Be Race Ready

be-race-ready

Springtime is full of opportunities for exercise, races, adventures. Whatever you choose to participate in, make sure you put optimal nutrients in your body for optimal results! Here are a few tips for eating healthier.

1. High quality, nutrient dense, organic: whatever you choose to eat go for these three types of foods if you can get them (for example, rather than choosing a snack of crackers or chips, choose some nuts and seeds, or nut butters, hummus and vegetables).

2. Everything in moderation – this includes coffee, tea, alcohol (yes, even a glass of red wine every now and then has been shown to have beneficial results on reducing cardiovascular risk in some persons). Providing you don’t have other health risks these items can have a beneficial result for many.

3. Pre and Post workout – ensure that you are well-hydrated before, during and after your workouts (if you are exercising very intensely for a long period of time come talk to me about how to compensate for this). Also, make sure you are eating a snack 30 minutes or so before you workout to ensure you have enough muscle energy available to use during that workout. After the workout ensure that you EAT (protein and carbohydrates – ie wild salmon, vegetables, rice or quinoa if that works for you) and DRINK (water preferably, or diluted juices).

4. Fats – they’re GOOD for you!…providing they’re from good sources. Look for organic butter if you use it, avocados are great, coconut oil for cooking (try not to cook at high heat with olive oil as it oxidizes quickly at those temperatures – not a great thing). Avoid margarine if you can.

5. Avoid REFINED foods – again in moderation, but this is a pretty good rule to follow if you want to stay healthy, lose weight, live longer (or at least do your best at it). A quick tip is when you’re grocery shopping go around only the outside of the store (avoid the aisles in the middle) as you’ll find the healthier items around the circumference: produce, meat, grains, etc.

6. Enjoy! – Have a smile on your face, no matter what you’re eating. It’s supposed to be fun!

Stay tuned for more info as we continue on our road to Spartan/Tough Mudder/Better overall health! As always, if you’ve got questions or need clarification for anything nutrition or health-related, consult your local naturopathic physician or healthcare practitioner.

– Dr. Matt

Dr. Matt Greenwood, ND

Dr. Matt Greenwood, ND, is a family naturopathic doctor based in South Surrey, British Columbia, who focuses on gastrointestinal and brain health. Learn more about Dr. Greenwood or follow him on Twitter: @doctorgreenwood

DIY: Anxiety

anxiety-relief

Anxiety. Even seeing that word causes some of it — I apologize, but I’m going to try and help you through it!

Your jaw hurts from clenching it all day and night. You feel tired, but aren’t able to sleep because you have twenty things on your to-do list. It’s difficult to remember not feeling like this and you’ve been short with your partner and family for the past week. Maybe you feel fear or panic. How is it that you get yourself through?

These are signs of stress and anxiety. For the most part they suck (I say the most part because they actually can serve a function to show us a problem exists). They feel terrible and exhausting, and we’ve all experienced them at one point or another.

Here’s a list I go through with patients (and myself) to dig for the cause and chisel out a solution:

1) Blood Sugar – Are you hungry? When was the last time you ate? Are you going long periods of time throughout the day without eating? Foods that are high in protein and good fats are hugely useful and successful at modulating blood glucose and thus reducing anxiety. Seems simple enough. Check.

2) Hydration – Are you thirsty? Maybe you aren’t and maybe your mother has harped on you your whole life to drink more water, but I’m going to do the same thing. Our perception of physical effort, and thus our mood, changes when we are dehydrated.

3) Hormones – If you’re female, where are you in your cycle? (if you’re male, where are the females in your life in their cycle:) If you’re post-menopausal, or aren’t cycling (female or male) what are your sex-hormone levels (sex hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone)? If you don’t know you can get them checked with me, or another Doc. Good idea. Hormones can play a huge part in mood.

4) Neurotransmitters – Most anxiolytics (herbs/drugs that reduce anxiety) are based around modulating certain neurotransmitters in your gut and brain. Wait, gut? Loads of the neurochemical, Serotonin, is produced by the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, so much that in cases of Crohn’s or IBS or Celiac disease, or even low grade stomach inflammation can cause reduced levels of GABA and Serotonin, thus leading us on to anxiety (or depression).

5) Anxiety-reducing nutrients – Briefly: GABA, St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, Ashwaganda, Magnesium. There are contraindications for all of these (meaning be careful and talk to your healthcare provider before you use them).

Here’s the deal: only you and your physician are going to know the best treatment protocol for you. All the above is meant to give you some idea where to begin.

– Dr. Matt

P.S. Get to know your health care providers, whoever they are. Be friends. They’ll (we’ll) be there for you when you’re feeling crappy and need some support.

Dr. Matt Greenwood, ND

Dr. Matt Greenwood, ND, is a family naturopathic doctor based in South Surrey, British Columbia, who focuses on gastrointestinal and brain health. Learn more about Dr. Greenwood or follow him on Twitter: @doctorgreenwood