Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recent Research Update

Lots of interesting studies have come out recently, and some are particularly applicable to the stuff I'm always talking about! Broccoli for instance, as many of you know, is my favorite superfood. It is the most intense "negative fat food" (meaning the more you eat, the leaner you get), it is the most nutrient dense and micro nutrient balanced food on the planet, and it is relatively cheap.

I also talk about its effects on fighting illness, disease, and even cancer! I have been affirmed once again in this claim by scientists in this month's Journal of Carcinogenesis. Dr. Wilson and Dr. Jordan found a compound called "isothiocyanates" that contain a compound called "sulforaphane" which targets and attacks cancer cells with more aggression than any drug available. Broccoli has the highest amount of these compounds. Hail broccoli!

Researchers found that people who eat rapidly are three times more likely to be overweight than those who take their time at meals (like the Europeans do). This is one of the reasons Americans are so overweight when compared to other countries. [Maruyama, K. et al., BMJ 2008 Oct 21;337:a2002.]

Rapid eating is often an established pattern that can be difficult to break. The best way to break this pattern is to change your surroundings. If you normally eat while watching TV, make sure it is off and sit at the table with no distractions. You can also change your posture to cut your consumption. Make sure you are sitting up straight and you will be surprised at how the increased attentiveness will make you feel fuller sooner and slow you down as well!

The March issue of Alternative Medicine Review confirmed that taking a vitamin D3 supplement significantly reduces mortality from all causes. This strong statement puts an exclamation point to the necessity of keeping your levels high - especially during the winter months for those in northern latitudes who can't get enough sunshine for their skin to produce adequate amounts.

Vitamin C has been found to protect against age-related wrinkles and even reverse them! Guess what food has even more vitamin C than any fruit? Yep, good old broccoli! Chock another one up for my fav! [Cosgrove, M. C., Franco, O. H., Granger, S. P., Murray, P. G., Mayes, A. E., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 Oct;86(4):1225-1231.]

A recent article by Dr. Al Sears pointed out that Vitamin K has been overlooked by medicine for a hundred years. This neglected vitamin may have the power to prevent heart disease and eliminate the pain from stiff, swollen joints. All these years doctors thought it was only good as a blood thickener, but a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that it fights inflammation.1

Inflammation wreaks havoc throughout your body. It’s a direct cause of heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, even Alzheimer’s. Vitamin K can help prevent—and sometimes even reverse—many of these conditions.

A study from the Journal of Nutrition linked dietary intake of vitamin K to reduced risk of coronary heart disease.2 The study also found vitamin K reduces the calcification of your arteries. That’s the damage that occurs when calcium deposits harden and build up.

Specifically, vitamin K lowers inflammation by reducing levels of Interleukin-6 (IL-6). When you age, your IL-6 levels increase naturally. This increased level creates significant amounts of inflammation in your body.

IL-6 is one of the main culprits behind Alzheimer’s and arthritis. One study found those with high levels of IL-6 had a 200% greater risk of developing a disability such as arthritis.3

Vitamin K also prevents brittle bones and teeth. It helps a Gla protein known as osteocalcin regulate calcium. Without vitamin K, osteocalcins become “undercarboxylated,” meaning they can’t hold on to the calcium. As a result, the calcium in your body leaves your bones and teeth, making them weak and porous.4 It’s so effective; doctors in Japan use vitamin K to treat osteoporosis.5

What’s more, vitamin K is an amazing anti-oxidant. It destroys free radicals floating in your body at a level on par with CoQ10 and Vitamin E.6

Guess what food has ultra - high levels of vitamin K? Yep, chock up yet another one for broccoli!

1.Shea, K, Et al., “Vitamin K and Vitamin D Status: Associations with Inflammatory Markers in the Framingham Offspring Study” American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 167(3):313-320
2. Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. Nov 2004;134(11):3100-3105.
3. Ferrucci L, et al. 1999. Serum IL-6 level and the development of disability in older persons. J Am Geriatr Soc 47:639-46.
4. Knapen MHK, et al. 1989. The effect of vitamin K supplementation on circulating osteocalcin (bone Gla protein) and urinary calcium excretion. Ann Internal Med 111:1001-5.
5. Sugiyama, T, “Possible Involvements of Vitamin K in Bone Quality,” Editor’s Correspondence, Archives of Internal Medicine Vol 167 Number 1 January 2008
6. Vitamin K Report, Life Extension Magazine, February 2000,

For a great broccoli recipe click this link and scroll halfway down the page to "Broiled Broccoli":

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reform Your Identity and Cut Your Need For Willpower

The fundamental reason people struggle with weight loss and fitness is that they are fighting against their own identity. The strongest force in the human psyche is our need for our own identity to match up with our actions. If our identity is one of a fat person, we will stay that way or rebound back to it when we do lose weight.

