As a recent graduate of the fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine I’ve been stimulated to think outside the box when it comes to health. As a result I’ve made several changes in my own health promoting practices.
Like most folks I’ve experienced a slow upward creep in my weight, from around 173 lbs. at high school graduation to nearly 200 lbs. by age 58. This weight gain occurred despite very high levels of physical activity. Recently I’ve made some adjustments that I learned through the fellowship and have lost down to 177 lbs.
Here’s how I’ve done it:
Reduce flour based foods
I’ve carried my lunch for several years. Instead of sandwiches made on flour based whole wheat bread I am eating whole grain bread. They are not the same. Whole grain breads like Ezekial 4:9 Bread contain intact or cracked grains and as such release carbohydrates more gradually, resulting in gentler rises in blood sugar and corresponding insulin levels. The is termed the glycemic index. High GI foods are more likely to trigger weight gain. In addition I’ve cut out cookies. I had gotten into a habit of eating a handful of Trader Joes Triple Ginger Snaps as have apparently a lot of other folks! They are tasty! But stay away.
Get more sleep
Sleep loss is a risk factor for obesity. Sleep loss is a physical stress that results in elevations of cortisol, insulin and blood sugar. In addition leptin, a peptide hormone that signals satiety, is suppressed resulting in increased appetite. Getting good sleep is a good idea on many levels as is reviewed in this CBS 60 Minutes story The Science of Sleep part 1 and 2
Probiotics and prebiotics
There are more bacteria living in our gut than there are cells In our body! We are just now beginning to understand the role they play in health and disease. One important role is in regulating weight. It is well known in animal husbandry that feeding food animals antibiotics results in more rapid weight gain. As a result our food supply is contaminated with low levels of antibiotics. This affects the make up of the bacteria in our gut, the microbiome. There is a rising tide of obesity, not only in humans, but in animals as well that may be due to the effect of antibiotics on our microbiome. To replenish my microbiome I take a probiotic Florajen 3 and eat foods that promote health of the microbiome called prebiotics. Prebiotics foods include onions, artichoke hearts and…my favorite…dark chocolate which may have a host of health benefits. Dark chocolate contains at least 70% cocao and can be an acquired taste if you are used to milk chocolate. I recommend 1 square 3-5 times a week.
Thanks for reading