus, it is important to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can assess your digestive health, blood sugar, brain health, and overall metabolic state to support you in your quest for a life of health and happiness.

We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 

References:

  1. Freedman MR, King J. Kennedy E. Popular diets: a scientific review. Obes Res 2001; 9(supp 1):3S,11S,12S.
  2. Volek, JS, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body compositionin overweight men and women. Nutr Met. 2004 Nov;1:13.
  3. Meyer J. The Ketogenic Diet and Mental Performance.Available at: http://blog.prymd.com/the-ketogenic-diet-and-mental-performance. Accessed September 13, 2017.
  4. D’Anci KE, Watts KL, Kanarek RB, Taylor HA. Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood. Appetite. 2009Feb;52(1):96-103.
  5. Yancy Jr. WS, et al., A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutrition & Metabolism 2005; Dec 1; 2:34.
  6. Brinkworth GD, et al., Long-term effects of a very low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on mood and cognitive function.Archives Internal Medicine 2009; 169(20):1873-1880.
  7. Volek et al. Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism 2002;51(7):864-70.
  8. Yancy Jr WS, et al. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized,controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2004;140(10):769-77.
  9. Gibson AA, et al., Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015; 16:64-76.
  10. Volek J.S., et al. Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism. 2016 Mar;65(3):100-10.
  11. Adam-Perrot A, et al. Low-carbohydrate diets: nutritional and physiological aspects. Obes Rev. 2006;7(1)49.58.
  12. Volek, JS., and Stephen D. Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity LLC., 2011.
  13. Hudgins LC. Effect of high-carbohydrate feeding on triglyceride and saturated fatty acid synthesis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000Dec;225(3):178-83.
  14. Hudgins LC, et al. Relationship between carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia and fatty acid synthesis in lean and obesesubjects. J Lipid Res. 2000 Apr;41(4):595-604.
  15. Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovasculardisease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar; 87(3):567-76. correct
  16. Krebs NF, et al. Efficacy and safety of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet for weight loss in severely obese adolescents. J Pediatr. 2010 Aug;157(2):252-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.02.010. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Adrenal Fatigue Webinar Recording

Thanks to all who joined us in LIVE the Adrenal Fatigue Webinar!

It was a sincere pleasure to show you how to not let adrenal fatigue impact your life. I hope you found it a useful tool for being both happier and healthier.

If you missed it, catch the replay below.
https://vimeo.com/282033558

Adrenal Fatigue Webinar by Dr. Onna Lo Zoom Webinar from Onna Lo MD on Vimeo.

Don’t let Adrenal Fatigue impact your life Webinar from Onna Lo MD on Vimeo.

 

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Kirtan Kriya

Your cognitive health has a dramatic impact on your entire life. With proper brain function, you can be more equipped to live the happy and healthy life that you desire. In this series, we have discussed the importance of nutrition for your cognitive health as well as the impact that lifestyle has on your overall wellbeing.

Today we are jumping into one of our favorite topics that has wonderful benefits for your cognitive health, Kirtan Kriya, a singing meditation.  Rooted from the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.

What is Kirtan Kriya?

Kirtan Kriya (pronounced KEER-tun KREE-a) is a way of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. In Sanskrit, kirtan is a song and kriya is used to express a certain set of movements. This technique has been used for thousands of years to help bring the mind, body, and emotions in balance. This helps to support the healing process and to promote cognitive health.

How does it work?

This is a meditation, but sometimes it is known as a singing exercise. You complete it by singing the sounds, Saa Taa Naa Maa. In addition, repetitive finger movements, or mudras, can be used in conjunction. This is not a religious practice, but it is beneficial for all types of people from all walks of life. Specifically, when practiced for just 12 minutes a day, it has been scientifically proven to decrease stress levels. Furthermore, this meditation actually promotes activity in areas of the brain that are essential for memory.

Is there any science to prove it?

Yes. Not only has it been practiced for thousands of years with profound benefits, but there are also multiple studies publishing the many benefits of Kirtan Kriya. For example, there was a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in April of 2016 stating that the Kirtan Kriya increased brain function. It went on to describe that cognitive health through the use of Kirtan Kriya increases brain connectivity (which improves memory) and it also decreases mood aberration.

