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Introduction to Stress Reduction through Deep Breathing

The benefits of deep breathing and the relaxation benefits that come along with it are essential. Deep breathing benefits are well known but highly under appreciated and executed.

This is not the first article on the importance of full breaths that you have read if you are even a slightly health-conscious person. I am focused today on the actual execution of taking deep breaths at least once a day.

Places that I personally take multiple deep breaths and benefits I receive from it:

  • In the car driving with or without traffic - I take at least a few deep breaths and look around at my surroundings, followed by being grateful and thinking how bad it would suck to walk or bike to get to my school (30 miles each way) One of my favorite songs "Love and Affection" by the Green talks about easing your mind when you take a drive. Don't let car rides or drives stress you out, it's a waste of stress and can start a negative thought pattern and give you road rage.
  • Before, during and after writing an article or working on anything that requires focus - It helps me to get in the mindset to connect with my inner thoughts and emotions. It's easier to express yourself and use your brain when you breathe deeply. An anxious mind is rarely a good one.
  • During running, jogging, lifting weights, climbing, longboarding, biking - You get the idea, exercise in almost every form feels great. If it doesn't feel good, you may be doing something wrong. Use correct form!
  • Before public speaking events - This could apply to many people before your meetings at work. No matter how many times you public speak, you will get butterflies. I have always been very confident and easy to speak to and listen to (so I've heard), but I still try to take a few deep breaths and loosen up my neck, shoulders and back before I begin speaking. People can pick up on your emotions through vocal tone, eye contact and body language; breathe, relax, focus and think positive.
  • While using a sauna or taking a bath - I can't think of many better ways to relax your mind and body than a sauna or bath. Deep breathing while doing these things can simulate a rebirth for me sometimes. Especially with some of my favorite essential oils sprayed onto the sauna rocks or dripped into my bath water.

There is no bad time to take deep breaths and loosen up your mind and body. Do it often, make it a habit.

Let's take 3 deep breaths together. In through your nose and force air out your mouth. Inhale.....1.....2.....3.....hold....exhale...1....2....3 (repeat 3x at least)

Hope you feel better now. Breathing deeply is an important part of your life that is not talked about enough. I have felt myself tensing up and causing stress and worry from simply not taking enough deep breaths. Start today and reap the benefits later. Don't let your emotions cause you to forget.

 

What is Paleo?

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Paleo is a lifestyle, not just a diet. Paleo is referring to the prehistoric period that our ancestors lived and thrived in. Since there are no longer Saber-Tooth tigers or extremely prevalent diseases wiping us out, we have the opportunity to live a lot longer with more enjoyment in between.

The foods that you need will come straight from the ground with minimal processing. Lets go over the basics.

Paleo diet comes from the term Paleolithic. A time period not long ago in terms of Earth and Human existence, but before our modern way of life was created.

Key points

Variations of the Paleo diet may include the autoimmune paleo protocol which excludes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, certain spices and can limit or exclude chocolate, grains such as rice and especially gluten containing grains and foods.

Many of my patients need to follow an autoimmune approach to their nutrition until we can reduce the autoimmune attack in the case of diseases like Hashimotos thyroiditis.

The safest approach is to start with an autoimmune paleo diet and potentially reintroduce certain foods to see if you tolerate them.

What to avoid

  • No grains, breads, pastas or any product containing wheat or gluten
  • No hydrogenated oils such as canola, cottonseed, rapeseed, sunflower, vegetable, etc.
  • No margarine or fake butter spreads
  • Avoid raw salads. The body can't absorb enough minerals from salads. Lightly steaming or cooking your greens will allow much greater nutrient absorption for your body.
  • Eliminate all soda, diet soda, or any artificial or real sugar containing drinks
  • High-fructose Corn Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice (Sugar), Aspartame, Nutrasweet and Splenda (Sucralose) in diet sodas are even worse.

What to eat

Consume anywhere from 8-16oz of pasture-raised meats such as:

  • beef
  • turkey
  • venison
  • lamb
  • bison
  • chicken
  • and pork per day

Consume your meats with 3-9 cups of steamed or lightly cooked organic vegetables per day such as:

    • Root vegetables (such as carrots, onions, turnips, rutabagas or parsnips).
    • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or Brussels sprouts).
    • Greens (such as spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens or kale).
    • Add dried herbs to your food. Not only does this add flavor, but it adds vitamins in large amounts. Among the best are parsley, garlic, ginger, rosemary, basil, cilantro or coriander, thyme, and marjoram.
    • Eat organic white rice and sweet potatoes occasionally. It's a personal choice that may help you with energy and fitness performance.

Consume as much as you want of these fat sources:

  • Organic or "grass-fed" labeled butter.
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

Other key points

  • Minimize fruit consumption to organic berries.
  • Minimize usage of the microwave. Microwaves kill the phytonutrients (external site) in your food, rendering it useless to your body. Easy alternatives for fast cooking are toaster ovens, stovetop pan cooking, or grilling. Cooking any food for too long will naturally kill off some nutrients and digestive enzymes. This is inevitable.
  • Drink filtered or spring water as much as possible. Filtration methods hooked up to your tap are an efficient alternative to buying bottled water. Make sure the items filter fluoride. Most local water supply in the United States is fluoridated, which has been linked to many health problems such as thyroid damage. Spring water is best.
  • Think of your food in this sense, "does this food exist in this form naturally on Earth?" i.e. Oreo trees and Hot Pocket bushes don't exist! Choose fruits, vegetables and nuts in the most unprocessed form.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are much better than canned.
  • The healthiest snacks I enjoy are organic grapes, almonds, pistachios and some locally produced beef jerky. 
  • Unless you are an athlete or someone who is very active, you want to keep your carb intake low to moderate. If you want to count, a good number is around 150g/day for most. I require at least 1g/carbs per lb. of body weight.
  • Serious athletes or extremely high-need people need up to 3g/carbs per body weight pound. Test your own levels and see what results you get and how your body responds.
  • I don't count carbs and you may not need to either as long as you are eating vegetables, fruits and following the rest of the Paleo diet. This will help you burn fat and give yourself a more steady blood sugar, leptin and insulin level
  • Athletes may feel better eating low-gylcemic starches such as organic rice or sweet potatoes. Some agree with the concept or intermittent-fasting. I will have more tasty choices of low-glycemic foods on my personal grocery list.