Breaking out of your struggle pattern requires re-writing your identity. This means re-programming your subconscious. Because your identity is located in your subconscious, many people don't even know what their identity is.

Some people even have conflicting identities between their conscious and subconscious minds. This can be observed when someone is surprised by how fat they look in the mirror or in pictures. They say to themselves, "Wow, I'm not that fat" or, "Cameras sure do add extra weight."

It really doesn't matter what your conscious mind thinks you are like. Your subconscious mind always wins. Whatever picture you have stored in your subconscious will be the one that is controlling both your conscious and unconscious actions to make sure you are that way on the outside.

The key to permanent change is to reprogram your subconscious picture of yourself or your "mind's eye". There are a handful of techniques I use when counseling clients on this, but one of the most effective and easiest to implement is through the use of verbal proclamations.

I write customized proclamations for my clients based on their three highest human needs which I score according to a list of questions I ask them, but some general proclamations are listed below. You will find some that work better than others based on your personality, so stick with the ones that elicit the most emotion for you.

When you are saying your proclamations, make sure you are feeling them with the highest emotional intensity possible. Be emphatic and repeat them over emphasizing a different word each time. They will cause the proclamation to have a different meaning every time you say it.

Stand/sit up straight with perfect posture, keep your chin high, and speak forcefully. Pick a convenient time and place. I do mine in the shower or in the car at least twice a day.

My main proclamation is "Every day and in every way I am getting stronger and wiser." I say this a minimum of 12 times because I emphasize a different word each time.

Making yourself do this exercise every day regardless of whether you feel like it or not is the true key to making it work. Remember that commitment is the difference between "can do" and "will do." Anyone can talk about what they can do, but what you will do is the only thing that counts toward reprogramming your subconscious.

Here are some proclamation examples:
"I choose to be fit because I deserve it."
"I know I have that within me to achieve success."
"I command my subconscious to produce only thoughts that empower my goals."
"All the tools I need are already within me."
"I choose healthy foods because I choose a healthy life."

Let these move you emotionally, and they will speak to your subconscious. As your subconscious hears these repeat messages, it will believe them and implement them. Then making the right choices comes naturally and effortlessly because there is no more struggle!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Most people make the same fitness resolutions every year, just to repeat a very discouraging failure. They tell themselves, “This time it will be different because I really mean it”, but then the same thing happens and no one can figure out why. Recent research in exercise science and psychology has uncovered the real reason for these repeated failures and it can all be summed up in the following three step plan.

1.) Rewire your brain for permanent physical change. The fundamental reason people yo-yo with their weight or fail in their New Year’s fitness resolutions is because they never change their mind’s eye. The weight might come off, but they still think of themselves the same way, so it comes right back on.
No one ever talks about this but recent science has found that the brain really is the main reason for failure. Only if you think of yourself a certain way, will you become that way. The body always follows the mind, so changing your mind will change your body.

Thin people stay that way because they think of themselves that way. The same goes for fat people. This is also why poor people quickly become poor again after winning the lottery. They never changed their mindset, and because they thought of themselves a certain way, they made conscious and unconscious decisions every day to make sure that happened.

The way you think of yourself can be changed. It has to be a daily exercise to make this change permanent, and to form new nerve pathways that change your brain wiring. This rewiring process will make sure your brain is ready to stay thin when you become thin, and that will control your body and actions to make sure that happens.
Visualize how you want to look. See yourself in that body and practice it daily. Once you become that person, you will already be comfortable with it, and will be able to stay that way because you have already formed your new identity.

Change your self-talk by phrasing everything in a positive way and emphasize your goal the same way. A good example of this is to say, “I’m going to get leaner today” instead of saying, “I’m going to lose some fat today”. They might sound the same, but they are very different.

2.) Consider a cleanse routine to get you started right. This process is meant to detoxify the body of harmful chemicals stored in the digestive system and organs. It is also meant to clean out the intestines of harmful flora that prevent you from absorbing key nutrients.

It is important to remember that once you have done your cleanse, you are starting over with a clean digestive system and proper intestinal flora, so stick with your new and good nutrition habits to continue to reap the benefits of the process.
A cleanse is a great way to start healthy eating, but the intestines will rapidly repopulate with the bad flora if you go back to poor nutrition habits, and then you have lost all the benefits of what you accomplished with the cleanse. It takes 3-4 weeks to get rid of the bad flora but less than a week to get it back!

I don't recommend any particular cleanse system because they are all pretty much a waste of money. If you want a cleanse that actually works, eat only these things for 3 weeks:

Wild fish
Organic chicken
Organic grass-fed beef
Organic broccoli, spinach, kale and collard greens
1 gallon of water per day

Take a probiotic every day and continue it after you are done with the cleanse. You can get a good one at SuperSupplements (but don’t let them talk you into their cleanse systems).