“The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation believes that the various parts of Kirtan Kriya are each vital to the whole, and recommends practicing it in the traditional way to fully reap the benefits of the exercise. That said, other methods of reducing stress, like deep breathing, listening to music and other types of meditation may be beneficial to your health.”

How do you practice Kirtan Kriya?

  1. Repeat the Saa Taa Naa Maa sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight. 
  2. For 2 minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  3. For the next 2 minutes, sing in a whisper.
  4. For the next 4 minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  5. Then reverse the order, whispering for 2 minutes, and then out loud for 2 minutes, for a total of 12 minutes.
  6. To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

The mudras, or finger positions, are very important in this kriya (see illustration below).

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

Can I do it by myself at home?

Certainly! I designed this simple handout for you so you can start practicing at home today. Please click here to download your copy.  We recommend following along with this video here to use as a beautiful guide: Kirtan Kriya Video.  Here’s an explanation video.

In Summary

We hope you find this a powerful and enjoyable exercise and we hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 


Please view our resources listed below: 

Kirtan Kriya Yoga Singing Exercise

Journal Articles

Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal
Title: Kirtan Kriya Yoga Meditation: A New Dimension in Alzheimer’s Prevention
Khalsa, DS.
Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal. 2013; 18(2):12-16
Published October 2013

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Title: A randomized controlled trial of two simple mind-body programs,
Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening, for adults with subjective
cognitive decline: Feasibility and acceptability
Available online 5 March 2016
Kim E. Innes, Terry Kit Selfe, Dharma Singh Khalsa, Sahiti Kandati. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26 (2016) 98–107
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.002

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201606/yoga-and-kirtan-kriya-meditation-bolster-brain-functioning

>> For more journal articles, please click here.

Functional Medicine Webinar Recording

Thanks to all who joined us in LIVE the Functional Medicine Webinar!

It was a sincere pleasure to share the benefits of functional medicine with you. I hope you found it a useful tool for living a happier and healthier life.

If you missed it, catch the replay below.
https://vimeo.com/279374383

PS: Have you registered for my next webinar? It is called “Don’t Let Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Life” and it is happening on Friday, July 27th at 10:00 am PDT. Click here to register: http://onnalomd.synduit.com/AFW0001

Why Functional Medicine by Dr. Onna Lo Zoom Webinar from Onna Lo MD on Vimeo.

Why Functional Medicine by Dr. Onna Lo Zoom Webinar from Onna Lo MD on Vimeo.

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Last week we shared an article about how to boost your cognitive health using nutrition. Click here to read that post: Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Whether you yourself are suffering, your loved one is struggling, or you are an advocate of healthy living- you will want to take note of the tips offered in this guide.

This guide is based on Dr. Bredesen’s #1 Bestseller, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,  His substantial work in the field of reversing cognitive decline is instrumental for anyone suffering from this themselves or supporting a loved one going through this process.  

Here are some great tips that would truly benefit all of us, especially those of you who are trying to find the right protocol to support your brain health.  1) Exercise 

5-6 times per week for 30-60 minutes, raising heart rate and including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Exercise increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has important anti-Alzheimer’s effects. It also helps to improve oxygenation, improve sleep, reduce overall stress, reduce fat and associated adipokines, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve overall brain and body physiology in numerous ways. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline, and is an important part of the protocol to reverse cognitive decline.2) Sleep

Sleep has multiple mechanisms to reduce cognitive decline. For example, it induces melatonin, which reduces the amyloid-beta associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, it is critical to memory consolidation and it alters cellular anatomy to foster the removal of abnormal and toxic species from the brain. Thus, sleep has multiple mechanisms to support the reversal of cognitive decline.

Most people have a sleep debt, due to chronic lack of optimal sleep, both in quantity and quality. It is crucial to ensure that you do not have sleep apnea. If you do have sleep apnea, it is very important to treat it whether by CPAP, oral device, altering sleeping position, or other methods. Melatonin:

It can be helpful to use melatonin at bedtime. A physiological dose is 0.5mg, which can be taken by mouth or sublingually, depending on formulation. Some take higher doses, up to 20mg, and it is a relatively benign supplement, so you can adjust your dose.

If the dose is too high, you may notice that you awaken after about three hours of heavy sleep, and you may feel sluggish the next morning. If the dose is right, you should notice increased dreaming and awaken feeling refreshed. Melatonin has many effects, among them reducing amyloid-beta, reducing reactive oxygen species, and tumor suppression.