This is better than any cleanse out there and will prevent the muscle loss cleanses often cause as well. Get a deep tissue massage 2-3 times a week and take an Epsom salt bath every night on massage days.
After your cleanse, continue to eat organic and emphasize lots of dark greens, lean meats and water as your first priority. Make this your new lifestyle habit and adopt it permanently. Make your resolution for life, not just for this year. Think of each change you make as a new permanent step to your new permanent you.

3.) Workout harder and train less. High intensity training is the best way to build muscle and burn fat. Strength training to complete muscle failure is the best way to build muscle and increase your metabolism. This metabolic increase helps you burn more fat even when you sleep, so muscle really is the key.

This doesn’t mean you have to bulk up, it just means that a little tone and shape will go a long way towards burning the fat off and keeping it off. Pound for pound, muscle takes up about half the space as fat so trading muscle for fat will make you smaller and improve your shape, even if the scale doesn’t show anything!

The same high intensity principle goes for your cardio exercise. Interval sprint training is the way to go for the best combination of fat burning and cardio fitness improvement. These workouts only take 20 minutes so it is a great time saver as well.
A new minds eye, a cleanse routine followed by continued good nutrition, and high intensity exercise is a sure fire way to reach the resolution goals that have eluded you for so many years by doing things the hard way and the wrong way. Ben Franklin once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. This year it is time to try something different that actually works instead of the same old thing that has failed you year after year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I couldn't have said it better myself

I was planning on writing an article for New Year's resolution folks, and then got this from Dr. Sears. It's so great to see other progressive professionals preaching what I do. His article was so good, I just cut and pasted it here. I will post a blog entry soon about specific tips for brain training to help with your fitness resolution, so stay tuned! -PJ

Al Sears, MD
11903 Southern Blvd. Ste. 208
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
January 01, 2009

Dear PJ ,

Losing weight is probably at the forefront of your mind this time of year. So here’s a “doctor-recommended” resolution for you to take into the New Year: work out less and eat more.

I’m not kidding. One of the discoveries I’ve made in my years of working with people on fitness and weight loss is what I believe to be the nature of “true” exercise—short bursts of high-intensity workouts.

The reason’s simple: your body wasn’t designed for long, repetitive exercise. What your physiology really evolved to handle is short, intense periods of exertion, followed by rest.

Think about it: is there any circumstance you can picture that would have led our ancestors—early caveman—to run seven miles three days a week or isolate their biceps and work them until they couldn’t lift a one-pound rock?

I can’t think of one.

Same goes for diet. There’s a right way and a wrong way. The bulk of the calories in the pre-agricultural diet came from lean, wild-caught meats, fat from the kill, and above-ground edibles, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

This is what you were meant to survive on. Millions of years of evolution created a digestive system optimally suited to processing protein and fat.

What’s more, if you over-consume protein, your native physiology interprets it as “the hunting is good” and starts to shed excess fat stores, since they’re then seen as inefficient drags on speed and energy levels by the body.

Modern medicine is finally waking up to the health benefits of this approach. Diabetes experts just this year found that high-protein dieting really does lead to lower fat stores and more lean muscle. They’re looking at it as a way to prevent or even reverse the effects of diabetes.1

Another study published late last year found the same thing: the authors concluded that low-carb dieting promotes weight loss, brings soluble fat levels in the blood into balance, and “can be simply incorporated into a person’s lifestyle.”2

The most up-to-date research on high-intensity, low-duration workouts also supports my point about exercise.3

Scientists at McMaster University in Canada took 20 healthy men and women with an average age of 23 and put them on a weekly workout schedule using stationary bikes. Some exercised five days a week, doing 40 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling. Others did four to six sets of 30-second sprints on the cycle, allowing 4.5 minutes of recovery time between sets; their total exercise time was about 15 to 25 minutes—for only three days a week.

After six weeks, the researchers found that the intense sprint interval training improved the structure and function of arteries just as much as traditional, longer endurance exercise—without all the wear and tear.

So start eating more protein—ideally from grass-fed, organic, or wild caught meats—and go for shorter, high-intensity workouts!

Best wishes for the New Year from all of us here at the Center for Health and Wellness.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD


1. Brehm BJ, D’Alessio DA. “Benefits of high-protein weight loss diets: enough evidence for practice?” Current Opinions in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity. 2008. 15(5):416-21.
2. Thomas DE, Elliott EJ. “Low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load diets for overweight and obesity.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2007. (3):CD005105.
3. Rakobowchuk M et al. “Sprint interval and traditional endurance training induce similar improvements in peripheral arterial stiffness and flow-mediated dilation in healthy humans.” American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology. 2008. 295(1):R236-42.