If you find that you are awakening in the middle of the night and ruminating, unable to return to sleep, you may find that Tryptophan (500mg) or 5-hydroxytryptophan (100 mg) helps to prevent this. Please discuss this with your practitioner, especially if you are on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for depression, or a related SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).Helpful Sleep Tips:

In order to optimize cognition, try to get as close to 8 hours of sleep each night as possible. It is best to go to bed before midnight, although some people find that their circadian rhythms do not allow this. It is also best to make sure that the room is as dark as possible. Many people like to use an eye mask for this purpose or blackout curtains. In addition, have your bedroom be as quiet as possible and free of EMFs. I’ve found Airestech to be a reliable company with affordable options for EMF protection- use code onnalomd10 for 10% off! Lastly, wind down in the evening instead of exercising or working right up until bedtime. 3) Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the most important contributors to cognitive decline, and stress-related molecules such as cortisol and corticotropin releasing factor receptor 1 are mediators of neural cell death and cognitive decline. Therefore, an important part of the overall program is to reduce stress-related effects, and there are many ways to do this, so please choose the ones that you enjoy. Relaxation Ideas:

Some people choose meditation, and indeed meditation has a positive effect on cognition. Others love music, walks in the park, yoga, visiting museums, lovemaking, or many other things (or all of those things). The Neural Agility recording, designed for brain neurophysiology, is “meditation on steroids,” and many enjoy that. This should be done 5 times per week, in the evenings, for 30 minutes, relaxed and lying down with the lights down. Finding joy and relaxation in life is very important to reduce the brain-damaging stress that many of us feel in our busy lives.4) Mental Exercise

There are many ways to do mental exercises. Try Posit, Dakim, Lumosity, learn a new language, do Sudoku, or crossword puzzles, etc. The key is to do these in the presence of improved biochemistry. Do not do these exercises to the point of exhaustion. A typical session is 40-60 minutes for 4 or 5 times each week. If you are new to this habit, it is ok to start with shorter sessions and increase the duration with time. Remember, some mental exercise is better than none at all. Make it a priority to stay mentally active. In essence, you “use it or lose it.”5) Auditory Physiology

This is like “meditation on steroids.” Use with headphones and listen from your phone, iPod or computer in the evening. It is ideal to practice this 5 times per week, for 30 minutes each time. Rest as you lay down on your back in a dark room and relax. These specialized tones can affect the release of powerful brain chemicals that can regulate mood, improve sleep, and reduce aggression as well as depression. Listen here: http://www.fariastechnique.com/music-for-interhemispheric-synchronization  and Dr. Bredesen recommended this program : http://www.activemindsglobal.com/products/revita-mind/

6) Hygiene

Dr. Kenneth Seaton from Australia spent his career studying the relationship between hygiene, inflammation, and cognition. One of the measures he used to gauge inflammation was the albumin-to-globulin (A/G) ratio. Albumin is an important protein to remove amyloid, and to carry many other molecules (including drugs and hormones) in the blood. When inflammation occurs, from bacteria, fungi, viruses, harmful microbes or dietary inflammagens (like trans fats or simple carbohydrates) the globulin fraction (from which antibodies are derived) increases at the expense of the albumin fraction. This reduces the A/G ratio. This is associated with reduced cognition.

Hygiene, and the maintenance of intact barriers (gut lining, blood-brain barrier, oral, nasal, integumentary (skin, nails, hair), etc.), play a key role in optimizing the A/G ratio. Oral hygiene with an electric toothbrush, floss, and a water-pressure flosser are all important. Oral microbes have been identified repeatedly in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Some like to use nasal washes, as well. Evaluation for MARCoNS (multiple antibiotic resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus) is helpful, especially in anyone with type 3 (toxic) Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, ensuring good nail and skin hygiene can be helpful.

In Summary

Your Cognitive Health Is Worth The Investment. In essence physical and mental exercise, sleep, relaxation, auditory physiology, and hygiene are all important factors to consider when supporting your brain health. All six of these lifestyle tips will help to optimize your physical and mental wellbeing. We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

 

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 


To learn more on this topic please reference our resources below:

Book: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, MD

Website + Research: https://www.drbredesen.com/thebredesenprotocol